A Step Back for Game Boy Mortal Kombat Games

This port of Mortal Kombat III is a disappointing one. The controls and hit detection are similar to the first game’s port, and there are several missing characters.

I haven’t found a Game Boy version of Ultimate MK III, but I’ll compare the two if one is out there. This is the “vanilla” version of Mortal Kombat III, so it already had issues that would be corrected with Ultimate MK III. The roster will also look different, and the controls are different.  

TLDR: A Step Backwards for the Mortal Kombat Games on the Game Boy.


This game’s story has Outworld invading Earth. Many subplots are also going on as the political dealings of the Outworld army are explored. I always liked the lore when it comes to Mortal Kombat games, and I think that is one of the things that made the game stand out in a crowded field of fighting games.

Each character is given a reason for joining a specific side. Namely, Johnny Cage is killed before the game’s events, something I like to call off screening him to death. It also explains why some Earthrelm characters aren’t in the game.

Liu Kang defeats Shao Khan in the game’s lore. This makes it a little strange that he is left out of the Game Boy version, almost like this game version is a side story to the main plot.


There are several things that could be improved with the gameplay in this port of Mortal Kombat III. I need to reiterate that this isn’t Ultimate; it is the “vanilla” version of the game. However, I think this is a bad port of an arcade game that needed to be patched and would be upgraded with the release of Ultimate MK III.

It feels like the characters are moving through mud or water. The game has a noticeable amount of slowdown, making the game frustrating to play. There are also issues with hit detection. MK III on Game Boy feels like the port of the first game.

The roster is nice, but there are several missing characters. Here is the roster list for this port of the game:

  • Sindel
  • Kabal
  • Sector
  • Cyrax
  • Sub-Zero
  • Kano
  • Sonya Blade
  • Sheeva

There is also an unlockable character in the game. I believe it is Smoke, but I’m not sure about it. Here is a list of characters missing from the Game Boy game that are in the arcade game:

  • Night Wolf
  • Stryker
  • Jax
  • Kung Lao
  • Liu Kang
  • Shang Tsung

The missing characters doesn’t bother me that much. The developers are working with limited space on a Game Boy cartridge, and some things had to be cut from the game. Even if this were a port of Ultimate MK III, there would still be missing characters.

The controls are another issue that I don’t hold against the developers. MK III introduced a run button in the arcade game. This additional button brought the total to six, and the Game Boy only has two face buttons and a Start and Select button. No matter how you look at it, there aren’t enough buttons on the Game Boy for a game like MK III.


The graphics are better than the previous ports. The character sprites are more detailed, and the backgrounds are fantastic. This is the best part of the game.

On the character select screen, the character’s portraits a well-defined, but there are no names. This isn’t as big of a problem as it was with the first and second games, but it still annoys me a bit.

I mentioned this in gameplay, and it is worth noting again. The character’s movement is sluggish, and there is some slowdown. The switch in developers might have hurt this game as Midway started making the games in-house instead of going through Acclaim. It does affect the game’s visuals, even if it isn’t as big of an issue in this game.

Overall, I think the game is the best-looking one of the series. It has some of the same problems that were in the first game’s port, but it looks better than the second game’s port.

7/10. The game looks great for a Game Boy Game. However, I wish I was playing Ultimate Mortal Kombat III or Mortal Kombat II. The controls in this game could be better. Not as bad as the first game, but they are close.


  • It is Mortal Kombat III on the go
  • The graphics are great


  • Bad controls
  • Missing characters
  • Bad hit detection
  • Slow down


The second game is my favorite when I look back at the first three Mortal Kombat games on Game Boy. The first and the third games have issues that keep them from being a go-to fighting game on the Game Boy.

The change of developers had a big impact on this game. The second port was good. This port of MK III is disappointing as it doesn’t play as well as the second game.

There is one more Mortal Kombat game on the Game Boy that I’m aware of. I’m not sure how good it will be since it is a port of Mortal Kombat 4. The Game Boy has trouble with the first three games, and the fourth game is way beyond what the hardware can do. It will be good to see how they managed to put that game into a cartridge.

Published by Paul Werkema

Hi! I'm here to share my hobbies with all of you. I love video games and books, so I write about the books that cover video games or are novels about video games.

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