Insert Disk collects the Mortal Kombat series. Part 2 of 3.
Today’s retro game review is part 2 of a 3 part mini-series looking at the Mortal Kombat series. This classic retro game series will look at Mortal Kombat 1, Mortal Kombat 2, Mortal Kombat 3 and Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3. In this second episode we are taking a look at the first Mortal Kombat sequel, Mortal Kombat 2. Expect blood, gore, controversy and of course fatalities.
Greetings collectors and welcome to today’s retro game review. In the last episode we took a look back at the original Mortal Kombat for the home systems. This time round we’re taking a look at the even bloodier sequel, Mortal Kombat 2. The game picks up where the original left off. Having been defeated in the first tournament Shang Sung returns to outworld to negotiate with the evil Shao Kahn. Before you know it Shao Kahn has his fighters ready and Raiden gathers champions from the earthrealm to fight in a new tournament. Mortal Kombat 2 is very much a worthy successor to the original game. The fighter roster includes all of the original fighters plus the added bonus of 8 new characters, hidden characters and bosses. Most notably, Smoke. Other significant upgrades are the graphics, move sets and of course the extended list of fatalities, babalities and friendships.
All in all Mortal Kombat 2 is a marked step up from the original. The game was released on a number of platforms. Most notably the Sega Mega Drive and Genesis and the Super Nintendo. Across the consoles the overall marketing held a very consistent approach with the iconic dragon emblem retained from the original. In terms of controls you will now find that the game has a lot more variation. The rather limited move set of the original has been expanded to a much richer set of high and low punches, a variety of kicks and special moves. All in all the game just looks and feels much better as a gaming experience.
The format of the game is very much unchanged, you’ll be following a standard tournament ladder to climb. The end game is fairly much a repeat of the Mortal Kombat 1. A sub boss and then a final boss. On difficult mode Shao Kahns bodyguard Kintaro is a real challenge due to his teleport stomp. Shao Kahn himself though is a little more predictable. What sets Mortal Kombat 2 apart from the original is that it built on the foundations of the original game but added significantly to the user experience. It’s not often you can say this about a sequel but it does appear to be superior in just about every element.
Personally I also see Mortal Kombat 2 as the standard to which all the successive games in the series needed to be held. With the beginnings of a combo system and greater emphasis on an in depth fighting system rather than just a showcase for fatalities Mortal Kombat 2 took the series from potentially a one hit violent wonder in to a series that gamers cared about after all of the hype around violence died down. Everything about the game works, its crisp, its fluid, it’s unapologetically in your face and also self-knowing enough to bring a touch of humour to proceedings.
For collectors there are a myriad of options.
For the Sega Mega Drive version look to pay around the £10 mark or $15 for a US Genesis version. For an Amiga release you will be looking anywhere from £10-£15, that’s under $20 in the US. For the Super Nintendo version expect to pay around the £20 mark here in the UK for a boxed version. In the US look to pay no more than $25. For now prices are reasonably stable but the series has shown incredible resilience over the years and it is a franchise that has lent itself well to newer collectors wanting a piece of the retro collecting action. In terms of a collectable Mortal Kombat 2 is a very safe bet for any beat ’em up collector. It’s a great example of gaming execution.
Mortal Kombat 2 was incredibly successful as a video game. It was distinct and profitable as a series. There are strong shouts that it’s perhaps the strongest entry in the entire series. Every gamer at the time had always assumed that there would be a third outing for the series. Mortal Kombat 2’s timing of being released in 1993 led it to a potentially difficult path for a third game though. Whilst 1993 was very much territory of the 16-bit consoles. 1994 saw the rise of the 32-bit console war. It wouldn’t be until 1995 that we finally got our hands on the next home release.
Trapped in this transitional period of gaming Mortal Kombat needed to take the brave step of even more multiple format releases.
Join me in the concluding episode in this mini-series as the Mortal Kombat franchise became Mortal Kombat 3 and Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3.