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Game Gear: Mortal Kombat review

On a secret island, the best warriors the Earth has to offer are battling it out to save their realm. In the first edition of the Mortal Kombat tournament, the story centers around seven of these warriors and their attempt defeat the evil sorcerer Shang Tsung. As this quick description doesn't even remotely do justice to the game's expansive and engrossing story, so be sure to take a look into Gavok's Mortal Kombat Plot Canon Guide for more...


What's it all about?

Well, it's MK...it's a one on one fighter that pits you against opponents in a fight to the death. You'll slug it out across two rounds, kill your opponent then move on to the next in an attempt to make it to Shang Tsung and defeat him. Lost in the conversion are five of the original seven backgrounds, multiple music pieces, the bonus games, all of the voice, the combos, poor'ole Kano and a host of other things. Control is now handled through the three buttons on the Game Gear, with the Start button being Block. Using the Punch or Kick button in combination with a direction you can perform sweeps, uppercuts and other slightly advanced attacks.

Graphics - Impressive. The characters are large and incredibly colorful(this version of the game *looks* better than the Genesis version), and the backgrounds(all *two* of them) are well done. The animation, on the other hand, is incredibly choppy...you'd think you were playing an EA title or something(no joke). Still, it's amazing just how good the game looks here on the GG hardware.

Sound - Pretty standard GG-fare. There are about three full musical pieces, then about three little quips for stuff like the round's end, etc. Sound effects are pretty sparse, and the few that are there are used over and over and over for various moves. All in all, it's not too bad...it's just too little.

Control - Weird...and slow. As the game only runs at about a forth of the original's speed, your controller input must be done just as slowly. No quickly tapping Back, Back plus Punch for Scorpion's spear...now it's more like Back.....Back......Punch. Takes some getting used to, to say the least. Now for the weirdness: When an attack is blocked, it kind of just goes through the opponent...but allows you to attack immediately afterward; so now, you can run up to someone and almost perform chain-like attacks because of this. It's really odd. Also, nifty stuff like the hopping punch/kick are completely gone...as are any combos(think Super Nintendo MK1{shiver} and you'll get the picture).

AI - Vicious and throw-happy. The AI comes after you and just never seems to let up. Thanks to the weird way attacks are "blocked", the AI can just run a seriously long chain of attacks on your character. If you block too much, they'll just forgo that all together and throw you...it's wonderful.

Replay value - Moderate. If you can put up with all the newfound quirks in the classic MK gameplay, and the choppy animation then it's not a bad way to spend some time with the GG. If you can't though...well...

Tips for better gaming experiences:
To enable blood in the game, at the third and final "Codes" screen press 2, 1, 2, Down, Up. If done correctly, you'll hear a sound and then see the text "Now Entering Kombat".

The AI can be unbelievably vicious at times, just like it always has been in the MK series. Here in the GG version of MK, though, the AI has one fatal flaw that will allow you to win pretty much every single time: The Corner Jump Kick loop.

To exploit this flaw just move your way into either corner of the screen, wait for the opponent to get close enough, jump backwards, kick. They will fall for this almost every time. You can(and I have) go all the way through the game using this method(even Goro will fall for it).

Rating: 70(out of 100) - Like Virtua Fighter on the 32X, this game is just an amazing technical achievement for the hardware...sadly, unlike VF 32X this one just doesn't retain the gameplay of the original nearly as well as one would hope. What was once a solid fighter with some tight control has become a pretty choppy, and loose game with some flashy graphics. Oddly enough, despite all its shortcomings, its still just got enough of that classic MK flavor left to make it worth some time.

Liu vs Rayden... Rayden and Scorpion trading uppercuts. "Hey wait, you're not Kerri!"
Run, he's almost a big as we are!!! Sonya is just vicious! Shang - Just as cheap as you remember...
For more info: 
Publisher: Arena
Developer: Probe
Size: 4 megs
No. of players: 2(simultaneously)

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