Mortal Kombat 3

:  Fed up with continuous losses in tournament battle, Shao Kahn, who had lost to Liu Kang in the Outworld tournament, enacts a 10,000 year-old plan. He would have his Shadow Priests, led by Shang Tsung, revive his former Queen Sindel, who unexpectedly died at a young age. However, she wouldn't be revived in the Outworld. She would be resurrected in the Earthrealm. 

This would allow Shao Kahn to cross the boundary lines and reclaim his queen. When Sindel is reincarnated in Earthrealm, Shao Kahn reaches across the dimensions to reclaim her. As a consequence of his action, the Earthrealm becomes a part of the Outworld, killing billions instantly. Only a few are spared, as Raiden protects their souls. He tells them that Shao Kahn must be stopped, but he cannot interfere; due to his status, he has no power in Outworld, and Earthrealm is partially merged with Outworld. Shao Kahn has unleashed extermination squads to roam throughout the Earthrealm and kill any survivors. Also, Raiden's protection only extends to the soul, not to the body, so his chosen warriors have to fight the extermination squads and repel Shao Kahn. Eventually somehow every human on Earthrealm comes back.


Mortal Kombat 3 vanilla character select screen.

:  After the tremendous success of Mortal Kombat 2, MK3 certainly had high expectations from fans. With the absence of several MK staples like Raiden, Johnny Cage and Scorpion, many fans were immediately put off by MK3's character roster. MK3 also lacked the trademark "palette swap" ninjas of the series... replacing them with a new trio of palette swap "ninja-robots" instead, those being Cyrax, Sector, and Smoke.

Heeeey, my fireball has a face too! ^o^


Midway made radical gameplay changes to MK3 as well, adding new combo mechanics that many players just didn't take to. The combo system was also a bit too complex to enjoy for casual players, requiring the memorization of not only special moves, and Fatalities, but several 5 to 6-hit "dial-a-combos" per character. If players didn't memorize these, they would become easily beaten against a player who did (since these combos took off huge chunks of life). Most of the new combos looked pretty cool at least, but ultimately made for simpler and more linear gameplay.


Heat seeking missiles versus ice hadouken.


Graphically, MK3 didn't innovate as much as MK2... but the game looked cool. Some of the animations were definitely laughable (especially those running animations), but others were done fairly well. The mixture of computer-generated and hand-drawn elements stood out strangely in some areas, notably during the new Animality Finishing Moves (possibly the worst idea ever in the franchise). Animalities morphs a character into a single bright-colored animal that proceeded to maim their opponent. This new finisher was shunned in arcades by even the most devoted MK fans... it just looked retarded, and didn't make any sense considering the game's generally more serious reputation and storyline.


Page Updated: December 6th, 2022
Developer(s): Midway
Sculptured Software
   SNES / Megadrive
Eurocom    Saturn
Publisher(s): Midway     Arcade
Williams Entertainment    Ports
Sega    Saturn
Designer(s): Ed Boon, John Tobias
Platform(s): Arcade, SNES, PC, Genesis, PS1, Saturn, Mega Drive, Game Gear, Game Boy, Sega Master System (Brazil only), PSP (in Midway Collection)
Release Date(s): Apr. 15th, 1995               Arcade
Oct. 13th, 1995                 SNES
November 1995              Game Boy
1995                                      Megadrive/Genesis
Oct. 7th, 1995                    PlayStation
November 1995                PlayStation
June 14th, 1996                 PlayStation
1996                                      PS1/Saturn/Game Gear/Sega Master System
Characters Liu Kang, Sub-Zero, Sonya Blade, Kung Lao, Jax, Sektor, Shang Tsung, Cyrax, Sindel, Stryker, Nightwolf, Sheeva, Smoke, Kabal, Kano, Motaro, Shao Kahn

Featured Video:

Related Games: Mortal Kombat, Mortal Kombat 2, Mortal Kombat 3 Ultimate, Mortal Kombat 4, MK Gold, MK: Deadly Alliance, MK: Deception, MK: Armageddon, MK Trilogy, Mortal Kombat VS DC Universe, Mortal Kombat 9, Mortal Kombat X, Mortal Kombat 11, Mortal Kombat 1, Samurai Shodown 3, Darkstalkers 2, Fatal Fury 3, King of Fighters '95, Savage Reign, Street Fighter Alpha, Marvel Super Heroes, Killer Instinct 2, Darkstalkers 2, Fatal Fury 3, Tekken 2, World Heroes Perfect, Samurai Shodown 3, Street Fighter: The Movie, WeaponLord

Gameplay Engine  7.5 / 10
Story / Theme  7.5 / 10
Overall Graphics  8.0 / 10
Animation  7.5 / 10
Music / Sound Effects  7.5 / 10
Innovation  6.5 / 10
Art Direction  7.0 / 10
Customization  5.0 / 10
Options / Extras  7.5 / 10
Intro / Presentation  8.0 / 10
Replayability / Fun  6.5 / 10
"Ouch" Factor  8.5 / 10
Characters  6.5 / 10

 7.1 / 10

 Review based on Arcade / PS1 version     


Final Words: Due to the insane success of the first two MK titles, of course MK3 was going to be an insanely "popular" game by default. I remember being in 6th grade when all the gaming magazines were talking about MK3 before it released in arcades... and once it did arrive, it certainly turned some heads. MK3 was definitely a sharp looking game for the time (with a sharp looking cabinet to boot).

However, the name "Mortal Kombat" alone doesn't automatically equal a good game (contrary to what much of the casual audience seems to believe). However, most serious fighting game players back then were smart enough to realize that MK3 wasn't all that it was cracked up to be.

No doubt a lot of returning MK fans pretty much hated MK3 with a passion for various reasons... first and foremost, since it was missing many characters. The "type-you-an-ass-kicking" combo system also didn't go over too well. I actually enjoyed playing MK3 casually for a little while, but the game definitely felt a bit rushed and as if something was "missing".

Hence... Midway released the sequel, Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, several months after MK3's release. Thankfully, the sequel brought back many of the staple characters in the franchise and was a much more complete and well-received game (basically what MK3 should have been).
~TFG Webmaster | @Fighters_Gen
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