Ultimate Mortal Kombat Review - The Next Level

Game Profile

Nintendo DS
Release date:
November 12, 2007
Other Ocean Interactive
1 - 2

Ultimate Mortal Kombat

Not quite as ultimate as expected, but still pretty darn good.

Review by Andrew Calvin (Email)
January 17th 2008

Late last year, the DS saw a re-release of the mid-90s arcade fighter Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, combined with Puzzle Kombat--a less-than-stellar rip of Capcom's Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo. While far from the definitive Mortal Kombat experience, the addition of wireless play for both games is a plus. You can fight locally via single-card download play, though the character offerings are severely limited for UMK3, so it's recommended each player has a copy.

Let's start with the ugly. I could be missing something here, but Puzzle Kombat is uninspiring, and I'm left wondering what it's doing alongside UMK3. For players with even the slightest color-blindness, good luck differentiating some of the colors. I wish more puzzle games would take this into account, but I found it especially difficult (much more so than Super Puzzle Fighter). It was only compounded by the overall dark and muddy graphics of Puzzle Kombat. Blocks fall from the sky, and need to be removed with either breakers or bombs. Bombs remove all instances of a color, whether they are touching or not, and breakers only remove blocks that have been stacked together. Every once in a while, you'll fill up a super meter and unleash a character specific one. There are much better puzzlers out there and if this is your purpose for buying Ultimate Mortal Kombat, you may want to rethink the purchase.

While the series hasn't received the same critical attention in the tournament scene as its competitors, it is still considered a classic...

Mortal Kombat was a big deal when I was growing up. I remember the controversy over the blood while beating the first couple games to death on the Genesis. By the time Midway dropped UMK3 in arcades, the series had become a permanent fixture in pop culture. While the series hasn't received the same critical attention in the tournament scene as its competitors, it is still considered a classic for its digitized graphics, violence, and overall cheese factor.

Though I'm not an expert on the differences between this port and the original arcade version, it was a joy to revisit an old favorite. The top screen is used to list moves for the characters. It's simple, but it works really well and doesn't distract from the combat. The DS' button layout worked fine, with the exception of the L button, which is tough for those of us with bigger hands to use effectively. Thankfully, button configuration can be customized.

With both local and full wireless support, you can't go wrong having a portable version of Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3. It may not be the most technical or balanced fighter out there, but it's a lot of fun and very accessible. I just don't see Puzzle Kombat as a necessary addition. Overall, a solid offering and a great chance to revisit the 2D days of Mortal Kombat's crazy universe.

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