Review by Sour
MK3 returns to near-arcade glory
Mortal Kombat 1 and 2 were major successes and Ed Boon and John Tobias weren't about to give up just yet. Mortal Kombat 3 made it's way to the arcades and then came the ports for home consoles. Mortal Kombat 3's SNES and Genesis ports were pretty well made with what they had to do, but the PlayStation disc could hold a lot more data, so much of the quality presented in the arcade version was retained for this particular home release, and became the slate for perhaps one of the greatest fighting games of all time, Mortal Kombat: Trilogy.
Story: 10/10: Shao Kahn was defeated by Liu Kang in Mortal Kombat 2. Outraged at his loss, he enacts a new plan. His wife, Sindel, died thousands of years ago at her own hands. If Shao Kahn can revive her, she would do so in Earthrealm, allowing Shao Kahn to cross the dimensions and reclaim his queen, and he does just that. Upon doing so, Outworld and Earthrealm are merged into one, killing billions of people instantly and they all lose their souls. Raiden, the God of Thunder, has made sure that several Earthrealm warriors' souls were protected so that they have the chance to defeat Shao Kahn and return the worlds to their former states. Shao Kahn sends out his own personal extermination squads to hunt down the remaining warriors and destroy them. Unfortunately, Raiden cannot interfere, because in Outworld, he loses his powers. So this time the Earthrealm warriors must go it alone in order to achieve their goal without any help of the Thunder God. Liu Kang teams up with another descendant of the great Kung Lao, aptly named Kung Lao, to hopefully destroy the threat to humanity once and for all.
Gameplay: 10/10: The gameplay in Mortal Kombat 3 is largely unchanged from it's predecessors but features a few new things. Characters can now run, and have a meter showing how long they can run. New combos have been added, which also takes away from the "Run meter". These combos are insanely powerful, and are executed by hitting certain buttons at the right times, which is more accurate than the old method of executing combos, which used to just be "punch, punch, punch, punch, rinse, repeat". In addition to the run and combo system, some levels have a feature that allows you to uppercut an opponent into the next stage in the cycle. This isn't available for that many stages, but it's a pretty cool addition nonetheless. Some characters have been swapped out for other new ones, with some fan favorites being gone. Hence, the game drew a lot of criticism. It's not bad by any means if you ask me as they didn't get rid of absolutely every old character, but whatever. The series' signature set of finishing moves makes it's return, the Fatality, with some new additions. Now, upon beating an opponent, you can perform what's called a "Mercy", and give them a sliver of health back so that they have a second chance, or so that you can pummel them to death again (which won't take long). Once a Mercy has been performed and the person who performed it wins again, they can choose to perform the "Animality". Each character has their own unique Animality, where they usually turn into a vicious animal and tear the opponent to shreds. Brutalities also make a return, as well as the satiric "Friendship" and "Babality". The latter two "-alities" were added in Mortal Kombat 2 as a sort of joke to those who criticize the series for being to violent and gory. Also, the story mode now has a "Choose Your Destiny" screen when starting up the regular single-player mode. This determines the number of enemies you will face on your way to Shao Kahn and how difficult they will be. The multiplayer mode has a new feature as well. It comes in the form of six squares at the bottom. Pressing a certain button will change the picture in the square. Player 1 controls the first three squares, and Players 2 controls the second set of three squares. Getting a correct combination can allow various messages to display, as well as having a drastic effect on environments and other such things in battle.
Graphics:10/10: Mortal Kombat 3's character sprites are now heavily digitized, being inserted with no hand-drawn help whatsoever like in Mortal Kombat 2. Another new feature is that now the game's backgrounds were all rendered in 3D, creating a sort of 2.5D effect. The game's graphics look amazing overall and there's an obvious turnaround from the first two games, which were mostly Eastern-inspired. Now the game's are obviously focused far more on Western influences, one such arena being a bridge in a metropolis, similar to Los Angeles or something similar. It's kinda neat to see the changes they made and they're not really for the better or for worse, it's just different, and noticeably darker. The game looks especially great on the PlayStation, being really close to the original graphics. Much better looking than the SNES and Genesis versions.
Sound: 10/10: Gone too is the Oriental-inspired soundtrack, as they went for a much darker, more Western approach, much like with the visuals. It provides you with an overwhelming feeling of doom, like you're just about to die in a barren wasteland. The voice acting is top notch as usual, though many voices aren't heard until you hit someone. But Shao Kahn is back with even better insults with his deep, evil voice and it's always a treat to listen to! Otherwise, enjoy the screams of your foes as they fall in battle.
Overall: 10/10: This game was really fresh at the time when it came out, but like I said, some heavily criticize it for not having all of the old fan favorites. Many people continue to look down on this game for heaving such a high level of difficulty and missing a few characters that were added into Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3. At least the graphics in this version look astounding and much closer to the arcade version. Worth a buy if you're a hardcore Mortal Kombat fan for sure.
Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Product Release: Mortal Kombat 3 (Long Box) (US, 10/07/95)
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