Ultimate Mortal Kombat™ 3 Review
- Intense competitive fighting action.
- 13 warriors to choose from.
- Streamlined buttons; classic and customized controls also available.
- Additional quick 'arcade' modes to compete for highscores.
- Virtual stick movement unreliable.
- New graphics feel 'censored'; blood still in place, but not as shocking as the original sprites.
Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 isn't a completely faithful adaption of the arcade classic, though much of what made the game fun back in 1995 is still fun today, if dampened by the poor control setup.
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To set the scene, the year is 1995 and the local Arcades had just upgraded from 1993's release of Mortal Kombat 2 to Mortal Kombat 3, soon to be upgraded yet again to Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3. At the time, Midway were seen as some sort of evil-force incarnate for unleashing such a brutal and disturbing game on the world, but I didn't care, I was locked in a deadly bout between friends with unlimited credits and humiliating them with various Animalities, Friendship and Babeality codes that I had memorized.
Electronic Arts seeks to reignite that spark of casual abandon and joy by releasing a slightly cut-down version of the UMK3 title for the App Store and despite some painfully frustrating control issues it remains a stolidly amusing competitive fighting title to enjoy.
While we're on the topic of the controls, the news is a 50/50 mix of good and bad. On the good side, UMK3 features two button control schemes and players can choose from a streamlined 5-button system or the classic 6-button system from the arcades. What makes the streamlined controls so good is the addition of a special button to execute the game's maneuvers (including Fatalities) by combining it with a direction on the virtual stick. However on the bad side, the virtual stick is absolutely rubbish and attempting to pull off some moves even with the streamlined setup results in a world-record breaking tension headache.
On the visual front, the game has been given a facelift, including re-rendered environments and 3D characters, but this limits a lot of the charm from the original as the detail visible in the original sprites is entirely lost. Also, despite the 'Ultimate' tag, only 13 of the 22 original warriors have made the transition, which is odd given some of the characters that did make the cut.
With so many negatives in place it'd be hard to consider this release as anything but a complete mess, but the truth is that it remains insanely fun despite these problems. The controls are still liable to cause a dummy-spit now and then, but much of what made the game so great has been left untouched (if less appealing in 3D); a decent pick up for classic arcade fans.