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Page 1:
Introduction
Characters

Page 2:
Mortal Kombat
Mortal Kombat 2

Page 3:
Mortal Kombat 3
Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 Mortal Kombat Trilogy

Page 4:
Mortal Kombat 4
Mythologies: Sub-Zero
Special Forces

Page 5:
Deadly Alliance
Deception

Page 6:
Shaolin Monks
Armageddon

Page 7:
MK vs DC Universe
Mortal Kombat (2011)

Page 8:
Mortal Kombat X

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Shows
Movies
Comics

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Mortal Kombat 4 / Mortal Kombat Gold - Arcade, PlayStation, Nintendo 64, Windows, Game Boy Color, Dreamcast (1997)

Arcade Flyer

Windows Cover

PlayStation Cover

Game Boy Color Cover

By the tail end of the 1990s, 3D fighting games were slowly but surely taking their place above the 2D games of old. Games like Tekken and Virtua Fighter were equally hot in the arcades and on consoles. While Capcom and SNK were far from abandoning 2D just yet, they gave a few attempts at 3D themselves. Some of these, like Rival Schools and Street Fighter EX, worked well enough, while others, like Fatal Fury: Wild Ambition weren't as well recieved. Midway had already failed once with an attempt to bring the classic MK gameplay to the third dimension with War Gods, a game that put MK mechanics into an entirely new universe. But with a brand new MK that would make use of 3D hardware, maybe they'd be able to turn things around? The short answer would be no. The long answer would be no, because they just took MK3 and slapped a 3D engine over it. Tired of MK3's gameplay mechanics? So was everybody else, as it turned out. Sure, there's a couple of new mechanics in there, but they don't actually work well enough, and the underlying gameplay is nearly unchanged from Mortal Kombat 3. The shark, ladies and gentlemen, has officially been jumped.

Shao Kahn has been deposed (although he's far, far from actually being dead), and for once it seems like Earthrealm is about to have some peace and quiet. That is, until the evil necromancer Quan Chi shows up and releases the fallen elder god Shinnok from his imprisonment in the Netherrealm. Now, with the help of Quan Chi, he's killed off most of the elder gods and is planning an assault on the realms. With a new threat for the warriors to face, the only way to save the realms is of course to have a bunch of people dismember each other until they run into Shinnok. The tone has taken a much darker turn since MK3, with the series returning to its Asian mythology roots. MK3 wasn't exactly lighthearted, with the plot dealing with the near extinction of the human race, but this time around, the whole thing feels a lot more gritty and brutal than usual.

The character roster is an equal mix of new and returning characters, with Johnny Cage and Raiden returning from their absence from the arcades. But not all of the "new" faces are really all that new. The thing is, Midway decided there weren't enough new characters, so they just took some of the older characters and reskinned them into somebody else. With some it's a little more subtle, but with others, it's extremely obvious.

The basic fighting mechanics from MK3 still apply here. You've still got the run meter, along with the chain combos. But if you do too much damage with one combo, the words 'MAXIMUM DAMAGE' now appear on the screen, and you and your opponent get sent flying away from each other. That's... a rather interesting solution to the problem so many developers of fighting games face to stop infinite combos from happening. The 3D barely even factors into actual gameplay at all. You can side-step in either direction by double tapping Run, but it only makes your fighter step about an inch to the side, and you can only do it once every three seconds or so. It's essentially worthless except for dodging the occasional projectile.

There's also a new kind of throw done by hitting forward and Low Kick next to an opponent, which will usually involve your character break your opponent's bones. This looks especially silly when you do it with Scorpion, who snaps his opponent's arm before they calmly sling it back into place. Tanya and Reptile go as far as to snap the opponent's neck, doing only a small chunk of damage as it twists back to normal. Certain arenas also have objects lying around, like severed heads or rocks, and you can chuck them at your opponent by hitting down and Run over them. It's too tempting to spam this constant, because the throw comes out extremely fast and inflicts a pretty big chunk of damage. It's a very useful, if unfair tactic, to win fights by just chucking stuff at your opponent.

There's also a new feature where every character has a unique weapon they can pull out through a special input. A lot of characters in the earlier games already had weapons of some sort, but in those, they were mostly used in special moves and combos. Usually, these will have nothing to do with the character. Jax, the military guy with the metal arms, for example, pulls out... a wooden club. Don't expect weapon combat with the depth of Samurai Shodown or Soul Edge, either. Sure, holding a weapon gives you some different attacks, and some weapons have a special move that only works while wielding them, but they're still not that interesting. They do, however, have the potential to be very broken, as most weapons have some kind of move that's easy to spam over and over - especially Fujin, who gets a crossbow that lets him fire off projectiles with just the press of a button. It only takes a single hit, however, to knock a weapon out of a character's hand, giving the other player a chance to pick it up.

With the darker tone the game's taken since MK3, the only remaining finishing moves are good old-fashioned Fatalities. Most for the returning cast are just 3D versions of their MK1 and 2 Fatalities. Sadly, since the animation tends to be so stilted, they kind of end up looking stupid, anyway. Even Scorpion's classic Toasty Fatality is lame here, because the opponent just kind of wanders around in circles with their arms up in the air for a few moments, before eventually falling over. One of Quan Chi's Fatalities, however, is worth seeing at least once. He rips one of the opponent's legs off, and starts to beat them with it. And beat them, and beat them, still going at it by the time the screen fades out.

The single player mode has taken a big step back from UMK3, although you still get the choice of which tower you want to tackle. The Endurace Mode is gone entirely, and if you're playing the arcade version, you don't even get any kind of sub-boss to fight. And Shinnok is barely a boss in any sense of the word. Sure, this is hardly the only time a fighting game used a playable character as a final opponent, but at least there they would power them up or boost their AI to make them more of a challenge. Shinnok, however, can't do anything that anybody actually playing as him couldn't do. Shao Kahn might have been a cheap bastard, sure, but he had mystery to him, a feeling of power you'd never have (unless you bought Trilogy, but still). Shinnok, on the other hand, is right there on the character select screen from the get-go.

For your efforts, you no longer get the standard still image and text of the earlier MK games, but a fully animated 3D cutscene. This would sound exciting, if they weren't all written as badly as they were animated. Pretty much every ending has some kind of unintentionally silly moment that kills the drama entirely. You've got Sub-Zero doing what sounds like an awful Schwarzenegger impression, or his disinterested mumbling of "Arright" in response to Scorpion forgiving him for his murder. The absolute highlight, though, would have to be Jax's. Well, technically, it's the same ending that Sonya and Jarek get, except, for whatever reason, only Jax's version of the ending actually shows the whole thing.

So, Jarek has just pulled Sonya off a cliff to her death. He starts to walk away, before Jax grabs him by the throat and dangles him over the edge. "Going somewhere, Jarek?" Jax grunts. "Jax! I thought you were going to..." begins Jarek. "Thought I was what?" Jax responds, misunderstanding Jarek's question completely. "Dead? Like my partner you just tossed off a cliff?" he asks, in a tone that sounds more like he's upset that Jarek just ate his sandwich. "I'm... I'm sorry, Jax," says Jarek. "Please. Don't drop me. Wait. I promise..." "Too late, Jarek!" Jax interrupts. "You can't drop me," Jarek explains. "You have to uphold the law. You have to arrest me. Wait! Wait! This is brutality! You can't do it." "Wrong, Jarek," Jax corrects. "This is not a Brutality." And as the stinger that plays when somebody's about to get finished plays, he adds "This is a Fatality." And so Jax drops Jarek to his death, with him screaming what sounds like "You're so gay!" on the way down. Not every ending is quite to that level of masterful writing, thankfully, but that's generally about what you can expect.

On the other hand, when you're not so lucky, you won't get the standard continue screen of the last three games. Instead, you get to watch as your fighter tumbles down a seemingly endless well. If you insert enough credits, you end up back at the character select screen. It's not actually explained how your character escapes, although a giant trampoline is probably involved. If you don't put in enough credits, however, your character will plummet onto the sharp spikes at the bottom of the well. It's a pretty nice touch, and a decent enough consolation for there not being any sort of "Pit" stage in this game.

The actual stages aren't all that interesting, and they're all little more than flat rectangles. It is nice to see Goro's Lair and the Living Forest again, even if they're honestly much harder to look at in 3D. There are no ring outs or any other kind of environmental interaction besides the random objects lying around, although there's still a couple of stage Fatalities to use on your defeated opponents. One of them has a giant fan spinning continuously in the background, which you can chuck your opponent into at the end of the match.

Compared to how games like Tekken, or, for a fairer comparison, Street Fighter EX looked at the time, MK4 is not an especially pretty game. The animation's rather stilted and jerky, apparently because the animators felt that smoother animation would give the game too much of a different feel from the earlier MKs. Well, they certainly managed to avoid that, at the cost of everything being animated really poorly. One advantage, however, is that this is the first MK game to have alternate costumes. Most of these are just recolors, but there's some interesting ones in there, like Johnny Cage getting a James Bond-esque tuxedo. Soundwise, there's even more gibberish the characters shout this time around, instead of it just being quarantined to Raiden. It gets especially silly when they yell out things that sound like "Oh I'm gonna throw you over there" while performing a throw. Or Shinnok stomping on somebody's face, causing them to scream out "Ahhhh, my leg!"

Mortal Kombat 4 was the point when the series was taking a hard turn for the worse, and if you've already played UMK3, there's hardly anything worth seeing here. The 3D doesn't make the game look or play any better, and the new characters that aren't just reskins are pretty lame. If you compare this to nearly any decent 3D fighting game of the time, it's going to get trounced in every way. The good news is this is the final time we're going to see the aging MK3 engine, even if what we're going to end up with won't be that much of an improvement.

MK4 was released during a time when gamers wanted more out of their arcade ports. Rival Schools came with a separate disc with new modes and mini games, while other console releases typically came with new characters. The home ports of MK4, on the other hand, can't quite reach that level of effort. While the home ports manage to keep the smooth frame rate of the arcade, the quality of the models and backgrounds suffer, which doesn't make the game look any better compared to any other 3D fighter. There's a new set of alternate costumes and a new arena, but the most noteworthy inclusion is the return of Goro, who serves as the sub-boss before Shinnok. There's also a way to play as him, along with Noob Saibot. Besides that, you get the standard fighting game modes of Tournament (which was missing in the arcade version), a survival mode, and a team battle mode. There's also a basic training mode, the first time the series would get one. For whatever reason, while the ports have a move list, this is the only time the game will let you look at them. Thanks, Midway! Very convenient! The N64 and CD versions are mostly identical, only the CD versions uses FMV for the cinematics, while the 64 version just uses the in-engine cinematics of the arcade version. Unfortunately, given that this is late 90s CGI we're dealing with, the FMV cinematics aren't all that much of an improvement.

The Game Boy Color version is absolutely atrocious in every way. It's basically just a reskin of the Game Boy's MK3 port, with some of the MK4 cast slapped onto it. It has all the issues MK3's port did, and the extra color somehow makes the game much uglier. There's only about two songs in the game, with one of them basically being a random collection of notes, while the other is a constant drone. It does, however, have some impressive digitized speech for the Game Boy color. This port also advertises "FMV Fatalities," but all these do is make a horribly grainy video play in a tiny box. There's pretty much not a single Fatality in the game where you can tell who's doing the Fatality, or what they're even doing at all.

Mortal Kombat Gold Cover

About a year after the release of the home ports, an enhanced version came out on the Dreamcast, renamed Mortal Kombat Gold. Cyrax, Sektor, Kung Lao, Baraka, Kitana, and Mileena have been added back into the roster, and they all have the moves and Fatalities of their MK3 incarnation (or Trilogy, in the case of Baraka). And yes, Baraka can pull out a weapon, just like everybody else. That's right, the guy with the giant blades sticking out of his arms needs an axe now. Apparently there was also supposed to be a new character named Bellok, but he got cut due to time constraints.

The problem with this version is that it's apparently chock full of bugs, glitches, and things that make the entire system crash. It got so bad that an entirely new revision had to be released, and not even that could fix all the issues. This version's probably best avoided unless you really love the MK3 cast. And even if you do, there's so many fighting games that are worlds beyond MK4, so why would anybody even want this?

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Mortal Kombat 4 (PlayStation)

Mortal Kombat 4 (PlayStation)

Mortal Kombat 4 (PlayStation)

Mortal Kombat 4 (PlayStation)

Mortal Kombat 4 (PlayStation)

Mortal Kombat 4 (PlayStation)

Mortal Kombat 4 (PlayStation)

Mortal Kombat Gold (Dreamcast)

Mortal Kombat Gold (Dreamcast)

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Comparison Screenshots


Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero - PlayStation, Nintendo 64 (1997)

Nintendo 64 Cover

Fighting game spin-offs are honestly a great idea, in theory. You have developers who build up these universes with a diverse cast of characters, each with their own personalities and goals. It would only make sense to have a game about what the characters do outside of the ring. But sadly, it's an idea that hardly ever works in practice, with games like Street Fighter 2010 and Death By Degrees proving that fact. Mortal Kombat: Mythologies was actually meant to serve as a prequel to the series and to hype players up for MK4, which was released in arcades around the same time. Sadly, however, it doesn't succeed well at doing either.

A couple of years before the events of the first game, a mysterious sorcerer known as Quan Chi hires the Lin Kuei to steal an amulet for him. Since Sub-Zero is the best guy they have, they send him into the Shaolin temple where the map leading to the amulet is held. Quan Chi is also smart enough to hire (the currently alive) Scorpion, in case Sub-Zero happens to screw up. A few stages later, Sub-Zero manages to get to the Temple of the Elements, where the amulet is held. When he reaches the relic, Quan Chi shows up, steals it and explains that it's actually the power source for the fallen elder god Shinnok. Raiden is not at all happy about this, and sends Sub-Zero into the Netherrealm to go get it back before Shinnok can escape. Surely this little mistake of his won't have far-reaching consequences, right?

On a side note, there's something a little strange about one of the levels, the Prison of Souls. Raiden makes Sub-Zero go into the Netherrealm to chase after Quan Chi, and the prison is where he ends up. The thing about the Prison of Souls, however, is that the name isn't trying to be poetic. It's an actual prison. With spotlights, steel walkways, force fields, key cards, and guards that shoot lasers out of their staffs. The last time we saw the Netherrealm was in Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, where it was just the standard fire and brimstone depiction of Hell. Either this is a more developed part of the Netherrealm that nobody's ever bothered visiting again afterwards, or Midway just quietly retconned it out of existence, which is the more likely theory.

So, how does the actual game play? Imagine this: a sidescrolling action game, one that would involve precision platforming and the need for careful controls. All right, now imagine it uses more or less the exact same control setup as MK3. If you don't go run screaming from this article yet, you might be fit to play this. 'Might' being the key word here. To be fair, they did some minor changes to the controls, mostly so Sub-Zero actually has a little more air control than in the fighting games. What's more annoying is that there's a specific button needed to make Sub-Zero turn around, so if you end up getting trapped between two guys, you're going to be in trouble. Actually fighting opponents works just like it did in the MK games, with attacks like the sweeps, uppercuts, and throws being done the same way.

Since this is a prequel, Sub-Zero isn't quite as powerful he was in the original MK. All he starts the game off with are his basic moves and a couple of chain combos. He's also able to perform his classic spine rip after defeating certain bosses, which has minor effects on the plot depending on who is killed with it. The differences are only minor, though, since you'll get the same ending either way. If you perform a Fatality on Scorpion, who at this point is still alive, he'll show up in specter form later in the game for a rematch. If you don't, however, Scorpion apparently gives up and goes home, and you'll get a cutscene with Shinnok at the point Scorpion would have shown up if you killed him.

Although Subby's move set starts kind of limited, beating on people will earn him experience, and whenever he reaches a certain threshold, he unlocks a new move. However, you can only get so much experience on each stage. Sub-Zero goes from the classic staples like the ice ball and slide, before he becomes able to throw his ice in multiple directions and in the air. There's nine different powers in total, with the final ability letting him freeze every mook on the screen at once. Unlike the MK games, however, his use of powers is limited by the "ice" meter, which recharges slowly over time and with the use of items. Sub-Zero can also climb onto ropes, the animation for which is especially awkward. Have you ever seen anybody climb a rope without using their lower body at all? You will now. Sub-Zero can also grab onto ledges, and given that you'll be doing a lot of platforming with Mortal Kombat controls, you'll be very, very thankful you can do this.

There's an inventory to hold all the stuff you find, as limited as it is in practice. Most of the items you pick up are keys or some other things you need to progress. There's also other power-ups that do things like restoring Sub-Zero's health and ice, boost his damage or defense, or things like that. But he can only hold so many items, and key items will take up the same inventory slots as the power-ups. So if you need to pick up an important item, but you're full of other power-ups, too bad, you have to use one of them. Weirdly enough, there's an option to "combine" items, but this only works with an item that increases the effect of your healing items, and absolutely nothing else. A holdover from an idea that didn't quite pan out, possibly?

The problem with the game is that neither the combat nor the platforming actually work. For the platforming, imagine a Prince of Persia mod made by an insane person. There's traps and pits on pretty much every single screen, and a good portion of these will instantly kill Sub-Zero if he gets caught by them. Even on the first level, you have to deal with crushing pillars that end Sub-Zero at once if he walks under them, forcing you to do a sweep under each one so you can cross safely. The good news is that unlike most games, the traps will kill enemies, too, but if there are enemies around, they'll probably just knock you into a trap themselves. And of course, there's all the precision platforming you have to do, with every jump timed perfectly. Miss one, and you die and get sent back to the last checkpoint, which isn't much fun at all given how far apart they can be. When you're not dealing with the multitude of traps and pitfalls, you have to scour the level for keys and switches that open even more traps and pitfalls for you to avoid.

The enemies are just as much of a pain. Even the standard mooks can take off about half your life in just a few hits. The only real way to win a fight without taking too much damage is to try to freeze every mook you come across, run up to them, and unleash your biggest chain combo. As you go further into the game, the mooks start increasing in annoyance factor. By the third level, you have to deal with Shaolin monks who float around, teleport, zap you with lightning whenever you get close, and can only be killed by freezing them while they teleport. There's not that much enemy variety, either, since you spend five of the eight stages fighting Shaolin monks. Sure, some of them have weapons, some float around, and some have super speed, but some more variation between all the mooks would have been nice. You can actually skip fighting most of the enemies just by running away from them, but this generally isn't a good idea since you'll want their experience.

The boss fights are decent, even if some of them will end up being a major pain if you don't have a guide handy. The first fight against Scorpion isn't very difficult, since he doesn't use any of his special moves against you. By the time you reach Fujin, however, things get way harder. What's especially nasty is that once you manage to figure out his pattern and beat him, the game throws yet another trap at you, where he creates a cyclone and tries to suck you in. If you don't already know to run to the edge of his arena and grab it to be safe, you better be ready to fight him all over again. There's also a point where Sub-Zero has to fight a guard riding a fire-breathing dinosaur. No explanation, no context. There's just a dinosaur, and Sub-Zero has to fight it, because it's in his way.

The graphics are an odd mix of 2D sprites and 3D level geometry, sort of like how Klonoa handled it, except with more spine ripping. While all the action happens on a 2D plane, there's the occasional bit of camera trickery, like having the camera zoom out or in at certain points. The levels do look nice, even if the geometry can get pretty blocky, given that this is PS1 hardware we're dealing with. Some of the larger bosses are also done as 3D models. At the very least, Midway put enough effort to record new sprites for Sub-Zero, as well as the mooks that he has to fight. There's a very subtle effect that makes the lighting in the room actually affect the character sprites, which is a small detail, but it's nice that they made the extra effort, at least.

The cutscenes are done with FMV, using live actors on a greenscreened backdrop. Neither the acting nor the effects in these are great, since Rich Divizio as Quan Chi spends every scene he's in chewing the scenery as hard as possible. Sub-Zero, on the other hand, is pernamently set to 'angry.' The best part of the cutscenes would have to be the outtakes you can unlock. To get these, you have to get all the way to the final battle with Shinnok. After performing the sequence of moves you need to do to steal his amulet, he becomes a demon. At this point, if you escape through the portal that opens up, you'll get the standard ending. Find a way to kill him in demon form, however, and you get the extra scenes after the credits. Here, you get to watch the actors goof around, flub their lines, and overact even harder than in the actual cutscenes. It's obivous that they're at least having a great time, given how often they bust out into laughter in the middle of their lines.

For your own sanity, Mythologies is best given a wide, wide berth. There's pretty much nothing you wouldn't see by just watching a longplay, and you'll be saving yourself an unimaginable amount of frustration. Sure, getting backstory on the MK universe is nice, and so is the concept of an MK-themed action adventure. But actually playing it will lead to more frustration than anybody but the most expert game players can handle. There's something so close to being a good idea in there, but with the insane difficulty and weird controls, you'd be better off avoiding it. This wouldn't be the last time a Mortal Kombat action game would be made, and it only gets worse from here.

The only major difference between the PS1 and N64 versions of the game is that while the PS1 version uses FMV, the N64 version uses still images and text to tell its story. The choice lies entirely in your ability to sustain gratitious amounts of live action FMV. Consult your doctor beforehand.

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Mortal Kombat Mythologies (PlayStation)

Mortal Kombat Mythologies (PlayStation)

Mortal Kombat Mythologies (PlayStation)

Mortal Kombat Mythologies (PlayStation)

Mortal Kombat Mythologies (PlayStation)

Mortal Kombat Mythologies (PlayStation)

Mortal Kombat Mythologies (PlayStation)

Mortal Kombat Mythologies (PlayStation)


Mortal Kombat: Special Forces - PlayStation (2000)

Cover

So, Mythologies apparently did well enough as advertisement for MK4, even if it wasn't all that great of an action game. Midway, however, decided that another attempt at the action adventure genre was due. This game, however, would move away from the more mystical setting of Mytholigies and give it more of a modern feel. And the best character for this rather untouched part of the Mortal Kombat mythos would be Jax. Unfortunately, however, Special Forces would turn out to be worse than Mythologies in several ways, not the least because most of the people working on it up and left in the middle of development.

This game is another prequel, taking place some time even before Mythologies. However, Jax has his metal arms from Mortal Kombat 3 because... er, let's just say that Quan Chi did it. Somewhere at a Special Forces prison, Kano shows up and breaks out members of his Black Dragon gang. They all hole up in an abandoned warehouse, and when the military is sent in to try and recapture them, they all get blown up. Kano, as it turns out, freed the Black Dragon members as distractions so he could steal a magical artifact called the Eye of Chitian. After dealing with Kano's thugs, Jax follows Kano to Outworld, beats him up and uses the eye to create a portal back to Earthrealm. That's honestly pretty much all there is to the plot, except for the fact that Jax has been made into some kind of Blaxploitation hero, spouting out cringeworthy bad lines like "You want some fries with that whoopass?" Even though she was originally intended to be a second playable character, Sonya doesn't make a single appearance, another casualty from the game's rather rushed development. Instead, Jax gets a lady by the name of Gemini as his Mission Control, who doesn't really do much besides awkwardly flirt with our hero.

Instead of using the 2.5D plane from Mythologies, Special Forces opts for a more open 3D environment, with the camera placed just above Jax; sort of like Metal Gear Solid, if it was really awful. Unlike Sub-Zero, Jax can't jump at all, which instantly eliminates any need for jumping puzzles. So that's one way this game beats out Mythologies already. The four face buttons are used for punches and kicks, with the standard block button being used to guard against enemy attacks. By holding the L1 button, you can go into a first person view and look around the environment. There's also a "turbo" button, which lets Jax perform special moves in combination with one of the face buttons. Jax can do a ground pound or a charging punch, in either weak or strong varieties. Your use of special moves is limited by an energy meter, which recharges whenever you hit people.

Just like Sub-Zero in Mythologies, Jax gets experience whenever he kills an enemy, although it's no longer limited to what level you're currently on. When your experience reaches a certain threshold, Jax learns a new combo, which tend to have names like 'Git Some Sucka' or 'Takin Out The Trash.' As you get further into the game, the combos get longer, with some of them ending in Fatalities if you manage to pull off the final hits at the same time you kill an enemy. There's also still an inventory system for stuff like medkits, keycards (at least keycards make some sense here) and your guns. That's right, it's a Mortal Kombat game where you can just pull out a machine gun and shoot people to death. Stryker would be proud.

There's a few different firearms you'll find over the course of the game, starting off with a machine gun, to sniper rifles, to shotguns, eventually ending with rocket and grenade launchers. Every weapon has a limited supply of ammo, so if you run low, you'll have to scour the level for ammo pickups. Jax can pull out or holster his weapon with the L2 button, and when it's out, he generally aims automatically at whatever enemies are around as long as he's facing them. You can also use the look mode for a first-person aiming mode, which lets you do headshots with the sniper rifle if you aim it right. Unfortunately, using the zoom on the sniper rifle doesn't actually effect the draw distance at all, which makes it less than useful if you're trying to shoot a far away target. In general, the guns are best used on the more powerful mooks, the bosses, or anybody you generally don't want to get very close to.

The bosses are pretty lame, and you'll come across such fearsome foes as a ninja girl with swords, a brown ninja, Jarek, and a guy with a flamethrower named No-Face. Which isn't even a very accurate name, since he very much does have a face, just no nose or ears.

While the game's thankfully cut down on the instant death traps from Mythologies, the amount of wandering you'll have to do has been multiplied tenfold. Every level involves wandering around aimlessly, trying to find whatever keycard or switch you need to actually get further in the level. The game doesn't give you any sort of map or indication on what you're supposed to be doing besides your level objective, so the only way to progress if you don't have a walkthrough is run around the map until you find whatever items you need to go on. The game's nice enough to generally not respawn the enemies you kill, but that just means you end up walking around an empty level looking for something to do. It's especially silly when you get to the sewer level, where you have to figure out a security code by looking at riddles on computer monitors. In a sewer. It should also be mentioned that this is the second stage out of five.

Even that would almost be forgivable if the difficulty wasn't so uneven. The standard mooks aren't so tough, since all you have to do is walk up to them and spam your biggest combo until they fall over. When you start getting to the guys with the machine guns, however, the game basically drops any pretense of not hating you. These guys will shoot at Jax from insane distances, blasting his health away before he can even reach them. You can't block their bullets, either, even though you'd think that giant metal arms would be actually useful for something like that. Medkits are reasonably common, but the guys with machine guns are so common that you'll end up blowing through them in short order. Also, the game gives you three lives and no continues. So if you've made a save game with no lives left, you better hope that you can beat the rest of the game without dying.

So, Special Forces is best avoided by running screaming in the opposite direction. It fails at pretty much everything it tried to do. It doesn't do anything to add to the MK universe like Mythologies tried to, it's a terrible shooter, and it's not any better as a fighting game. It was more or less destroyed in reviews and forgotten on release, and it's no surprise in the slightest. About the only idea that survived from this game is that Jax would use a machine gun as a special move starting from Deadly Alliance.

Quick Info:

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  • John Walsh

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Mortal Kombat: Special Forces (PlayStation)

Mortal Kombat: Special Forces (PlayStation)

Mortal Kombat: Special Forces (PlayStation)

Mortal Kombat: Special Forces (PlayStation)

Mortal Kombat: Special Forces (PlayStation)


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Mortal Kombat 2

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Mortal Kombat 3
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Mythologies: Sub-Zero
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