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Kombat Kolumns: MK3 VS. Ultimate MK3 VS. MK Trilogy (Part 1)

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People often consider Mortal Kombat 3, Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 and Mortal Kombat Trilogy as almost identical, but the thing is that they are different as hell. Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 is so different from Mortal Kombat 3, that it completely changes the way the game should be played. Mortal Kombat Trilogy has a few common things with Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 - that's true, but it still feels like a different game. In this kolumn I will point out the similarities and the differences between the Arcade versions of Mortal Kombat 3 and Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 and the PSX Greatest Hits and PC Windows (Final) versions of Mortal Kombat Trilogy. Now lets see what these three games can offer to the competitive and the casual player.

First, let us begin with the Mortal Kombat 3 VS. Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 drama, and the basics. You will first notice that except the new logo and changed bios and endings (Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 Arcade shows only the bios of the new characters and uses the VS images of the characters for both, the endings and the bios) Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 has a few more characters: Jade, Mileena, Kitana, Reptile, Scorpion, Ermac and Classic Sub-Zero. By using a special kode you can play as Human Smoke too. Noob Saibot is now a male ninja, while in Mortal Kombat 3 he was a black palette-swapped Kano. There were a lot of rumors about Rain, but the truth is that he only appears in two scenes in the intro of the game, and was never a playable character in the arcade version of the game. Apparently, Noob Saibot was planned to be playable, because you can access him with a cheat and the game will not crash. However the team seems to not have added any button combination or a secret code to allow you to play as him. Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 has also a few new arenas: Scorpion's Lair (which also has a Stage Fatality with extras), Jade's Desert, The Cavern, The Waterfront and The Lost. For some reason The Bank stage from Mortal Kombat 3 was removed. Another mystery for me was that they changed Sonya's Friendship, both are dumb, so I have no idea why they decided to change it.

MK3 Select Screen UMK3 Select Screen UMK3 Scorpion's Lair Stage Fatality

Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 introduces two new Game Modes: 2on2 Kombat and 8 Player Tournament. 2 on 2 allows you and your opponent to pick 2 characters and fight. The 8 Player Tournament allows each player to pick 4 characters and play through a 1 round battles tournament. The champion wins the prize which is one of Shao Kahn's Lost Treasures - another new feature for Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3. Shao Kahn's Lost Treasures contain 12 boxes. The first one is the ending of the specific character, others contain battles against Noob Saibot or Endurances, Finishers demonstration, Galaga. etc... On the Choose Your Destiny Screen there are 4 towers, while in Mortal Kombat 3 they were 3. Endurance matches were also added at the towers, and there are also Endurance matches with 3 opponents on the Champion tower. Shao Kahn's exploding animation has been changed. It just shows him explode and then it transports you to the Scorpion's Lair background where it says that you have beaten the game. In Mortal Kombat 3 it shows Shao Kahn's Tower disappearing. Anyway, these are probably most of the things you will notice when you watch the game and compare it with Mortal Kombat 3. Now, lets start with the changes in the gameplay.

UMK3 Game Modes UMK3 Lost Treasures of Shao Kahn Endurances are back in UMK3

I will only take a short look at the CPU patterns, because i don't think that they are that important. You can beat everyone except bosses in Mortal Kombat 3 just using roundhouses and the CPU releases the block in a blocked combos after the third hit. Kinda boring don't you think. One of the main if not the main strategy in VS battles in both Mortal Kombat 3 and Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 are the runjabs. In Mortal Kombat 3 the run jabs are different than in Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3. They push the opponent closer after each jab is blocked allowing more faster and deadly run jab pressure, however this was fixed in Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3. Now, after blocked jab the opponent is pushed further, so it leads into more advanced mixups. Another thing is that in bi-level arenas after a popup combo your character will be transported into the upper level after the last popup hit in Mortal Kombat 3, while in Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 you can just continue the juggle. SUJKs (Up + Kick) in Mortal Kombat 3 have slow recovery and you can't add it before a combo, neither before Jump Punch starters. Sometimes however with a perfect timing it could register the hit as a part of the combo but it will be blockable. Both Jump Kicks and Jump Punches can be linked into unblockable combos in Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3. The roundhouses (Back + HK) in Mortal Kombat 3 does not activate push-back and with some characters you could perform ridiculous juggles in the corner (Kabal, Jax, etc...), again this is fixed in Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3. Those are with few words the universal changes between the two games, now let's review each character and see what was changed there.

MK3 Jab Launchers send opponent through bi-level arenas in MK3, they fixed it in UMK3 JPs and JKs can be linked unblockable into auto combos in UMK3

Shang Tsung can no longer perform infinite combos in corner, using Single and Double Fireballs. A time limit was put in Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 to prevent this. He also morphs back after he wins a round while he stayed in the character he was morphed in Mortal Kombat 3. Sindel's Scream will not "shake" the opponent if blocked like it was in Mortal Kombat 3. Jax's Dash Punch has longer recovery time and the ridiculous Missile spam was fixed. He was Top 3 in Mortal Kombat 3 because of that. Kano was upgraded with Vertical Roll, a cool special move which helps him a lot for punishers, run jab pressure and blocked hits. Liu Kang's Bicycle Kick decreases the run meter now and he cant run free after it. They also gave him an absolutely useless popup combo in Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, because it activates double damage protection and you will have really big troubles getting a decent damage using it. Sonya was given a popup combo - 3 actually. Cool! But what they did with the Leg Grab? If you combo more than 2 juggled hits before it, it does 5%. If you combo it in an auto combo with more than 2 connect hits before it, like HP, HP, U+LP, it does 3% damage, acknowledging the fact that any juggle hits after an auto combo are DPed and it has it's own special DP as well. Stryker is another character that got huge upgrade in Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3. His Baton Dash throw move has now bigger damage protection if used after a DP move (it delivers the full damage in Mortal Kombat 3 no matter if its DP or not) and they armed him with the Gun move, which is the key to his infinites. Robot Smoke had no hit limit in Mortal Kombat 3 for his Harpoon move but it was slower, you get faster Harpoon that is disabled after 4 hits in Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3.

Jax spamming missiles in MK3 Sindel's Scream pushes opponent away if blocked in MK3 Stryker's Gun move in UMK3

Sub-Zero was the God Tier in Mortal Kombat 3 just because of one simple move - Ice Clone. I believe it was one of the main things the team wanted to fix for Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 and they succeeded. The fix was really simple - hit limit and you cant do it close to the opponent. Cyrax was one of the characters they shouldn't touch. His Throw now activates damage protection, does less damage and is counted as a hit - he was already a weak character in Mortal Kombat 3 without these changes. The reason behind this change remains a mystery. Sektor is the only character that wasn't changed. Absolutely nothing new for him. Nightwolf doesn't have much new things too, the only thing that they changed for him was the recovery for his Shoulder move - its faster in Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3. If his Arrow move is performed in a juggle, it will be way more faster. It is kind of topic but for me this is one of the best new things in the game. It should be noted that Sindel and Sektor have this "ability" too. Sheeva is the weakest character in both Mortal Kombat 3 and Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, one of her few advantages was her throw and I have no idea why the team decided to watered it down in Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 by adding damage protection after it hits. Also when you throw someone in the corner and do the Teleport Stomp right after the Throw, the opponent is moved away in Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 so the Teleport Stomp will miss. Kung Lao rise into Top 3 in Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 just because of one move - his Spin. The hitting area for it was so bad in Mortal Kombat 3 that you could rarely hit someone with it, while in Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 it could be used for punishers, blocked hits and is the key for his infinites. And finally Kabal - all of his auto combos do less damage now and the Ground Saw had a hit limit. He still is Top 1 here but I completely agree with the changes they made for him.

MK3 Sub-Zero Ice Clone UMK3 Kung Lao Spin There was no hit limit for Kabal's ground saw in MK3

Jade, Kitana and Mileena are the three female ninjas that were added. All of them are fun to use but neither could be consider as broken or unbalanced character, they are mid-tiers not high. Despite limited juggle possibilities Jade could be a great zoner and wakeup spammer. It is a real crime what they did with Kitana and Mileena though, because of the damage protection which activates after Kitana's Fan Lift and Mileena's Roll. The male ninjas are back too: Scorpion, Reptile, Classic Sub-Zero, Ermac and Human Smoke (and Noob Saibot via cheat). Scorpion and Classic Sub-Zero being the weakest of them all are still fun to play. However there are few things that should be mentioned. Classic Sub-Zero's ground ice disappears much faster when it is used against cpu. Ermac and Human Smoke have a lot of missing finishers. Noob Saibot from other hand does not have any, and you cant perform finishing moves on him. Anyway, to skip the long and for some, probably boring explanation about the new characters and if you want to learn more about them and the gameplay in deep, definitely read our Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 Strategy Guide, where you can read a lot more detailed information about all characters and how to play with them.

Mileena, Kitana, Jade and Reptile in 2 on 2 Match Ermac, Human Smoke, Scorpion and Classic Sub-Zero in 2 on 2 Match UMK3 Noob Saibot in Mirror Match

So, as you can see, many changes were made to make Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 a better competitive fighting game. But if all these things are kept in Mortal Kombat Trilogy, why is Mortal Kombat Trilogy not a better game than Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3? Check the next Kombat Kolumn issue to find out...

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Written by: ded_
Date: August 1st, 2010