Review by Shinnokxz

Reviewed: 05/25/03 | Updated: 05/25/03


I didn't like Mortal Kombat 3.

As a true, vivid Mortal Kombat fan, I was looking forward to MK3. Not only did MK2 impress me (not so much on the SNES version), but it opened me up to a brand new genre that I can play and love. Mortal Kombat 3, albeit slick with nice 2D animations, did not impress me whatsoever in the arcade. The rusty combo system was a reminder of how much people miss the old juggle combos, and half the characters were just pathetic in story and dimension. Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 wasn't a game that I was looking forward to.

Unfortunately for me, I was never really able to solidly play UMK3 in the arcades-- in it's truest form. Unable to get my hands on a port of UMK3 for Sega Saturn (or even a Sega Saturn itself), I was forced to try out the SNES port for my first impressions.

I was surprised.

Following the same story line that MK3 featured, UMK3 didn’t stray too far from the original premise. As the tournament in MK2 was a hoax —- something for earth warriors to busy themseles with —- while Shao Khan and his baddies invade the Earth realm and such everyone’s soul dry. Essentially, this is the same plot as MK3; only with a few new battle arenas and fighters.

Each character features their own story. Why they are fighting, who they are fighting for, the usual. Some characters, such as Scorpion, Liu Kang, Smoke, and Sindel, have legit story lines that actual contribute to the MK plot. Some, pathetics, like Stryker, Nightwolf, Jade; the cheap palette-swapped ninjas (Rain, Ermac, Noob Saibot) have horribly glued stories. Take Nightwolf for example, the Earth-crisis is disrupting his peoples' rituals. He must fight to stop it. Stryker: A washed up cop with nothing better to do. And of course, the last-minute characters that don't even have story lines; let alone good moves or fatalities (Noob, Rain, Ermac).

As in MK3, UMK3 adds in loads of combos, moves, and fatalities that you can learn and master. To perform most, it just takes a simple dial-in button combination. The combo system has significantly changed from its MK2 Juggle roots. Instead of creating your own mixture of moves, you have a lackluster attempt at dial-in combos. They may seem nice on paper, but the whole idea is flawed. Instead of pulling off a certain move or fatality you want to perform, the game stupidly chains the buttons together to get the opposite effect.

To add to the sell factor; new fatalities are introduced. Coupled with dial-in combos, we have the new Brutalities. By performing a spanning huge dial-in combo, you can successfully perform a Brutality.

Is this a joke?

Brutalities are a pitiful attempt to boost sales. Thankfully, they weren't found in the Arcade and Saturn versions. With flawed sound, they sound horrible. With cartridge holdback, they look horrible, and they last only three seconds.

Fighting is as simple as it comes, and thankfully, AI does not throw a few unexpected hatchets your way.

Replay Value may be a bit of a problem to some, being that the game play is a bit shallow. Sure, mastering every fighter’s moves, fatalities, and combos may shoot of as fun, but it hardly seems rewarding. This is mainly due to the fact that there are about 15 characters that have poorly made stories, unoriginal fatalities and moves, and just downright ugly look and feel.

Though a bit butchered from the transition from the Arcade, battlegrounds do an excellent job of setting the gloomy UMK3 atmosphere. Colorful, original, and full of plenty eye pleasing details.

Visually, this game a mixed bag. While character models are crisp with vibrant colors, they look pretty minuscule compared to arcade models. As stated before, battle arenas are done nicely. With nice setting colors, and details, they all were a nice surprise. Animations, however, could have been a lot more impressive. Though a bit choppy at times, it gets the job done.

Unfortunately, the audio is done poorly. Due to the massive space that character models, backgrounds, and blood take up, the game had to have slacked in some areas. Fighters sound droned, muffled, and at times just downright annoying. Fighting themes, though true to their Mortal Kombat franchise, also comes out incredibly dull and obnoxious.

Nonetheless, UMK3 for the Super Nintendo was a fun game to play. It managed to close out the Mortal Kombat franchise on the SNES in an acceptable manner, but it managed to be quite playable. It is, unfortunately, disguised with a mediocre look, and an even worse sound. Nonetheless, it's an inexpensive title that can be welcomed to any classic fighting gamer's library. –Shin (1/23/01)

Rating:   3.5 - Good

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