Blog - Editorial
Written by Eric Dionne Wednesday, February 16 2011 01:00
It's 1993. After playing the original Mortal Kombat for hours on end thanks to the SNES and Sega Genesis versions, you are ecstatic at the thought of more bloodshed. As you enter the arcade, you see it: Mortal Kombat II! You thought it couldn't get any better than it was before, but you are blown away by how much has changed and been added to the game.
All your favorites are there, Johnny Cage, Scorpion, Subzero..and then you see him... Reptile is now a playable character! Forget what you know about Mortal Kombat, because Mortal Kombat II is the best in the series and I'll tell you why.
This is Kombat That Kounts Part 2: Mortal Kombat II! If you haven't already, you can catch Part 1 of this article here.
Now sure, the original Mortal Kombat was a groundbreaking step in fighting games, hell, in video games period. I mean, MK1 is singlehandedly responsible for the existence of the ESRB. But when Mortal Kombat II came out, they pushed the envelope way further than ever before. The fatalities were more violent and realistic, the levels more dark and gritty, and some of the characters looked downright demonic (Baraka I'm looking at you). When Mortal Kombat II hit the scene, it was the best fighting game I have ever played. To this day it's still my favorite Mortal Kombat game.
Mortal Kombat II took everything that the original Mortal Kombat had and nearly doubled it. They souped up the graphics, special moves, and sound quality. Where MK1 had 7 playable characters, MK2 had 12. MK1 had one hidden character, while MK2 has three. MK1 had one fatality per character, and MK2 had two. Shang Tsung had three fatalities, and if you knew how to shape shift into each character, he could do all of theirs, too! But not only that... it had ESRB-friendly "Friendship" moves where your character does something nice for the opponent. If that's not enough to mock the ESRB, you could also do a "Babality" and turn your opponent into a baby! How insane was this game? We go from one special way to finish the opponent, to three? Amazing, simply amazing.
But wait, there's even more! Now we get stage fatalities, and not only one, but three! The Kombat Tomb allows you to uppercut your opponent into the spiked ceiling (secretly, if both players hold down on the controller when this happens the body will slide back down). Then there's the Dead Pool, where you hit your opponent into the acid pool in the background and their skeleton pops up. If you hold Down+Block and you hear a funny "Aww ma!" type sound. Some say it says "Oh Wow!", but honestly I have no clue. Either way, it's fun. I saved the best for last... the Pit II! In this stage, you are on a thin platform, much like in Mortal Kombat, but at the bottom of this pit is just ground, nothing else. I love this finisher because the opponent simply goes splat on the ground. I only wish they did that in the New Mortal Kombat game, but sadly, we get the Pit II stage, but with the Pit I spiked bottom.
As with the original Mortal Kombat, we have hidden characters. Now if you thought getting a double flawless victory in the Pit and performing a fatality to face Reptile in MK1 was bad, prepare for madness! You see, Mortal Kombat II marks the debut (albeit unplayable) of hugely popular characters Smoke, Jade, and Noob Saibot. Not only that, we are also shown Shang Tsung's master Shao Kahn, and his four-armed bodyguard Kintaro. Missing from this sequel are Kano and Sonya (although they are seen in Shao Kahn's Arena chained up to pedestals). Goro is nowhere to be seen, in favor of the tiger-stripe skinned Kintaro.
Let's start with Jade. Jade is a green palette swap of Kitana. She is insane to try and get to, let alone defeat. I honestly have no clue how people figured it out back in the day before the internet was all over the place. I mean we had to wait until a friggin Gamepro magazine told us how to do all these secrets! When you face her, she's super fast and invincible to projectile attacks. Ed Boon really wanted us to go mad trying to beat these characters! A cool thing about her is that in Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 she has a special move that makes her invincible to projectiles for 5 seconds, a pretty cool addition indeed.
Noob Saibot has always truly been a mystery. He was simply a shadowy all-black ninja who ran around quickly, throwing a Scorpion spear, and almost always destroyed you. But we now learn that in MK1 Sub-Zero died at the hands of Scorpion. If you remember, Scorpion was killed by Sub-Zero, but came back to life as a spectre in the events of MK1. So when MK 2 starts, Scorpion is confused as to how Sub-Zero is alive. It turns out MK2 Sub-zero is the brother of MK1 Sub-zero. We don't learn until Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 that Noob Saibot is the spectre-like version of the MK1 Sub-Zero, Thus making this an ultimate irony of sorts.
Last but not least, we have Smoke. He is the grey palette swapped ninja who moves super fast, has actual smoke flowing from his body and has Scorpion's spear as a weapon. How he became one of the most popular characters is anyone's guess. I don't know why I was never amazed by him, but he was always just grey scorpion to me.
There you have it, MK2's hidden characters! I'll leave it up to you to go find out how to fight them. If I had to wait for Gamepro magazine back in the day, you can at least check the internet... just go to GameFAQS.com and find it there.
Much like MK1, this game had the old "sub-boss/boss" formula. Now the characters you face aren't usually in the same order, but in the end you always face Shang Tsung, Kintaro, and then Shao Kahn. Shang is a difficult person to deal with due to the fact that he can turn into any one of the 11 other playable characters, do any of their moves, and then change into someone else. When fighting him, you have to stay on your toes. Just as you get use to him being Sub-Zero, all of a sudden he's Raiden and he's Superman-flying your ass into a wall. Then we have Kintaro... He's basically a Goro clone, just with one or two different attacks. Finally, there's Shao Kahn... Oh man Shao Kahn, what a bastard. This guy is hit or miss. What I mean is, sometimes I'll straight up kill him super fast, then other times I endlessly have to face him over and over to finally end it. Don't get me started on him in MK3, but that's a story for next week.
A nice little hidden thing for the SNES version of MK2 was if you hold L+R when you start the game, Shao Kahn and Kintaro will come out, mock the Acclaim logo, and then Kintaro stomps on it. I love the Mortal Kombat series for their secrets alone!
Let's hear it for more fatalities!
Johnny Cage's torso rip, Liu Kang's dragon morph, and Kung Lao's famed split you in half fatality were just a few in this game that shocked EVERYONE when it hit arcades and eventually the home console market. We used to have drops of blood, now we get huge globs of it. This showed that Mortal Kombat had plenty to offer those who love their video games violent and full of gore... people such as myself.
Shang Tsung was the only character to get a third fatality where he morphs into Kintaro and punches your body in half, launching your torso across the screen. Unfortunately, the developers didn't give Kintaro this move. It would've been awesome for him to do this to you whenever you lost to him.
Here are all of the Fatalities in the game.
As with MK1, MK2 was on many different consoles in its time:
Now much like MK1, I have played MK2 on almost all of those systems, and I still prefer the SNES version over them all. It just feels perfect and is the one that I spent most of my time on, so I guess I am a bit biased. Oh and here's the Babalities:
When this game hit consoles, it was one of the first to get an ESRB rating sticker on it for its content. They mainly did this for the SNES version, because MK1 sold very poorly on SNES due to its lack of blood. If it wasn't for this whole series, the gaming industry would be quite different. The best part about MK2 is that it is still playable today. Sometimes when you go back to old games, they're not as great as you remember it. But personally when I play MK2, it's just as good as it was back when I played it non-stop every single day as a kid. From the 25 fatalities, 12 Friendships, Babalities, and three Pit Stages, this game gave you so many ways to deal with your enemy once you won the match.
With what we know so far about the new Mortal Kombat, every character in this game has been confirmed with the exception of Smoke (unless you count the leaked audio files of him saying things as confirmation... which I do). On top of the leaked audio files, there's a new video about Noob Saibot's confirmation. We've seen footage of Jade, and Baraka's skeletal model was shown, thus confirming him in my opinion. We have not seen in game screens, however, of Baraka and Raiden. Yes, in MK1 he was Rayden, and in some of the console ports of MK2 he is still Rayden, but now his name is spelled Raiden. I kind of prefer Rayden simply because there's a Metal Gear Solid character named Raiden, and an over-head space shooter series also named Raiden. The "Y" looks cooler and also hints to his electrical rays he tosses at you.
So what can be learned from Mortal Kombat II? More blood and more fatalities truly do make a game better. Also, in the MK universe not many people die and stay dead. And finally, that Johnny Cage is still the best character hands down in this entire series.
But in all seriousness, Mortal Kombat II showed us that the fans truly want more bloodshed and more characters in our games. We learned more of Mortal Kombat's story than ever before with this sequel. Hopefully, when the new Mortal Kombat arrives, all we knew about Mortal Kombat will change thanks to an alternate timeline, and I for one am completely going insane waiting for this game!
Oh and enjoy this video: