UMK3 player select. Note the absence of Sheeva.
Like I might have said sometime before, I've
always been somewhat of a Mortal Kombat freak. It started
with the sluggish port of the arcade original on the Megadrive.
7(!) characters (of which most were crap) a couple of backgrounds
and one 'Death move' pro character. Toss in a lot blood and
gore and you have a major seller..well.. back in '93 anyway.
About a year (and loads of positive and negative feedback)
later, came the second outing; more characters, more moves,
new 'alities. It became the game to own. It was ported to
all major formats and sold by the truckload. And rightly so,
because it was a good game. (most people still rate MK2 as
the best in the series).
The hype for the third game started to build
up; 'Animalities', the playable 'Smoke' character, power draining
'combos', 'Mercy moves' and various other secrets. When the
game arrived, the fan base's their opinion was split; a lot
of people loved it, but as many weren't that enthousiastic and
moaned about the 'boring combo system', the 'rubbish new kombatants'
and that the game 'wasn't as dark and gothic as the
previous edition' because it played on earth.
I was one of the people that thought MK3 was
'the shit' and rushed out to buy a copy. Countless two player
matches followed, magazines with move lists at hand.This scenario
was repeated when the Saturn version of the new 'Ultimate'
arcade expansion was released. In 1997 it all became
a bit boring and because Mortal Kombat trilogy still
wasn't out, the 'Mortal Kombat gaming sessions 'till dinnertime'
slowly started to disappear..
Well, that's my personal Mortal Kombat
history and I daresay a lot of people had about the same experiences.
Despite being a Mortal Kombat die-hard back in the day, I
missed this version, because I switched to the Saturn before
it came out. Just recently I came across this title, while
playing some emulated Megadrive games and was eager to find
out what I could have missed. (The Saturn version was
pretty cool but the long loading times ruined it).
Worldwide Web™ (Hahaha hehehe hoho etc).
from your grave'
The first surprise came when I looked at the
character select screen; the selection of fighters was completely
different from the normal Arcade/Saturn versions! Added were
Mortal Kombat Trilogy characters 'Rain' and 'Noob
Saibot' (both kinda rubbish imo) and gone was..Sheeva!? That's
right, instead of giving you all the characters in UMK3, Avalanche
Software (who did this port) decided to add both Rain
and Noob (God knows why, probably because all of the character
code already was on the MK3 cart and only another infamous
'palette swap' was needed) and cut out one of the more original
fighters; Sheeva! While I never was a fan of the four-armed
female freak, this seemed like a totally stupid thing to do.
Right, onto the main game then. All the new UMK3 backgrounds?
Check. Fighters? Check. Endurance rounds? Check. So far so
good, but it was only after playing this game for a good amount
of time the game's faults became apparent.
First of all; the lacking SFX and BGM.
All the samples of the characters' names were removed. (I.e.
no more 'Nightwolf', 'Stryker', 'Lui Kang'
when you select a fighter) Because a simple 'wins' at the
end of the round would sound really stupid, that part has
been cut as well. Sadly, the UMK3 stage music wasn't left
in-tact either and was replaced by the old MK3 tracks. Hmm.
With all this cutting and swapping, you're bound to make some
mistakes and that's exactly what happened. Various SFX are
completely messed up or swapped with others. Double 'hmm'.
Next, the backgrounds; The newly added backgrounds
look low-res and unoptimised for the Megadrive palette. (Look
at the pixelated sand of Cyrax's desert and you know
what I mean). If that wasn't bad enough, a large amount of
stages were scrapped altogether!
Third: the palette system. I don't know what
the hell happened but it certainly is messy. During endurance
rounds some of the characters turn entirely into their counterpart'
palette color. For instance Kitana turned into 'Ermac' red!
Enemy A.I. : More problems? 'Fraid so. While
the enemies in Mortal Kombat always had a very cheap fighting
style, the way they act in this game is just waaay too cheesy.
When I was fighting Sub Zero, he constantly used his slide
kick, and only stopped to do so when I backed away to the
other side of the screen. Lame. Mid-way combo break-ups and
'very dubious indeed' collisions.
And there's even more missing stuff! As if
missing SFX, backgrounds and fighters wasn't enough, a lot
of special moves and 'alities were removed, the animalities
are gone altogether (they were crap anyway, but still), the
player select is now horribly plain and poorly laid out, gone
is the stage switching (no more uppercuts through the roof)
and the fatalities for both Noob and Rain? Nowhere to be found.
It became a little too obvious to me, that
this port was what we would call a 'rush job'. Bugs aplenty,
cutting out loads of stuff to stay within the current ROM
limitations (cheapskates!), no optimisation.. but still asking
full price because it will sell anyway. UMK3 really
is a game that could be described as 'the definition of a
mixed bag'. No loading (although they did a pretty good job
of messing up the pace with an unskippable battle plan between
rounds, aargh!), plenty of moves and fighters, some new modes..but
does it really matter when so much of the 'good stuff' was
cut out? It's fine to see two new fighters, but give them
their complete set of moves and finishers. If you cut out
a character (Sheeva), then remove her SFX from the sound menu
This indeed could have been the Ultimate
Mortal Kombat game on cartridge, but it suffers from far too
many flaws to gain that honour. A real letdown.
wonder if Ed boon knew what would be become of the word
that was just BRUTAL! Sorry, wrong game.
Not too bad. The washed-out colours are a pain these days
but the animation
is reasonable. The new backgrounds don't look very good, though.
Most of the classic themes, screams and effects in-tact.
Occasionaly messes up.
Not all the death moves, very dubious A.I.
Loads of fighters, moves and finishers on offer. With a second
an almost unlimited amount of fun to be had.