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After the runaway success of the original Mortal Kombat game, Mortal Kombat 2 was released in 1993, proving to be bigger, prettier and above all even gorier than its controversial predecessor. Once again it is a one or two-player martial-arts based fighting game with a sinister oriental setting, but this time around the original characters such as Raiden and Johnny Cage are accompanied by numerous new additions including Baraka, a grotesque bald figure with knives for hands; Jax, an african american major with arms made of steel; and Mileena, an oriental female warrior sporting a deadly pair of sai.
The game can once again be played either against a computer opponent or against a second player, and the graphics look even nicer than the original, once again relying upon digitised images of highly trained real-life martial artists, making the game feel like a strange hybride between the realistic and the cartoonish.
MK2 essentially just feels like an expansion on the original game, as with the 7 new characters come lots of new moves (as well as some new moves for the older characters too), as well as new fatality moves, in which the victorious warrior kills his or her opponent in a prtigularly gruesome way. The game has a sense of humour too, as evidenced by the introduction of 'Friendship' moves, in which instead of slicing an enemy in half or pulling out their spine say, your character will instead give them a giftwrapped present or a cute little teddy bear.
Everything about MK2 just feels bigger and better than in the original, and with its huge combination of moves and strategies it stands alongside Streetfighter too and the original Mortal Kombat as one of the best arcade fighting games ever made.
Mortal Kombat II one of the all time classic games was a game that came out in the early part of the 1990's originally a Coin-op (or arcade game) it was ported over to the home consoles of the day (the SNES and Mega Drive) and raised a lot of publicity for gaming (mainly bad). For those that have played any of the MK games they may know what to expect, for those that haven't, this is still probably the best in the series (yes, despite it's age).
The original MK game came out in 1992 (this followed the previous year) and introduced us to most of the main characters from the series, with MKII expanding on everything the original game did. With MKI we were given digitised sprites which looked a lot more realistic than the contemporary games of the time (such as Street Fighter) which were actors turned into characters. Although this looked rather stiff at times, as with that generation of gaming, everything look a bit stiff so it was excusable and better looking than the rivals which took a more cartoon style to the graphics. Something MK has done in the 3-D era where they have gone on to use more computer animated characters.
Though it wasn't the graphics that set the game apart however it was the gore and blood, the level of which had never been seen before. With many games of the era there simply wasn't any blood, no sign of damage, no nothing. MKI ripped the rule book up putting in blood gore and the now trademark "Fatalities", moves which saw a defeated opponent embarrassingly ripped to pieces (literally) by the winner. Moves such as Sub Zero's spine pull (in which he would punch into the opponent, grab their spin and yank it from the loser) would become the more significant parts of the game and the reason why it would gain it's gaming bad boy image.
So with MKII's release on Mortal Monday in 1993 we we're again forced to listen to the whole "Games are a bad influence" raves from those with no interest in playing them (funny that isn't, porn causes rapes, games cause violence and music cause shooting, but what causes over the top media confusion? Idiots.) The game continued in the same vein as though original but decided to become more cartoon-ish and try to be (and succeeded) in being funnier, the pace had heated up and the storyline expanded.
Some evil forces ruled by huge overload Shao Khan want to take over earth by beating it in the Mortal Kombat tournament, earth understandably don't want to be taken over by some giant overlord so the god of thunder Raiden enlists Earth's best warriors to try and protect it. Though each characters story is different that's the main basis. There are characters from earth there to save it (Lou Kang), those there from Khans forces such as right hand man Shang Tsung and those there with their own personal mission.
In single player mode the players fight in the tournament using a character of their choice, though despite this they manage to go through pretty much the same route no matter who they use. Fighting a host of the other fighters in the first few rounds the player will then play Shang Tsung (a playable character himself), Kintaro and the Shao Kahn in the last 3 rounds of the tournament. After this the characters ending will play over the screen.
In multiplayer mode it's literally a 1v1 fight in which the characters have no genuine attributes, they all have the same speed, jump and reach stats, so it's down to the differing specials to win matches (or just being a better player). Although some of the specials are pretty much the games dominant moves (freezing an opponent as Sub Zero then doing what you want with them for example) the thought of this being the only difference in playability between characters might seem a bit dull. Personally I liked it at the time as you played the game for the specials and the fatalities and boy was their some fatalities.
The games ending moves we're of course the reason to play the game and we're expanded on massively between the two games, no longer was it just a fatality each they had babalities (turning an opponent into a baby) and friendships (giving the opponent a gift instead of killing them) as well as the rather obscure Fergality. Again this was extended again in MK3 with Brutalities coming in.
The roster now had 12 (playable) and 17 total with several fighters returning from the previous game and several new comers (such as the brilliantly Baraka who looked a bit like an ugly Wolverine). The game featured 3 secret characters that we're pretty much all palette swaps (like many of the games ninja's) that could be fought it specific criteria had been met.
Although many feel the game play doesn't match that of SFII for actual control or fun, personally I feel it was a more fun game to play, sure their was the blood and gore that may have swung it but the game was fast it was less complex to pull of awesome looking moves than the SF game and overall it seemed addictive to pull off every fatality. Even the annoyingly difficult ones such as Shang Tsung's nail board soul steal and Liu Kang's dragon fatality (they were the two I hated as I could never do them). The game doesn't appeal as much now but it is a good fun look back at how gaming used to be before it began to take it's self way too seriously. Of course the graphics have dated like you'd expect in 16 years but they still appear sharp and bright rather than dull and saturated as many games seem to now.
Long live the fatality
I many ways Mortal Kombat 2 was far superior to its predecessor but also fell on its face in many respects unfortunately. The game picks up straight after the first game and includes many returning favourites. Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Johnny Cage, Liu Kang and Rayden all return. They are joined by Baraka, Mileena, Kitana, Kung Lao, Reptile and Jax as well as a more human looking Shang Tsung which boosts the roster up to 12 fighters.
This is all well and good and every character as an extra fatality coupled with the new babality (turn your opponent into a baby) and friendship which enables you to give your opponent a Sub-Zero doll or pull a rabbit out the hat. These new quirky additions enable you to have a bit more fun into the bargain.
Some of the new fatalities include skewering your opponent or slicing them in half which makes the gore factor far greater than the first game which is awesome.
The problems in this game arise from a few points that I feel I must mention. Firstly the Amiga version comes on 4 discs meaning you have to change discs every other fight, secondly due to the amount of characters needed to load in unfortunately Shang Tsung can only morph into his opponent and I'm pretty sure he could morph into most opponents.
The game would also glitch slightly when performing certain moves (Shang Tsung's Kintaro morph fatality is a perfect example). The last problem I had with this game was Kintaro, this character must be one of the hardest boss characters I have ever had to face in any game ever and kind of ruined it for me.
These niggling little points aside this game is still a worthy addition to the series but I would probably recommend the SNES or Megadrive version over this one.
The sequel to the hit arcade fighting game Mortal Kombat did everything a good sequel should do: improve upon the original, expand the series potential, and stand alone as an independent game. Developed for arcades by Probe in 1993, and released on home console / computer formats in 1994, Mortal Kombat II held its own in the face of increasing competition on both formats, most notably from the Street Fighter series.
Although very similar in premise and gameplay to its rivals, Mortal Kombat II achieved popularity for its addictive two-player option and replay value, aided by the comparably vast selection of playable characters available. The games emphasis on (attempted) realism through the graphics led to more graphic violence than was common for video games of the time, as graphic capabilities continued to evolve. As expected, this led to a difference of opinion among young players and their over-protective parents.
The premise of Mortal Kombat II is similar to its later three-dimensional successor, the Tekken series, and is evidently inspired by the Bruce Lee film Enter the Dragon. Competitors have been gathered from across the globe to compete in a series of brutal, one-on-one matches for their lives. In one-player mode, the player selects a character and proceeds up a figurative mountain of competitors in the form of the other playable characters, the final battles being with the mighty Kintaro and the mysterious Shao Khan.
There are twelve playable characters this time round, twice as many as in the first game, although most of the old faces return and some of the new ones are similar enough as to be considered pretty identical and interchangeable. The masked ninjas Scorpion and Sub-Zero are supplemented with the third ninja Reptile, capable of green acid attacks and telepathy, and as with the new female faces Mileena and Kitana, these characters are visually identical in all but their colours. The Bruce Lee rip-off Liu Kang, heavyweight Jax, bandit Kung Lao and Hollywood scoundrel Johnny Cage represent the more human side of things against the mutant Baraka and the thunder god Rayden (thunders the flashing electrical stuff, right?). The disappointing enemy Shang Tsung from the first game is now a playable grunt like the rest.
Mortal Kombat II learns from its predecessor, resulting in a vastly improved playing experience. As usual, victory is achieved by attacking the opponent until his, her or its health bar is reduced to zero and they are either knocked unconscious or, as the second best-of-three round permits, destroyed in all manner of grisly ways. This time round there are no distracting mini-games, and the score system has been completely removed due to its irrelevance. The Amiga version of the game boots from three floppy disks, and gameplay is controlled entirely with the joystick or joypad, exempting additional keyboard commands to pause the game and enter cheat codes. In the two-dimensional environment, characters can be moved left and right, thus towards or away from the opponent, as well as being able to jump and duck. The fire button controls arm and leg actions; advanced moves and special attacks are carried out through a combination of joystick waggling and button bashing.
The primary fun of this game comes in the two player rounds, as long as both you and your competing friend, relative or arch enemy are of a comparable standard. The number of continues can be set up to a maximum of 30, and round time is still automatically set to 99 seconds. Unless youre playing two-player with a complete coward this is always going to be far more than enough time in which to kill or be killed. The one-player game has the advantage of unlocking secret characters and levels, as well as the satisfaction of completing a personal quest, but can still prove fairly daunting even with the game difficulty set to a feeble very easy standard. As such, two-player is more fun and can even provide an arena in which to test out a characters special moves and fatal blows without an Amiga-controlled character relentlessly jumping in your face.
As mentioned earlier, the Mortal Kombat series strives for realism, and this is enhanced by the photographic style of the characters. All proportions are anatomically correct for humans, unlike the cartoon style of Street Fighter, and the shading and realistic faces are evidently based on photographic actors. The blood itself isnt too realistic, and the primitive sound effects arent going to have anyone wincing, but the violence itself may be a cause for concern. The backdrops are all rendered quite nicely and there are enough of them in rotation that it never becomes too repetitive, but the limited colour palette in some areas does lead to some visible errors of colour bleeding and substitution.
There are some nice touches to the sound beyond the suitable but unimpressive oriental music score, primarily in the sampling of a booming voice that commands and commends the characters appropriately, especially in the lethal command to finish him! Mortal Kombat II expands massively upon the special fatality moves of the first game, providing hours of fun as codes are tried out to make the characters kill each other in really horrible ways. As well as the fatalities, players can cause babalities (turning the defeated opponent into a miniature baby version of itself) and the ridiculous but entertaining friendship in which all is forgiven and the loser is given a nice present, rather than having his, her or its arms ripped off by Jax.
Mortal Kombat II is a classic beat-em-up thats a lot of fun, but one thats really been usurped by its more impressive three-dimensional successors. The game suffers for its limitations such as the basic similarity of all the characters beyond a few individualised tricks, and for the fact that some very simple moves, such as the ever-popular uppercut punch, are incredibly easy to perform and are very damaging, while more complex special moves may not be worth the effort. The Amiga version is particularly annoying for its constant disk-swapping, although this can be avoided if the computer has three floppy drives, which was common in the early 90s. The game couldnt be loaded onto the hard drive, and this lack of virtual memory meant that some edits had to be made from the superior console versions, mainly additional graphical touches such as animated backgrounds. The joystick was also a little difficult to handle in comparison to joypads or the classic arcade set-up, but this computer version was nevertheless an enormously popular, now enormously dated fighting game.