Mortal Kombat 3
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|Mortal Kombat 3|
Cover art for the home versions of Mortal Kombat 3
|Mode(s)||Up to 2 players simultaneously|
|Arcade system||Midway Wolf Unit hardware|
|Display||Raster resolution 400 x 254|
Mortal Kombat 3 (MK3) is a fighting game developed by Midway and first released into arcades in 1995 as the third game in the Mortal Kombat series. Just as the previous games, MK has a cast of characters that players choose from and guide through a series of battles against other opponents. The game eschews the tournament storyline of its predecessors, as various warriors instead fight against the returning Shao Kahn, who has resurrected his bride Sindel and started an invasion of Earthrealm.
This third installment in the series retains the blood and gory attacks that defined the series. It also adds new types of the Fatality finishing moves, including Animalities. Also new to the series were combos, predefined sequences used to perform a series of consecutive attacks. A "Run" button was also added, allowing players to briefly dash toward the opponent. Mortal Kombat 3 also debuted "Kombat Kodes" a lock system using various symbols that can be entered before two-player matches to achieve certain effects.
Some characters from the previous games returned and new characters were introduced into the series. The game notably omitted popular characters from previous games, some of whom were re-added in an update, Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, released later in 1995. The home console-exclusive Mortal Kombat Trilogy (1996) added even more characters, as well as other new features.
Mortal Kombat 3 builds further on the gameplay of the previous game. A "Run" button, accompanied by a "Run" meter, was introduced. This was primarily to address concern from fans who thought that the previous games gave too much of an advantage to the defending player. The Run meter is drained by running (the character cannot run backwards, only forwards) and by performing combos.
"Chain combos", also known as pre-programmed combos (labeled "dial-a-combos") were also introduced. Chain combos are button presses that cannot be interrupted once one hit connects; some chain combos end with an uppercut or other move that knocks the opponent into the air, so that more punishment can be dealt via a traditional juggle combo. To please players of various skill levels, a "Choose Your Destiny" screen appears in the single player mode; this new feature allowed player-selectable difficulty.
For the first time, certain levels were interactive by allowing characters to be uppercutted through the ceiling where both characters would continue the battle in a different stage. This could alter the game's level cycle. Both normal uppercuts and uppercuts that are part of a ground combo would result in a level change. Kung Lao's "Whirl Wind Spin" move would also have the same effect. However, if the final hit of a round happens to be an uppercut (i.e., the character is defeated by an uppercut), there is no level change.
All of the different style of finishing moves featured in Mortal Kombat II (Fatalities, including their non-lethal Babality and Friendship version) return in MK3 but this time the announcer saying "Friendship! Friendship?!" was changed to "Friendship! Friendship?! Again?!". Additionally, the long rumored Animality, where the character transforms into an animal in order to kill their opponent, is featured for the first time. Another new addition is the Mercy, where the character can give their opponent a small sliver of life if they have won two rounds and are at the "Finish Him/Her" screen. It is necessary that a Mercy is performed for an Animality to occur. Finally, three new stage Fatalities can be performed in the Subway, the Bell Tower and the Pit 3.
Another concept introduced in this game are the "Kombat Kodes". These were 6-symbol codes entered at the VS screen in a two player game, to modify gameplay, fight hidden characters or display certain text messages. Also introduced in this game was the "Ultimate Kombat Kode", using a 10-character code using symbols, that could be entered on the game over screen after the continue screen disappears in single player mode. It was used to unlock a robotic version of the character Smoke that can be done by either the player or the arcade operator. The arcade owner could reset this code by accessing the game's diagnostic menu by toggling a DIP switch within the MK3 cabinet. The codes were revealed through gaming magazines, promotional material and other Mortal Kombat media.
The game's overall style was envisioned differently than in the previous Mortal Kombat games. Opposed to the heavily Oriental themes of Mortal Kombat and Mortal Kombat II, MK3's theme is much more Western contemporary. The game's stages are set in modern locations (such as urban highways, churches, and bank rooftops), three of the characters are cyborgs, and traditional character designs (such as Sub-Zero's or Kano's) have been dropped or modified in favor of modern replacements. The overall game has a much darker tone than its predecessors, and uses a noticeably darker and less vibrant color palette. Characters were heavily digitized, as opposed to the hybrid digitized/hand-drawn style of MKII. Many of the game's backgrounds were, for the first time, created using pre-rendered 3D graphics. This change is also reflected in the sound track, in which all Oriental motifs have been dropped in favor of modern instrumentation.
Characters and cast
Some of the returning characters from the previous games in Mortal Kombat 3 were actually portrayed by new actors, since their original portrayers left Midway due to royalty disputes. Ho Sung Pak (Liu Kang in the first two games, as well as Shang Tsung in the first Mortal Kombat), Phillip Ahn (Shang Tsung in Mortal Kombat II), Elizabeth Malecki (Sonya Blade), and Katalin Zamiar (Kitana/Mileena/Jade) were not involved in the production of MK3. Daniel Pesina (Johnny Cage and Scorpion/Sub-Zero/Reptile/Smoke/Noob Saibot) was also not involved in the production of MK3 as he had parted ways with Midway due to a lawsuit over royalties. He later appeared in an advertisement for BloodStorm, which resulted in a false rumor that it got him fired by Midway. This led to the use of new actors for Liu Kang (Eddie Wong), Sonya Blade (Kerri Hoskins), Shang Tsung and Sub-Zero (both played by John Turk) in MK3. Carlos Pesina, who played Raiden in the first two games, did not appear in MK3 as a penalty for his involvement in the rival game Tattoo Assassins, but was still employed by Midway and his character would return in Mortal Kombat Trilogy, although through the use of recycled sprites from MKII.
New player characters:
- Cyrax (Sal Divita) - Lin Kuei cyber assassin.
- Kabal (Richard Divizio) - Former Black Dragon warrior.
- Nightwolf (Sal Divita) - Native American shaman.
- Noob Saibot (Richard Divizio; unlockable as a Kano-resembling NPC through the Kombat Kodes) - The undead original Sub-Zero.
- Sektor (Sal Divita) - Lin Kuei cyber assassin.
- Sindel (Lia Montelongo) - Resurrected Queen of Edenia who is being controlled by Shao Kahn.
- Sheeva (stop motion) - Female Shokan who serves Shao Kahn.
- Stryker (Michael O'Brien) - Riot control police officer.
Returning player characters:
- Jax (John Parrish) - Special Forces major who joins Sonya in attempting to apprehend Kano.
- Kano (Richard Divizio) - Black Dragon thug who escaped arrest by Sonya and Jax.
- Kung Lao (Tony Marquez) - Shaolin monk who seeks to stop what Kahn is planning.
- Liu Kang (Eddie Wong) - Returning Mortal Kombat champion.
- Sonya Blade (Kerri Hoskins) - Special Forces lieutenant setting out again to capture Kano.
- Sub-Zero (John Turk) - Rogue Lin Kuei ninja who fled the clan after refusing to be converted to a cybernetic unit.
- Shang Tsung (John Turk) - Shao Kahn's devious sorcerer.
- Smoke (Sal Divita) - Cyber assassin from the Lin Kuei, who was once a close friend of Sub-Zero (unlocked by Ultimate Kombat Kode).
- Motaro (stop-motion) - A four-legged Centaur and the game's sub-boss.
- Shao Kahn (Brian Glynn, voiced by Steve Ritchie) - Emperor of Outworld and the game's final boss.
Although the game's manual states both boss characters are unplayable, both Motaro and Shao Kahn can be enabled via secret cheat menus in the SNES and Sega versions of the game.
Fed up with continuous losses in tournament battle, Shao Kahn, who had lost to Liu Kang in the Outworld tournament, enacts a 10,000 year-old plan. He would have his Shadow Priests, led by Shang Tsung, revive his former Queen Sindel, who unexpectedly died at a young age. However, she would not be revived in the Outworld. She would be resurrected in the Earthrealm. This would allow Shao Kahn to cross the boundary lines and reclaim his queen. When Sindel is reincarnated in Earthrealm, Shao Kahn reaches across the dimensions to reclaim her. As a consequence of his action, the Earthrealm becomes a part of the Outworld, instantly stripping billions of their souls. Only a few are spared, as Raiden protects their souls. He tells them that Shao Kahn must be stopped, but he cannot interfere; due to his status, he has no power in Outworld, and Earthrealm is partially merged with Outworld. Shao Kahn has unleashed extermination squads to roam throughout the Earthrealm and kill any survivors. Also, Raiden's protection only extends to the soul, not to the body, so his chosen warriors have to fight the extermination squads and repel Shao Kahn. Eventually with his final defeat, every human on Earthrealm comes back.
Mortal Kombat 3 follows Mortal Kombat II and shares continuity with both Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 and Mortal Kombat Trilogy which were both updates of this game. The next new game in the series was Mortal Kombat 4.
The game also contains several sub-plots:
- Having defeated Shao Kahn in Outworld, Liu Kang now finds himself as the prime target of Shao Kahn's elimination squads. In response to the upcoming threat, he aligns himself with Kung Lao and leads the rebellion against Shao Kahn and his Outworld minions. However, he also has an ulterior motive: he seeks to defeat Kahn and free Kitana's homeland of Edenia.
- With the latest advancements in human technologies, the Lin Kuei decide to automate their human assassins into soulless machines. Four ninjas- Cyrax, Sektor, Smoke and Sub-Zero- are selected to serve as the first automation prototypes, but Sub-Zero and Smoke refuse to participate- leading to their leaving of the clan. Unfortunately, Smoke is captured and is automated along with Sektor and Cyrax and all three are programmed to hunt down and eliminate Sub-Zero. Meanwhile, learning of the upcoming Outworld threat, Sub-Zero joins the rebellion against Shao Kahn.
- Jax discovers the location of both Sonya and Kano while in Outworld, and in freeing Sonya, he also frees Kano. Knowing that his near future means arrest, Kano uses this opportunity to escape into the depths of Outworld and ultimately joins Shao Kahn's forces. Sonya and Jax return to Earth and try to warn their government about the upcoming Outworld threat- but when their pleas are ignored, Sonya and Jax instead prepare themselves for the upcoming war by joining the rebellion.
- Despite both serving Shao Kahn, the Centaurs and Shokans have been at war with each other for years. Suspicions arise when Sheeva, who is appointed Sindel's bodyguard, learns that Motaro is appointed as Kahn's General in his armies. With the apparent, yet unconfirmed, "deaths" of both Kintaro and Goro, Sheeva begins to fear for her own race, and makes plans to turn against Kahn should her suspicions prove to be true.
- Largely dependent on a respirator and an undying thirst for revenge against the Black Dragon clan (who he believes was responsible for his brutal attack), Kabal joins the rebellion upon learning of Kano's survival.
- Though he realizes that he is the lone survivor of New York City following the Outworld Invasion, Stryker remains ignorant as to why he survived the attack. However, upon receiving a vision from Raiden and being informed of what has transpired, Stryker decides to find and join the other Earthrealm Warriors.
- For many years, Nightwolf received visions that foretold and warned him of the upcoming invasion. Largely ignoring them, he feels guilty for not preventing it, and therefore offers to join the upcoming rebellion.
- Johnny Cage was hunted down by one of Shao Kahn's extermination squads, and during the vicious battle that followed, he was killed, apparently by Motaro.
To fit on the Game Boy, major sacrifices had to be made. Only nine of the original 15 fighters (Kano, Sonya, Sub-Zero, Cyrax, Sektor, Sheeva, Sindel, Kabal and Smoke) were available, only five stages existed, there were no button-link combos, no Motaro sub-boss, and no finishers outside of fatalities and babalities. Shao Kahn used his moves from Mortal Kombat II. Although rated M for mature, this version did not include much of the overt gore and violence seen in its parent systems but kept some of the "burning" fatalities (immolating a defeated opponent down to just a burnt skeleton). However, the graphics are superb for a Game Boy title, with smoother animation and greater attention to detail on the fighters than the older MK titles for Game Boy.
There was also a scaled down Game Gear version of MK3 which was never released in the United States. Only Europe saw a release and it is rare to find; a complete packaged version can be seen on Internet auctions for as much as $90. It is almost the same as the Game Boy version, although it includes blood and gore, is in color and features Noob Saibot as a hidden character. There was also a port for the Master System, which is nearly identical to the Game Gear version, although it was only released in Brazil by Tec Toy, distributor of Sega's products in that country.
There were two different versions of MK3 for the PC. The first was a DOS version, which is unique as it does not closely resemble any of the other ports. It features good animation, sound, graphics, and it implements the gameplay of the arcade with a high level of precision. This version contains a hidden redbook audio track (Track 47) with a narration of a story in reverse. The second version was a Windows version, which was a direct port of the PlayStation version of the game, featuring the same menus, identical sprite sizes and qualities and the same gameplay as the PlayStation version.
MK3 was originally slated to be released for the Atari Jaguar in the second quarter of 1996, according to a joint press release issued by Atari and Williams Entertainment on March 13, 1995. However, this port of the game was never released.
Mortal Kombat 3 is also available as part of Midway Arcade Treasures 2 for the Nintendo GameCube, PlayStation 2 and Xbox. It is also available as a part of Midway Arcade Treasures Deluxe Edition for the PC (this title included a 'making of' documentary about the game), and in Midway Arcade Treasures: Extended Play for the PSP.
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Although the game was a hit, many disliked the inclusion of new main characters in place of established stalwarts, such as Raiden, Johnny Cage, Reptile, Kitana, Mileena and (especially) Scorpion. The new combo system was also often criticized, as were, to a lesser degree, the run mechanics and some of finishing moves.
Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 (UMK3) was released to arcades in 1995. It is an update of Mortal Kombat 3, featuring tweaked gameplay, additional characters and new in-game environments. Various home versions of the game were released soon after the arcade original, although none of these were completely identical to the arcade version. Several more home versions followed between 2002-2010, including as Mortal Kombat Advance for the Game Boy Advance and Ultimate Mortal Kombat for the Nintendo DS (the DS version features the "Puzzle Kombat" minigame originally from Mortal Kombat: Deception).
UMK3 itself was updated to include content from previous games in the series to serve as the basis of the console exclusive compilation game Mortal Kombat Trilogy in 1996. It was also later remastered to be released as part of Mortal Kombat Arcade Kollection in 2011.
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- Mortal Kombat 3 at MobyGames
- Mortal Kombat 3 at TV Tropes (characters)
- Mortal Kombat 3 - The Mortal Kombat Wiki
- Mortal Kombat 3 at Arcade-History