Review by KasketDarkfyre

"This is....odd..."

This is an odd game. Considering that it was only released in the Euro-countries, it’s hard to find a game quite like this that is virtually a different game than the rest of the counterparts. Featuring only a couple of stages, and six out of the seven characters, the Master System version of Mortal Kombat is a rare glimpse into what happens with other countries and the games that they receive! The Master System doesn’t have the best controller for fighting games, and you’ll find that having to work with only two buttons changes the way that you may look at the Mortal Kombat games altogether. With the amount of missing aspects that are apparent here in this version, you may wonder why in the hell I’m giving it such a high score, and that is because this game features the same action, on a system that I never would have though to find something like this on. If you can work with the lack of control, and the overall lack of different stages, then you’ll find that it really doesn’t get much better than this and on the Master System to boot.

It's the first stepping stone to the MK series, so you have to bear with it. This particular version of the title does come with a hidden option, which is, and has been known as an ''Easter egg''. To find it, you'll have to play through, or perhaps browse GameFaq’s for them! You do alot of fighting, it's still pretty much punch, kick, special move, and fatality after you've defeated your opponent, but this game does port something over from the arcade: The cheesy AI Cheap moves, and ultra hard opponents can make you sweat and throw the controller. Some of the other features that the game has to offer are the two-player mode in which you and a friend can go toe to toe in a battle to the death! Something that you will see is that the game is lacking one of the characters {Kano} and that there are only a couple of backgrounds that you can fight one. I've never run into a game like this in which the game play has been so drastically altered, simply because of a region, and this is the reason that it gets a high score. Because it's simply a different game than the actual Mortal Kombat that the rest of the world has played time and time again!

The challenge of the game isn’t centered completely on fighting toe to toe, but with the amount of special moves, in which you can freeze your opponent, do damage with projectiles and generally turn the tide of battle in your favor. Through several stages of fighting action, you’ll see that Mortal Kombat has plenty to offer in the way of fighting moves and overall strategies that you’ll need to incorporate with several of the opponents that you face. Where one would fall for a certain pattern, another won’t and the game play simply increases to allow you time to figure just how you’re going to make it through your match and onto the next round!

The control interface of Mortal Kombat is where it does stand out. The control on this is near perfect in many ways. There are no real problems with pulling off moves, and fatalities. Combos...well, what there are of them, come off clean and precise, and all that can be said {working with two buttons} is that it does play fairly well with a little bit of practice. It makes playing the game easier, and more fulfilling, when you try to rip off a head, and it actually comes off when it's input into the pad! Most of the game is set with just one punch and one kick, both of which have slightly varying height. Special moves can only be inputted off of the directional pad and then by a button press such as the punch and kick buttons. This is something like Street Fighter in the respect that you have to perform input moves and then tap a button to get it to fire off, so vets of that series should have no problem picking up the controls after just a couple of minutes!

All right, given the time, and the specs of the Master System, there really isn't much to complain about. This is a near perfect translation of the arcade game featuring the fatalities, the blood and the gore! However, this brings us to another point, blocky and pixilated characters, shading problems, along with flat colors. Also, this being an arcade translation, it did pull along with it, slowdown, image break up, and missing frames of animation! The Super Nintendo Entertainment System really didn’t outshine the Genesis and even the Master System version in terms of the blood and gore that was available, but did in every other aspect of the visual appearance. Something that most gamers will immediately notice right off the bat is that there are only two arenas and six characters to choose from! This will catch most gamers by surprise, but you’ll find that the game is a PAL version only, and because of this, there really isn’t much of a reason to play the game with a full version in the Euro countries anyway, with that region getting most games much later than the rest of us.

It's got the music, but much like the SNES and Genesis versions, it has missing sections, the effects are a little garbled at times, and can come crashing out of your TV like a garbage can tumbling down stairs. Again, when you hear the sounds of the game, you have to remember what system you're playing this on, and at the time, this was the best that the Master System soundboard could do. Something that was rather interesting though, was the fact that most of the music was ported over and without much distinction from the arcade version. With the two different stages, you’ll have the pace keeping music that sets the mood of the game, but you’ll also get some slight stuttering when you’re on the same stage for too long as the track loops over into the same one again!

This is a very rare and hard game to come by, and if you’re living in the Euro countries without any of the other regional systems, then you’ll find that this is as close as you’ll get to the Mortal Kombat series. It’s rather odd that a game such as this has been chopped to the point of silliness, and with only six out of the seven characters {who misses Kano?} and two battle grounds {this sucks} you’ll find that there isn’t a version quite like it! For Master System owners in the UK region, this is as good as it gets without working with a different regional system, and for the Master System in general, this is as close as you’ll get to Mortal Kombat! If you collect games, then this is absolutely a collector’s item, as there are very few games like this that can be found in which the game is literally a different game altogether.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 01/12/02, Updated 01/12/02

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