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Mortal Kombat Trilogy

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Reviewed by Kid Catindig Mortal Kombat Trilogy was one of the more anticipated games for the N64, and debuted November 12 nationwide. Excited kids awaiting to get their hands on this game flocked to the local malls. Yes, Mortal Mania seemed intact...until this cartridge was popped on the N64 console and the switch was pushed to "on". Graphic-wise, your favorite Kombatants were reproduced well from their arcade counterparts, boasting sprites a tad larger than the Playstation version. What disappoints me is that SLOWDOWN is so evident, ranging from punching your opponent to the level above to certain fatalities, such as Kitana's, which have bones and guts spilling in annoying slow-motion. Missing frames of animation was not all that obvious during fighting, but if you are the observant type, you will find backgrounds with missing frames, such as the River Fighting scene with the river looking like it's in stop-motion type photography. I compared the Playstation and N64 versions side-by-side and the Kombatant's beginning stance in the N64 also have missing animation, although it is not all that bad, if you compare both versions to the SNES or Genesis counterparts. Missing are some levels from all four games, probably for the sake of memory saving. The color is superb, and we all should expect that since it is on an N64 console. And for the nitty-gritty's: the characters are further apart in the versus screen than in the Playstation and even the SNES versions, cutting off detail from some characters, and the levels are stretched out, so some graphic portions of levels are gone, such as the gigantic statues on the edges of the Rooftop level scene. Unmasked Sub-Zero is gone, with the masked one bearing his moves, which is so STUPID because all this does is unbalance the characters even more; he is now more cheap than ever (a big BOO/HISS to Midway). The background does not go dark after completing the sequence for a Brutality, and the bones flying amass somehow disappear instead of landing on the floor. Also, on the versus screen, Johnny Cage looks buff, but pitted against opponents such as Sonya during a fight, he looks scrawny and unproportional, totally making it obvious that he was a late addition to the MKT development. Rayden's photo on the character versus screen could use some help also...his pose and facial expression suggest for one. Now, here comes the worse aspect of the game: AUDIO. Audiophiles that worshipped the MK3 soundtrack from the arcade will be left with a slap in the face from Midway/Williams. What's gone? The eerie/less-than-ethereal/haunting music from the Kombat Temple and Pit 3, with the spooky choir-like background voices replaced by some cheap MIDI rendition. Gone also is the BASS from certain tracks, such as the menu selection music; on the Playstation, it rocks...but don't expect the same on the N64. None of the tracks from the other MK's were included in, so some levels from other games bear MK3 music, some of which aren't appropriate. All the arcade sounds are intact, BUT sound like the Genesis version (oh, lohrdy!). Muffled speech and sound effects do not do justice to this game. And get this: the game is set to a lower volume than the other games, so in order to even HEAR things, you always have to manually turn up the volume every time you plug in the cartridge. And don't even bother turning up the volume through menu select because it will just drown out the sounds and speech. Midway and the MK team need to start looking over their work from another perspective; I thought they would have learned after SNES MK1 and Saturn MK2...both having flaws, such as missing voices and sound effects on the Saturn MK2 and a slower engine on the SNES MK1. Both could have been improved had they spent a bit more time with the development. There are pluses to this game, such as no loading time whatsoever, but it just doesn't balance out to the bad aspects of the game. Listen to me: I bought this game without regard to the reviews, so that I can make my own decision about it. After all, even if it was a tad bit bad it's still MK, right? Well, not exactly. The policy that I will abide by now after buying this game is: Rent FIRST! Poor programming, which I suspect they did in order to ship this for the X-Mas season, does not justify the $75 price tag affixed onto this poor excuse of an MK game. Video: 85%...Missing frames of animation and other graphical aspects do not affect the playability of the game, but it does leave us hungry for the ultimate MK game. Audio: 50%...The N64 is capable of CD-quality sound, but this game doesn't show off its capabilities here. You get used to it, though, after playing the game over and over. Control: 70%...Forget the analog joystick! Start getting used to blistered thumbs on the D-pad. Some simple moves, such as jumping toward your enemy, require very PRECISE pressing, or you will end up jumping straight up instead, leading to certain doom. The C-buttons are too close together, however, that is the fault of Nintendo. Still, I would have liked to use the Z button for block. Lastability: 75%...After all, how many more versions of MK3 can we all take? It is MK, however, how many more Friendships and Animalities and other nonsense -alities can we all take? We want something NEW!!!! OVERALL: 69%...Not bad, but not good either. Although I've forgiven Midway (it is a 1st generation game, you know), but with games like KI Gold where good programming and hard work was evident, I would suggest to them that they better start listening to out cries or they will soon find themselves out of support for MK merchandise.

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