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Gaming in Retrospect II: Mortal Kombat 3 on SNES
My opponent bides his time, sizing me up and looking for an opportunity to strike. Unbeknownst to him, I have two chain combos prepared that he will be unable to counter. I run towards him, feinting a straightforward power attack. He launches a blade-tipped, whip-like weapon and shouts “Come Over Here!” I disappear and come up behind him, slamming him against the ground so hard his body bounces high into the air. Being the courteous competitor I am, I catch him. With an uppercut. As his body flies a few feet away from my position I rush forward and deliver a quick elbow-roundhouse-double uppercut, sending him at the opposite side of the screen.
As he gets up I greet him with a special attack. I send a shadow as dark as my own form to grab him and throw him my way. He’s such a good opponent he deserves another airborne uppercut. I give it to him while he’s flying over to me. He gets up but before he’s back on steady footing I launch a white ball of smoke that renders his physical attacks useless. As he staggers back from the hit I run towards him. He attacks to no avail. I deliver a series of four consequential kicks to his midsection and hop back to a safer location. By this time his life gauge is abysmally low. One punch to any part of his body and he’s gone. So now I bide my time. Waiting for my chance to “Finish Him!”
That was me about two decades ago as Noob Saibot, playing Mortal Kombat 3 on the SNES. My first favorite chain combo was Down + Up, Down + Y, Y + Y +B + A. My second favorite chain combo was Forward + Forward + Y, Down + Y, Down + Forward + B, L + Forward, A + A + A + A. Pity I couldn’t use those against the boss battles. They weren’t susceptible to some of the more invulnerable special attacks because that would make them too easy to defeat. Against other players though, they were legal. I was Noob Saibot. I was MK3 God.
Those were the days when the combinations each character had were limited to about five special moves and equally few combinations. It severely constricted creativity when attacking (or defending), but in exchange, button-mashing won’t help. Some of the contemporary fighting games of today have so many combos and special moves that pressing random buttons can cause massive damage to the opponent. Screw skill, dexterity, and eye-hand coordination. All of this made Mortal Kombat 3 one of the most memorable Mortal Kombat games of the franchise (I certainly don’t want to remember some of the MK games on the PS2). It was simple, yet with mastery of your own character (and there weren’t very many to choose from) you can lash out with a combination of combinations and special moves that make the game a very intense fighting experience. Unfortunately there isn’t much to be said about the game’s story mode. It was an afterthought, at most. An excuse of a foundation upon which the lore of the fighters would be established. Then there are the “Finish Him” moves, ranging from the practical Fatality to the rather out of place Friendship and the downright wacky Babality that turns enemies into babies. It’s a quirky cherry on top to a game that delivers little value outside of nearly mindless but entertaining 1 on 1 fighting.
Those were the glory days of my fighting game fame. Mortal Kombat 3 was probably the last fighting game where I was invincible to other human players (MK3 offered two of the most frustrating boos battles I can remember). I enjoyed the Soul Series but I never reached my Noob Saibot prowess in that game or any other fighting game. It’s sort of amusing to think how important it was to me, at that young and tender age, to be able to manhandle my opponents in a game. Mortal Kombat 3 is exactly that sort of game – it brings out the young, tender, and enthusiastically competitive side of you.
It certainly brought it out in me. In fact, I knew Saibot well enough that I can perform some of his finishing moves. Often, when Shao Khan in the background finally orders me to “Finish” my opponent, I’d set Noob Saibot in motion towards his Brutality finishing move. If I’m feeling friendly, I turn my opponents to babies. It’s weirdly amusing seeing babies in MK3 costumes. [by G Dino]
Gaming in Retrospect is a series of articles detailing the games that author Gino R. Dino played back in the day. Games that made an impact on his views as a gamer.