Review by striker64

Reviewed: 07/25/02 | Updated: 08/26/02

Doesn't do the series justice...

It’s the fourth installment to the Mortal Kombat series on SNES, and, guess what? It’s still the same, and now it’s getting redundant, to the point that it just sucks now. Liu Kang is still leading the forces of good, or whatever, to battle the evil Shao Kahn and to stop him from spreading his evil influence from Outworld to Earth, or something. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not writing this review to bash MK. I love MK, however, this sequel does not do the series justice at all. In fact, neither did its predecessor, MK3. The only MK worth getting on SNES is MKII, so if you feel the need, hunt down MKII.

Gameplay and Control
In a fighting game, the 2 go hand-in-hand. If you can’t control your fighter, you can’t play the game, no? What a revelation. The combo system is pretty neat, but it’s setup such that you can’t customize combos. For example, Scorpion’s two combos are HP/HP/HK/HK and HK/HK/LK/LK. You can’t add anything to that or change them up at all; the only things you can truly add are the spear beforehand. Strangely enough, if you jump-kick or teleport and link that to the spear, it does less damage! This happens a lot where the developers reduced the damage done by a combo. Another example of this is Sub-Zero’s old 6-hut combo HP/HP/LP/LK/HK/B+HK. The damage on that combo has been reduced to 23%, apparently because the developers thought it originally did too much damage. But, there’s a way around it. Damage was reduced only for the combos with the most hits, so if you removed the LP from that combo, it causes the combo to do more damage! This is because, in MK3, HP/HP/LK/HK/B+HK was not the strongest combo Sub-Zero had, so it was not reduced. So, in UMK3, you can do more damage for less hits. It’s beyond ridiculous. More reduced combos include Kabal’s 7-hit air-juggle combo and Sindel’s 7-hit air-juggle combo. It’s still interesting to note that Smoke’s 7-hit teleport/spear/HP/HP/LK/HK/LP combo hasn’t been reduced from 40%, when Kabal’s 41% was. I’m rant-rambling now, so I’ll stop.

Other than that, the gameplay isn’t too bad... it is Mortal Kombat. However, the fatalities have de-generated so bad from the days of MKII. They peaked at MKII and just got worse. They stink now, some are so stupid they are laughable. Sindel just stands there and screams at you, Kabal pumps you up and you float away, Sub-Zero blows a breath of icy air on you and you fall and shatter. They really smell.

Computer AI tends to know very limited strategies here. When you run in to start a combo, they grab you and throw you almost every time. When you jump in, they either uppercut or jump straight up and kick with perfect timing. It’s frustrating. The only thing that mildly saves this game is the 2-player mode, since your friends (or enemies) can incorporate new strategies to make the game more challenging on you to beat them. Still, they are limited in what they can do.

Control is standard MK-style, with Run added as the R button. I always used R for Block in past MK games, so using L to Block took a lot of getting used to.

Hey, who’s that?
Since it is a fighting game, the character cast must be reviewed. This game certainly sports an impressive line: Rain, Noob Saibot, Jax, Liu Kang, Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Classic Sub-Zero (with mask), Ermac, Reptile, Jade, Kitana, Mileena, Sonya, Kano, Smoke (automaton), Cyrax, Sektor, Shang Tsung, Nightwolf, Kung Lao, Stryker, Kabal, and Sindel. There are also 3 hidden characters unlocked by a simple button-code: Human Smoke, Motaro, and Shao Kahn (Motaro and Kahn playable only in 2-player mode). Now, the catches: Shang Tsung cannot morph into Rain, Noob Saibot, neither version of Smoke, Motaro (obviously), or Kahn (obviously). Sheeva has been removed. WHY?! I don’t know why. The new ninja characters, Ermac, Noob Saibot, and Rain, are just re-colored versions of the older ninja characters, Classic Sub-Zero, Scorpion, and Reptile. Rain and Saibot have no finishers except for their Pit, Babality, and Brutality. Classic Sub-Zero and Human Smoke have only one finisher and no Friendship. Human Smoke is basically Scorpion with a few different combos and a different finisher, kind of sad, really. Rain also has no ending, for some strange reason. Animalities have also been removed, which were just plain cool, but the Brutality was added here to make up for it.

Where are we?
I should also note the disappointing lack of stages here. Almost all stages have been removed, and the only remaining stages for gameplay are the Blue Portal, Jade’s Desert, Scorpion’s Lair (where you can uppercut to Kahn’s Cave), Kahn’s Cave, and Waterfront, then you start over again. When you battle Motaro, you battle on the Roof, and when you battle Shao Kahn, you still battle on the Pit III. The only place you can do a Pit Fatality is in Scorpion’s Lair, and that’s just an uppercut into lava. The “Toasty” trick on Scorpion’s Lair has been removed, though.

Bleep... bloop... blop... gleeb... Yarg.
They took out so many sounds for this version. I guess it’s just the limitations of the Super Nintendo cart, because the development team certainly shouldn’t have removed the sounds because they thought the sounds were bad. When you choose your character, his/her name isn’t said by the booming voice in the background. When you win, it doesn’t say so. So many more sounds taken out. One of Shao Kahn’s taunts doesn’t even make any noise. The standard sounds made when your character hits/gets hit are still good, but that’s all that saves the sound in the game. I kind of forgot that there’s any background music at all since it was so bad.

... What just happened?
This game glitches. A lot. There are entirely too many to list here, but they include your character randomly freezing for whatever reason, causing your opponent to get a free hit. More often than not, when you start a combo and your opponent blocks, they can walk in on you while you’re doing your combo, not get hit, and throw you. Throwing tends to glitch up a good bit, usually not in your favor. Twice or thrice I’ve had Sub-Zero’s Ice Clone glitch on me. Sub-Zero froze (not turned blue froze, just stopped moving froze), and my opponent came up and killed me. All through this time, the sound of the Ice Clone being formed spited me in the background. No Ice Clone, though.

Do I want this game?
Probably not. If you want Mortal Kombat on your SNES, go with the insanely superior Mortal Kombat II. If you want to try the new combo system, stick with Street Fighter, unless you like not being able to make your own combos.

Overall: 4/10

Rating:   2.0 - Poor

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