Mortal Kombat 3

Mortal Kombat 3
Mortal Kombat 3
Mortal Kombat 3 cover.JPG
Cover artwork for the home versions.
Developer(s) Midway (arcade)
Williams/Sony (PS, PC Windows)
Sculptured Software (Mega Drive/Genesis, SNES, PC DOS)
Software Creations (GB, GG)
Tectoy (SMS)
Publisher(s) Midway (arcade)
Sony (PS1)
Williams Entertainment (MD/GEN, SNES)
GT Interactive (PC)
Tectoy (SMS)
Designer(s) Ed Boon, John Tobias
Platform(s) Arcade
Mega Drive
Super Nintendo Entertainment System
Game Boy
Sega Game Gear
Sega Master System (Brazil only)
Release date(s)
Genre(s) Fighting
Mode(s) Up to 2 players simultaneously
Cabinet Upright
Arcade system Midway Wolf Unit hardware
Sound CPU: ADSP2150
Midway Digital Compression System (DCS) - Amplified Mono
Latest Game Version : Version 2.1
Display Raster resolution 400 x 254

Mortal Kombat 3 is a fighting game developed by Midway and released in 1995, first as an arcade game. It is the third game in the Mortal Kombat series. MK3 was later updated into Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 for the arcade and home consoles, and later Mortal Kombat Trilogy for home consoles only.



Mortal Kombat 3 builds further on the gameplay of the previous game. A "Run" button, accompanied by a "Run" meter, was introduced. This was primarily to address concern from fans who thought that the previous games gave too much of an advantage to the defending player. The Run meter is drained by running (the character cannot run backwards, only forwards) and by performing combos.

"Chain combos", also known as pre-programmed combos (labeled "dial-a-combos") were also introduced. Chain combos are preprogrammed button presses that cannot be interrupted once one hit connects (e.g., one of Sonya's chain combos is HK-HK-HP-HP-LP-b+HP). Some chain combos end with an uppercut or other move that knocks the opponent into the air, so that more punishment can be dealt via a traditional juggle combo. To please players of various skill levels, a "Choose Your Destiny" screen appears in 1-player mode. This new feature allowed player-selectable difficulty.

For the first time, certain levels were interactive by allowing characters to be uppercutted through the ceiling where both characters would continue the battle in a different stage. This could alter the game's level cycle. Both normal uppercuts and uppercuts that are part of a ground combo would result in a level change. Kung Lao's "Whirl Wind Spin" move would also have the same effect. However, if the final hit of a round happens to be an uppercut (i.e., the character is defeated by an uppercut), there is no level change.

All of the different style of finishing moves featured in Mortal Kombat II (Fatalities, including their non-lethal Babality and Friendship version) return in MK3 but this time the announcer saying "Friendship! Friendship?!" was changed to "Friendship! Friendship?! Again?!". Additionally, the long rumored Animality, where the character transforms into an animal in order to kill their opponent, is featured for the first time. Another new addition is the Mercy, where the character can give their opponent a small sliver of life if they have won two rounds and are at the "Finish Him/Her" screen. It is necessary that a Mercy is performed for an Animality to occur. Finally, three new stage Fatalities can be performed in the Subway, the Bell Tower, and the Pit 3.

Another concept introduced in this game are the "Kombat Kodes". These were 6-symbol codes entered at the VS screen in a two player game, to modify gameplay, fight hidden characters or display certain text messages. Also introduced in this game was the "Ultimate Kombat Kode", using a 10 character code using symbols, that could be entered after the continue screen disappears in single player mode. If the correct code was entered, an animation would be shown flashing the kombat zones in quick succession and Smoke would become a permanent playable character. The arcade owner, however, could reset this code by accessing the game's diagnostic menu by toggling a DIP switch within the MK3 cabinet. Smoke can be unlocked by either the player or the arcade operator.

The game's overall style was envisioned differently than in the previous Mortal Kombat games. Opposed to the heavily Oriental themes of Mortal Kombat and Mortal Kombat II, MK3's theme is much more Western contemporary. The game's stages are set in modern locations, three of the characters are cyborgs, and traditional character designs (such as Sub-Zero's or Kano's) have been dropped or modified in favor of modern replacements. The overall game has a much darker tone than its predecessors, and uses a noticeable darker and less vibrant color palette. Characters are now heavily digitized (as opposed to the hybrid digitized/hand-drawn style of MKII.) Many of the game's backgrounds are now, for the first time, created using pre-rendered 3D graphics. This change is also reflected in the sound track, in which all Oriental motifs have been dropped in favor of modern instrumentation.

Characters and cast

Some of the returning characters from the previous games in Mortal Kombat 3 were actually portrayed by new actors, since their original portrayers left Midway due to royalty disputes. Ho Sung Pak (Liu Kang in the first two games, as well as Shang Tsung in the first Mortal Kombat), Phillip Ahn (Shang Tsung in Mortal Kombat II), Elizabeth Malecki (Sonya Blade), and Katalin Zamiar (Kitana/Mileena/Jade) were not involved in the production of Mortal Kombat 3.[1] Dan Pesina (Johnny Cage and Scorpion/Sub-Zero/Reptile/Smoke/Noob Saibot) was also not involved in the production of Mortal Kombat 3 as he had been fired after shooting an advertisement for BloodStorm (which was being advertised as a "Mortal Kombat killer") while wearing the Johnny Cage costume. This resulted in the use of new actors for Liu Kang (Eddie Wong), Sonya Blade (Kerri Hoskins), Shang Tsung and Sub-Zero (both played by John Turk) in Mortal Kombat 3. In Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, all of the male ninjas would also be played by John Turk, while the female ninjas (Kitana, Mileena and Jade) were played by Becky Gable. Johnny Cage would be played by Chris Alexander in Mortal Kombat Trilogy.

Carlos Pesina, who played Raiden in the first two games, did not appear in Mortal Kombat 3 as a penalty for his involvement in the rival game Tattoo Assassins, but was still employed by Midway. His character returned in Mortal Kombat Trilogy, although through the use of recycled sprites from Mortal Kombat II.

New characters
Returning characters
  • Jax (John Parrish) - Special Forces major who joins Sonya in attempting to apprehend Kano.
  • Kano (Richard Divizio) - Black Dragon thug who escaped arrest by Sonya and Jax.
  • Kung Lao (Tony Marquez) - Shaolin monk who seeks to stop what Kahn is planning.
  • Liu Kang (Eddie Wong) - Returning Mortal Kombat champion.
  • Sonya Blade (Kerri Hoskins) - Special Forces lieutenant setting out again to capture Kano.
  • Sub-Zero (John Turk) - Rogue Lin Kuei ninja who fled the clan after refusing to be converted to a cybernetic unit.
  • Shang Tsung (John Turk) - Shao Kahn's devious sorcerer.
  • Smoke (Sal Divita) - Cyber assassin from the Lin Kuei, who was once a close friend of Sub-Zero (unlocked by Ultimate Kombat Kode).
Boss and sub-boss

Although the game's manual states both boss characters are unplayable, both Motaro and Shao Kahn can be enabled via secret cheat menus in both SNES and Sega versions of the game.

Other characters
  • Noob Saibot (Richard Divizio; unlockable as a non-player, Kano-resembling character through the Kombat Kodes) - The undead original Sub-Zero.


The storyline added in Version 2.0 in this game, but not available in Version 1.0.

Fed up with continuous losses in tournament battle, Shao Kahn, who had lost to Liu Kang in the Outworld tournament, enacts a 10,000 year-old plan. He would have his Shadow Priests, led by Shang Tsung, revive his former Queen Sindel, who unexpectedly died at a young age. However, she wouldn't be revived in the Outworld. She would be resurrected in the Earthrealm. This would allow Shao Kahn to cross the boundary lines and reclaim his queen. When Sindel is reincarnated in Earthrealm, Shao Kahn reaches across the dimensions to reclaim her. As a consequence of his action, the Earthrealm becomes a part of the Outworld, instantly stripping billions of their souls. Only a few are spared, as Raiden protects their souls. He tells them that Shao Kahn must be stopped, but he cannot interfere; due to his status, he has no power in Outworld, and Earthrealm is partially merged with Outworld. Shao Kahn has unleashed extermination squads to roam throughout the Earthrealm and kill any survivors. Also, Raiden's protection only extends to the soul, not to the body, so his chosen warriors have to fight the extermination squads and repel Shao Kahn. Eventually with his final defeat, every human on Earthrealm comes back.

Mortal Kombat 3 follows Mortal Kombat II and shares continuity with both Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 and Mortal Kombat Trilogy which were both updates of this game. The next new game in the series was Mortal Kombat 4.

Sub plots
  • Having defeated Shao Kahn in Outworld, Liu Kang now finds himself as the prime target of Shao Kahn's elimination squads. In response to the upcoming threat, he aligns himself with Kung Lao and leads the rebellion against Shao Kahn and his Outworld minions. However, he also has an ulterior motive: he seeks to defeat Kahn and free Kitana's homeland of Edenia.
  • With the latest advancements in human technologies, the Lin Kuei decide to automate their human assassins into soulless machines. Four ninjas- Cyrax, Sektor, Smoke and Sub-Zero- are selected to serve as the first automation prototypes, but Sub-Zero and Smoke refuse to participate- leading to their leaving of the clan. Unfortunately, Smoke is captured and is automated along with Sektor and Cyrax and all three are programmed to hunt down and eliminate Sub-Zero. Meanwhile, learning of the upcoming Outworld threat, Sub-Zero joins the rebellion against Shao Kahn.
  • Jax discovers the location of both Sonya and Kano while in Outworld, and in freeing Sonya, he also frees Kano. Knowing that his near future means arrest, Kano uses this opportunity to escape into the depths of Outworld and ultimately joins Shao Kahn's forces. Sonya and Jax return to Earth and try to warn their government about the upcoming Outworld threat- but when their pleas are ignored, Sonya and Jax instead prepare themselves for the upcoming war by joining the rebellion.
  • Despite both serving Shao Kahn, the Centaurs and Shokans have been at war with each other for years. Suspicions arise when Sheeva, who is appointed Sindel's bodyguard, learns that Motaro is appointed as Kahn's General in his armies. With the apparent, yet unconfirmed, "deaths" of both Kintaro and Goro, Sheeva begins to fear for her own race, and makes plans to turn against Kahn should her suspicions prove to be true.
  • Largely dependent on a respirator and an undying thirst for revenge against the Black Dragon clan (who he believes was responsible for his brutal attack), Kabal joins the rebellion upon learning of Kano's survival.
  • Though he realizes that he is the lone survivor of New York City following the Outworld Invasion, Stryker remains ignorant as to why he survived the attack. However, upon receiving a vision from Raiden and being informed of what has transpired, Stryker decides to find and join the other Earthrealm Warriors.
  • For many years, Nightwolf received visions that foretold and warned him of the upcoming invasion. Largely ignoring them, he feels guilty for not preventing it, and therefore offers to join the upcoming rebellion.
  • Johnny Cage was hunted down by one of Shao Kahn's extermination squads, and during the vicious battle that followed, he was killed, allegedly by Motaro.


Glitches often occur in fatalities' animations such as how if an opponent's upper torso is chopped off, their hands would be floating to the side of the waist, when there are no arms to hold them (seen in Kung Lao's hat throw finisher). A similar thing happens with the arms when the upper body is sliced too, being cut under the shoulders. If an exploding or shredding finishing move was performed on a cyborg ninja, they will have human limbs. In any fatalities that involve the victim's skeleton becoming visible (such as Kano's skeleton rip or burning fatalities), if one such move is performed on Sheeva, the skeleton will only have two bony arms (this was corrected in Mortal Kombat Trilogy).

There was another glitch in the game called the 3-stage loop. When battling in the Soul Chamber, a player could uppercut his opponent into the Balcony, which was two stages before the Soul Chamber. This resulted in having to play in the Balcony and the Bridge and the Soul Chamber all over again, until both players finished the match in the Soul Chamber without being uppercut into the Balcony, thus proceeding to Shao Kahn Tower. This glitch was fixed in Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 because even if a player was uppercut into the Balcony, the next stage would be Shao Kahn Tower. The glitch returned in Mortal Kombat Trilogy, but was avoidable because of the easy stage select code.


Mortal Kombat 3 was ported to nearly all of the major home consoles available at the time of its release: Mega Drive/Genesis, Super Nintendo and PlayStation. It was also released for portable game systems such as the Game Boy.

To fit on the Game Boy major sacrifices had to be made. Only nine of the original fifteen fighters (Kano, Sonya, Sub-Zero, Cyrax, Sektor, Sheeva, Sindel, Kabal, and Smoke) were available, only five stages existed, there were no button-link combos, no Motaro sub-boss, and no finishers outside of fatalities and babalities. Shao Kahn used his moves from Mortal Kombat II. Although rated M for mature, this version did not include much of the overt gore and violence seen in its parent systems but kept some of the "burning" fatalities (immolating a defeated opponent down to just a burnt skeleton). However, the graphics are superb for a Game Boy title, with smoother animation and greater attention to detail on the fighters than the older MK titles for Game Boy.

There was also a scaled down Game Gear version of MK3 which was never released in the US. Only Europe saw a release, and it is rare to find; a complete packaged version can be seen on Internet auctions for as much as $90. It is almost the same as the Game Boy version, although it includes blood and gore, is in color, and features Noob Saibot as a hidden character. There was also a port for the Master System, which is nearly identical to the Game Gear version, although it was only released in Brazil by Tec Toy, distributor of Sega's products in that country.

There were two different versions of MK3 for the PC. The first was a DOS version, which is unique as it does not closely resemble any of the other ports. It features good animation, sound, graphics, and it implements the gameplay of the arcade with a high level of precision. This version contains a hidden redbook audio track (Track 47) with a narration of a story in reverse ('Tis the voice of the lobster by Lewis Carroll). The second version was a Windows version. It is a direct port of the PlayStation version of the game, featuring the same menus, identical sprite sizes and qualities and the same gameplay as the PlayStation version.

MK3 for Windows and PlayStation is also the base for Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 for the Sega Saturn. These games feature the same sprite sizes and qualities and almost identical menu systems but the Sega Saturn version has the additional content from UMK3 roughly added in as well.

Mortal Kombat 3 is also available as part of Midway Arcade Treasures 2 for the Nintendo GameCube, PlayStation 2, and Xbox. It is also available as a part of Midway Arcade Treasures Deluxe Edition for the PC (this title included a 'making of' documentary about the game), and in Midway Arcade Treasures: Extended Play for the PSP.


Although the game was a hit, many MK fans disliked the inclusion of new main characters in place of highly praised characters such as Raiden, Johnny Cage, Reptile, Kitana, Mileena and Scorpion. The new combo system was also criticized by some players.[2]


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