Review by ShadalooSoldier

"Oh GOD, no."

REVIEW UPDATE: It seems that Midway had little to nothing to do with porting this game to the GBA, and that it was done by a group of very bad people known as Virtucraft. I've made the corrections where necessary. In fact, MK head honcho Ed Boon himself is apparently displeased with the game. Go Ed!

Oh, and it has 7 backgrounds, not 5. But that doesn't change the fact that the game's still garbage.

It's times like these that test my patience as an avid Mortal Kombat fan. I've been able to remain faithful to the series, even after the sub-par MK3, 4, Special Forces, and the sickening display that was MK Mythologies.

But this is the last straw.

It started out nicely enough when I began playing, but I first began to suspect something was wrong when I moved the cursor over the 'secret' box, and saw one of the secret characters prominently displayed on the left, even though I couldn't select him. Now maybe I'm wrong, but that sort of ruins the entire aspect of secrecy, right?

The first fight began, and I noticed that the characters were all the way across the screen from each other, which is something else that shouldn't be, at least, not in MK. The fight all goes downhill from there.

Graphics: Not bad for a portable game, I suppose, but there are problems. I'm seeing many missing frames of animation from Ultimate MK3 (which, after all, this is a port of). I'm not impressed by the backgrounds, however...they all just sit there without a trace of motion at all. The souls don't even swirl in the ''Soul Chamber'' stage, they just sit there, frozen in place. Did I mention the fact that there are about 7 or so backgrounds in total, as opposed to Ultimate's 13 or so? I can understand a bit of cutback, but not this much. BAD Virtucraft. Some of the fatalities have been messed around with big-time, and they just end up looking awful. Also, when your character's portrait moves up a level on the Choose Your Destiny Screen, it looks like something akin to moving a picture up in MS Paint.

Sound: And it gets worse. The male characters all seem to share the same 2 sound samples, while the females share their own 2...and that gets irritating. There's all of one sound sample for hit collision, a wet sounding 'thok', which, during combos, seems to come up once every 3 hits. As for the background music itself, it sounds worse than the SNES and Genesis UMK3 ports, if that's possible. Bleep-bloop-bleep-bleep-bloop. You know the drill.

Control: The characters are responsive to your commands...most of the time. It's almost impossible to pull off fatalities though, for some reason. I've inputted the needed commands for Scorpion's numerous times, at the correct on-screen location, and it's happened all of twice.

And why do you need to tap back three times to launch his spear?

Gameplay: I'm sure you heard of EGM's infamous ''0.0'' review for this one? Here's why it deserves it. Although the game gives you 3 levels to choose from, in reality, there's one: ''Ridiculously stupid''. You need to resort to incredibly dumb tricks in order to win, which I'll get to in a second. First off, for some reason, high kicks knock you down, in this game. That shouldn't happen. Second, where are the turn around kicks that enabled you to set up nasty combos? Virtucraft ate them. They don't exist here. Third...remember those dial-a-combos? Hehe...okay, here's an example of what happens when you try one on the CPU:

You press two buttons, hitting once, and the computer proceeds to instantly perform a combo - interrupting yours in the process - hitting you 6 or so times, and the counter comes up, indicating a 4 hit combo for him. This is pretty much how you're going to wind up fighting the CPU.

In fact, it seems that no matter what you hit the CPU with, it always seems to be able to interrupt what you're doing, and punish you for even thinking of trying it. That is, when it's not bashing you into next Tuesday. The only exception for this is cornering it, and repeatedly pressing the punch button, ensuing in an endless flurry of the same two hits over and over, seemingly unblockable after the first, which is one of the cheesy keys to victory in this game. It's also incredibly stupid.

After being beaten by my first opponent a maddening amount of times, I discovered another cheesy trick. I held down on the pad, and kept pressing kick, and watched amazed as my enemy kept running into the hits.

I proceeded to beat the game this way.

Well, with the exception of the bosses, both of whom require you to assault them with the same stupid 3-4 hit kick combo over and over again - after cornering them, of course.

There you have it. My review of what's quickly earning a reputation of ''Worst game ever.'' Why they decided to port a sub-par MK game like Ultimate MK3, instead of MKII, in the first place, I'll never know. If you want a good handheld fighting experience, check out the excellent Super Street Fighter II Turbo Revival. If you want UMK3 and the like, play Mortal Kombat Trilogy. Just stay the hell away from this one.

It benefits a rental or buy, however, just to say that you've played, or own, the worst game in existence. I'd rater play Iron & Blood, or War Gods, than go through this one again.

And I HATE War Gods.

Reviewer's Rating:   0.5 - Unplayable

Originally Posted: 02/05/02, Updated 02/07/02

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