Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero
Following in the footsteps of its PlayStation twin, MK Mythologies: Sub-Zero is probably the last attempt of this type of genre mixing for a while. Don't look for MK Mythologies: Raiden anytime soon. While I somewhat enjoyed the PlayStation version, I detested the N64 mockery. The cool cut scenes are completely missing, replaced by static screens that look like Super NES rejects. I can't imagine how this game got approved by Nintendo for publishing. It has nothing that made the PlayStation version work for me. The sound and music aren't nearly as crisp and moving on the N64. Overall, this translation feels like a rush-job. This is truly a shame too, since otherwise, it is a veritable carbon copy of last month's reviewed title. The scene transitions seem slightly cleaner, thanks to no load time, but that isn't enough to save MK Myth from a fatality of the most gruesome kind. The quest remains true to the Mortal Kombat world, with many of the attacks we all know and love. For some reason, my uppercuts seem to miss 50 percent of the time, despite passing through what should be a solid hit. It seems that coli soon detection isn't done very well either. Well, that's enough ranting for now I suppose. MK Mythologies is no more than an average rental title, and not even the wrath of Shao Khan could change my mind.
MK Mythologies has the coolest premise (playing through a side-scrolling action title with a fighting game character), but the execution just doesn't fly at all The stage graphics can be nice sometimes, but the gameplay is very repetitive (there's not nearly enough variety in the enemies), and the control is terrible. The story is kinda cool, and the (severely hacked) cinemas are neat, but that's about all MKM has to offer. Better luck next time.
I understand what Midway was trying to do with MK Mythologies, but the results are anything but stellar. First, the game is more difficult than it had to be simply because you have to hit a button to flip your character. That to me is not very intuitive. The character animation is very stiff and awkward and the graphics are only average for a 2-D action game. Granted I'm not a fan of MK, but you can find better action games on the N64.
Besides some nicer-looking graphics and textures, MK Mythologies on the N64 is essentially the same as the PlayStation version. One of the things I miss is the FMV sequences (even though they are cheesy). The control is still the worst part of the game--why hit a button to turn around even if it's to maintain a certain style? I think the idea is excellent but it sure wasn't executed right. I'm sure it can be done, but not with this one.
Download Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero
Love it or hate it, Mortal Kombat and its subsequent sequels have met with outstanding success. From the moment the gruff voice first announced 'Finish him', a nation of gameplayers was hooked, computer-generated violence changed forever and now no self-respecting beat-'em-up can be seen out in public without at least one horrific fatality per character and enough blood to keep the Red Cross going for months.
However, there is only so far you can go with a beat-'em-up. After all, adding new characters and new moves is all very well, but after a while, people begin to realise that it's becoming very much money for old rope.
And so a newer, better Mortal Kombat is waiting in the wings, with new characters, new moves, and this time, a new dimension. That is to say, a third dimension. Before this wonderous game arrives though, we are offered something which is a bit of a compromise. It's not 3-D, but then it's not strictly 2-D either. Enter stage left, Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero.
If you've ever played a Mortal Kombat game - and unless you've been hiding under a rock for the last five years, you must have - then you'll know that the games usually have fairly involved storylines, with each character in the game nursing a deep-seated hatred of pretty much every other character in the game. You know the sort of thing: 'Johnny Cage had pursued the evil Scorpion for many years, ever since the heartless ninja had broken into Cage's house one night and cruelly decapitated his favourite gerbil. Now Cage has tracked the deadly oriental assassin to the competition in the Outworld, where he can finally avenge his beloved rodent, and perhaps save the human race from extinction if he has some time left afterwards.'
If this is the kind of thing that you're into, then you're onto a winner already. The plot to MKM: Sub-Zero reads like something you might get if you locked a hundred monkeys in a room with a hundred typewriters and asked them to re-write Tolkien's Lord Of The Rings.
Basically, if you'll remember, in Mortal Kombat 2 we met Shang Tsung, who, it turned out, was the ultimate ruler of the outworld, a position previously thought occupied by Goro, the four-armed chap. Well now it turns out that Shang Tsung isn't actually the ultimate ruler of the Outworld either, and it is in fact a bloke called Shinnok. He's a fallen Elder God who has been taking things easy off in a holiday dimension somewhere and has, come back home to I sort things out along with a sidekick sorceror named Quan Chi (I do wish they'd give these people proper names - it plays hell with my spellchecker). Shinnock, having seen what humans have done to his Outworld, and also slighly annoyed that someone's named a large two-engined helicopter after him, intends to conquer the Earth. Quite where Sub-Zero fits into all this isn't immediately clear, but that doesn't matter. All you need to know is that you've got to jump, kick and ice-blast your way through eight huge but relatively linear levels, find three magical items on each stage, and recover an ancient amulet which Shinnock's apparently quite fond of.
By now, assuming you haven't gotten fed up with all the Mortal Kombat history and wandered off to play Street Fighter, you may have realised that this isn't your usual run of the mill Mortal Kombat game. In fact, it's MK on the move. For rather than simply being a beat-'em-up, this game could best be described as a platform-cum-beat-'em-up-cum-adventure game - effectively three games in one!
The general gameplay revolves around making your way through the Netherealm, a feat you accomplish by moving from one end of a level to another whilst negotiating various platforms, traps and precipices. This is obviously the platform element. Along the way you meet various assorted unfriendly inhabitants of said Netherealm who you must defeat with your finally honed martial arts techniques - hence the beat-'em-up element. The unusual part, though, is the moves themselves, for they must be learnt.
Now, when I say 'learnt', I don't mean learnt in the usual way of beat-'em-ups, whereby you study a mass of directional instructions more complex than the programme code for the actual game itself, following which each move takes roughly ten minutes and three sets of hands to initiate. No, because you see Sub-Zero, despite being a top thief and assassin, apparently doesn't know all his old MK moves, this being a prequel or something. So he has to learn them all over again, and he does this by gaining experience points.
These are earned in combat (or even Kombat) with the enemy, with more points scored for harder enemies - that's 'hard' as in 'well' - and also for pulling off combinations. Once you've earned a certain number of points, a special move icon appears, and by referring to the status screen, you can then learn the button combinations needed to execute this new move. Add to this the Tablets of Truth, which can be picked up and read to teach you tricks and techniques to help you through each level, and you've got the adventure element.
The game itself looks more or less identical to the PlayStation version; in fact it may very well have been a direct port from that console. It actually loses out by not having the FMV sequences present in the PSX version, and the sound quality isn't quite as impressive - the PlayStation presumably taking its sound from the CD. However, the N64 sound is still pretty good, and if you're one of those people who hates sitting through hours of FMV - and in which case, good choice buying an N64 - then you'll be pleased to know it's been replaced by static shots which can be skipped through quickly.
The big question though, must be "how does it play?". And the answer is, "surprisingly well". After all, what we're dealing with here is basically a 2-D game which has been given some pseudo 3-D treatment. Although you pretty much move from left to right, or vice versa, the game engine uses tricks like undulating backgrounds and shrinking the character's size now and then, all of which serve to give the impression that he's moving backwards and forwards 'into' the screen.
To begin with, the gameplay in MKM: Sub-Zero is extremely linear, particularly the first stage where you are basically forced to run from one end of the level to the other, then drop down and run back again. This makes the first level pretty boring, which is a shame, as it doesn't give a very favourable impression of the whole thing. However, if you can stick the first level out, the game becomes rapidly more complex and far more entertaining. The route to the end of the level becomes less obvious, more convoluted. The tricks and traps, which it has to be said are more or less absent on the first level, become more and more devious as the levels progress. Collapsing platforms, massive blasts of wind, swinging chains, deadly pendulums, electric eels - all these and more will impede you in your quest for the amulet. And the enemies you meet get more dangerous too. For instance, on the first level, all the opponents look and fight the same aside from Scorpion, who you run into near the end. On later levels they come in all shapes and sizes, including huge polygon-animated robots.
Oh, did I mention the difficulty level? This game is hard. If you like your games challenging, then this is definitely worth a look. There are five difficulty levels, but even on the lowest - supposedly 'very easy' -setting, the game is damn hard! And to make things even more difficult, the last three levels of the game can't be accessed on any difficulty level below 'medium'. Believe me, this game will not be a walk-over, not by any means.
This is one of the things which gives MKM: Sub-Zero its longevity. Although the game is extremely hard, with a lot of practice, you'll be able to learn where the traps are, how best to defeat them and how to best take care of the opponents, and you will slowly be able to progress through. The difficulty has been created through cunning tricks and traps rather than -as is often the case in some games -by just throwing loads and loads of opponents at you in ever increasing numbers and making it practically impossible to finish without a cheat. In this case, persevere with MKM: Sub-Zero, and you'll actually feel like you're achieving something.
It has to be said that this game doesn't exactly stretch the boundaries of the N64's capabilities. But then neither did Mischief Makers, another predominantly 2-D platformer, and that was great fun. Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero likewise, is fun, although it's not a game for the faint hearted - or come to that, for the easily queasy. If you're looking for your next MK fix though, or simply would like to try a pretty good 2-D platformer, then give this a look.
Wouldn't it be cool if the makers of Mortal Kombat took all the things they're famous for (like the fighting elements, characters and fatalities) and mixed them into a side-scroller with some adventure elements, such as experience points and useable items?
Well, it's no secret that Midway has been working on MK Mythologies: Sub-Zero for some time now, and the game is exactly what was described--more or less an MK side-scroller. So how does Midway translate the game that defined digitized fighters and introduced gore like never before into something other than a fighting game?
First, Midway came up with a story line for the game. In it, Sub-Zero is presented with a series of tasks. Even from the get-go, the sorcerer seems to have ulterior motives, and Sub-Zero can sense it. Problem is, Sub- Zero's mentor, the grandmaster, only sees the rewards for working with the sorcerer. But since he's working for his leader, Sub-Zero can't refuse to do what he asks.
The graphics have the same style as the older MK games, except now everything is set up in levels. Some elements are similar to Pandemonium! in that although the game is 2-D, the level will rotate giving a 3-D appearance.
As the title suggests, Sub-Zero is the main character and as players control him through the various levels, he gains more and more of his special moves (i.e., ice blasts and such) through earning experience points. These are gained by performing combos and other special attacks. For example, by dishing out a four-hit combo, players will receive somewhere around 10 points of experience. Then after a certain amount, Sub-Zero will be able to freeze his enemies and give them the classic Sub-Zero uppercut.
Some new moves have been introduced as well. Sub-Zero can now double freeze an enemy (without becoming frozen himself) and then give him/her an uppercut, shattering him/her into dozens of pieces of ice-cold flesh. Note that it only works on weaker enemies. Besides fighting-type moves, Sub-Zero will also be able to hang from ledges and pull himself up (see upper-right picture).
The levels take players all over the place ranging from Shaolin temples to strange fortresses high in the Himalayas. Wherever the game takes them, lots of traps, enemies and other hazards await. It's a strange new world (the action side scrolling genre) that Mortal Kombat is entering, where there's a whole slew of new competitors. It should be interesting to see how the kings of Kombat fare in this new arena.
- MANUFACTURER - Midway
- THEME - ACTION
- NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1
Sub-Zero goes it alone in Mythologies, the game that tells his story. But don't fret, MK purists--his special moves are identical to those found in the arcade fighting games.
Control & Fun Factor
Mythologies takes Sub-Zero out of the MK tournament, and drops him into his own action/platform game. His moves are almost identical to those found in the MK games, except for a few added techniques and an added button that enables you to face left or right. This preview version provided very accurate controls, which really helped in areas where precision jumps were required. As for fun, Mythologies is challenging, and Sub-Zero's freezing powers provide an almost endless number of ways for you to dispatch the enemies. For example, you can freeze a foe, then push him off a cliff or under a granite crusher, or shatter him with a roundhouse kick or an uppercut!
As a prequel to the first Mortal Kombat arcade game, Mythologies tells the story of the ninja Sub-Zero. Some events include the origins of his feud with Scorpion and his dealings with the Lin Kuei ninja clan (who would later betray him in Mortal Kombat 3). So far, Mythologies is a cool spin on the MK phenomenon and an entertaining action title. For more on the game, check out the August issue of GamePro (see "The Mortal Kombat Konversation").
Graphics & Sound
Mythologies looks beautiful--the imagery is filled with bleak landscapes and cool visual effects like lightning flashes, crumbling catwalks, and smooth scaling. The live-action cinemas are very clean and integrated into the game at key moments to help tell the story, while the digitized characters are laid seamlessly into the environments. It looks like you're playing a side-scrolling version of the arcade game.
MK Mythologies is designed to create a backdrop for the titles already in circulation by being set a full 10 years before the first MK Tournament. By taking on the role of the ice master Sub-Zero, players will live through the events that brought about the fearsome creature known as Scorpion. Players can expect to see Raiden, Liu Kang, several ninjas and other well-known MK characters as well a handful of entirely new characters. Think MK is just a mindless fighting game? Well, now you may have to think again.
- MANUFACTURER - Midway
- THEME - Rpg
- NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1
Midway sure is letting this one out in slow increments. MK Mythologies features the exploits of everyone's favorite ninja of the cold, Sub-Zero, in an adventure-based title where fighting isn't primary on the manifest. Players will find plenty of back story to outline the appearance of other popular Mortal Kombat characters such as Raiden and Liu Kang. New characters are expected to also make some guest appearances in the form of Bosses, sub Bosses and possibly even friendly characters. Who knows, maybe the new fighters will make guest appearances in MK4?
If you're turned on by the idea of making jump after jump after jump over perilous ledges using a poorly thought-out control method, with some ketchup-splattering combat thrown in, you'll love MK Mythologies. People with a frustration threshold less than the Dalai Lama might not take so kindly to it, though. Still, some people prefer Mortal Kombat to Street Fighter - horse, there's a course.
Despite early rumours that this departure from the 2D fighting scene would be an RPG, it now seems Midway's other new MK title is, in fact, to be an action/adventure game not dissimilar to Capcom's once-glorious Final Fight series.
Set across eight huge levels, Mythologies places the player in the guise of the series' very favourite frostbitten psychopath, Sub Zero, who must make his way through various texture-mapped 3D backgrounds and cinematic sequences in a storyline set prior to the very first Mortal Kombat game.
Around 30 other MK characters have been given the full-render treatment as well as the opportunity to use their famed moves in 'group encounters'. These promise to deliver the sort of action that made Streets of Rage such a huge hit on the 16-bit consoles.
No pictures have been made available for MK Mythologies, and none are expected for a quite while yet. However, just the game's description sounds fascinating and is a bold step for Midway and developers Tobias. We await more with breath fully-baited.
Diabolically dumb attempt to cross Mortal Kombat with a platform adventure. Even Super Hunchback was better. Avoid!
Take ropey animation from a sub-standard beat-'em-up. Add to level design spawned in Satan's underwear. The most unfortunate stench to ever pollute the N64 office.
Disturbingly bad, this cloud only be less enjoyable if it squirted sulphuric acid into your face. Hate it till you can hate no more.
Mortal Kombat Mythologies enters the Nintendo 64 arena only slightly different from its PlayStation counterpart (see ProReview, December 1997). It's a satisfying action/fighting game that will definitely please MK fans, despite its chilly A.I. and initially tough controls.
Mythologies tells the story of Sub-Zero, blending challenging missions with fighting-game elemerits in typical side-scrolling backdrops. The game's most unique feature is the ability to accumulate experience points (much like in a role-playing game) that will enable Sub-Zero to perform special moves as the game unfolds. The fighting-game controls are straight from MK3--complete with the same combos.
Playing with the Rumble Pak adds some tremors to the game but doesn't add to the over-all experience (the way it did in Star Fox 64, for example). Sub-Zero's biggest drawbacks are its awful enemy A.I. (enemies will either kill you in seconds or let you kill them in seconds) and overly tough missions.
For MK fanatics and those craving a challenging side-scroller, Sub-Zero's worth the fight. Non-MK fans, though, may want to kill a few hours with a rental.
- Yep, it's cheap, but it gets the job done: Freeze an enemy, stand in close, and rapidly tap High Punch. You'll do a five- to six-hit combo and rack up experience points.
- In the Prison of Souls mission, comer a guard against an electric fence and walk into him. He'll be dead in seconds.
- In the Water mission, use the electric eels to your advantage. For example, freeze a monk, push him into the water, and let the eels do the rest.
Mythologies features excellent backgrounds-especially in the later levels. The characters sport fine details, and the occasional breakup that plagued the PlayStation version has been fixed.
The appropriately creepy music fits perfectly with each stage. However, the sound effects could use some more punch--especially more variety in the character yells, grunts, and groans.
Mythologies has solid, responsive controls. You'll run into rough spots, though, when making precision jumps and executing some special moves-especially when you're in pinch situations.
Mythologies is a solid action/platform title that puts a unique spin on the MK fighting games. Brawlers and action gamers alike will have a good , time with Sub-! Zero-and that's no myth.