Review by Sour
Mortal Kombat Series at it's peak!
I'm a long time fan of this fighting game series. Started off with the original on the Genesis and SNES and continued to play the new ones as they were released. The series has a long history of showing brutal, gory deaths, and was almost single-handedly responsible for the creation of the ESRB. Today I'll be reviewing Mortal Kombat: Trilogy for the Nintendo 64, which is in some ways better than the Playstation version.
Story: 10/10: The plot for Trilogy shares the same one as Mortal Kombat 3, in explaining that the second Mortal Kombat tournament in Outworld was merely a diversion. Shao Kahn and his forces had been rallying for a conquest of Earthrealm whilst the second tournament was ongoing. Shao Kahn had also been resurrecting Queen Sindel of the realm of Edenia, which would become Outworld. This act would allow Shao Kahn to invade Earthrealm right away instead of having to win ten Mortal Kombat tournaments in a row. Liu Kang and his allies must defeat the dark emperor's forces and Shao Kahn himself to save Earthrealm and it's people from guaranteed destruction.
Game-play: 10/10: For those new to the series, if you hadn't known by now, Mortal Kombat Trilogy is a fighting game, like most of the others. Mortal Kombat Trilogy gives the player a rather large selection of characters. A character set so large, including every single character up until this point, including Shao Kahn, Motaro, Goro, and Kintaro. Mortal Kombat: Armageddon would execute this feat as well some many years after Trilogy. Players can tackle the single player in an attempt to destroy Shao Kahn and his minions, or go up against a friend in versus mode. The versus mode loading screen features six icons on a bar, three of them being controlled by player one, and the other three being controlled by player two. If the right combination's are put in, it can affect the game-play for that round. One of the combination's brings up Dark Kombat mode, where the screen goes pitch black, forcing the players to guess where each other are.
Every character has their own special moves and combos. For instance, the character Sub-Zero can freeze enemies with an ice projectile. Or he can form an ice clone and if the other fighter touches the clone, he will become frozen. This offers a free hit if the special move connects. Or Scorpion, who can shoot a spear from his hand and pull the enemy close. The enemy becomes dazed if hit by Scorpion's spear, again, setting him up for a free hit. However not every character has such crippling moves, and even then, it's not always so easy to hit the opponent with them and you may leave yourself open. What every character can do however, is a button combination, or a few different ones that when executed correctly will perform a combo and deal some pretty deadly damage. This can often involve a lot of trial and error, but you'll be proud of yourself upon figuring them out, and devastating your enemies with the combos. You have your option of using the joystick or the D-pad, it's up to you. Another bonus to the Nintendo 64 version is that Shang Tsung's transformations have no loading times, so you can switch to any character without having to go to the menu and selecting just two transformations.
The other thing every character has, is a set of Fatalities. These moves kill the opponent in an often gruesome way. It was the fatality system that drew in heavy criticism from parents and lawmakers alike. Upon beating an opponent in the final round, you'll be prompted to "FINISH HIM/HER!". This is the time when a number of buttons can be pressed to ultimately dispose of your enemy. This may involve ripping off their head, blowing them up, impaling them, etc. It depends on the character. Every character has two fatalities. In addition to fatalities, there's the brutality, which is a long combo that keeps going until your enemy explodes. And then there's the animality, where your character will turn into an animal and kill the opponent. Each character has their own. Kano turns into a giant spider, whereas Sub-Zero turns into a polar bear and mauls the enemy to death. Animalities can only be performed after performing a Mercy. Mercy gives your opponent just a bit of health, and in only a hit or two you can empty their life bar once again. Each character also has a "Friendship". These are silly, comical actions that were put into the game satirically because of the criticism the series gets for being so violent. Each character also has a Babality, which turns the opponent into a baby, another jab at the criticism for being so violent.
Graphics: 10/10: Since the original game, characters have been inserted into the game digitally. They have actors come into the studio and put on a motion capture suit to record all of the moves and whatnot. As a result, the game brings a feeling of reality as you are pretty much playing with real people. The backgrounds and environment are very detailed and look fantastic. Some stages even allow you to use the environment to your advantage during the "FINISH HIM/HER" sequence. For instance, in the Subway stage, you can knock your opponent onto the train track and as a result, they'll be taken out by an oncoming train. They put a lot of thought and work into these games, this once especially.
Sounds: 10/10: The music in the Mortal Kombat franchise has often been very well composed. It's dark and moody, giving the player a sense of doom and gloom. The actors also lent their voices for various screams and groans that are heard upon being hit or killed. And every so often the game's music composer, Dan Forden, will pop up in one of the lower corners of the screen to yell in a high-pitched tone, "TOASTY!" or even "FROSTY!". This often happens when certain conditions are met in battle such as executing a specific set of moves in succession. Freezing an enemy with Sub-Zero while they are in danger mode will prompt the "FROSTY!". So in addition to the game's dark, brooding setting and music, the developers like to have fun with their games obviously, adding some levity to the chaos.
Overall: 10/10: This is most certainly a must-have for any Mortal Kombat fan, you won't be disappointed. Like I pointed out earlier, it's especially great because you don't have loading times for Shang Tsung's transformations as opposed to the PS1 version. If you've missed out on this gem, now's your chance to pick yourself up a copy. It's one of the strongest entries in the series to date. Obviously, if you're under 18, make sure you get permission from a parent before obtaining the game.
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Product Release: Mortal Kombat Trilogy (US, 10/31/96)
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