Mortal Kombat. Midway (1992) Sega Genesis

Mortal Kombat case

With the E3 announcement of Mortal Kombat X, it got me thinking… are they really up to 10? Are they doing a weird Megaman X sub series? Or, like GTA, do they just make the numbers up? (They made the numbers up, there are about 18 of them).

Of course, I digress, as I normally do. But I wanted to go back and play the first Mortal Kombat on the Megadrive (Genesis) and see if the old rose tinted glasses were in full effect, or if Mortal Kombat was actually a really good game.

Backstory

Apparently everyone knew this cheat… “A,B,C,A,B,B”. I DID NOT! The internet didn’t exist in 1992, and games magazines cost more than my pocket money. So as a result, I never “saw” a fatality! What I remember was entering the button combination, and… upper cut. You would get the dark screen, and a fatality bonus, but no AWESOME HEAD RIPPINGEY OFFYNESS. I though it might have been a version difference, but no… I just didn’t know the gore code. I sucked.

The Game

So, in Mortal Kombat, you get 7 playable characters.

Mortal Kombat Character Selection Screen

While this is the template for all Mortal Kombat future games, the small amount of characters to select still a little odd.

The graphics were revolutionary for the time, and due to it’s bloody nature managed to cause a moral panic in ‘Merica, and 8 year old me went bat shit crazy for these ULTRA REALISTIC sprites and gore.

But how does it hold up?

Errrrrrm, it doesn’t, sorry. I really wanted to like it. The game looks like a turd, and plays quite badly too.

Mortal Kombat 1

The blood, is comically bad, the sprites are blurry, they clash with the backgrounds, and the collision detection is a little shonkey. And the delay… Oh god, the delay! It isn’t much, but it is there, and it is annoying and will break the flow of the game. You can just about pull off a “combo”.

I say combo, I lied… There are no combos. There is a press “A” 5 times to do 5 punches, but it isn’t really a combo.

If you compare it to a game out at a similar time, featuring people “Fighting in the Street” It comes off badly.  I was always firmly in Camp MK, but now I can see the error of my ways. Street Fighter had depth, it had more characters (8 in vanilla version), the characters had more differences, and it had strategy.

Mortal Kombat 1 has none of these things, it is what all GTA games after San Andreas are. All controversy,  no substance and a little up its own arse.

One more nitpick would be the tournament ladder. You play all 7 characters, then you play 3 double headers, before Goro and finally Shang Tsung.

Sub Zero and Scorpion are now friends

Sub Zero and Scorpion are now friends

Press A to win

Want to win the game? Press A… Yup, that is it. The punch combo will do 33% damage. So, use Mr Freeze, press DOWN, FORWARD, “A”, then A,A,A,A,A. Do that twice, and then they’re a sly uppercut away from death. If you really want to be an asshole, choose Raiden, and press BACK, BACK FORWARD.

There are a few special moves, 2-3 per characters, plus the fatalities, but each characters move is basically a different colour of the other. One is a projectile, one is a gap closer and then you have your fatality. So the same tactic for any character will beat the game.

2014-06-25 18.25.21-1

Story

There is a story… But it makes little, to no sense.

Shang Tsung holds a fighting tournament, if humans lose, the earth is doomed. I am not sure of the logic of a one-on-one tournament fight holding the fate of the earth in its hand, but… Sod it… I can’t be arsed being witty here. The developers wanted a game that did something, and then they added a “story”.

You can read prologues about each characters, and their motivation for joining a fight to the death. Or you could watch a “alright”movie with an awesome soundtrack.

Overall

For a game that came out after Street Fighter, and followed the template layed down, you would have thought they would have spent more time on the game itself, rather than the “gore”.

Mortal Kombat is playable, but it doesn’t offer much. If you want a tournament fighter from this era, stick to Street Fighter.

Pros: FATALITY, GET OVER HERE! Sub Zero

Cons: Clunky, slow, limited move set

65%

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7 thoughts on “Mortal Kombat. Midway (1992) Sega Genesis

  1. I was always so bad at beat’em ups. When me and my mates played this I always won through the odd fluke otherwise it was more like “beat me up”. Great review though. Well written

    • I was always more in to side scrolling fighters, beat ’em ups are only good with a mate round, and as you say, there is always someone much better than you. So they keep 100%ing you.

      So we tended to stick to co-ops

  2. Oh, and one more thing I’ve just noticed…
    The second image you’ve used is brilliant. It looks like Raiden is praising the number ’69’ and Sonya, the massive prude she is, has chosen to explode her own fucking head in defiance XD
    Is that what you were going for?

    • I don’t think I have ever had a fight last that long! starts at 99, they usually over by 80. And “shonky” is a great word isn’t it! Need to get that into more reviews

  3. Pingback: Historical Influences Timeline | Phil's Game development blog

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