Review by Azbats

Reviewed: 11/04/00 | Updated: 11/04/00

More disappointing than fun

Since I hadn't bought an N64 like so many others during the Christmas of '96, UMK3 for the SNES was an extremely appealing purchase for me. After all, the back of the box boasted over 23 playable characters, new backgrounds, finishing moves, and more. What could be better for an MK fan? As things turned out though, I got Donkey Kong Country 3 instead, but I never forgot UMK3.

Fast-forward three years later, when I finally picked up UMK3 at Blockbuster as a previously used game. Upon getting home and popping UMK3 into my near-obsolete SNES (it finally broke a few months later, and my parents gave in and got me an N64), I played it for half an hour...and realized that DKC3 had indeed been the best choice that holiday season three years ago.

Yes, everything mentioned on the back of the box is true. The game *does* feature all the new backgrounds, digitized characters, and 23 (plus 3 hidden) playable characters. But where UMK3 fails is what the box DOESN'T say. To squeeze in the 23 characters (all the new ones are palette-swapped ninjas) nearly everything else was deleted. Sheeva, one of the more original characters, is now gone. All of the old MK3 backgrounds (save 2) are gone. Animalities are gone. Sound clips such as the announcer saying the winner's name have been removed. All to squeeze in new fighters, some of whom only have two moves and a brutality. Hardly what one would call a balanced character. It's fun to play as Noob Saibot for about five minutes, but once you realize he has no real finishers, you won't select him much anymore.

The five new backgrounds aren't much either. They look nice, but they're static and boring. Except for some animation of a stuck Cyrax unit in the desert stage, nothing else in the backgrounds move. What happened to all the debris floating in the wind? The new stage fatality isn't so fun either. You uppercut your opponent into a bed of lava and that's it.

The audio department remains the same as it did in MK3, except now half the audio has been removed. Some of the stuff has a really canned quality, but for the most part it's all still there. The groans and grunts are still good, and the background music is ambient and draws you in, despite still being forgettable.

So does UMK3 have any really worthwhile points? The Mortal Kombat engine is still intact, thankfully, and has even been toned down from MK3 to give beginners and novices a fighting chance. The combos still look impressive, and the addition of extra tournament modes adds slightly to the replay value. The best part would probably be the addition of Shao Kahn's treasures, some of which can let you see all the finishing moves in the game. Or you can see your character's ending, instead of having to take on the insanly hard Shao Kahn.

Overall however, UMK3 isn't a good game, and certainly not worth the $70 it was originally priced for. Half of the game seems to be deleted and missing, due to the SNES cart's limited memory. Go for the PSX version of MK Trilogy instead. It's better than the N64 version, and three times as complete as UMK3 for the SNES.

Rating:   3.0 - Fair

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