Review by Mister Sinister
Half marks for a half-baked port, I'm sorry to say :(
Mortal Kombat took the world by storm when it hit the arcades. The blood, the gore, the HORRIFIC fatalities, the unnecessarily high levels of violence. Let's face it, we ALL loved it right ? So who wasn't salivating when it came time to crack open the home releases ?? Exactly. How did the Megadrive (Genesis if you're in the States) fare ? Read on ...
OVERVIEW AND OBJECTIVE OF THE GAME
Earthrealm is in need of you and your fighting skills to help represent it in an age-old tournament called "Mortal Kombat". You will pit your fighting skills against other fighters from the Earthrealm, as well as fighters from another realm called "Outworld", in a bid to become the champion of Mortal Kombat, and keep Earth safe for another generation.
Failure to win the tournament will result in the Emperor of Outworld taking dominion over the Earthrealm, and trust me that would be BAD.
GRAPHICS - 6/10
Whilst everybody knows that the Megadrive is NOT an arcade machine, I must admit to having been rather disappointed with the quality of the graphics, once ported to the home console. The colours are drab on the backgrounds, the sprites are blocky and, in places, look like they have been poorly cut out of a white background, and the animations are missing a fair few frames here and there to boot.
This is not to say that they make the game unenjoyable to experience - however if you compare this release with the Super Nintendo version, you will be amazed at how different the two titles really are.
Fortunately Sega decided to allow the blood to remain in the Megadrive version of this release (although you must activate it by keying in a code at the special introduction screen), so those of you with small children (shouldn't really be letting your kids play this game in the FIRST place) can prevent them getting access to the worst scenes from within the game itself should you wish.
Colliding with your enemies (which is always something which I recall from the arcade game had a very SOLID feel to it) has been as faithfully reproduced as possible, however, so you do get a reasonably decent sense of contact when you strike your opponents in this release.
All told, the graphics in this game are below the standard I certainly was expecting when it was released, but they did not make me hate the game.
SOUND - 5/10
As with the graphics, the sounds have taken quite a pounding when being ported across to the Megadrive unfortunately. What were clear and crisp screams and squeals on the Arcade version have become muffled grunts and groans on the Megadrive, and that is really quite dissatisfying really.
The music has also been made somewhat more simplistic, although it is still very much in keeping with the Mortal Kombat stylee of things, which is a welcome sign in what could otherwise have been a disastrous port.
The sound effects when finishing your enemies are also a bit muffled and grainy - the screams are there, but the experience is all just a tiny bit ... less than stellar really ...
CONTROLS - 6/10
Whilst your character is responsive, the mechanics of play are rather slow and plodding, so you will have to adapt your arcade technique for this home release. Fighters seem to fly (read: float) through the air and, whilst the collision detection is perfectly reasonable, it almost feels like you are on fast-forward, and your character is in slow-motion sometimes. This sensation is not helped by the ailing frames of animation on the characters, and actually makes the game somewhat funny to play, which unfortunately I do not believe was EVER the intention of the developers.
... at least not funny in the way I mean ;)
PLOT - 7/10
The plot of this title is (obviously) exactly the same as that of the arcade game and the Super NES release. You have been chosen to participate in an ancient competition to decide the fate of our world - Earthrealm - called "Mortal Kombat". Your chief competitors come from another realm called "Outworld", the Emperor of which has his sights firmly set on taking over our realm and enslaving us (or worse).
You compete against Earthrealm fighters and combatants (kombatants ... sorry - everything has a K in it with Mortal Kombat) from Outworld, until at last you face off against the bosses - Goro (a half-human dragon) and Shang Tsung (a cunning and ruthless, ancient sorceror), to determine the outcome of the competition.
GAMEPLAY - 5/10
Whilst your enjoyment of this game WILL ultimately be marred by its shoddy graphics and poor sounds, it is not an UNenjoyable game to play, and you will be able to derive - perhaps not weeks or even days of enjoyment from it, but certainly a couple of hours I would say.
All the elements of the arcade game are in this home release, including the blood (which was very sadly missed out of the Super NES version), together with the Mirror Match and Endurance Matches which made the Arcade version such a pain in the butt to complete at times, and whilst it does feel like it misses the mark in its capacity as an arcade-to-home port, it is not, as I have said before, an unenjoyable title to play.
If anything, you will find it funny :)
REPLAY VALUE - 4/10
No ... I don't think so really. Once you've had the opportunity to sample this release, I think it is unlikely that you will want to come back to it often ... if at all, unfortunately. If you are serious about playing an arcade-to-home port of Mortal Kombat, then you should examine the Super NES release which has both better graphics AND better sound, but which has been forced to compromise the blood owing to censorship, and in which some of the fatalities have been re-written.
It is a pity that neither version represents a really decent port of what is a great arcade game when all's said and done.
VALUE FOR MONEY - 5/10
When you consider that "value for money" means, to my mind, am I satisfied paying what I paid for it, based on my expectations of it ? Then I think 5/10 is acceptable, considering it is HALF the game you should expect it to be. I never expected the Megadrive to be able to pull off a really REALLY amazing conversion, but I honestly did expect more than this.
OVERALL - 5/10 (This is NOT an average)
Half marks for a half-way decent performance in my book. The lack of frames of animation raises an eyebrow, the muffled sound raises the other eyebrow, and the immediate lack of blood and guts complete that "kicked in the nuts" look you may experience during play.
Whilst the title does not feel shoddy, it does feel lacklustre, and whilst it does recuperate some of its lost face from having full access to the blood AND the fatalities, you realise that those are not the only selling points of MK when you play it.
MAIN GOOD POINTS
* Blood is available (although a hidden option)
* Fatalities are available (although a hidden option)
MAIN BAD POINTS
* Not enough frames of animation
* Sounds, sound effects and music are poorer than they ought to be
* Blood and fatalities must be activated by a code to be used
* Feels (not rushed, but) like a poor cousin to the Super NES version in some respects.
SO SHOULD YOU GET IT ?
Well, ok ... look at it this way. If you're a Mortal Kombat NUT, who is hellbent on owning everything Mortal Kombat, then yes, you should get it to complete your collection. Discerning gamers who are looking for a decent Mortal Kombat title should scope out one of the later Mortal Kombat releases for the Megadrive, which were all (at worst marginally) better than this title. Those people that are looking for a good example of a fighting game on the Megadrive should shop around before considering this title.
Rating: 2.5 - Playable
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