Mortal Kombat (Nintendo SNES, 1993)
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|Mortal Kombat is a fighting game in which players battle opponents in one-on-one matches. The fighter that completely drains the opponent's health bar first wins the round, and the first to win two rounds wins the match. Each round is timed; if both fighters still have health remaining when time runs out, the one with more health wins the round.
Players select one of seven characters. Whereas other fighting games had characters with considerable differences in speed, height, attacks, strength, jumping heights and distances, the playable characters in Mortal Kombat are virtually identical to one another with only minimal differences in their moves' range and speed. The game also distinguished itself from other fighting games of the time with its unique control scheme. The controls consist of five buttons arranged in an "X" pattern: four buttons for high and low punches and kicks with a block button at the center, as well as an eight-way joystick. Attacks can vary depending on the player's distance from the opponent. All player characters have a shared set of attacks performed by holding the joystick in various directions, such as leg sweep and an uppercut; the latter attack knocks the enemy high into the air and causes a large amount of damage.
Mortal Kombat also featured unique ways in which special moves were performed. It was the first game to introduce special moves performed exclusively using the joystick. Most special moves were performed by tapping the joystick, sometimes ending with a button press. Unlike previous one-on-one fighting games, few moves required circular joystick movement. Co-designer Ed Boon later said, "since the beginning, one of the things that's separated us from other fighting games is the crazy moves we've put in it, like fireballs and all the magic moves, so to speak." Another of the game's innovations was the Fatality, a finishing move executed against a defeated opponent to kill them in a gruesome fashion.
The game's blocking system also distinguished itself from other fighting games. Unlike Street Fighter characters take a small amount of damage from regular moves while blocking. However, the dedicated block button allows users to defend against attacks without retreating and blocking characters lose very little ground when struck, thus making counterattacks much easier after a successful block. Mortal Kombat also introduced the concept of "juggling", knocking an opponent into the air and following up with a combination of attacks while the enemy is still airborne and defenseless. The idea became so popular that it has spread to many other games.
In the single-player game, the player faces each of the seven playable characters in a series of one-on-one matches against computer-controlled opponents, ending in a "Mirror Match" against a duplicate of the player's chosen character. The player must then fight in three endurance matches, each of which involves two opponents. As soon as the player defeats the first opponent, the second one enters the arena and the timer resets; however, the player's health meter does not regenerate. After the third endurance match, the player fights the sub-boss Goro, followed by a final match against Shang Tsung.
Two players can start a game together, or a second player can join in during a single player's game to fight against him/her. If a game was in progress at the time, the winner continues it alone; if not, the winner begins a new game.
The SNES port of Mortal Kombat was widely criticized by gaming media for censorship issues. In 2006, IGN named it as the eighth worst arcade-to-console conversion. Nintendo's decision to make the game more family friendly was also included on GameSpy's list of the dumbest moments in gaming.
|Publisher||Acclaim Entertainment, Inc.|
|Platform||Super Nintendo Entertainment System|
|Number of Players||1 or 2|
|ESRB Rating||M - Mature|
|ESRB Descriptor||Animated Blood & Gore, Animated Violence|
|Game Series||Mortal Kombat Series|
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