Sometimes it’s best to just leave things be, you know? A lot of people thought Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 was messed up enough as it is, between its drastically escalating difficulty and its questionable character selection (Stryker? Really?). But no, because of the upcoming reboot from Warner Bros. due for release next year, Electronic Arts decided to return back down nostalgia lane, bringing a port of UMK 3 to the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. But sometimes, the road back isn’t always easy to travel.
The Kustomizable Kontrols are Krap
Let’s start with the gameplay. Now, the iPhone and iPad are both capable of receiving a good fighting game, as the awesome port of Street Fighter IV proves. But here, Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 simply falls on its face. The virtual control stick is simply way too sticky for its own good. Movement is stunted enough on its own, but the fact so many moves rely on the tap-tap physics (Liu Kang’s fireball, Kitana’s fan throw) makes it feel even more broken. What’s more, the enemy Ai is still ridiculous. It’ll pile on the hits and telepathically read your attacks by about the fourth opponent in (even on the Novice setting) and, magically, they have the ability to teleport past your attacks and cheaply hit you. And that’s not actually a feature in the game, but a bug that’s very, very annoying. EA needs to fix this quick, before the game sinks to a new level of cheapness.
There are options to go with an easier control scheme, with the punch and kick buttons combined into one (which is weird) or original Pro settings, just like you’d find in the arcade. But no matter what you choose, the controls simply never gel like they did in Street Fighter. As a result, you’ll be too frustrated to even try to pull off a fatality. It simply never works, unless it’s by accident. And accidental fatalites are no fun, not compared to the real thing.
What’s more, EA also managed to screw up the game’s presentation. Rather than going with the original visuals from the arcade game, it’s “remastered” Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 with new 3-D visuals and settings. That would be fine and all, if it came across the screen with any sort of grace. Sadly, it does not. The game looks half finished, between lackluster character movements and the glitches popping up here and there. The backgrounds are kind of nice, but also suffer from choppiness. As for the audio, meh. The music’s pretty good, but doesn’t interrupt at the end of the match for Shao Khan’s victory announcement. He’s barely here at all, if only to say “Fatality!” or some other random line. The other sound effects are decent, similar to the arcade game.
Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3’s single player mode is intolerable due to its difficulty and bugs, but there’s also a multiplayer component, in which you can play with friends via BlueTooth or WiFi. But considering how choppy the game moves in single player, how do you think it’s going to fare in versus? Not very well at all. The fights we tried to connect with ended in almost complete disaster, with so much slowdown and glitchiness going on, it was almost like playing a test app. That’s too bad, because the Kombat Kode system is still here, along with the rewards from previous versions of the game.
In the end, Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 takes a decent arcade game and drags it further into the doldrums. This is an empty-headed port with lackluster visuals, almost inoperable controls and multiplayer that isn’t even worth touting. Don’t perform a fatality on your wallet — buy Street Fighter IV instead.