Review by Mister Sinister

"Better than the MK Port to the Megadrive/Genesis, but still far from perfect I'm afraid."

FOREWORD

Mortal Kombat on the Megadrive/Genesis was, hands down, a disappointing title. The developers failed to capitalise on the best points of the Megadrive, and instead turned out something that, rather like leaving a pair of pink pants in with your whites, diluted the game's enjoyment considerably.

Therefore I, like many people, was rather sceptical when Mortal Kombat II came out for the Megadrive/Genesis, but I thought I'd give the title a look anyway.

What did I think ?? Read on ...

OVERVIEW AND OBJECTIVE OF THE GAME

Having failed to defeat Earthrealm's warriors in Mortal Kombat, Shang Tsung returns in disgrace to the Emperor of Outworld, Shao Kahn.

Facing annihilation for his humiliating loss, and the apparent death of Prince Goro, Shang Tsung BEGS Shao Kahn to spare his life. Kahn listens to Shang Tsung's plan to lure Earthrealm's warriors to Outworld to compete in the next Mortal Kombat Tournament and, satisfied that this should work out as intended, regenerates Shang Tsung to his youth, and gives him a chance to redeem himself in the Emperor's eyes.

Earthrealm's finest enter Outworld, and prepare themselves for the next Mortal Kombat Tournament.

GRAPHICS - 7/10

Hokay ... first off, the general quality of the sprite porting is good. The characters have lots of frames of animation when they are standing and, whilst there have been obvious cuts to the frames used when certain special moves (and notably winning stances) are displayed, generally-speaking, these have been done at an acceptable level. The Megadrive/Genesis simply did not have a hope in Hell of running a game like this without such cuts, so they are both expected, and have been done sensitively.

The colours used on the main sprites are good, and generally very close to those of their arcade counterparts. Some of the BACKGROUNDS, however, are a rather drab affair, looking washed-out and lacklustre, and that's disappointing. Fortunately this is not the case with ALL of them, so where the Dead Pool looks pants, so the Kombat Tomb is better.

There is no requirement for a blood code to get the high levels of wanton blood, guts and carnage you want and expect the game to boast, which is good, and all of the fatalities, babalities and friendships are in there which is great.

Returning briefly to the colours, it is unfortunate (and rather puzzling) to see that many of the colours used for the characters' special-moves have been altered. Johnny Cage's fireballs for example, which used to be a snotty green colour, are a light brown in this. Mileena's sai-throw is a dazzling purple now, and so on ... it's odd, but not TERRIBLE.

SOUND - 5/10

Ah yes, the sounds. These are, regrettably, once again rather poor. A fair amount of the digitised speech has been left out such as "Round [X]", "[Character's Name] Wins", "Flawless Victory" and even "Fatality !", which is kinda inexcusable really, the latter now having been replaced with a discordant sliding scale sound.

"Finish Him/Her !" is still present, and stands out owing to the lack of supporting speech, but all told it does make the combat ... or ... sorry - Kombat experience a rather less enjoyable experience :(

The music is ok ... not fantastic, but at least it plays throughout - it sounds much like MIDI-music on your PC, but it's faithful given the hardware limitations of the Megadrive/Genesis - I just really wish they had made more of an effort with the speech to be honest.

CONTROLS - 8/10

Fortunately, the control method in-game is responsive and generally acceptable. Designed to be used with a 3-button controller, the developers have once again sacrificed some of the distinctions between high- and low-punch, which can see you taking a little time to get used to re-learning some of your fatalities, particularly things like the Dead Pool Stage Fatality, but once you've got it sorted, you'll be ok.

There is also a slight issue with the balance and duration of some of the characters moves animation-wise. Given that certain frames have been cut, it can sometimes feel as though the characters (taking Mileena doing a Roundhouse Kick as an example) are heavier to play than they were at the arcade, and so some of your better combos and techniques may ALSO have to be re-thought.

Generally, though, the control method of the game is responsive, fair, and light - you won't have too much of a problem with it ;)

PLOT - 7/10

Plot-wise, the game follows on decently enough from the first title. Shang Tsung's absolute failure to defeat Earthrealm's forces in Mortal Kombat and win over dominion of Earthrealm for his Master Shao Kahn would naturally lead to Kahn being quite miffed at his underling's failure and, consequently, it is plausible that Shang Tsung would have to whip a rabbit out of his hat to keep his head on his shoulders, so-to-speak.

For a fighting game, you do have a sense of continuity in the events that are taking place, which is cool. It is quite satisfying to rekindle old friendships by playing the character/s that you whupped @ss with during the first game, for this second outing (barring the absences of Sonya Blade and Kano, of course).

It's a good way of continuing the plot and the series - I approve.

GAMEPLAY - 8/10

Mortal Kombat II on the Megadrive/Genesis is a fun title to play, no question about it - even with the second-rate sound effects, lack of digitised speech and periodically washed-out colours, and that's saying something !!

Once you have taken the time to re-learn any irksome fatalities that are flummoxed by the amalgamation of the two punch commands, and have played a few rounds with your chosen character/s to see how THEY have come across in this release, you will be throwing your head back and laughing at your opponents as you mercilessly dominate them throughout entire matches.

There are sometimes little slip-ups in the flow of play, where (again, I believe owing largely to the absence of certain frames of animation) the characters can appear to almost chug into certain moves rather than flow through them - however, the things that nark me about this game are mostly aesthetic, and so the FUN of playing the game remains, thankfully, largely in tact.

Grab some crisps and coca-cola, invite your mates around and have a Mortal Kombat night - it's still fun even now, YEARS after this title was released !!

REPLAY VALUE - 7/10

Unfortunately in terms of the title's REPLAY value, whilst its short term score is decent enough (as fighting games tend to be), the mid- to longer-term replay values take a BIG hit owing to the inevitable comparison of this port with that to the Super NES, which was TONNES and tonnes better truth be told.

Therefore if you've access to both, odds are you WON'T be coming back to play this version very often (if at all) once you've sampled the delights of the SNES version, and that's a pity because they have done some decent work with this title - it just once again doesn't seem to showcase the unbridled coolness of the game, OR do the arcade version justice :(

VALUE FOR MONEY - 5/10

Owing to the complexity of finding yourself a copy of Mortal Kombat II for the Megadrive/Genesis these days, together with the immediate smile and then about half a minute later the frown that will come across your face when you realise the scope of the cutbacks that have had to have been made in order to make this title run, whilst I don't think you'll be after your money back, you might ask yourself why you didn't rent it before buying it ...

... so no - unfortunately I don't think this particular port represents good value for money (unless you're a BIG fan of the series).

OVERALL - 6/10 (This is NOT an average)

Mortal Kombat II on the Megadrive/Genesis is a decent attempt at converting the massive arcade game for the home console's release, but whilst the fun-factor of PLAYING the game remains largely in tact, the compromises that had to be made rank as some of the most immediately striking when playing. The lack of decent sounds and digitised speech is poor, and the washing-out of the colours in certain areas make the game feel a bit disrespected, and this is never really countered by the game's better points, which is a real pity.

MAIN GOOD POINTS

* All the fatalities, friendships and babalities are in there
* There is no "hidden blood code" to get all that working
* There are considerably more frames of animation than in Mortal Kombat

MAIN BAD POINTS

* Sometimes the colours that have been used are DECIDEDLY lacklustre
* The sound quality and sound porting is poor ... VERY poor in fact
* Playing on a 3-button controller takes a little time to get used to
* Some of the characters feel heavier owing to the animation issues

SO SHOULD YOU GET IT ?

If you CAN get a copy, then I would RENT it to see what you think of it before buying it. Odds are you WON'T buy it once you've rented it (unless, as I said earlier, you're a big fan of the entire series) !! I won't get rid of my copy, but I wouldn't buy it again if I had the chance ... =./


Reviewer's Score: 6/10 | Originally Posted: 09/04/07

Game Release: Mortal Kombat II (EU, 12/31/94)


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