RETRO REPLAY Presents…Mortal Kombat 4 (GBC)

By: John C. Mayberry (the old fart returns)


Finally, the old fart has come back from underneath his ever-growing pile of food wrappers and empty cans of sugary goodness and cartridges.  I’ve been spending extra time, perusing through my collection, for the education of all you young gamers out there who still have yet to appreciate their virtual roots, and holy hell kids, Mortal Kombat 4!  Mortal-freaking Kombat 4 on GameBoy Color!


I really, truly had no idea this even existed, but lo and behold, here it is!  And don’t be confused because I’m not actually saying this out of any sort of excitement.  Rather, think of this as another lesson in the oldies: just because a game is popular in the arcades (damn I miss those), doesn’t mean it’s going to be good in any way, shape, or any known form of cursed plastic and circuitry.  I own this on PlayStation and on N64 anyhow, so you can only imagine the number of times I’ve kicked myself in the ass for picking up another copy of the same game on a portable system.  Not one of my brighter moments…


As difficult as it was to find some redeeming quality to whatever this litter box fodder was supposed to be, the colorizing for this game was admittedly pretty sweet.  You could tell the difference between Scorpion and Sub-Zero for one thing, and the color schemes stayed consistent with its big brothers in the arcade and on more advanced home consoles.  But Sega had Nintendo beat on portable games with color for a while already before then, so that may not be saying much.  Aside from this, the fatality GIFs are also a sort of nice touch…which is what I would say if they weren’t oh…I don’t know…grainy to the point of being barely distinguishable?!?!


“Ummmm…is that the MK dragon logo or a giant purple booger?  Seriously, what the hell is that???”


The controls and hit detection of this…thing?  Abominable hardly seems to describe it in its totality.  I have played very few fighting games where you could make obvious contact with your opponent’s face only for the game flip you the proverbial bird by having nothing happen as a result.  And this is only crap compounded on more crap, since to perform the hit you might randomly miss anyway, you’ll have to learn to work with some pretty sluggish and delayed controls!  You could however speed things along by running, just have to press both attack buttons at once when you move your character, which usually happens after you accidentally perform an unintended attack move which leaves you totally open to get your ass handed to you.


“Look at all the grainy, pixelated goodness of a 3D image that was never meant for display on GameBoy Color!  Good golly gosh this is some advanced technology, ain’t it?”


Dear god, I could keep annihilating this port for as long as I want to, but I think I’ve tortured you younger players our there with the crappy details enough.  As excruciating as just reading the details might be I can promise you actually playing it is way, way worse.  So yeah, even though this is the second time I’ve covered anything GameBoy related, and although so far there’s been little positivity, I promise they’re not all this ridiculous.  I urge you young gamers out there, don’t let this ruin your ventures into classic gaming because there are plenty of gems out there worth your time, and you can bet your asses I’ll tell you of which ones are deserving of your attention, and which ones, well…deserve a fate worse than the Atari 2600’s E.T.  Until next time, play on, kids!