You've seen the adverts of the TV with that long-haired bloke shouting "Mooooootal Kombaaaat" backed up with loads of "hip" streetwise kids who are dancing and jumping to a hardcore dance tune. Of course you have, this advertisement was for the Mega Drive and SNES versions and I have to hold my hands up and say that Mortal Kombat looked absolutely brilliant! Those pesky console owners seem to always go one better, but no longer because courtesy of Virgin and Probe software (the team that converted to the Amiga), Mortal Kombat is putting an appearance in on the Amiga. Oh yes!
As far as beat-'em-ups go the 16-bit home computers have relatively done well with titles such as IK+, Body Blows, Body Blows Galactic and even Street Fighter 2 - although that wasn't very good, but still a lot of punters out there bought it.
Everybody loves a great beat-'em-up and I know the reason why. For one, when you're frustrated or angry you can't go up to someone in the street and smack them in the face. Err well you can, but you'll get sent to prison on GBH charges. Thus via today's game technology you can be transported into the body of a muscle-
You actually become the fighter and sometimes it does actually feel as though you're getting your head kicked in, although it's more mental than physical obviously.
The slight problem with beat-'em-ups is the fact that once you've seen one you've seen them all, because you are so limited to what you can do in them. This is where Mortal Kombat is perhaps the bloodiest, most goriest fighting game that you're ever likely to see. For those well up on the console scene you will know that the SNES version didn't have any blood in it whatsoever and the Mega Drive's bloodfest could only be accessed via a cheat.
The Amiga version, just like the arcade, get the full treatment with oodles of blood and gore splattering all over the place. Yes, sick I know and it'll probably turn us into a nation of serial killers, but Mortal Kombat is the bloodiest game I've played since Moonstone. It's a tournament whereupon fighters are chosen from around and out of this world to scrap it out to the death. You have to choose between seven characters who all have distinct personalities and abilities.
In a sort of handy "thanks a lot Gamer" kinda way, all these character details are displayed on this page. I said seven before, but you will notice that there are actually nine characters in what we lovingly call a "box out".
You have to fight the other two at the end of the game after you've defeated the other characters. First you have to battle the monstrous Goro who has six arms and a very bad attitude and then to win you have to take on the might of Shang Tshung.
As you may or may not know, to win a bout you have to deplete your opponent's energy bar to zero. The bouts are fought on a beat-to-
You'll then get a free shot at them to complete your victory, but this gives you the chance to perform your lethal death move to make your fighting performance even better. The death move involves all manner of grisly deaths and range from exploding heads to hearts being ripped out of bodies. Gory I know, but hey the "kids" love it, apparently.
Summing up, Mortal Kombat is one of the best beat-'em-ups that you can buy for the Amiga. It kicks seven shades out of the almost laughable Street Fighter 2. It will be compared and placed against Body Blows Galactic and it would be too hard to say which one is better because they both have their advantages and disadvantages. I guess at the end of the day it's all a question of taste.
Mortal Kombat does contain digitised graphics straight from the arcade machine and this technique has been used before in games like Pitfighter, but unfortunately it didn't work too well.
For some bizarre reason it actually works in Mortal Kombat. The digitised static screens aren't brilliant and if you pause the game and look at the character sprites they aren't too hot either. When Mortal Kombat is in motion of and you're in the thick of the action, though, all this is forgotten. There are plenty of nice backgrounds and once again the blood does look really good when you're smacking someone in the face.
I know on paper it sounds really naff, but when you've got control of the stick and you're beating your way up the ladder it is absolutely brilliant. On the sound front the music is fairly good, but nothing really outstanding. The effects though are good, especially the digitised speech, and you'll find yourself repeating the "catchphrases"
The major difference between Mortal Kombat and its lacklustre competitor Street Fighter 2 is in the fact that Virgin's beat-'em-up is that much more playable. To be honest I'm amazed how they converted all the game's moves onto just one joystick.
For instance, the console versions have the distinct advantage of having loads of buttons on the joypad controllers, but the Amiga joystick just has eight directions and one Fire button.
It does take a while to get to know each character's moves and perform them correctly, but once you've overcome this little problem you can enter beat-'em-up heaven.
Mortal Kombat is a very good one-player game, but as per usual it's always more fun with a chum. Most people will be able to complete the game on easy level within a day, but there are still a further three levels to try your hand at.
Probe Software have done a sterling job converting the arcade smash to the small screen and I doff my cap to them. If you want a beat-'em-up to go along with your copy of Body Blows Galactic then this is it. Buy Mortal Kombat, it's bloody good fun... literally.