Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Portable 4 Kombat

Whenever I write about a terrible game that I've had since I was a kid, I always hope that the only reason I own it is because it was on clearance or something. Firmly in that category is Mortal Kombat 4 for the Game Boy Color. The real version of Mortal Kombat 4 is bad enough, but a portable version, that's just frightening. If that weren't enough, this one was ported by Digital Eclipse, a company with a shaky track record at best. I mean, they are the guys who ported Castlevania: Symphony of the Night to Xbox Live Arcade without realizing that the button config didn't work. Inside the case for this game, I found a ticket to the first The Matrix movie, so I'd like to think that I haven't touched this thing in over twelve years.


As you might expect, this game doesn't really do anything to recreate the console or arcade experience of playing Mortal Kombat 4. In fact, this version actually runs on the same engine as the Game Boy version of Mortal Kombat 3. All they did was throw in the MK4 characters and backgrounds, and they added some color. The problem with this engine is how slow and clunky, and it feels more like MK1 than MK3 or MK4. There is a punch button and a kick button, a couple of special moves and a fatality for each character. There is no blocking, running, or fun to be had.

The fatalities are terrible. Instead of drawing sprites for all the different fatalities, there is just a tiny boxed in cutscene in black and white that plays if you input the command. They are so small I'm surprised you don't see them as animated gifs as people's avatars on forums and stuff like that. Portable fighting games have always been terrible, except on the Neo Geo Pocket Color of course. It is weird to me that there are damn near arcade perfect ports on portable systems these days. Kids will never have to suffer through this or Mortal Kombat Advance ever again, or at least I hope so.

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