Nov 14, 2007
Contrary to the arcade ports of Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 now available over Xbox Live Arcade and packaged with the PS2 version of Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, Ultimate Mortal Kombat for DS is not "arcade perfect" - it's even better, and by far the best version of the game available.
Though the core gameplay is unchanged, developer Other Ocean Interactive has added several improvements to keep Midway's 12 year-old classic fresh. By far the most useful addition is an onscreen moves list, which may be displayed on the top or bottom screen. No longer will victorious players have to scramble through online guides for fatalities or special moves. All buttons are fully customizable, though the moves list will not reflect changes made to the default controls, which is disappointing.
As UMK veterans know, finishing the game allows players the choice of one treasure, with prizes such as Galaga or a Supreme Demonstration - every Fatality, Babality, and Friendship - among those offered. Thanks to an unlockables section, any treasure the player has selected can be viewed at any time. An ending theater has also been added.
Unfortunately, due to cheap A.I., Ultimate MK's single-player mode (even with its many unlockables) holds a limited amount of appeal. Foreseeing this, the developers implemented a fantastic WiFi-enabled multiplayer mode with only occasional instances of lag. Single- and multi-card play is available, and stat fiends will be pleased to learn that UMK tracks single- and multiplayer wins, losses, winning streaks, Fatalities and more.
Puzzle Kombat (a Super Puzzle Fighter-esque minigame first included with Mortal Kombat: Deception) also features several unlockables and multiplayer. It's a simple game meant for a distraction when players need a timeout from gutting and decapitating, and in that respect, it serves its purpose well.
In terms of graphics and sound, the smaller screen dictates slight downgrades in detail, and the game occasionally lags, but only during non-playable segments, such as Fatalities. Despite its overly aggressive AI and slight graphical hiccups, Ultimate Mortal Kombat is the best version of this classic entry into the MK franchise available, and the WiFi multiplayer is easily worth the $30 price tag.