Tuesday 1 November 2011

Mortal Kombat Trilogy

oh dear

Yes it's Mortal Kombat Trilogy on the Game.com. Sound good?

Mortal Kombat's handheld history has had its ups and downs. On the Game Gear and Game Boy, the series struggled - both handhelds weren't really equipped for fighting games, and the digitised human graphics the series is known for struggle to shine when you've only got a few colours. Things, of course, improved as time went on, but anyone with half a brain knew to go for the home console versions instead.

Now, this was the original Mortal Kombat, Mortal Kombat II and Mortal Kombat 3 I'm talking about here. Trilogy came later, and was brought to the Game.com, a much weaker console. It's supposedly the greatest entry in the series before the move to 3D, and likely the most demanding, so we're off to a flying start.

So yes, this doesn't work. Admittedly it has a better chance of success, gameplay wise, than its handheld rivals - there's more buttons, and that means more moves, but it's a Game.com game, so you can expect poor programming and blurry visuals. This release is more at home on this system than Fighters Megamix (which I'll cover later), but that doesn't mean it's succeeded in life, just... "failed less". A higher F, but still an F.

Mortal Kombat Trilogy is supposed to contain wonders from the first three Mortal Kombat games plus some minor additions. Good to know then that large chunks of the cast of characters have been axed. In some respects this isn't surprising - there's no point in different coloured ninjas on a system that lacks colour, but questions could be raised with what's left.

So, we have Reptile, Millena, Night Wolf, Kitana, Rayden, Jade, Rain, Sektor, Shao Khan, Motaro and Syrax. Not a terrible set, but look at that list again - no Sub-Zero, no Scorpion, no Johnny Cage, no Liu Kang. All of the iconic characters from the first game (bar Rayden) are missing, yet Night Wolf survives. As does Noob Saibot and potentially others, which I assume must be unlockables.

Predictably the actual fighting part of Mortal Kombat Trilogy is broken. Characters are slow and unresponsive, and the jumping is jerky and awkward. The hit detection is bad, and of course you can win a game by holding right and mashing buttons - all the elements of a poor versus fighter. That being said, the game is somewhat playable - it's a bit slow and it's definitely not at all as fun as the home console versions, but it's... okay... for Game.com standards at least. It seems to actually try for once.

That being said, I'm only in the position to say it's okay because I've played worse. Unlicensed NES and Mega Drive fighters for example - they're often less playable than this, but the Game Boy version of the original Mortal Kombat, critically panned by the media for its gameplay and visual style, would be a better choice. Rest assured that Mortal Kombat Trilogy on the Game.com is not good, but it's a far cry from the worst the system has to offer.

And it's not actually all bad news. There's not much music but the announcer's still here. There seems to be a wide variety of moves and finishes - the computer performed a "friendship" during one of my quick tests, which suggests there may be quite a lot on offer deep within. I couldn't for the life of me get any of the characters to use a special move, but that may just be an emulator issue (or I'm just stupid). It's a slightly better game than I expected in terms of accuracy and with all things considered, there are quite a few characters to play as.

And graphically it's one of the better looking Game.com games. Some stages have parallax scrolling! Obviously things still aren't pretty, and if you didn't like the aesthetics of Donkey Kong Land on the Game Boy you'll probably won't care for this one, but for four colours... it's not half bad. Had this been running on real hardware it would likely be a different story thanks to that terrible screen, but given the circumstances I think it does a pretty good job.

But of course, this is another game worth avoiding, but I should point out you'd also be smart to ignore the Game Boy Mortal Kombats too.You don't skip Mortal Kombat Trilogy because it's on the Game.com per se, but because it's meant for a TV screen.

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