Mortal Kombat, Body Blows. (computer games) (Software Review) (Evaluation)
by Rick Broida
A game buyer's dilemma: Acclaim's Mortal Kombat or MicroLeague's Body Blows? It's a tough choice. They're both terrific, and functionally, they're the same game: Two fighters--one controlled by you, the other by the computer or a friend--square off toe-to-toe and try to beat each other's brains out. Bruce Lee would be proud.
The differences in the two are purely stylistic. Mortal Kombat--here superbly translated from the arcade smash--strives for realism, with digitally rendered warriors and enough blood to warrant a warning label on the box. Body Blows, though not of arcade origin, employs cartoonish characters, wham-splat fisticuffs, and more than a casual resem-blance to the popular Street Fighter II. Twin games in different dress.
In both, the combatants stand about half a screen tall and wage their battles in front of a variety of beautiful backdrops. Appropriately, MK's scenery is photorealist, while BB's is colorfully painted. MK fighters are a bit on the mutant side, with names like Sub-Zero and Rayden, while BB's tend toward the street-punk variety. In both games, the characters share a common set of moves--punches, kicks, flips, and so forth--controlled by the keyboard or joystick. To make things interesting, each character has his or her own powerful special moves which inflict more damage. When fighters take enough hits to completely drain their energy, they're down for the count.
Learning all the moves is part of the fun and challenge. BB includes a handy three-sided stand-up reference card displaying each character's standard and special moves. MK could use something similar, as it has more basic moves to learn.
The best way to play either game is with a friend, although with practice you should be able to beat the computer-controlled fighters. A second joystick is ideal for two-player melees, but both games support joystick-keyboard combinations. MK supports four-button joysticks, while BB features elimination tournaments for up to eight players.
Both games feature outstanding background music. What's missing is digitized sound effects--a satisfying "heeyah!" with a karate chop or "thwack!" when it connects would be nice. MK lost these sounds in its translation from the arcade game; BB simply lacks them.
Otherwise, these are two fun, playable games. (I'm going to refrain from adding my two cents worth on the violence issue.) If you enjoy the arcade version of Mortal Kombat, Acclaim's PC translation won't disappoint you. If, on the other hand, you prefer the traditional arcade-style slugfest, Body Blows will go the distance for any budding brawler.
Mortal Kombat Acclaim Distributed by UltraTech (212)941-1224 $69.95
Circle Reader Service Number 436
Body Blows MicroLeague (302) 268-9990 $19.95
Circle Reader Service Number 437