Nintendo's Game Boy Advance has been an extremely fertile breeding ground for remakes of popular games from the past. As the remakes begin to pile up, more and more companies are getting on the rerelease train, hoping to cash in on their back catalog of products. Midway has already released a collection of old arcade games for the system, and now the company has released a version of Mortal Kombat for the GBA. The resulting product looks and sounds OK, but the gameplay is so astoundingly awful that even the most die-hard MK fan should stay far, far away.
Mortal Kombat Advance is based on Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3. It also features some of the palette-swap characters from the console-only update, Mortal Kombat Trilogy, but it doesn't have the aggressor meters introduced in MKT. The arcade game's six-button configuration is scaled back to a respectable four-button setup, using the face buttons for punch and kick, R for block, and L for run. The controls are responsive, and unlike in previous handheld MK games, pulling off special moves isn't too frustrating. The game features different levels of difficulty and multiple two-player modes, including two-on-two and tournament modes. Each character has a fatality and a friendship finishing move.
Unfortunately, the gameplay itself only barely resembles that of Mortal Kombat. The timing is way off, the game doesn't have turnaround kicks, and, perhaps worst of all, uppercuts take too long to come out, making it more difficult to uppercut people out of the sky than it should be. In addition, the AI in the single-player mode is incredibly merciless, attacking you nonstop until you lose without giving you a chance to respond--regardless of the difficulty setting. The only effective way to win against the computer on any difficulty is to rely on cheap tactics, such as repeated jump kicks and the like. This is a nonissue when you're playing two-player games, but the horrible AI makes the game unplayable by yourself.
The graphics in MKA are pretty good. The characters look good and are suitably animated, though they look a little skinny. The backgrounds also look nice. The game's soundtrack is a little odd at times, though for the most part, the music and sound effects are decent.
Mortal Kombat Advance simply has nothing to offer when compared with other great portable fighting games, such as Street Fighter II Turbo Revival and Tekken Advance. MKA plays little to nothing like the game it's based on and should be avoided. Let's hope Midway takes its upcoming Mortal Kombat sequel a little more seriously than this half-baked remake.