Monday, September 5, 2011

Save Your Pennies: Mortal Kombat Arcade Kollection Review

Mortal Kombat fans have been waiting years to see the original trilogy released on the current generation of systems. They may want to hold their breaths a little while longer, though.  The recently released Mortal Kombat Arcade Kollection has got some major baggage.

Earlier this Spring, I got my first up-close look at the recent Mortal Kombat reboot.  The game had a large presence at PAX East 2011, including a huge logo banner hung from the ceiling, and a NetherRealm employee showing off the fatalities on a giant 3D TV.  After challenging, and beating, Rock to a 3 round bloodfest atop a reimagined Pit II, I was sold.

Mortal Kombat released in May, and has been one of the few games I've bought in its week of release this year.  I had a lot of fun with it, and it included a phenomenal amount of depth and extras that you rarely find in a fighting game.  It also features every single character from Mortal Kombat 1, 2, and 3. You know, the good ones. The ones you care about.

This past week, in what seems like a bizarre case of delayed promotion for the new Mortal Kombat, Warner Bros. has rereleased those 3 classics in The Mortal Kombat Arcade Kollection.  I can only assume that this was meant to launch in the weeks leading up to MK's release earlier this year, and was delayed for some reason.

The Kollection should be a MK fan's dream come true, but unfortunately falls short in almost every conceivable way.  The menu screen features nice rotating views of the arcade cabinets for Mortal Kombat, Mortal Kombat II, and Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3.  It's a shame however, that there is no sort of history provided for the games, beyond tiny trivia bits in the loading screens.

Once you launch one of the titles, there are no load times, and the games themselves are billed as being "arcade perfect" ports.  It's a shame then, that there are such annoying things as audio hiccups, de-syncs, and downright replacement sound files in some cases.  Other annoying oversights players have come across include characters such as Human Smoke being unable to be unlocked, and achievements not unlocking in the XBLA version.

From a gameplay perspective, things are alright. The D-pad on 360 controllers can be a bit touchy, though, more so than the new MK. All the characters, backgrounds, and special moves appear as you remember them, with some filters provided for smoothing out the jagged edges, if you're into that sort of thing. Truth be told, these are merely prettied up ROM dumps, and you probably already know if you're into these games or not.

From all reports, the online system is downright broken.  The only game people seem to be having any luck with online is Mortal Kombat 1, and that game is almost unenjoyably outdated at this point.  Word on the street is that there is a patch in the works, and hopefully that will address some of these concerns.

These games revolutionized a lot in the world of video games. The ESRB was created out of concerns of their life-like violence, major Hollywood movies were spun off, and the series has continued to include 9 major releases, up to the rebooted Mortal Kombat.  It's a shame that more time wasn't invested into these classics, and I cannot recommend this purchase to anyone at this time. Truth be told, you're better off downloading the ROMS for MAME emulators, and saving the $10.  Once this patch is released, the Arcade Kollection might be worth a second look, but for now I'd tell you to vote with your wallets and hold off on your purchase.

Original Games: 4/5
Arcade Kollection, as of this writing: 2/5

Christopher Linendoll once owned the 32x version of Mortal Kombat II.  Good times.


  1. Shame about this collection, although I was never the biggest of MK fans (grew up on the Street Fighter 2), it would have been nice to see the trilogy available to the younger generations.

  2. Down with mk! Long live street fighter!

  3. I have never performed a single fatality. Not once...

  4. Fatalities are the true reason to play.

    Unfortunately I forgot all of them from the olde Genesis days

  5. YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!