Mortal Kombat 4

Mortal Kombat 4
Mortal Kombat 4
Mortal Kombat 4 cover.jpg
Cover artwork for the home versions.
Developer(s) Midway Games (Arcade)
Eurocom (PS1, N64, PC, DC)
Digital Eclipse (GBC)
Publisher(s) Midway Games
Series Mortal Kombat
Platform(s) Arcade, PlayStation, N64, PC, Game Boy Color, Dreamcast(as Mortal Kombat Gold)
Release date(s)
Genre(s) Fighting
Mode(s) Up to 2 players
Rating(s) ESRB: M
Media/distribution CD Rom (PlayStation, PC), GD Rom (Dreamcast), Cartridge (N64, Game Boy Color)
System requirements

System: Pentium-133 or equivalent RAM: 32 MB Video Memory: 2 MB Hard Drive Space: 25 MB

Cabinet Standard
Arcade system Midway Zeus hardware
Main CPU: TMS32031 (@ 50 MHz)
Sound CPU: ADSP2104 (@ 16 MHz)
Sound Chips: (2x) DMA-driven (@ 16 MHz)

Mortal Kombat 4 is the fourth main game in the Mortal Kombat series of fighting video games developed by Midway Games. Released to arcades in 1997, Mortal Kombat 4 is the first title from the series to use 3D computer graphics as well as one of the first games that Midway made in 3D. Eurocom later ported it to the PlayStation, Nintendo 64, PC, and Game Boy Color during 1998. An updated version titled Mortal Kombat Gold was released a year later exclusively for the Dreamcast.

The gameplay from Mortal Kombat 4 is similar to that of the previous games; one of the most notable additions is the use of weapons and objects during fights. The storyline chronicles the attack from the corrupted god Shinnok against his former comrades who trapped him in the Netherealm various of years prior to the series' start: the other 17 playable characters take part in the battle between good and evil, with the forces of light trying to stop Shinnok and the forces of darkness attempting to conquer all the realms (Mortal Kombat Gold would expand the number of available characters).

While developing the game, the Midway staff had problems making the graphics as it was one of the first 3D fighting games they developed. Co-creator Ed Boon commented that the staff wanted to make Mortal Kombat 4 more violent than its predecessors, removing the comical finishing moves featured in them. Since its release, Mortal Kombat 4 received positive response from critics due to its graphics and gameplay. On the other hand, the Game Boy Color port and Gold received criticism.



Mortal Kombat 4 is played in a similar way to the previous titles from the series. However, Mortal Kombat 4 introduces a limited weapon system, allowing each character to take out a special weapon using a set button combination. Once equipped, the weapons are primarily used through the punch buttons. This includes the swinging, clubbing, or even tossing of the weapons. Furthermore, the weapons can also be purposely dropped, in similar fashion to the arena objects (skulls, rocks, etc.); if an opponent's weapon is dropped, the other character is able to grasp it and use it. By sidestepping, the player is able to move in a 3D manner, shifting the camera angle, preventing both characters from holding up the weapons or objects they had on the ground.

MK4 added a "Maximum Damage" cap to the game's combo system, automatically breaking off combos if they deal over a set amount of damage to a player and, thus, preventing infinite combos (although this cap can be removed with a code). Unlike Mortal Kombat Trilogy which contained multiple finishing moves of various kinds, Mortal Kombat 4 only gives two Fatalities per character and two Stage Fatalities that can only be done in a certain arena and involve the character throwing the opponent to part of the arena where he or she can die.


Thousands of years before the start of the series, Shinnok, one of the Elder Gods who control the six realms in the Mortal Kombat universe, attempted to become the conqueror of them all. Thunder God Raiden fought and defeated Shinnok in a war that spanned hundreds of years, sending him afterwards to the Netherealm, where he would be trapped forever. Now, Shinnok manages to escape from the Netherealm with help from the sorcerer Quan Chi, and seeks vengeance against the Elder Gods who banished him. In his plan, he first conquers the realm of Edenia, with the aid of a traitor, Tanya, while he prepares to attack the Elder Gods. In order to stop Shinnok's menace, Raiden requests the help from the Earthrealm warriors who managed to save the realms from Emperor Shao Kahn in previous titles.


Character selection screen

The following is a list of the characters included in the Mortal Kombat 4 character selection roster.

New characters

MK4 introduced:

Returning characters

  • Goro - The four-armed menace, giving the game a new style in playability. He's the sub-boss of the game.
  • Jax - A U.S. Special Forces officer who finds out that Jarek is still alive.
  • Johnny Cage - The Hollywood movie star who will produce his next movie.
  • Liu Kang - A Shaolin monk who seeks to destroy Shinnok.
  • Noob Saibot - A hidden character. An undead ninja.
  • Raiden - The thunder god who again guides the mortals.
  • Reptile - A Zaterran warrior who seeks to serve Shinnok to save his realm.
  • Scorpion - Another undead ninja who again seeks revenge on his nemesis Sub-Zero and Quan Chi.
  • Sonya Blade - A Special Forces lieutenant who seeks to destroy Jarek.
  • Sub-Zero - A Lin Kuei ninja again stalked by Scorpion.


Co-creator of the series Ed Boon found difficulties leading the team in charge of developing Mortal Kombat 4 due to how large the staff had become since the first Mortal Kombat title, with him being the only programmer. Therefore, Todd Allen and Mike Boon (Ed's younger brother) joined on as a programmer with Ed noting the staff was more than twice its original size.[1] The Midway staff wanted to remove the comical elements from the previous Mortal Kombat titles, so they focused on the making of the fatalities.[2] On the other hand, the animalities finishing moves from MK3 were removed since the transformation of a character into an animal was considered to be hard to make in 3D graphics. In order to make fatalities more entertaining, it was decided to make a few replays from different angles of the scenes where the characters' bodies explode or a ripped off. Since actors were no longer needed to make the characters' movements with the exception of adding some motion capture elements, the staff found it easier to make fatalities as it was all done by animation.[3]

The gameplay was planned to be similar to the predecessors although this would be the first game from the series to be made in 3D. Another desire from the staff was avoid making all the mistakes they made in War Gods, Midway's first 3D title. To advertise the game, Midway organized a 35-stop road tour of the United States. The version of the game shown in the tour had nine characters, and within these nine Noob Saibot, who would become a hidden character in the arcade and console ports.[2] As Ed Boon was skeptical about the quality of the result noting that the gameplay would be slower than previous titles, he decided to hand-animate frames with timings in a similar fashion to Street Fighter EX.[4] Art director Tony Goskie created a 3D model for each character of the game, whom he called "Meat". It was later decided to make him a playable character as part of a hidden Easter egg.[5] Players first learned of the character's given name after the text "Meat lives!" was placed on Ed Boon's website promoting Mortal Kombat 4's 3rd arcade revision.[6] Years after the game's release, Boon commented that he and the staff should not have made Shinnok the final boss from the game as previous titles used enormous characters as bosses.[7]

Eurocom was in charge in the making of the home versions from the game and they worked for eight months to finish the Nintendo 64 port. One of their main objectives was to maintain 60 frames per second as they never did it with a 3D fighting game. While all the traits from the arcade mode were added to the home version, Eurocom had to change the polygon count to "squeeze into the resources of the Nintendo 64". Eurocom was also assisted by Ed Boon and the lead artist on the coin-op, Dave Michicich. While the home versions were still in development, Ed Boon gave fans hints about things that would be in the ports of the game. These hints included Goro being a playable character and the extra costumes.[8]


Mortal Kombat 4 was ported to the PlayStation, Nintendo 64, and PC. An upgraded version titled Mortal Kombat Gold was also released exclusively for the Dreamcast. A Game Boy Color game based on Mortal Kombat 4 was also released as well.

All the home ports of MK4, developed by Eurocom, are notable for containing exclusive content not featured in the original arcade version. Possibly the biggest inclusion to the ports is Goro, who was not featured in the arcade game, but now is as a playable sub-boss who is fought before Shinnok in single player mode. Also added to the ports is the Ice Pit, which is a snow-filled arena taking place in an icy, carved-out pit. Another new feature added to these ports are a second set of alternate outfits for all characters. The arcade version provided only one set of alternate outfits which the player could unlock. The PC and PlayStation versions run FMV intro, bios and endings, due to the CD-ROM media. The Nintendo 64 version, being a cartridge game, uses the in-game character animations to run them just like its arcade counterpart.[9]

The Game Boy Color version of MK4 was developed by Digital Eclipse and was released by Midway. It is in 2D instead of the others' 3D. It features nine selectable characters: Raiden, Quan Chi, Fujin, Liu Kang, Sub-Zero, Reiko, Tanya, Scorpion, and the hidden character Reptile. Shinnok is still the final opponent. In addition, there are a few speech clips, and instead of using the in-game graphics for the fatalities, the game uses short FMV clips.[10] The Game Boy Color port's 2D engine reuses the game engine utilized in the Game Boy port of Mortal Kombat 3, including the same character select screen, "Choose Your Destiny" screen, and how the characters move and interact. The background music was replaced with repetitive techno-ish songs with instrumentation befitting a Game Boy release, and the port does not contain any blood outside of the fatality videos. The combo system and weapons were also removed. However, the graphics for the port were above average for a Game Boy fighting title, and it contains many of the arcade's backgrounds in vivid clarity.

Mortal Kombat Gold

Cyrax uppercutting Baraka in the Soul Chamber

The Dreamcast version, titled Mortal Kombat Gold, was released on September 9, 1999 on North America and on October 14, 1999 on Europe, as a launch title for the console in both regions. Developed by Eurocom, the game retains the character roster from the previous versions of Mortal Kombat 4, along with six additional characters from previous Mortal Kombat games: Kitana, Mileena, Cyrax, Kung Lao, and Baraka, and one unlockable character, Sektor. Gold also includes new levels not seen in MK4 and a new weapon select mechanism.

A new character named Belokk was intended to appear in the game, but was cut from the released game.[11][12] The developer of the game, Eurocom, sent information about the game with Belokk in it to Game Informer, and as a result, six screenshots of him were published. According to Ed Boon, Belokk was cut due to time constraints during development.[13]

Despite having the most true-to-arcade graphics of all the home versions of Mortal Kombat 4, Mortal Kombat Gold did not receive high marks for visual quality; Game Revolution commented: "The graphics are inexcusably horrible [and] it's quite a depressing let-down on Sega's 128-bit masterpiece, especially when compared to Soul Calibur". The weapons that characters can use during the game are "dull and uninteresting", often have little relation to the characters, and are "either a sword, axe, or club".[14] IGN had similar bad reviews about Mortal Kombat Gold, particularly regarding the poor weaponry: "Readying your weapon is a slow process in which one can be hit any number of times during the attempt". Although they commented on the improvements from previous Mortal Kombat games, the lack of depth was considered somewhat inexcusable.[15]

A second revision of the game, known as version 2.0, was released about a month after the initial release intending to address some of the major issues in it.[16][17] This version fixed the most severe bugs and glitches in the game and added VMU support, which allowed saving to work properly. The revision is identifiable by a red tinted disc, as opposed to the original's gold tint, and a green sticker saying "Hot! New!" placed on the instruction manual cover.[18]


Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings N64: 76.07% (20 reviews)[19]
PS: 75.75% (16 reviews)[20]
PC: 72.14% (14 reviews)[21]
GBC: 46.00% (3 reviews)[22]
Review scores
Publication Score
Game Revolution B (PS)[23]
GameSpot 8.9/10.0 (N64)[24]
8.6/10.0 (PS)[25]
8.3/10.0 (PC)[26]
3.5/10.0 (GBC)[27]
IGN 8.8/10.0 (N64)[28]
8.0/10.0 (PS and PC)[29][30]
4.0/10.0 (GBC)[10]

In October 1998, Midway announced the home venues revenues thanks to the release of various titles including Mortal Kombat 4.[31] Mortal Kombat 4 was ranked having the 3rd best Game Over screen of all time. It was only behind Street Fighter II's and Super Mario Bros.'s Game Overs who placed second and first, respectively.[32] Upon the start of the arcade's road tour, news programs commented on the violence from the game and expressed worries on how it would affect the players' personalities; Ed Boon replied that there were already more violent games than Mortal Kombat 4 and that the only reason that it was cited is that it is the most popular violent game.[33]

GameRankings had an average of 76.07% from 20 reviews for the Nintendo 64 version of the game.[19] The PlayStation and PC ports received smaller averages with the PS having 75.75% with 16 reviews, and the PC 72.14% with 14 reviews.[20][21] The game has received positive response due to the new 3D graphics, the improvement of combos, and how all the characters "are still as cheesy as ever" and that they still have their original movements with a few updates.[28] Although various reviewers did not find it more entertaining than previous games, they still praised the gameplay. On the other hand, the gameplay was commented to very similar to the previous Mortal Kombat titles.[23] The Nintendo 64 port received positive response for being faithful to the arcade version with GameSpot giving it a "Great" 8.9 and IGN a "Great 8.8", though they noted that the graphics were not as good as the ones from the arcade.[24][26][28] Despite receiving a little lower scores from critics, the PlayStation and PC ports have been commented to have improvements over the arcade game and the N64 port such as having more responsive controls or the FMV scenes which were not in the others.[25][29] However, IGN mentioned that playing the PC port would become "stale" unless the player "had an extra pad and a friend".[30] In retrospective, GamesRadar criticized the endings for the Nintendo 64 version of the game using a compilation from them for an April Fool joke, labelling them as hilarious due to their poor quality.[34][35]

The Game Boy Color version received only an average of 46.00% with 3 reviews by GameRankings.[22] It received poor reviews from publications such as GameSpot whose editor Jeff Gerstmann gave it a 3.5 out of 10 due to how different the game is from the other ports and how unresponsive the controls are.[27] Similarly IGN's Peer Schneider criticized how limited the gameplay had become in the Game Boy Color and that defeating the opponent was relatively easier. He gave the game a "Poor" 4.0 out of 10.[10]


  1. ^ "Mortal Kombat: Ed Boon Interview". Official Nintendo Magazine. Archived from the original on October 23, 2007. Retrieved August 2, 2009. 
  2. ^ a b Greeson,Jeff; O'Neill, Cliff. "History of Mortal Kombat: Mortal Kombat 4". GameSpot. Retrieved December 1, 2009. 
  3. ^ Midway. Mortal Kombat: Armageddon Premium Edition. (Midway). Level/area: "The History of Fatalities" commentary. (October 11, 2006)
  4. ^ Fahs, Travis. "IGN Presents the History of Mortal Kombat". IGN. Retrieved December 1, 2009. 
  5. ^ "MK Fighter of the Wiik: Meat". IGN. 2007-04-19. Retrieved 2007-04-22. 
  6. ^ "Mortal Kombat 4 - Revision 3.0". Brady Distributing Company. 1998-10-06. Archived from the original on June 14, 2007. Retrieved 2007-01-28. 
  7. ^ Midway. Mortal Kombat: Armageddon Premium Edition. (Midway). Level/area: Shinnok bio card. (October 11, 2006)
  8. ^ "Eurocom Talks MK4". IGN. April 28, 1998. Retrieved December 6, 2009. 
  9. ^ Greeson, Jeff; O'Neill, Cliff. "History of Mortal Kombat: Mortal Kombat 4 (cont)". GameSpot. Retrieved December 12, 2009. 
  10. ^ a b c Schneider, Peer (July 19, 1999). "Mortal Kombat 4". IGN. Retrieved December 6, 2009. 
  11. ^ Eurocom (July 9, 1999). Mortal Kombat Gold Interview. with GameSpot. 
  12. ^ "Belokk Misses the Cut". The Realm of Mortal Kombat. August 4, 1999. Retrieved January 6, 2007. 
  13. ^ "MortalKombat.Com's Fight Night 1999". Mortal Kombat Online. August 25, 1999. Retrieved January 6, 2007. 
  14. ^ "Mortal Kombat Gold review". Game Revolution. 1999. Retrieved January 6, 2007. 
  15. ^ "Mortal Kombat Gold review". IGN. October 8, 1999. Retrieved January 6, 2007. 
  16. ^ "Mortal Kombat Gold". Whip Ass Gaming. Retrieved January 6, 2007. 
  17. ^ "Revised Mortal Kombat Gold in Stores Now!". The Realm of Mortal Kombat. October 11, 1999. Retrieved January 6, 2007. 
  18. ^ "Mortal Kombat Gold article". Whipass Gaming. Retrieved February 28, 2011. 
  19. ^ a b "Game Rankings: Mortal Kombat 4 (N64)". Game Rankings. Retrieved December 6, 2009. 
  20. ^ a b "Game Rankings: Mortal Kombat 4 (PS)". Game Rankings. Retrieved December 6, 2009. 
  21. ^ a b "Game Rankings: Mortal Kombat 4 (PC)". Game Rankings. Retrieved December 6, 2009. 
  22. ^ a b "Game Rankings: Mortal Kombat 4 (GBC)". Game Rankings. Retrieved December 6, 2009. 
  23. ^ a b Cooke, Mark (July 1, 1998). "Game Revolution: Mortal Kombat 4 Review". Game Revolution. Retrieved December 7, 2009. 
  24. ^ a b Gerstmann, Jeff (May 25, 1998). "Mortal Kombat 4". GameSpot. Retrieved December 6, 2009. 
  25. ^ a b Gerstmann, Jeff (June 25, 1998). "Mortal Kombat 4". GameSpot. Retrieved December 6, 2009. 
  26. ^ a b Gerstmann, Jeff (August 31, 1998). "Mortal Kombat 4". GameSpot. Retrieved December 6, 2009. 
  27. ^ a b Gerstmann, Jeff (January 28, 2000). "Mortal Kombat 4". GameSpot. Retrieved December 6, 2009. 
  28. ^ a b c Casamassina, Matt (June 24, 1998). "IGN: Mortal Kombat 4 (N64)". IGN. Retrieved December 6, 2009. 
  29. ^ a b "IGN: Mortal Kombat 4 (PS)". IGN. June 24, 1998. Retrieved December 6, 2009. 
  30. ^ a b "IGN: Mortal Kombat: 4". IGN. August 18, 1998. Retrieved December 6, 2009. 
  31. ^ "Midway Announces First Quarter Results". IGN. October 22, 1998. Retrieved December 6, 2009. 
  32. ^ "6 Spectacular Game Over Screens". GamePro (IDG Entertainment): 22. November 2009. 
  33. ^ Midway. Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance. (Midway). Level/area: History of Mortal Kombat. (2002)
  34. ^ Antista, Chris (April 1, 2011). "Mortal Kombat Endings LEAKED!!!". GamesRadar. Retrieved June 23, 2011. 
  35. ^ Antista, Chris (April 12, 2011). "Mortal Kombat: The Animated Series stupidity". GamesRadar. Retrieved June 23, 2011. 

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