"This "ultra-violent" fighter definitely hasn't aged too well...but, for nostalgic purposes, it's a blast"

I won't even try to deny the huge impact that Mortal Kombat has had on gaming as a whole. This is the game that brought forth some of the most ultra-violent moments in gaming that we know and love. I still fondly remember, back when the game was released, renting this cartridge practically every weekend and playing it for hours upon hours. For the time that it came out, Mortal Kombat was revolutionary in more ways than one.

But as some may tell you, nostalgic visits to the past aren't always what they're cracked up to be -- and playing Mortal Kombat NOW is no exception. You'll quickly find the sluggish and sometimes unresponsive controls to be a real killer when it comes to remembering the fun times of the past. On top of that, the once revolutionary digitized graphics look absolutely atrocious, and all of the characters control basically the same, excluding their special moves, which I found to be sometimes hard to pull off (ex : Kano's cannonball). Yeck! Talk about tainting those childhood memories!

But it's not ALL bad -- the music is still as interesting and pleasurable to the ear as it ever was (as long as you haven't lost your taste for MIDI music), and the environments and characters still bring back lots of cherished memories. To boot, having the endurance challenges and a scoreboard helps to really show the unique flavor of the first Mortal Kombat, as both of these mentioned elements would dissapear in the sequel.

A paltry selection of six characters, and one fatality for each really goes to show how far out of the way later MK's would go to raise the bar by offering a huge selection of characters as well as fatalities, babalities, friendships...you get the point. Don't expect a deep fighting engine and you'll get along with Mortal Kombat just fine...but if you find that it's really not your style then maybe Street Fighter II : Championship Edition for the Genesis is better suited to your tastes.

As I said before though, you'll really begin to wonder what all the fuss was about after you play this game for more than 10 minutes, especially if you've never played it before. It definitely won't impress any of the newbie gamers out there, that's for sure. If you've got a Sega Genesis, then you might be better off going for the second and third installments in the Mortal Kombat series, which hone the formula (and the sloppy controls) of the first game into something that's a little more palatable to modern audiences.

As a piece of gaming history however, this game is priceless. I recommend that anyone who claims to be a hardcore/retro gamer play this game at least once, just to experience what people thought was so revolutionary and mindblowing. On top of that, you'll still have a decently good time, especially if you decide to play with a friend. Better yet, you'll still get a delightfully sick giggle out of inputting the code for the Cheat Mode, which enables blood (seen in the arcade version).

1) the nostalgia just flows through your veins as you pop in the cart...
2) the music has it's own really cool and distinctive flavor
3) classic characters such as Kano and Scorpion make their first appearances
4) Blood can be enabled! Woohoo!
5) Having a points/score system is definitely neat
6) Endurance matches and "chop-chop" courses offer some extra challenge

1) sluggish and sometimes irresponsive controls wreck the fun
2) the graphics are really starting to show their age
3) having only six characters and one fatality for each limits replay

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 10/12/04

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