Midway's Mortal Kombat 4 Shines at E3
By: Derek Fridman
Special contributor to TRMK
E3 once again, and Midway had MK4 in all its forms. Arcade, PC, N64, and PSX. A big screen TV with two black leather seats gave MK4 fans the ultimate home system experience. Upon arriving at the Midway booth I was kind of expecting a huge layout, similar to last year's booth. But from the looks of it, Midway had toned down the size and had directed their focus back into Arcade machines, with only a few console games being displayed. (BioFreaks, MK4, Gex, NFL Blitz)
Right off the bat I jumped on the big screen unit, and began playing the N64 version. It was early in the morning so I got a good chance to play around before the crowds hit. I was immediately in shock at how fast the game ran. I saw no slowdown in game play, but I did notice a loss of frames in certain moves and some actions looked a bit choppy. The sound was excellent, still not true stereo sound, but it was acceptable. All the arcade sounds are in the game, along with all the voices, a very cool feature. Now to the down side of the N64 version. The controls are awkward. I don't care how many game sites out there say that it plays great with the N64 controller. It just doesn't. The four small buttons just don't cut it, and the default layout is just plain lame. I spent about 10 minutes just getting the controller configured the right way. I would definately suggest buying a new gamepad for this one. Combos were strong, and I was able to pull them off quite easy, but the controller once again left me fru strated. The backgrounds on the game looked "ok." Most of them were true to the arcade, but dark and tough to read in some areas. I noticed that projectiles lacked "glow" and some just looked like floating blobs. I played the whole game through with Sub-Zero and found that this translation is as good as it can be. The endings are the same as the arcade and all voices are intact. Weapon combat is the same, and the items found in the arenas are all there. I give it a 7 out of 10 rating.
WOW! Fully rendered intro, fully rendered endings, awesome sound, perfect control, poor graphics. Sorry guys but the game is extremely pixeleated! The graphics are a huge let down. The character models are noticeably sharp and jagged, due to the Playstation's lack of hardware anti-aliasing. Well what about the good parts? I can safely say that the game loads are quite fast, and the sound is great. Control is not a problem with the standard PSX controller. All moves were easy to execute and the frame rate was average. All the FMV sequences are top notch, with a few surprises. We will let you see for yourselves. I rate it the same as the N64 7 out of 10 rating.
It's still to early to tell, but it looked like this translation needs some serious work left to be done. The models were great, and the backgrounds looked excellent. However, you may need to buy a 3dfx Voodoo2 card to really enjoy these graphics. This could be the best translation on the market. No word on whether the FMV sequences will make it into the PC version. We won't be able to see the PC version in stores for a while. There was no word on when it will be released. No rating on this one, too early to tell.
Which should you buy?
Well, if you are a die hard fan of the arcade version, go for the N64. The N64 has all the sounds, features and endings true to the arcade, with some new options like new costumes and hidden fighters. If you want something new, and are in need of an MK4 FMV fix and love hearing "FIGHT!" in blazing stereo sound then the PSX version is for you. You get the same hidden options as the N64 but you have to live with a drop in graphic resolution. My final judgment is that they are both good, but they also have some downfalls. My suggestion is to rent both versions, try them out, and then base your purchase off of what you like and dislike about each version. It will be a very tough decision.