Mortal Kombat

Sega CD

Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 5

Sound: 9

Gameplay: 4

Overall: 4

Ah yes, Mortal Monday. A day when oppressed teenagers everywhere finally managed to outsmart their parents and bring home the most violent video games of all time. The group not taking home a version was the Sega CD crowd. "Mortal Kombat CD" was released well after the cart with minimal improvements, and it doesn't take anyone long to figure out this was not worth the wait (nor the $50 price tag).

With the added power of the format, Arena went all out and included... a commercial? To a game I've already bought? Yes, the game does begin with a grainy advertisement for the very game you're about to play and it even features video footage from the better looking SNES version of the title. Go figure. They even list it as a music video on the back of the box. They obviously had a wonderful advertising department over there.

The game itself has barely been improved at all over the standard Genesis cart. There are some added frames of animation, a few new voice samples, and added background detail. Blood no longer requires a code (by now "Mortal Kombat II" was being torn apart in congressional hearings) though it's still a small amount when compared to the arcade.

Gameplay is exactly the same. It's dull and simplistic by today's standards (who am I kidding, it was then too), so much so that playing with a 3-button controller hardly makes a difference. All the specials and fatalities come off cleanly with no control flaws. The bonus stages are all here as well.

The key improvement is the soundtrack (bless you CD-ROM) that sounds fantastic. It may even sound a little better at home with the proper sound equipment. The bass just pounds the listener, though the voice samples are a little garbled. This is the same as the arcade port however. The price for the music is a big one, coming in the form of torturous load times (curse you CD-ROM).

The between match loads are admittedly tolerable, around 15-seconds per bout, better than a lot of games in the library. All the animation is loaded, but the fatalities cause a pause for access. Endurance matches are just terrible and I'm sure by now the Shang Tsung morphs don't need to be mentioned. Limitations even prevent Shang from losing all of the souls once defeated even though it's shown in opening commercial.

As mentioned above, graphical improvements will only be seen by the most die-hard fanatics. The available color palette prevents any major improvements. Some of the blood is even missing. You won't see any fluid dripping from the head of Sub Zero's fatality victim.

I rarely have a problem with CD enhanced versions of cartridge-based games. Usually the sound enhancements and additional space (used properly) make it a worthwhile investment. Not only was the (better) sequel already out when this one found its way to store shelves, but the overall product is a miserable attempt to cash in on the fans love of the series. Stick with the cart.


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Last updated: Sunday, October 31, 2004 09:14 AM