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Mortal Kombat 4 Review

Publisher - Midway
Developer - Probe
Platform - N64
Type - Fighting
Score - 8/10

The story goes something like this; One of the many elder Gods Shinnok betrayed his fellow Gods and was forced into a netherealm by Raiden. With the help of a sorcerer called Quan Chi, Shinnok managed to escape and wage a war against his former fellow elder Gods. To save earth (and everything else I guess), Shinnok must be defeated in the Mortal Kombat tournament. This time the battle must be won by mortals. This is where we come in.

MK4 for the N64 is one of the best arcade to home port of a game ever. Perfect graphics, good sound affects, and exact gameplay all combine to make MK4 the best fighting game for the system. With this said, I'll tell you a little more about the game. If you know you love MK4 in the arcade, don't hesitate to buy it for your N64; you won't be disapointed.

You'll chose between 15 different fighters and use their special moves, combos, and fighting techniques to try to defeat the evil Shinnok. Sounds the same as always right? Well, basically, it is. The game has been improved much since the last game, MK3. (This is not to mention it's rehashes).

One of the most apparent things I noticed when I first played MK4 is all of the faults that were in the previous games have now been fixed. No longer will you find really annoying cheap things like being able to sweep someone over and over without giving them much of a chance of defending themselves, and even better, no one can do it to you. Getting caught in a corner doesn't cause likely doom like in previous versions.

One of the real downfalls of the game though is the introduction of the ultimate combo. You can now get a near 50% combo with just about anyone in the game, and suprisingly, it isn't very hard at all. There're not awesome juggle combos or anything like that... just the boring auto combos, and usually a linker move to continue it. For example, Scorpion's can be done like this; simply do a small auto combo which knocks your opponent in the air, then do a spear, then do another small auto combo which causes you to pull out your weapon, then run in and do a bone breaker, then throw your weapon. 48%, easy!

Other amazingly annoying things are combos that can be performed simply by doing the same thing over and over. There are now bone breakers in the game, which can be performed by tapping low kick near your opponent. Each character has a different bone breaker (practically). You can usually do the bone breaker then run in quickly and do it again, and repeat. you can sometimes do this again and again until you've taken 50% of your opponents energy! Annoying!

Despite this new annoying thing to the game, many more things have been added which are nice additions. As mentioned before, the bone breakers are cool and really groosem . Another big addition is the 3D button. You can move in or out in order to avoid projectiles, punches, kicks, etc. The coolest thing to do is move out of the way of a projectile, then throw your own for an easy hit.

The controller layout doesn't seem to satisfy many people. Of course you can change it to how you like it, and luckily, you can save your settings on a controller pack. This is really nice. There's now different modes of play. You can chose to fight an endurance where you can face off against as many fighters as you can and never get a new energy bar in order to see how far you can get. You can also go to the tournament mode, where you will compete against 4-8 other fighters in a playoff tree like tournament. If you win this, you will be rewarded with a congratulations screen with your fighter holding up a trophy and bloody skull in celebration.

A nice thing in the game is being able to pause it at any time, even before performing fatalities. Did I mention the fatalities? They're back and better than ever. Now in 3D, they're as sick if not sicker than they ever were. Some of the characters who were in previous MK games have their same fatalities, except that they're redone in 3D and look much better, and for the most part lost a lot longer.

Something else that was added to enhance the interaction between characters and their backgrounds is the ability to pick up rocks and skulls that are laying around. By the way, the skulls look ridiculously big, and not realistic at all. Also added to the game are weapons. Every character has their own weapon which can be pulled out at any time during the fight. Hitting an opponent with a weapon will cause a lot of damage, but while taking it out you are vulnerable to be struck by your opponent. If you get hit while holding your weapon, you will drop it. You will be able to pick it up later if you have time to. You'll also be able to throw your weapon, which means every character has atleast this as a projectile.

MK4 is the first MK game to use the rumble pack. You'll only feel the biggest hits, but since hits occur every few seconds, or maybe less, this is probably a good thing. The rumble pack doesn't add much to the game though, and would have been better used as a device to detect what an opponent was going to do next, or if it shook while they were pulling their weapon, or something useful, it would be a lot better.

Out of all of the things mentioned maybe the coolest thing is the character endings. Instead of just reading an ending as usual, you can now see the ending played out, sometimes in places not even showed in the game. The highlight; being able to hear the characters act out their endings. It's neat to hear your favorite MK character talk finally.

This time around there are only two female fighters, which is down from the last game. One thing worth mentioning, and definately worth reading if you own the game already and happen to be male, or an abnormal female. Try looking in your instruction booklet at Sonya's chest (like you haven't already did it enough!). If you look close enough you can see her... well, if you know what I'm talking about, and I think you do, then you know what I'm going to say. Truthfully though, 'they're' even on the verses screen when you fight with her. 'They' must have been put in their intentionally. Hmm...

Let me tell you about the stages in the game. There are 10 different stages to fight on. They're all basically made to be a 3D fighting arena. Some people will argue that they're nicely done, and look cool. Although I do like some of them, some of them are just way too bland. The cool 'tree' stage is back from MK2. You know, the stage that has the talking trees? Well, unfortunately it doesn't even look as good as it used to. No longer is their a dead Chinese guy in the background, and well, not much else. The trees sound cool, but the stage is the most boring yet.

Now, the sound. The sound affects in the game are all pulled off very well, and none sound like they don't fit like in previous games. The punches, kicks, special moves, and the like all sound very POWish! This as opposed to sounding smackish as they did in Ultimate MK3. The game has a lot of bass, and sounds very cool. No problems here.

Unlike the sound, the music is something to be desired. The stage music is mostly beats that reflect the continuous hitting in the game. The problem is it does nothing to get you pumped up for the fighting action. I guess it's not all that important in a fighting game though.

The game has two stage fatality stages. One is on the prison stage, and is by far the best. You pick up your opponent by the hands and start swinging them around, then let them go and watch them fly into a fan and get cut to shreads. The other is in Goro's lair where you uppercut your opponent on to the ceiling spikes. (We've seen it before; yawn).