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Mortal Kombat review

Mortal Kombat for SEGA Master System is a fighting video game in a mega-popular MK series. The interesting thing about this game is that the attitude towards this Mortal Kombat title is quite controversial. Let’s investigate why.

Gameplay - 7/10

In the case with gaming franchises that exist for a long time, for one hit game there surely has to be about ten tragic failures, such as bad ports, lousy side games or sequels, which didn’t live up to players’ expectations.

Mortal Kombat for SEGA Master System is evidence of MK’s inconsistency. In fact, some players consider the game to be falling so short of typical MK standards that they wished it didn’t even exist. The rendition was slimmed down to an 8-bit port and Genesis could hardly pull it off. One can’t help but wonder whether there really was a market to support this Master System version.

Yet, this isn’t the worst Mortal Kombat game and the version gets to the Master System in a relatively acceptable form. Even though it is not as powerful as its 16-bit counterparts, it still does its job in recreating the game quite well.

Obviously, there were major cuts in order to make the game correspond to the requirements of the limited hardware of the Master System. Only two arenas were left to fight and they are Goro's lair and the pit.

The game is traditionally ultra-violent. You get a chance to take the role of one of the fighters, which are Raiden, Liu Kang, Sonya Blade, Scorpion, Sub-Zero, and Johnny Cage. The characters have their own special moves and have a unique style of fighting.

Goro is super powerful as usual, but the biggest hassle is with Shang Tsung himself. His abilities are extremely well-developed, and his super skills can wreak havoc.

You may also play with a human opponent. You can win by diminishing your competitor’s power to zero or experiencing lesser damage within the designated time limit.

Graphics - 7/10

As for visuals, the cart really showcases what the Master System is capable of. Exciting fighting actions with arcade feel are properly supported by detailed and colorful figures on the glum backdrops. 

Replay Value - 7/10

Even though the version is slimmed down, the gameplay is engaging enough to want a lover of fighting games to come back for more.

Controls - 6/10

Controls are pretty much user-friendly, but if to compare to the modern options, they are slightly stiff.


This Master System version is not the best Mortal Kombat game, but it definitely isn’t the worst out of the series either. There are much better options currently available on the market but if you still have a chance to get your hands on this retro version of MK and would like to experience something other than the most innovative high-tech fighting that is available to us these days, give it a try. Who knows, maybe you will like it.


  • A surprisingly great amount of detail for an 8-bit game on hardware that is more than ten years old
  • The graphics look good if to take into consideration the time of release
  • Engaging gameplay


  • The game was significantly slimmed down
  • There are only two fighting arenas available
Replay Value

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