Monday, February 21, 2011

Review: Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 (iPad)

The upcoming Mortal Kombat refresh will bring the gory series right back to its roots, as a casual friendly, splatter heavy 2D fighting game, but the gothic arenas and characters will be rendered in gorgeous, modern technology.

Don't worry, folks. There is plenty of red blood.


Suffice to say the game will be brutal, but also firmly tongue-in-cheek. But that game is for Xbox and PS3 owners. While the iPad now has some Mortal Kombat love, it instead has been given a port of Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 – in many circles considered the best of the bunch anyway.

Right from the outset, it’s clear the port is a good quality one – backdrops and characters are rendered well, and thanks to a very good virtual button system, the game plays almost as well as it would in an actual arcade.

We’re not sure what’s happened, but between games like this and 2K China’s excellent NHL 2K11, virtual control pads on the iPad have really stepped up of late. Whilst a physical control pad will always be better, the fact you can now play fighting games on the iPad with no control frustrations speaks volumes for the development of the tablet as a gaming device.

When you boot up the game, you’ll get the option to play with the original arcade controls, or a more casual set of buttons that includes a “super” button. The latter makes pulling off fatalities much easier – as a casual MK fan I have found fatalities difficult to impossible in the past, so this is a nice addition for others like me.

Subzero is in a bit of trouble here

There are a number of gameplay modes too, making Ultimate MK 3 a nicely fleshed out title for the price. There are four difficulty levels in the Arcade mode (and MK veterans will remember just how difficult that could be). There’s also the standard survival mode.

For multiplayer, there’s two options – local wireless and two people sharing the same iPad. The latter makes the virtual buttons just a touch too small to be comfortable playing for any length of time, but the ability to play multiplayer using the one device is a nice addition nonetheless.

All of this is nicely tied up with social network (Facebook) capabilities, for people that want to boast online.

Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 might have a smaller roster than we now expect in fighting games, and ultimately the core gameplay has the same complaints that have been tagged to virtually every game in this series – it’s shallow, overly button-mash friendly and lacks the finesse of the likes of Street Fighter. But by the same token it remains good, gory fun, and for anyone contemplating the purchase of the upcoming PS3/ Xbox 360 reboot, this should be right down your alley – be assured it’s a very, very good port.

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