Mortal Kombat: Conquest-Volume 4-6 (1998)
|Year Of Production||1998|
|Running Time||500:37 (Case: 528)|
|RSDL / Flipper||
Multi Disc Set (3)
|Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Ads Then Menu|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||
Bruce Seth Green
New Line Television
Warner Home Video
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.29:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.29:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes|
Mortal Kombat: Conquest was the short lived TV spin off from the successful video game and film series. This set collates the second half of the only series that was ever produced. For a general synopsis of the show, check out our review of the first half of the series. The overall setup of this half of the series is much the same as the first, but the episode formula has been noticeably tweaked.
By the time the show had reached the halfway point of the series, it was in ratings trouble. This led to the formula being tweaked, not once but twice. Alas, this didn't really help the show. It was pulled from the air in the USA before viewers were able to see the effect of the second formula tweak. Australia was one of the few places in the world that the whole series was broadcast, albeit in the wee hours of the morning!
The first four episodes in this set follow a similar formula to the first half of the season, only with less Kombat and more emphasis on the plot. Each episode is a self contained story and there is no continuity between the episodes. This approach really didn't pay off. The plots were never the strong point of the show and it shows in these episodes.
The second formula tweak brought a far better formula to the show. The final eight episodes form a complete story arc (though each episode is still self-contained), centring around the introductions of Kreeya (Fabiana Udenio) - a warrior queen who produces an army to challenge Shao Khan. There is a general improvement in the quality of these episodes and the writing has improved significantly. There is also an increase in both the quality and quantity of the fight scenes in these episodes.
For the most part, this second half of the series is better than the first half of the series. Most of the episodes feature stories that revolve around established characters, so there is less time spent introducing characters and more time spent developing them. The special effects in this later part of the series are also a marked improvement on the earlier episodes. Best of all, the producers were fully aware the final episode of the series was to be its end and took the show out with a real bang!
This 3 disc set collates the final 12 episodes of the series. The episodes included are:
Thicker Than Blood: Siro's estranged brother Cassar and his wife Hanna (Eva Mendes) pay a visit, only to attract the unwanted attention of Scorpion.
Shadow of a Doubt: Shao Khan transforms the hideous Mileena to look like Princess Kitana and sends her to assassinate the heroes of Earth Realm.
Twisted Truth: A mysterious stranger named Tomas comes to join forces with Kung Lao & co in defending Earth Realm. Shao Khan exploits the Earth Kombatant's weariness of this stranger and sends Reptile to assassinate Tomas and Kung Lao.
Festival of Death: A rather macabre carnival comes to town and sets up a secret fight-to-the-death sideshow. If that's not bad enough, the bodies are being filled with the souls of Outworld warriors by Quan Chi's assassin Mika (Jaime Pressly) to create a zombie army for Shao Khan
The Serpent and the Ice: Shao Khan forces an uneasy partnership between Sub Zero and Scorpion in order to attack Kung Lao, Siro and Taja. The partnership doesn't last long and leads to Sub Zero abandoning his Lin Kuei masters in spectacular fashion. This episode marks the point that the show gets really good.
Kreeya: The beautiful Queen Kreeya comes to Earth Realm with her army and establishes a base to launch an invasion of Outworld. The heroes of Earth Realm welcome this at first, but their position changes when the Earth warriors that she mates with in the process of her insect-like breeding process begin turning up dead.
The Master: Vorpax awakens Tsang Sung's mentor after he had been trapped by the sorcerer for centuries. While the Master seeks to re-establish himself in Earth Realm, Tsang Sung recalls the treachery that led him (with the aid of his girlfriend of the day - Baywatch's Angelica Bridges) to betray his master.
In Kold Blood: As Kreeya forms an alliance with Reptile to strengthen her army, the heroes of Earth Realm set about sabotaging Kreeya's Earth nests with the help of two hot lesbian sorceresses.
Flawed Victory: Tsang Sung plots a long overdue revenge on Quan Chi for past betrayals, while Quan Chi and Mika are busy in Earth Realm impersonating Kung Lao's sidekicks in an elaborate plot to steal his soul.
Balance of Power: Vorpax makes a play to eliminate Kreeya, whilst Shao Khan decimates his own army as he attempts to discover the identity of the traitor in his ranks. This episode really ramps the story up for the season finale.
Stolen Lies: Dion (Kathleen Kinmont from late night classic Renegade), an old friend of Taja's, is caught trying to rob the trading post. After being taken in by the gang, Dion is hunted down by some of her past victims and gets Kung Lao, Siro and Taja into trouble with a Shao Khan worshipping cult. This leads to Raiden going bananas to save the gang - this really is the Raiden episode.
Vengeance: Pretty much every character that appeared at any point in the series turns up in this cataclysmic finale to settle the various scores built up throughout the series.
The video is PAL and is presented in the show's original 1.29:1 aspect ratio.
The video transfer is adequate for the age and quality of the source material, but not particularly good. Essentially this is a quick and cheap transfer, acceptable for the budget release that this is, but not up to the standard you would expect of a more costly TV series box set.
A handful of film artefacts such as dust and dirt are noticeable throughout the episodes. These vary in size and are occasionally quite large. The image is generally not too grainy and generally quite sharp, though this varies throughout the episodes.
The colour depth is the weakest part of this transfer. The lighting of scenes is fairly inconsistent, particularly during outdoor fight scenes and the authors have tried to compensate for this by tweaking the colour levels and brightness. Unfortunately, the effect is generally quite messy - rather than producing a more consistent image it makes the production of the show appear even more amateur than it probably was. In many of the dark scenes, the colour has been tweaked also - to the point that many of the deep blacks actually have a green hue and tanned skin tones glow orange - in what seems to be an attempt at increasing the shadow detail. It has certainly improved the visibility in shadows, but at a cost. The worst/best (depending on whether you're looking at it for entertainment or academically!) example of this occurs at 35:10 of episode 8, during a dark scene featuring a noticeable amount of low level noise that has turned green from the colour tweaking. Some scenes appear rather washed out and the black levels are frequently poor.
Interlacing artefacts are present throughout, which are not as detrimental as those in the first half of the season (thanks in part to the image generally being a little sharper). These are likely the result of converting the original NTSC video to PAL. There are no other obvious film-to-DVD artefacts, such as compression artefacts, particularly noticeable.
The RSDL layer changes occur between episodes.
There is one audio track present, Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s).
The dialogue is quite clear. It does have occasional points where it is not in great sync, but no more on average than most low budget television shows.
There is a modest amount of surround channel encoding in the 2.0 mix. It mostly kicks in around effects (particularly the same lightning effect that seems to get used over and over in each episode) and for the music in the fight scenes.
The dynamic range is enough for the subwoofer to pick up on the music and effects to a limited degree, although the lack of an LFE track is quite apparent.
The music is pretty much entirely cheaply produced dance music. It would sound awful on its own, but matches the tacky charm of the show.
|Surround Channel Use|
The only surprise you will find here is the annoying anti-piracy ads, although they can be skipped by pressing the menu button on the player.
Mortal Kombat: Conquest has not been released in Region 1. A number of assorted episodes have been released in Region 2, but not the full series nor are those released presented in series order as is the case with the Region 4 release.
Mortal Kombat: Conquest is a true guilty pleasure that is likely to give both fans of the games and late night trash TV what they are looking for in a budget-priced multi disc set.
The video quality is adequate, but nothing more. It is marred by uneven colours and interlacing artefacts.
The audio quality is quite good, albeit basic, for a series of this age.
|DVD||LG V8824W, using S-Video output|
|Display||LG 80cm 4x3 CRT. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Pioneer VSX-D512. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||150W DTX front speakers, and a 100W centre and 2 surrounds, 12 inch PSB Image 6i powered sub|