Review by Sour DieseL
"Almost as good as the arcade...almost."
Mortal Kombat 2 was a massive success and Sony PlayStation wanted some Mortal Kombat love. Unfortunately, Mortal Kombat 2 would not see a release on the Sony PlayStation in America. For whatever reason, this game was released on the PlayStation only in Japan. It features better graphics because the disc can hold a lot more data than the SNES and Genesis versions. This makes it one step closer to coming to the quality of the original arcade version of Mortal Kombat 2. Too bad somebody dropped the ball and we never got a release in America, making this quite a difficult game to come by.
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: 10/10: Several more characters are available in this game. Most of the originals are included except Sonya and Kano. Reptile, who was once only fight-able, 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. 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 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.
Graphics: 9/10: 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 Mo-capped (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. The backgrounds also have more detail than the first game, such as the groaning trees in the Living Forest. This version's graphics are closer to the arcade version because of all of the detail and backgrounds they were able to include on the game's large disc space, though it does suffer a slowdown when Shang Shang is morphing into another character.
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. Sadly, the sound quality in this game has been lessened because the programmers decided it would be a good idea to use the Sony Playstation's internal sound chip, rather than relying on the large amount of space the disc was abe to contain. As a result, the sound quality has been lessened. The music doesn't sound quite as sharp, and the characters' cries sound pretty bad compared to the arcade and other home console counterparts.
Overall: 8/10: This version of Mortal Kombat 2 is the closest you'll get to having a perfect arcade port. Also, you're gonna have to go through heck to find it if you're American (though it is possible), as well as own a Japanese Sony PlayStation. Despite the load times and the lessened sound quality, Mortal Kombat 2 for the PS1 is still a pretty solid game and if you have a Japanese PlayStation, you should definitely get yourself a copy. Mortal Kombat 2 is still a great game no matter what console, or even language, the game is in.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 07/07/10
Game Release: Mortal Kombat II (JP, 08/02/96)
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