Not knowing anything about the game, I picked the character Sub-Zero randomly. Even though the controls are simpler than the Street Fighter games (which have six attack buttons compared to Mortal Kombat's four), I found it way harder to execute the special moves. I definitely don't think my controller was defective, but despite my efforts more often than not my moves didn't register correctly, which really killed a lot of my enjoyment of the game. The game in general feels slooooow, much slower and clunkier than the Street Fighter games, and it's a big drawback that the characters feel so similar. I also never really got used to having to use a separate button to block, although that's no fault of the game.
The controversial video-digitized graphics didn't bother me too much as they seem pretty cartoony nowadays (I couldn't help but be reminded of the DSiWare title Photo Dojo), although for its time I can see why parents would have been upset. Even though I'm squeamish about violence in general, the cartoony fatalities are actually the more entertaining parts of the game. Another complaint I have about the game is that the AI is pretty mediocre; it's way too easy to spam the same lame move over and over again to defeat your opponent.
I've been long overdue for playing this game and I'm glad to cross it off my list, but I didn't really get much enjoyment out of my time with it. It seems like the second game is more over the top and has more comedy in it, so I might check it out at some point.