Guest blog post by Todd M @The_Top Loader
Get over here -----> Welcome to the 90's baby because I'm having fun n' games playing Mortal Kombat (released in 1992), but what version? That has been the topic of my childhood. Who had the best version, who could beat their chest the loudest in this primal rage that surprisingly escalated over just a few drops of blood? It came out on everything you could possibly think of, Master System, Gameboy, Game Gear, PC... you get the idea I literally could go on and on (until I run out of consoles to name) but the real test of might came down to just two consoles - the mighty Mega Drive and the Super Nintendo. The simpler time's of the 80's were gone with our Commodore 64's and their, 8's with their ,1's and don't forget to press play on tape as I watch the true fanboys get all fired up like a Scorpion fatality as they enter the console tournament looking for blood (which is truly where the battle begins) and where the movie version of Shang Tsung would famously say - "it has begun" - while Ed Boon's literal voice as the original game announcer now tells us to "Fight!!" The 90's were Excellent if not a little Dan Forden Toasty as I ripped out hearts and gave the kiss of death as my opponent went up in flames in the face of a burning skeleton's defeat as they dropped down to ashes because didn't you know you weak pathetic fools - I've come for your souls ! .. and so forth. That was Mortal Kombat, the gameplay was decent but let's be realistic here it's the gore that people came for. There were violent videos games before Mortal Kombat but they weren't in the mainstream and were never as popular because - lets face it - everybody pays more attention to the cool kids. Its funny being a parent now and thinking I don't think I would want my kid playing Mortal Kombat X .. but back when I was at that wise old age of ten I knew it all. I knew what was right and I knew what was wrong, hey I may have not bought Super Castlevania IV when I had the chance ..but in my defence I didn't now I was wrong at the time. My brother liked Excalibur with capes and crap like that but one thing we both loved was ninja's and the whole Eastern Kung-Fu scene because guess what? We both loved - Mortal Kombat - finally, we agreed on something.
Throw in a coin, select a player, choose your destiny while watching this klassic character line up that includes my personal favourite Sub Zero as he swings back and forth with his cold blue hands to the perfectly selected music beat while waiting patiently to controversially rip off your head right before we "Fight!!" Kano throws knifes and spins on a dime but what do you expect from a guy that lives for a life of crime because he won't hold back when ripping out someone's heart straight from their chest as it would Finish Him!! ..or her. No time to pause for a moment in this game (which can be frustrating) so you will have to use one of the other klassic digitized characters to release more effective green screen effects if you end up on the wrong side of Scorpion's famous harpoon attack, just don't teleport past Sonja Blade and panic while she flexes her reversed matrix style scissor kick as they both can burn you aliveafter they input the the right button combination before the fatality timer finally runs out. Liu Kang still kicks around while throwing projectiles in your face until Wham Bam! Van Damme .. hey he wasn't in the game, well he was supposed to be but he pulled out to do something else so here's Johnny.. Cage ! What a cool name, he's the complete package and this movie star has a secret weapon that's a real ball breaker and not the kind that you would find in his pants which does not work on Sonja Blade because of what's not in her pants - ironic - but with all this flippin' and floppin' all over the place I forgot to mention Raiden the God of Thunder who looks like he just come off the set of Big Trouble in Little China. You may think I'm going off track here but have you ever have wondered where the inspiration for Raiden came from? Watch the Three Storms in this movie because as I played Mortal Kombat for the first time it hit me like a bolt of lightning needed for the 1.21 gigawatts .. what the hell is a Giga.. wait, what? - wrong movie - sheesh now I'm really getting off track here so let's get back in the DeLorean to take me back to where I was before I made this alternate typing time line. Raiden is a parody verified by the words of Ed Boon himself from one of my all time favourite movies, hey.. who else thinks John Carpenter would have been a perfect match to direct and write a MK movie? It's a perfect blend of East meets West with western digitized character sprites and oriental backgrounds that felt like they were lifted straight out of a Kung-Fu scene with Eastern mystical mythologies including a four armed general monster Goro and shape shifting Lo Pan .. I mean Shang Tsung.. as the final bad guy with a story so far left out of Outworld about Elder Gods and Earth realm Sacred tournaments I can hear the words of Jack Burton echoing "I feel like a little bit of an outsider here"...because we are and I don't care because we all know that all he wants to do is go get his truck back.
Prepare yourself.. for the fight of my childhood life as the violence reached a new level that even Capcom's Street Fighter 2 couldn't match as the hard hitting blows and the amount of blood shed left egos bruised and battle-scarred to this day between the two biggest rivals ever seen, Mortal Kombat vs Mortal Kombat - Nintendo vs Sega - or kids vs mature kids? ..apparently there is maturity in ripping off heads. I had the censored version so what do I know, maybe that's a good thing since I was crazy enough as it was but don't worry apparently I'm normal now right? It's the same old story that just keeps on giving no matter how many times I talk about it or what decade it is. See at the time I loved both consoles but could only own one (like most kids), fanboys existed then and unfortunately they still exist now and they seemed to be very loud as they really got into my ear, but there are two sides every story so let's hear both sides before everybody flips out and lands a coin face side up with the iconic Dragon Logo showing its true value. After all it is tradition to flip a coin before a match (I played soccer) - Round 1 - Fight!! Did you know there was some blood in the Mega Drive port? It's also faster on the mega drive too which is a good thing but is also missing half the animations which is a not so good thing - an exaggeration ftw? - no because it looks choppy while the colours are way off and the SFX and music sound like a mega drive should (and I love that sound) but its not the same as the arcade that everybody wanted to prove so badly to justify their purchase to be .. or not to be because that was the big questionat the time. I don't understand the mentality and here I thought - i wAs thE cRaZy oNe - however the Sega fans did make a good point. Mortal Kombat was about the gore and wasn't so much about precision the way Street Fighter was supposed to be as the controls were simplified. No half circles left, no half circles right as it's just so Up n Down Left or Right followed by a push of a button, Back Back this and Down Forward that - it's so easy - it's so western audience and the violence is what made it stand up, take a bow, and uppercut someone off a Pit into the spikes waiting for them at the bottom with the words "Fatality" painted across the screen in blood dripping red. Yeh, I go to extremes to write what you read even if I weep while I reap what others sew - Round 2 - Fight!! Yes, it is true there is an elephant in the room and no this isn't a Dhalsim stage because the Snes version was CENSORED .. to a degree, with the processor slowing down the gameplay making it frustrating at times. However the Nintendo fans did make a good point, only two of the seven fatalities were majorly altered because everything else stayed mostly the same as the sound FX and arcade visuals were almost intact .. but ..unfortunately there was grey blood sweat and then came the tears when parents and politicians everywhere got involved while yelling out of the TV Finish either one of them as it was all Doom and gloom as Mortal Kombat ended up fighting everybody as we all ended up with an ESRB rating system, can't we all play nice? I'm not even sure what they were worried about I turned out ok..right?
Enter the dragon because the stage was set for battle with a death blow around every corner as you would face off in Thrown rooms, Warrior Rooms and Lairs all set by the tournament rules and secrets that lie beneath - the Pit - a klassic stage where you will find the secret character Reptile. Blue and Yellow make Green because this chameleon character cheats by using the powers of both Sub Zero and Scorpion..now who's looking a little red. Secrets in MK would continue in later games with smoke and mirrors as they would turn up and disappear right before my little battle eyes with secret menus added to the console versions with Kool Scott's Stuff dominating the screen menus all over the place that literally opened the game up with loads of extra cheats (too many to name) but there's options to play as Shao Kahn or play a Galaxian type mini game with another option to enable one button fatalities - but that's weak and pathetic - what am I? ..some kind of fool. Yes, and everybody knows it but that's no secret because MK was full of them and I'm just full of it and believe me you cant pull that off as good as me because nobody pulls it off better than me when it comes .. to stop typing I'm blushing.. to combos you freak. Sub Zero's combo is my go to combo in Mortal Kombat 3 - want a little tip? - Don't worry its a quickie and if you pull it off just right it comes out very easily in a nice fluid motion.. ahh .. I can't win until I make Sub Zero's ice clone and then run through it while the AI will just stand there looking stupid every time while you are open to combo with HP, HP, LP, LK,HK, Back + HK ..Boom .. rinse and repeat it ill be all over in minutes. Trust me, I'm the expert. I have a secret of my own, want to hear about it?.. because it's fair to say most people have seen it. I like the Mortal Kombat movie, it has the distinct honour of being one of the few movie's based on a game I actually do like (but that bar wasn't set too high now was it) and in hindsight Street Fighter 2 was the better game.. but MK had the better movie ----> harpoon that Midway to ya chest Capcom. Quick, change the channel because there was a time in this world where the Dragon Logo franchise branding was the biggest thing in our gaming world, certainly mine. Mortal Kombat 2 was and is still the best out of all the games, call me biased I don't care, I was there .. I lived it .. it was big, it was huge and the ports for both the Snes and Mega Drive were both on par with the arcade so we could all now finally play nice. I first saw MK2 in an bowling alley in Sydney, the biggest city in Australia which is basically the New York of Australia, I live near the Gold Coast which is kinda like the California of Australia but that's neither none nor there as at least it isn't Outworld and luckily its not all about Location location location because seriously that Outworld place - what a shit hole - but it did make a good stage setting for a battle ground. However, by the time MK3 came around the internal conflict had John Tobias and Ed Boon ready to leave the station with their names pointing in two different directions on the Subway level foreshadowing what was to come or possibly a nod to the relationship they once had that is now going their separated ways. Either way that was a little sad for me as a kid and the Dragon Logo franchise that I loved so much would never be the same again because the cracks were starting to show in the aftermath to follow.
Now enter the gimmicks because uppercutting through the ceiling was fun for a while but it led me to stop using the technique if I wanted to stay on a stage I liked. It started to feel more Western and less Eastern where previously the music and the back drops blended perfectly like a Yin Yang but it now felt more like an cheesy action movie and less like a cool Kung-Fu movie. Do not give me mercy because I do not like those crayon looking Animalities so watch me 'Run' as that was the best additional mechanic to any MK game since because holding a weapon in future titles would surely make Shao Kahn point and laugh at me while taunting out "is that your best"? ..before sledging me with his own hammer. Mortal Kombat in the 3D arena just didn't have the sudden impact it once had, sure it gained advanced fighting styles but lost some simple but effective uppercuts in an effort to make it more complex, I've been doing Judo since I was four so I appreciate the extra martial arts effort but I just don't think it works as well as a franchise like Tekken where the concept was built from the ground up around it because in the world of Mortal Kombat this realistic approach comes off feeling very unrealistic, for me. Don't get me started while I'm pulling out a few low punches as the gimmicky Xray moves found in later games in my opinion are too easy to do with no personal reward for mastering what should be a complex move set, but to be fair even Street Fighter and the versus series has made their over the top specials too easy to execute by a push of a button, or four shoulder buttons which in itself makes it less special. It's the age we live in, yes i know I'm getting old - but don't worry I'm still handsome - just incase you were worried. While playing Street Fighter 2 with my at the time fourteen year old nephew he asked me which button was for the fireball on the Super Nintendo controller?! ..because his iOS version has a specific button for it, ahh not Street Fighter too Capcom .. I don't know whether to laugh or cry .. cry definitely cry - LOL. Hey don't laugh out loud because I hate to be the MSN Messenger but my generation came up with LOLz while LMAO but I do not FML that's defiantly a new age kid thing so I gave him some new age advice that he would understand - "Git Gud". I do miss the simpler times however I also love the instant information we have today.. but at the same time I hate it, is that even possible? Is that a juxtaposition? I'm not that smart, but I'm not a idiot ..I'm just Australian and if you keep reading what I'm writing you will see we clearly do stupid things. Do you want to hear something funny, ironic and stupid at the same time ? We couldn't get Mortal Kombat 9 until two years after it's initial release because Australia didn't have an 18+ rating here, we were threatened with random customs checks with big fines if we were caught buying international versions - *Funny* - all these years later Mortal Kombat still creating controversy while the GTA Rockstars caved to the law as they gave us censored versions - *Ironic* - where MK stood strong and wouldn't censor, alter or change a damn thing forcing pressure onto Australian politicians to finally give us an 18+ rating because otherwise it just seems - *Stupid* - to fight over Blood once again, and there will be blood if we don't get blood in a figure of speech.
This was the fight of my childhood and the Sega blood feud is an issue that I'm finally going to put to rest as the conclusion has been a long time coming since it obviously means so much to so many people and I still haven't seen anybody give the right answer to, so before you choose your destiny I'm going to set you on the straight and narrow path to show you who came out on top. We have to do this because astonishingly this world wide issue is still found across the internet today only further fuelled by YouTube. I do find it amazing that someone can have a similar story that I had growing up on other side of the world but what I truly find amazing is that there are still people all over the world still fighting about it .. this is not a joke ..I am serious, hard to believe isn't it? So which is the best original version from those original ports we got all those years ago - here I will tell you - come a little closer.. so you can hear me as I'm whispering right before I scream.. NEITHER ! .. They both miss the mark, what one had the other did not, or both had a similar issue as they were both completely the same opposites that had the same problems, huh? Let me explain - Sega had limited colours, Nintendo had washed out colours, Nintendo had the sound track, Sega had a good soundtrack too but it was different from the original, Nintendo had fatalities but two were altered and had no blood, Sega had blood that had to be unlocked with a code and was still lacking compared to the arcade and like the animations of the rest of the game the fatalities looked choppy and sounded terrible in comparison. There are no winners here, not for me not for you not for Nintendo or Sega - well maybe Sega on a sales point of view but not with the final product, not in my opinion.. so please .. let it go .. I am giving you free unlicensed therapy here because we can't change the past but we must grow from it. That was the most meaningful and meaningless fight of my childhood and this endurance match has left my heart beating so fast that I have a grey sweat running down my face but I am glad I got that off my chest without any help from Kano, I'm so wound up and I feel a little dizzy after watching Liu Kang do a lame cartwheel finishing move as I feel frustrated to the point that I want Raiden to make my head explode as the shock horror alone has me frozen stiff waiting for Sub Zero to clear my head as he holds it up with one hand in the air while the blood drips down my spinal cord onto the floor where it has spilled and is spelled out in red for everybody around me to see giving the public exactly what it wants because this klassic flawless Fatality victory should only ever be seen and played perfectly in the arcades because that way everybody wins with your head held high.
Guest Blogger: Todd M @The Top Loader
Retro Game Reviews. Mega Drive, Super Nintendo, Sega Dreamcast and more
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