While slow at times, the Gameboy version of the controversial arcade game is an addicting one.
The Gameboy version, which is the subject of this review, does a nice job, despite the censorship.
Regarding the graphics, the game is not quite the arcade version, but does what it does. There are three stages in the Gameboy version, which is very limited by even 8-bit standards, but fits the bill nicely. The character sprites are arcade-accurate, considering that no Gameboy game used digitized sprites before 1993. Of course, fans might be upset that there is no blood and the fatalities are reworked to meet Nintendo's strict censorship policies, but that's more of a minor hinderance than a full-out blight.
Soundwise, the game is very good. Because the Gameboy could only handle so many voice samples at once, Acclaim decided to take them out altogether to keep the sound quality from suffering. What really wins in the sound department is the very catchy music, especially at the title screen.
Regarding the controls, it's good, but takes some time to get used to. To compensate for the Gameboy's two-button control layout, the folks at Acclaim mapped the A button as the kick button and the B button as the punch button. Notice that in order to get into blocking stance, you have to hold both the punch and kick buttons. This makes executing certain special moves, such as Sonya's leg grab much more difficult. Surprisingly enough, the special move inputs have been remapped to throw a proverbial projectile at the old arcade pros, so don't be surprised if Sub-Zero's freeze move isn't working by normal means.
Finally in the controls department, to make the game more arcade-like, the pause button is disabled. While, in theory, that is suppose to create some much-needed tension between player and CPU, having to pick up the phone while fighting against Scorpion, for example, makes for some serious miscommunications.
Gameplaywise, it is just like the arcade version, minus one character and some bonus rounds. Due to the limited space a Gameboy cartridge could hold at the time, Acclaim had to nix Johnny Cage for the Gameboy version. Also missing are the bonus rounds in-between matches where you have to rapidly pound one of the punch buttons to gain enough strength to karate-chop various materials, such as wood or a steel anvil. Also worth mentioning is that the game speed is a bit slow. Despite those flaws, it is still very addicting as far as gameplay is concerned.
Overall, the Gameboy version of Mortal Kombat is an addicting fighting game, although slow at times. Fans of the series and people who are looking for fighting games for the old Gameboy should look into this one.