Gee - sure does play like Mortal Kombat 1
Mortal Kombat 4, the game that finally brought the series into 3D, has just been released for the Nintendo 64 and the PlayStation. Even though it is in 3D, it contains tons of similarities to its 2D counterpart. Although it may not be original, and certainly not revolutionary, it is some good fun - and is definitely better than Mortal Kombat 3 (an utter piece of garbage).
Graphically speaking, Mortal Kombat 4 is a treat - particles, flying blood, decapitations, and special moves look better than they ever could have in the dimension of the past. Most of the characters you remember from Mortal Kombat 1 and 2 (in my opinion, 2 was and still is the best) are back, along with with many of their original fatalities and special moves (anyone remember Sub Zero's head rip move?).
The characters are detailed and animate smoothly, amazingly looking much like they did in the arcade. The Nintendo version has smoother backgrounds than the PSX version, and the polygonal characters are a bit faster. On the other hand, because of the cartridge format, the N64 game lacks all of the video clips. The graphics aren't arcade perfect, but they definitely come close.
Control is rock solid. When you tell your character to do a jump kick followed by a punch to the male anatomy, your character executes it perfectly. You just have to be able to press the bizarre button combinations to be able to do them. The aforementioned head rip-off fatality is achieved by pressing forward, back, forward, down, and then run, block, and punch all at the same time. These tricky hand coordination tests can be aggravating, but they give the game some depth - mastering all the button combinations could take you months.
This is hugely important considering the blatantly poor control found in Mortal Kombat 3. Characters have their own combos, no longer are there tons of combos that every character can do (although there is still one... sigh).
The story, in case you cared, is as dumb and convoluted as the all the other Mortal Kombat stories. There is a tournament, you're in it, yada yada yada. Been there done that. But then that's never been the point of Mortal Kombat (and people wonder how a movie about it - with the same lack of plot - could fail?).
The most obvious addition (other than the 3D graphics) is the inclusion of weapons. Each character has their own special weapons that they can pull out by using a special move. Lose your weapon and your opponent can pick it up and use it against you! While the weapons are fun, they don't really change the game much.
Just like all previous Mortal Kombats, this one is loaded with cheats. There are tons of different costumes, secret characters (Goro, Noob Saibot), and other wacky anomalies for you to experiment with. These may seem alluring at first as something that adds depth to the game, but in all honesty these codes really don't do anything that adds to the value of the game.
In essence, this is the Mortal Kombat you have played before. If you didn't like it before, you won't like it now. The gameplay mechanics are identical to all of the previous Mortal Kombat games. Sure, it isn't new, but it still manages to be fun.