'This isn't brutality... it's fatality!', that's a classic!
In Mortal Kombat 4 Shao Khan lies defeated, and how long did that last!?, but a new threat comes to Earth, the fallen god Shinnok, so the forces of Earth band together to stop him. The game features 15 characters, 8 returning and 7 new ones, alongside two hidden characters(Goro and Noob Saibot). And you could argue that Quan-chi, Shinnok and Fujin debuted a few days earlier in Mythologies. This game usually gets a lot of flak on the art design, citing Reptile's beginning on his descent towards a more bestial form and how Jarek sucks. But I disagree! I adore the art-style. Every character looks as if built with similar pieces, just look at how many characters have leg protectors or fabric between their legs, but I really like it. Reiko is a pseudo-Ninja clone, but with spikes on his legs and throws Shuriken, this gave us the first 'Frozen Sub-Zero' costume(Which is really cool!), a grey skull-headed Scorpion, and Liu Kang looks badass with a tank-top. I loved the new pseudo-femme Ninja Tanya with her yellow costume, Fujin is among the best new designs, and while I'm not much of a fan of Kai, I love how he is supposed to be another version of Liu-Kang, with vertical fireballs instead of horizontal. As for Jarek, while his moveset is uninspired(It's Kano's!) I love the armored pieces on his legs and arms, as well as the color design. He ain't that bad.
Mortal Kombat 4 did away with dial-up combos, and has a more uniform combo system more akin to 2... which means that every single character has the same exact moveset bar special moves. And even then, many characters have similar movesets, so you can probably find analogues to combos, for instance, you could easily replace Tanya's spiral kick with Quan-chi's sliding kick, thus having access to the same combos that required said moves. It's shallow, it's simple and for people looking for depth it's a disappointment.... but I liked it. Landing hits feels really nice, and combos are pretty easy to land, making for a relatively good entry-level fighter.
The game also implements a 'Maximum Damage' mechanic meant to make infinite combos impossible. Basically, if your combo reaches 50% damage, you'll be pushed far from your opponent. This is a bit wonky, since sometimes, if you deal a ton of damage, quickly without stop(Even if it doesn't look like a combo), the game will push you back anyways. Can't say I'm a fan. As for the CD-based version of the game, there's a bit more loading than I would've liked, included micro-loading seconds before a new round begins, which is kinda ridiculous.
I liked Mortal Kombat 4, that said, you gotta take it like it is: Style over substance. It's shallow, everything, from character design to gameplay, is very samey, characters can be freely interchanged between each other and you won't have trouble adapting... but I kinda liked it. I mean, it is an oldschool Mortal Kombat game, so of course most characters feel somewhat the same. So, for what it is, it's rather fun.
6.5 out of 10