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Mortal Kombat 1 is amazing, but today we are looking at the original games on the 16-bit consoles

Mortal Kombat 1


Before Mortal Kombat 1

You were supposed to read that as if it were the dude from the classic Mortal Kombat commercial! Anyway, Mortal Kombat 1 is awesome, the story mode is fun, Invasion has a ton of potential and the online is fantastic…. Sure the Nintendo Switch port leaves a lot to be desired, but it was that port that was the inspiration for today’s article as we put the 16-bit Mortal Kombat games head to head.

Mortal Kombat 1 (The Original MK)

Mortal Monday at the time was one of the biggest gaming pushes of all time! People in 1993 were so excited for Mortal Kombat to come home, but there was a lot of controversy here. Mortal Kombat on the Super Nintendo would get rid of the blood and most of the fatalities whereas the 16-bit Sega Mega Drive/Genesis would keep all the blood and fatalities.

Side by side the Super Nintendo version of the original Mortal Komba 1 looks so much better. Bigger and clearer characters and far superior sound make you think it is the better version. The Sega version on the other hand has a kind of janky look about it and the sound is far from great. However, even with a three-button controller, the Sega version plays better and feels more responsive than the SNES version. Not to mention the fact that it does have all the blood (all be it with a code) and fatalities that Nintendo was far too morally superior to allow.

Mortal Kombat II

Boy did Nintendo learn their lesson from a year prior! The Sega version massively outsold the SNES version of Mortal Kombat, it was actually a system seller! For Mortal Kombat II, Nintendo stepped down off their soapbox made of smugness and moral superiority and allowed MKII to have all the blood and gore of the arcade. Regarded by many as the best in the original series, Mortal Kombat II improved on everything that the first game offered. In many ways, the tone that we have in Mortal Kombat 1 was established here.

The Sega version of Mortal Kombat II is fine and by the time it came out, Sega had a 6 button controller that made it even better. However, the SNES version of Mortal Kombat II has to be regarded as one of the best arcade conversions of the 16-bit era. The presentation is fantastic with clearly defined characters, most of the voice samples, and a crystal clear soundtrack. It played better than the first game too! Both games play very similar to each other, but the far superior presentation makes the SNES version the clear winner here. Although, if we take the 32X port, we may be having a different discussion!

Mortal Komba 3 & Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3

By the time Mortal Kombat 3 came home in 1995, we were moving into the new generation of gaming. Sony had managed to lock down Mortal Kombat 3 as a 32-bit exclusive not allowing it to be ported to the Saturn and it was a big hit for the Christmas season of 1995. Sega though, would get Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 the following year, a superior version of MK3. In 1995 and 1996, many gamers still were rocking an SNES and Mega Drive/Genesis and those consoles would get both versions of Mortal Kombat 3 as Sony’s exclusivity deal did not include those systems. It surely must have made those who dropped 60 or so bucks on Mortal Kombat 3 for the SNES or Mega Drive/Genesis a bit mad that an updated version came out so soon after!

While not the best in the trilogy, Mortal Kombat 3 did a lot of notable things. The amount of finishing moves was increased, and we got an established combat (sorry kombat) system and a run button. The 16-bit ports of Mortal Kombat 3 and Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 struggle. The games were so big cramming it all into a cartridge was clearly an issue. Like Mortal Kombat II, Mortal Kombat 3 and Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 look and sound better on the SNES, but the difference is not quite as drastic. What is though is the controls, by this point, MK3 really needed that 6-button controller as playing it with a 3-button one was a bit of a pain!

The original Mortal Kombat trilogy (well quartet if you count Ultimate as its very own game) are awesome games and it is interesting to look at how much the Nintendo Switch struggled with the presentation of Mortal Kombat 1 when during the 16-bit days it was Nintendo who were leading the way with their ports of Mortal Kombat in terms of how they looked.

Are you a lover of this trilogy games? Share with us your experience un the comments section below.

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