Review by Sour

Reviewed: 03/23/10


From the arcades to the Sega Genesis, Mortal Kombat not only revolutionized fighting games, but the whole industry in general. This is the game responsible for the creation of the Electronic Software Ratings Board, or the ESRB as you may better know them by. A game so violent and graphic at the time that it caught worldwide attention from shocked parents and lawmakers. As a result, on every video game you purchase now, you'll see "This game is rated T for Teen" or "M for Mature". Mortal Kombat played a huge part in this as it tried to compete with the popular Street Fighter series. The game just couldn't be ignored for it's easy to learn, difficult to master controls that when executed correctly could make your fighter perform a special move or the dreaded Fatality. More on that in a moment.

Story: 10/10: In the realm of Edenia, a realm similar to that of our own, the dark Emperor Shao Kahn and his forces invaded, reducing Edenia to a forsaken, barren land called Outworld. Shao Kahn devised that his next conquest would be the realm of our own, Earthrealm. The Elder Gods of Earthrealm were alerted to Shao Kahn's plans, and thus set a rule that must be obeyed to invade the realm of Earth. Shao Kahn and his warriors must win ten straight victories in a fighting tournament to be allowed into Earthrealm. Shao Kahn and his forces have won nine in a row. This game is the story of the tenth tournament, the battle for Earthrealm. Among the participants are Liu Kang; descendant of former Mortal Kombat champion Kung Lao, Raiden; the thunder God, Johnny Cage; a martial arts actor from Hollywood, Sonya Blade; a government agent with a bone to pick with one of the other combatants, Kano. On Shao Kahn's side are Shang Tsung, the Emperor's right hand man and powerful sorcerer with the ability to capture souls, Goro, Prince of the Subterranean Realm of Shokan and half-man, half-dragon. And two ninjas from rival clans, Scorpion and Sub-Zero, who are under Shang Tsung's spell.

Game-play: 10/10: Mortal Kombat being a fighter game and all, you have the typical, basic fighter game moves. High punch, low punch, high kick, low kick, and block. Every character however has a special ability or two, another thing it has in common with fighting games. Sub-Zero can shoot ice projectiles that will freeze the enemy (don't try to freeze an opponent twice in a row though just to make the effects last longer as it'll freeze you in return!). Scorpion can shoot a spear from his hand that when it connects, will pull the enemy to you while he yells out his trademark "GET OVER HERE!", and leaves the enemy stunned for a moment, giving you a danger-free opportunity to attack. If the spear misses however, you're left open for a pretty good period of time, so be careful! He also has a tele-port punch moves that will make him disappear off of one side of the screen and come out from the other which often makes for a good surprise attack. Raiden, the thunder God, as you would expect, can shoot lightning from his hands. He can also tele-port by phasing into the ground and re-appearing on the other side of the character.

A lot of this may not sound so different from other fighter games. The gimmick this game has, as I mentioned earlier, is the fatality system. Upon beating an opponent for the winning round, you'll be told to "FINISH HIM/HER!". When this prompt appears, you have a short amount of time to execute a button combination that will dispose of the enemy in some grueling and gory fashion. Sub-Zero for instance will rip off the enemy's head, with the spine still attached, leaving blood dripping from the head and spine. Scorpion removes his face, revealing his skull, and breathes fire to burn the opponent to a crisp. The level of violence in this game mostly produced from the fatalities had a major effect on the industry, as I've mentioned before, spawning the ESRB as it sparked large amounts of controversy with parents and the media. The fatalities would become a staple of the series and even the game developers themselves would parody the violence in later installments. Fatalities produce a great feeling of totally demolishing your enemy, an extra, added feeling to your victory.

Graphics: 10/10: The graphics in the game are excellent. Like every 2D Mortal Kombat game, the characters were digitally inserted by the programmers. The images obtained and put into the game were from real life actors who put on the costumes and performed the moves while being motion captured. Each character also has an intro if you sit at the main menu long enough, which portrays the actor in character in front of a background. It looks a little pixelated on the Genesis, but it's really not that bad. And the backgrounds and arenas were designed very well. Especially Goro's dungeon which has glowing yellow eyes in the background and skeletons chained to the walls. One of the arenas also features Shang Tsung sitting on a throne, watching you fight. He even turns his head a bit depending on how far left or right the fighting is going on from him. They put a lot of detail into this game and it doesn't disappoint.

Sound: 10/10: The actors who portrayed the characters lent their voices for various screams and groans as you beat them to a pulp. To top that off, the game has great, foreboding music. Almost giving the game a horror feel to it. It's a very dark-themed game and the music helps emphasize this. Fighting over The Pit with a full moon in the background and a creepy tune reminiscent of 80's horror movies is just grand. Another track worth mentioning is Goro's lair. To add to the creepy visuals, the music that plays while in the arena *sounds* like death, if death ever had a background music to it. It's all very well composed and the actors did a great job by lending their voices to the game to help add a sense of realism.

Overall: 10/10: Whether you're a fighting game enthusiast or a Mortal Kombat fan who missed out on this game, this is a must-own. The graphics have actually aged pretty well, given that the fighters were real people which they no loner do nowadays, preferring character models generated from a computer. Be sure to pick this game up if you haven't already and as a final note, the Super Nintendo version is quite different since Nintendo wanted to keep their family-friendly image going and they feared Mortal Kombat in it's original form would destroy that image. This version has all of the blood and gore as the developers indented.

Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Product Release: Mortal Kombat (US, 09/13/93)

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