Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 was originally released in the arcades in 1995 when Mortal Kombat fever was alive and well. Since then quite a few things have happened to the fighting genre. New franchises like Soul Calibur and Dead or Alive have debuted and the Mortal Kombat series itself went through a bit of a rekindling with Mortal Kombat Franchise. Ultimate Mortal Kombat for the Nintendo DS brings together Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 and Puzzle Kombat but is the game perfect for those who want to play away from their homes or should those people quickly duck into an arcade for their Mortal Kombat fix?
The two titles on Ultimate Mortal Kombat should both be familiar with Mortal Kombat fans. Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 has appeared on several platforms including the Mega Drive, Super Nintendo, Sega Saturn and most recently on the Xbox Live Arcade. Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 is essentially an upgrade to Mortal Kombat 3 with a few modifications made to the character's moves to balance out the gameplay a little bit, which makes things a little fairer. Puzzle Kombat originally appeared on Mortal Kombat: Deception and is bit like Tetris but with a Mortal Kombat twist.
The first thing you will have to do in Ultimate Mortal Kombat is create a profile. The DS game cart can hold three profiles at once and keeps track of your wins, losses and win streaks in Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 and Puzzle Kombat. The game also keeps track of how many of the 41 unlockables you have unlocked, so you can tell how much more you have left to unlock. After creating or selecting an existing profile you can choose to play either Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 or Puzzle Kombat.
Most players will dive straight into Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, which is essentially identical to the game released in 1995. All the familiar Mortal Kombat characters appear in Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 including Scorpion, Smoke Sector and Liu Kang. In total there are nineteen characters to choose from in the game, as well as three unlockables. Playing Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 on the Nintendo DS is surprisingly intuitive. The action is displayed on the bottom screen with the top screen used solely to show off the moveset. The game really hasn't changed in any way, but anyone who enjoyed Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 back when it was released in the arcades is sure to have a lot of fun with the game. Mortal Kombat isn't the most cutting edge fighting game around anymore, but it is still a lot of fun.
As we described earlier, Puzzle Kombat is pretty much a Tetris knockoff with a typically Mortal Kombat twist. In Puzzle Kombat coloured squares will fall down the screen and you will need to try to line as many of these up in a row but the coloured squares won't actually disappear until a breaker drops down. A breaker is a small Mortal Kombat symbol and by dropping the same coloured breaker on the same coloured line of blocks, you will clear the blocks. Occasionally you will also get bombs which will clear all of the blocks of one colour. This is done by simply dropping the bomb on the desired colour and when the bomb hits the coloured block it will destroy all the blocks of that colour. As you break down your blocks you will also increase your super meter. Once the meter is full you can press Y to utilise a special attack against your opponent. As Puzzle Kombat is played against another player the aim is to try and keep your stack of blocks as low as possible, but combos will send some of your blocks over to your opponent. Puzzle Kombat isn't exactly the most original game around, but it is surprisingly addictive and feels like less of a throwaway gimmick and more of a solid inclusion.
One of the newest additions to both games is the support for the Nintendo Wi-Fi connection. The game can be played locally with either one or two game cards. If you play with someone who doesn't own a copy of the game then the features are limited, whereas if you both own a copy of Ultimate Mortal Kombat then you can select every character with no limitations. However, for those times when you cannot find any friends locally (or you don't have any) there is the Nintendo Wi-Fi connection support. Both games can be played via Wi-Fi. From the main menu of each game you can select the Wi-Fi option. You will start off with a rating of about 2000 and can play against friends, search worldwide for a battle or take part in a rated match. As you improve and win more battles your rating will improve. Fighting games have long stayed away from going online because something like lag can completely destroy a fighting game. Thankfully we never really had any game destroying lag with Ultimate Mortal Kombat. We did occasionally have some problems finding people online to play against, but this could just come down to the fact that the game has only been out for a short time in Australia and whenever we decided to play it was too early for America to be online.
There are a few unlockables in Ultimate Mortal Kombat which should keep players coming back to the single player games. New characters can be unlocked for Puzzle Kombat including Bo Rai Cho, Jade, Kabal, Kenshi, Mileena and Raiden. Classic Sub-Zero, Ermac and Mileena can also be unlocked for play in Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3. There is something a little bit unsettling about seeing your profile when it says anything less than 41/41 unlockables unlocked.
Ultimate Mortal Kombat brings Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 and Puzzle Kombat to the Nintendo DS successfully. Both games are still a lot of fun and Puzzle Kombat is surprisingly addictive. It is, however, a little disappointing that a few other Mortal Kombat games weren't thrown into the compilation but thankfully what is included is solid. So, if you love the idea of playing Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 on the bus or if Tetris just isn't violent enough for you then you cannot go wrong with Ultimate Mortal Kombat.