Mortal Kombat provided gamers with more shock value than substance. The combination of blood, over-the-top fatalities and an entertaining at times multiplayer game helped push Midway’s fighter into classic status, though the single player, limited characters and move commands needed to be fleshed out more. It was obvious that a lot of changes had to be made to really challenge the reign of Street Fighter II, and Mortal Kombat 2 attempted to do just that.
Unlike the previous title, Nintendo allowed for the blood and violence to be prevalent in their Super Nintendo port of Mortal Kombat. The blood and unaltered fatalities were shown in all their glory, with a quality of graphics that were once again a step above the Sega Genesis port. Although not arcade perfect, the Super Nintendo version managed to retain the closest look when compared to the same title the Genesis released. Character models, regardless of the digitized nature, still retain a clean enough look, with a step up in the character design department. Midway did their best to make the series feel like a battle between two different worlds.
Once again, the sound effects fuel the experience along, mixing in some of the previous game bytes with some all new ones It’s a step up from the first game, although not a massive one. Sadly, the music retained the same lethargic feeling. There’s nothing that really stands out and makes you want to break some skulls.
The mechanics have both been enhanced and left untouched. The enhancements come from slightly smoother ground based movement and less of a floaty jump. Button commands remain mostly nonsensical. Holding a button for two seconds and then releasing it for a special move, hold block and press up, up, down, release block and press high punch for another move. If the commands were more skewed towards traditional movements featured in other fighting titles, the pace and succession would be more beneficial to the player. Even still, after some time, you’ll pull off most moves without much effort. Combat feels similar to the first game, though with the extended roster, new moves and fatalities, it not only solidifies the multiplayer game, but builds upon the single player game drastically. You’ll still run into the issue of no diversity between each combatants and their regular moves, as well as some characters still having as many moves as a human has eyes, but you’ll see a bit of refinement from the additions Midway made to Mortal Kombat 2, and the experience is noticeably enhanced.
Fatalities have stepped up in terms of bloodshed and grotesque factor. With seven new playable characters, as well as several returning from the previous brawler, te variety of squeamish dismemberments have multiplied. Each combatant have at least two fatalities they can perform, ranging from a double arm dismemberment, to decapitating your opponent with your hat. On top of that, there are three different stage fatalities available: one requires a simple uppercut to pull off, while the other two require a button combination, which either uppercuts your opponent upwards into a bed of spikes, or off a bridge and a dozen stories down. Finally, Midway, in a way to infuse some light-hearted elements into its black-hearted game, introduced the Babality and Friendship. Performed during a “Finish Him!” taking place during the end of the third round, these are the anti-Fatality finishers, as they’ll turn your opponent to a baby, or do something friendly to the dazed opponent with the Friendship. If anything, Babalities and Friendships give Mortal Kombat 2 the feeling of schlock horror movie, in a positive way.
Many MK fans proclaim Mortal Kombat 2 as their favorite in the series. Who can blame them? Even though the input commands are ridiculous, and the diversity between each fighters regular moves are non existent, and the music is somewhat forgettable, there’s a certain fun factor within this brawler. The overall look is creative, the multiplayer has value, and the over-the-top fatalities are some of the best the series has to offer. Of the four Mortal Kombat titles featured on the 16 bit platform, Mortal Kombat 2 is far and beyond the most recommended. Definitely worth picking up on the Super Nintendo.