Reviewed: September 7, 2002
Released: August 25, 2003
Iím not a huge Mortal Kombat fan, but I have played a few iterations of the coin-op and even offered my services as combo-fodder for a few evenings of Deadly Alliance on my friendís GameCube. Needless to say I was more than a bit interested to see how Midway was going to bring this infamous fighting game to the Game Boy Advance so I promptly grabbed a copy of the GBA version and quickly became addicted.
Mortal Kombat Tournament Edition is the latest handheld version of the poplar fighter and builds on the success of last years GBA version of Deadly Alliance. For this edition the designers have gone the extra mile to make this a worthwhile purchase for first-time fighters and owners of last yearís game by including more fighters, new gameplay modes, loads of secrets, and some of the best GBA-link multiplayer gaming ever seen on the handheld.
Mortal Kombat Tournament Edition features:
For those of you who played Deadly Alliance, you will certainly recognize the identical gameplay elements in Tournament Edition. This is no great surprise since Midway built their latest game using the MKDA engine as their foundation, only this time around there is a whole lot more game packed onto the cartridge.
The fighting engine is just as solid as ever making good use of the GBA controls for punches, kicks, and a lengthy list of combos. The response time is very fast and everything flows together quite nicely. The characters all physically interact with each other with no collision problems. Itís a very solid gameplay experience based on a proven engine.
More fighters have been added bringing the total roster up to 15 and there are some hidden characters tucked away along with other unlockable items. You can now save your single-player progress with statistics on the cartridge. This is a great bonus that wasnít previously available.
Also new are some updated gaming modes like Survival that lets you face as many opponents as you can with a single health bar and Tag Mode which is a variation on the classic Endurance Mode. Of course the biggest new feature is the multiplayer components that boosts the extended value of this title to near infinity. Not only have the designers included plenty of special multiplayer game modes, there is a wealth of secrets that can only be unlocked while playing in linked mode.
Owners of Deadly Alliance for the GBA can link to Tournament Edition and play head to head using the three characters common to both games, but you can also unlock a bonus hidden character in Tournament Edition by linking to MKDA. There is a ton of stuff to uncover in this latest game, and the only thing they didnít include was any type of bonus for linking to the GameCube version of Mortal Kombat.
Tournament Edition looks fantastic starting with the easy to read and easier to navigate menus and character select screens to the colorful backgrounds and animated 3D fighters. I didnít see any real improvements over the original MDKA engine this is based on, but then there really wasnít much room for improvement.
The animation is smooth and the action is over-the-top with plenty of excessive violence and plenty of blood. There are some valiant attempts to include fancy special effects that are typically reserved for the larger consoles. It all comes together quite nicely.
The sound effects are solid with excellent digitized voices for all the characters and the typical smattering of sound effects you would expect to hear in Mortal Kombat or any other fighting game.
The soundtrack is your generic techno-rock weíve all come to expect from the series. Itís not the best but it wouldnít be Mortal Kombat without it.
With new fighters and new gameplay modes there is a lot for a single fighter to do. You can expect to spend countless hours mastering all the moves for all the fighters and earning coins and unlocking all those secrets could takes months.
The true value of Mortal Kombat Tournament Edition lies in its multiplayer, but to enjoy this you are going to need 2-4 friends who each have their own copy of the game. Itís definitely worth the effort to get linked up and check out all of the exclusive multiplayer content and secrets you might otherwise never get to enjoy.
I must admit, I was truly surprised and impressed with Mortal Kombat Tournament Edition. I was expecting just another ďinstallmentĒ to milk the franchise and the GBA consumer for another $30, but instead Midway has given us an excellent addition to the series that adds both single and multiplayer content creating one of the most comprehensive fighters you can play on your GBA.
If you enjoy fighting games then this is a must-have game, even if you already bought Deadly Alliance. Just keep in mind that much of your fun is reliant on others, so make sure you have a core group of friends ready to FIGHT!