Saturday, 23 November 2013

Saturday Soundtracks: Mortal Kombat Theme

It's unthinkable that I would have forgotten to mention this came at all in my video game music memories, with the opening title theme and music setting the scene for the excellent Mega Drive console port of the arcade beat 'em up classic. 

It's tough to say more than what has already been said in droves about Mortal Kombat, the original arcade game that features digitised photos of characters, blood effects and the dreaded fatality moves that brought video games into a harsh new light for inciting violence in children and generally being a bad influence.

While Fox are usually pretty good at getting hyped up about things these days, this is pretty tame report by today's standards (though the reporter tries her best with some leading questions). But it's a typical response of the time; most fighting games were simply cartoon-like and didn't feature blood, whilst this did and went over the top with martial arts moves and finishing styles, which were in vogue at the time.

As a game, it's a pretty solid fighter, with many of the series' beloved characters starting off the franchise. My personal favourites were the ninjas Sub Zero for the freeze attack and Scorpion for the grapple hook and accompanying "get over here" sound clip.

But it was the music that really kicked things off, with a heavy tom beat and Far Eastern-inspired FM synthesised flute with a bit of delay that is simple and effective for the title theme music. In fact, in comparison with the original arcade theme, the Mega Drive's version is loud and impressive. Even better, the blood mode (which was hidden by default in the original home release by censors) needs to be entered and triggered during the opening scenes, making this a way of timing how long you had to input the code, which is according to IGN:

From the code of honor screen, press A B A C A B B. If done correctly the text will turn yellow and you will hear Scorpion say "Get Over here!"

Add to this the stage music with the decent combat mechanics in a 2 player home system that doesn't eat coins to operate and you have an excellent game.