iTuesday Review: Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 for iPhone and iPad

One great thing I love about my iPhone is that it’s a place where old games can be reborn. There are plenty of classic games that have been rereleased for iOS. The biggest obstacle that these games face is the absence of a physical controller. For some games this works fine (I touched on a couple of these during my Atari Greatest Hits review). For others playing with a touch screen makes the game too difficult. For example, I downloaded Sonic 2 onto my iPhone and soon grew frustrated with the controls and stopped playing it.

I bring this up, because this week for iTuesday I’ll we will be looking at Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 for iPhone and for iPad. Playing the game for the first time my main concern was the game controls. The game has some built in options that attempt to make using the on screen controls easier. It gives you the ability to choose between a five-button control scheme, and a six-button control scheme. One of the buttons for the five-button option is a “special” button that allows you to do special moves, for example sub zero freezing his opponent. The six-button control scheme is more like the layout you would find in the arcade. Even though having a special button makes things easier I prefer the arcade controls because I’m old school like that.

It also lets you move the buttons around any way you want. Even with these options I found playing it on the iPhone to be difficult. The controls are just too small, particularly the “joystick”. The iPad on the other hand is much easier to control. In a test to make sure it wasn’t just me experiencing these problems my girlfriend and I played against each other with one person on the iPad and the other on an iPhone. The person with the iPad won every time.

For the most part, Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 is the same game from the mid 90s. There are a few differences though. First, the graphics have been updated (which look awesome on both the iPad and the retina display of the iPhone). There are some characters missing, which was a bit of a disappointment. They have also added a list of achievements as well as a leader board, which is a neat feature you wouldn’t have seen in the arcade back in the day. The achievements are pretty cool, but I think I would give these up to have more than 11 playable characters. You also have the ability to bring up a moves list during the game. This is a much easier way to learn moves than the way I did it back in the day, which was having my dad bring me to the store and copy down moves from a video game magazine onto a sheet of paper.

The graphics of the original home console version of the game (top) and the iOS version (bottom)

As I alluded to the game supports multi player over wifi. In addition to that the iPad version offers a two-player mode where both players play on the same iPad. I found that the controls for this weren’t too difficult, but I really don’t know if I would ever really want to play that way.

Much like the first release of the game over 15 years ago, when you play arcade mode you can choose your destiny (or pick the amount of opponents you are fighting against). One difference you can keep trying over and over again after each time you are defeated. The game saves your progress so you could be working on the same game for months if you needed to. It used to be you had to beat the game all in one sitting, and to be honest this is the way I like it.

The iPad version and the iPhone version are available for 99 cents each in the App Store. This is a great price for the iPhone version and an absolute steal for the iPad version. Even though the iPhone version faces some control issues, you would probably spend over 99 cents playing it in the arcade during a single visit. So if you’re a big Mortal Kombat fan with an iPhone, you may as well check it out. It’s also important to note the 99 cent iPad price is part of a memorial day sale so it will likely go back up in price shortly. I would encourage iPad owners to act fast.

Final Rating: 6.8/10 (iPhone) and 8/10 (iPad)

CBR Break Down:
Console Played On: iPhone 4 and iPad (first generation)
Approximate Time to Completion: couple hours
Price Bought at: N/A – Review copies furnished by EA Games
Current Price: $.99 for either version

  • As much as I dig the new Mortal Kombat on the 360 and PS3, I have a special place in my heart for digitized graphics. It would have been cool if the new MK had a mode to play with digitized kombatants. But I guess that’s what the original MKs are for.

  • Just out of curiosity, who all wasn’t put onto the iPad/iPhone version? Also, is there a possibility that some are unlockable?

    • The only ones included on the iOS versions of the game are Sub-Zero, Scorpion, Kitana, Nightwolf, Jax, Sheeva, Sonya, Liu Kang and Stryker with Ermac and Jade as unlock-able characters.

  • Not really Mortal Kombat-ish, but it’s a good thing you brought up the controller bit. I agree, some old school games present new challenges on a touch screen.

    Case in point – the Namco Pacman. iPhone or Android, I feel that the touch controls are unresponsive to my large fingers. Or maybe I just need an iPad.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.