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Mortal Kombat Mythologies Sub-Zero (N64) Angry Video Game Nerd - Episode 138

The Nerd: Well, Christmas is almost here again... already. The cold weather's kickin' in, the snowfall, the ice; it's gonna get below freezing, maybe even... sub-zero. Which reminds me.

(The Nerd looks through his collection of Nintendo 64, games complete with end labels)

The Nerd: Ah yes, Nintendo 64 end labels. The greatest invention ever. When Nintendo drops the ball, the fans pick it up. Here it is: Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero. This is one Mortal Kombat game that I have never played before. But how could that be? It was one of my favorite video game franchises.

(Gameplay from "Mortal Kombat II" is shown)

The Nerd: Yeah, in the 90s, Mortal Kombat was the fucking tits. Everybody was obsessed with it. When it came to fighting games, Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat were as essential as food and water. I'll never forget my first time seeing the original game in the arcades. I distinctly remember catching a glimpse of it between the shoulders of bigger kids crowding around it. I was impressed by the graphics, the realistic human figures, and shocked by the excessive blood and gore. It was awesome. It was one of the games to inspire the ratings system. When it came to home consoles, nobody knew what to do. The Genesis version had a code to unlock the blood, while the Super Nintendo version left it out altogether. But starting with Mortal Kombat II, it was blood for all.

The Nerd: How to do the finishing moves and how to unlock secret characters was a daily school bus and lunchtime conversation. You could be the most geeky, socially awkward kid in school, but as soon as you'd show up passing around Mortal Kombat codes, you were the ultimate hero. There was a mystique to these games. It was all about secrets and rumors, such as a swearing code and a nude code. One time somebody printed out a move list which they got from connecting their computer to their telephone line. It was like science fiction shit, but it turned out to be an early form of something even bigger than life itself, called the Internet.

The Nerd: As I remember it, the mid-90s was the peak of Mortal Kombat fever, which led up to Mortal Kombat Trilogy in '96. It combined everything you wanted from the first three games. With new generation game consoles like PlayStation and N64, the games were getting closer to arcade quality, and that's what we all wanted: to be able to play the arcades in our own home. And then in '97 came Mythologies: Sub-Zero.

The Nerd: So why haven't I played this one before? Could it be that I was distracted by Mortal Kombat 4, which came out close to the same time? Or was it because I heard that it was very different from all the other games? All these years, I've been tryin' to get around to playing it, because, anything Mortal Kombat related, ya gotta play it. It can't be that bad, right? (The Nerd places "Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero" in the N64 and begins to play)

(Sub-Zero runs into a hallway and keeps turning in the wrong direction as he fights with a monk) Oh w-wait-wait-wait-wait-wait, w-what the-- what the fuck?! (Sub-Zero gets punched by a monk) GOD! Okay, you have to press B to to turn around. In all the other Mortal Kombat games you automatically faced your opponent, but here, every time you jump to the other side it's one extra button you gotta press. This is like Karate Champ bullshit. I can understand why this might be necessary because unlike other Mortal Kombat games where ya fight your opponents one at a time, here, you're fighting multiple enemies, so if you find yourself in between two of them, ya might need to turn around. Sometimes, it turns automatically... yeah, ya never know. So after you jump, you'll hit the button, only to find that you turned yourself the wrong way. Alright, well, that ruins the whole game. Game sucks, case closed, should I just end the video right now? Or could the game... get even worse?

The Nerd: Obviously, ya play as Sub-Zero. I suppose if the game caught on, they would have made a whole Mythologies series starring all the different characters, and I think that is what they were intending. Well, I'm glad they didn't quit their day job. (Sub-Zero screams as he falls to his death) The day job being... real Mortal Kombat.

The Nerd: There are some RPG elements. When ya fight enemies, ya earn experience points, gain inventory, and learn special moves like Sub-Zero's trademark ice projectile. But being so familiar with the other Mortal Kombat games, it comes off as more of a tease that ya don't already have it from the start. (Sub-Zero gets crushed to death by a collapsing pillar)

The Nerd: (yells) Auugh! Now they're gonna start doin' that shit! Alright, wait for it, wait for it... (Sub-Zero gets crushed again and the Nerd groans in anger) Uurrgh! Now I'm on a ledge. W-What do I do here, jump? (Sub-Zero jumps over the ledge and screams as he falls to the ground, killing him) Of course not. (Sub-Zero jumps onto the ledge, drops and bounces safely to the ground from an awning) Oh, ya just drop down and bounce off the awning. Yeah, okay.

(Sub-Zero is now fighting two monks) 

The Nerd: Your mother, your mother! Mngh! Oh God, there's too many guys! (The Nerd sees more collapsing pillars) What?! More of these?! (Sub-Zero gets crushed) Okay, okay, easy does it... (Sub-Zero gets crushed yet again as the Nerd grunts angrily) UNNGH! (mumbles) Oh-oh, get the fuck outta my way! (The monk gets crushed by the pillar as the Nerd laughs) A ha ha! Yeah, did ya see that?! I FUCKIN' SQUASHED THAT BITCH! (A pillar squashes Sub-Zero) FUUUUCK!

The Nerd: Run-run-run-run-run-run-RUN-RUN-RUN...! (Growls) FRRGGHH! (exclaims as Sub-Zero gets squished by a pillar) OOOOOOOOOOHHHH! Okay, strategy: Run and stop. (Sub-Zero runs and gets squashed by a pillar) Nope! Naw, naw, naw! Can't run! Can't walk! CAN'T FUCKING DO ANYTHING! (Sub-Zero and the Nerd grunt multiple times as the Nerd yells) Nargh! Mrg! Mrrgh! Narggh! Argh! Nrgh! (A pillar squashes Sub-Zero) UURRGGH!

The Nerd: (sighs) After ya make it through, by some miracle, you'll fight Scorpion. It's a one-on-one battle and looks just like traditional Mortal Kombat. It LOOKS like it, but trust me. It doesn't feel like it at all. (Sighs deeply) If only ya knew, if only you were the one holding the controller right now, you'd know exactly what I mean. (He holds a Nintendo 64 controller to the camera) Here, take it. Yeah, I know. You would if ya could. But trust me. Don't. If I was jumpin' off a bridge, would you do it too? Nah. This is jumpin' off a bridge. And I'm NOT happy.

The Nerd: Afterwards, you get a cutscene. This is where I should mention that the game was also on PlayStation. It's very similar but the most noteworthy difference is that on the N64, the cutscenes are just still images and text. But with the PlayStation version, since it was a CD-based console, it was able to have full-motion video and audio.

Scorpion: I am Scorpion. You killed me in cold blood.

The Nerd: Um... Just stick to Mortal Kombat: Annihilation. (Sub-Zero jumps and grunts two times) Okay, what the hell am I supposed to do here? (Sub-Zero floats and the Nerd exclaims) O-o-oohh! Da fuck? (Sub-Zero gets punched by a monk as he floats and lands on a platform. Later, he runs and the palace breaks away) Oh geez, I just outran the screen. Gotta give some credit for the 3D or 2.5D backgrounds.

The Nerd: Another basic problem's that to jump, ya press Up. In any typical Mortal Kombat game or any tournament fighter, that's normal. But in a platforming jumping game, Up is fucked up. Sometimes you intend to step back, but your thumb slides across Up, and ya jump by accident! (Sub-Zero falls and yells) The entire level 2 is all about hopping these platforms. C'mon, ya son of a bitch! (the platform collapses and Sub-Zero falls and yells again) Aw, fuck! Ugh, get out of my way, I'm just tryin' to... (the platform does not collapse) Oh. Okay. That makes it easier. For many of these jumps, ya have to wait to ride the wind current... or not. Okay, should I jump then? (Sub-Zero jumps and yells yet again as the Nerd grumbles) Ugh! Sometimes the wind comes right away. But other times, ya have to wait for it. And then there's times when you have to jump blindly; a leap of faith. And then there's times when... (Sub-Zero yells) I don't even know. (Sub-Zero screams a lot, including one scream each from the Nerd and Charlie Brown after trying to kick a football.)

The Nerd: As if that's not bad enough, then ya have to start jumping on these... spoons. You don't have much control over your jumps; it's always the same arch from wherever ya last stood. Once you're in the air, there's nothing else ya can do. (Sub-Zero screams) Even when you DO land on the spoons, you don't really land on them, you sort of... magnetize to them.

The Nerd: And I love how abruptly the continue screen appears. Watch this. (after Sub-Zero dies, the continue screen abruptly appears) Wow. They didn't waste any time. Unlike Symphony of the Night where it takes like THREE FUCKIN' HOURS! You'll be busy fighting, and then all of a sudden this screen comes up and you might accidentally hit "No". But it doesn't matter anyway because I've been using passwords to skip ahead, and even then, the game is impossible. It's one cheap death trap after another.

(Sub-Zero jumps and gets pierced through by a pointed stalagmite after falling into a deep pit)

The Nerd: Ohh, COME ON! That is low. And it's a real "fair" fight when there's all this... shit on the screen. Foreground obstructions; real classy. Also, it's one of those "Where the fuck do I go?" type of games. Yeah, ya know, the kind that make ya say "Where the fuck do I go?" How 'bout down here? (Sub-zero climbs down the rope) Nope, another dead end. Okay, what do I do now? (Suddenly a big hexagon-shaped ceiling descends and then squashes Sub-Zero) What? (Exclaiming) Oh! Oh! OH! OH! GRRGH! (The Nerd laughs maniacally and then angrily frowns) I hate this! Wh-Wh-Where do I jump? W-Where do I ju--?! I can't kick this gu-- I CAN'T JUMP K-- THE JUMP KICK DOESN'T-- THE-THE JUMP KICK NEVER FAILS LIKE THIS! (Screams angrily) AAAHHH! FUUUCK! SHIIIT! FUUCK! (Sub-Zero screams while falling)

(Sub-Zero gets to a boss battle and sees Blaster as the boss)

The Nerd: (gasps) I didn't know there was a Transformer in the game! It's Blaster!

(The Nerd groans while he tries to beat Blaster, but Sub-Zero dies) Aaah! Owww! O-ho-ho!

The Nerd: (Yells angrily) FUUUCK! (The Nerd stands up and picks up the cartridge from the N64) No wonder I haven't played this one before! THIS IS ANAL SAUCE!

(The Nerd throws the cartridge and freezes it like Sub-Zero)

Video Game Announcer (Shao Kahn): Finish him!

(The Nerd destroys the cartridge into blood and guts while he grunts)

Video Game Announcer (Shao Kahn): Fatality!