Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3
|Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3|
Promotional flier for the arcade version
|Distribution||ROM cartridge, CD-ROM, DVD, digital distribution|
|Arcade system||Midway Wolf Unit|
|Sound||ADSP2150 MDC System|
|Display||Raster resolution 400 x 254 (horizontal), palette colors 32768|
Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 (UMK3) is a fighting game in the Mortal Kombat series, originally developed and released by Midway Games to arcades in 1995. It is an update of 1995's earlier Mortal Kombat 3 (MK3) with an altered gameplay system, additional characters and stages, and some new features.
Several home port versions of the game were soon released after the arcade original, although none were completely identical to the arcade version. Later home versions emulated the arcade original with more accuracy, including Mortal Kombat Arcade Kollection, which included the game alongside its predecessors Mortal Kombat and Mortal Kombat II. Some versions were released under different titles: Mortal Kombat Advance for the Game Boy Advance and Ultimate Mortal Kombat for the Nintendo DS. The iPhone/iPod version recreates the game using a 3D graphics engine.
UMK3 was well received and has been considered a high point for the Mortal Kombat series. It was later updated to include more content from previous games in the series as part of the console-exclusive Mortal Kombat Trilogy.
Several ninja characters absent from Mortal Kombat 3 return in Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, including Kitana, Jade, Reptile and Scorpion on the prototype version; a new Ultimate Kombat Code was added in revision 1.0 to enable Mileena, Ermac and Classic Sub-Zero as secret characters. Two new gameplay modes were introduced: the 2-on-2 mode which was similar to an Endurance match but with human players on both sides, and a new eight-player Tournament mode.
Several miscellaneous features were added to and changed in UMK3. The original red portal background used for the "Choose Your Destiny" screen is now blue and an extra Master difficulty is present. In the additional "Master" difficulty setting, Endurance Matches return, in which the player can face as many as three opponents in a given round; these had not been seen in the series since the first Mortal Kombat. Shao Kahn's Lost Treasures - selectable prizes, of which some are extra fights and others lead to various cutscenes or other things - are introduced after either the main game or the eight-player tournament are completed. Shang Tsung's transformations are accompanied by announcements of the name of the character he is changing into.
To balance the gameplay, some characters were given new moves and some existing moves were altered. Some characters were given extra combos and some combos were made to cause less damage. Chain combos could be started by using a jump punch (vertical or angled) or a vertical jump kick, which creates more opportunities to use combos. Combos that knock opponents in the air no longer send one's opponent to the level above in multi layered levels; only regular uppercuts do this.
The computer-controlled opponent AI was improved in the game. However, three new flaws were introduced along with the revisions: while backflipping away from an opponent, if the player performs a jump kick, the AI character will always throw a projectile; this leaves the computer character vulnerable to some attacks and can easily lead into a devastating combo. If the player walks back-and-forth within a certain range of the AI character, the opponent will mimic the player's walking movements for the whole round and never attack. If the computer opponent is cornered, the player can repeatedly perform punches without the AI character stumbling back, thus allowing the player to win easily.
UMK3 features several new backgrounds: Scorpion's Lair/Hell (this stage also contains a new Stage Fatality, where an uppercut can send the opponent into a river of lava); Jade's Desert (in a reference to his MK3 ending, Cyrax is seen stuck waist-deep in sand in the background); River Kombat/The Waterfront; Kahn's Kave/The Cavern; Blue Portal/Lost (a combination of the background from the UMK3 "Choose Your Destiny" screen, the Pit 3 bridge, and the mountains and bridge from the Pit II in Mortal Kombat II); Noob's Dorfen (based on the Balcony stage, which can now be played using a Kombat Kode without having to fight Noob to see it as in MK3). Before reaching any of the original MK3 backgrounds in 1- or 2-player mode, the game must cycle through all of the UMK3 exclusive backgrounds twice. Scorpion's Lair, Secret Cave and Abandoned River stages are selectable by using a password while on the missing Bank Stage cycle. In Scorpion's Lair, fighters can uppercut each other into Kahn's Kave.
Some elements from MK3 are missing in UMK3. The only biographies featured are those of Kitana, Jade, Scorpion and Reptile (the ninja characters who were not included in MK3), which are the only four shown during attract mode, while all of the biographies and the full-body portraits of the MK3 characters are missing. The biographies that do appear in the game are presented differently from those in MK3, as are the endings. The storyline images and text do not appear. Finally, the Bank and Hidden Portal stages from MK3 were removed (Jade's Desert serves as a placeholder where The Bank stage used to appear once the player reaches the original MK3 level cycle).
The arcade version features all playable characters from Mortal Kombat 3, who were portrayed by the same actors: Cyrax (Sal Divita), Liu Kang (Eddie Wong), Kabal (Richard Divizio), Kano (Richard Divizio), Kung Lao (Tony Marquez), Stryker (Michael O'Brien), Jax Briggs (John Parrish), Nightwolf (Sal Divita), Sektor (Sal Divita), Shang Tsung (John Turk), Sheeva (stop motion) (not available in Genesis and SNES versions), Sindel (Lia Montelongo), Smoke (Sal Divita), Sonya Blade (Kerri Hoskins) and Sub-Zero (John Turk). The boss and sub-boss from MK3, Motaro (stop motion) and Shao Kahn (Brian Glynn, voiced by Steve Ritchie), also return.
There are four additional characters that are playable from the start:
- Jade (Becky Gable) - After the renegade Princess Kitana killed her evil twin Mileena and escaped from Outworld to Earth, her close friend Jade was appointed by the Emperor Shao Kahn to find and bring her back alive.
- Kitana (Becky Gable) - She is accused of treason after killing Mileena; she now attempts to reach Queen Sindel to warn her of their true past.
- Reptile (John Turk) - As one of Shao Kahn's most trusted servants, Reptile assists Jade in the hunt for Kitana, but with secret orders enabling him to kill her if necessary.
- Scorpion (John Turk) - Scorpion escapes from Earth's hell when Shao Kahn makes a failed attempt at stealing the souls and eventually joins the struggle against the Outworld.
Three more are unlockable characters via the Ultimate Kombat Kode:
- Classic Sub-Zero (John Turk) - Having been seemingly killed in the first game, Sub-Zero mysteriously returns to again attempt an assassination of Shang Tsung.
- Ermac (John Turk) - A mysterious warrior that exists as a life force of by the souls of dead Outworld warriors in Shao Kahn's possession.
- Mileena (Becky Gable) - After she was killed by Kitana, Mileena was brought back to life by Shao Kahn to help him to defeat Earth's warriors with her combat skills and a mind-reading connection to her sister.
Returning characters were warmly welcomed by critics as an improvement the "lackluster roster" of MK3 with "the greatly missed" Kitana, Mileena, Reptile, and especially Scorpion. The female ninja characters (Mileena, Kitana and Jade), returning from Mortal Kombat II, were portrayed by a different actress, Becky Gable, due to the lawsuit issued by Katalin Zamiar and some of the other MKII actors against Midway Games; they were also given a different set of outfits and hairstyles, which were again identical for all of them (in the game there are just three palette swap character models for male, female and cyborg ninjas, not counting the MK3 Sub-Zero but including Classic Sub-Zero).
There are also two new hidden opponents and console exclusives: Noob Saibot (John Turk) and Rain (John Turk). Although Noob Saibot was featured in the original MK3, he is no longer a palette swap of Kano but instead of a ninja; as before, he is fought via a Kombat Kode. Rain is featured in the game's opening montage (except on the Sega Saturn), but he is actually a fake hidden character that is not found in the arcade game. Both Noob Saibot and Rain were made playable for the 16-bit console versions, although Sheeva was removed, and the two boss characters are playable via a cheat code.
Like the other Mortal Kombat games so far, this one made its debut in the arcades. It was ported to many home consoles with varying results. In 2008, the Mortal Kombat series co-creator, designer and producer Ed Boon said that UMK3 is his favorite 2D Mortal Kombat title. It was also the last game he has programmed himself.
Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 Wave Net was a rare network version of the game that allowed for online multiplayer matches. It was tested only in the Chicago and San Francisco areas that used a dedicated T1 line, connected directly to Midway's Chicago headquarters; many people outside the test area were not aware of its existence during its release. One store kept the T1 line installed after the test concluded, but eventually removed the Wave Net game in favor of a Golden Tee game that uses a dial-up connection. It is highly unlikely that any Wave Net test games were ever released to the public after the infrastructure was dismantled, and so there are no known ROM image dumps of this version. One of the reasons this version was not widely adopted was the rarity and cost of T1 lines at the time. The game was released before alternative broadband access was available. At the time, a T1 was the only guaranteed way to get broadband into an arcade, but the game did not utilize the full bandwidth of the T1. Midway subsidized the cost of the line during the tests to make it more attractive to the arcade owners.
Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 was later released for a variety of home systems, including stationary (SNES, Sega Genesis and Sega Saturn) and portable consoles (Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS), the Xbox Live Arcade, and iOS-based mobile devices and mobile phones. The game was also bundled with Mortal Kombat: Armageddon for the PlayStation 2 and included in compilation release Mortal Kombat Arcade Kollection for the PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The developers and publishers of the various releases included Acclaim Entertainment, Avalanche Software, Electronic Arts, Eurocom, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, and Williams Entertainment. The later versions usually feature online play and other improvements over the arcade version, and in some cases even 3D graphics.
Super Nintendo Entertainment System
The Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) version was developed by Avalanche Software and published by Williams Entertainment in June 1996 in North America and by Acclaim Entertainment on November 28, 1996 in Europe. The limitations of the system led to many cuts that were made to fit everything on a SNES cartridge: the announcer no longer says the characters' names; Sheeva was removed;[notes 2] and Shao Kahn's Lost Treasures chest has only 10 boxes instead of 12. Many changes affected the game's finishing moves: Rain and Noob Saibot were given Babalities, Brutalities and Stage Fatalities, but have no regular Fatalities or other finishing moves; Kitana's "Kiss of Death" only inflates heads (the same effect as Kabal's "Air Pump" Fatality); Sonya Blade's Friendship from MK3 is used, as opposed to her Friendship from the arcade version of UMK3; Ermac's Fatality is altered; Scorpion's "Hellraiser" Fatality is different (he takes the opponent back to the Hell stage, where they just catch on fire and explode) and is no longer censored like the arcade one. Animality finishing moves were also removed, ironically keeping the Mercy move, which was originally a requirement for Animalities in MK3. On the other hand, Brutalities were introduced; a finishing move in which the player attacks their opponent with a series of kicks and punches which result in the victim exploding. At the same time, some changes were actually improvements over the arcade version. Rain and Noob Saibot are made into playable characters for the first time. Mileena, Ermac, and Classic Sub-Zero are playable out of the box. Motaro and Shao Kahn are unlockable characters for two-player fights, although only one player can choose a boss at a time. An exclusive Easter egg allows access to three separate cheat menus, where the player can drastically alter gameplay, access hidden content or view the characters' endings, among many other things.
The Sega Genesis version was developed by Avalanche Software and published by Williams Entertainment in June 1996 in North America and by Acclaim Entertainment on November 28, 1996 in Europe (Mega Drive version). Due to the limitations of the system's hardware, the Sega Genesis (Mega Drive) port featured inferior graphics and sound to these of the SNES port. Like on the SNES, Sheeva was removed, Shao Kahn's treasure chest has only 10 boxes, the announcer no longer says the characters' names, Kitana's "Kiss of Death" only inflates heads, Scorpion's "Hellraiser" Fatality is different, Sonya's Friendship from Mortal Kombat 3 is used, and the game retains the Bank stage.[notes 3] There were, however, several differences. Unlike the SNES version, the Genesis version features more stages: with the addition of the five new ones, it also feature six of the original ones from MK3, including the Subway, Bank, Rooftop, Soul Chamber, The Temple, and The Pit 3. There are several additional cuts regarding special and finishing moves: both Animalities and Mercy were removed; Rain and Noob were given a Brutality, but no other finishing moves; Human Smoke shares Scorpion's combos, rather than having unique ones; in Stryker's Friendship, the running characters are replaced by dogs. It did, however, have exclusive features in comparison to the arcade. Again, like the SNES port, Rain and Noob Saibot are made playable characters along with bosses Motaro and Shao Kahn, and Mileena, Ermac and Classic Sub-Zero are playable without any need of codes; Brutalities are also included in this version. Shang Tsung can morph into Robot Smoke, Noob Saibot, and Rain, which is not possible in the arcades, while Nightwolf is given the Red Shadow shoulder move that was later used in MKT. This version also features a rendition of Pong entitled MK4, which is the same as the one that appeared in the Genesis/Mega Drive port of MK3.
The Sega Saturn version was developed by Eurocom and published in 1996 by Williams Entertainment in North America and by GT Interactive in Europe. It is based directly on the version of Mortal Kombat 3 that was released for the PlayStation and PC. It thus has the same graphical quality and menu system. Since the arcade intro sequence is missing, Rain does not appear in the game, yet the message Kombat Kode "Rain can be found in the Graveyard" is still displayed. It also contains several elements of MK3 that were removed for the arcade version of UMK3, such as "The Bank" level and Noob Saibot being a shadow Kano as in MK3 (not a black ninja as in the arcade version of UMK3). Shang Tsung is given a morph for the Robot Smoke, which was not possible in the arcades. There are a few new Kombat Kodes, but several that were present in the arcade release do not work any longer. The secret characters can be unlocked via a secret options screen, eliminating the need to enter three separate Kombat Kodes to unlock them (this is much faster, especially since unlocked characters cannot be saved); the Kombat Kodes themselves were also shortened to have six slots instead of ten.
Game Boy Advance
Mortal Kombat Advance is the title given to the Game Boy Advance port of the game, which was developed by Virtucraft and published by Midway Games in North America on December 12, 2001 and in Europe on March 1, 2002. This version is based on the SNES port, but each character (except for Noob Saibot and the bosses) has only one individual Fatality and one Friendship. Three hidden characters can be unlocked by completing any tower other than Novice: Human Smoke (Warrior), Motaro (Master), and Shao Kahn (Grand Master). The GBA control system features two fewer buttons than those used in UMK3, which results in many special moves' button sequences being consolidated or changed. The violence in this game was toned down due to a younger fanbase using the GBA (though the game is still rated "M for Mature") and there is less blood.
In December 2010, EA Mobile released a Java-based port of the game for mobile phones. The game features only six playable fighters (Cyrac, Liu Kang, Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Sonya) and a single boss character (Shao Kahn).
On all "Premium Edition" copies of the PlayStation 2 version of 2006's Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, a near arcade-perfect version of the game is included on the first disc. However, it is impossible to save unlocked characters in this version.
The Xbox Live Arcade version has very few diffences from the arcade original. There are some minor glitches in the network play on Xbox Live and there is no option to save the Kombat Kode unlocked characters. Online leaderboards were created to keep track of all time network stats and friends, the screen size was adjustable for anything between 4:3 and 16:9 televisions, and unlockable Achievements were also included. The game was accidentally released by Warner Bros. Interactive on the digital download service on the Friday evening of October 20, 2006, but was quickly pulled about 20 minutes later. According to Xbox Live director of programming, Major Nelson, an emergency meeting was called to discuss what to do about the game's release, knowing some keen users had already purchased the game. The decision was made to go on and release the game on the next morning, four days before its scheduled release date. As of 2010, it remained as the only post-launch XBLA game to be released on any day other than Wednesday. As of June 2010, the game can not be downloaded as it was removed from XBLA due to "publisher evolving rights and permissions". Those who have purchased the game before this date can re-download and play online.
The game is a part of the digital release package Mortal Kombat Arcade Kollection, developed by Other Ocean Interactive and NetherRealm Studios and published by Warner Bros. Interactive for the PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in 2012. Arcade Kollection also includes the first Mortal Kombat and Mortal Kombat II.
Ultimate Mortal Kombat
On June 27, 2007, MK co-creator Ed Boon officially confirmed a Nintendo DS port entitled Ultimate Mortal Kombat, releasing the very first inside report and new screenshots on IGN. The game, developed by Other Ocean Interactive and published by Midway games on November 12, 2007 in North America and on December 7, 2007 in Europe, is an arcade-perfect port of UMK3, and includes Wi-Fi play and brings back the minigame "Puzzle Kombat" from Mortal Kombat: Deception. Additionally, when unlocking Ermac, Mileena and classic Sub-Zero with Kombat Kodes on the VS screen, they remain unlocked even after the game is reset. This is because the game now includes game profiles which players can access. It was released on November 12, 2007, and rated M for Mature.
In December 2010, Electronic Arts developed and published a remake of the game for iOS, which features a wireless two-player mode that could function over either Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connections. Although the gameplay remains true to the 2D original, the graphics were updated from the digitized sprites of the arcade machine, and were then rendered in 3D. Control was implemented via an on-screen joystick and buttons, utilizing the iOS-based devices' capacitive touchscreen. Network communication allowed for scores to be posted online, and a simplified control scheme was also included to improve accessibility. The character roster was incomplete, featuring only nine playable characters (Sub-Zero, Scorpion, Kitana, Nightwolf, Jax, Sheeva, Sonya, Liu Kang and Stryker). Success at playing the game would unlock two additional fighters (Ermac and Jade). Both boss characters were included as CPU-only opponents. The game also features achievements. In June 2011, EA updated it to include the full roster and six new arenas.
Critical reception of the game has varied depending on the version under review. VideoGames rated the Sega Saturn port a review score of 8/10, calling it "simply a great game" and stating that "if there was ever a definitive MK game, this is it." Sega Saturn Magazine rated it 91% (preview) and five stars (review), stating that while it could not rival the 3D fighting games for graphics, "for sheer gameplay, it doesn't get much better than this." A review by Computer and Video Games gave this excellent of a great coin-op" four out of five stars, calling it "essentional for fans, and something worth consideration for all Saturn owners." The SNES version was nominated for Nintendo Power Awards '96 in the category "Best Tournament Fighting Game". GameSpot's "Best and Worst of 2006" included the XBLA version among the five best fighting game of the year. Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 was named as the best retro Mortal Kombat game by Alex Langley of Arcade Sushi in 2013.
On the other hand, Mortal Kombat Advance, the later port for the Game Boy Advance, was widely panned by critics and fans alike. Some players complained that the CPU difficulty had increased dramatically from UMK3, with computer opponents executing excessively long and difficult combos, along with poor controls. MKA was given a review score of 2.9 by GameSpot's Jeff Gerstmann for how it "plays little to nothing like the game it's based on," and currently has a rating of only 34% at Game Rankings. Electronic Gaming Monthly editor Dan Hsu gave the game the first "0" rating in the magazine's history, and it tied with three other titles for the "Flat-out Worst Game" award by GameSpot in 2002. However, Ultimate Mortal Kombat for the Nintendo DS was considered better. It was given a review score of 7.8 out of 10 from IGN's Greg Miller, who wrote that "if all you want is a really solid, fun version of Mortal Kombat 3 that can go online, that's what you're going to get. It's good stuff all around."
Mortal Kombat Trilogy (MKT) was released by Midway in 1996 as a follow-up to Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3. Unlike UMK3, Trilogy was not released in arcades but was instead released for the Sony PlayStation, Nintendo 64, Sega Saturn and PC, as well as for the Game.com and R-Zone. Trilogy features the same gameplay and story, but adds several completely new characters and introduces new features such the "Aggressor" bar, a meter that fills during the course of the match to make a player character faster and stronger for a short time, and the Brutality finishing moves that were introduced in the 16-bit versions of UMK3.
- Bundled with the special edition of Mortal Kombat: Armageddon.
- Although launching the 8 vs. 8 Tournament Mode and then selecting random characters will in some cases select the icon for the endurance matches (a large E), which actually represents Sheeva. The graphic data for this character is removed, meaning that she is effectively invisible, but her moves can be performed; she is incredibly fast and very glitchy. Using her normally causes the game to crash after a number of moves.
- Another leftover from MK3 that was not totally deleted was code data for the 'Endurance Mode', which is still accessible through a Game Genie code.
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- VideoGames 89 (June 1996), page 60.
- Official Sega Saturn Magazine 8, page 67
- Official Sega Saturn Magazine 9, page 92.
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- Nintendo Power #94 (March 1997).
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- Official website (iOS remake)
- Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 at MobyGames
- Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 (arcade) at GameFAQs
- Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 - The Mortal Kombat Wiki
- UMK3 at Mortal Kombat Online