Mortal Kombat Arcade Kollection Review

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Mortal Kombat: HD Arcade Kollection

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A retro-fused bundle offering some of the most iconic 2D fighters ever conceived, the MK Arcade Kollection is ultimately let down by a shockingly bad online component and dodgy sound issues.

We like

  • The vast array of classic finishing moves
  • The satisfying old school combat
  • The chance to relive those glorious days of early-mid 90s brawling!

We dislike

  • The broken and laggy online mode
  • The various sound-related issues
  • The lack of extra content

See PSU's review on Metacritic & GameRankings

Every major brawler out there has left its mark on history one way or another. Capcom’s Street Fighter series, for example, is widely considered by beat-em-up aficionados’ as the pinnacle of 2D-based brawlers for its intricate combo system and fast-paced gameplay. Virtua Fighter on the other hand, is renowned for its flurry of meticulously-timed attacks and precision blows. Then of course there are those franchises that are remembered for stamping a more, shall we say, irreverent mark in the history books – Dead or Alive’s relentless parade of tits and arse certainly springs to mind in that respect. Unsurprisingly, this is also where Mortal Kombat fits in. For all its capabilities as a competent brawler, the franchise has, since its inception in the early 90s been remembered for one thing – blood. Well, that’s an understatement; buckets of blood, dismemberment and grisly fatalities would be more accurate.

Let’s face it, controversy sells like hot cakes, and Mortal Kombat oozes the stuff like a freshly decapitated cadaver gushes copious amounts of blood. Back in the 90s, we’d never seen anything like it before, and parents were understandably up in arms over the fact their ‘little angel’ was about to tear some poor sod’s head off. And we loved it. Of course, with the series’ brilliant reboot still fresh in our minds, developer Other Ocean Interactive has decided the time is ripe to jog our memories of Mortal Kombat’s illustrious career, churning out a three-game bundle for PlayStation Network and Xbox Live.

As you'd expect, the Mortal Kombat Arcade Kollection does exactly what it says on the tin. You get Mortal Kombat I, II and Ultimate MK III in their arcade incarnations, complete with the added bonus of online play, Trophies and a few other bits and bobs thrown into the mix. For anyone who hasn’t played these games before, the premise is decidedly simple: select a character, batter the hell out your opponent and finish him/her either by lamping them round the face with a swift kick or punch, or performing a Fatality or other special finishing technique. The bread-and-butter mechanics of Mortal Kombat aren’t as nearly as comprehensive as you’ll find in Street Fighter or other 2D brawler, though they still afford a satisfying punch up. Projectiles, grapples, kicks, punches and specials all play a part in the proceedings as with many games of MK’s calibre, though the finishing moves are undeniable a highlight. In fact, I think it’s fair to say that in every match, I’m subconsciously endeavouring to duff up my opponent that bit quicker just so I can drop an arcade machine on his head. Fatality!

Beneath the game’s relatively simple bread-and-butter mechanics lies decent combo system, which many players have learned to exploit to remarkable levels over the years. Some attacks will launch your adversary skyward, allowing you to chip away at their health juggle-style. Mastering what attacks to use and when (such as locking your opponent against the end of the screen) is instrumental in gaining the upper hand, and stringing these attacks together will ensure you drain a substantial chunk of your foe’s health bar in the process. And, while not offering as comprehensive line-up of special moves as its contemporaries, Mortal Kombat certainly isn’t lacking diversity in terms of characters. Each brawler has their own unique attacks on top of the assortment of rudimentary punches and kicks, there’s a certain satisfaction to be had when you get to grips with your preferred combatant, allowing you to unleash coordinated hell down upon your victim.

Visually the games are showing plenty of wrinkles thanks to the passing of time, though artistically the backgrounds still possess heaps of charm and personality, whether it is the gloominess of Goro’s lair, the moonlit mountains of the Pit II or the wind-swept city streets of earth realm. Plus, you can iron out a few creases thanks to the various filters on offer, helping to stamp down on any fuzzy graphics. While on the subject, I found it refreshing that the games are mostly spared of any visual obfuscation you’d typically get from exaggerated hit animations found in other beat-em-ups, rendering battles more clean and less of an eyesore. Meanwhile, the controls migrate pretty well to the DualShock/SixAxis d-pad, though it probably helps ... (continued on next page) ----

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