“Da22 comments will be posted at the end of each section in italics”
Wednesday 16th March 2016 felt like an ordinary day. Little did i know at around 20:30 that evening myself and Da22 would be transported back to 1993 and entered into the most legendary Kombat tournament in the existence of video games. This tournament was of course Mortal Kombat! Raiden a God and protector of earth realm……..ok ill knock it off.
Another retro night with Da22 and this time we played and looked back at the Sega versions of Mortal Kombat (that i owned). We both are big Super Nintendo fans and the ports of Mortal Kombat are to me at least the best versions of the game on the 16bit platform but we were interested in playing the Sega entries.
Armed with two, six button pads we went on a trip to memory lane
Mortal Kombat – Sega Mega Drive 1993
The first thing we noticed was the lack of sound quality and voice samples. The colours were vibrant but the background detail wasn’t that great. The character animation was also noticeably bad too, having the SNES version lodged into my brain the differences were plain to see.
OK our first rookie mistake was not adding the “Blood” cheat at the beginning of the game which once entered made the game feel a little bit more respectable. The fighting action was pretty smooth though and we both had fun remembering character moves and generally being on the receiving end of an upper cut! Yeah its still a great feeling to uppercut your friend when they walk up towards you….EXCELLENT!
Overall though the game was still very playable and the nostalgia kicked back in pretty quickly. I still love this game and it has a place very close to my heart. Although I originally owned the Sega Master System version on Mortal Monday, looking at the Sega Mega Drive version, it is a solid port of the game. If only the SNES version had blood!!! I still dream to this day
MK1 was the first time I saw photo realistic scans being used in a game and this blew my mind, I’ve always been the creative type and at the time we owned an Amiga with Deluxe Paint. After playing MK1 I always dreamed of having enough money to get a scanner so I could experiment with photo animation, never did get around to this, shame! So the first time playing was on a Super Wild Cart and it was before Mortal Monday, result! The Super Nintendo recreated the arcade experience so well and this is my baseline and lasting memory of the game as we eventually owned it. So playing this on the Megadrive was a bit of a shock at first but I soon got use to it, animation was jerky but the game played fast and it didn’t look half bad considering the age disadvantage of the SNES. As Retrolechuck mentioned we owned the SMS version first and loved it at the time, my residing memory was managing to use Raidens finishing move on Retrolechuck half way through a bout.
Mortal Kombat 2 – Sega Mega Drive 1994
I honestly couldn’t wait for this game to come out back in the day. Myself and Da22 played this game in the arcade a fair few times and hype around it was huge. Again owning a Sega Master System at the time, the version was not the greatest (being really fair there) but it was a fantastic present that i still remember being so happy about when I received it for my birthday.
Of course playing my friends SNES version of Mortal Kombat II was where it was at. Honestly this is one of the greatest fighting games in history for me. Yep its right up there! The SNES version had it as near perfect on the home consoles as you could wish for.
Now jamming the Sega Mega Drive version in to the console both myself and Da22 couldn’t believe how restricted this port looked. In a SNES vs Mega Drive contest it was no competition. Both being very familiar with the game again, we noticed the lack of detail in the backgrounds. Most specifically the “acid pool” level. The hooks looked terrible and there was no foreground detail. Even using the six button pads (god knows what it would have been like with the three button version) the game still didn’t play as fluidly as the SNES version. Although not terrible the sounds and digitized speech was at a low quality.
After several rounds (i do have to mention Da22 kicked my butt around on this one quite a bit ) we both felt that again looking back when the game was released both the Mega Drive and SNES were pretty identical. I guess playing games for another 22 years after the release you tend to notice little differences easier.
Putting Mortal Kombat II down and preparing for the third instalment, i still enjoyed the experience and will always be up for a chance to battle the might Shao Khan. The SNES version will be my go to though as the Mega Drive certainly seemed to be showing its age on this port.
Best version of Mortal Kombat in the series, as soon as I get my own gaming room il be hunting for the arcade cabinet. Sadly the Megadrive version is quite a poor port, it is playable but its just really cut down, the visuals are dull, the speech is poor or missing and to top it off the music is typical Megadrive. I’m probably being incredibly harsh but its only because I love this game!
Mortal Kombat 3 – Sega Mega Drive 1995
The game that made me sell so many SNES games and make up the value of £55! Yes £55 was a lot of money then (oh god so many boxed SNES game….probably worth a fair penny these days…ok dont think about it)
The third instalment was a change in direction for the franchise and i remember being totally amazed with the combo system. The arcade version was incredible and the large character sprites and booming sound of the cabinet will always stick in my head. Yes the SNES was fantastic but i never got round to playing the Sega Mega Drive one back in the day. So how did it fair last night?
Well……pretty badly! Somehow the port managed to get all the characters in but they look half the size of the SNES version. Da22 pointed out again how bad the characters and backgrounds were drawn. Really blocky in places. The sound on this port felt like it was also very compressed. Speech was still in the game but from memory i felt like a lot had been cut out. The fighting felt jerky and not as fluid as i remember the SNES version being but this could be as ive not played either versions in a long time. We moved on from this version pretty quickly as we felt like Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 might have rectified some of the obvious issues.
I’m going to cheaply mirror most of Retrolchucks sentiment because honestly we didn’t spend all that much time with it. One thing I will mention is that I was impressed with how much Williams actually managed to fit on the cart, a lot of content compared to the MK2.
Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 – Sega Mega Drive 1995
Boasted as an update in the arcade to MK3, the home ports of the game from memory seemed well received. I had a Sega Saturn at the time and this version was ace.
Picking up the pads for a final time, Da22 and I were actually shocked that the Sega Mega Drive version had all of the characters available. Although speech had been completely taken out of the character select screen the game seemed more polished than the previous effort.
Reading the back of the box, all of the content seemed to be in the game as well (friendship, babealities, animalities etc) Again background detail was about the same as MK3 i would like to know what they must have cut out to have considerably more characters and features in this game. Its pretty darn impressive. The game played much like MK3 as you’d expect being and upgrade but i have to admit this is a good port of the game.
The Sega Saturn version from memory looked stunning but you had a draw back that the Sega Mega Drive version never did. When fighting the shape shifter Shang Tsung, you had to wait for him to load into his next character. At least this never happened on this version. Im guessing this must have been one of the later game on the Sega Mega Drive as its clear the system has been pushed to the max here. I recommenced this version of Mortal Kombat though to anyone that owns a Mega Drive. Whilst this is no SNES version, It is great fun and the best version to own on the Mega Drive.
Improved over MK3 they have ironed a few bits out and again added more content, really impressive. I personally didn’t like MK3/Ultimate all that much but did put a lot of time in being it was only fighting game we had at the time. I got this mixed up with MK Trilogy on the PSX which is a excellent game all on its own, near arcade perfect! Out of all the Megadrive versions this is probably the most playable however il always have the nostalgic fondness for MK2
Well that concludes our Sega Mortal Kombat experience for now. Maybe when we own a few other versions of the game I can add an additional comparison post.
Mortal Kombat holds a special place in my gamer heart, it was the best looking gore-fest and set in motion the need to learn ‘complex’ finishing moves’. No internet so there was plenty of time hanging around the local newsagents writing down moves on our arms.(Arnold J Rimmer would be proud!) Street fighter 2 was the king of fighters but this added something else and breathed fresh air into the genre. Although the Megadrive versions were not the best they did introduce a lot of gamers to the series and hey you would never have had another version so wouldn’t have know you had the lesser port. The magazines may have tried to tell you otherwise but who was rich enough to have a SNES and Megadrive. I’m sure at the time the Megadrive version would have felt amazing but retrospectively they are unfortunately not so, if you are looking at buying MK retro style get the SNES of PSX MK Trilogy versions.
Please feel free to leave any comments. Thanks again for reading an enjoy the rest of VGR2016