Mortal Kombat Gold
Midway is currently working on the next chapter in the long-running MK series, Mortal Kombat Gold for the Dreamcast. This game isn't just a minor upgrade...it will have a host of improvements over MK4.
MK Gold will suck a bunch of MK2 and MK3 fighters into the world of polygons, including Baraka, Kitana, Kung Lao, Mileena and the BMX ninjas. These "new" cast members will get their own FMV cinemas and special stages.
The game will also be a technological powerhouse. Each of the characters is composed of more than 3000 polygons, and they'll fight at a brisk 60 frames per second.
Midway plans to have MK Gold out around DC launch time.
Download Mortal Kombat Gold
Fans of Mortal Kombat may want to think about purchasing a Dreamcast now that Midway Home Entertainment has announced the arrival of Moital Kombat Gold. On the surface. Gold sounds like Ultimate Mortal Kombat 4: game will feature all the characters and moves of MK4 along with returning characters from Mortal Kombat II and Mortal Kombat 3 (see sidebar. "The Return of die Magnificent Seven +) But Gold is much more than just additional fighters.
All That Glitter Is Gold?
"Basically, we asked Eurocom the developers of the home console versions of MK4 to port MK4 for die Dreamcast," said Ed Boon, the creator of the MK series. "We dien realized we had a ton of space left on the disc to add features, even after ail the characters were rendered. So we decided to go back and do the things that we always wanted to do with the arcade version of Mortal Kombat 4, but never had the time to implement."
Some of those tilings include adding layers of textures to characters so they look less like polygons and more like detailed motion-captured actors. In fact, you'll see few instances of the meshing problems and minor slowdown that were associated with MK4. "Some parts of the game look much better, and the backgrounds have certainly been reworked to show off die Dream-cast engine," Boon said. "WeYe currently using 3000 polygons per character at 60 frames per second--approximately the same as MK4. However, we're only 20 percent finished".
The other welcome addition was more characters. Gold has over 20 selectable fighters, including several hidden ones. For example, favorites from Mortal Kombat II. like Baraka and Kitana, and popular characters from MK3, like Sektor and Cyrax, will join other fighters, like Meat and Goro, to flesh out the already crowded arena of brawlers from MK4. "We thought it would be cool to see Sektor's missiles and the view when jumping into Baraka's blades in 3D." Boon stated. "To that end. Eurocom is also helping us out by re-designing 2D levels into new 3D ones such as the Soul Chamber ana church from MK3." He adds, "You can'c really enjoy the total MK exper ience without the movies, so we are now in the process of making new ending sequences for all the additional characters along with developing new music and sound effects.
Of course, you can't have a real MK game without finishing moves--something that made the game popular in the first place.
"We want to shy away from humorous finishing moves, like the babalities, animalities, and friendships." Boon said. "What we're striving for now is to tune up the fatalities with some of the Dreamcast's power."
A Change of Pace
According to Boon, there is no modem play being developed (Sega of America has no comment). As for the button layout, it will remain two punch, two kick, one run, and one block. However, the developers are trying to implement at least two new moves and at least one new fatality per character. This would add to an already full roster of moves, but space on the proprietary Dreamcast discs is readily available--which means there may be even further additions to the move sets.
Although the Dreamcast launch will feature heavy-hitting fighting titles such as Soul Calibur, Virtua Fighter 3tb, and Power Stone, Midway Home Entertainment is hoping that MK Gold will charm its way into consumers' wallets simply by way of nostalgia. "People grew up with Mortal Kombat, so there's this large installed base, Boon explained. But players who were ten years old when Mortal Kombat came out are 17 now, and they want a new, hyper-realistic experience; what they want is a little bit of the old, and a lot more of the new." Does this mean that MK games will be changing anytime soon? "This is the last Mortal Kombat game as you know it," Boon answered. "We are hoping to redefine the franchise with a radical departure from the norm in Mortal Kombat 5, which should be out in arcades by next summer" How radical? "The only thing left you'll recognize will be the fatalities."
Mortal Kombat fans will not be left in the Outerworld cold this season. Mortal Kombat Gold, a gready improved version of Mortal Kombat 4, will feature players from MKII and MK3. At press time, Midway also planned to include new moves and fatalities for some characters. The preview version played great, and the graphics looked awesome, although the collision detection and frame rate still needed some work. Mortal Kombat fens not interested in Soul Calibur or Virtua Fighter 3tb will want to look for Gold (for more info, see our cover feature, "Mortal Kombat Goes for the Gold," August).