Mortal Kombat

Game Gear

Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 9

Sound: 3

Gameplay: 5

Overall: 5


How can an 8-bit portable console handle a massive, obscenely violent, fully digitized one-on-one fighter? It can't. Though credit must be given for keeping the spirit of the Mortal Kombat arcade game alive, the gameplay is simply not up to the standard of other fighters on the console. That's not a large list of competitors either.

Still under fire all these years later, Mortal Kombat is one of those games that an entire generation of games is defined by. Naturally, when the time came to bring this one home, gamers were slammed with various versions for various consoles. While the Game Gear blew many away with it's amazing display of graphics, the gameplay and controls just aren't here. It's not even the lack of two of the original's gameplay buttons either. Trying to get Sub-Zero to fire off his ice blast is random. Even jumping towards an opponent is a problem. Moves that don't require much precision (Scorpion's spear) are a bit easier, but the character selection is minimal.

The frame rate also takes a hit because of the graphical detail. Speed? Not here. Every time you press a button, it takes a second or more to come out, and that's if it comes out at all. The pacing of the game is also non-existent. Still, even with all of these issues, keeping the hardware in mind, this is a mild achievement. The sprites are huge and all of the moves from arcade rendition have been retained. You can almost see it working in a roundabout way, but you'll need a lot of patience and have a very open mind.

While the graphics remain on the spectacular side, the sound dive-bombs and ends up being more annoying than the controls. Voices are completely removed, punches have no "oomph," and the music barely resembles music. Note that there are only two backgrounds and Kano has been cut as well.

If you need your fighting game fix on the go, check out either Fatal Fury Special or Samurai Shodown on the Game Gear. Both games are light years ahead of this failed attempt. Then again, if the need arises to rip someone's head off while away from home, this probably could pass in an emergency situation. Finally, like it's Genesis cousin, blood is included, though it's not exactly prevalent.

Tip: During the third "code" screen, press 2, 1, 2, Down, up. You'll get a message confirming the code worked, and red pours from the fighters as they brawl.


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Last updated: Sunday, October 02, 2005 08:27 PM