Review by leeko_link
Reviewed: 11/11/08 | Updated: 09/21/12
A Good Arcade Port That's Still Fun to Play
When Mortal Kombat 3 first hit arcade back in the mid 90s, there were lots of expectation from MK fans who deeply can't wait to take that next level of kombat but unlike the first two MK arcade entries, the third failed miserable due to a lack of fan favorite characters both new and old. Many MK players didn't like the dial-a-combo, some are disappointed due to the omission of Rayden, Scorpion, Johnny Cage, and Baraka and also the uninteresting non-Asian setting for such a Martial Art style fighting game. It was such a huge letdown that Midway had to released an updated version of the game the year after for arcade in the name of "Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3" with the line "The Ultimate Fighting Game." Though Ultimate MK3 addressed some the complaints from MK fans such as offering the return of the palette swap male and female ninjas and offering a few new stages it still didn't change the whole MK3 experience nor does it fix all the glitches that plague the original MK3 game. Later in that same year Midway done like they did the previous year with MK3 by porting Ultimate MK3 to home consoles. The game like MK3 went to the same home consoles that the original was already released for except for the 32-Bit version which got a Sega Saturn exclusive port similar to how PlayStation got the exclusive MK3 port the year before. The 16-bit ports of Ultimate MK3 landed on the Super NES and Sega Genesis consoles, this review is about the Super NES version of Ultimate MK3.
Since this game is on a weaker system there's not that much in detail with the graphics here. All the five new stages from the arcade version are here and some of them got a few corners or backdrops cut off to reserve memory space for other features. A lot of the characters sprites lost a few frames of animation from time to time but you won't see them when you are in action. Also as Midway had put it, due to the cartridge memory limitation you realize that almost all the male ninjas in the game all had Scorpion's fighting stance (heck even ninja Sub-Zero, which is weird since he did had his own fighting stance in the previous two MK games). Also due to limitation, some characters had to share the same special moves, fatalities, and/or combos for example Human Smoke shares all three of Scorpion's special moves but had one of Ermac's fatality, robo Smoke shares Sektor's Teleport Uppercut and Reptile's invisibility technique, Ermac shares Scorpion's Teleport Punch and Shao Kahn's Glowing Ball, both Reptile, unmasked Sub-Zero and ninja Sub-Zero all share the slide move while both Sub-Zeros share the same ice freeze move, and last but not lease Kitana and Sonya share the same flying punch special attack. If you are looking for originality here, you won't find any as all ninja share the same sprites, VS screen art and almost practically the same ending picture just with different palette color change. Also a huge letdown to the setting of the whole game are the omissions of almost 95% of the MK3 stages which were feature in the arcade and other versions of Ultimate MK3 meaning that if you are a fan of the MK3 backgrounds such as the Temple or Soul Chamber stage, you'll likely be disappointed here.
The music in this game use the same music found in MK3 but some of them didn't even make it to the main game even if tey are found at the Music Test. Also some of Shao Kahn's trademark name shout, in-game encouragement, and character's voice sample are drop to make room for more features. Though there are a few not all the music and sound from the arcade are here, the game still sound familiar.
This is where the game shines through, even though it lack the sound and graphic powerhouse of the arcade original, the gameplay still plays true to the arcade. Moves are easy to execute, the Super NES button layout are easy to handle with this port and the A.I. difficulty balance issue found in MK3 had being solved here in Ultimate MK3. Also new to this port of Ultimate MK3 are the Brutalities, though original and interesting are very difficult to master. One major letdown though is that by introducing the difficult to master Brutality, Midway drop the easy to execute Animality which would've done this port better even when the Mercy feature is still in the game. Though if you take this port for what it is you won't mind it being a water-down port. Also for some reasons a lot of the same glitches that were found in MK3 still plagues this game as well plus some new ones too which could result in either a disappointment or an enjoyment since some glitches are fun to mess with.
A fighting game always had a high expectation replay value and for Ultimate MK3 on the Super NES. It really does offer a lot, tons of new exclusive versus kombat kodes to discover, hidden bosses to unlock, multiple endings to be discover, hidden Kahn treasures to be seen, hidden fatalities and special techniques to master, new modes to playthrough, and a ton of hidden secrets to unlock which with a lot of friends, you'll be having a great Mortal Kombat goodness with this game.
Is it Worth Buying?
Yes and no, yes if you want a fun fighting game and still had your Super NES and a lot of friends to play with and no in the case if you are playing this game individually or had other better consoles such as a PS1, PS2, X-Box 360, or Sega Saturn which had their own superior versions of this same game. Anyways this game is still worth a play if you are MK fans or collector who deeply had that MK craze.
Rating: 4.0 - Great
Product Release: Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 (US, 10/11/96)
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