Versions of Mortal Kombat (1) (DOS port)

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Re: Versions of Mortal Kombat (1) (DOS port)

Postby dr_st » 2015-11-29 @ 10:02

That's correct. Also switch 6 does not actually do what that text claims it does.
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Re: Versions of Mortal Kombat (1) (DOS port)

Postby badmojo » 2015-11-29 @ 10:26

dr_st wrote:Would it be possible to ask that you attach the EXE files you have to this thread (main game EXE + setup EXE)? I am curious to compare.

If that is OK with the moderators, of course. Note that I am not asking for the whole game - the EXE is useless without the full game data.


I can't image why that would be a problem, please find them attached, along with the SB driver and a TXT file which describes the various moves - might be of interest.
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MORTAL.zip
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Re: Versions of Mortal Kombat (1) (DOS port)

Postby dr_st » 2015-11-29 @ 14:31

Thank you very much for this. I will run some experiments ASAP and report back. :)
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Re: Versions of Mortal Kombat (1) (DOS port)

Postby James-F » 2015-11-30 @ 04:23

Apparently according to this: http://www.mobygames.com/game/dos/mortal-kombat/release-info,
Virgin was responsible for distribution in Europe and Ultratech in USA.

If I may guess, two final Floppy releases exist, everything else is beta.
1. Virgin (with logo), no setup.exe, F10 settings.
2. Ultratech (with writing), no setup.exe, F10 settings.

The beta has setup.exe, quits with Alt-Q and Esc leads to game over, no virgin logo at startup (it may be common beta for both Ultratech and Virgin before distribution).
An even earlier beta quits with Esc, Raiden spelling, is very rare.
I don't think Virgin and Ultratech were working on separate demos.
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Re: Versions of Mortal Kombat (1) (DOS port)

Postby dr_st » 2015-11-30 @ 19:43

I ran some experiments with the files attached by badmojo.

First, it seems that it is not possible to intermix files between releases. At least not trivially. MK.EXE has something encoded about the files it expects (probably some sort of checksum), and if they don't match, it complains that they are corrupt.

Now, the SBLASTER.DRV in this version is identical to the early beta. The new Ultratech version have an updated version of SBLASTER.DRV. It's possible that somehow getting the new MK to run with the old driver may resolve the SB initialization issue, while keeping all the good things that were added/fixed in the later version. But it's risky, because there may be some incompatibilities on the code level, not just file checksums.
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Re: Versions of Mortal Kombat (1) (DOS port)

Postby gerwin » 2015-11-30 @ 20:33

Starting with the knowledge already written here, I also had another look at this game yesterday:
-MK GoG CD release has no Roland Midi option at all. It stores all music as .wav files. The sound engine has been replaced by the Miles Sound System.
-The Latest Ultratech Floppy version indeed has file integrity checks for many of its files.
-The 'badmojo' version does not have such checks. It does have a Sound Blaster detection problem on fast CPU's/DosBox Cycles. The sblaster.drv from the latest floppy edition can be used by this version too: after this mod the detection is more reliable, in addition it seems to change attack-blocking sound from a weird 'ping' to more appropriate sound. Is it just me or is this older version easier to win?, maybe related to the slow/fast game speed....
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Re: Versions of Mortal Kombat (1) (DOS port)

Postby dr_st » 2015-12-01 @ 18:36

gerwin wrote:-The Latest Ultratech Floppy version indeed has file integrity checks for many of its files.
-The 'badmojo' version does not have such checks.
Well, when I tried to use all my data files (final Ultratech release) with badmojo's executable, it refused to run claiming that STANCES.GRA is corrupt. So it checks something...

I think I'm beginning to see the problem. In my UltraTech release, if I try to set the sound to None, then back to SB, the card cannot be initialized in DOSBox without running with very low cycles. However, once configured and the configuration is saved, in the future it will mostly initialize the sound fine, with no issues. Sometimes there are the issues I described earlier, and even the occasional lockup.

There is a version floating on one "abandonware" site not to be named, which seems to be an updated Virgin release, with files dated Jan-1994. It behaves the same as mine in terms of SB init, and uses the same SBLASTER.DRV (1584 bytes, 30-Dec-1993). This release runs faster than my version, you can hear it in the MIDI music (oddly the gameplay itself does not feel faster, although maybe it is).

It's hard to say what is correct. I am used to the slower music tempo, and that is what you will also hear on Youtube if you search for MK DOS MIDI music, but this is not saying much (since they are all ripped from the same releases, and if the releases are buggy, so are the rips).

One thing is that the tempo of Goro's Lair music in the Arcade is closer to the slower of the two (maybe even slower actually), so this may suggest that it's actually the slow MIDI that's correct.
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Re: Versions of Mortal Kombat (1) (DOS port)

Postby James-F » 2016-7-30 @ 12:29

A small summary of MK1 versions:

1993-11-09 - Beta - no copy protection - setup.bat (kombat.exe -s) - no sound at all - ESC quits.
1993-11-29 - Beta 2 (Virgin branded) - no copy protection - kombat.bat (mk.exe -s) - has sound - ESC quits.
1993-12-13 - Unbranded (no distributor/logo) - Copy protection - setup.exe - ESC game over - ALT-Q quits.
1993-12-17 - UltraTech (V.1) - Copy protection - (F10) - ESC game over - ALT-Q quits.
1993-12-31 - UltraTech (V.2) - Copy protection - (F10) - DETAIL: HI (Local Bus 486) - ESC game over - ALT-Q quits.
1994-01-04 - Virgin - Copy protection - (F10) - DETAIL: HI (Local Bus 486) - ESC game over - ALT-Q quits.
1996-01-15 - CD version, practically arcade perfect.

All versions have problem loading the Sound Blaster driver if the CPU is too fast.

Beta: (kombat.exe 433,225 bytes).
No sound, Raiden spelled like in the arcade, basic blue setup menu that does absolutely nothing.
This is the first leaked beta.

Beta 2: (mk.exe 445,129 bytes).
A slightly later than the first beta version, branded with Virgin logo.
Has sound but with slightly different sound effects than the release.
Still the basic blue menu but now you can choose the difficulty level.
If the CPU is too fast the PC (and DOSBox) will actually freeze and you have to reset it.

Unbranded: (mk.exe 430,111 bytes).
This is a pre-release (pre-distribution) version, more like an advanced beta, on the previous pages some think it's a Virgin brand but I don't think so.
If the CPU is too fast, game doesn't start and says: "Cannot initialize the sound card".
No F10 menu yet, still using setup.exe but looking very similar to the F10 in the distribution versions although with different font.
Pressing F1 starts the game only after all the logos have shown.
20 seconds at the player select screen.
Choppy gameplay with low FPS.

UltraTech (V.1): (mk.exe 439,131 bytes).
Has only LOW/HIGH detail level like in the unbranded version, but already has the F10 menu.
20 seconds at the player select screen.
Choppy gameplay with low FPS
First floppy USA release.

UltraTech (V.2): (mk.exe 586,311 bytes).
20 seconds at the player select screen.
Smooth gameplay (more FPS) due to HI (Local Bus 486) detail setting.
Slightly SLOWER gamesplay and music than the Arcade (arcade is 16 seconds select screen).
Updated floppy release or Patched first release (boxpressed provided the patch on the first page if you have V1).

Virgin: (mk.exe 584,127 bytes).
Faster music and gameplay than UltraTech (V.2), 16 seconds at the player select screen.
Smooth gameplay (more FPS) due to HI (Local Bus 486) detail setting.
Same speed as the CD version and the Arcade.
In my opinion it's the latest and most complete DOS version with the original PC music before the CD version with the arcade music.

I can only guess but as I can see the game was leaked numerous times before it was officially released in the USA and Europe.
The Unbranded version was worked on some more to produce the first Ultratech distribution version with the setup.exe in the F10 menu but still lacking the smooth framerate.

Note: I want to mention that when a file is compressed, copied or renamed the modification date changes so it's not a good indicator.
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Re: Versions of Mortal Kombat (1) (DOS port)

Postby James-F » 2016-7-30 @ 15:21

badmojo wrote:Of the descriptions above, my mystery version best matches this one:

1993-12-13 - Virgin - Copy protection - slow - sb init bug - setup.exe - ESC game overs - ALT-Q quits

But it doesn't all add up, mine:

1993-12-13: YES
Virgin: The 'Virgin' logo doesn't appear.
Copy protection: YES, a Crack.com is present and the 'type blah blah from the manual' is displayed
SB Init bug: I can't detect any missing sounds - note that I'm playing on a 486 SX33 + PAS16. But also note that my other version of the game does miss sounds on this machine.
Setup.exe: YES. Seems buggy, crashes the PC.
ESC Game overs: YES
ALT-Q Quits: YES

Reptile does drop down, if that's of any interest. And Rayden is spelt Rayden.

I like the seemingly un-buggy sound init of this one; I think it's a keeper.


The EXE files you provided for testing are from the Unbranded version or "second beta".
This is not actually Virgin or Ultratek, yet.
The 1993-12-13 version with setup.exe leileilol mistakenly named Virgin is nothing more than a more advanced beta version.

To further clarify this point I have found two versions of installation floppies.
One is from 12-14-1993 which installs the Unbranded (beta 2) version with a pirate group logo in the installation procedure, definitely leaked.
The other is from 12-17-1993 which installs the UltraTek (V.1), looks official.

There we go, after all these years. :happy:
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Re: Versions of Mortal Kombat (1) (DOS port)

Postby dr_st » 2016-8-01 @ 14:26

James-F wrote:A small summary of MK1 versions:

1993-11-09 - Beta - no copy protection - setup.bat (kombat.exe -s) - no sound at all - ESC quits.
1993-12-13 - Unbranded (no distributor/logo) - Copy protection - setup.exe - ESC game overs - ALT-Q quits.
1993-12-17 - UltraTech (V.1) - Copy protection - (F10) - ESC game overs - ALT-Q quits
1993-12-31 - UltraTech (V.2) - Copy protection - (F10) - DETAIL: HI (Local Bus 486) - ESC game overs - ALT-Q quits
1994-01-04 - Virgin - Copy protection - (F10) - DETAIL: HI (Local Bus 486) - ESC game overs - ALT-Q quits
1996-01-15 - CD version, practically arcade perfect.
...
...
Note: I want to mention that when a file is compressed, copied or renamed the modification date changes so it's not a good indicator.
Precisely. Do you have the file sizes to match each of these versions? This should be a better indicator. Even copy protection cracks at that time typically don't change the file size.

I have the following versions:

445,129 bytes - appears to be the beta (kombat.exe -s). It does have sound, though, so maybe a different beta? Virgin logo is present.
430,111 bytes - seems to be the unbranded version (since setup.exe is also present)
586,311 bytes - UltraTech (according to the text under the Acclaim logo)
584,127 bytes - Final Virgin release? (logo is present, seems to be a bit faster)
1,157,222 bytes - CD version
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Re: Versions of Mortal Kombat (1) (DOS port)

Postby James-F » 2016-8-01 @ 14:29

Yeah, I'll edit the post with the size of the exe files.
Edit: done.

As a side note, I want to mention that the ROLAND music is twice slower than ADLIB, which is a real shame they never fixed that.
I will try to record the midi output of the select screen, double its speed, and then run it through MUNT.
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Re: Versions of Mortal Kombat (1) (DOS port)

Postby dr_st » 2016-8-01 @ 14:51

So looks like my guesses were correct, and it appears that I have yet another leaked early beta on my hands (445,129 bytes, sound works, but many effects are missing).
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Re: Versions of Mortal Kombat (1) (DOS port)

Postby James-F » 2016-8-01 @ 14:58

Yep, you have an extremely rare Virgin branded version between the Beta and the Unbranded version, which has began focusing on the sounds... the missing link. :lol:
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Re: Versions of Mortal Kombat (1) (DOS port)

Postby dr_st » 2016-8-01 @ 15:21

Regarding the final Ultratech (586311) vs final Virgin (584127) floppy releases. I just did a round of head-to-head testing and I think I can confirm that the Virgin runs a bit faster and closer to the CD-ROM version. However, I still feel that the tempo of the music sounds more correct in the Ultratech release (comparing Goro's Lair and character bio screen tunes, which are similar between the MIDI and CD variants).

It sounds like they sped up the timer to better match the Arcade, and didn't care / pay enough attention what it does to the music. And you have to remember that the Arcade has also seen quite a few releases, with later ones running faster than the earlier ones.

Is there a page on the wiki / a wiki somewhere, which is appropriate to document all these findings, and comparison? Seems like this is good information for historical purposes.
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Re: Versions of Mortal Kombat (1) (DOS port)

Postby James-F » 2016-8-01 @ 15:37

dr_st wrote:Is there a page on the wiki / a wiki somewhere, which is appropriate to document all these findings, and comparison? Seems like this is good information for historical purposes.

I don't think there is a wiki page, but this is definitely valuable info right here.

Just to clarify, we are talking about Adlib (FM/OPL) music here, because the Roland (LAPC-1) is much much slower than anything on arcade or any other console, the devs simply ignored it.
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Re: Versions of Mortal Kombat (1) (DOS port)

Postby Jorpho » 2016-8-01 @ 16:44

Perhaps TCRF.net ?
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Re: Versions of Mortal Kombat (1) (DOS port)

Postby dr_st » 2016-10-31 @ 13:49

After a couple of months of joint research with James-F, all our findings have been summarized in the following write-up:
https://cloakedthargoid.wordpress.com/mk1-dos-versions/

In the process, I discovered a couple of interesting things that I did not know. In particular:
Switch 6: Moon silhouettes on the first Pit fight (must restart game)

Turns out it does work, contrary to what I believed. In fact, it's not only on the first Pit Fight, but on every Pit fight. But it only works in the last two releases (Virgin Floppy and CD).

Thanks to everyone who contributed to this thread!
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Re: Versions of Mortal Kombat (1) (DOS port)

Postby badmojo » 2016-11-02 @ 02:47

Very interesting thanks lads, I'll have to try out the CD version. The FM is a highlight for me though so I won't stray far from the floppy version I'm betting.

From memory there's a 'SB16 patch' available for the floppy version - do you guys know anything about that? I applied it once but it slowed the gameplay down and re-added the DRM, so I quickly reverted. I'd be interested to know if it helps with the missing sounds issue though - I'll have to try it again one day.
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Re: Versions of Mortal Kombat (1) (DOS port)

Postby badmojo » 2016-11-06 @ 10:32

Well I've given the CD version a spin over the last couple of days and as much as I love the floppy version, I gotta say that MK CD comes out on top. Why haven't I heard about this sooner??

The CD version's FX are bloody excellent and the smoother animations + fast pace are a major plus. I bought it on GoG, installed it on my Win10 machine, and simply copied the MK1 folder over to my Win95 P166 PC and it works perfectly. It even works in Win95 - you have to boot to native DOS with the floppy version.

The only downside is that you can't choose OPL3 music - not that the CD music is bad, I just think that the OPL3 score was a highlight of the floppy version. I started poking around with my hex editor to see if there was anything I could do about getting OPL3 with the CD version but I'm too old for that shit. I'll learn to love the CD music in time.
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