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The Top 7... Best ports on inferior systems

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Perhaps no other entertainment industry contains venomous fans arguing over the content of multiple versions of a solitary product.  And for good reason - games are made to be ported over to multiple consoles in order to recoup staggering losses of cash. Each console has its own strengths and its own failings. That’s why we see a frame rate glitch here or a severely neutered feature there.

And with competing hi-tech, hi-def formats, we’re bound to choose sides based on what we can afford (go recession and limited expendable income!) This isn’t a new phenomenon either. You might remember very important schoolyard arguments about why Sonic is better than Mario or why Halo is better than... well, everything.

But sometimes you’re dead wrong, dear reader. Sometimes your friend with the lackluster console has the better version of the game. And you can’t refute this cheap friend of yours either, because you know he’s right. His game looks and plays better than yours. Now you’re the clown! Don’t cry, just read up on several times you were wrong when discussing a game’s validity to your friends.

Let’s get this out of the way, despite how solid the Genesis platform was and how fast blast-processing made Sonic, the system could not even remotely compare in its color palette against the SNES. Even its audio prowess was severely lacking. So how can the graphically and audibly superior SNES Mortal Kombat be worse than its Genesis competitor?


Above: See that grey matter coming out of Liu Kang’s crotch? That’s the SNES’s version of blood… sweat

The lack of blood. Oh and a neutered combo system, but that wasn’t a big deal. See, back in 1992-1993 everyone was way more of a pussy than they are now. The end of civilization was afoot because rap lyrics were offensive and games contained blood. Politicians whined aloud and parents forgot they had to fake a vented interest in their own children.  For some reason, Nintendo decided to censor all of the blood, fatalities and religious imagery from the SNES version of arguably the most popular game at the time. And Sega followed suit.


Above: Looks terrible, plays great

Well, kind of. See, you had to enter the code ABACABB on the “subtle” code screen to gain access to all of the blood and gore, thus earning the game an MA-13 on Genesis. It may have still looked like ass (from the life bars to the characters, everything screams “barf”), but at least pixelated sweat wasn’t flying off Liu Kang when he was uppercut. The next year, SNES released an arcade-faithful Mortal Kombat II. MK was never censored or dumbed down again… unless you count this.


We’ve already talked about why the SNES topped the Genesis in terms of pure system architecture alone. That’s why this next entry is incredibly strange. How could Aladdin for the Sega Genesis look and play better than Aladdin for the SNES? Here’s a hint: direct involvement from Walt Disney Studios.


Above: The Genesis version looked this good! Well, not really

See, the SNES version was developed at Capcom and not Virgin Interactive (the Genesis dev), because Capcom still held the licensing rights to create Disney games on Nintendo systems. That’s why we got Ducktales and Darkwing Duck among others. Virgin on the other hand, was comprised of people like David Perry and Mike Dietz (who eventually created the stellar Earthworm Jim). These guys worked extensively using sprites from actual cel animations from Walt Disney Feature Animation studios. That can account for why the Genesis version looks like an actual cartoon, while the SNES port looks like every other platformer at the time.


Above: A regular platformer for the SNES

As for how it played? Genesis gave you a sword and let you cut down a guard’s pants, revealing hilarious heart-patterened boxers underneath. Not to mention each level being environmentally specific. SNES just let you run and jump on enemies like some kind of Arabian Mario through same-y environments.


Above: Blast Processing enabled more heart boxers on Genesis

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53 comments

  • rezapoc - March 24, 2009 3:18 p.m.

    Don't forget duke nukem on the Saturn when compared to the sanitized N64 version.
  • Awesomeitude1523 - March 3, 2009 5:58 p.m.

    This is just me, but it says in the title that superior ports on INFERIOR systems. I ain't no sony fanboy, but technically they are saying that the PS3 is superior. Just sayin'
  • synthetictwist - February 23, 2009 2:59 a.m.

    How does The Orange Box seem lifeless? I think I had a stroke after reading that...
  • damaddok - January 19, 2009 5:09 p.m.

    Why does it seem that the first comment in every article is being deleted? Really. The past 4 articles I read all had deleted comments at the very top. Why? Just because of the "First!"?
  • protospasm - January 17, 2009 1:15 a.m.

    How nostalgic. I argued many times for the SNES version of MK, but knew all along that the 3-button Genesis version was more fun. Oh, the losing side... why did I spend so much time with you!?
  • metalgearps2 - January 16, 2009 9:11 p.m.

    Um, not only is GamesRadar very biast on thier articles about the Xbox 360, but, um, Valve is owned by EA, so, you really can't 'outsource' a game made by Valve to EA (the parent company). Thats why on retail copies of Valve games there is a EA sticker on the top... xD
  • SlightlyBetterName - January 13, 2009 10:25 p.m.

    Yes, this means Shane's gonna be on the next Talkradar. Score.
  • MacGyver1138 - January 13, 2009 9:47 p.m.

    I had a Genesis and I remember my friends who had SNESes coming over to play Mortal Kombat on my system. Unfortunately, MK and Sonic were the only two things I really had that made my SNES friends jealous.
  • Mackster-901 - January 13, 2009 4:54 p.m.

    sega megadrive rules!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11
  • TheHamburglerTouchedMe - January 13, 2009 1:10 p.m.

    i cant see any difference between the dreamcast version of samba and the wii version. :)?
  • derringer83 - January 13, 2009 6:20 a.m.

    at first glance i thought homie_cheese said 'sex on psn'... Unrelated... Other than that I thought this was a very informative article. Thanks for increasing my brain activity.
  • AyJay - January 13, 2009 4:27 a.m.

    i hate double posts
  • super2j - January 13, 2009 4:23 a.m.

    DAmn it phoenix_wings you are a hero. Your whole statement was great, and nice burn with the whole iphone mgs thing, im gunna be rubbing it in the face of my friends for a LLOOOOnnnGG time. I Have to say
  • Musicgeek4 - January 13, 2009 2:42 a.m.

    I have the alladin game for genisis and loved it. It was the first game I stayed up all night to play and finally beat it at 6 in the morning. I also have the tetris for gameboy and still play it. Its a shame hat those games are better than most wii games that come out today
  • homie_cheese_slice - January 13, 2009 2:25 a.m.

    This is totally unrelated to the article, but they should come out w/ gex on psn!
  • phoenix_wings - January 13, 2009 1:55 a.m.

    Good article, except of course the flame-war inciting comment. Hmm, Microsoft has PCs as well as the 360...so who is actually the man in this case? PS3 is better. I play it because I want my stuff to work, not mock me with red lights and its incapability to work. The 360 has better online play than the PS3, but I really don't want to listen to 12-year olds shouting out how big their p3n15 is. I don't want to have to buy half of my game through DLC, and when I do go online, I don't want to have to pay extra for the full online experience. And you might have the Orange Box better-ness, but Konami would first release a MGS for the iPod touch and iPhone before they would release a port for the 360....and those who say "first" without adding anything constructive to say are most definitely retards.
  • Ninja-KiLLR - January 13, 2009 1:53 a.m.

    the orange box was crap some parts were really awsome but over all it seemed kinda life less
  • Defguru7777 - January 13, 2009 1:33 a.m.

    In addition to the points you mentioned, the 360 version of The Orange Box will also get the PC expansions. Take that PS3!! (Not a fanboy, I just like to stick it to the man)
  • NullG7 - January 13, 2009 1:06 a.m.

    The PS3 Xbox 360 thing has been going on too long! They have about the same performance and power, the main thing is prefrence if you like great graphics and some older games (not at the same time go PS3, if you like good online play and constantly evolving and updating games go 360. No point in arguing now pick and be silent my I pick 360 what about you?
  • lymanzaar - January 13, 2009 12:34 a.m.

    in the top 15! awesome. great feature

Showing 1-20 of 53 comments

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