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MORTAL KOMBAT!!!! ... Gold.

Mark Marianelli

When I originally illustrated the first 3 Mortal Kombat games, I hadn't planned on going any further with the franchise, the characters get less inspired, the costumes get more complicated, the backgrounds less memorable... Plus each game adds like 20 characters and I've only got so much room to work with on an 11x17 canvas. But alas, I caved and made one more... Now I fear I'm in it for the long haul. Or not. The thought of drawing ANYBODY from "Deception" makes me want to Hara Kiri myself and I don't even know how to approach the 60+ roster of Armageddon. So basically 20 good characters and another 40 uninspired, boring, tedious, nightmarish characters that will only speed up my already inevitable carpal tunnel.

Or I could just spend more time with my kids... eh.

Anyway, as I was saying, I caved and drew one more for the series - Mortal Kombat Gold. Like with Ultimate MK3, I went with the more complete version of the numbered entries. MK4 may have saved me some time and energy, but Gold is what it should have been in the first place. So without further ado... MK: GOLD.

While I do think the majority of these games were lacking after MKII, Mortal Kombat Gold (and even 4) really wasn't all that bad, and it was like a breath of fresh air after suffering through MK:Trilogy. The 3D was nothing to write home about, but it was fine and the characters were stylized in a way that you can almost forgive the wonky polygons of the late 90s. The game played smoothly enough and the controls felt familiar despite the 3-dimensional plane you were playing on. I also liked how you could pick up skulls and throw them at your opponent.

After 3 versions of MK3 where the fatalities somehow got WORSE with every iteration, MK4/Gold finally delivered. The Spine-rip was back in all it's messed up glory, Reptile ate a person's face off and we were given what I consider the be the second-greatest fatality the franchise has ever scarred our children with - Quan Chi (probably the only new character I didn't mind) ripped your leg off and beat you to death with it. Ed Boon dropped the mic with that one.

But I must reiterate - the new characters (Quan Chi excluded) are crap. Not quite as bad as MK Deception, but pretty darn close. Shinnok was a terrible Shang Tsung knockoff, Jerek was Kano without the cool eyepiece, Kai was just black Liu Kang, Tanya was Kitana without the fans, Fujin was crap, Reiko was crap, and this is the only game that managed to make Reptile look stupid as all get out. Needless to say, drawing this was a bit of a chore. Either I was drawing a new character that was boring or I was drawing one of the existing characters in the franchise for a second, third and even fourth time.

The things I do for you people.

~ M.