Mortal Kombat II


STORY:  Following his defeat to Liu Kang, Shang Tsung begs his master, Shao Kahn, to spare his life. He tells Shao Kahn that the invitation for Mortal Kombat cannot be turned down, and if they hold it in Outworld, the Earthrealm warriors must attend. Kahn agrees to this plan, and restores Tsung's youth. He extends the invitation to Raiden, who gathers his warriors and takes them into Outworld. The tournament is dangerous, as Shao Kahn has the "home field advantage," and an Outworld victory will unbalance the furies and allow Outworld to subsume Earthrealm.


Epic selection screen for the time... possibly SSF2's only rival.


Many fans still consider Mortal Kombat II to be the best installment out of the early MK series. Maybe because the MK team at Midway improved on nearly every single aspect of the original title... and exceeded all expectations. MK2 sees the return of most of the original cast, with the exclusion of Kano, Sonya, and Goro. Additionally, the boss of MK1, Shang Tsung, makes his appearance as a regular playable character (with a new look to boot), and joins newcomers, such as: Mileena, Baraka, Kung Lau and Jax. In addition, two new boss characters await players at the end of MK's iconic Arcade Ladder, those being Kintaro and Shao Kahn. MK2 also includes a variety of "secret" characters (Jade, Smoke & Noob Saibot) whom players can fight against if they meet certain conditions during the 1-player mode.


The Pit 2 was one of the coolest stages... still is.


Along with all new Fatalities, MK2 adds "Friendships" and "Babalities" to the array of entertaining finishing moves... and no doubt, surprised the hell out of returning players with unexpected humor. These additions were designed to add levity to the game simply because some people took the violence and gore a little too seriously. Friendships involve the victor performing a "joke" on the loser, instead of killing them. Because of the pure randomness of the Friendship and Babality moves, rumor spreading become prevalent during the course of MK2... adding even more hype to the franchise, no doubt.

gameplay feels very much like the original, but perhaps was a bit more accessible and more fun to play (multiplayer) this time around. As you probably just noticed, I did put "multiplayer" in parentheses, and that's because... one does not "play" 1-player MK2. Allow me to explain: See, the computer AI is so cheap and abusive (primarily in the arcade version), it's not really even a fighting "game" that can be played. The CPU AI was written with a certain (evil) code that "mirrors" and predicts the player's movements as soon as they've inputted their command, whether it's walking, jumping, or attacking. It's a bit tricky to explain with words alone, but basically, fighting against the CPU is more like looking for ways to exploit its cheap, and incredibly unfair (yet stupidly effective) tactics. Quick story: I returned to MK2 for a run through the arcade ladder in 2015... and holy hell, my brain hurt by the time I beat Shao Kahn. It was not fun.... I forgot how cheap the AI was in the arcade version. However, I'm 95% sure the default CPU AI was toned down in the SNES version (which I played more of as a kid, over the arcade version).


Yes... Cage could uppercut his opponent's head off 3 times. It doesn't need to make sense... it's Mortal Kombat 2! 


To sum up the greatness of MK2... the sequel
was faster, bloodier, gorier, louder, and even improved quite a bit in the graphics department. MK2 made just as big a splash, if not a bigger splash than the original made when it released in arcades (a pretty difficult thing to do for any fighting game). As a 10-11 year old when MK2 came out, I can tell you that it was hard to make a case that Mortal Kombat II wasn't "the shit" when it came out. Nearly everyone I knew was playing it or at least talking about it... and MK2 certainly gave players enough to talk about! Secret opponents, secret Fatalities, Babalities, Friendships, Easter eggs... you name it. (This trend of hidden secrets continued and "fully blossomed" in the sequel, MK3). 

Speaking of secrets, it was pretty cool that the original "secret" opponent in MK1 (Reptile) became fleshed out and playable in MK2. As a whole, the new characters introduced in MK2 also made for a more balanced and better-looking roster. The moody new stage environments and BGMs are straight up badass as well. Some new combo possibilities were introduced in this installment, which helped make the game a bit more competitive (but still not quite as competitive or technical as other 2D fighters of the time). The epic-looking stage Fatalities, multiple traditional fatalities, and the obscurely hilarious Babalities & Friendships were the icing on the cake to the most playable iteration of MK to date. One of the only noticeable flaws of MK2 (besides the cheap CPU AI in the arcade version) was that the entertaining "Test Your Might" mini game from the prequel was nowhere to be found. Besides that, for a fighting game.... MK2 basically "had it all" in 1993/1994.



Page Updated: April 11th, 2020
Developer(s): Midway
Publisher(s): Midway, Acclaim
Designer(s): Ed Boon, John Tobias
Platform(s): Arcade, Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis, 32X, Game Boy, Game Gear, Sega Saturn, PC, Amiga, PSP (in Midway Collection), Xbox 360 (XBLA), PS3, PSN
Release Date(s): June 25th, 1993             Arcade
May 16th, 1994               PC
Sept. 1994                        SNES/Game Gear/Game Boy
Oct. 27th, 1994                Game Boy
Nov. 11th, 1994               Game Boy
Dec. 5th, 1994                  Mega Drive/Genesis
1994                                     32X/Sega Master System/Amiga
Mar. 28th, 1996               Saturn
Mar. 29th, 1996               Saturn
Aug. 30th, 2011              PSN - in MK: Arcade Kollection
Aug. 31st, 2011              XBLA - in MK: Arcade Kollection
Characters Johnny Cage, Rayden, Shang Tsung, Liu Kang, Scorpion, Sub Zero, Reptile, Mileena, Kung Lao, Baraka, Kitana, Jax, Shao Kahn, Jade, Smoke, Noob Saibot, Kintaro

Featured Video:

Related Games: Mortal Kombat, Mortal Kombat 3, Mortal Kombat 3 Ultimate, Mortal Kombat 4, Mortal Kombat Gold, MK: Deadly Alliance, MK: Deception, MK: Armageddon, Mortal Kombat Trilogy, Mortal Kombat VS DC Universe, Mortal Kombat 9, Mortal Kombat X, Mortal Kombat 11, Eternal Champions, Samurai Shodown, Fatal Fury Special, World Heroes, Virtua Fighter 2, Super Street Fighter 2, Street Fighter: The Movie, Killer Instinct, Primal Rage

Gameplay Engine

 9.0 / 10

Story / Theme

 10 / 10

Overall Graphics

 10 / 10


 9.5 / 10

Music / Sound Effects

 9.5 / 10


 10 / 10

Art Direction

 9.0 / 10


 5.0 / 10

Options / Extras

 8.5 / 10

Intro / Presentation

 8.5 / 10

Replayability / Fun

 9.0 / 10

"Ouch" Factor

 10 / 10


 9.0 / 10


 9.7 / 10

 Review based on Arcade version    


Final Words: Mortal Kombat 2 was naturally a smash hit in arcades and on home consoles, marking the original "heyday" of the seires... as many of the sequels to come would fail to live up to it. There was a lot to like about MK2, considering some of the other crappy "me too" 2D fighters that were floating around in the early-mid 90s. Indeed, many 2D fighting games in the mid 90's were attempting to mooch off of the success of Mortal Kombat (and Street Fighter).

Personally, I must've put over 200 hours into MK2 on my SNES and in the arcade. I was always a fan of the "hard-hitting moves"... and uppercutting your opponent off the stage for the win, or doing Katana's badass fan combos just never seemed to get old. Like many other 90's kids, I had so many fatalities memorized. I'm pretty sure I knew how to do every move in the game (and 20 years later, I've forgotten nearly all of it).  
~TFG Webmaster