Review by Pokejedservo

"Pretty good improvement over the original MK for the SG and overall good. But it has its fair share of flaws as well."

The infamous story of Mortal Kombat is one of the Video Game Industry's most remembered tales. Such as on how it became immensely controversial when it first came in consoles during the early 1990's. (Though ironically enough it hardly got noticed by moral groups when it was released in Arcades about a year beforehand.) This series of live-action 2D fighting that allows you to be able to viciously murder your opponent was first released into the SNES and Sega Genesis with flawed results. The Fatalities were taken out/toned down while the blood lost its color in the SNES version as how the Sega Genesis did as well. (Though unlike its Nintendo counterpart they did a secret code in which the gore comes back in.) Fortunately however both Nintendo & Sega felt confident enough to release its sequel (and surprisingly both were equally uncensored). And even though this version's SG prodecessor had a code where you can get the gore back it was still a rather average-at-best attempt at a port. Did this sequel do all that much better? Actually... yes it did...

Has the Gameplay REALLY been improved? Yes and no... While the basic gameplay is pretty much the same as the first it has some new features that should be quite intresting. We all know of the infamous "Fatality" attacks right? But now you can also do attacks like "Babality" when you turn your opponent into a cute little baby and of course the often hilarious "Friendship" attack. Both intended to be big spoofs of the MK series in which the creators stated that they are trying to make sure that MK is NOT taken too seriously. (Well there are more subtle reasons such and almost ALL the attacks get blood bursts even though some are not quite severe enough for it.) The "Friendship" attacks will most likely either make you laugh your head off or ponder just what stuff has ol' Ed Boon & John Tobias been using lately. (Or both..) So in another words the gameplay asides from a couple new cool tricks has not been truly improved. (Though the control is a lot smoother this time around.)

Like many other sequels in known Fighting Game series' it follows the good old fashioned formula of character selection by adding characters from the previous game, new ones introduced in this title and a hidden character or few. And for a early 90's 2D Fighter it certainly uses that concept well. And its been well said that Mortal Komat is one of those series that break the stereotype of "All Fighters have NO plot" and this game is no exception. While its not as immensely deep as any good RPG, RTS and the like when it comes to storyline but lets just say there is a bit more to these characters then just "beat everyone up". One of the problems that plaqued its original is on how overly grainy the graphics were and on how they cheaply pale to its Arcade Counterpart. (Even when you considered the graphical powers of both the SG and Arcades back then) And while the graphics on this are not quite "Arcade-Perfect" they are surprisingly VERY close. The original wasn't quite convincing on whether it used the Genesis' capabilities well enough but this one on the other hand used it JUST fine. (Even though the SNES version is probably better in that department.)

Unfortunately alike the original the audio was rather subpar. (However unlike the original this didn't have any really grainy sound so in another words the game itself was not all that great in audio.) However this game is a bit more challenging but not in a good way, during in the later levels your oppoenents are awfully "Throw-happy" and overall cheap. Got a Game Genie or know the "Test Modes" code (with invinciblity this time) for this game? Trust me you'll need it! (Even in the "Very Easy" mode.) One more minor flaw is that doing the "Background Fatality" is a lot harder to do than in the original, it was a good alternative for those whom don't know how to do the actual fatality attacks. And when it comes to "Final Bosses" the original final Boss Shang Tsung is now a sub one. His gameplay structure is overall just fine unfortunately his design went for the worst. In the original he had a cool "evil wizard" design in the original unfortunately on the other hand in this game he more looks like a tan-skinned shirtless bell-hop this time around. And if you think thats bad wait until you meet the actual final boss namely Shao Khan. Oh sure he looks ominous eneough as a tall man with Skeletor-like skulls but his fighting is a joke. All he basically does is do a cheap "Super-Speed" dash at you though get this he actually spends most of his time taunting at you by shouting "YOU WILL DIE!" constantly leaving him open for attack. Okay I like the fact he is not frustratingly difficult but... still...

Overall its one of the better games of its genre on the Sega Genesis. Granted its flaws might make me feel that I'm being a bit too generous on its rating but its good aspects make it more worthy. The SNES version is slightly uncommon and costs almost as much as your average PS1 game. This on the other hand is a lot easier to find and is a LOT cheaper too. Fans of the series will most likely go with this rather well and Casual players can certainly do worse. The Sega Genesis has had some kinda disappoint ports of 2D fighters such as Fatal Fury and Super Street Fighter II but one of the best thigns I can say about this game is that its not one of them.

+ Good variety of characters (used well by MK's good storytelling)
+ Despite slight grainyness the graphics are almost up par to the original Arcade Version (and speaking of visuals you don't have to do any tricks this time)
+ Great innovative concepts such as "Friendship" and the like
+ Gameplay is just fine with generally smooth control
+ Pretty easy to find and very cheap (granted the SNES version might be better, but this is easier to find and a lot cheaper)
- Enemy A.I can be a bit too "throw-happy" and cheap in later stages even in "Very Easy" mode
- This game's end boss namely Shao Khan is... surprisingly pathetic
- Shang Tsung's new design was awfully weak
- Audio is not terribly done but its quite unremarkable and hardly memorable
- Background Fatalities are surprisingly harder to do this time around

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 05/25/04

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