SEGA Genesis Did It Better Part II
by Polly




I've said this before, but I feel it bears repeating...

*ahem*

MORTAL KOMBAT IS NOT A REAL FIGHTING GAME! MORTAL KOMBAT IS NOT A REAL FIGHTING GAME! MORTAL KOMBAT IS NOT A REAL FIGHTING GAME! MORTAL KOMBAT IS NOT A REAL FIGHTING GAME! MORTAL KOMBAT IS NOT A REAL FIGHTING GAME! MORTAL KOMBAT IS NOT A REAL FIGHTING GAME! MORTAL KOMBAT IS NOT A REAL FIGHTING GAME! MORTAL KOMBAT IS NOT A REAL FIGHTING GAME! MORTAL KOMBAT IS NOT A REAL FIGHTING GAME! MORTAL KOMBAT IS NOT A REAL FIGHTING GAME! MORTAL KOMBAT IS NOT A REAL FIGHTING GAME! MORTAL KOMBAT IS NOT A REAL FIGHTING GAME! MORTAL KOMBAT IS NOT A REAL FIGHTING GAME! MORTAL KOMBAT IS NOT A REAL FIGHTING GAME! MORTAL KOMBAT IS NOT A REAL FIGHTING GAME! MORTAL KOMBAT IS NOT A REAL FIGHTING GAME! MORTAL KOMBAT IS NOT A REAL FIGHTING GAME! MORTAL KOMBAT IS NOT A REAL FIGHTING GAME! MORTAL KOMBAT IS NOT A REAL FIGHTING GAME! MORTAL KOMBAT IS NOT A REAL FIGHTING GAME!

So, who cares if the Genesis version is better? I did at the time! So fucking suck it. It's my site and I'll write about what I want! Alright, we clear then? I'm right. Let's go.

Now that we got that out of the way, let's have a bit of a history lesson on the SNES vs Genesis school of Mortal Kombat ports.


Mortal Kombat (Genesis)
The first Mortal Kombat was a pretty crummy game, but it can't be denied its place in videogame history. It brought the issue of violence in videogames to the table and essentially enforced regulations by companies to brand games with appropriate age restrictions. Then came the ESRB. When the game was ported to home consoles, there was a huge divide unless you were one of those lucky PC owners who had a nice perfect arcade port.

Nintendo just said "NO" to blood and fatalities, while Sega allowed the game to be uncensored by entering a code (A, B, A, C, A, B, B). While the SNES version looked the part, controls were absolute shit making the game incredibly difficult to play. The Genesis version didn't look or sound anywhere near as good as the SNES version, but it had what fans of the arcade wanted. They seemed willing to look past the crummy (though nowhere close to the SNES) control and overall crappy gameplay that was there to get as close to the arcade experience as they possibly could..

Mortal Kombat II was a whole new ballgame. Both Nintendo and Sega let the blood flow freely and without the need of a special code. It's the best game in the series and it's a damn good thing that one of these versions nailed it. Here's a hint: It wasn't the Genesis. Very few frames of animation, horrible and missing sound, and just plain awful color palettes doomed the poor Genesis version. The SNES version, however, is up there with one of the most faithful arcade ports ever. It looked, sounded, and played beautifully and was totally worth the day of school I faked sick out on just to get my hands on it as quickly as possible.


 

At this point in time it only seemed natural that the SNES version of Mortal Kombat 3 would be the most anticipated port when the game came home in October of 1996. That anticipation led to quite a let-down. The SNES version of the game feels completely sloppy. It plays way too fast and is nowhere near the pace of the arcade game, there are missing frames of animation everywhere, and all of the audio sounds like it's being played through speakers in another room. When not in motion, one might be easily fooled into thinking it's probably the version to go with, but everything changes when the match begins. Add to that the ridiculously sporadic AI (not that Mortal Kombat AI is anything to write home about) that was dumb as a brick for two or three rounds and then became completely untouchable for one and then back to dumb as a brick, and the whole package just felt rushed and incomplete.



Boy, was I glad I pre-ordered the Genesis version. I don't even remember WHY I did. I had an SNES and all signs should have been pointing to that version, but I elected for the Genesis version instead.

It's almost a complete role-reversal from the previous outing. MK3 plays almost hit for hit with the arcade version. It's scaled down and tinier, but if you put the two side by side you wouldn't notice much of a difference. All those kombos you spent time learning at the arcade should all work just fine, and that's what mattered most to my friends and I.

Graphically, the game still suffers from the Genesis' limited palette of colors. Fighters and backgrounds look a bit pixellated and grainy throughout the whole thing. There are quite a few colors missing here and there, but the game actually has more frames of animation and fluidity than its SNES cousin. Everything here is represented as well as the Genesis could spit out and it really is quite impressive for what they pulled off.

The sound department is only a slight letdown. The Genesis is known for having weak audio processing and a lot of that really shows through here. The music is note for note from the arcade game, just "Genesis-ized", but still sounds decent. The most amazing part comes from the inclusion of as much voice as they could possibly cram in there, which had been missing from all Genesis ports of Mortal Kombat up till now. It's grainy and pretty low-rate, but not awful enough to say they shouldn't have even tried. It only serves to make the game feel even closer to the arcade than it already does.

Mortal Kombat will never be as great as Guilty Gear and its ilk and Mortal Kombat 3 certainly isn't the series' best showing, but I was totally into it at the time. The Genesis version whooped the SNES version's ass at it and that's all the point of this little article was.






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