Kombat Kolumns: Klassik Mortal Kombat Games for PC
PC Mortal Kombat fans have been forgotten after the release of Mortal Kombat 4, but this doesn't change the fact that the PC ports of Mortal Kombat have always been the best of all home versions. MK4 was the last Mortal Kombat game for PC, and the fact that this game was not well accepted by the fans, and Eurocom made the things even worse with their crappy home versions, was in my opinion the reason why Midway left PC gamers (Editor Note: Of course this has nothing to do with the low revenue brought by those ports?). Before starting the article I recommend you to download and install DosBox, DOS emulator (http://www.dosbox.com), because some of this games can no longer run on current operating systems. I myself, was a huge PC MK fan back then, and due to this I cannot let these game be forgotten.
Mortal Kombat 1 for PC DOS was the best of all home versions. There are about 3 different versions released. The first one is something like a beta - lots of sound issues and graphic glitches, not even worth mentioning it. Its interesting after all that it was released for public. The second one is way better, but there are still lots of sound glitches - most noticeable when announcer and background sfx are mixed (for example while saying "Scorpion Wins", and the monks clap at The Courtyard stage). Midway even released a patch for it, but it was for SoundBlaster16 only. The game had all arcade extras, plus elusive Story screen, that tells the purpose of the tournament.
The third version was released as part of a compilation CD together with Mortal Kombat II. While the gameplay was identical, the sound was arcade perfect. The gameplay of all 3 DOS versions is almost like the arcade Revision 3.0. You got the corner Jump Punch infinities, Liu Kang's/Johnny Cage's Fireball Corner infinities etc. What is interesting to mention here is that there are some weird differences, like Rayden's HK which does about 20% damage, male ninja's Jump Kicks look different and you can't knock out 2 heads when you play against Cage (you can do this fatality only on Kano and male ninjas). The broken throw stuff exists here too (which was explained in General Gameplay Guide for Mortal Kombat 1). The shadows in The Pit, appear in every 3rd game not in 6th one like it was in the arcade. The DIP switches menu, which was actually the only secret menu, has few switches with purpose still unknown.
Mortal Kombat II was an amazing port of the original arcade version for its days. There are noticeable differences in the gameplay compared to the arcade version. Everything is a little faster, almost every character has an infinite-trap in corner with elbows (press HP when close to the opponent) because of the fast recovery from that hit. The music is different for some stages, sounds somehow like the Amiga. The Dead Pool stage Fatality is performed by pressing F, F, F, Uppercut for Keyboard and F, F, F, Block (if you use a Joypad). This version also has some advantages: The PIT II Fatality animation is even better than the arcade version, because it directly cuts into the character's falling animation, and you see the ground all over the screen. In the Arcade version, the floor is rotating in the first few frames, and you could see some blue blank places in the corners of the screen. A big let down was the fact that it was impossible to enter the cheat menu on faster machines, because the screen changes way too fast. The only possibility is to use the Pause trick - start the game, and pause (Alt+P) when you see the copyrights screen, then type quickly AICULEDSSUL and unpause. If it doesn't work, the next time you start the game the copyrights screen will stay way longer and you will have enough time to type the cheat. Although there is a cheat menu, the team has also included the DIP Switches menu, yet for some reason those switches don't do anything (or just no one knows what they exactly do). By default the first four are set ON, but nothing changes if you turn them OFF.
The CD version of Mortal Kombat II that came out in a compilation with Mortal Kombat 1, is completely the same as the normal DOS version. Both versions of the game don't show the actors who played characters after you beat the game. It has its flaws, that's true. But for me, it was the best port of the game back in days, and it's worth every hour I spend playing it.
Mortal Kombat 3 was released for both DOS and Windows 95. The two versions are completely different. My vote goes for the DOS version, which in my opinion is STILL the best home version ever released. It had everything that the arcade has with even some pluses. The graphics are of course inferior when compared to the original arcade version, but this is the case with all ports. The text is messed up on some places (remember Jax written Ja% lol) and some of the background are missing a few details. Noob's Dorfen and The Hidden Portal are missing. Instead when you fight against Smoke or Noob Saibot you will be transported to The Street, The Pit 3 or The Bridge stages. When Noob Saibot wins the announcer only says "I Win". One weird thing is that you have different starting positions where the round starts at the Soul Chamber arena. Stryker's Friendship has been changed, instead of having all characters running, you will only have yourself and your opponent. The music was done well. In the arcade version after you do Fatality you just got the fatality music, but in PC DOS version after a Fatality music you will hear even the arena's end crescendo which makes the atmosphere of it even cooler. That was the ultimate translation for its time and you could even play as Bosses, while in the arcade they were not playable. The gameplay feels the same too, although the framerate was kinda choppy compared to the arcade. That's noticeable mostly when you jump for example, but those are the only minuses I can list about this port. Something else that I am sorry I never tryed was the network game over the so famous back then IPX Protocol, so i don't know how it works.
The Windows 95 version of the game was a lot different than the PC DOS version, and it's almost completely the same as the PSX one. The font for the character name's is different, the game supports different screen resolution and the sound was not that good as it was in the DOS version. The Windows 95 version has a different opening than the DOS version. The bosses are not playable and you cannot access the Tournament mode from the DOS version. The game also has different announcements. Sektor's name, Babality and Animality sound different. The announcer says Friendship only once, and "Again" is missing. Rounds don't get announced either and if you perform a finishing move the name of your character will not be announced. Sheeva's and Jax's winning poses are missing frames. Sindel's Animality also suffers from a glitchy animation and I have no idea why it looks like that. Stryker's Friendship has been completely changed, it shows a dog (!) towing something like a mini-trailer with baby Sub-Zero, Sindel and Stryker in it. A good change is the Stage Fatality of the Subway, when you uppercut the opponent he is not just standing without moving and waiting the train to hit him, but now they will have that dizzy animation before the train hits them. There is a different track for the character select screen (that you don't even need a CD to hear) which sucks. The gameplay is faster and the gravity feels weirdly different, seems like every juggle hit juggles the opponent higher, but you still can't do more broken stuff that you would in DOS or Arcade. Framerate is better than the DOS version. The secret codes are different too. While you have to input command before running MK3 for DOS to activate some cheat, here they are in console style. Just pressing buttons during story line or intro screens. You also have Ultimate Kombat Kode but with 6 digits instead of 9 like it was in the arcade original. The game can be played without Audio CD but of course it will be much more enjoyable to listen music while fighting. The only bad thing about it, is that sometimes the loading times are a little longer. Otherwise it was I'd say again, not a bad port, but far, far away from the DOS version. The game still runs on the modern Operating Systems. You will however have to quickly change the display mode during the intro by pressing F5, or the game will simply glitch.
Mortal Kombat Trilogy was released for both DOS and Windows. MK Trilogy is faster than MK3/UMK3, it adds more characters and new Special Moves for most of them. The new Aggressor feature is really broken and actually useless. Brutalities make their appearance. You now also have almost all arenas (except Palace Gates, Warrior Shrine and Throne Room). The game was never accepted on the competitive scene, although there are lots of high-level players who use it for small tournies, because of the broken gameplay. Noob Saibot is easily the God Tier in the game, and the fact that you can play as bosses makes the gameplay even more unbalanced. The two versions of the game are identical. The only difference is in the configuration menu. While DOS has a different executable file for configuration in Windows you can make this from the file options. My vote goes this time for the Windows version, because although the gameplay between both is the same, the Windows one could give you way better looking graphics when using newer graophic cards. That doesn't apply to all of them, but with my old NVidia 8600GTS the game looks amazing even in full screen, while with my current 9800GT Ultra it looks ugly. This is why I think that the PC Windows version is better. First its graphics as I already mentioned. Then you have almost no loading times, and IF you have scratchy CD for the game you can always play it without audio music. IPX multiplayer option is available here also. I actually played few years ago and with 0 lag/delay! It was neat! You can attach a joypad to your PC and use that, but if it uses USB-Port, you have to attach it AFTER you start the game, because otherwise you will not have any sound. Another thing i should mention here is that there are early versions of Mortal Kombat Trilogy for PC released to the public. They had some broken stuff and the collision boxes are a little different too. Be sure to get the version which says "Final" on the about dialog box.
Mortal Kombat 4 was, for bad or for good, the last Mortal Kombat game released on PC (if you exclude the MAT: Deluxe Edition of course). Developed by Eurocom, this version of MK4 was a big letdown. For today's standards even the arcade version looks bad, but in 1997 it was a revolution with its own graphic chip - Zeus, developed by Midway. However, the extremely high-detailed graphics remained only in the arcade version. In fact if you don't count the Gameboy Color version, I think that the PC version is the worst of them all. It had a 3DFX graphics support option, but honestly I haven't found that much differences between a normal 3D rendering and 3DFX. The gameplay is faster and way more choppy than arcade. Juggles are easier but ruined because of the speed. Often you will see part of the arenas just disappear, the floor is not flat in all arenas, and that looks really ugly. Shadows look just like few huge squares. Tons of arcade graphics were removed in all home versions. There is something deleted in every single arena - I cannot probably list everything, so i will skip that. The characters are bigger in the PC version, than in PSX and N64, but because they used the same polygons it makes them look even uglier. Their outfits were cut also, thank God they created alternative outfits so at least you can look at your fighter. One of the biggest fiascoes was the exclusive FMVs in PSX and PC versions. They were ok for the first platform, but for PC they randomly skipped frames, and annoying cure sound was even louder than the speeches. Midway noticed that and released a free patch, which except removing this glitch added 640x480 hi-res support for Software Rendering. If you switched into that mode, it adds also some scanlines, and the game honestly looked a little better, but nothing could fix what was already done by Eurocom. The Audio was, no doubt, arcade perfect. No loading times, and even if your CD is scratchy you can turn off music. What could make the game more enjoyable are the few trainers that still exists around the net, and allow you to play as Kitana and on that weird Skull stage. My personal score for this port is that it's bad, but it could be worse, so... give it a try.
Rated by 140 Visitors
Written by: ded_
Date: June 5th, 2009