Review by Shinnokxz

"Average to begin with, the lack of blood only hurts it."

Mortal Kombat was a revolutionary game. Its fighting engine was one of the most advanced anyone had ever seen at the time, and of course, Mortal Kombat introduced an element that stunned the outside world. It showed the world that video games were getting more and more in depth by the month – of course, I’m talking about the blood.

What is Mortal Kombat? Mortal Kombat is a tournament. A tournament that his the deciding point of whether evil Sorcerers and their fiends invade the Earth. The concept is simple: if the Mortals (Earth fighters) win, they get to keep the Earth for another decade. If they lose, the Earth will be destroyed, and the only thing left will be skeletal remains and architectural crumbles.

The fighter selection is limited, but it works. You have two Ninjas, Sub-Zero and Scorpion, that both have a desire to maul each other. A young Liu-Kang, the air-headed Johnny Cage, the Earth God Rayden, the slob mercenary assassin Kano, and the young vengeful Sonya. Each has their own set of moves and one finishing move.

Although it isn’t a story that will compete against modern RPGs, it’s still a satisfying premise. The fighting system is simple, but strategic in its own sense. You have High/Low Punch, High/Low Kick, and the block button. You can move yourself about one of the 7 fighting areas, inputting simple commands like Roundhouse kicks, Sweeps, and Uppercuts.

The computer AI is always there, in case you don’t have any friends. It also has its own assortment of moves and tactics at its own dispense. This is where the block button, evade attacks, and other such maneuvers that can dodge or nullify enemy attacks come into handy. It sounds simple, but the intensity can mount up quite quickly after you defeat your way up the battle plan of foes.

The enemy AI is impressive, and shows some guts and intelligence when it comes to a decision about what it wants to counter-attack against your oncoming projectile. It will block, or jump kick, or even evade the attack and whatnot with its own projectile or moves.

Of course, when the first-player mode starts to bore you, you can always call up some friends and tell him to print off a moves list. You’ll be surprised at how much time can be washed away while testing moves on your friends. Or, you can just gather two experienced fighters and pit them in a round of ‘who wins the most.’ Either way, it’s usually a blast.

No Mortal Kombat review would be complete without discussing the fatalities. The fatalities are ‘death moves’ you can perform on your opponent after defeating two rounds of their ferociousness. These range from roasting a guy from a breathe of fire, ripping their heart out and taking a bite of it, or the more impressive ripping their head clean off – spine and all. We can’t forget the blood that litters the arena during your boat with your opponent.

This is where the game flies flat on its face. There’s no blood in this port. Hell, there are really no fatalities (No, I don’t consider upper cutting a man in replace of ripping his head off a fatality). You see, with the stirring controversies that politics and parents were rile’in up about the violence, this was just too risky for Nintendo. So in place, you get small blobs of unsatisfying sweat that blotches the arena. Likewise, the Genesis’ version was the same. But only with one difference: there was a code that you could input that turns on the bloody game play that you found in the Arcade version.

Of course, this brought larger sales to the Genesis’, and ultimately drew a big line down the middle in between the SNES vs. Genesis war.

Technically, Mortal Kombat for the SNES is as close as you’re going to get to the Arcade version. The colors are more vivid, and the fighter’s animations are more crisp and concise than the ones found in the Genesis version. The battlegrounds are more detailed and bright, plus all the moves have their own original look and style.

Most of the music in this game is quite forgettable. It has its own little ‘Kung-Fu’ type theme to it, but it’s really nothing special. The sound effects are pretty muffled, but they are at least more plentiful than the Genesis version, which doesn’t have nearly as much as the SNES version gives.

Under the circumstances, Mortal Kombat for the SNES is just an average game. The lack of blood and fatalities might make people bail out too soon, but the fighting system is built perfectly for two-players. Of course, you could just go out and buy the Genesis version, which gives you the same game play found in this one, plus the blood and fatalities. -Shin (1/15/01)

Reviewer's Rating:   2.0 - Poor

Originally Posted: 05/25/03, Updated 05/25/03

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