Review by Rogue_Agent
If you're a new comer to the franchise like myself, avoid this trilogy.
The fighting game that caused the most backlash and even had to be censored for consoles, the first video game in the Mortal Kombat franchise was released in arcades within the early 90's, and spawned many sequels, each one becoming increasingly filled with gore and bloody animations, complex attack moves, and larger character rosters. As I had never played a game within the series aside from MK VS. DC Universe, and I wanted to play what were considered the best entries of the series. After playing the three games, and only beating the first one, I can honestly say I should have bought a later entry to the series, as these games left a lot to be desired, mostly from the three game's undeniably unforgiving difficulty.
~The Story of The Games~
Alright, so what I can piece together of the story is the game is a large fighting tournament in which each fighter has his or her own intentions and reasons for winning the violent competition. I had to look at the Wikipedia article for a better grasp of the story (since when you press start you're thrown into the character selection screen and then into the game), which says the game focuses on Liu Kang on entering the tournament to save Earthrealm by defeating the evil sorcerer Shang Tsung. Sounds all fine and dandy, with each character having different motivations for their participation in the tournament and desire to defeat the aforementioned sorcerer, however what I absolutely dislike is that the desires aren't revealed until you defeat Shang, which I find just uncool. While normally I'd be fine with it, but the games are so frustrating with insanely difficult AI enemies, which is also why I have yet to beat the other two games. (But more on difficulty later.)
~The Game Play~
The game is a 2D fighting game, for all three entries. Characters can move left and right, jump and duck. At the top of the screen, you can see the health bars of the characters, showing the names of the characters below, and a timer in between. Below the health bars, if a character has won a round an indication (the MK logo for example) is visible showing how many current wins the player or AI has.
Characters have their own specific move sets, in which either a small amount or a large amount of button combinations are required to perform them. Once two rounds are complete, the famous line "FINISH HIM" (or her, if a female fighter is in this scenario) will be heard. In MK 1, a player can perform a "Fatality", in which the player performs a violent and gory finishing move, such as ripping someone's head off and their skull out, or zapping their head off. In further games, Friendships and other actions can be performed.
What I dislike is how genuinely frustrating how hard it is to do these moves. One problem is the fact that most of the time, you can successfully enter the button combinations perfectly, and nothing will occur, aside maybe your character swinging at the air and your opponent falling down without your involvement. Another problem is the fact you have such a small window of opportunity to even perform these button combinations. One slip up and you won, without getting your fun finishing move.
The Controls I have very mixed opinions on, as while they're very easy to learn, they don't feel responsive, and clunky when you attempt to perform a special move or the fatalities. The game supports both The Directional Pad and the Left Analog Stick for movement and the like. The Left Analog Stick doesn't feel as reliable, which leads me to use the D Pad for better precision, however this leads to rather painful thumbs after repeated deaths and failure.
The hole in what could have been a ship that could float without any problem. The AI enemies are obscenely difficult, leaving no room for error. What makes this stick out like a sore thumb is the fact the game has five difficulty settings, from Very Easy to Very Hard. I had the game on Very Easy due to my unfamiliarity to the series, and I was destroyed from the first level from the first game. I can understand that as the game debuted in arcades, and the difficulty was possibly intentional to make gamers shell out some more quarters to continue, but the games really could have been toned down in that department. Since the game is around $10, it seems unfair for the game to still have the insanely difficult AI from arcades. Due to how frustrating the difficulty was, I was only able to beat the original game. The later the games went, the more vicious the AI becomes, with MK 1 feeling like a cakewalk in comparison to the other two.
The only thing I really love about the game. While if one were to present this collection of games to that of a gamer used to the graphics of today, one may not be impressed, I love how the games keep their old digitized sprites and environments from their original releases, with just an HD addition to it. Gives a lovely retro feel to the games, even if they don't match up to the standards of these days.
~The Music and The Sound~
While I loved the fact the original graphics stayed, I really wished the sounds and the music got a 2011 update. The music is very unmemorable, and generally makes me want to put on a couple CDs to keep things interesting. The sound effects aren't much better, as listening to them feels like listening to sounds from a cartoon with bad sound quality. The male grunting sounds are unintentionally funny, and the only sound effect that sticks with me is the iconic "FINISH HIM".
As stated in the title, I wouldn't recommend this to anyone looking into getting into the franchise, as it feels like it would just scare off newcomers ready to get into the bloody carnage. While it's only around $10, it doesn't particularly stand out or offer anything new from their original releases aside from trophies and an on line mode that is barely alive. So, to wrap it up, I give Mortal Kombat Arcade Kollection on the PlayStation 3 a score of 3 / 10.
Rating: 1.5 - Bad
Product Release: Mortal Kombat Arcade Kollection (US, 08/30/11)
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