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   PlanetDreamcast | Games | Reviews | Mortal Kombat Gold
    Mortal Kombat Gold
An Unwelcome Blast from the Past - Review By Fragmaster

Mortal Kombat Gold LogoIn 1992, Mortal Kombat took the arcades by storm, offering a bloodier, goofier alternative to the then super popular Street Fighter II. The original Mortal Kombat featured digitized characters and copious amounts of blood and gore, a sure-fire recipe for success. The game also introduced the world to "fatalities," brutal finishing moves that, when pulled off correctly, would kill a defeated opponent in a particularly violent way.

Not surprisingly, sequels soon followed. 1993's Mortal Kombat II was another smash hit, 1995's Mortal Kombat 3 and Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 added the ability to run and string together super-combos to the mix, and 1997's Mortal Kombat 4 finally brought the series into the world of polygons. In between, there were a couple of movies, comic books, and a lot of controversy over the games' content.

You would think Mortal Kombat Gold would be a compilation of all the Mortal Kombat games on one CD, but it's actually just an enhanced version of Mortal Kombat 4 with five new characters (for a total of twenty) and better graphics than the original arcade game.

  • The Good

    Look familar? The gameplay hasn't changed.
    If you're a big fan of the Mortal Kombat series and its style of gameplay, you obviously won't be disappointed with Mortal Kombat Gold. While the characters are 3D models instead of sprites, the gameplay is still completely two-dimensional (with the exception of the sidestep). About the only new addition to be found are weapons, which can be pulled out once a match. Once you throw them away or get hit, they disappear. You can also interact with the occasional rock or skull laying around the 3D rendered arenas.

    The controls are easy to use and the game "feels" just like all the other Mortal Kombat games. Anybody can pick them up and play.

    The sound and music are the best yet in a Mortal Kombat game, which isn't really saying that much, but it's not bad. Sure, some of the voice acting is goofy, but that's part of its appeal. Some of the music will be immediately familiar to fans of the series.

    The interface is adequate, just like the interfaces in all the other Mortal Kombat games.

  • The Bad

    The graphics kinda suck. The blood and gore just looks dumb.
    The graphics, while an improvement over the original Mortal Kombat 4, just aren't very good. The series' transition into 3D wasn't that great looking to begin with, and the fact that Mortal Kombat 4 wasn't even spectacular looking when it came out two years ago certainly doesn't help. The fighters lack detail, the special effects aren't so special, the arenas are largely dull, and the blood and gore looks just plain silly in 3D. Even the pre-rendered cinematics don't compare to other Dreamcast games like Soul Calibur. Yuck.

    While the fact that MK Gold plays just like all the other Mortal Kombat games would probably be considered a good thing to die-hard fans, it's not a plus for the rest of us. This is basically the exactly the same game as Mortal Kombat 3, outside of the 3D graphics, addition of weapons combat (which is incredibly lame and totally useless, you probably won't even use them), and the ability to interact (very) little with the arenas. The same cheap moves and combos still work, you can still freeze people silly as Sub-Zero or pummel them with Raiden, all the fatalities are nothing new (and they don't even look as cool), the "story" is pretty much exactly the same, you still fight Goro, etc.

    While the endings are now 3D rendered movies instead of text, they're still crappy.
    You could actually make a strong argument that Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 has more to offer than Mortal Kombat Gold, since UMK3 has more characters and finishing moves such as Animalities and Friendships. Sure, Mortal Kombat Gold adds endurance, tournament, team, and a 2 on 2 mode (you pick two fighters and they fight two computer fighters one at a time, don't get excited), but they don't really help. One particularly annoying thing about 2 on 2 and other team modes is that the game practically freezes when the fighters switch. There are other buggy things as well, such as the music cutting out for no reason and some occasional camera wackiness.

    The endings are pretty cheesy, and a lot of them are disappointing. All and all, Mortal Kombat Gold just doesn't have much to offer. The formula worked in 1992, but it doesn't anymore.

  • The Final Word
    Unless you're a die-hard Mortal Kombat fan who loved Mortal Kombat 4 and have been waiting for two years for a perfect console port, you'll want to stay away from Mortal Kombat Gold. It may be worth renting for those of you that vaguely recall enjoying Mortal Kombat in its heyday, but with games like Power Stone and Soul Calibur available, why waste your time with this sorry retread?

    Developer: Eurocom
    Publisher: Midway
    Genre: Fighting

    Highs: Classic Mortal Kombat style gameplay, easy controls, good sound, music, interface.

    Lows: Classic Mortal Kombat style gameplay, graphics are dated, a little buggy, not much to do. You've seen it all before.

    Other: 1-2 players, Jump Pack Compatible.

    Final Score:

    (out of a possible 10)

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