You may have noticed a theme from my Mortal Kombat and Mortal Kombat 2 reviews, and even I am starting to wonder if I have some sort of agenda against the series. Stick with me though, I will hopefully make some eloquent points, or at least make SOME sense. So using a rather scientific formula, I will add or subtract marks from the MK2 review based on features.
2 steps back ward, 1 step forward
Basically, that title could be the review. Mortal Kombat until this point (and possibly further) in the series has been plagued by bizarre decisions.
Firstly, the character selection. At this point (3rd in series), you really have no excuse to be fucking with the roster this much. -3.
In MK3 Midway did away with the Sub Zero palatte swaps but kept Sub Zero (now unmasked). -1.
The reason for the lack of Scorpion/Reptile/Johnny Cage, is that Midway parted ways with the actor (Daniel Pesina) who portrayed them, due to a contract dispute.
Instead, what you get are the bloody robot palate swaps, and they ALL suck. -1. Some of you may like them, but they ain’t really for me.
I complained in the MK2 review about the lack of Sonya and Kano, and that they were fairly important characters, and thankfully, we see them reinstated to the roster here. +1.
However, they removed the characters that were added to the roster as a replacements (Kitana/Mileena/Jade), there are times I look at the roster and think people were drunk, and just threw darts at pictures on a wall, what stuck, got included. -2.
Now, this might be the most controversial statement I have ever made, but. I.. LIKE… STRYKER. It might be because as a 10 year old the only moves I could do was to spam the grenade, but in a game full of uninspired characters, at least he has a semblance of normality. +1. I could talk more about the roster, but instead…
- Shang Tsung. 0 points.
- Sindel. Shao Khan’s GIRLFRIEND! Yeah. -2
- Jax. Now with big metal arms. +1.
- Kano, returned to roster. +1.
- Liu Kang. 0 points.
- Sonya Blade, returned to roster. +1.
- Stryker. Am I the only one who likes him? +1. Community vote -2.
- Sub Zero, now maskless, and a bit of a pansy. -1.
- Cyrax/Smoke/Babel. Universally terrible -3.
- Nightwolf. Seriously, this guy is a “Native American Shaman” -5 for cultural insensitivity. -1 for the character in general.
- Sheeva. Ever wanted to play as Goro? Well, now you can +3. But as his girlfriend -1. Overall win!
- Kung Lao. 0 points.
- No Raiden -1
Fatalities deserve there own section at this point in the series.
In MK1, they were pretty basic, but doable. In MK2, I spent hours, and managed to pull off 1 or 2. In MK3, they are actually relatively straight forward. Some are awkward, and require 5/6 button presses, but on the whole they work, and it is fun to see some of the more ridiculous ones. +3.
There is a lot of negativity over the extra fatalities, such as the Animalities, but they added humour back to the game. Personally, I think Midway realised they would risk becoming too poe-faced, so added some humour back into the game, and for that I commend them. +3.
In MK1 you got 2 moves, plus 1 or 2 fatalities. In MK2 you got 4 moves, plus 6 fatalities. In MK3, you get… 4 moves… 7 fatalities +1… and 4 combos. Again, the internet/community seem to rage about the combo system, but again, I like it. It added a depth that was lacking.
As an example, to do Liu Kang’s 10 hit combo you need to;
Flying Kick (F,F,HK), High Dragon Fire(F,F,HP), Bicycle Kick (HOLD LK, RELEASE. LK), run, HP, HP, BL, LK, LK, HK, LK.
That is EIGHTEEN button presses. If you’re skilled enough to pull that off, you DESERVE TO WIN EVERYTHING. I fumble around trying to do just a bicycle kick.
The combo system added a depth, that meant novices, and pros alike could play the game and get out of it what they wanted. +5.
Shao Khan is so upset at losing the two previous tournaments -1 He resurrects his wife in Earthrealm -2, which for some reason, means Raiden can’t join in the tournament because he is busy “protecting souls”. -2.
There isn’t really much to say about the graphics, the main characters are digitised actors, however the system has improved, so the character models are more defined +1. The claymation for Sheeva and Motaro is actually pretty good +1, and in general the animation is done to a higher standard in MK3 +1.
Even on VERY EASY, you hit an impenetrable wall known as Motaro. Did you think Goro, and Kitaro were hard? Pffft, they’re pussy cats compared to Motaro. Seriously, Motaro takes up about 30% of the screen, hits you for 20-25% +1 (improvement on 2), is immune to your projectiles -1, he punches you out the air -1, he grabs you out the air 0 points, he fires projectiles if you stay away from him -1, he teleports behind you -1, if you’re close he tail whips you -1.
What all that amounts to, is… You can’t do shit o points. The only way to beat him is to jump around, and time a drop kick to do 10%ish . When he chases, if you’re ultra fast, you can time an uppercut, which does 15%ish damage, but what will normally happen, is you’ll stop jumping, crouch, and… he’ll tail whip you -1. You are at the mercy of the games whim, if it deems you’re quick enough it MIGHT let you hit Motaro. It feels cheap, and it is immensely frustrating, as it does feel like the game is cheating as it seemingly bares no relation to your speed/skill.
Using this highly scientific toting up system I have come to a conclusion, that is actually quite fair and balanced.
The fighting is better, but mired in shite. The character selection is more hit than miss, the fatalities are better and actually performable. But overall, the game is worse. This is science.
Pros: Can change fight venue with an uppercut +1, combo system
Cons: No Scorpion -1, The robots -1, The roster in general, Motaro