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Mortal Kombat
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Console: Nintendo SNES
Year: 1993
RFG ID #: U-044-S-03560-A
Part #: SNS-KX-USA
UPC: 021481601074
Developer: Sculptured Software
Publisher: Acclaim
Genre: Fighting
Sub-genre: 2D Fighter
Players: 1-2
Controller: Standard Controller
Media Format: Cartridge
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Collection Stats:

  • 395 of 7580 collectors (5.2%) have this game in their collection
  • 18 of 7580 collectors (0.2%) have this game in their wishlist.
  • 1 of 7580 collectors (0%) have this game for sale or trade.

Back in the day, kids loved to anger their parents so by playing video games that advocated inappropriate themes. The game you see here is one of those games. Mortal Kombat was one of those games that just made parent's blood boil. Blood, violence, mature themes, fatalities, surely this game was destined to the library of all prepubescent boys of the early 90s. Too bad the SNES version had lost all of its blood. Damn Nintendo for its strange policies and wanting to be family friendly. So this version does not have the blood, but it has everything else. So if you want to play a mediocre game whose major selling point is all the blood then you should probably look at the Genesis version, as you won't find blood here. But if you want a mediocre fighting game with no blood, then maybe this is your game.


Way back in 1992, it swept through arcades across America like the black death sweeping across Europe in the dark ages. Wherever it went, turmoil was sure to follow. Kids got grounded over it. Mothers shrieked in terror. Teenage slackers skipped school more than ever before. It was the game everybody was talking about. The game of games. The game no one wanted you to see. It was Mortal Kombat, and its name still lives on in infamy.

Mortal Kombat invented video game violence much the way Marconi invented the radio. He stole the idea from somebody else, then sued them. That said, Marconi is often regarded as the father of radio, and it probably wouldn't be the same without him, even if he was a steaming pile of turd.

Steaming piles of turd come to mind a lot when I think about Mortal Kombat. This is one of those games that we all had to have when we were kids, but are torture to go back and play now.

I'll start with the good stuff, just to be nice.

Mortal Kombat sure looks pretty. The graphics are 16-bit captures of live actors. Impressive in their day, you could replicate them now with a digital camera and a .gif animator. I argue that it wasn't done to look cool, it was done to cut corners. It's cheaper and easier to hire a few bozos to put on costumes and dance in front of a camera for an afternoon than it is to hire professional artists to draw each of the thousands of frames of animation for each character in the game. Of course, Midway would never admit that. Whatever the reason, the game looked great in arcades and the SNES version is almost an arcade perfect port, without the blood.

I've got to talk about the blood. It was removed from the SNES port, although the fatalities (now bloodless) remain, in one of the most bizarre cop-outs in video game history. Mortal Kombat certainly wasn't the first game to feature graphic violence, but it did take the splatter fest to a whole new level. This game almost single-handedly started the mania over violent video games which continued throughout the nineties. For years, video game companies would include copious amounts of blood and gore in games, simply because MK proved you could sell bad games on nothing but shock value. Don't believe me? Check out Primal Rage. It's one of the worst games I've ever played, yet it was quite popular at the time, because of the blood craze.

While it isn't entirely unplayable garbage, there should be no argument that Mortal Kombat is all about the gore. Without it, MK is just Eternal Champions or World Heroes. What? You don't remember those games? I'm shocked. They both had game play which was almost identical to Mortal Kombat. I'm sure you would love them if you tried them, since Mortal Kombat is so much fun to play. Except, well, not.

The controls are terrible. They're slow and unresponsive at times. Also, it has a block button. Why does it have a block button? Why? Tell me. What were the programmers thinking? I know it doesn't detract much from the game play if you get used to it, it's just that it's unnecessary. It's as if they did it simply to make the game less like Street Fighter II, a game they knew they would be accused of cloning.

The AI is so worthless it has to cheat to win, and it does. The computer opponents can throw at any time, from any distance, and their throws have extremely high priority (maybe the highest in the game). Therefore, the only valid strategy is to constantly jump kick, and hope you hit something. Gamers have joked a lot about this over the years, but the mechanics behind it weren't apparent to me until I went back and played the game again for this review. It really is the only way to beat the game. You have all those punches, kicks, and special moves, but you only have one that's actually viable and it only works if you get lucky. It makes the game painfully frustrating and boring in single-player mode. But I'm glad the programmers didn't actually have to think creatively. That would be a crime against humanity.

Of fascinating note: the game basically lets you win the first two fights, then it starts fighting back. The reason for this is obvious. It's a great way to suck people in and get their quarters.

The game is a lot more interesting against live opponents, but even then it suffers from some serious character imbalance issues. Some of the special moves are just cheese. Here's a tip: Use Scorpion. His teleport punch is ridiculous. WHEN you hit with it (you will), you can juggle them into the spear and then an uppercut. Also, contrary to popular myth, the spear is a terrible projectile. Even mediocre players will catch on and punish you if you're not careful. Gratuitous use of the spear is the mark of a true scrub.

No, wait. Actually thinking Mortal Kombat is a good game is the mark of a true scrub.

RF Generation Review Score



Console Reg. Type Title Publisher Year Genre
Nintendo SNES A S Mortal Kombat Acclaim 1993 Fighting
Nintendo SNES Brazil S Mortal Kombat Playtronic 1993 Fighting
Nintendo SNES United Kingdom S Mortal Kombat Acclaim 1993 Fighting
Nintendo SNES Germany S Mortal Kombat Acclaim 1993 Fighting
Nintendo SNES BE, FR, LU, NL S Mortal Kombat Acclaim 1993 Fighting
Related Games:

Console Reg. Type Title Publisher Year Genre
Nintendo SNES U S Mortal Kombat 3 Williams 1995 Fighting
Nintendo 64 U S Mortal Kombat 4 Midway 1998 Fighting
Nintendo SNES U S Mortal Kombat II Acclaim 1994 Fighting
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The Evil Leon: Review
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ApolloBoy: Correct developer
Mike Fox (NES_Rules): Scans
Shadow Kisuragi: Variation Tie-In

Last Updated: 2019-10-08 19:00:53
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