I am a huge Mortal Kombat fan; have been since the original appeared in arcades back in 1992. When I heard a compilation of the first three games was being released, I was ecstatic. I grew up in arcades playing mostly MK and Street Fighter, and some of my fondest gaming memories are dropping endless quarters into the MK2 machine at my local mall. Nearly twenty years later I can now relive those memories with the Mortal Kombat Kollection, for a paltry $10. The question is, do these games live up to my childhood memories or simply fail to recapture the glory days of my youth?
For new fans to the series, the original games are a treasure chest of arcade legend. I am not going to run down the specifics for each game because, let’s be honest, if you intend to pick this up, you are probably a fan of the series. The first thing you will want to note if you have never played them is that these games were designed to eat quarters. Playing solo against the CPU is an exercise in frustration. Until you figure out what exploits the computer will fall for, you are in for plenty of game over screens. I loved remembering what characters to spam with, such as beating Kintaro with Kitana or simply abusing Raiden’s Superman move in MK1.
Playing through each game was a nice trip down memory lane, and for the most part, all the games remain arcade perfect outside of a few hiccups. For starters, there are audio drops more often than I would care to hear. Having classic lines disappear or get cut short is annoying. Also, the music is way too quiet, even when maxed out. The game also has a nasty habit of killing button inputs when returning from the pause screen, which can be killer for inputting Fatalities. There is also a reported Achievement/Trophy glitch that randomly doesn’t give you credit for beating the game. I personally didn’t run into it, but it is a hot topic on forums.
There are not a lot of extras when it comes to this package, outside of some visual filters and, of course, online play. You can set the game to look like an arcade cabinet, similar to the recently released Street Fighter III: Third Strike, complete with pixilated scanlines. You can also opt for smooth edges or a painting filter that really does wonders for MK2 in particular. Strangely, the game does bog down from time to time, which is odd considering how old all three games are.
The most disappointing thing about this collection, though, is the online. After trying matches on both PSN and Xbox Live we came up with pretty much the same results across the board. This game suffers from some serious lag and broken netcode. You can almost count the frames in some matches. Granted, we had good ones here and there, but the bad far outweighed the good. It is also worth noting that each game has its own leaderboard, and having your opponent quit early does not give you a win. So, if you want to rank up, you will have to find someone who will actually finish the match.
If online is important to you, then you may want to wait for a patch here. The game, in its current state, is just a mess online. If you are like me, though, and just want it for nostalgia and local play, then you can feel safe in dropping the $10 for this collection. It was great getting to relive my arcade memories with this compilation. Sure, it has its problems; the AI literally cheats and the online is broken; but owning all three games in one sweet package was more than worth the price of admission for me.
Review copy provided by publisher. Primary play on Xbox 360.