Mortal Kombat 1 logo Gamer Gold

Fighting for the title of the best beat-'em-up on the Amiga, Virgin's arcade conversion makes it to the small screen.

You've seen the adverts of the TV with that long-haired bloke shouting "Mooooootal Kombaaaat" backed up with loads of "hip" streetwise kids who are dancing and jumping to a hardcore dance tune. Of course you have, this advertisement was for the Mega Drive and SNES versions and I have to hold my hands up and say that Mortal Kombat looked absolutely brilliant! Those pesky console owners seem to always go one better, but no longer because courtesy of Virgin and Probe software (the team that converted to the Amiga), Mortal Kombat is putting an appearance in on the Amiga. Oh yes!

As far as beat-'em-ups go the 16-bit home computers have relatively done well with titles such as IK+, Body Blows, Body Blows Galactic and even Street Fighter 2 - although that wasn't very good, but still a lot of punters out there bought it.

Everybody loves a great beat-'em-up and I know the reason why. For one, when you're frustrated or angry you can't go up to someone in the street and smack them in the face. Err well you can, but you'll get sent to prison on GBH charges. Thus via today's game technology you can be transported into the body of a muscle-bound freak and kick the living daylights out of your opponents. This is perhaps even more satisfying when you're playing against a friend or enemy.

You actually become the fighter and sometimes it does actually feel as though you're getting your head kicked in, although it's more mental than physical obviously.

The slight problem with beat-'em-ups is the fact that once you've seen one you've seen them all, because you are so limited to what you can do in them. This is where Mortal Kombat is perhaps the bloodiest, most goriest fighting game that you're ever likely to see. For those well up on the console scene you will know that the SNES version didn't have any blood in it whatsoever and the Mega Drive's bloodfest could only be accessed via a cheat.

The Amiga version, just like the arcade, get the full treatment with oodles of blood and gore splattering all over the place. Yes, sick I know and it'll probably turn us into a nation of serial killers, but Mortal Kombat is the bloodiest game I've played since Moonstone. It's a tournament whereupon fighters are chosen from around and out of this world to scrap it out to the death. You have to choose between seven characters who all have distinct personalities and abilities.

In a sort of handy "thanks a lot Gamer" kinda way, all these character details are displayed on this page. I said seven before, but you will notice that there are actually nine characters in what we lovingly call a "box out".
You have to fight the other two at the end of the game after you've defeated the other characters. First you have to battle the monstrous Goro who has six arms and a very bad attitude and then to win you have to take on the might of Shang Tshung.

As you may or may not know, to win a bout you have to deplete your opponent's energy bar to zero. The bouts are fought on a beat-to-three basis and t the end of your second victory your defeated victim will stand swaying for a few seconds and Shang Tshung screams "Finish him!".

You'll then get a free shot at them to complete your victory, but this gives you the chance to perform your lethal death move to make your fighting performance even better. The death move involves all manner of grisly deaths and range from exploding heads to hearts being ripped out of bodies. Gory I know, but hey the "kids" love it, apparently.

Summing up, Mortal Kombat is one of the best beat-'em-ups that you can buy for the Amiga. It kicks seven shades out of the almost laughable Street Fighter 2. It will be compared and placed against Body Blows Galactic and it would be too hard to say which one is better because they both have their advantages and disadvantages. I guess at the end of the day it's all a question of taste.

Mortal Kombat does contain digitised graphics straight from the arcade machine and this technique has been used before in games like Pitfighter, but unfortunately it didn't work too well.
For some bizarre reason it actually works in Mortal Kombat. The digitised static screens aren't brilliant and if you pause the game and look at the character sprites they aren't too hot either. When Mortal Kombat is in motion of and you're in the thick of the action, though, all this is forgotten. There are plenty of nice backgrounds and once again the blood does look really good when you're smacking someone in the face.

I know on paper it sounds really naff, but when you've got control of the stick and you're beating your way up the ladder it is absolutely brilliant. On the sound front the music is fairly good, but nothing really outstanding. The effects though are good, especially the digitised speech, and you'll find yourself repeating the "catchphrases"

The major difference between Mortal Kombat and its lacklustre competitor Street Fighter 2 is in the fact that Virgin's beat-'em-up is that much more playable. To be honest I'm amazed how they converted all the game's moves onto just one joystick.
For instance, the console versions have the distinct advantage of having loads of buttons on the joypad controllers, but the Amiga joystick just has eight directions and one Fire button.

It does take a while to get to know each character's moves and perform them correctly, but once you've overcome this little problem you can enter beat-'em-up heaven.
Mortal Kombat is a very good one-player game, but as per usual it's always more fun with a chum. Most people will be able to complete the game on easy level within a day, but there are still a further three levels to try your hand at.

Probe Software have done a sterling job converting the arcade smash to the small screen and I doff my cap to them. If you want a beat-'em-up to go along with your copy of Body Blows Galactic then this is it. Buy Mortal Kombat, it's bloody good fun... literally.

Vital Kombat Statistics

Name: Liu Kang
Age: 24
Height: 5'10"
Weight: 18.5lbs
Origin: China
Occupation: Shaolin Monk

Name: Kano
Age: 35
Height: 6'
Weight: 205lbs
Origin: Unknown
Occupation: Criminal

Name: Rayden
Age: Immortal
Height: 7'
Weight: 350lbs
Origin: The Universal Planes of Being
Occupation: Deity

Name: Sub-Zero
32Height: 6'2"
Weight: 210lbs
Origin: China
Occupation: Lin Kuei Ninja Assassin

Name: Johnny Cage
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 200lbs
Origin: USA
Occupation: Actor

Name: Scorpion
Age: 32
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 210lbs
Origin: Hades
Occupation: Unknown

Name: Sonya Blade
Age: 26
Height: 5'10"
Weight: 140lbs
Origin: USA
Occupation: Task Force Lt.

Name: Shang Tsung
Age: Unknown
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 210lbs
Origin: China
Occupation: Machiavellian

Mortal Kombat 1 logo

It has got more blood and guts than a butcher's apron, but can Virgin's latest gore-fest live up to the hype which surrounds it? Rob Mead girds his loins and finds out.

There is too much sex and violence in the world apparently. Most people spend their lives trying to get as much of the first one as possible, while avoiding the second like the plague, so what is the big obsession with pummelling people to death in Amiga games? Because it is fantastic fun that is why, and Mortal Kombat proves to be no exception.

For the past 500 years, the evil Shang Tsung has organised a contest where the world's toughest fighters compete against each other for the grand title of Mortal Kombat Warrior. Naturally, there is none of this swords and guns nonsense, just plenty of bare-knuckle fighting and the odd decapitation to prove who is boss. As an added incentive, Shang Tsung promises to steal the soul of anyone who is defeated in combat.

You can choose to play one of seven different characters - Johnny Cage. Kano, Sub-Zero, Sonya, Raiden, Liu Kang and Scorpion - who each have their own range of special fighting skills including widely publicised Death Blows where you literally get to take your opponents to pieces. Reptile, Goro and Shang Tsung are all boss characters rippling with bone-crushing manoeuvres and evil intent. Shang Tsung even has the ability to morph into other characters when he is fighting you.

To make the gameplay more varied you also get three difficulty levels, three endurance rounds - which enable you to pit your fighting prowess against two different opponents in the same bout - and the Mirror Match, where you can take on your own character in the ultimate test of your fighting skills.

There are also the usual two-player options and you can choose up to six continues if you are crap. Finally, there is a sub-game after every third and fifth opponent which enables you to do a Daley Thompson-style power joystick jiggle before smacking your hand into various objects made of wood, stone and steel.

What makes Mortal Kombat so different is its realism and the amount of gore.

What makes Mortal Kombat so different from illustrious predecessors such as Body Blows and Street Fighter is its realism and the controversial amount of gore on offer.

While SF2 and Body Blows just let your defeat your opponents, through some well-placed kicks and punches, Mortal implores you to kill then in the most gruesome way imaginable. You can rip your out your victims' hearts and spines, roast them alive or make their heads explode.

Combine this with some fluid, digitised sprites of actors and you get one of the most gruesomely realistic beat-em-ups you have ever seen. But is it any good?

The main problem with Mortal is it looks as though everything has been sacrificed for the digitised sprites. The five (count 'em) different backgrounds look extremely cheesy, often with blocks of colour where there should be a tasty spot of parallax scrolling or animation... anything to make it more interesting. The overall effect is that the game lacks atmosphere and feels cheap. You could almost be playing a C64 game rather than marvelling at the graphical capabilities of the Amiga.

Unfortunately, this lack of attention to detail also spills over into the gameplay. By faithfully reproducing the coin-op, the programmers have given each character over 24 different moves. This inevitably means that, like Body Blows Galactic, the joystick controls are vague and there is a lot of frantic waggling as you try to find the right move to attack your opponent with. This is OK when you fight your pals, but frustrating when you take on the trickier Amiga-controlled adversaries.

Despite the overwhelming possibility of moves, you soon discover the same couple of punches and sweeping kicks that can be used to sap your opponent's strength. You also do not get the same variety of moves across different characters. They all seem to do the same kicks and punches and even the special moves are remarkably similar. Mortal's characters just do not have enough personality to pull you in.

Mortal Kombat 1 logo

Während sich U.S. Golds kunstvoll gezeichneten Strassenkampfer längst zum Amiga durchgespielt haben, tauchen ihre digitalisierten Kollegen hier erst jetzt auf - aber sonst schenken sie der Konkurrenz nichts!

Obwohl die Packungswerbung das Gegenteil behauptet, steckt in dieser Version nicht die ganze fernöstliche "Brutalität" des Arcade-Automaten kein spritzender Lebenssaft mehr, und auch die sogenannten Fatality Moves wurden leicht entschärft. Ansonsten blieb das Gameplay aber von der Schere des Zensors verschont...

Zuerst steht ein Besuch im Optionsmenu an, wo man sich sämtliche Musikstücke und Soundeffekte anhören kann und den Schwierigkeitsgrad sowie die Anzahl der Continues festlegen darf. Anschließend bestimmt man unter sieben Haudraufs seinen Wunschkämpfer, neben den regulären Fußtritten und Faustschlägen haben alle eine ganze Reihe von speziellen Fähigkeiten im Repertoire: Da wird mit Feuerbällen, Blitzen oder Plasmaringen angegriffen, manche der Recken können sich verdoppeln, durch die Luft fliegen oder ihren eingebauten Teleporter benutzen.

Natürlich kann man auch gegen einen menschlichen Freund antreten, der Gewinner wird dann automatisch für das Turnier angemeldet.

Um zu gewinnen, muß man seine Gegner zweimal zu Boden schicken oder wenigstens am Ende des Zeitlimits die meiste Energie auf dem Konto haben. Ist man mit allen Kontrahenten durch, folgt der Kampf gegen das eigene Spiegelbild, dann kommen drei Runden mit zwei wahllos herausgepickten Gegnern und schließlich der Fight gegen den vierarmigen Riesen Goro.

Wer seine Knochen jetzt immer noch ohne fremde Hilfe aus der Arena schleppt, wird vom halbgöttlichen Obermotz Shang Tsung in die Mangel genommen. Er nimmt Gestalt und Fähigkeiten jeder beliebigen Figur an und wirft mit Spezialschlägen und Waffen nur so um sich!

Außerdem gibt es noch den grünen Ninja, der sporadisch auf dem Screen erscheint, und der Spieler zum Kräftemessen herausfordert; last but not least darf man in kleinen Zwischensequenzen durch heftiges Stick-Rütteln allerlei Holz- und Steinblöcke zertrümmern.

Selbst auf der einfachsten Schwierigkeitsstufe läßt sich die Digi-Konkurrenz nur mit viel Geschick niederringen - sinkt man selbst auf die Matte und muß deshalb ein Continue verbraten, darf man bei der Gelegenheit auch gleich seinen Helden austauschen.

An der Steuerung ist jedoch überhaupt nichts auszusetzen, zumal auch Zwei-Button-Sticks unterstützt werden. Die sechs soft scrollenden Hintergründe (Gruft, Hohle, Palast, Garten etc.). sind nicht ganz so bunt, wie man's vom Automaten her kennt, die fließende Animation der digitalisierten Schläger hat man dagegen absolut originalgetreu hingekriegt, und die knackige Soundkuliße geht ebenfalls in Ordnung.

Der Todeskampf steht den Helden der Straße somit in nichts nach - Neuerungen darf man demgegenüber freilich auch keine erwarten. Aber was der Spielbalk und dem Konsolen recht ist, kann der "Freundin" schließlich nur billig sein, oder? (rl)

Mortal Kombat 1 logo

Alright gentlemen, I want a nice clean fight; no kicking, spitting, biting, breaking of spines, knocking off of heads or ripping out of hearts. Oh, okay then.

Oh no. Why me? I hate beat-'em-ups, and I hate Mortal Kombat in particular. I played it on the SNES, and laughed pityingly at the lack of blood and gore, the entire hook that the game hangs itself on. I played it on the Mega Drive, and sneered haughtily at the way I completed the entire thing on my first go on the third difficulty setting by only using one move. And now I have got to play it on the Amiga, with a load of disk accessing on top of everything else. When the rest of the team come back from Holiday (which is the reason I have landed the review in the first place), there is going to be a full and frank exchange of views, I can tell you.

Now, if you are a smart kind of reader, you will have realised that no-one starts off a review of Mortal Kombat (a beat-'em-up) with something like 'I hate beat-'em-ups, and I hate Mortal Kombat in particular'unless they are pretty swiftly going to follow it up with "... but what a surprise - it is really great!" We are not completely stupid, And so it is with Mortal Kombat, more or less. Against all my better judgement and all my previous and entirely valid opinions, I had a really good time playing Amiga Mortal Kombat. Seems to me like some serious investigative journalism is called for here.

Why is this fun, then? Why, especially, is it fun when all the versions of the exact same game on everything else were so dire? It is not the graphics - that is for sure. The big selling point of the Midway coin-op on which this is based (well, one of the two big selling points) was that the fighters were all digitised people, as opposed to Street Fighter 2's computer graphics. On the Amiga, though, while things look good at first glance, a closer examination reveals what is actually a pretty rough and bitty rendition of both characters and background. But hey, easy solution - do not look closely. It works, and that is the important thing.

Is depth of gameplay the secret then? Hardly.

Is depth of gameplay the secret, then? Hardly. Unlike Street Fighter 2 all the characters in Mortal Kombat have basically the same set of moves, with the same strengths, the same speeds and the same ranges. Oh, sure, they have all got their own special fireballs or throws or whatevers, but the obvious character of SF2 is not really present (and not helped by the fact that so many of the characters look the same as each other - Johnny Cage and Liu Kang could be brothers, as could Sub-Zero and Scorpion). You never find yourself identifying with your on-screen surrogate, or developing a favourite beyond the fighter whose special moves you find the easiest to execute.

Speed, maybe? Well, we are getting closer. Compared to the distinctly sluggish Amiga SF2, Mortal Kombat fairly zips along, but speed alone does not make a great beat-'em-up, as Body Blows proved. (To me, anyway - the rest of the AP staff at the time Team 17's light-speed fighting game came out loved it, but it never won my heart or mind. It just felt half-finished, somehow). But a decent speed is certainly a Good Thing, so let us put a small tentative tick in that box on Mortal Kombat's checklist. Still does not explain why it is fun, though. What else could make it stand out?

Sound? Surely not. What does sound matter? Who ever notices or pays any attention to game sound? Hello again, smart reader. Yep, Mortal Kombat's sound is one of the most crucial factors in making it so enjoyable. While several beat-'em-ups seem to treat sound as a last-minute afterthought (and I am worried that it might be the thing that cripples Renegade's forthcoming, fab-looking , Elf Mania, Mortal Kombat comes complete with some incredibly solid and meaty thumps and crunches that really make it feel like you are inflicting some damage on your opponent.

As well as being deeply satisfying in play, this also helps immensely when it comes to giving the characters a feeling of 'weight', which was more than anything else where Body Blows fell down - in that game it felt like you were controlling a couple of cardboard cut-outs rather than real, three-dimensional, flesh-and-blood gladiators. In Mortal Kombat, though, even a splash of blood falling on the ground has an aural accompaniment, and it affects the atmosphere more than you could imagine.

Music, too, is well used - for example, in the 'Endurance' matches, (where you have two computer characters with just your single energy bar), the entry of the second character is heralded by a tension-increasing key change in the soundtrack which pumps your adrenalin just that little bit higher. Even the speech sounds alright for a change.

It has about as useable a system as you could expect.

But hang on. Surely all this niceness counts for nothing in a game you can complete on your first go? Well, no, it would not, but Amiga Mortal Kombat brings with it a welcome up-shift in difficulty level, to the extent that even on 'Very Easy' level (there are five levels, ranging from Very Easy to Very Hard) it is reasonably challenging, especially if you stick to the default three-continues setting (you can alter this as well, to between one and six continues). The computer characters learn pretty quickly if you just sit and repeat the same move over and over again, and they are ruthless when it comes to using their own special move combinations. Stick the setting up to 'Very Hard' and you have got a game that will keep you struggling for at least a good few days, and you cannot say that about very many beat-'em-ups, can you?

What else is there? How about control? Mortal Kombat comes out on top here too, surprisingly. While Street Fighter 2 was ridiculously complicated and over-context-sensitive (thus reducing the game to a waggle-and-hope contest) and Body Blows went too far the other way with an over-simplified system that took all the fun out of discovering and using the best moves, Mortal Kombat has about as useable a system as you could possibly expect from a one-fire button joystick (although there is an option to use a two-button stick as well, which improves matters even further).

The special moves are just tricky enough to make using them a bit of a gamble, without being so hard that you simply cannot do them at all, and ordinary punching and kicking uses more or less the most instinctive and logical stick moves at all times. Six-button joypads? Who needs them? Not Mortal Kombat players, that is for sure.

I think the thing I like most about Mortal Kombat is that it reminds me of International Karate+. The speed, the controllability, the solidity of the blows, even the broadly mystical, Oriental theme all evoke memories of Archer Maclean's classic, and this is the first Amiga beat-'e-up that I would even consider playing when I had a copy of IK+ to hand. I keep popping back to Mortal Kombat when I have got a few minutes to kill (Oh dear - Ed), and that is not something I have ever found myself doing with a beat-'em-up before, or something I ever expected myself to do with Mortal Kombat. Against all the odds, Virgin and Probe have made a winner out of a loser, and I salute them.


Q How do you do all the secret moves for Rayden/Sonya/Blanka/Nik/Bill Obviouslymadeupname?
A If we told you that, they would hardly be 'secret', would they? Why not try to find them out for yourself? That IS the point of the game, and it is more fun in the long run.

Q Does it have the little animations in the background like the arcade game does?
A No. And if you are truly upset by the fact that the little monks in the background do not clap when somebody wins a fight, then you are sadder than you look.

Q How many levels of parallax scrolling are there in the foreground?
A Oh, for God's sake.

Q Can you 'be' the bosses?
A No. There are only two 'bosses' in Mortal Kombat, the many-armed Goro and the morphing master, Shang Tsung. How could you control a character with four arms?

Q Do you know any cheats?
A (That is enough annoying questions people ask about beat-'em-ups - Ed).


WHATyou are all probably dying (ho ho) to know, more than anything else, is whether Amiga Mortal Kombat has got all the blood'n'guts of the original. And the answer, in a word, is 'yes it has'. (That is - oh, never mind. - Ed)
Like the Mega Drive version, the game comes with both clean and gory modes, switchable by a password inputted at the start. With gore on, splats of blood fly off at every good hit, and the legendary Death moves are there in all their glory, with hearts, heads and spinal columns being ripped out and blown up at every turn.
And just as a taster, we have included one of them below. (Note to younger or more sensitive readers: To view the Death moves screenshot, please first enter the secret password in the space below. If you do not know the password, please do not look at the picture and move straight on to the next review. Thank you). Okay that is the kids out of the way, so all the rest of you - enjoy!

Mortal Kombat 1

Mortal Kombat 1 logo CU Amiga Super Star

'Get over here', screamed Dan, as Jon Sloan scampered dutifully to review the bloodiest Amiga game ever.

If you read my preview a couple of issues ago or even had only half an eye on the media over the past couple of months you can't have helped but notice that Mortal Kombat means big business. From its humble beginnings as an arcade machine through inadverdent promotion by rapper Ice T to the lofty heights of Mortal Monday, this game's gone from strength to strength. It's even had a whole episode of Gamesmaster devoted to it!

Amidst all this hype the Amiga version has been acting like a little lost lamb. Well, it's time that we shouted its praises 'cos let me tell you it's a wolf in sheep's clothing. Mortal Kombat is the slickest, fastest, smoothest beat 'em up ever to poke its bloody nose into the Amiga scene.

Set on an island governed by the evil Shang Tsung, seven fighters have gathered to take part in a martial arts tournament. Each has their own reason for coming, but they all have one goal - to beat the rest! They're a mixed bunch too. Starting off there's Sonya who, despite looking like a refugee from a Jane Fonda exercise video, has a pair of thighs men die for.

Next up there's Liu Kang, a proud Shaolin monk with a wicked spinning kick. And then there's Johnny Cage, a movie star with a nut cracking technique. There's more, but for a detailed character assassination cast your eyes at the panel at the right of the page.

Despite being converted from the arcade version via the Mega Drive to the Amiga, Probe Software have stayed faithful to the original and kept all the blocks, kicks, punches and special moves as well as the gore. It's this aspect of the game that has caused a great deal of controversy, so much so that there have been calls to ban it. You see, when you beat an opponent there's none of the namby pamby bowing and shaking of hands you see in real life martial arts.

In Mortal Kombat you have the opportunity to tear another combatant's heart out or punch their head clean off. That wouldn't be so bad if the character sprites were cartoony or evidently computer generated, but MK uses massive digitised pics of real actors. To make matters worse, virtually every blow that lands is accompanied by a gout of crimson blood and a nerve shaking squelch. Mary Whitehouse aside, it makes for an incredibly realistic bout of martial mayhem.

Players progress in MK by taking on all the other fighters in one-on-one matches before fighting a mirror image of their current character. If you're tough enough to get through all that it's on to a series of three endurance matches where you face a pair of opponents. You fight them one at a time but you only get one bar of energy to their two. So, every blow you receive is like being hit twice. Only superb competitors can manage to get past this stage to take on the mighty Goro, a four-armed alien prince and the current tournament champion.

If that wasn't enough, beat him and you're on to the master of them all, Shang Tsung. This soul-stealing ancient monk can warp himself into any other character and utilise all their special moves, so it's like fighting every other character all over again. It truly is an awesome game and, even on the easiest setting, it'll take you ages to complete.

On loading the game my first reaction was to look for the wires leading to the coin op machine - it's such a close match. If you don't believe me take a peek at the panel comparing the versions. The colours are so vibrant and the sound is a perfect arcade match, even down to the digitised speech. Shang Tshung's cry of 'Finish Him!' and Scorpion's 'Get Over Here!' send shivers down your spine.

All your favourite moves are in there too. From Sub Zero's freeze ray to Sonya's thigh throw, every blow has been included. What's more they're very easy to perform. Unlike some other beat 'em ups I could mention you choose what to throw and when to throw it. There had been some speculation over how Probe would achieve this. Rumours abounded that you would have to use a fiddly combination of joystick and keyboard. Fortunately, they abandoned that method and opted for a standard joystick or joypad control.

Now, although Mortal is still playable with a normal joystick, you will need a joypad or a dedicated two-button stick to get the most out of it.

Leaving comparisons aside for the moment, the difficulty curve has been pitched almost to perfection. On the Easy setting novices should be able to have one or two bouts before their lungs are turn out. And with a little practice you'll soon make it to the Endurance matches. However, only very good players will have any chance on the Very Hard setting.

As Probe have used the arcade code and graphics for this version all the fighters move exactly as they do on the coin-op. This means that an increase in difficulty setting doesn't just make things move faster, the opponents actually seem more intelligent. You'll get nowhere trying to use the same moves over and over again.

Also, it's no good just using missile attacks from a distance 'cos, at best, you'll only get two in before the computer reads what you're doing and counteracts. I don't know how Probe managed it but fighting the CPU is like fighting another human player: it thinks and reacts.

Having played Street Fighter on most formats I almost wept with frustration when I saw how US Gold butchered the Amiga version. So, it was with a heavy and skeptical heart that I approached Mortal. I couldn't have been more wrong. Probe may have taken their time but it's paid off.

Mortal Kombat is a dream come true - a good arcade conversion. This game will set the standards for Amiga beat 'em ups for some time to come.


Mortal Kombat has been phenomenally successful on all the format it has appeared on. And there's no doubt that it'll be a smash on the Amiga too. But the question is how does the Amiga one compare to its console cousins and the arcade original? Well, we've grabbed some shots of all four versions, see if you can spot the difference before you check the caption out.

Mortal Kombat 1: Versions

  1. Yes, this is the original. The arcade machine boasted a huge five buttons. Converting all those moves onto the Amiga proved to be a real headache for Probe.
  2. The one thing that makes Mortal on the SNES stand out from the others is the lack of blood. Apparently, Nintendo were worried about the violent overtones and told the coders to take the gore out.
  3. Both the Mega Drive and Amiga version were coded by Probe Software. As you can see, this Mega Drive version is little different from the Amiga one.
  4. You guessed it, this is the jolly old Amiga version. And what a corker it is too. Retaining all the speed and playability of the original it will be a hit.
A Death in the Life of...

The most controversial element of Mortal Kombat, concerning the level of violence in the game, is surely the incorporation of death moves. Each fighter has their own special move which culminates in the opponent falling in a bloody heap, usually minus a vital piece of anatomy. The reason for this gratuitous display of violence? They get a 1,000 point fatality bonus. God, what mercenary buggers!
Anyway, here's a rundown of the biographies of each warrior and the various death moves you'll get to see in the game.

Mortal Kombat 1: Scorpion SCORPION
AGE: Dead
HEIGHT: 6'2''
WEIGHT: 210lbs

As the reincarnated spirit of a man killed by Sub Zero, Scorpion only has a limited amount of time on Earth to kill the other Ninja before his wicked demons come for him. Luckily, his martial skills should be enough for him to have his revenge before he is sent back to Hell. He carries a spear and is not afraid to use it! He throws it at the neck and then hauls you to him with a scream of 'Get over here!'. Stunned opponents can only watch in terror as he whips his mask off to reveal a skeletal skull. Then he wastes no time blowing a waft of deadly fiery breath char-coaling the poor sucker he beats.

Mortal Kombat 1: kano KANO
AGE: 35
WEIGHT: 250lbs
ORIGIN: Unknown

This guy's only got two things on his mind - money and the little bits of goo you get after nutting someone! He's entered the tournament for one purpose - to get hold for Shang Tsung's fortune. His fearsome Black Dragon gang are poised to attack once he's won.
The only other character to carry a weapon he throws knives at his victims before dashing over to smack them on the nose with his metal head plate. His killing blow is one of the goriest weapons as he plunges his fist into the chest to rip out the opponent's still-beating heart.

Mortal Kombat 1: Sonya Blade SONYA BLADE
AGE: 26
HEIGHT: 5'10''
WEIGHT: 140lbs
OCCUPATION: Task Force Lt.

Sonya followed Kano onto the island in the hope of snaring him once and for all. Her motives are far from romantic though. She wants to see him behind bars for all the years of drug dealing and killing he's been doing. She's got three special moves down her very tight leotards. Leaping into the air she can fly across the screen to punch an opponent before landing, doing a handstand and gripping him between her muscular thighs (Steady on, I'm getting steamed up... Ed). Her death move involves blowing a kiss which, when it lands, turns her prey into a pile of ashes. Fans of trivia might like to not that Probe have nicknamed this move 'The Blow Job', though I'm not sure why.

Mortal Kombat 1: Johny Cage JOHNNY CAGE
AGE: 29
HEIGHT: 6'1''
WEIGHT: 200lbs

Bearing an uncanny resemblance to Jean Claude Van Damme in the film Bloodsport (which, incidentally, is also about an illegal martial arts tournament - spooky!). Johnny entered the tournament for a bit of fun. It's a shame he didn't realise it would be a fight to the death. He's no wimp though and can deliver a punishing shadow kick as well as dropping down into the splits for an eye watering grope of his opponent's groin.
He kills his opponents by charging up and throwing a huge uppercut which then tears the unfortunate other guy's head off (How nice!).

Mortal Kombat 1: Raiden RAIDEN
AGE: Immortal
WEIGHT: 350lbs
ORIGIN: The Universal Planes of Being

Raiden entered the tournament when challenged by Shang Tsung who's after his soul to gain immortality. If I were Shang I wouldn't want this guy's brand of immortality. After all he can be killed - bit of a contradiction there. His special moves are something to behold as he shoots bolts of lightning and teleports to different parts of the screen. To dispose of unworthy fighters he fires off a bolt of specially charged lightning which explodes the target's head in a shower of goo.

Mortal Kombat 1: Liu Kang LIU KANG
AGE: 24
HEIGHT: 5'10''
WEIGHT: 185lbs
OCCUPATION: Shaolin Monk

Liu Kang is on a quest to regain the tournament title from the evil Goro. The alien dragon prince took the crown from another monk over 500 years ago. From the on the once honourable competition was plunged into an age of darkness and death. Kang's got some of the most useful specials, the best being a ball of energy and a flying spear kick which is so fast that virtually no-one can avoid it.
His death move's pretty tough to do but it ends up with another head on the floor.

Mortal Kombat 1: Sub Zero SUB ZERO
AGE: 32
HEIGHT: 5'2''
WEIGHT: 210lbs

With nothing more than the thrill of the kill as his reason for entering, Zero's one tricky fighter. He can slide in under your guard from a whole half screen away or, better still, fire a blast of freezing ice before taking a leisurely stroll over to the frozen competitor for a free hit.
He kills by taking hold of your head, giving it a little twist, then pulling it right off complete with spinal column still attached. Yeuck!


Bally Midway, the owners of the coin op version, went through many character versions before arriving at the group you see today. Here's a light hearted look at some of the fighters who didn't quite make it.

Northern master of the ancient art of Ecky Thump, this 20-stone behemoth could crush you flat with his extending beer belly and his bad breath roasts opponents at 50 feet. Nicknamed Anna Gram his special move uses the deadly black pudding boomerang which homes in on its target.

After starting life as an eight stone weakling, Count Ant spent many years studying the arts of No Can Do. Don't let his wimpy exterior fool you though 'cos exponents of this mysterious system have been known to leave their opponents in stitches... with laughter.

Another strange one this, Byron is a skilled journo. With an insatiable desire to put other people down he would have been one to watch. His trick is to carefully place himself so that the light reflecting his specs blinds other fighters. For the few seconds when they're stunned by his brilliance he sneaks up for a crafty hit.