I suffered through this tripe. So humor me. Let me be at peace with writing an inanely, insanely long pointless review.
It was a Wednesday night. I had Eduoard Lalo's Cello Concerto in D minor blaring from the stereo, while reading Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales on the couch. My pipe was running out of tobacco, and I got up to refill it when a single odd, disturbing thought ran amok in my head:
"O captain my captain, Mortal Kombat for the Gameboy really sucks."
Yes, this happens. Fairly frequently. No, not the Chaucer; I'm practically illiterate when it comes to great works of - well - literature. And no, I don't smoke anything but the disgusting second hand smoke that permeates New York City. Lastly I haven't heard that Lalo in a while - the fact that it was the last piece I was playing before I stopped practicing cello altogether makes me want to avoid reminding myself what a dolt I am for dropping things I was good at.
No, I speak about randomly thinking just how exceptionally horrid the Gameboy port of Mortal Kombat was.
You may be asking yourself, "Why does MrCHUPON find it necessary to revisit an old Gameboy relic that no one in their right mind should care about in this day and age?"
I counter: "Why did you click on this link?" Besides, whoever thought I was ever in my "right mind" is not in THEIR right mind.
But enough volleying of comments, especially since it looks like I'm talking to myself. Aesop's moral of this based-on-fact fable is this. I've gone through plenty of bad games for the sake of knowledge - Final Fantasy: Pystic Quest, Rayman BS, Entrail the Matrix and Bill Laimbeer's Combat Basket of Utter Crap to slander a few. It must be said plain and simple: the Gameboy port of Mortal Kombat was such an absolute massacre of a major intellectual property that its sheer ineptitude continues to reverberate in my head a full twelve years after I had the displeasure of suffering through it, and it clearly eclipses the rest of the tripe in the list I just mentioned by leaps and bounds.
Searching for a negative to begin with is like trying to step in horse manure in Central Park: hold your nose, spin around, and pick a pile. So let's start with the most obnoxious, obvious (but not nearly the worst) negative since it really doesn't matter at this point. As soon as you turn on the game, you're greeted with a choppy rendition of some random theme from Mortal Kombat that is synthesized so gratingly that you'd think parmesan was about to flutter out of the speaker holes in your Gameboy. Nevermind that half the music throughout each of the stages in the game sounds nothing - NOTHING AT ALL - like the source material from Midway's arcade original. Developer Probe managed to take such creative licenses with the music that listeners from afar might think you're playing China Kung Fu Gong Quest Fight. Or something of that nature. "Hey, this sounds Asian. Let's put it in!" "Otay." As an American-Asian, I am halfway offended.
So, the volume is turned down. That's all well and good, because you can't turn down the brightness lest you lose the ability to play a videogame. You can't play what you can't see, agreed? Well then, I ask you this. Would you want to play what you saw, if what you were trying to see was Mortal Kombat for the Gameboy? For your own sake, answer negatively. For with what some of the games that the spinach-colored 4-tone wonder could pull off (Killer Instinct and the Donkey Kong games actually looked really nice on the Gameboy screen), Mortal Kombat is a lost cause. The only background out of the available three that has any sort of lingering detail to it is Goro's Lair, which is laden with stone brick walls. Everything else is a gray sky with your characters atop a bridge in one case, and in front of a bunch of shiny orbs meant to look like bald heads in another.
Let's not get too into the characters, lest I blow a blood vessel in my eye. (Stewie Griffin did that once when he tried to force flatulation - and it wasn't pretty.) But I must talk about it a little to get the weight of this universe off my chest. My god, I never thought that a completely 2D game would have such horrid ghosting and frame-rate problems. Is this for real? Did "ghosting" and "frame-rate problems" even exist circa very early 1990s, on the Gameboy Spinach no less? Not only do characters have literally two frames of animation per action (idle, punching, kicking, jumping and being useless), but they animate at the speed of tripe, too. South Park has smoother animation than this game. What's worse is that you'd think my complaint about ghosting should be irrelevant because of the slowness of the animation. You thought wrong. It's as if Probe was ahead of its time - "Hey. Let's do this motion blur. I hear it'll be really hot in 12 years when consoles connect to the internet and have multi-core processors that overheat at launch." "Otay."
It's so horrid that character sprites almost look as if they're in two adjacent places at once.
Brief tangent. Did you see Time Cop? The whole science about how any part of you can't be in the same place at the same time with an earlier version of yourself? Boy, in this game Kano would be dead before he hit the ground.
So the aesthetic presentation is basically shot. Gameplay over graphics, I say. Try dividing zero by zero, then - zero over zero equals? One of you math wizzes knows the answer, because I sure don't. If X = Y, then X/Y should be one. But if Y = zero, then a computer would return a divide by zero error (our feeble human minds only interpret this as "undefined"). But then, if X = zero, X over anything should equal zero. The confusion that you are experiencing right now is exactly the state the sorry gameplay will leave you in: dazed, confused, and drooling on your lap. Close your mouth, it's uncouth.
As is the damn gameplay. I have witnessed that it is possible to squeeze some semblance of Mortal Kombat's core gameplay into two buttons. It's called "The Game Gear version." Also known as, "The one you take to the bathroom instead of the Gameboy version." The Gameboy port fails miserably in this aspect as well. In many Gameboy action game ports (see "Man, Mega"), there's an unfortunate slight delay between your button press and the actual action on the screen. In this game, it's not simple misfortune; you've basically broken nine mirrors in a previous life to deserve what you get here. Couple this with the exasperatingly slow animation of the graphics, and you get a punch that connects a full 1.5 seconds after you've pressed the B button.
Hmm, wait. It probably wouldn't connect. Nevermind.
The point is, don't even think about trying to do an uppercut. But that ain't the half of it. For some reason, Probe got creative here too. I don't recall roundhouse kicks EVER knocking an opponent back in the original Mortal Kombat arcade machine. Apparently in Probeworld, though, they do. The special moves, too, are all out of whack - possibly due again to the slow reaction time of the game. Scorpion's spear move - back, back, B - should be the easiest thing in the world to do. Yet, on the Gameboy you're required to have the timing of God I don't know what in order to pull that move off. You can't do it too fast, pretty fast, or fast. You can't do it slow, pretty slow, or too slow. You can't even try to replicate the timing you use in original game or the ports to other systems.
Oh, and did I mention that many of the input commands for the fatalities are COMPLETELY DIFFERENT? Because yeah, there was a good reason to change Scorpion's input from Up, Up, Block to Forward, Forward, Forward, Block. "Hey, Midway liked putting in secrets and changing moves with every new arcade revision. Let's do that in the Gameboy version!" "Otay."
Wait a second. I just remembered another sore spot that I didn't want to - the Fatalities. If you're not familiar with the liberal 1992's, when Mortal Kombat came out there was this whole hub-bub about the blood and death in this game. It was a hotly debated topic, the Hot Coffee of yesteryear if you will. Nintendo decided to completely censor out the blood for their ports. In the Super Nintendo version, it was replaced with sweat, the Fatalities were renamed Finishing Moves, and they weren't overly gory. They were still fatal, but for instance, Sub-Zero's spinal cord yank became him freezing you and then crushing you into ice cubes. Creative. A bit lame, but creative nonetheless.
In the Gameboy version?
It's a SLIDING PUNCH.
WOOOOOOOOOSH. *Thud* *collapse*
Here's another example. In the SNES version, instead of ripping out your heart, Kano simply punches clear through your sternum. Not creative, and pretty lame. But at least it looks like the old arcade animation, even if there is no blood, no beating heart, and no Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom chanting.
In the Gameboy version?
It's a SLIDING ROUNDHOUSE.
WOOOOOOOOSH. *Pirouette* *Thud* *Collapse*
I'm a consultant in real life. I get staffed on different projects for the clients of our corporation. I'm going somewhere with this. My past two roles have been testing roles; the first, a mere tester, and the second, a test team lead. We had rigorous testing schedules that required us to make sure we're delivering a quality product. I made damned sure my peons were testing the product as much as possible. Granted, it was for a multinational corporation that was getting paid lots of money by the client to deliver this product, but I'd imagine testing of any sort should be rigorous and thorough. It's called Quality Assurance.
So I wonder how and why Probe and publisher Acclaim decided to eliminate the "-urance" suffix of that important second word.
Did they have it out for Nintendo?
Did they hate portables whose colour palette was spinach1, spinach 2, green, and black?
Did I just dump my clumsy American roots and spell color with a "u"?
I think it's a foregone conclusion that, indeed, this entire review was pointless. You could have stopped right at the "O captain my captain" line and gotten everything you needed to from it - the purchase recommendation was made before I even began analyzing this piece of compost.
But I suffered through this game years ago, knowing that one day I would come to the aid of portable gamers old and young browsing the Used Games shelf for a novel, antique game to buy for fitty cents (oh dear God please stay away from Bulletproof too). See, I predicted - with a crystal ball - that I would advise you, my friends, my colleagues, my fellow gamers, to stay away from Mortal Kombat for the Gameboy, because we all know what a hotly anticipated title that would be in 2006.
I suffered through this tripe. So humor me. Let me be at peace with writing an inanely, insanely, and incoherently ridiculous and long pointless piece of prose about how Probe and Acclaim had forsaken Gameboy owners more than a decade ago. After all, the Genesis, Game Gear and PC versions - all of which Probe developed - turned out quite well all things considered. But Popeye's spinach machine would get no love. Aw, why you hatin'?
I'm going to close this review with the quality writing that this game deserves. so like i when i first played this game i was like yeah cool its moral kombat to play onthego but then i played it alot on a field trip on the bus and wow. lmao this game was like, you know it sucked, and i borrowed it a year later to see if it aged well with age and no it was still trash but i played it for hors anyway lol and rofl this game sucked so dnt by this gam omfg
I think my hairline's receding. Oy vey.
"Hey, you wanna promote hair loss in 24 year old men?"