Mortal Kombat Trilogy


Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 8

Sound: 8

Gameplay: 8

Overall: 8


Being alone is rarely fun. That's what happened to Mortal Kombat Trilogy on the N64. One of only two 2-D fighters on the console, this updated expansion to Mortal Kombat 3 satisfies fans of the series with a fantastic array of gameplay options to set the game up to the player's favorite style.

mortalkombattrilogyn641.jpg (40429 bytes)The roster is the biggest (literally) update to this series, featuring characters picked from every game in the series up to this title's release. It leads to balance issues, which was already a problem for MK3. Toss in characters from the rest of the series and it's hard to find a fair match up.

Then again, Mortal Kombat has never been about balance or deep strategic play. It's about ripping heads off, impaling people, and devouring them in various grisly ways. It sells itself on the violence, and in the case of this game, there's nothing wrong with that. It adds to the games deep storyline and dark atmosphere, a true rarity for the genre.

Gameplay is where things feel familiar, and the ingenious options of turning off the combo system (based far more on memorization than skill) turns this into two different games. Without it, this plays like the highlight of the franchise, Mortal Kombat II. It's the best thing that could of happened to Trilogy.

The engine is still classic Kombat, and it won't change anyone's mind on the franchise. It's tight, stiff, and unlike its closer competitor from Capcom. It's designed in a way to show the brutal impact of every blow landed and while it's not for purists, there's little question this is entertaining.

mortalkombattrilogyn642.jpg (32772 bytes)The d-pad on the N64 is barely adequate for fighting games (or for much else for that matter), but Mortal Kombat's tap-tap style of special moves doesn't require the deep precision moves of other fighters. Everything from fatalities to standard specials come off without a problem. The button configuration is an adjustment, but not a long one. It actually feels natural unless you only use arcade sticks. The speed upgrade makes a difference too, and there will be a short adjustment period with this too.

As a mixture of games, Trilogy takes stages and locales from all three entries to support the backdrops. Some have been created to mix together (use an upper cut to send someone flying up from a MK3 stage to a MKII battlezone). Tweaks are minor, and the N64 shows some nice sprite-pushing power here. The graphics are not spectacular, but are a treat for fans who can see their favorite characters mixed.

With two wildly different ways to play, Trilogy is the best of the N64 fighting game lot. That doesn't say much given the competition (especially given how few fighting games there are), but it does say something for how well these early Mortal Kombat entries hold up. Fans will do better here than on the Playstation too.


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Last updated: Monday, October 24, 2005 05:58 PM