Mortal Kombat for 8-bit NES/Famicom


This time, I’ve got a strange one—Mortal Kombat 4, although the label art also says Mortal Kombat Mythologies. I’m getting mixed messages. This was developed by a group called the Hummer Team—not related to the auto manufacturer, or the other kind of hummer, if you know what I mean. So let’s pop it in and see what the Hummer Team can do with Mortal Kombat 4 on the 8-bit Famicom.

*Superman theme plays*

Yeah, you heard right. That’s the Superman theme. A little out of place, isn’t it? Even the Superman games don’t use the actual Superman music. The Angry Video Game Nerd noticed the same thing when he did his review of the Superman game.

AVGN: The first thing that bothers me is the stock music. Why not the Superman theme? You know, the John Williams one? Why don’t any of these games have that?

Well, there’s your problem, Nerd. You’ve been looking in the wrong place. You want to hear Superman music on the NES, you need to look at pirate Mortal Kombat cartridges.

But seriously, Mortal Kombat and Superman? That’s the stupidest combination I’ve ever heard in my life!

Oh, yeah... I mean, that’s the coolest combination I’ve ever heard in my life!

Looks like a lot of characters, right? 28—that’s a pretty good amount. Wrong! Because it’s not 28. Not even close. You know how many characters there are in this game? 4. Maybe that’s why they call this game Mortal Kombat 4. Even the original had 7. What are you supposed to do with 4? So much deception. I haven’t seen this much deception in a Mortal Kombat game since Mortal Kombat: Deception.

Right off the bat, they have you fighting Shao Kahn. Supreme Ruler of the Realm of Outworld. Still everyone’s favorite boss from the Mortal Kombat series. Why would he be your very first opponent? What were they thinking? And you can tell he’s a boss all right, because of how cheap he is. You might have noticed that I picked Sub-Zero, but instead I got Stryker. And the computer picked Nightwolf, but instead got Shao Kahn. It even still says Nightwolf under the energy bar. I don’t know who you’re trying to fool, but we know the difference between Nightwolf and Shao Kahn. I’d recognize that helmet anywhere. I’m not one to brag, but I chance to wear that helmet myself when the Mortal Kombat Online team and I toured Midway back in 2004.

*flashback* Visit Mortal Kombat Online, or your soul belongs to me!

Next up: Stryker. Wait a minute, I’m Stryker. That means this is a mirror match. Take that, Pink Stryker! Oh, dammit, pink Stryker’s beating the crap out of me. Who would’ve thought? What can I say–he’s tougher than he looks.

Should I continue? Yes. The ones who did this to me shall be made to suffer. Plus, I want to keep playing, it’s actually kind of fun.

This time, I’ll go with Sonya. The best strategy with her is to cheese the hell out of the Leg Grab. Just keep spamming it over and over.

Wait a minute. Time out. Did he just try to throw me and miss? How’s that supposed to work? I mean, what exactly was the plan? “Hey you, I’m gonna throw you! *grunts as he goes through the entire throw motion against empty air* Darn. Missed.” I’m not kidding, that’s pretty much exactly what he did. Sonya’s much easier to control. A couple more hits and that’s a Flawless Victory for me.

Next up is Nightwolf—that means it’s really gonna be Shao Kahn. Now this has to be a record. I don’t think anyone’s beaten Shao Kahn that fast in any Mortal Kombat game.

Something you might have noticed is that after each fight, it takes you back to the character select screen. And it wipes off the enemies you’ve defeated. The number of enemies left gets smaller and smaller, and then we’re down to the last guy.

It looked like it was gonna be Sub-Zero, but I’m actually up against Liu Kang. Oh yeah, Liu Kang. Born in China. Youngest, but also the fastest warrior in the tournament. Let’s see what you’re made of, Liu. The graphics are doing a lot of flickering right now, making it hard to concentrate on the fight. But it’s all right, I got this.

Another attempt at throwing me, when we’re not even next to each other. In the real Mortal Kombat games, it would never happen that way. So that’s how you know this is a pirate. Now a lot of people might say that makes it crappy, but that’s one of the things that makes these games a little different. In a way, they’re like a box of chocolates—you never know what you’re gonna get. Actually, that’s kind of a bad analogy. In a box of chocolates, you know what you’re gonna get: chocolates. But you know what I mean, though.

Oh, that’s weird. I’m still fighting Liu Kang, but the background changed. Legend has it that this background music is actually Rose’s theme, from the movie Titanic. To be honest with you, I’m not hearing it. It’s not bad, though.

Huh, look who just dropped in! This must be an endurance round. Where you’ve got to fight two people, back to back, without being able to recharge your life meter. It’s fine by me. It would’ve been nice if they updated the name, since Liu Kang’s gone now and I’m facing Stryker. Ah, well.

Looks like it’s not quite over yet. Still a little more to go. And now the life bar says Kano. That should give Sonya a little extra motivation to win. She hates Kano.

What was that? I just got frozen! That’s the weirdest glitch I’ve seen in the whole game. Sub-Zero’s not even in this game, and here I am, getting frozen anyway. Evidently, there is code for Sub-Zero and his moves somewhere in the game—even though they’re not accessible. I would not have guessed that. If it wasn’t for this glitch, I really would not have guessed that.

I won! I won! Ha ha ha, in your face, pirates! But wait, there’s more!

In this multicart—called the Super 12-in-1 Brains Series—there’s another, even better, version of this game with more characters and more backgrounds.

Let’s pop this one in next.


In this one, the game calls itself Mortal Kombat 3 instead.

Now, I have the satisfaction of knowing that when I pick Nightwolf, I’ll actually get Nightwolf. One thing that’s a little strange about controlling Nightwolf is the jumping attacks. If you jump backwards, and then do a kick, it will propel you forward. That also works with the jump punch. It doesn’t do that for all the characters, though—just Nightwolf and Sub-Zero, for some reason. You’d think that these pirate game companies don’t have QA departments or something. The flickering also gets a little out of control wit h some characters, Nightwolf being one of them.

Let’s skip around and look how Sub-Zero plays. Freezing someone while they’re trying to block? That’s a good feeling. It’s one of those things that’s unfair, but it’s unfair for me, so I approve. Here, you can see more of those backwards jumps that suddenly turn into forward jump kicks. Sometimes, he can still move a little bit even after he’s been frozen. Frozen while he’s laying down? Now, I’ve seen everything.

Now that’s take a look at the one-eyed monster. That didn’t sound right. I meant Kano! I’m saying let’s take a look at Kano! Kano’s moves just aren’t that good. At least in this game. Some of the other players have really cheap moves. Kano’s are just pretty basic. After you do the Knife Toss a couple of times, they disable it. You can’t do the Knife Toss again for a little while. And even when you get it back, it can sometimes just go right through him.

This is the last fight I’ll skip ahead to. I’m putting this one in because this is the last background I wanted to show. This version of the game actually includes the Rooftop background. The first one I was playing didn’t have it. That flickering problem comes back every time I do a fireball. I don’t know why some of the fireballs make that flicker happen, and others don’t. It’s weird. You can’t even blame the pirates for this. It’s really a limitation of the system, rather than the game itself. This level has my favorite music, because it sounds like Peter Griffin sneaking around.

So that’s pretty much the whole game. There are a couple of different variations on it. Most of them have 28 characters also, like this one. And this one. Some of them have only 14 characters. This one has 48. They make some slight changes to the title screen as well. There’s Mortal Kombat 3 with light colors, Mortal Kombat 3 with dark colors, Mortal Kombat 4 with light colors, and Mortal Kombat 4 with dark colors.

Some of them add [another] title screen, which gives you some options, The options don’t do much, other than give you a chance to adjust the difficulty. There’s also a code you can put in here to access the credits. If the title screen says Mortal Kombat 3, then the code is Up, Up, Up, Down, Down, Down, Left, Right. And then you get a screen showing the logos for Taiwan Shin-Shin Electronics and KaSheng/NT. If the title screen says Mortal Kombat 4, then the code is Right, Right, Right, Left, Left, Left. And you’ll get taken to a screen showing the logo for a company called Gold Leopard.

So there it is. That’s everything you wanted to know about this game, and probably a whole lot that you didn’t. The game is a little bit deceptive, in that it advertises more characters than are actually available. And it’s also pretty glitchy. I don’t like the flickering. I don’t like the way the computer tries to throw you and misses. There’s some issues going on with the freeze, as well as the jump kicks that start out backwards and then go forwards. But if you look past those things, it’s not bad. It’s actually a pretty faithful translation of Mortal Kombat 3. It’s about as good as you can get on the 8-bit Nintendo system, to be honest with you. So, overall, if you have a chance, I’d say try it out.

Well, thanks a lot for watching. Smell you later!

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