Now I remember why I didn't like classic Mortal Kombat.
You boot up the game and... there're only three modes: Arcade Ladder, 2 on 2 and 8 man battle. Don't be tempted to go into anything but Arcade Ladder unless you've got another joystick, else you'll be stuck in the character select screen for all eternity, or until you reset the console, since those two other modes require another player, no ifs or buts. It's a pretty silly design flaw, if you ask me. Even for a fighting game of its time, the mode selection is pretty lacking. The Arcade Mode is an absolute nightmare, since the game becomes unbearably hard pretty early on, with the CPU reading your inputs and reacting with uncanny reflexes to your moves. Which kinda sucks, since unless you've got another joystick lying around, there's no way for you to try to figure out your character since the CPU will pound on you over and over and over and over and over and over again. And there's no moveset anywhere, not even on the instruction booklet, so you're on your own.
As for how the game plays, it's your classic Mortal Kombat, two punches and two kicks as well as a block button. Mortal Kombat 3 introduced the run button and dial-up combos. Every character has a few special moves as well as a few unique dial-up combos, which are pre-scripted combos performed by tapping a specific string of buttons. Most MK fans hated those, I'm alright with them, since they help add variety to the characters beside their special moves. The problem with Dial-up combos is that they are way more convenient than most combos a player could come up to, so the name of the game is to learn a couple of those and perform them ad-nauseam. Trilogy introduced a new 'Aggressor' meter, which increases as you deal damage, fill it and you'll temporarily deal extra damage.
Mortal Kombat Trilogy reminded me of why I didn't like classic Mortal Kombat. Say what you will, but if you remove the violence factor, the game becomes a subpar fighting game. I've no doubt that the game could potentially be fun against another player, but if you're on your own there's no way for you to enjoy the game. The CPU will kick your butt, and will do so so quickly that you won't have time to learn how to play your character or how to experiment with his moveset, and there's no training mode to facilitate that either. Still, for Mortal Kombat fans, this game will re-ignite nostalgia, and the large character roster, encompassing the entire series up to that point, is a huge selling point.
4.5 out of 10