Plug It In & Play: Mortal Kombat
by Polly





Note: Screenshots borrowed from TRMK

Disclaimer:

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!

Now get the fuck out of here, you fighting game [REDACTED]tards.

This little device here was quite a surprise. I mean, think about it. Cramming an entire arcade game down into one of these dorky little TV Games things is kind of an ambitious thing to try and set out to do. And to be fair, they could have just shit out a really lousy, almost GameBoy Color'ish type of effort, but they didn't. Honest to Bob (not that Bob) hard work and very skilled programming and engineering went into the creation of this little guy and just knowing the story of how it came to be is what made me track one down for about $10.

The TV Games Mortal Kombat unit was essentially engineered by one guy. A long-time programmer named Christopher Burke. You can read his story of creating this port from the ground up by clicking this link. The results are as impressive as I thought they'd be.

I'm honestly shocked at how well this device recreates the overall Mortal Kombat arcade game's experience. Pretty much everything is in here. All of the characters, nearly every frame of animation, every special move and blood-gushing fatality, all of the voice samples, faithfully recreated here with only very minor changes. About the only things that couldn't be replicated perfectly were the animated backgrounds and the music had to be midi-ized. Other than that, there's not much to complain about.

The gameplay is roughly the same speed and moves' timing seems just about right. Some moves feel a little wonky, such as Scorpion's Teleport Punch and Liu Kang's Flying Kick spazzing out the scrolling a bit, but for the most part everything works just as it did in the arcade. The game does stop to load new characters during Endurance Matches and the Shang Tsung fight at the end, but it's entirely tolerable. Right down to the absolute bullshit Mortal Kombat Is Going To Eat Your Quarters arcade mode AI that everybody loves so much. There really should have been some difficulty settings here, because I can see most who just picked this up on a whim being completely annihilated and putting the thing away forever. If you liked the first Mortal Kombat though, there's no reason you shouldn't feel at home here.

If you'd like to see the game's software in action, click here to check out TRMK's review of the unit as well with some videos located at the bottom of the page.

Another surprising addition to this unit is the ability to link up with other players who might have it and play two player matches. A link cable is provided with each device and you just plug 'em into each other and go at it. Now, I doubt you'll be wandering to the corners of the globe with your little Mortal Kombat device to conquer every Mortal Kombat master that stands in your path, but it still shows just how far they were willing to go to make as authentic and worthwhile product as possible. I really do have to take my hat off them for going the extra mile in almost every way with this thing. Especially for what had essentially already became out-dated and almost laughable license by the time.

The unit itself could have used a little more thought and maybe a little more budget. This son of a bitch is ALL BULK and it's understandable why it would need to be. They did stuff an entire arcade game in there. That doesn't change the fact that it's really just not all that comfortable to hold onto though, as seems to be the case with all these devices. The button layout is similar to that found in arcades as well, but those too just don't feel right. They don't press in smoothly and there's more of a click meaning you have to put a bit more force than usual into your thumb to press the button. The D-Pad is just....fucking awful. It's incredibly stiff and way too damn big. Pulling off moves on the thing isn't any kind of treat let me tell ya.

Unfortunately, while it's great to see the game ported so well to such limited hardware, playing it is an entirely uncomfortable experience that kinda ruins the whole thing. I bought it because of the novelty of it all and I basically got my money's worth. So, good job to you Chris Burke. You did a great job with the software. The hardware is the only real issue here. I give props to Jakks for putting forth the effort shown in this thing. From a software standpoint it demolishes both the SNES and Genesis versions of the game and I guess that's something, right?






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