Review by bbears

"The Definition of Overkill"

Mortal Kombat is pure shock value. With that said Mortal Kombat's shock value is really fun. This game, like all fighters of the time, was originally an arcade game. And even though the Genesis version and the arcade version are nearly identical the console release created bigger commotion. This is one thing I never really understood. What was all that commotion about from senators and parents about? Blood, blood, some more blood, an occasional dismembered arm, sprinkled of course in blood! Sounds kind of sadistic right? That is obviously the reason why the game got so much attention. But the real question is Mortal Kombat behind all the shock value a good game? In my opinion even though it does lack some depth it is more than enjoyable just on it's controversial presentation. Read on and find out why.

Being a port and all of an arcade game one big question you might ask is how does the Genesis stack up graphically? Pretty good, arguably as good as the SNES version. Of course it is not quite as vibrant as the dedicated arcade machine can be. Mortal Kombat uses pseudo motion capture pictures to portray all it's characters. This of course does look cheesy but goes well with the overall look and feel of the game. The environments are just as unique and are decidedly very dark. The special effects and the blood are of course the real star of the show here. One reason I would definitely get the Genesis version is because blood can be enabled while in the SNES version they can't be. The music is also great to add to the over top mood of the game, along with all the sound effects.

Gameplay wise Mortal Kombat features only 7 playable characters, although there are an additional 4 characters you can fight against. Each character looks very unique and aren't the standard clones many other 2D fighters feature. One of the bigger complaints of the game is it that all the characters have the same basic set of moves, which inherently lacks depth. The main focus of the action though is setting up your characters special moves. While many other fighters feature special moves no other game makes use of them so dynamically of them. Or of course as bloodily violent. This does sound and sometimes feel a little shallow compared to some of it's peers. But the overall presentation truly makes the game. Mortal Kombat also goes out it's way to create a back story, something that is very commendable for this genre. I think that this why MK has become the juggernaut that it is. Form the get go we have completely new dynamic characters that have been around for a lot of us as long as we have been playing games. The icing on the cake of course is the fatalities. MK pretty much invented this concept of brutally killing your opponent through a rather challenging button sequence, each character's fatality is unique to them as well. The sense of achievement and visceral destruction truly make those moments very memorable.

Overall I would definitely recommend MK to any 2D fighting fan, or especially even any fan of the series wanting to trace the franchise back to its roots. But even though by todays standards MK is not realistic, MK is still a very violent graphic game that let developers know blood can be accepted by the mainstream audience and is in fact wanted. This fact makes MK a significant side note in the history of gameing.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 11/13/06

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