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  • 8.8: Trilogy had its rating cut in half, from 62% to 31%, by the UK-based N64 Magazine, for having characters and features cut compared to the PlayStation and Saturn versions. The magazine had a policy of penalising any game that didn't look and play sufficiently better than games on the two rival systems, even though the Nintendo 64's design quirks and lack of CD storage meant that, if anything, ports of games from the other two platforms more often came out looking worse rather than better (though to be fair, this probably wasn't obvious at the time, as Trilogy came out relatively early in the system's lifecycle).
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  • Base-Breaking Character: Motaro is an odd case. He was a cool design by fighting game standards, an interesting sub-boss indeed. But was cheap and broken as a character, and some felt that the idea of a centaur is too goofy even for MK standards. Can't blame the MK team not wanting to revisit him, as adapting a four-legged monster like him into the 3D era would be a difficult task.
  • Broken Base: Though popular, the reception to this game from longtime fans was underwhelming due in part to the new combo system and Run button.
  • Creator's Pet: The designers anticipated that Stryker would become one of the most popular characters in the series. When this didn't happen, thanks to his design clashing with the rest of the series) they responded by increasing his power until he was a Game-Breaker, which just made people hate him more. Some players, however, like the contrast, and the irony in how he's a darkhorse for being the most normal character in the game. It helps that his grenades are great against jumpers.
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  • Epileptic Trees: Sheeva's connection to Goro. Speculation goes anywhere from his sister/a relative of his (a la Kintaro) to his wife.
  • Even Better Sequel: Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 is considered by some to be the best game not just in the Mortal Kombat 3 series of games, but the entire series as a whole until Mortal Kombat 9.
  • Franchise Original Sin: The series' sense of cool started to dissipate with Mortal Kombat 3. Shockingly enough, many fans still love it. If anything, everything stated below is possible Narm Charm:
    • All the colorful ninjas pouring off an assembly line, riding Scorpion and Sub-Zero's popularity.
    • Stryker was where the cheap but charming costumes of the first two games started to lose their appeal. Even Ed Boon admitted as much in the DVD extras for Armageddon, although he found it amusing that players initially stayed away from him because of the lame design, even though, as people would discover, he had some of the most overpowered moves in the game.
    • The fatalities becoming extremely lazily done, with things like static dismemberment (imagine cutting up a photograph with scissors and you'll get the idea of how this looked; thankfully, the iOS version of Ultimate being 3D-rendered amended this problem) and exploding bodies raining down dozens of limbs, skulls and ribcages—all from a single victim. Compare the decapitations in MK3/UMK3 (where the head simply falls off the body straight to the ground, the body —a still frame from the "dizzy" animation, by the way— standing completely upright) to the ones in MK2 (the head tumbles in the air as it's lopped off and rolls a couple of times on the ground while the body drops to its knees and then flops onto the floor). Amusingly, one of Rain's Fatalities in Trilogy combines both: he uppercuts his opponent with such force that his head, torso, upper legs and lower legs separate on the way up and reassemble upside-down, with the end result looking like just the aforementioned still frame flipped 180 degrees.
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    • It was the moment when the cast gained familiar, western tropes. Until then even the American characters were still supernatural martial artists in exercise clothes. Now you had the magical Indian, the Super Cop, the deformed guy with a respirator helmet, and a whole mess of cyborgs.
    • Since the game takes place on Earthrealm, about half of the stages lack the interesting Asian mythological feel of the first two games and are rather mundane, such as "The Bridge", "The Waterfront" and the ever-exciting "Bank".
  • Game-Breaker:
    • Kurtis Stryker went from out of place in MK3 to out of place and freaking annoying to fight in UMK3 when Midway gave him a gun for one of his special moves. This blew him to full-on Creator's Pet-dom and cemented his being Put on a Bus until Armageddon.
    • Nightwolf had this early on in the original MK3's life cycle. In early arcade versions, he could run faster than he could throw. This let him pull off combos which were both impossible to avoid and not actually supposed to be possible in the first place. Thankfully, later revisions slowed down Nightwolf's running speed and kept him from Stryker's fate.
    • Both Rain and Noob Saibot have unlimited combos in Trilogy, the former using his screen-wrapping roundhouse over and over, and latter using his Teleport Slam.
    • In an example that ended up defining him instead of making him an annoyance, Kabal was the fastest character in the game. Add in the Run button and you've got some really quick beatdowns.
    • Kabal and Ermac in their respective debuts (vanilla MK3 and UMK3) at least approached this status, so the dev team was savvy enough to tone them down a bit in the Updated Rereleases.
    • Sheeva's Teleport Stomp move in MK3 made her one. It was easy to pull off and quite damaging. With enough patience and skill, even Motaro can be swiftly taken down with it.
    • And there is Motaro himself when. All the bosses were made playable as broken as you expect, but he really takes the cake. You really no longer have to bother with such futile things as skill or strategy once you unlock him. Look here to how unstoppable he is in a player's hands.
    • Shang Tsung can temporarily morph into any other playable character, complete with their moves, combos, and fatalities. It can be a lot to juggle, but learn the ropes and there's literally no reason to pick anyone else.
    • Kintaro returns in Trilogy and is Promoted to Playable, and he is just as broken you would expect after facing him in II. If he connects with a fireball or his basic punch it leaves his opponent open for his Teleport Stomp, which shaves off massive chunk of health. Or the player using him can simply rely on his throw as the recovery time for it is shorter then time it takes for the opponent to get back up, allowing them using the attack over and over while the opponent has no chance to hit them back.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Stryker executing a brutality to opponents can be this, as he is technically committing police brutality, which could bother some, with unlawful force done by police officers frequently appearing in the news nowadays. Making matters worse, he is blatantly using such in Mortal Kombat 9.
  • Memetic Mutation: The ladder transition screen is a popular meme among latin american people. The most common use of it is when a very elderly famous person dies, with the meme depicting another extremely old famous person getting through the one that has recently died, alongside other elderly celebrities that died before.
  • Polished Port: The DS version, Ultimate Mortal Kombat, is a virtually arcade-perfect conversion of Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, something that hasn't been seen on a console, let alone a handheld platform (especially when you consider how Mortal Kombat Advance turned out. It also includes the "Puzzle Kombat" minigame from Deception for good measure.
  • Porting Disaster: Trilogy. You're pretty well boned no matter what version you opt to get.
    • The PlayStation / Saturn version contains every available character (a few with multiple iterations), but being on a disc, there's Loads and Loads of Loading involved, and the game is prone to locking up. While the music is arcade-quality Red Book audio, all of the stage themes lack proper transitions and endings due to the limitations of the audio format. Additionally all MK3 songs were sampled incorrectly, so they are all slower and lower in pitch.
    • The N64 version, by contrast, has a much smaller character roster (and Sub-Zero was consolidated with his masked version, with the masked version gaining the Ice Shower special move as a result), is missing frames of animation, suffers from tinny sound, and has the problem with the N64's controller design, but is arguably more stable and contains a few additional features (like Khameleon). The music is synthesized directly from hardware and only contains MK3 tracks.
    • Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 for the SNES is considered to be one of the glitchiest games ever released for the console. One wrong move can crash your game, or render the current match totally unplayable. Ironically, a lot of players actually have fun triggering these glitches, if only to see how many interesting ones they can find. Sheeva was also Dummied Out of this version but you can fight a super-glitchy version of her by entering a code.
      • The Genesis version also has more than its share of glitches; both cartridges presumably fell victim to the game's roster pushing their limits, even with (or even because of) all the palette swaps.
    • Mortal Kombat Advance, a port of UMK3 for the Game Boy Advance. It was farmed out to another studio, Virtucraft, to make a quick buck on the MK name, and it shows. It has the dubious honor of receiving Electronic Gaming Monthly's first ever rating of a 0.
  • Replacement Scrappy: The removal of fan-favorite characters Scorpion and Reptile in lieu of new characters who failed to measure up to MK2's memorable newcomers; without fail, Stryker and Nightwolf top the lists of least-popular 2D-era characters. At least Paul Blart...er, Stryker has undergone a makeover, even if he'll always be compared with Sonya i.e. a regular cop who can hold their own against the forces of Outworld. Nightwolf was a part of a Create-A-Character contest hosted by Midway Games after the release of MK2, so his blandness is a product of his time. Another entrant created Kabal (they didn't screw him up, though).
  • Scrappy Mechanic:
    • If you watch a lot of the behind-the-scenes footage and interviews for MK3, Ed Boon and John Tobias tout the combination lock system for multiplayer as something "revolutionary" and was the main focus in its advertising to arcade operators, listing that codes and symbols were going to be everywhere and that every MK player was going to be dying to seek them out. In execution, it was a cheat system that not a lot of players used and Midway's NBA Jam series had been using this code system several years before MK3 did.
    • The run button; it was a mechanic added to introduce combos into the game, specifically chain-styled, but when you used it, you either ran out before you could pull off anything useful, or your foe hit you, canceling your assault. It was better to call it a suicide button, because that's basically what you get when you press it.
    • While stage transitions were a neat idea visually, one annoying bug related to it could lock a player out of most of the stages in both vanilla and Ultimate. In the Soul Chamber stage, if a player is uppercutted into the Balcony stage, it will lock a player into a stage cycle of only Soul Chamber-The Balcony-The Street-Soul Chamber until an entire match in the Soul Chamber is completed without a stage transition, which breaks the loop. Since uppercuts are a significant offensive move for both human players and AI alike, this loop for a mechanic that does not affect actual gameplay can be very annoying.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: A game mechanic example: Nowadays, it's taken as a given that a fighting game will have at least one unlockable fighter, so it's easy to forget that the arcade version of MK3 was the first fighter to have a character be unlocked permanently with Smoke. Prior to this, hidden fighters were either single use tricks or would vanish after the machine was powered down. The idea that a hidden fighter would become a permanent fixture after unlocking, and on an arcade machine at that, had game magazines' jaws dropping at the time of release.
  • Special Effect Failure:
    • It is really hard to take the more explosive Fatalities seriously when your opponent explodes into more legs, arms, ribcages and ''heads'' than a body is actually supposed to have. Fortunately, the SNES and Genesis versions of the game seems to get this right, (if only because of the systems' limitations), but the worst offender seems to be any version of Mortal Kombat Trilogy.
    • The cutting fatalities don't fare any better. If a character gets cut in half at the waist, their arms remain suspended in mid-air. If a character with long hair gets decapitated, the hair that goes below their neck is still on their body.
  • That One Attack: Motaro's teleport. It has no start up or cooldown allowing him to pull it anytime he wants, especially right after hitting you meaning he can hit you across the stage, then teleport behind you and hit you again before you can even react, and follow up by using his teleport again.
  • That One Boss: Motaro, a centaur who takes the place of Goro and Kintaro as The Dragon before you can face Shao Kahn as the Final Boss. His projectiles are hard to avoid due to being launched from atop his head in a downward arc note , he can teleport behind you, he can jump toward you to quickly close distance, he's immune to projectiles, he hits brutally hard, and to top it all off, he can chain his attacks together, letting him bombard you with projectile fire or fire one to stun you, then teleport behind you and hit you again without any chance to defend. This makes for a Lightning Bruiser boss who deals heavy damage, is very mobile, and is invulnerable to a lot of ranged attacks. Most players consider him worse than Shao Kahn.
  • That One Level: Endurance Rounds turn into this in Mortal Kombat Trilogy. Nobody would ever call them easy, but in Trilogy any opponent can appear in an Endurance Match besides Shao Kahn. This means the player can find themselves fighting a boss in addition to a normal character, including the above mentioned Motaro, or worse, both opponents the player faces may be bosses.
  • Tier-Induced Scrappy:
    • In this era, Nightwolf ran faster than he threw people. Thankfully, Deception's lack of a Run button prevented a redux of this.
    • Stryker was unpopular in MK3, so the developers tried to compensate for this by ramping up his threat level in UMK3. Thing is, he wasn't unpopular because he wasn't powerful enough...
  • Vindicated by History:
    • Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 gets a lot more tournament play nowadays (and was one of the first online-enabled XBOX Live Arcade games), and a lot of the characters that were hated back in the nineties are now returning fan favorites in Mortal Kombat 9.
    • As a character, Sindel for this continuity, who was originally 'not too popular to write about' (aside of what she would do in Deception). When she appeared in 9 and initiated a brutal Curb-Stomp Battle against the heroes, people started to dislike her in general. After 11 re-characterized her as someone Evil All Along and a completely power hungry bitch, people looked back at this original timeline's Sindel much more fondly (at least they can think that new timeline means new, separate characterization that did not ruin the old one).
    • Rain as a character. Many found annoyance with his status as an initially unplayable joke character and decried the origin of his name (A reference to the song Purple Rain by Prince) as a lame pun, to the extent the character appeared on more than a few worst character lists for the series. But after being Rescued from the Scrappy Heap in later games, many fans began to look back on the character more fondly, to the extent fans were angered he appeared as an unplayable character in Mortal Kombat X and rejoiced at his return in Mortal Kombat 11 as one of the final DLC characters. It also helps that after the death of Prince and the Posthumous Popularity Potential he received, many take less issue with the origin of his name and regard it as a neat bit of trivia.
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