2D / Arcade / Fighting
1 to 2 Players
Realistic Blood & Gore
Sony Computer Entertainment
| Retail Barcode:
7 11719 42012 5
Williams / Midway
| Sony ID:
October 7, 1995
Spill Your Guts or Theirs!
Grab the third tidal wave of karnage and mystery! Shao Khan has seized absolute control of Earth and the Outworld. Now both are plunged into oblivion, overrun by Shao Khan’s savage creatures. You must klash with evil to pierce the darkness. Are you ready to shred your soul in battle?
Mortal Kombat 3 and at the time, its main rival Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo received absolutely ludicrous amounts of media coverage and gamers’ attention. While pitted against each other by both parties, the comparison was unfair; Street Fighter’s entry was simply another upgrade to an existing game, and MK was a whole new title. None the less, both were insanely popular at the time.
This wasn’t to say neither didn’t have a dark side to the popularity. Since we’re on the MK3 page, we’ll deal strictly with it’s problems.
Mortal Kombat II, for me, was the pinnacle of the previous generation Mortal Kombats. It had the best cast of characters, the coolest (and well designed) Fatalities, just the right amount of secrets and Shao Kahn wasn’t the absolute [jerk face] he is in this one…but we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
This time around, Outworld invades Earth, foregoing any tournament rules and obliterating anyone and any thing in their past. Souls are stolen, cities are destroyed, and for whatever reason there are more copy-and-pasted characters than you can shake an arcade machine at. Some of the then new characters included Stryker the Riot Cop, Sheeva the Outworld she-creature, and Kitana’s mother, Sindel. Levels are now mostly set on Earth in a graveyard, along Chicago, and some Outworld areas. New to the boss fight is Motaro, an equestrian half horse / half minotaur creature that is as cheap as he is unfairly balanced.
Control was tweaked in two ways, an added Run button, and dial-a-combos. The combos added a bit of fun thanks to the unique animations hidden in them, but skilled players or the computer on a higher difficulty could obliterate the player (read: me) easily every time. Both Motaro and Shao Kahn are absurdly pain-in-the-asses in this game, though the latter can be easily controlled if you’re playing Sub-Zero. There’s a fine lean between cheap programming and true difficulty. MK3 runs head first into the cheap bin giggling along the way.
Midway’s attempt to make the game seem darker and more dreadful than its past iterations regretfully takes a wrong turn into absurdity. There’s now another Sub-Zero, the token black character (Jax from MK2) decided he needed robotic arms, the ‘scary’ ninja robots are just people in BMX armor, and Shang Tsung now looks like he belongs in a trailer park rather than a martial art’s tournament. While the urban areas are a nice change of pace, the locales are fairly boring, especially the bank and the tower. Very few stages have any life to them, the only bright spot being the bridge with its flying garbage and the cemetery with the developer references.
Worse, the Fatalities, the very heart (no pun intended) of the series were nonsensical and almost insulting. Jax has the ability to become a giant and step on someone, Kabal scares you to death (no, seriously), and Smoke destroys the entire planet…and then you all come back for the next fight. Worse still, abandoning MK2’s ingenious button-press-matches-the-fatality animation in favor of completely random button patterns. Pushing further, the animation team phoned it in. It’s so bad, if someone gets cut in half, their hands and arms just float there. Don’t even get me started on the Animalities.
Mortal Kombat saw some seriously bad times after the third installment. The PlayStation was home to several side-story games that were…bad. It would take years for the series to return to form on the PlayStation 2 and Xbox.
With the series having a brilliant reboot on the Xbox 360 and PS3, and the classic Trilogy (via 1,2, and Ultimate MK3) available on their online shops, there’s little reason to track this version down. Left to us collectors and variant hunters, this is a home game that needs to be left in the OutWorld.
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- Mortal Kombat was part of a bizarre (and annoying) trend in system exclusives that caused other series to follow suit. MK3 was exclusive to the PlayStation, but Ultimate MK3 was Saturn exclusive. MK4 went back to PSX when the Saturn died. Capcom had DarkStalkers on PSX, it’s sequel on the Saturn, and then part 3 back on the PSX. Bear in mind that this adheres to the US side of things only.
- There is a peculiar design flaw on the back of the long box packaging. They have the same screen shot twice. The jewel case variant fixed this.
- Mortal Kombat 3 may be the only game in the PlayStation library that marketed itself, both on the disc and manual, as its nickname / abbreviation of MK3 rather than it’s full name of Mortal Kombat 3.
- There are 10 entries in the non-existent High Score area of the game, used simply as goals set for the player. However, each set of initials refer to another Midway game. Right now the going theory on them are as follows:
- MK4: Mortal Kombat 4
- WWF: WWF Wrestlemania
- NHL: NHL 2 on 2 Open Ice
- MK3: Mortal Kombat 3
- MK2: Mortal Kombat 2
- MK1: Mortal Kombat 1
- DOM: Doom (Midway / Williams did the home version)
- CAR: Cruisin’ USA
- ROD: Hot Rod Rebels (canceled sequel to Rush 2049)
- OFF: Off-Road Challenge
- There are three famous quotes that randomly cycle through out the attract screen. The first one is the most ‘rare’ one, while the second is the most common. They are:
- Imagination is More Important than Knowledge
- There is No Knowledge that is Not Power
- The Meek Shall Inherit the Earth
- Stryker’s Friendship was altered due to RAM issues. In the arcade, all characters run past while he acts as a crossing guard. In the home version, several ‘Babied’ characters in a wagon scroll by. In Mortal Kombat Trilogy, it was partially repaired. Instead of using all the characters, they simply dumped in all the palette swapped characters (ninjas, female ninjas, robot ninjas) to an almost similar effect.
- This was originally released on damn near everything. GameBoy, Super NES, Genesis, PlayStation, Game Gear, and even PC DOS.
- There’s this really odd issue with the background cycle program that can also be found more prominently in the Saturn MK Trilogy game. When the player knocks the other character through the ceiling in a two-stage level, if the match goes to the next round, the CPU thinks that the 2nd level is where you started from, and will begin the level cycling all over again. The Saturn version is so bad you could literally go through the entire game on only 3 backgrounds.
- Mortal Kombat 3’s background choices were a bit peculiar, though understandable. While the first 2 games had tournament areas, haunting OutWorld locations, and the like, MK3 used more common everyday locations to illustrate that Earth was indeed the battleground this time around. In this case, you fight in a bank, on the street, in a church, etc.
- MK3 featured a ‘password’ system using symbols that if properly cracked, would allow different aspects of the game to be altered.