The Mortal Kombat franchise is one of the most beloved arcade and fighting franchises that exists today. It seems we as gamers (for good reason) will never let this series disappear as we keep throwing our fists in the air and chanting for more, bringing forth the constant iterations that have flooded the market. Having the original three games in a presentable form has been rather difficult and while the dream of having the entire Mortal Kombat Legacy at your disposal is still out of reach NeatherRealm Studios has made it slightly easier to acquire the original generation in its entirety by compiling Mortal Kombat I, II, and Ultimate III into one downloadable package with online play and leader boards. While this is almost a dream come true it still stands to question, is this the ultimate collection that fans have been waiting for?
Mortal Kombat is 2D fighting at its best and still stands strong today. While playing through all three games you can feel the gap between them as the controls refine and the mechanics improve and the overall violence and craziness soars to new heights. If you ever remembered playing an MK game then this collection will bring back fond memories. Whether it’s launching fireballs across the screen or jump kicking your opponent in the head you get the Mortal Kombat experiences you remember however there are some noticeable changes made to the game that may only be noticed by diehard fans such as some small sound design. While they are only small changes they seem pointless and brings up the point that maybe there was some trouble with the emulation.
From the main menu you cycle through images of the old arcade cabinets to decide which game you want to play and then dive in for some epic one on one fight to the death action. There have been small features added to the game mostly involving filters to the art style. These don’t change the game at all but allow you to see some retro kind of looks to the games. They also added an arcade scan lines overlay and even feature the ability to give the screen the kind of curvature of an arcade cabinet screen. Most of the additions are for nostalgia’s sake and don’t really add any real flavor to the gameplay and mostly just cause distraction.
The one thing that MK fans have been looking for is a great packaging of the classic arcade Mortal Kombat games and it’s extremely sad to say that the fans have been cheated once again. The best thing that can be said about the Mortal Kombat Arcade Kollection is that you can finally buy MK I, II, and Ultimate III all in one package. Unfortunately that packaging is not the golden goose that the fans wanted. There is little to no extra bonus content and some minor control issues with the controller layout, particularly the block and run buttons, and the online is like playing the game in slow motion with the amount of lag you experience. The online could probably be fixed with some patching but it’s an issue that should have been taken care of by launch and is inexcusable as the main market for fighting games is the online play. It’s amazing to finally have a Mortal Kombat collection easily available but it’s a shame that it came in the lackluster package that it did.
The look of Mortal Kombat is still classic and holds true to the original appearance of the arcade versions. All of the games are well emulated and look better than they did on their previous versions but you never forget that you are still looking at old games. The frame rate is fine and never has any skipping issues except when playing the online. The menus are a grey stone which has remained pretty thematic throughout the original series and doesn’t feel out of place.
While there may be some issues with the MK Kollection it should never underestimate the amount of fun that can and will be had here. There’s nowhere else where you can find these three games compiled into one package and fighting with friends is still just as fun as it was in the 90’s when these games were released. Hopefully the online gets patched soon so you can start fighting your friends and placing on the leader boards.
Owning the entire arcade collection of Mortal Kombat may only be a desire for the most hardcore fans of the series but this could also draw more fans into the franchise. While it may not be the most well put together collection of games it is the best way to own all three of the classic MK games and relive the nostalgia of the arcade era. While it may have its problems and feature lackluster content the games still hold up and are able provide an entertaining collection to fans of MK and other fighting games.