Review – Mortal Kombat Kollection
Fighting klassics ruined by kunts.
After the much-hyped, but ultimately disappointing Mortal Kombat (2011), dropped during the summer drought, we’d pretty much decided that we were done with Mortal Kombat as a series. It’s heyday was a long fucking time ago if we’re being honest and since then MK fans have been shat on even more than Aliens fans have. However, NetherRealm studios decided that the early 2D titles needed a fresh airing and we’re still suckers for a bit of 2D gore.
Taking the place of Midway’s delisted-on-XBLA Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, the Mortal Kombat Kollection kom.. combines the first three games in one handy package. This isn’t Mortal Kombat Trilogy either, all three games are seperate parts of this compilation. Each game is a straight port of the arcade game albeit with a sprinkling of achievements and a tagged-on online component.
First up is the original Mortal Kombat, a game that arrived kicking and uppercutting in 1992 to a baying crowd. With its digitised kombatants, vicious moveset and outrageous gore, Mortal Kombat was more flashy and spectacular than its main competitor Streetfighter II whilst being a less balanced and competent fighting game, but where Streetfighter II was slow, methodical and tactical, Mortal Kombat was fast-paced, exciting and brutal. In the cold light of 2011, it’s obviously showing its age and it lacks some of the much-needed tweaks introduced in the next two games but dammit, Mortal Kombat still has it. The original, and best, cast of characters all have their own style and the combat (yeah fuck the K thing) still feels pretty solid. Sure, Goro (the fucking four-armed fucker) spoils the party a bit but the game is still very enjoyable. Certainly a lot more fun than the XBLA port of Streetfighter II anyway.
Of course, Mortal Kombat II is next. This is the game that made me buy a SNES and has long since been the highpoint of the series for me. Well no longer. Mortal Kombat II can quite literally fuck itself with Scorpion’s spear. Even on ‘Very Easy’ the game clearly thinks you’ve selected ‘Balls Hard’ because it is astonishingly difficult and not in a good way. 14 fights await you and all but the first three or four are relentlessly cheap and hateful. The AI simply reacts to your button presses in the cheapest possible ways, especially the last three boss characters, and in the end you’ll need to resort to cheapness to beat them. I’ve always loved MK2 but it can seriously go fuck itself right about now. Pad reading, zoning, projectile-spamming enemies do not make for an enjoyable game.
Last up is Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, a smoother, more balanced game than the previous two. UMK3 looks great, plays well and offers more scope when it comes to difficulty. Of course, Shao Khan is still a complete bastard but he’s marginally easier to handle than his MK2 incarnation. The additional cast and associated fatalities are also worth exploring.
So, one very good game, one very unfair one and one aged classic that’s still worth a play. Not bad for 800M$P. However, everything that is good about this game was created in the ’90s. Everything we don’t like about the game is pure 2011. First up, whilst the visuals are accurately presented, some of the visual filters are terrible, especially the ‘Arcade’ view which has clumsily-grouped scanlines that look awful. Still, some of the smoothing filters are okay. Then you’ve got some missing background textures from UMK3 that just show up as black expanses. The sound is also incredibly poor, sounding like low-quality samples of the original games.
Then you’ve got the online play which is extraordinarily laggy. The previous XBLA title, UMK3, was much smoother than this. Very poor indeed and there aren’t even that many people playing this so Goro only knows what’s blocking all the bandwidth. So if you’re thinking of buying this for the online larks, don’t.
A really disappointing aspect of this game comes from the achievements. On first glance they seem much fairer, and more sensible, than recent efforts (MK vs DC in particular) but that counts for little when they don’t actually unlock when they are meant to. We spent a good few hours beating the various titles on here but the associated achievements seem to have a 50/50 chance of unlocking. Hearing our forumer, Dean, get cheated out of his MK2 completion achievement after battling that bullshit for four hours makes us feel grateful that only MK1 glitched out on us. NetherRealm need to patch this shit. Like, hardcore.
The ridiculous difficulty, terrible online play and glitched achievements really hurt this game and give the impression of complete laziness. There are no unlockables either which is odd given how they’ll usually shove in a tedious Krypt mode every fucking chance they get.
Your mileage may vary but for us we welcomed back an old classic, learned to hate an old favourite and ultimately realised UMK3 is the best of the early MK games. But we already owned that before it got delisted so what’s the point of this compilation exactly? To make us shut up about Mortal Kombat II probably…