Mortal Combat 5/Mortal Kombat Mythologies for Sega Genesis/MegaDrive
Today, I'm going to talk to talk to you about another pirate Mortal Kombat game. This one is based on Mortal Kombat Mythologies, which was originally released in 1997 on the Nintendo 64 and the Sony Playstation. Mortal Kombat Mythologies was not exactly one of the most popular Mortal Kombat games–it got pretty low reviews. But I personally liked it. I thought it was really cool to be able to play as Sub-Zero, to be introduced to new characters like Quan Chi and Shinnok, to fight off Shaolin monks, monsters from the Netherealm, and of course, boss battles with Gods of the earth.
Well, pirates have taken that game, released a watered-down version on the Sega Genesis or Mega Drive, and called it "Mortal Combat 5". My cartridge says Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero. Unlike some of the other pirate games, this one's actually pretty easy to find. You can pretty much find it on eBay any time. Here's the eBay home page, just do a keyword search for "Sub-Zero Megadrive", hit search–look, first thing that comes up, there it is. It's reasonably priced, and there's pretty much always someone selling it.
And if you don't want to purchase it, it's very easy to find the ROM. Pretty much all the ROM sites have it. If you look, it's one of the most highly downloaded games, right after the Sonic the Hedgehog series. And it's also one of the most highly rated.
Now, let me just insert a disclaimer here. I do not support downloading illegal games, like Mortal Kombat. I think that software piracy has effectively killed Mortal Kombat on the PC. I can understand why Midway was hesitant to release Mortal Kombat games on the PC for so many years. People could just download them for free, so why would they bother trying to sell them? Netherealm Studios/Warner Bros.–they're starting to release the Mortal Kombat games on the PC now, but they're not giving it their full support. They're releasing a crippled watered-down version of it. And they're just not as good as the console versions. So Mortal Kombat on the PC is not doing as well it could be, and I believe that software piracy is the reason. So I believe in supporting the developers, I believe in purchasing the games.
But when it comes to pirate games, I don't see a need to do that. I say go ahead and download the ROM. It's not like these are the original Mortal Kombat creators, they don't have the intellectual property rights. So I say download the shit out of it. I mean, pirating a pirate game–that's the moral equivalent of a fireball cancel. I mean, it's almost your duty to download and play this game. In a way, you're balancing out the universe.
Well, let's go ahead and get started with the game, shall we?
This is the title screen. I love the music here. I love the fact that there are options, I'm going to show you some of those options later on.
I really like the level design. They were surprisingly faithful to what was in the actual Mortal Kombat Mythologies game. As soon as I beat Kano here, I'm going to show you some of the basic moves.
It can be a little frustrating, because it only uses the three-button controller. The six-button controller had been available for several years by this point, but they still only make use of the three buttons. So that's a little disappointing, because a game like this with so many options could really take advantage of all six buttons. But anyway, the standard left, right, duck and jump–they work how you'd expect. Then the "A" button turns him around, "B" button is to punch, "C" is to kick. If you want to do the attacking moves while ducking, that's [Down + B] a ducking low kick, that's [Down + C] a ducking high kick. Back + B is a foot sweep, Back + C is a roundhouse. And this is where things start to get really weird. If you press B and C together, they do some kind of a block, but only one that lasts half a second. The real way to block in this game is to hold "A" (the turn around button) and back at the same time. So that leaves a little something to be desired. And to uppercut, you have to duck, and press B and C at the same time. So, also a little weird. And of course you can do the standard jumping and kicking while in the air, jump punch while in air, and of course while flipping also. So that's pretty much it for the controls.
Now like I was saying before, I like the level design. But they really screw with you here. I mean, look at this–they have acid dropping down on you from the of the level. The real Mortal Kombat Mythologies has these columns that just drop down on you and totally crush you. So you assume there's these limitations, they just don't have the memory that it would take to recreate these giant columns that crush you to death, so they just put in acid. So you get through the acid. And then what to do they do? They have columns on the very next screen. So you don't even think to look for the columns by this point, you think they're done, and then BAM! They hit you with the columns anyway.
So I was impressed with the fact that they recreated the balcony. There's this little ledge that you have to hang on, and then jump, and if you don't do it right, you fall off the edge and you die in the original game. So they brought that back here; they actually recreated that whole thing. And when it comes stuff like that, when it comes to the stuff like the level design, I really like their attention to detail. But it's just a shame that that doesn't carry over to the enemies. Like Mortal Kombat is about fighting–one on one, man to man, hand to hand. I don't blame them for not recreating the enemies from Mortal Kombat: Mythologies. Those graphics weren't easy to rip and I'm sure the graphics from Mortal Kombat II and 3 were readily available, so they plugged them in. But all the enemies for the first stage are just Kano. There's a green Kano, there's an orange Kano, and the big boss is a red Kano. And, in true Mortal Kombat fashion, it turns out they're all cheap palette-swaps. And that's another point of contention–how hard would it have been to do Scorpion? All they would've had to do is palette-swap Sub-Zero yellow, and boom–there's your Scorpion. It's just hard to imagine how much they got right but then they get stuff like this wrong.
I guess I want to take a minute to show you the fight system is also a little glitchy. If you freeze someone while they're in the middle of punching you, you can walk into the punch and get hit by it. Also, you can freeze somebody while they're blocking and they still get frozen. That's actually a nice glitch. That one works out to my advantage, so I'll allow it. But you know what sucks? That the enemies can run, but you can't, because there's no "Run" button. And you know what else sucks? You can get hit by the crushing columns, but you can't crush the enemies. In the original Mortal Kombat Mythologies you could, but here, the columns appear to have no effect on the bad guys–only on you. So that's fair, I guess
And just like in the original, once you climb up the rope, and make your exit, it's onto the next level.
Woah, woah, woah, woah–time out. What is this–the "W-lement" of water? The wlement of water, is that how you pronounce it? So what's next, you're going to tell me that to win, you must use the wlement that brings life? Ridiculous.
World 2 takes place in what's supposed to be the stage for the God of water. Well, he's nowhere to be found, so instead, you find yourself fighting different versions of Sonya. There's the normal green Sonya, there's a kind of yellowish-greenish variant, and the big boss is Red Sonja. No, not that, I'm talking a palette-swapped version of Sonya to make her red.
Now immediately in this level, you begin to notice a huge problem. It wasn't so much a problem in World 1, but here it's a major problem the fact that every room seems to look alike. There's hardly any variation whatsoever. I mean, look, you leave this room, you go into another one–how can you keep track of where you are? It would be nice if you had a map. Remember what your mission was in World 1?
Sub-Zero: "In honor of the Lin Kuei, I bring you the sacred Map of Elements."
That's right–a map! Now there's a concept that works. And believe me, a lot of games that came out before this had maps. The Legend of Zelda had a map. The classic first-person shooter, Doom, had a map. You had to press a button to access it, but it was there. But with this game, you get nothing. So I took up the ancient art of cartography. That's right, I had to make my own maps. And I'm pretty sure that anyone who's beaten this game did the same thing–because without making your own maps, there's just no way to do this.
Look, according to the January 2016 issue of Scientific American, humans and other mammals make internal maps of their surroundings partly by taking visual cues from their environment. But games like this screw it all up! How can you take any visual cues when your environment always looks exactly the same?
According to Hanlon's Razor, one should never attributed to malice what can easily be attributed to stupidity. Well, I would offer that whoever designed these levels was both malicious and stupid. I mean, look at this–there are spikes that kill you instantly with one hit. To get through this part of the level, you have to go down this rope and onto the next screen. But if you do the same thing at this other identical-looking screen, going down the rope will instantly send you to your death. This is a nightmare! How do you expect anybody to be able to navigate this?
And if you go to certain rooms before they're ready, they just don't seem to work right. I mean, look at this, there's an elevator. You expect it to move somewhere. But it doesn't! It just sits there. You're wondering, are you doing wrong? Is there some trick to get the elevator to work, some weird button combination that you have to press? Maybe I can use the game's buggy control system to get through the other side. No, that doesn't work. Well, it turns out you need a key in order to access that elevator. But usually if you need a key, there's some marking on the wall to tell you you need a key.
Hey, here's something funny. Sonya's projectile has this weird bubble that they didn't edit out properly. And look, when you freeze her, the bubble gets frozen along with it.
Oh, here's something else funny. You can do a ground freeze, and then jump kick, and fall right through it. Look! He just sit there and falls forever. There he goes, he's just falling all across the screen. Now you can't even see him. And I guess he comes back to reality when he gets hit. It's a good thing I had a little bit of energy left.
Now this is interesting. When you beat level 2, it gives you the password to get back into level 2. That's different from how it usually work. Normally, they would give you the password as you get to that level, not as you complete that level.
And World 3 starts out crazy. I mean, it is cray-cray. Right away when you jump into this level, there are arrows flying at you, there's twin spikes coming out of the ceiling and the floor, there are holes in the ground, and there are fireballs coming at you. You might have to use an item just to make it through this first screen. There's just so many traps! No, really–it's a lot for one person to deal with.
The enemy this time around is Liu Kang. Now, see, that actually makes a lot of sense. I mean, the main people that you should be fighting with in a Shaolin Temple are Shaolin monks. You'll spend a lot of time fighting orange Liu Kang. There's another take on Liu Kang that wears green and purple pants. To me, this palette just looks glitchy. Like, they didn't check to see whether it came out green, purple, or what. It's actually both. I guess purple and green work well together, The Joker pulls it off. And the main boss is the classic, traditional red Liu Kang. I say the main boss, but it's weird, here's not like the last guy or anything. But he is pretty much like the boss, I mean you fight him in the same room that you would fight the earth god in the actual Mortal Kombat Mythologies, so I think it's fair to call him the boss.
And interestingly enough, his weapon of choice in this game is a boomerang. That actually seems pretty popular among these pirate game developers. If you remember, they gave Wonder Woman a boomerang in Dragon Fighter, the first game I reviewed. So all these fighters, like Liu Kang and Wonder Woman, are running around throwing boomerangs at people. I've never seen anyone in the real world use a boomerang as a weapon. What, do you think you're frickin' Captain Boomerang here?
Alright, so you grab the keys. You get key #1 in the beginning, and you unlock it pretty early on. So you pass by this room, where you can see you'll need it. When you defeat the red Liu Kang, he gives you the second key. And then–this is the part that messes me up–Normally, going down a hole would kill you. But you actually have to go down this hole in order to beat the level. When you do, it gives you the third and final key that you need. And when you use the third key, you just walk out of the level, and that's it. There is no final boss. It was just Liu Kang. So, a good level, but a little anti-climactic.
And by the way, you know what really grinds my gears? The second you defeat one of the bad guys, a message comes up telling you to move. They don't waste any time! They want you to hurry! Get a move on! Hop to! Chop-chop! And it's like, please. A man just died. Show some respect. Have a moment of silence.
Which brings us to level 4–Quan Chi's Sanctuary. Note that Quan Chi does not actually appear in the game. Come to think of it, he was on the cartridge art, too. Well, despite the lack of Quan Chi, this game is actually a very fitting conclusion for the entire game. It takes everything we've seen so far, and wraps it up in a nice little package. In this–the final level of the game–you face off against every opponent you've faced so far in Kombat. That's right, you're going to go up against Kano, you're going to go up against Liu Kang, and you're going to go up against Sonya. I have to admit that up to now, I thought there was some kind of programming limitation. I thought they could only have one character per level. But they've got all three.
Back in the original, you had to collect three different parts of the Triforce, and merge them all together. Sorry, thinking of Zelda again. But it's true, you did have three different keys that you had to collect and bring together. And they brought that back here. Provided you know where you're going, you can pick the keys up in any order. In the earlier levels, you had to follow a specific path, but now, it doesn't matter which order you do things in.
What's also neat is they brought back the red Sonya, the red Liu Kang, and the red Kano. Again, finding your way around is difficult, so you'll need to have a map. You'll also need to make use of the elevators. In order to activate the elevator, you need to stand on top of it and press A and C at the same time. You've got to wander around and place the first key, place the second key, and place the third key. And when you do that, you'll warp to the final boss, Sindel. Now Sindel is pretty hard, so you'll probably need a power-up or two saved up.
And this is it–this is the ending message. It'll stay up here for as long as you want, until you press start.
And by the way, there is a shortcut. Remember that glitch with the ground freeze, and going through the floor? Well, if you do that in level 4, you win. That's a pretty neat shortcut.
Sine the game's over, let's look through these options. There's a difficulty option, which is set to Medium by default, you can change it to easy or hard. The number of lives–it starts you off at 3, but you can bump it up to 6. The number of continues–it starts you off at 1, but you can also bump that up to 6. And of course, there's a password system. You saw the passwords as we were going through the game. It's a little backwards in that gives you the passwords on the way out rather than on the way in, but that just adds to the challenge.
Let's take a minute and go over the special moves real quick. To do the freeze, it's Down, Forward, B. To do the ground freeze, it's Down, Back, C. And to do the slide, it's Back, B and C at the same time. So it's pretty intuitive, seasoned Mortal Kombat players will have no problems executing those moves.
Along the way, there are various items you can pick up. The Herbal Healer will give you 50% of your health. The Herbal Booster will give you 100% of your health. The Urn of Vitality also gives you 100% of your health. And the Urn of Immortality gives you an extra life.
So, all in all, I actually kind of like that game. I thought the graphics were good: Sub-Zero comes from Mortal Kombat II, the bad guys come from Mortal Kombat 3, and everything fits together pretty nicely. The backgrounds were amazing, they really captured that authentic Mortal Kombat Mythologies feel. They did get a little bit repetitive, though, which made it pretty challenging. I had to make my own maps in order to make my way through the game. And I'm sharing those maps with you now, actually, they're in the description. Another thing I really liked about it was the music, I thought those tunes were very catchy. So altogether, I'd say this was a very enjoyable game. Give it a chance.
Thank you very much for watching the video, and I will see you next time.