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Mortal Kombat Advance Package Art

Mortal Kombat Advance

One of the most bloody fighting franchises in gaming history has come to Game Boy Advance. Mortal Kombat Advance is a compilation of old Mortal Kombat games and is not a truly new game. Like so many Nintendo ports, Midway and Virtucraft added the word “Advance” and ported away.


I thought I saw these graphics back in the early 1990s. Oh wait, I probably did. As you may know already, the characters in the older Mortal Kombat titles (and now in Mortal Kombat Advance) are based on footage of actors, similar to how Rare used footage from computer-generated images for Donkey Kong Country.

The backgrounds in the game have low detail in the sense that you can see giant pixels in them at times. Also, the Mortal Kombat fighters do not have the same flair this time around. On the GBA, MK characters are very blurry and do not work as well as they did on the Super NES or Genesis. Another problem is that the animation in the game is limited and the characters do not move fluidly at times. When I see realistic looking characters, albeit a bit blurry, I expect realistic movement. Many frames of animation would be required for this, and Virtucraft must have been unable to squeeze that out of the GBA.

The problem with Mortal Kombat is that it had great graphics for its time, but that time was about ten years ago. The graphics are not up to par with today’s standards, and in some ways they do not even match the quality of older MK tiles.


The audio is one of the better aspects of the game. Clear voices and adequate music are pulled off in MKA. It is a shame that I used Liu Kang and had to constantly listen to his extremely annoying responses to pain. A disheartening fact is that sometimes the character will be punching and no sound will come out. Perhaps there is a problem in the game’s code, or perhaps MKA often exceeds the number of sound effects that GBA can handle at once (unless Liu Kang is screaming in pain, a sound effect that knows no boundaries).


Mortal Kombat Advance does not add anything to the franchise, nor does it serve as a fit representative. The worst part of the gameplay is the AI, because it makes the game frustratingly difficult. The game defaults to the medium difficulty setting, and you have to go back every time you turn on the GBA because the option is not saved. Usually, the first opponent in a fighting game will be easy to beat. This is not the case in MKA. The first opponent jumps around and generally beats the living daylights out of you. Sometimes you might get lucky and land a couple of punches, then it is back to the title screen to lower the difficulty level.

On the easier settings, the enemy just walks toward the player and is pretty unintelligent. No, make that too unintelligent. It is possible to simply alternate a couple of projectile attacks and wipe out an opponent’s health. MKA’s easy opponents follow a basic rule of fighting game AI: They block an attack if you do it over and over. However, alternating between two different attacks will slip under the cheapness radar. At this point, Mortal Kombat Advance is a cheap KO game, not a fighting game. The difficulty curve is far too steep, and the result is that you play the role of the cheap winner or the punching bag. I have not tried the most difficult setting, because anything harder than medium would be a complete waist of effort.

The AI is just as obnoxious as it is unbalanced. If a computer-controlled character has the ability to teleport, get ready to watch them teleport quite often. How likely is it that a player could smash buttons fast enough to do a teleport so much? Even if he or she could do so, what is the point? I find it utterly ridiculous.

The control is fairly well put together, but it is not good enough to detract attention from the horrible behavior of your adversaries. For those of you who were beginning to dig out old copies of Gamepro from the mid 1990s, you can put them back, because the instruction manual comes with all the button combinations for special moves.


Mortal Kombat Advance has a one-on-one versus mode and a two-on-two versus mode. The game requires you to have a cartridge for every GBA in multiplayer. Chances are that you will never play multiplayer MKA because of that requirement.


I simply cannot recommend this game to anyone, not even to those who are my most evil of enemies...and that includes the chicken who hands out bad coupons. To do so would be cruel and unfair. If you are a huge fan of Mortal Kombat, and if you find it in a bargain bin for .00, then maybe you should buy this game. Even if the Mortal Kombat series has degraded over the years, this game plays bad compared to the franchise’s ugliest of stepchildren.

final score Fighting/10

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Staff Avatar Thomas Arnold
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