Review by Myzery_Clown

Reviewed: 01/11/00 | Updated: 08/11/01

Midway, desperate measures and rash additions do not make a good game.

INTRODUCTION
I have always been a big fan of the Mortal Kombat series. I eagerly bought 1, 2, and 3 being either reasonably or very satisfied with all three for my SNES. I went to an arcade and saw a game that had Scorpion fighting the MK3's version of Sub-zero. I was obviously confused and perplexed, so I checked it out, and thus I found out about Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3. So when I found out that a SNES port would be released, I was pretty happy. On the joyous Christmas morning of 1996, I got many great gifts. However, I put in UMK3 as the first thing I did after Christmas brunch. And although Grandma and Grandpa never found out the truth behind the present they so carefully picked out, it was not my favorite present. Not by far.

GAME ELEMENTS
Every good game must have a decent enough roster. And this is what Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 tried to sell itself on. The game boasts over 20 selectable characters. All of the favorite Mortal Kombat 3 players are available, except Sheeva that is, and some of the favorites from Mortal Kombat II are back. These include Kitana, Mileena, Sub-zero, Scorpion, and Reptile. There are also three new playable characters to the roster. Rain is a spur of the moment character who, along with Noob Saibot, are responsible for a good deal of the game's flaws. The other new character is Ermac, a character that has been rumored ever since the first Mortal Kombat. Ermac, in my opinion, is the only character that is worth your time of the three. Sheeva was originally supposed to be in the game, but she was removed to allow space for Noob Saibot and Rain. This is very cheap I think, because those characters are two of the crappiest characters in the game. They have cheap moves and no fatalities except for a brutality and stage fatality. It's just too bad one of the coolest characters in MK was erased for these two jabronis. Overall, Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3's roster is boasting a lot of characters, but Midway definitely tried to sell the game using its roster, and that, by no means, is enough to sell any game, and it didn't even come close in this situation.
Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 uses the same style of play as any other Mortal Kombat. There are four modes to choose from. The two standard MK modes, of course, are here. The first is the most ordinary kombat mode. You and a friend challenge each other to a duel, and the winner, well, wins. There's also the standard one player mode, which you fight continuous fights with other kombatants until you defeat Shao Kahn and save the world, at least in most characters' cases. The two not so ordinary modes are the two on two and tournament modes. In two on two, each player selects two characters and the first set of the two teams fights. When one proves victorious, the screen explodes and the second member of the loser's team comes down to try to finish things up. The character who defeated his first opponent has the same life he had when the last fight ended. This works much like the endurance mode from the original Mortal Kombat which, BTW, is featured in this game as well. The only difference is that both sides have two characters instead of one character having to fight two straight characters. The tournament mode is a simple eight character tournament, with each fight being only one round. This means only one chance to do a fatality, and that is at the end of the final fight. Another example of a decent idea by Midway gone arry. There is also a hidden eight on eight kombat, which works much like the two on two only with eight characters per team. When doing a random select in this mode, you can actually use a glitchy version of Sheeva is one of the randomly picked characters is a green questionmark. This will usually screw up your game though. I guess Midway had planned to put her in during the actual programming, but when they realized that she wouldn't fit do to Noob Saibot and Rain, she was scrapped. A few lines of code must have been left in there though. Smooth move, guys. Overall, Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3's modes aren't anything to jump up and down about, but they offer anything just about any other Mortal Kombat installment would, so I cannot really complain.
Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3's game mechanics are just about the same as its pretecessors. Two characters are selected and they fight a best two out of three falls fight. You can use standard moves like punches, kicks, and uppercuts, but you also have other special attacks at your disposal. These are attacks such as Sub-zero's ice ball, Scorpion's spear grab, or Reptile's acid spit. A new addition to the MK game engine introduced in the third Mortal Kombat are button link combos. These are a series of punches and kicks that result in a devistating combo, usually taking off 25-30% of your opponent's life meter. The standard meter system is used, as a green meter appears above both characters' names at the start of the fight, and it fills up with red every time they are hit. When the bar is entirely red, that character is announced the loser. After winning the second round, the winner is allowed to ''FINISH HIM!''. This means you can execute one of Mortal Kombat's famous fatalities. Most of the bloody styles of fatalities are here. You can execute standard fatalities, which are simply gory ways of murdering your victim. Another choice would be to show friendship and take some action to prove to your opponent that fighting won't solve anything. You can also turn back time on an enemy by putting them under a babality. In certain arenas of fighting, you can execute stage fatalities, where you do a fatality that uses your surroundings to cause pain, such as knocking an enemy up onto spikes or through a seven floor tower to spikes below. The newest kind of ality is the brutality. This is a supercombo of sorts, stringing together a line of punches and kicks until the opponent explodes. Another desperate addition to the game by Midway. And why they took out animalities is truly a mystery to me.
The controls in Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 aren't any worse than Mortal Kombat 3 or better. There are the same controls, HP and LP punch, HK and LK kick, L blocks: R runs, and the D-pad moves your character. The controls are average at best. There really isn't much slugginess or slowdown, but the controls aren't the most responsive things I've seen in my life either.
Overall, the game mechanics of Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 are the basis of the game, and mimic my attitude towards the game in general: average. The game has a lot of characters but a fairly mediocre roster, and it has standard MK gameplay with a few extra desperate bonuses that are actually pretty lame. They replace ideas, characters, and concepts that came before them that were much better. This is one of those few examples where a series gets worse.
GAME ELEMENTS SCORE: 5.1/10

GRAPHICS
Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3's graphics are its highest point. All of the characters are well done, and they all look the same as in Mortal Kombat 3. They pulled off the palate swapping trick again thirteen, yes thirteen times. Ermac, Sub-zero: Rain, Noob Saibot, Smoke, Reptile, Scorpion, Cyrax, Sektor, Cyborg Smoke, Kitana, Mileena, and Jade. That's quite the way to get graphical performance out of the way for their big 20+ roster, when 13 of the characters are based off three character designs, it shouldn't be too hard. Aside from this, the graphics are great though. The background look nice, from the bank to Hell itself, which is actually a stage, for the record. Some of the interaction in the background has been removed though, so it looks like the backgrounds are frozen in time in a lot of the stages. The fatalities are again a bit tamer and the blood looks like cool-aid more than anything else. A stellar graphical performance though, mostly do to the decent character designing (what little of it there is) and the backgrounds. A little interaction would've been nice though.
GRAPHICS SCORE: 8.0/10

MUSIC/SOUND EFFECTS
Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3's soundtrack is pretty bad. Most of the songs are just weak versions of past Mortal Kombat songs, and just about no stage has a theme to itself. All of them must share with a couple other stages. This could be a decent enough thing, but I found it to be pretty bad. I hear the fact that each stage didn't get its own theme is again do to the extra memory it took to insert the three extra characters Ermac, Rain, and Noob Saibot. Sheesh, are those three really worth that much? Two of them are just about worthless! Anyway, most of the music is really bad quality too. The SNES hasn't been known for its music quality, after all, it is a cartridge based system, but this is rather weak. Just about none of the instruments sound real, and a lot of the percussion sounds a good deal like it's being played through on a megaphone or large telephone earpiece. Something along those lines. The songs themselves are actually pretty bad too. They'll just play a measure or two over and over, change to a new set of notes, rince, and repeat. That's about it for the music. A pretty bad musical performance overall.
The sound effect department is no better, possibly worse. A lot of Shao Kahn's jabber was thrown out because they didn't have enough room. Maybe this game would've been better ported to the PSX, because the SNES obviously couldn't handle it all easily. He doesn't announce the winner or what character you've selected when you select him. This is pretty unfortunate, as I liked his little remarks. Some of them are still there, and the classic line ''FINISH HIM!'' is still there. It'd be just not right if it wasn't. The sound effects are identical to Mortal Kombat 3. A few of them are pretty decent, but there are no individual character voices. All of them sound the same for the most part. I think there are a total of three different voices, and that means there's about eight per voice. That just won't cut it very easily, although a lot of voice acting and voiceovers were not able to be utalized much with the SNES'S capabilities. Overall, I was extremely disapointed with the sound in Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3. A poor performance by Midway, easily cancels out the adequate graphic showing.
MUSIC/SOUND EFFECTS SCORE: 3.9/10

DIFFICULTY: HARD
The difficulty has definitely been bumped up in Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3. A lot of Shao Kahn's old tricks that are available to defeat him have been changed. The characters fight with more vigor. The AI was definitely bumped up. Worst of all, the characters will change their strategy after they learn your own. So if one thing was really knocked up it was the difficulty. I guess I asked for it though, because MK3 was way too easy. First too easy, then too hard, maybe they'd get it right in the next installment. Well, thank goodness, they did, but that's a different game, so I'll leave that for another review.

REPLAY VALUE: LOW
Who wants to play a bad game? That's all I can say here. The game is almost identical in many ways to its pretecessor, Mortal Kombat 3, anyhow so if you play that extensively you'll have little new to do here. The new characters, well all but two of them, are fun to mess around with for a while, seeing their fatalities and all, but the game will really not be in the SNES for very long before you exchange it for something more enjoyable to play.

SUMMARY
GAMEPLAY: 5.1/10
Midway tried to sell the game on the roster, failed miserably. Two of the characters were complete wastes of space and effected the game severely.
GRAPHICS: 8.0/10
Thirteen palate swapped characters, but the designs are OK. A little interaction in the backgrounds wouldn't be bashed, either.
MUSIC/SOUND EFFECTS: 3.9/10
No stages have their own theme anymore. The quality of the music is below average too. The sound effects are the same as Mortal Kombat 3, but they're a lot better than the music.
DIFFICULTY: HARD
The AI has been bumped up a lot and any cheap tricks you used in the previous MK probably won't work here.
REPLAY VALUE: LOW
Who wants to play a bad game? On top of that, anyone who played Mortal Kombat 3 too much will get bored easily. A few new characters won't keep you interested for long.
FINAL SCORE: 5.0
RATING: AVERAGE

CONCLUSION
Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 is an average game. Midway did nothing but take Mortal Kombat 3, take out some good things, throw in a few desperate modes, characters, etc. and expanded the roster. In the process, they eliminated some of MK'S coolest and most unique ideas like Shao Kahn's taunting and commentary, and animalities. The game is also glitchy, as it looks like many changes were made during the programming of the game. Just a rent will do this one justice. And that is...... Final!

Rating:   2.5 - Playable

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