Thursday, 12 January 2017
SNES Review 110: Mortal Kombat 3
Now lets be honest Mortal Kombat had been a very popular game and all of the fuss its blood and gore caused basically just made it be seen as even cooler and more desirable. So it wasn't surprising that there was a Mortal Kombat II or that a third one was announced. I can remember when I first heard there would be a third Mortal Kombat and boy was I excited, Mortal Kombat 2 felt like a giant leap from the first game and all I couldnt help but get excited at the prospect of a third game I just thought what if the third entry is as big a leap from the second as the second was from the first.
Well Mortal Kombat 3 came to the arcades in 1995 both developed and published by Midway Games it was converted to the snes by Sculptured software (who would be latter renamed Iguana West and then Acclaim Studios Salt Lake City before finally closing in December 2002). I will say before continuing that Sculptured Software did a great conversion much like with Mortal Kombat 2 the blood from the arcade version and all of the gory finishers made it across fully intact and any faults with this game are pretty much faults with the game itself and not this conversion.
So the first thing most people ask about sequels and this is especially true of fighting games is so what new things does this one bring to the table? Well with Mortal Kombat 3 the first thing I noticed was that there was a "Run" button, which comes with a"Run" meter. You can only run forwards but it allows you to close the distance between you and your opponent quickly and I find that it helps when you have a character who is better at close combat. Apparently this was introduced to the game due to fans who had felt that the Mortal Kombat games always seemed to favour those who played more defensively. Mortal Kombat had never really seemed to pay much attention to the idea of combo's sure you could string a few small pieces together or juggle a little bit but now there were what were called "Chain combos",sequences of moves that cannot be interrupted once one hit connects; some of which end with an uppercut or other move that knocks the opponent into the air, so you can add your own juggle on to the end of this. This feels to me like it was an effort to move beyond the initial Mortal Kombat shock and awe sell it with the blood and an attempt to try to give the series a bit more depth, to try and help it compete with the Street Fighter games on a technical level.
There were a lot of other things added. There was the idea of the fight being able to break out of its initial arena. In certain levels if you uppercut your enemy or he uppercuts you through the ceiling then you are both taken to a new area where the fight will continue, its a nice touch.
Lots more ways of finishing matches were added not only were there new Fatalities,new Friendship moves and the return of babealities but there was also the introduction of Animalities, where the character transforms into an animal in order to kill their opponent, as well as some new Stage based Fatalities. Some of these things are gruesome, some are just plain funny but they all feel like they belong in the game (I am not one of those people who wants Mortal Kombat to be a purely serious blood bath, I think you need humour in it to balance it out).
I know that in general one-on-one beat-em'up's dont really need the best stories, after all your just looking for a reason for people to be punching other people in the face, thats why so many of them are based upon fighting tournaments, now the original mortal kombat was based on this with a little more added basically the idea that the fate of the world was dependent upon who won this tournament. Mortal Kombat 3 decideds to overly complicate this though, the plot goes a little something like this Shao Kahn frustrated at the continuing failure of his minions to win dominion over Earthrealm either through the tournament or otherwise decides that he needs a new plan,
Shao Kahn decides to send Shang Tsung and his Shadow Priests to Earthrealm to resurrect Sindel his wife who died thousands of years ago, because he will then be able to stroll into the Earthrealm and reclaim his bride as his own, somehow doing this will cause Earthrealm and Outworld to begin to merge, this merger will cause billions of humans to drop dead and loose there souls and will allow Kahn to pretty much do whatever the hell he wants including sending his soldiers to kill any remaining humans and well just generally taking over the earth. Clearly he never cared about his wife and was quite happy to be rid of her, maybe she was always nagging at him and asking him to take out the trash or take his shoes off when he came home, or take his helmet off indoors as its only now he has realised her rebirth will create this situation that he seems to remember he once had a wife. It all sounds like a convoluted B movie plot and is kind of to much as far as reasons go for one character to punch person after person.
Graphics wise I cant really complain about the game its pretty good overall sure the sprites have been shrunk a bit in the port and lost a little bit of clarity but considering the power difference between the arcade hardware and the SNES this is very understandable and at the time of its release the graphics here were very impressive in my opinion, I still think Mortal Kombat II looked a little better though, but still nothing here gets in the way of the playability. The sound is also nice and solid the music is good and the sound effects such as the punch and kick sounds have a nice solid quality to them. The game handles very well and its just as fun to play with a Super NES controller as it was in the arcade.
My main issues with this game are sort of a mix of the tangible and intangible. On the one hand I find the character selection to be kind of questionable. There are a number of brand new warriors that have been brought into the game, and I personally like the cyborgs Cyrax, and Sektor they are definitely a welcome addition, but I have to admit that I miss some of the fighters who have not been brought back this time the prime example being Scorpion, there are after all some rather bland new fighters who take up space I would have rather seen being filled by a classic. The other issue is that this game just doesn't feel as good as Mortal Kombat 2 and as this is a feeling there is no real way I can explain it, maybe its just don't to the fact I feel a lot more nostalgia when it comes to number 2, it was at a point when the series felt like it was at its prime and it felt a lot better than much of what was out at the time, by the time the third game came out lots of other fighting game series had either got a good start or kicked it up a gear, after all the PlayStation was out at this time so we had been introduced to the likes of Tekken and Battle Arena Toshinda etcetera.
I ended my review of Mortal Kombat 2 by concluding that I would give it 8 out of 10 an that if you caught me in the right mood then I might go as high as a 9, unfortunately I wont be going that high this time in fact I feel that despite this game technically having more it kind of feels like a step backwards like a worse offering and so I would have to give this game a 7. No its not a bad game I would recommend trying to get a hold of the second one instead myself and to be fair when I reviewed the second one I did recommend that if you had a Xbox 360, a PS3 or a Decent PC that you looked at downloading the Mortal Kombat arcade collection as it has the first 3 games on it, and not ports actual arcade perfect versions and this is still true. I also went on to mention that there was a modern Mortal Kombat game, will since that review there has been a sequel game and then it has had a special edition with lots of extras, this special Edition is called Mortal Kombat XL and I would strongly recommend it. It has a lot of characters, a whole heap of finishing moves and some very interesting special guest characters, there is Leather Face from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the Xenomorph from Alien, the Predator from Predator and its just a darn good game that you can now get for under £20 new if you look around. It is hard to recommend an old loose cart of MK3 when you could use your money for this instead. If however you simply need a cart of MK3 for your snes how much are you looking at? Well for a loose cart your looking around the £15 to £20 mark, its worth noting that when you look up MK3 you will see a regular and Ultimate Version, it is the regular I have reviewed as that is what I own, the ultimate version was a latter release with more characters and often goes for more money it has added characters and such, this is not something I will ever actively be searching for so it is highly unlikely I will ever provide a review of it. (If I ever saw one for a few pounds id grab it but its not something I am looking for cheap or that I am willing to pay the going rate for).