Dreamcast Game Review – Mortal Kombat Gold (All Too Easy)

Let’s get something straight right now. I consider Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter the best fighting series ever. Everything else is just a wanna-be. With that said, I also have to admit that Mortal Kombat Gold is not terribly exciting.

When you buy a cutting-edge system, you expect the games to be better than the ones before it. Unfortunately… Mortal Kombat Gold offers very little in terms of improvement, especially when compared to previous versions of Mortal Kombat 4.

The Nintendo 64 already delivered a port that was better than the arcade. The PlayStation delivered Full Motion Video. The Dreamcast version combines the best of the two and adds a few characters. Unfortunately… this is too, little too late. Mortal Kombat is in need of yet another upgrade. If you’ve already played Mortal Kombat 4 to death in the arcades and/or at home, you won’t find too much enjoyment out of Mortal Kombat Gold.

The five new characters are technically not even new characters. Mileena, Kitana, Kung Lau and Baraka are all from Mortal Kombat II. Cyrax is from Mortal Kombat III, and they all have the same old moves.

Mortal Kombat veterans should have no problem blasting through this game in one shot. The computer plays like a whimp, even on Ultimate Master II. There seems to be no improvement with the Artificial Intelligence what-so-ever. The computer easily falls for special attacks, especially from the new characters. You can beat the whole game, on the hardest level, using only one of Mileena’s moves.

I also forgot to mention that the game is quite violent. It’s probably the most violent yet. (See Quan Chi’s fatality.) But really… does our desensitized generation get excited about such things anymore? Executing all of the characters fatalities is now nothing more than a button pushing chore.

There are some slight in-game load-time issues. There’s a brief pause during 2-vs-2 battles and Shinnok is just a pathetic display of load-time. Changing into other characters is just like hitting the pause button. Shinnok totally ruins this game, as he is also a lousy last boss character.

Sure, the graphics are superb. The new levels are well done. The endings are outstanding and the arcade translation is flawless. But in the end, it’s all too easy. True… Mortal Kombat Gold is the best version of the series, but unless your a die-hard fan – or a Mortal Kombat Newbie – you won’t see much value out of this game.

Graphics – Whenever a home version beats an acclaimed arcade video board, it deserves a high graphics rating. Mortal Kombat Gold is visually impressive indeed!

Sound – This is equally impressive. The previous Nintendo versions suffered from muffled sound – especially in Mortal Kombat Trilogy. Those problems don’t exist with the Dreamcast version.

Control – The serious design flaws with the Dreamcast controller have hurt the playability of Mortal Kombat Gold. Often, the controller puts up a better fight than the computer. The Mortal Kombat controls were awkward to begin with. The run button was always cumbersome and hitting a button to block really screws up avid Street Fighter players. Midway needs to come up with something better than “dial-a-combo” for next time.

Innovation – The game is a slight improvement over the previous versions, so there is some improvement here. The key words are slight and some. Don’t expect anything except the usual mindless violence that Mortal Kombat has previously delivered.

Playability – The poor controls, combined with a stupid AI, make Mortal Kombat Gold a disappointment with the playability factor. Old Mortal Kombat fans expecting something new are in for a disappointment.