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Mortal Kombat on Super NES: What Did the Critics Say in 1993?
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on May 05, 2014   |   Episode 38 (Show Archive)  

   

Mortal Kombat (Super NES)
Ever wonder what Electronic Gaming Monthly, GamePro and other popular magazines thought of your favorite 8-, 16- and 32-bit games? Now you can find out, thanks to Review Crew! This is the only show on the internet that is willing to go back in time to find out what old school critics thought of retro games at the time. Did they pan your favorite game? Did they love something terrible? Find out every week as Defunct Games presents Review Crew!

It's Mortal Monday and you know what that means. MORTAL KOMBAT!!!! Get your glow sticks out because I'm pretty sure there's techno music playing in the background. Today we're looking at Mortal Kombat on the Super NES. Based on one of the most violent arcade games of all time, this version of Mortal Kombat is best known for being heavily edited. Were critics still into this fighting game without the blood and gore? We turn to GamePro, Electronic Gaming Monthly, SNES Force, CVG and other classic magazines for the answer.

(NOTE: Although we occasionally cut for length, no other edits are made to the review. Defunct Games does not change any of the wording, grammar or punctuation use. Also keep in mind that our score is the average of all critics at the time, not just the sample that is reprinted on this page. If you still have more questions, I recommend you check out the Review Crew FAQ, where we address the review guidelines, converting scores, magazine covers and more.)

Mortal Kombat
[ Company: Acclaim | Console: Super NES ]

GAMEPRO (September 1993)
5 out of 5

"The graphics in the SNES Mortal Kombat are cleaner, better defined, and closer to the original arcade game's than those found in the other versions. The digitized fighters look better here because of the SNES's enormous color palette, an advantage it has over the Genesis. But without the blood, something is lacking. Despite some control glitches and altered Fatality Moves, Mortal Kombat for SNES is a great representation of an arcade classic that will more than satisfy most gamers." -Scary Larry

NINTENDO MAGAZINE SYSTEM #11
92% out of 100%

"Beat 'em up fans have never had it so good, and Acclaim's conversion of Mortal Kombat is another corker to add to the list. Although I could take or leave the coin-op, there's something strongly playable about this conversion. I must admit, though, that I am more than a little miffed that the "Death Moves" have been censored as these were an integral part of the coin-op's success." -Steve

SNES FORCE #3
91% out of 100%

"Little of the arcade game's blood is here, and the death moves have been toned down. This aside, Mortal Kombat is an arcade-perfect conversion and awesome to look at. The digitisation of the fighters is brilliant, with some of the best animation I've seen on any home machine, ever; you could be forgiven for thinking you were playing the arcade. Mortal Kombat's only fault lies in the gameplay; if just does not have the depth of games like Street Fighter II." -Simon

COMPUTER + VIDEO GAMES #142
86% out of 100%

"Impressed as I was with the Megadrive version's graphics, nothing prepared me for these! SNES Kombat's graphics are almost arcade perfect,. The characters are massive, superbly rendered and excellently animated. Omitting the blood, though, was a major mistake. For me, the gory violence was the main attraction of the coin-op, and this version just doesn't have the same feel without it." -Paul Anglin

SNES FORCE #3
86% out of 100%

"Mortal Kombat never offered anything new as an arcade; the fantastic trimmings were what made it stand out. Without them, it's practically naked, having to rely on playability alone. It does play exceedingly well, but with the blood, guts and spines lost in conversion, disappointment is inevitable. A try-before-you-buy." -Chris H.

SUPER PLAY #11
81% out of 100%

"Hmm. I'm really not too sure about Mortal Kombat. On the face of it it's an absolutely fabulous conversion of the coin-op. But it just isn't as exciting to play as I was expecting. Really smart looking, and as close to the arcade original as one could hope for (bar the loss of loss of [sic] blood). But was Mortal Kombat really that great a game in the first place?" -Jonathan Davies

ELECTRONIC GAMING MONTHLY #50
7 out of 10

"Let's face it - the only this this game really had going for it was the blood and fatalities. It's no SF2, but it is an interesting variation on the fighting game scene. Acclaim deserves a lot of credit for producing an almost perfect translation of the arcade version, but failing to retain the key elements (blood) hurts the effect." -Steve Harris

DIE HARD GAME FAN (September 1993)
76% out of 100%

"Maybe this game should have just been named Moral Kombat because of all the controversy regarding the fatality moves. The SNES version is a good translation with great digitized graphics and almost all of the arcade voice, but the movement is kind of choppy and the primary reason you played the game in the arcade is gone." -The Enquirer

NINTENDO POWER (October 1993)
3.8 out of 5

"Plus: Excellent graphics, animation and sound. The special moves will take some practice and skill to master. The new options add a great balancing factor between Mortal Kombat experts and novices. Minus: Four of the finishing moves are not identical to the arcade game, but that can be a positive if you want a new challenge. The one-player game is pretty easy, unless you set the difficulty to Very Hard."

DIE HARD GAME FAN (September 1993)
75% out of 100%

"The SNES version of this game is a little closer to the arcade in terms of the digitized animation and voice (without death moves and gore) but the game is not as challenging as the Genesis version and, with unlimited continues, becomes a quick walk in one player mode. MK fans will not be disappointed, but play the game on "hard"." -K. Lee

ELECTRONIC GAMING MONTHLY #50
7 out of 10

"What can you say when you're going up against SF2 TE? They did an excellent job of reproducing the digitized graphics and sample sounds. The main problem for fans is "Where's the blood?" They managed to get around it some but it weakened this version. Also, it doesn't have quite the same feel and technique." -Sushi X
REVIEW CREW AVERAGE: 80% - Even without the blood and gore, most of the critics seemed to enjoy Mortal Kombat. Most of the reviews noted the Super Nintendo's superior graphics and sound, suggesting that this 16-bit port was near arcade-perfect. Nintendo Power tried to spin the edited blood and fatalities as a positive, noting that they "can be a positive if you want a new challenge." I'm not sure how seeing a different finishing move constitutes a "new challenge," but I give the editors credit for trying.

Despite what Nintendo Power tried to pass off, most critics agreed that the blood makes a difference. SNES Force says that without the blood and gore, Mortal Kombat is "practically naked." "For me, the gory violence was the main attraction of the coin-op," says Paul Anglin at CVG. I think Jonathan Davies was right when he asked this obvious question: "Was Mortal Kombat really that great a game in the first place?"

ON WEDNESDAY'S EPISODE: We continue Mortal Kombat Week with yet another review of, you guessed it, Mortal Kombat. This time around we'll be taking a look at Mortal Kombat on the Sega Genesis. Will the critics like the game more when blood is turned on? Find out on Wednesday when Review Crew tackles Mortal Kombat on the Sega Genesis. Make sure and check out the Review Crew archive for more old school reviews, and don't forget to tweet me @DefunctGames to let me know what games you want to see next!

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