Mortal Kombat Arcade Kollection Review

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Now that the Mortal Kombat reboot is out of the way (and selling millions of copies), WB Games and Netherrealm Studios, in conjunction with Other Ocean Interactive, have turned back to the past. They have recently re-released the original Mortal Kombat, its successor Mortal Kombat II, and the somewhat mixed Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 as one big downloadable package on Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network. Mortal Kombat Arcade Kollection combines all three experiences together into one easy-to-browse system, letting you pick your poison – and your fighter – as you battle to the death in Shao Khan and Shang Tsung’s elaborate tournaments.

These aren’t localized versions of the arcade games, or censored ones where you end up taking a sweat bath. No – they are the actual arcade games, right down to the introduction sequences (“Midway Presents” – who thought we would say that again?) and the cheesy character selection sequences. From there, every sprite, sound effect, and music beat is included and always a pleasure to listen to.

What’s more, the gameplay hasn’t changed a bit – which is both a good and a bad thing. No matter which character you select, you’ll pull off moves like a pro – preferably with a fighting stick or pad. You can even pause the game to learn fatalities and other special moves you may not know. Executing some of these will actually earn you some Achievements/Trophies, so it doesn’t hurt to toy around with them.

Now, we mentioned this is also a bad thing. That’s because the AI is as cheap as it’s ever been – ESPECIALLY in Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3. Enemies will read your moves from a mile away, countering you with quick kicks when you come diving in, or countering your projectile with one quick one of their own. Sonya in particular is a cheap bitch, one who will knock you to the ground, then grab you with her legs and hurl you around. Even on the easiest setting, you’re going to be someone’s crash test dummy.

In that case, you would think that multiplayer would be a plus. Locally, it is. Picking your games and taking on a friend in the living room is a blood-spurting delight, as you pound away at each other and try to develop win streaks. It’s more fun trying to smack a friend around than the cheap AI, as you actually stand a better chance of winning a match than throwing cheap punches, kicks, and sweeps.

However, the fun is limited to local. The online experience of Mortal Kombat Arcade Kollection is limited, mostly due to the fact there’s so much lag throughout the entire game. No matter which one you choose, the matches run slow, to the point that you might wonder if something’s up with your system. There are leaderboards, but they’re pointless since scores don’t really tie together so well. Also, you can’t automatically join a game on someone’s invite if you’re in another game. You have to quit, jump out, and manually go to that game. By then, the opponent may have lost interest.

WB Games would be wise to patch up the online multiplayer, as it would be a huge part to keeping this game from losing popularity. As a local fighting favorite, it’s great, but against the likes of Street Fighter III 3rd Strike Online Edition and its super-speedy, lag-free presentation, it simply eats that game’s dust.

Overall, though its online component is busted and the games themselves don’t quite match up to the new Mortal Kombat, Arcade Kollection is a somewhat decent value for ten bucks. With three pieces of arcade history (well, two and a really questionable sequel, UMK 3) your fighting skills will be tested to their core. Plus, they’re great with friends. Definitely invest if you like having local fighting parties, but proceed with caution otherwise. If you don’t, it’s your funeral. No, literally, it is.

Good

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Robert Workman
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