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Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 Review (iPhone)

Game Review: Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3
Release: Dec 16, 2010
Developer: Electronic Arts Inc.
MSRP: $.99
Rating: (Age) 12+
Version: 1.04
Size: 171 MB
Website: http://www.ea.com/iphone

If you’re looking for a totally new and original game, Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 for the iPhone is probably not for you.  Old school fans of the Mortal Kombat series will notice that the game is a weak re-creation of the original title released on the Super Nintendo in 1996.  The game offers many of the same features as its predecessor, but lacks the depth and playability of the original.

At the menu screen, the players are given the choice between several different game modes:

  • Arcade Mode
  • Local multiplayer Mode
  • Survival Mode
  • “Shao Karnage” Mode

Arcade mode is the same as it was in the original games, with players fighting a random assortment of classic enemies before fighting Motaro and finally Shao Khan.  Nothing new here.  The local multiplayer can be laggy and thus very frustrating in a game where timing is so important.

Survival mode allows players to fight a continuous stream of enemies without regenerating the life bar, and the Shao Karnage mode lets the player beat up on Shao Khan for 100 seconds, trying to rack up points and beat the current high score. The character selection is limited compared to its SNES counterpart, initially granting the players a choice between nine classic characters, but there are various unlockable characters available giving players an incentive to advance through the game.

The lack of originality and features for Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 certainly subtract from the game’s overall enjoyment, but these aren’t what ruin the game.  The real deal-breaker here is the control setup.  The makers attempted to mimic an arcade-style control system, with basic attack buttons located at the lower right-hand side of the screen and a joystick at the lower-left.  There are two possible button layouts, one with six buttons and one with five.  These buttons are easy enough to use and relatively responsive, but they aren’t the problem.

Anyone who has played Mortal Kombat will know that the directional buttons (or in this case the joystick) are key to playing the game effectively, especially when it comes to combos, and this is where the creators UMK3 failed.  The joystick is extremely erratic, making it very difficult and sometimes impossible to pull off complex moves.  This leaves the player with no other option but to either button mash or perform the simplest of moves, and even this can be difficult at times.  With this lack of real control, the game gets old very fast.

One of the major draws to the original Mortal Kombat series was the use of real-world character models for the fighters.  The almost comical appearance of the characters added an extra dimension of fun to the early installments of the series.  Unfortunately, the makers of the iPhone version decided it would be better to just use 3D models, perhaps to take advantage of the sharp graphics of the iPhone.  This change, along with a reduction in blood graphics, is a little disappointing, but isn’t nearly as detrimental to the game as the faulty joystick.

What improvements can be done: If it wasn’t for the shoddy controls gameplay would have been much better. I think they need to go back to the drawing board and figure out a way where Players can pull off moves and combos more easily.

Jimmy’s final say: In reality, Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 isn’t anything to write home about. Regrettably, the decent graphics and good replay value are overshadowed by the game’s totally unresponsive controls. For anyone who isn’t a die-hard fan of the series, it’s probably a better idea to spend your $0.99 elsewhere.

Avoid at all costs

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