Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Mortal Kombat Arcade Kollection Review

The release of Mortal Kombat earlier this year probably created a lot of fans of the series. It was a wise move on the part of its developer, NetherRealm Studios, then, to release Mortal Kombat Arcade Kollection for the Xbox Live Arcade and PSN, so that fans of the series can see what the series was like in the 20th century by playing the first three games. Are they any good? It's a mixed bag.

As mentioned, Mortal Kombat Arcade Kollection is a bundle of the first three Mortal Kombat games, available for download for 800 MS Points, or £6.29 on the PSN Store. Each game features online play, both friendly and ranked, complete with online leaderboards so you can compare your killing power to that of people worldwide.

Other than online play, pretty much nothing has been changed from the original versions. The graphics are tolerable, with nice-looking (for the 90's) character animations and backgrounds. Blood splatters around stages as characters brawl against one another. It's not as violent as the 2011 version (as you may have already seen in its Top 10 list), but there's still plenty of action to be seen.

The sound, on the other hand, isn't so high-quality. It doesn't seem impossible to have improved the sound quality since the games were originally released, but, at times, the quality of the sound is really low, especially in the first Mortal Kombat.

Gameplay-wise, the games are the same as almost every other non-puzzle game in the series. You select a character, then progress through a series of fights against increasingly difficult fighters, eventually battling the main enemy at the end of each game. Each character has a number of special moves, and, of course, a signature finishing move, known as a fatality. Most of these fatalities are brutal ways of vanquishing an opponent which are quite entertaining to watch. In the second and third games, the number of fatalities and special moves increases for each character, eventually including Animalities, Friendships, and Babalities, with Mortal Kombat III giving each character up to 6 fatalities available.

Unfortunately, the increased choice offered in Mortal Kombat III is largely wasted. At the end of each fight, the player only has approximately two seconds during which to perform a fatality, and the match often ends before one can be performed. Furthermore, the game fails to recognise button inputs unless they are done extremely specifically, making performing fatalities in Mortal Kombat III virtually impossible.

Other than that, Mortal Kombat III is still a lot of fun to play, and features a number of unlockable characters to increase the game's longevity. Mortal Kombat is arguably the most fun of the three, despite having the fewest fighters and signature moves, due to its responsiveness to the controls and reasonable difficulty curve. Opponents do become highly challenging towards the end of Mortal Kombat, but the difficulty increases gradually.

Mortal Kombat II, on the other hand, is different. This game is almost completely broken, with a ridiculous difficulty curve that makes finishing the game unreasonably difficult. From around the second fight, opponents become incredibly difficult to defeat, using unbelievable combos and destroying anything in their path. Unless you possess savant-like abilities beyond those of Dustin Hoffman's character in the movie Rain Man, it's inadvisable to attempt Mortal Kombat II if you want your controller to remain intact.

To wrap up, Mortal Kombat Arcade Kollection is three games: one good, one decent, and one terrible. There's multiplayer for each one, online and local, and the games have decent graphics with low-quality sound. Even only playing two of the three games should last a decent amount of time, and at quite a low price, Mortal Kombat Arcade Kollection is a decent deal. It's not as good as the Mortal Kombat game released in April 2011, but it's pretty good nonetheless.

Rating: 3/5

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