Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3-Xbox360-
Review by pete
In October of 2006, Two months after the whole Street Fighter 2 Hyper Fighting debacle happened, a fighting game gemstone of immaculate reflection was released on the Xbox 360. The bitter taste of Hyper Fighting was ever present in my mouth, but the sweet sweet soothing savor of Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 would soon replace it. UMK3 in my opinion, is the shining star of Mortal Kombat franchise.
I use to play the original Mortal Kombat arcade on a regular basis. There was a small gas station somewhat close to my neighborhood and me and by friends / brothers would take a trip down this gas station to just to play Mortal Kombat. We were never really all that good and I played Sub-Zero every game because of his tear you head off and leave the spine dangling fatality. Those were some good times.
UMK3 was originally released in 1995 on the arcade. But by that time I myself had lost interest in the Mortal Kombat franchise. after MK2. They did a terrible job of some lackluster ports to the home consoles. I actually bought the original Game Boy version of Mortal Kombat. I’ll have to write up a review on that piece of garbagetown. The ports of Mortal Kombat 1 & 2 to the SNES were very watered down. They changed the blood effects to sweat, and most of the fatalities had been replaced for much weaker ones. I know that developer Midway is not to blame for these changes, it was probably the censorship organization. But in the end, its really only the children who suffer for these misdeads.
I bought UMK3 for the Xbox 360 back in 2006 the week it was released. And to my surprise and delight, the online matchmaking system worked! It wasn’t perfect but it worked. When selecting your opponent, there is a lag / ping bar indicating how well you connect to them. And there are some hiccups if your opponent has terrible ping. The game will pause intermittently. But this only happens every once in awhile and it can be avoided. Other than that, it plays almost as good as a local match.
The multiplayer is really where this game shines. Its an incredibility well made game for multiplayer. UMK3 is a very deep gameplay game where every contact area was well thought through. Here is an example: some of the female characters like Kitana and Jade can’t be combo’d starting from an air attack. The female characters don’t really have any very powerful moves, but they have some better agility and some longer combos. There are so many things that you’ll discover while playing the game that the developers took time to try to balance the game.
In the last 4 years I played 3000+ games. I’m at about a 50% win rate. When I first downloaded the game I played Sub-Zero exclusively cause of all of the fond memories I had playing his character. But I soon discovered that I didn’t quite like Sub-Zero’s forced playstyle. Sub-Zero is more of a defensive character. You’re only chance at victory is constantly jumping backward and throwing horizontal and vertical ice at your opponent in attempt to freeze him and get a combo off while he’s defenseless. But if you do play this way, you’re not ready for actual face to face combat, and Sub-Zero doesn’t have the best melee combos. I was sick of Sub-Zero. I wanted more.
After a quick google search, I found a list of all of the characters broken into tier categories. The character in the absolute #1 spot was Kabal. So from that day forward I would then play Kabal. Kabal was a world of difference from Sub-Zero. Kabal’s combos were more effective and easier to pull off, he had the ability to juggle opponents in the air, and he has some of the strongest special moves in the game. What makes these special moves so strong is that they can counter so many of the other characters moves if used correctly. Its really some banana stuff.
I later on learned how to play other top tier characters like Reptile, Kano, and Sindel. Each character plays very differently and has their strengths and weaknesses. One thing that I most especially liked about UMK3 is the ability to run. At any time you can rush your opponent to into a sweet ground combo, or you’ll be able to catch him off guard and get a throw off. Every aspect of the game is refined to a “T”, this game is Midway’s 9th Symphony.
For as good of a game as it is, there are some gripes to be had. The single player is pretty ridiculous. UMK3 is an exact direct port of the arcade game. Arcade games were meant to gobble up quarters. So the first guy you fight is pretty easy, but the next fight is impossible. Literally impossible. You’ll get flawless victory’d without having control of your character. It is amazingly cheap. But if you die and continue a couple of times, then the computer will get super easy. Its not a matter of skill, but a matter of just continuing enough times. Oh well.
Another gripe is the Xbox 360 controller. The game was not built around the Xbox 360 controller so it doesn’t translate very well. The analog controller is very unpricise, and the D-pad is pretty bad too. I found that the D-pad was better but not by much. I actually looked for some guides online on how to modify the Xbox 360 controller hardware so that the D-pad would be more accurate. It involved removing the controller faceplate and deepening the inner D-pad grooves so there was more contact area for the pads. My personal studies for improvement with the modifications remain inconclusive.
Over the years of fighting I faced off against some of the best and worst challengers the human race could muster. I played against some opponents 50+ times that I lost every match. But the more I played, the better I got. The more I learned about my opponent. Other players will always just be better that me, and I’d never win a match from them. Others were always terrible. Playing Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 was some of the most rewarding gaming i’ve ever had, and it was also the most frustrating. If I lost, I knew it was because I played poorly and I needed to get better.
Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 is probably the best fighting game I’ve ever played. Street Fighter 2 for the SNES is amazing, but UMK3 took everything from Mortal Kombat 1 & 2 and just made it so much better. They didn’t dumb anything down, They just buckled down and made and really worked hard to make an excellent game. I applaud you 1995 crew at Midway! HUZZAH! 5/5
Review by Pete May 17, 2010