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Mortal Kombat (SNES) artwork

Mortal Kombat (SNES) review


"After the phenomenal success of Street Fighter II in 1991, it didn’t come as a surprise to anyone that imitators quickly came along. SNK created many a franchise in the early 90’s which are now beloved cult classics, but the imitator that became the most infamous was by far Mortal Kombat. "



After the phenomenal success of Street Fighter II in 1991, it didn’t come as a surprise to anyone that imitators quickly came along. SNK created many a franchise in the early 90’s which are now beloved cult classics, but the imitator that became the most infamous was by far Mortal Kombat.

Mortal Kombat is set in the world of Earth Realm, where the Mortal Kombat tournament sets out to pitch the best warriors from all the realms to fight out and see who is the ultimate warrior of the worlds.

Mortal Kombat, along with Night Trap, was at the height of controversy in 1992. This was due to the fact that Mortal Kombat used digitized actors instead of sprites, and so all the actions performed looked far more realistic because of this. When it came to porting Mortal Kombat to the home systems, the issue of censorship was a major headache. Both Sega and Nintendo were worried about public backlash against them if they allowed the entire arcade game onto their respective systems, so measures were taken. While Sega decided to have a “Blood code” to restrict access to the gore, Nintendo outright censored the game, which makes Mortal Kombat a very standard game indeed.

Mortal Kombat is pretty much Street Fighter II when it comes to the gameplay. You pick from one of seven fighters, and then run through the “Tournament” mode to face against the Shang Tsung.

When in combat, the game will feel quite average. The characters are rather slow moving, the actions feel a bit sluggish, and their isn’t much skill required to pull off the moves. The A.I. in the game feels incredibly polarized when it comes to the difficulty. For the first few rounds, the A.I. is completely brain dead, and then it ramps up considerably to the point where it becomes nigh on impossible to carry on, and this is on the “Very Easy” difficulty. Another issue with the game is the aforementioned censorship which effectively diminishes the unique selling point for the game: the gore. The blood has been replaced with grey sweat, and the fatalities, which are now “Finishing moves”, are toned down, and some have been removed altogether!

The digitized characters look very tacky now, thanks in no small part to the high amount of aliasing on all of the characters, and the fact that they are digitized in such a way means that the number of animations has been greatly compromised, and every movement looks janky. Also, when you’re at the character selection screen, the characters look like JPEG files. The levels are all rather dull, and lack vibrancy.

The sound is also of a rather poor quality. The into music is a pain to hear, and the music through out the menus is just bad in quality. The announcer is muffled greatly, and the fact that there is almost no sound in the levels makes for a very claustrophobic experience in each match.

The game has a lacklustre line-up of only seven characters, and this feels incredibly anaemic, this issue is confounded by the fact, that in all honesty, the characters really don’t play that differently from each other. The lack of characters also greatly limits replayability and multiplayer.

Closing comments: Mortal Kombat plays well enough, but due to Nintendo’s fears over violence, the game is very run of the mill because of this, and doesn’t stand out in any way conceivable.

Rating: 6/10

anton10000's avatar
Community review by anton10000 (February 16, 2008)

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