Developer: Probe Software
Genre: Arcade Beat ’em up
Release Date: 1993
Publisher: Virgin Interactive
Copyright: Midway/Acclaim Entertainment
Ah, Mortal Kombat. What self respecting 12 year old doesn’t crave gore, violence and fatalities in their gaming experience, and even if you didn’t, the much cooler looking ‘K’ in combat would have sold it to you.
Created by Ed Boon and John Tobias, Mortal Kombat was released for the Amiga by Midway and Probe Software after being converted from its much more successful and shinier looking arcade counterpart. For me it was the fighting game of choice on the Amiga (although not difficult considering the competition of the poor excuse for a conversion that was Street Fighter II) and although favourable, other fighter attempts such as Body Blows and Body Blows Galactic still didn’t quite do it for me.
Although MK lost some of its shine on the transfer to the Amiga it lost none of its excellent game play experience, introducing gamers to fatalities, a selection of unique finishing moves which provided high levels of blood and gore. My original big box version even carries a 15 rating sticker, although its so small I think they hoped no-one would really notice and would buy it anyway.
The scenario is the usual caper, an array of fighters from various backgrounds and martial arts abilities compete for their lives against a greater foe, in this case Shang Tsung. All combatants have their own back stories and reasons for being there. You begin by selecting your fighter to start (Scorpion or Johnny Cage for me) and work your way up the tournament ladder, fighting the other characters, as well as yourself, endurance rounds and finally the bosses. There are also mini games in between certain bouts, where you attempt to break the joystick by wiggling it frantically from side to side in order to break through a number of materials to prove your strength, working up from wood to diamond.
In all honesty, I was impressed with the graphics when I first saw them (ah, impressionable youth) and they were very different to what I had seen from Street Fighter II. The characters were developed with digitised sprites based on actors, as opposed to the more ‘cartoony’ graphics in the aforementioned Street Fighter series. Seeing how they digitised the actors was awesome and very interesting, something I think I saw in an episode of Bad Influence, and really impressed. Since seeing the arcade version I can of course make a more informed judgement on the graphics, the arcade characters are beautifully animated but the Amiga version seems to have lost some of that shine, and looking closely edges are poorly drawn and seem rushed in places.
I love the sounds and music for this game, right from the usual sound effects of martial arts combat (someone smashing a water melon with a sledge hammer) to the eerie yet funky background and menu music. The effects and music increase the tension and atmosphere and certainly bring the characters to life. I don’t usually go for game related music, but I don’t deny there are some classic tunes out there based on them, and the Mortal Kombat theme is one of them I like listening to, so much I even have the track on my iPod (check it out below) I just like listening to how they managed to fit all those names into some sort of… song?
Playing this game again certainly brought back some good memories, and although the controls are nowhere near as easy to use on the one button joystick compared to a joy pad it was fun learning them all again. Another slight nitpick is that the characters all share the basic punches and kicks, but they do each have unique specials and fatalities. The single player game is good but nothing ever compares to 2 player, and I certainly never grow tired of Scorpion’s “get over here” and uppercut combo. I always remember to keep an eye out for the shape flying across the moon on the bridge level and recall finding Reptile for the first time. I think I even found Reptile harder to beat than Goro and Shang Tsung.
A great game all round and a highly successful series of games which followed, Mortal Kombat II introduced some awesome new characters and made some vast improvements to the game over its predecessor. Pretty good conversion as far as the Amiga goes, but considering the poor competition of Street Fighter II and Body Blows this easily comes top.
Check out some of the reviews below from back in the day.
Amiga Format 55 (January 1994) 74%
Amiga Power 33 (January 1994) 86%
CU Amiga (December 1993) 93%
And if you haven’t quite had enough yet check out the Amiga Longplay video below!
More Amiga Longplay videos can be found on YouTube and other Recorded Amiga games can be found here!