Review by Sour
"A little weaker than the first, but not bad by any means!"
Midway and Probe couldn't resist making a second Mortal Kombat and bringing it to the Genesis. Since Nintendo actually left the original content in the SNES port this time, that version is a little better. All in all the Genesis version isn't bad though and it's definitely worth snagging if have a Genesis and not a Super Nintendo, because Mortal Kombat II, either way you look at it, is a dramatic improvement over the first.
Story: 10/10: Following his defeat by Liu kang's hands, Shang Tsung in a very weakened state approaches his lord and master, Shao Kahn. Kahn is furious with Tsung, but Tsung divulges a secret to Kahn. If they invite the Earthrealm warriors to Outworld for a second tournament, the Earthrealm warriors cannot decline, according to the rules set forth by the Elder Gods. Upon hearing this news from Tsung, Kahn grants Tsung both his life and his youth back. Kahn extends the invitation to Raiden and his warriors, who are bound to accept. However, this time things are far more dangerous. Not only does Kahn have home-field advantage, if Kahn and his warriors are victorious, they will be granted instant passage to invade Earthrealm. The Earthrealm warriors include Liu Kang, Raiden, Kung Lao, and Jax. Sonya is absent as she has been kidnapped. Likewise, so has her nemesis, Kano. Scorpion and Sub-Zero return but no longer as allies, and their blood feud continues.
Gameplay: 9/10: Several more characters are available in this game. Most of the originals are included except Sonya and Kano. Reptile, who was once only fightable, is now one of the starting characters. A few others can be unlocked as well if certain conditions are met. These are Jade, Noob Saibot, and Smoke. Once the console is turned off, however, these characters must be unlocked again if you want to play as them. And to unlock them you have to fight them first. All three of them are extremely challenging and will push you to your limits. And while Shang Tsung is in the top tier of the tournament like the last time, but someone is above him. You'll have to face the Emperor Shao Kahn himself! This game adds a far greater degree of difficulty than the first game as well.
Controls are standard, using set buttons to perform a high or low punch, and a high or low kick. The controls feel a bit clunkier in this version, which is weird because the Genesis version felt so smooth and fluid. You also have the ability to block which can be helpful, but you'll still take some damage. Each character has a special move that he or she can perform, most characters having multiple special abilities. Sub-Zero can now not only freeze enemies with a projectile, but he can also form a patch of ice on the ground, causing the enemy to slip and become vulnerable until the ice patch dries up or until they slip off the ice patch. Shang Tsung is now a playable character and he retains his skills from the first game, though not his appearance as his youth was restored by Shao Kahn. He can be controlled to morph into another character, where he can use their skill set for a short amount of time, until he morphs back. Shang Tsung also has the ability to shoot fireballs. He can shoot from 1 to 3 of them in quick succession depending on the button combination that you enter.
This being the sequel, they had to double up on Fatalities and they delivered. Each character now has two fatalities. If you're new to the franchise, a fatality is exactly what the name implies. Upon winning the final round of a bout, you'll be prompted to finish your opponent off in a gruesome manner. It involves slightly lengthier combination's than the first game to pull off. In addition to the fatalities, new types of fatalities were born with this game to satirize the negative responses the franchise was getting for being so bloody. One of them includes a "Babality", where you turn your opponent into a crying baby. The other "joke" fatality is called a "Friendship". Friendships are silly in nature and add a bit of comic relief. Friendships don't hurt or harm the opponent, it's just funny to see. Such as one of the three ninja characters pulling out a doll of themselves and telling you to purchase one. Or Johnny Cage autographing his picture. Many fans of the original responded negatively to this, however, arguing that these sorts of finishers detract from the overall dark atmosphere and intent of the game. Still, Friendships and Babalities would be sticking around a few more games much to the dismay of purist fans. The Genesis version is also unique in that one character's fatality changes the character into the manager of Probe Entertainment, the company that was responsible for the port of the game to the Sega Genesis.
Graphics: 8/10: This time the creators were going for a darker, even more serious tone (contrary to the Friendships and Babalities). More colors however were used to enrich the visuals and it worked quite well. Although once again Mocapped (short for motion capture), the characters have more of a hand drawn design to them, the costumes in particular. The flesh and muscles still look incredibly real, though. It's barely an improvement over the first overall, as the scan lines are painfully obvious. This is due to the Genesis have a lower quality graphics chip as opposed to the Super Nintendo version. It's not too bad by any means, the game is still playable. It's just really obvious and noticeable. On top of that, the Genesis wasn't able to pull off the Pit II's stage fatality very well, having to go back to the arcade style for it where there was no spinning background as the character falls.
Sound: 8/10: Once again it's obvious that the developers were going for a darker tone than the original Mortal Kombat. The music is much slower and heavier, helping add to the already dark settings and atmosphere of the game. Once again the actors lent their voices for various screams and groans. This would also be the first game in which we'd get to hear Dan Forden's signature falsetto "TOASTY!" when certain conditions are met, often when doing something impressive against an opponent. There is an Easter egg for a stage fatality as well. When in the arena with spikes on the ceiling and executing the stage fatality to uppercut them onto the ceiling, thus being impaled, if the down button on the D-pad is held, it will cause the opponent to slip off of the spikes rather then staying there, prompting Forden to interject again. Like the graphics, the game suffers here too because of the lower-end hardware inside of the console. As a result, it feels like some of the songs were changed entirely.
Overall: 8/10: The sequel to the original Mortal Kombat provides twice the fatalities, twice the characters, and even more than that! This version has it's weaknesses and strengths and it's certainly worth a look if you haven't played it. However upon playing both, the SNES version is slightly superior in every aspect, so give that one a shot first and only get this if you're a die-hard Mortal Kombat fan.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 03/29/10
Game Release: Mortal Kombat II (US, 12/31/94)
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