Review for Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 (iPhone, iPod Touch)
Wait... ultimate? Three? Where were the other versions I hear you cry! Or maybe I don't, perhaps you just assumed there had been millions of them like Street Fighter had spawned. Apparently, there were three original arcade games, and two updates for them, of which this is the second and last. Ported to many a console, this one has seen the rounds over the years, appearing on the Sega Mega Drive, Game Boy Advance and even Nintendo DS.
Unfamiliar with the genre? This is a classic fighting game, where two people (and in some cases monsters) fight in the best of three rounds to the death, though miraculously each is resurrected at the end of each round. You get to pick from a range of characters, all of which have some generic moves and specific abilities, all of them have the same health bar. Various moves reduce the opponent's health bar varying degrees, when it hits zero you win that round.
Street Fighter might be the most popular of this genre, and possibly the first to introduce multiple characters and moves, but Mortal Kombat brought in the idea of digitised animated graphics for the players, and finishing moves that let you rub your opponent's face into the soil, or in some cases removing it completely. Yes ladies and gentlephones, MK took the idea of violence and made it bloody, in a way that might look cartoony now but at the time caused an uproar and the odd court case to match.
And so EA Games brings this arcade classic to the iPhone and iPod Touch, so you can enjoy this classic fighter anywhere from the toilet to the train seat.
The game starts out by selecting a character from the choice of initially nine, with two presumably unlockable at a later date. Sub Zero might be your thing, or Scorpion could be more your bag, however for more flesh and arms it has to be Sheeva. Next choice is the difficulty level, which demands more characters to defeat to win the game, and probably makes them harder to defeat as well.
After that you get a random background arena to fight in, a quick introduction to your opponent and away you go. Kill your opponent twice and you move onto the next, lose twice and that's it, game over.
Unlike the original arcade game, the visuals are rendered in full 3D, which makes them much cleaner, crisper but ironically not the animation smoother. The audio sounds pretty much the same to me though. On a related note, I also think there were more choices in the original arcade machine as to who you can fight with.
Right, here we go, the downfall of many an iPhone conversion. You'd expect a game like MK which uses a joystick and six buttons to really fall down here. I've reviewed titles like R-Type in the past which were otherwise perfect until you had to control the thing. Often the problem is a mix of covering half the screen with your fingers, combined with not being able to accurately hit the right keys.
So I expected the worst here, and yet I was pleasantly surprised. Wow, a virtual joystick and many buttons can actually work on the iPhone. Perhaps this is due to the genre that it works, or the implementation, I don't really know, but it works plenty well enough to hit them like you mean it. How can this be, with six buttons and a joystick, how can this be, HOW!
Even more impressive, if you don't like the two default layouts, you can actually move all the buttons and the stick around to your own preference. Yes, you can stick them anywhere on the screen you fancy, how about that.
Alternative Game Modes
In addition to the traditional arcade mode, you also get a few other options to play around with. Survival is essentially and endless round after round battle against opponents where one loss is game over, and your health is not reset after each battle either. Whilst Shao Karnage gives you 99 seconds against Shao Kahn where you must inflict as much damage as possible. Good for a laugh I guess.
I wish I could test this, but alas no friends nearby with the game to try against. Anyhow if you have a willing opponent nearby, you can see them on the old wireless and compete against each other using any characters you like.
For the bargain price of 59p this really is a must buy for fans of fighting games, the controls are amazingly good considering it must use a touch screen interface, they don't get in the way at all. I know, you can't bash them as hard as a real arcade machine, but hay you can't carry one of those easily around with you, certainly not in your pocket.
With the only real alternative being the incredibly over priced Capcom port of Street Fighter IV, this deserves a very high spot in the iPhone charts, and certainly the top spot for the genre at the time of writing.
- Nice 3D characters
- Very close to the arcade original
- Supports Retina display
- Supports instant switching (multi-tasking)
- Multi-player via wireless
- Poor menus
- Loading screens a bit annoying