Alex Mitchell

Mortal Kombat Patch Restores Arcade Presentation

If you were a fan of Mortal Kombat during its release then I don’t need to remind you that its 16-bit console ports were competent but also rough around the edges. Whether it was simplified art, missing sounds, load times, or extensive censorship, each home release presented a hodgepodge of compromises that held them back from true greatness. In an effort to address these shortcomings, a developer going by Linkuei has spearheaded an effort with several other developers to bring as much of the arcade experience as possible to the Genesis/Mega Drive.

Mortal Kombat: Arcade Edition is a ROM hack that boasts some truly impressive revisions to the Genesis MK port:

  • Improved stage art
  • Improved character sprites
  • Additional sounds from the arcade version
  • SRAM saving for high-scores
  • DIP switch menu
  • lot more stuff I don’t have space to cover.

(If you’d like more information on how to apply ROM hacks, here’s a RetroRGB article that covers this very subject.)

The patch has already received a small update, which allegedly improves compatibility with flash carts. I personally played an extended session on my Mega SD/Mega Sg combo and didn’t run in to many bugs, and I have seen twitter posts from other players enjoying this on their Everdrives, official Sega hardware, and also the MiSTer FPGA platform. It’s not a flawless victory yet—there are still some issues, like an inaccurate walking animation for Sub Zero—but this is an extremely compelling project. To provide context for how much of an improvement this ROM hack is, I would encourage you to watch John Linneman’s thorough exploration of Mortal Kombat’s various home ports for DF Retro. The extensive head-to-head comparisons with the original arcade release do a tremendous job demonstrating how transformative this project is:

Linkuei lists some ways to support the project in the readme of the ROM hack, so if this project is something you’re interested in then consider kicking these devs a few bucks. Fingers crossed that they sand off the last remaining rough edges, because this is already shaping up to be my preferred home port of Mortal Kombat by a wide margin.