In Depth Review: Mortal Kombat (PC) [PC]
Enter Intel 486DX, running at 33MHz and a sick 12MB (all hail 1993) of RAM. A Trident (ew!) SuperVGA card running the game at 256 colors on screen, with a Sound Blaster Pro spitting out all the voice samples. I was floored. The original Street Fighter II on PC was a total piece of turdillicus and I wasn't sure what to expect from Mortal Kombat. But when I pulled off a jump kick into fireball with Johnny Cage, juggled the idiot AI (on Easy, of course) in the corner into a Cannonball with Kano, and saw the exact (and I really mean exact) same globs of blood spew out identical to the animation in the arcade version, I knew Probe had finally brought home Mortal Kombat. For real. A week practicing with the keyboard and turning the music off, and I was in heaven.
I had my qualms with Mortal Kombat's core gameplay in the arcade, but I still had some fun with it. Needless to say, as you've suspected by now, MK on PC plays almost exactly like it does in the arcade. You've got to deal with the keyboard, and in some instances you have to start to input special-move commands a bit earlier (or maybe that was just me), but trust me -- it's all in there. Juggles and korner juggles are in there. Reptile's in there. Shang Tsung's 5-fireball barrage is in there. Liu Kang's Fatality bug (is it really a bug?) is in there, where you can intentionally miss with the cartwheel and fireball your opponent to death. Everything good and bad about the arcade version's in there. Even the blood and fatalities -- minus the need for an access code. (Of course there was an instruction-manual code test before you started the game, but that was there so you wouldn't just install the game and then hand the floppies over to your friend, you cheeky monkey. 'Course they failed to realize that there was this new technology called the photocopier, in which, get this, you could reproduce pages of the instruction manual. Wow.)
Not only was the gameplay reproduced faithfully, but Probe also ported over the graphics wondrously. I thought what they did on the Game Gear was more impressive, since the characters looked as good as or even better than the Genesis version. But just overall, no home version except the SNES could hold a candle to the PC version. Big characters, all of the colors, smooth animation -- and responsive, too -- looking at the PC version was looking at the arcade version, really. There was very slight graininess here and there, but that was the only blemish on what otherwise was a perfect conversion.
If I could just skip over the sound I'd be happy, but I shouldn't. It's gotta be said, regardless of the fact that it's 10 years too late: Probe, your music porting guys SUCK @$$. Why do I not recognize half of the tunes? It's kinda poor, really. Otherwise though, Probe tried its best with the tunes that WERE faithful. However, given that I've heard much better on SNES, I can't say much for the sound quality from the Sound Blaster card. At the time, PC sound wasn't that great, just Midi Synth, so it was unfair to expect much more. Thank god for the luxury of voice samples though. Every character's voice was crystal clear, and thankfully, I remember the game letting me turn off the music.
SNES? Chunky. Genesis? Ugly. Game Gear? No combos. Gameboy? PIECEOF$#IT. PC? Like sweet nectar from Mount Olympus, in a tall cocktail glass with one of them little umbrellas in it. As mentioned before, all the bells and whistles of the original MK are there. Even little things like the names being inside the Power meters and the John Tobias' head (or was it Boon?) being on the spike pit are there. The fatalities? Reproduced magnificently. Back in the day, before emulators reared their controversial head, the only way to get the real Mortal Kombat experience was either to bag yourself an arcade machine or the PC version. I chose to sacrifice the music and save myself a couple hundred bucks. I'm glad I did.