Name: Mortal Kombat II
Platform: Super NES
Year Released: 1993
Earlier this week, Veggie Jackson reviewed Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, which made me kind of nostalgic for the Mortal Kombat games of the 16-bit era. As I’ve said before, I never had a Super Nintendo or a Sega Genesis as a child, but some of my friends did, so I spent a lot of time engaged in combat (or should I say kombat?). Later on, when the Mortal Kombat Trilogy became available for the PlayStation, I had access to the first three games at home whenever I wanted, but Mortal Kombat II remained my favorite.
I’m not really sure why Mortal Kombat II has always stood out to me. Maybe it was because of the addition of Kitana, who used to be my favorite character, as well as her clone, Mileena. Maybe it was because I was under the delusion that I was actually really good at the game (I’m pretty average nowadays, but I like to imagine that I was quite skilled once). Possibly I enjoyed the shallow battle system and re-colored character sprites, with most of the characters looking like each other except for the paint job on their outfits. At any rate, this is the Mortal Kombat that I’ve always called my favorite, so this week I attempted to remember why.
I have MKII on SNES and Sega Genesis, but since my Super Nintendo was easier to access, that was the one I went with. Unlike the first Mortal Kombat, Nintendo didn’t go overboard trying to clean up all the blood and gore in Mortal Kombat II, which is appreciated. The game looks pretty decent on the SNES, despite some blurry, grainy character models; if I remember correctly, the Super Nintendo version was graphically superior to the Genesis version, as well as having better controls.
Having forgotten every single combo and Fatality that I’ve ever known, playing Mortal Kombat II has become a button-mashing fest for me, but that doesn’t mean it’s no longer fun. Of course, it can also get really cheap, really fast, like when an opponent doesn’t stop tripping you, or when one uppercut randomly depletes 25% of the life bar. That being said, fighting is simple, straightforward, and immensely enjoyable. It’s very satisfying to beat the hell out of your opponent and see the words “Finish Him” appear on the screen, although a bit anticlimactic if you don’t know any of the finishing moves.
As a sequel, Mortal Kombat II succeeds on several levels. There are a ton of new characters and combos, giving the players more options. The storyline is as paper-thin as it ever was, but honestly, I didn’t need a reason to fight then, and I don’t need one now. The best thing about Mortal Kombat II is that it has got to be one of the most replayable games of all time. It’s now been fifteen years—more than half of my life—since this game was released, and I still have fun every time I pop it in. I can play for a few minutes at a time, get in a few rounds with a friend, or if many people are around, start a competition that could go on for hours. As always, I get more fun out of playing with someone else than doing the single-player mode, but the campaign is a good place to practice your skills.
There’s no question that this is still a game worth playing, and possibly the best game in the Mortal Kombat series. I never really enjoyed the franchise once it turned 3D, which is just a personal taste, so when I feel like playing some Mortal Kombat, I’m pretty much always going to go for one of the original three games. I may not win as much as I used to, but there’s still a lot of fun to go around with Mortal Kombat II.