Mortal Kombat Trilogy

STORY:  Thousands of years ago an order of the wisest men from the far east received visions of the dark realm known as the Outworld. It was a world ruled by a vicious Emperor known as Shao Kahn. They learned that travel between Earth and the new found realm would someday be possible if the conditions were right, the conditions being the unbalancing of the furies.
Negative and positive forces which keep our unstable universe from collapsing onto itself. Knowing that an Outworld invasion was imminent, the wise men appealed to the Elder Gods. It was for this reason the Elder Gods created the tournament called Mortal Kombat. For nine generations Mortal Kombat was ruled by Outworld's finest warrior-prince Goro. The Earth was on the brink of its destruction when a new generation of warriors were victorious in defending its realm.

The warrior monk, Liu Kang, would become the new Champion. But his victory was short lived as he and his comrades find themselves lured into the Outworld to compete in a second tournament. Little did they know that the tournament was merely a diversion. A scheme devised by the dark Emperor to break the rules set forth by the Elder Gods and witness the reincarnation of his former Queen Sindel on the Earthrealm itself. The unholy act gives Shao Kahn the power to step through the dimensional gates and reclaim his queen, thus enabling him to finally seize the Earth. These are the trilogy of events which comprise Shao Kahn's final attempt at taking the Earth.


Mortal Kombat Trilogy character selection screen.

Mortal Kombat Trilogy is the first title in the franchise to release exclusively on home consoles, and was never released in arcades. MK Trilogy is basically a culmination the entire 2D MK series, all crammed into one game (for better or worse). Trilogy features tons of classic characters & backgrounds from the series past, along with "secret" playable characters from MK1 and MK2.

Although many fighting game franchises at the time were going 3D, Trilogy remained a solid contender in the purely 2D fighting genre with its classic gameplay and nostalgia-inducing visuals and sound. While Trilogy's visuals most definitely looked "aged" at the time of its release, the title still provided a nostalgic and enjoyable fighting game experience for casual and hardcore Mortal Kombat fans alike.

You still suck at dodging lighting bolts, Shao Kahn.


Along with the entire returning cast from Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, Trilogy adds Raiden & Baraka as they appeared in Mortal Kombat 2. Both old school characters were given a new special move and some new animations as well. A new sprite of Johnny Cage is also introduced, appearing exclusively in Trilogy. This version of Cagefeatures all of his iconic moves except for his split punch (which was taken out because MK3/UMK3 didn't have "reaction" animations for the move). 

A new secret character known as Chameleon also joins the roster. Chameleon switches between all the male ninjas (Classic Sub-Zero, Scorpion, Noob Saibot, Human Smoke, Rain, Reptile & Ermac) during combat. He's similar to the original Mortal Kombat's version of Reptile, but Chameleon changes his color, not just his stance. In the N64 version, Chameleon is replaced by "Khameleon," a gray female ninja who also switches her movesets. All of the classic bosses are also playable in Trilogy, including: Goro, Kintaro, Motaro, Shang Tsung, and Shao Kahn.


Get caught in the net and say 7-hit combo! 


's main draw is easily its massive character selection screen, sporting the largest cast seen in an MK game to date. The classic 2D gameplay is what you'd expect from the series and is still considerably solid and fun to play. Trilogy also introduces a unique gameplay element called the "Aggressor Meter" which fills as the kombatants fight (twice as much if the opponent is blocking). When the Aggressor bar is full, the fighter becomes faster and stronger for a limited amount of time. Though it's a fairly cool gameplay element, the word "Aggressor" that appears under the characters onscreen is a bit distracting, in my opinion... and kinda looks overdone if you ask me.

Many returning characters in MK Trilogy also have a few new special moves and fatalities, giving even the most hardcore fans some new things to play with. Brutality finishing moves are now available for all characters - even the older cast who didn't appear in the MK3 series. MK Trilogy marked the conclusion of Mortal Kombat's 2D era using digitized graphics. In 1997-1998, the series officially moved to 3D graphics with the arrival of Mortal Kombat 4.

Page Updated: May 18th, 2023
Developer(s): Point of View Inc.                        Sega Saturn
Williams Entertainment
           Nintendo 64
Publisher(s): Midway
Designer(s): Ed Boon
Platform(s): Nintendo 64, PlayStation, Sega Saturn, PC
Release Date(s): Sept. 1st, 1996                                PlayStation
Dec. 6th, 1996                                 PlayStation
Apr. 2nd, 1998                                 PlayStation
Oct. 31st, 1996                               N64
Mar. 14th, 1997                              N64
Aug. 8th, 1997                                 Saturn
Aug. 31st, 1997                               PC
Characters Liu Kang, Sub Zero, Scorpion, Sonya Blade, Kung Lao, Jax, Sektor, Cyrax, Sindel, Stryker, Nightwolf, Sheeva, Smoke, Kano, Kabal, Kitana, Johnny Cage, Noob Saibot, Baraka, Rayden, Reptile, Mileena, Ermac, Shang Tsung, Jade, Rain, Chameleon, Khameleon, Goro, Kintaro, Motaro, Shao Kahn

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Featured Video:

Related Games: Mortal Kombat, Mortal Kombat 2, Mortal Kombat 3, Mortal Kombat 3 Ultimate, Mortal Kombat 4, Mortal Kombat Gold, Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance, Mortal Kombat: Deception, Mortal Kombat Vs. DC Universe, Mortal Kombat 9, Mortal Kombat X, Mortal Kombat 11

Gameplay Engine  7.5 / 10
Story / Theme  7.5 / 10
Overall Graphics  7.5 / 10
Animation  7.5 / 10
Music / Sound Effects  7.0 / 10
Innovation  5.0 / 10
Art Direction  3.0 / 10
Customization  6.0 / 10
Options / Extras  6.0 / 10
Intro / Presentation  6.5 / 10
Replayability / Fun  7.5 / 10
"Ouch" Factor  8.0 / 10
Characters  9.0 / 10

 7.5 / 10

 Review based on PlayStation version     


Final Words: It wouldn't be completely false to say that Midway pretty much crammed all of their "2D leftovers" into this game and slapped on a new title... just to milk the 2D series a bit more before it became irrelevant with the arrival of 3D graphics. Hardcore fans were sure to eat it up, right?!

Personally, to be honest... I was completely and utterly bored with MK by the time Trilogy came out. After enjoying some of the faster paces and "tag-team" fighting games introduced in 1996-1997, I had little interest in the classic MK gameplay formula. I definitely got that out of my system during the SNES days.

In fairness, and overlooking its shortcomings, MK Trilogy was a decent "nostalgia" package for the old school fans. Certainly, Trilogy is a must play title for anyone who ever called themselves a Mortal Kombat fan. The best part of MK: Trilogy is definitely the character roster, but other than that, it's pretty much the same old Mortal Kombat we've been playing for years (with slightly less polish and heart than the original trilogy).

~TFG Webmaster | @Fighters_Gen

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