Review by Sour
Perhaps the greatest SNES Fighter of all time
The original Mortal Kombat 3 met with heavy criticism, because many fan favorites had been removed from the character roster, such as Scorpion and Reptile. John Tobias and Ed Boon sought to make things right with the fans and added in a massive character roster (which would go on to be even more improved in mortal Kombat Trilogy, yet another re-vamp of Mortal Kombat 3). Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 met with a resounding success and added a few new features that Mortal Kombat 3 didn't have. So essentially what they did here is take Mortal Kombat, Mortal Kombat 2, and Mortal Kombat 3, meshed almost every character into the roster, while keeping the same plot of Mortal Kombat 3. It did suffer a few losses such as an arena or two, and the introduction text sequence. UMK3 was ported to most of the major consoles thankfully, and MK fans everywhere breathed a collective sigh of relief. But it's pretty insignificant because the gameplay is awesome. This version is a bit superior in terms of sound and graphics, and some might find the controls easier if you prefer the SNES button layout.
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 Ultimate 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. Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 unfortunately lacks the ability to do Mercies and Animalities, which were two major additions to the original Mortal Kombat 3 game. 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. The controls are pretty simple. B is Low Punch, A is Low Kick, Y is High Punch, and X is High Kick. L and R are "Run" and "Block", respectively.
Also, the story mode now has a "Choose Your Destiny" screen when starting up the regular single-player mode. Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 features one extra tier, which in other versions had endurance matches. 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. UMK3 also features several new stages, while they took out two of them from the original Mortal Kombat 3. The Genesis version has even less arenas, resulting in far less opportunities to uppercut your opponent into the next stage. Upon beating single player mode, you'll get to pick a "treasure" of your choice. This version only has 10 selectable treasures as opposed to the original arcade version, which had 12. These treasure include mini games, character bios, fatality demonstrations, etc. Upon telling the game to start, you'll have the opportunity to select a few modes of gameplay. There's the single player storyline, and there's an option for a 2v2 character match against another human, and an 8-tiered tournament (at the end of the tournament, you'll get to select a treasure again)
Graphics:10/10: Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 is visually the same as Mortal Kombat 3. 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 games are obviously focused far more on Western influences, one such arena being a bridge in a metropolis, similar to Los Angeles or some such. 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 Super Nintendo version looks far more crisp than it's Genesis counterpart, less pixelated.
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. The quality of sound and music is improved in this game by a little bit compared to the Genesis version, it doesn't sound like they're using a microphone anymore.
Overall: 10/10: Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 does what Mortal Kombat 3 couldn't. Far more characters, more arenas, and you can even watch the entire set of fatalities after you beat the game if you so wish, or play a Galaxian-style mini-game. After Mortal Kombat 3, this game was a breath of fresh air for more fans. A nearly perfect port of the original arcade version used to be available on Xbox Live Arcade, but unfortunately, no longer due to Midway's financial problems and subsequent buyout by Warner Brothers. So the SNES version is probably the best available one, which you can probably get from e-bay or a local used gaming store. If you can find it, go ahead and buy this game today!
Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Product Release: Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 (US, 10/11/96)
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