Mortal Kombat 3 for the Game Boy showed some potential, but a number of key flaws crippled it.
The first thing you'll notice upon booting up MK3 on the Game Boy is the missing characters. Now, it's not a big surprise, all of the Game Boy Mortal Kombats had missing characters. But, here it's different. It's missing a total of six characters, and they happen to be six of the coolest characters in MK3. In all, MK3 on the Game Boy is missing Liu Kang, Kung Lao, Shang Tsung, Nightwolf, Stryker and Jax. That's a big deal, and it nearly cripples the game by itself. Also, Motaro is missing. Shao Kahn is the only boss you'll face. Although, Smoke is still in the game. Anyway, I can understand leaving out Nightwolf and Stryker, and maybe Kung Lao (since he was also left out of the Game Boy version of MK2). But Liu Kang, Shang Tsung and Jax should've definitely been in there.
It gets worse. After you choose your character from your rather limited selection, you get to the actual gameplay. The controls, as to be expected, are identical to MK2. B is punch, A is kick, Start is block, Select pauses the game. AI characters can run, but I still haven't figured out how to do that. The combo system from the Arcade and Console versions has seemingly fallen by the wayside.
On paper, it sounds a lot like MK2 on the Game Boy. But, there's one major difference. In MK3, the controls are stiff and unresponsive. The game is slow, moves do almost no damage. In general, it's just really boring to play. On top of that, it's too easy. Even when I'm fighting for the controls to work, I'm easily winning matches. That's partly because your AI opponents generally tend to fall for some easy patterns. Also, there are design flaws you can manipulate to your advantage, such as constantly sweeping your opponent over and over again to drain their life. It's possible to do a couple sweeps in a row in all of the Console/Arcade Mortal Kombats, but the AI always finds its way out of the trap. Not the case here, as I once hit 10 sweeps in a row with the opponent completely defenseless. This all adds up to the game having no replay value whatsoever. Once you beat Kahn once, there's no reason to come back again.
As far as graphics are concerned, I can't really complain too much. By Game Boy standards, the characters are nicely detailed, and most of their animations are somewhat intact, if extremely choppy. The backgrounds look decent, again for a Game Boy game. Overall, it looks about what you'd expect. Decent, and gets the job done.
Sound is about the same thing. This is actually one of the better sounding Game Boy games I've played, though that's not saying much. There's a decent variety of music in the game, and it's an OK Game Boy rendition of some of the MK3 tracks. One thing that's missing entirely is character noises. The grunts, groans and whatnot and completely missing here, and they've been replaced by a generic smacking sound. Again, that's the Game Boy for you. Anyone expecting Playstation-quality sound isn't going to look to the Game Boy for it. So, considering the expectations, the sound that is here, works.
In the end, Mortal Kombat 3 for the Game Boy had high expectations going in, and certainly showed some potential But, a number of key flaws crippled it. Whatever you do, please, stay away from this game. If all you own is a Game Boy, and you absolutely need a handheld Mortal Kombat, then get Mortal Kombat II. Avoid MK3 at all costs.
Overall Score: 3.6