Review by Jotun

"Goro still lives..."

I first played this game when I was 10 or something, and found it very funny. No, it wasn't for the blood and ultra violence thing; I simply found that despite the low quantity of characters and a bit slow speed of the fights this game had a very cool feeling and was fun to play, especially because of its ridiculously exaggerated moves (the uppercut, anyone?). When I got my Mega Drive back in the years, I checked out this port of the game, and here's what I found out...

For a tournament style fighter, Mortal Kombat has always had an intriguing plot. This was the first episode, though, so the story wasn't much developed yet. All we knew is that this once noble tournament had fell into the hands of the nefarious Shang Tsung, and how the seven characters got involved in this plot. The whole Outworld menace was still to be unveiled...

I'd say average. They are good, considering the system's not exactly amazing capabilities, yet they still have a rushed look. The characters are designed very well, but they move slowly and sometimes the animations are a bit too choppy. The backgrounds are ok but a little blurry and bland at times.

Same as the graphics, except that while the visual department retained more or less all the arcade's trademarks, most of the sampled voices here were gone. No announcer (except for ''Fight!'' and ''Finish him/her!'') and no distinctive voices for every character. Pity.
The music creates the atmosphere with its gloomy tunes, but it's nothing to write home about either.

Let's face it: I've never had problems with the block button. I have always found MK very easy to play. It also had a good series of trademark basic moves (such as the foot sweep, the roundhouse kick and the notorious uppercut!) which are simple to perform and very effective. Special moves are also very easy to pull off too, a lot easier than most beat-em-ups.

Once you have selected your fighter, you will have to face all the other six characters, a mirror match (in which you'll be pitted against your clone), three endurance kombats which I hate with a passion (you'll get to fight against two characters per round, without your energy bar being refilled after you've defeated one) before you can face the by now very famous bosses: Goro, the huge four-armed Shokan champion (he can be also pretty fast considering his size, so watch out) and Shang Tsung, the shape shifting sorcerer. If you're lucky and skilled enough, you'll also get a chance to fight against the hidden ninja Reptile for a ton of bonus points should you emerge victorious.
As I said before, the game plays at a weird low speed, which is why many people aren't too fond of this game. I have no problem with that, but it's just me. The other reason why many gamers don't appreciate this series too much is the aforementioned control system; once again, I can cope with it pretty easily, and again it's just me. The third reason comes from the paranoid moral majority. Yes, MK is that infamous game which had the blood coming out of injured fighters and the Fatalities, those moves which allowed you to kill the opponent in a gruesome (and IMO unrealistic and pretty laughable) way after you won the match.
Censorship struck the home versions of this game, but while Nintendo deleted the blood and excessively gross fatalities in their Super Nintendo port, Sega retained both by making them unlockable by using a secret code. This adds to the gameplay, mostly because it restores the feeling of the arcade; personally I don't go wild for some red blurs flying across my screen, neither have I ever killed or injured someone because I have been playing the MK series for 10 years now and I still enjoy it a lot.

It could be higher, but 7 characters aren't that many. On the other hand, you get five difficulty settings, and it's always fun to play in two.

A good port of a good game. If you like fighters, give it a try. It's a kind of love it or hate it thing here, so that's the only suggestion I can give.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 06/06/03, Updated 06/06/03

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