Mortal Kombat II

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Mortal Kombat II
Mortal Kombat II arcade.png
An arcade flyer for the game, featuring its newcomer characters Kung Lao, Kitana and Baraka, and its redesigned version of Shang Tsung
Developer(s) Midway
Probe Entertainment (MD/GEN, GG, GB, SMS, Amiga, 32X, DOS, SS, PS1)
Sculptured Software (SNES)
Publisher(s) Midway
Acclaim Entertainment (home versions)
Producer(s) Ken Fedesna
Neil Nicastro
Designer(s) Ed Boon
John Tobias
Programmer(s) Ed Boon
Artist(s) John Tobias
Tony Goskie
John Vogel
Composer(s) Dan Forden
Matt Furniss (Sega Genesis, Game Gear, Master System)
Series Mortal Kombat
Platform(s) Arcade, Game Gear, Genesis/Mega Drive, SNES, Game Boy, 32X, Amiga, Master System, MS-DOS, Saturn, PlayStation, PlayStation Network
Genre(s) Fighting game
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer
Cabinet Upright
Arcade system Midway T Unit
Display Raster, horizontal orientation, 400×254

Mortal Kombat II is a fighting game originally produced by Midway for the arcades in 1993. It was later ported to multiple home systems, including the MS-DOS, Amiga, Game Boy, Game Gear, Sega Genesis, 32X, Sega Saturn, Super Nintendo Entertainment System, and PlayStation only in Japan, mostly in licensed versions developed by Probe Entertainment and Sculptured Software and published by Acclaim Entertainment (currently distributed by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment).


Mortal Kombat II was the second game in the Mortal Kombat series, improving the gameplay and expanding the mythos of the original Mortal Kombat, notably introducing more varied finishing moves (including several Fatalities per character and new finishers, such as Babality and Friendship) and several iconic characters, such as Kitana, Mileena, Kung Lao, Noob Saibot, and the series' recurring villain, Shao Kahn. The game's plot continues from the first game, featuring the next Mortal Kombat tournament set in the otherdimensional realm of Outworld, with the Outworld and Earthrealm representatives fighting each other on their way to challenge the evil emperor Shao Kahn.

The game was an unprecedented commercial success and was acclaimed by most critics, receiving many annual awards and having been featured in various top lists in the years and decades to come, and also caused a major video game controversy due to the series' continuous depiction of graphic violence. Its legacy includes spawning a spin-off game Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks and having the greatest influence on the 2011 reboot game Mortal Kombat , as well as inspiring numerous video game clones.


A screenshot of Pit II's Stage Fatality being performed against Mileena. A figure in flames later retconned as Blaze can be seen in the stage's background (see also the rumors section) Mortal Kombat II Pit II.png
A screenshot of Pit II's Stage Fatality being performed against Mileena. A figure in flames later retconned as Blaze can be seen in the stage's background (see also the rumors section)

The gameplay system of Mortal Kombat II is an improved version of that from the original Mortal Kombat . There are several changes in standard moves: a crouching punch was added, low and high kicks have greater differentiation (be they crouching or standing up), roundhouse kicks are made more powerful (knocking an opponent across the screen, like the game's uppercut), and it is easier to perform combos due to reduced recovery times for attacks. Returning characters also gained new special moves, including some to be used in mid-air, and the game plays almost twice as fast as the original. [2] [3] [4] [5]

As with its predecessor, matches are divided into rounds, and the first player to win two rounds by fully depleting their opponent's life bar is the winner; at this point, the losing character will become dazed and the winner is given the opportunity of using a finishing move. Mortal Kombat II lacks the "Test Your Might" bonus games and point system from the first game, in favor of a consecutive win tally where wins are represented by icons. [2]

The game marked the introduction of multiple Fatalities (special moves allowing the victorious character to execute their opponent at the end of a match) as well as additional, non-lethal finishing moves to the franchise: Babalities (turning the opponent into a crying baby), Friendships (a non-malicious interaction, such as dancing or giving a gift to the defeated opponent) and additional stage-specific Fatalities (the victor uppercutting their opponent into an abyss below, spikes in the ceiling, or a pool of acid in the background). [2] Finishing moves cannot be performed either by or against the boss or secret characters. [note 1]


Following his failure to defeat Liu Kang in the previous Mortal Kombat tournament, the evil Shang Tsung begs his master Shao Kahn, supreme ruler of Outworld and the surrounding kingdoms, to spare his life. He tells Shao Kahn that if they hold the next Mortal Kombat Tournament in Outworld, the Earthrealm warriors must travel away from home to attend. Kahn agrees to this plan, and restores Shang Tsung's youth and martial arts prowess. He then extends the invitation to the thunder god and Earthrealm's protector, Raiden, who gathers his warriors and takes them into Outworld. The new tournament is much more dangerous, and as Shao Kahn has the home field advantage, an Outworld victory will allow him to subdue Earthrealm. [6] [7]

According to the Mortal Kombat series' canon, Liu Kang won this tournament as well, defeating Shao Kahn and his bodyguard Kintaro. [8] The game's story mode can be also finished using any other playable character, resulting in different non-canonical endings for each of them. [9]


Playable characters

A screenshot of the SNES version of Mortal Kombat II, showing the game's playable character roster. From the upper left: Liu Kang, Kung Lao, Johnny Cage, Reptile, Sub-Zero, Shang Tsung, Kitana, Jax Briggs, Mileena, Baraka, Scorpion, Raiden Mortal Kombat II select screen.png
A screenshot of the SNES version of Mortal Kombat II, showing the game's playable character roster. From the upper left: Liu Kang, Kung Lao, Johnny Cage, Reptile, Sub-Zero, Shang Tsung, Kitana, Jax Briggs, Mileena, Baraka, Scorpion, Raiden

The game includes 12 playable characters.

Debuting characters:

Returning characters:

Non-playable characters

The game also features three hidden opponents for unlockable fights: Jade (played by Katalin Zamiar), a female ninja clad in green; [note 4] Noob Saibot (played by Daniel Pesina), a dark silhouetted ninja who is a "lost warrior" from the first MK game; [note 5] and Smoke (played by Daniel Pesina), a male ninja clothed in gray. [5] [note 6] Sonya and Kano are the only playable characters from the first Mortal Kombat who were not implemented as fighters, as they only appear in the background of the Kahn's Arena stage, chained and on display as his prisoners. [3]


When we finished Mortal Kombat I, Acclaim did the home version, and they sold six million copies or something crazy like that. We had already started talking about doing a Star Wars game, and then our general manager at the time came to us one day and said, 'What do you mean a Star Wars game? You can't do a Star Wars game. You've got to do another Mortal Kombat game.' The notion of sequels wasn't even something that we had entertained. It was just like, 'Oh, you do this game and then you move onto the next game.' Looking back now, it's really silly that we wouldn't have entertained that idea. [14]

Ed Boon

MKII's story influences came from the same places as the first game. One influence came from the first two Star Wars films, where you knew that there was an emperor ruling the universe, but knew nothing else about him. It created a desire in the viewer to want to know more. I think we had something very similar with Shang Tsung and Shao Kahn and for me that came from that feeling I had as a kid when I learned more about what made the Star Wars universe tick in Empire Strikes Back . I wanted MK fans to have that same feeling. [15]

John Tobias


According to the project's lead programmer Ed Boon, Mortal Kombat II was "intended to look different than the original MK" and "had everything we wanted to put into MK but did not have time for." [16] In 2012, Boon placed creating the game among his best Mortal Kombat memories, recalling: "When we did Mortal Kombat II, we got new equipment and all that stuff, but it was funny because when we started working on Mortal Kombat II, the mania, the hysteria of the home versions of Mortal Kombat I was literally all around us. We were so busy working on the next one, going from seven characters to 12 and two Fatalities per character and all these other things that that consumed every second." [14] Both the theme and art style of MKII were slightly darker than those of its predecessor, although a more vibrant color palette [ disambiguation needed ] was employed and the new game had a much richer color depth than the previous game. A new feature was the use of multiple layers of parallax scrolling in the arcade version. [4] The game was made to be less serious with the addition of humorous alternative finishing moves. Some of the considered Fatalities were rejected as too extreme at the time. [17]

Care was taken during the programming process to give the game a "good feel", with Boon simulating elements such as gravity into the video game design. The game's lead designer and artist John Tobias noted that the previous game's reliance on juggling the opponent in the air with successive hits was an accident, and had been tightened in Mortal Kombat II. Boon said that the reason to not completely remove it in favor of a different system of chaining attacks together was to set the game apart from the competing titles such as Street Fighter and allow for players to devise their own combinations of attacks. [18] A double jump ability was implemented but later removed. [19] At one point, a bonus stage was planned to feature "a bunch of ninjas jumping all over the place and you would swing at them, just like you're in the middle of a fight in a kung fu movie." All of the music was composed, performed, recorded and mixed by Dan Forden, the MK series' sound designer and composer, using the Williams DCS sound system. [20]


To create the character animations for the game, actors were placed in front of a gray background and performed the motions, which were recorded on videotape (using a broadcast-quality, $20,000 Sony camera instead of the standard Hi8 camera used for the original Mortal Kombat). [18] The video capture footage was then processed into a computer, and the background was removed from selected frames to create sprites. Towards the end of the game's development, they opted to instead use a blue screen technique and processed the footage directly into the computer for a similar, simpler process. [18] The actors were lightly sprayed with water to give them a sweaty, glistening appearance, [21] while post-editing was done on the sprites afterward to highlight flesh tones and improve the visibility of muscles, [22] which Tobias felt set the series apart from similar games using digitized graphics. Animations of Shang Tsung morphing into other characters were created by Midway's John Vogel using a computer, while hand-drawn animations were used for other parts of the game, such as the Fatalities. For animating Goro and Kintaro, clay sculptures were created by Tobias' friend Curt Chiarelli and then turned into 12-inch latex miniatures that were used for stop motion filming. [18] Because of technical restrictions, the actors' costumes had to be simple and no acrobatic moves such as backflips could have been recorded; [23] the most difficult moves to perform were some of the jumping kicks. [24]

Several characters (namely Jade, Kitana, Mileena, Noob Saibot, Reptile, Scorpion, Smoke, and Sub-Zero) were created using the first game's palette swap technique on just two base models. The game was noted for its "strong female presence," [25] as it was featuring more than one woman character as it was common in the genre at the time. Due to memory limitations and the development team's desire to introduce more new characters, two fighters from the original Mortal Kombat, Sonya Blade and Kano, whom Boon cited as the least-picked characters in the game, were excluded, [26] substituted by two palette swaps, Mileena and Reptile. In place of Sonya, two new playable female characters, Kitana and Mileena, were introduced so the game might better compete against Capcom's Street Fighter II: The World Warrior featuring Chun-Li. [5] [27] [note 7] Another planned female fighter, based on the real-life kickboxer Kathy Long whom Tobias admired, was omitted due to time constraints. [24] A male bonus character played by Kyu Hwang was also cut from the game. [5] [28]


A vintage Mortal Kombat II arcade cabinet (with a Raiden artwork) at PAX South 2015 PAX South 2015 - Mortal Kombat arcade (16165005248).jpg
A vintage Mortal Kombat II arcade cabinet (with a Raiden artwork) at PAX South 2015

The first version of MKII, revision 1.4, "was effectively a public beta test," featuring few Fatalities and many software bugs; it also lacked the endings for the characters. It took three subsequent revisions to have the moves and finishing moves finalized and all the bugs corrected, also adding additional content, as development had still been in progress for all that time. [3] The final version was revision 3.1, [5] released in January 1994. [29]

Marketing and merchandise

In conjunction with the release of the arcade game in 1993, an official comic book, Mortal Kombat II Collector's Edition , written and illustrated by Tobias, was released through mail order, describing the backstory of the game in greater detail. [5] Acclaim Entertainment stated that it "had started Mortal Kombat II with a $10 million global marketing campaign" for the home versions. [30] A part of this sum was used to film and air the live-action TV commercial created by David Anderson and Bob Keen. The video [31] featured Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Reptile (with a notably more reptilian appearance), Kitana, Baraka and Shao Kahn, who were played by the same actors as in the game. [32] The game's promotional campaign's tagline was "Nothing ... Nothing can prepare you." [33] In 2008, Eurogamer called Mortal Kombat II "a marketing triumph." [34]

Malibu Comics published a series of Mortal Kombat comic books featuring the characters from both MKII and the original game. [5] Mortal Kombat II: Music from the Arcade Game Soundtrack, an album featuring music from Mortal Kombat II and Mortal Kombat, composed by Dan Forden, [5] [35] could originally only be purchased by ordering it through a limited CD offer, which was posted on the arcade version of the game's attract mode. Other merchandise for the game included a periodical official fanzine Mortal Kombat II Kollector's Magazine published by Midway and Sendai, [36] a series of collectible stickers for an album by Panini Group, two different series of action figures (released in Argentina in 1995 and in the USA in 1999, respectively), [5] and collectible card game Mortal Kombat Kard Game that was marketed as "Mortal Kombat II trading cards". [37]

Home releases

Since 1994, multiple official ports and emulated versions of Mortal Kombat II were released for a wide variety of home systems, including the 8-bit (Game Boy, Master System and Game Gear), 16-bit (Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) and Sega Genesis / Mega Drive) and 32-bit (32X, PlayStation and Saturn) consoles, Amiga and MS-DOS computers, and the PlayStation Network (PSN). The Game Boy, Game Gear, SNES, and Genesis versions were released simultaneously on September 13, 1994, dubbed "Mortal Tuesday" by Acclaim's marketing. [38] The PlayStation version was released only in Japan, retitled Mortal Kombat II: Kyuukyoku Shinken (モータルコンバットII 究極神拳, Mōtaru konbatto tsū jyūkyoku shinken, "Mortal Kombat II: Ultimate Godly Fist") JP ; this subtitle was also used for the Japanese release of the Sega 32X port.

The game was also featured in several compilation releases, including Midway Arcade Treasures 2 for the GameCube, PlayStation 2 and Xbox, Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox as a hidden and unlockable Easter egg, Midway Arcade Treasures: Extended Play for the PlayStation Portable, and Mortal Kombat Arcade Kollection [5] [45] for the Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Another compilation release, for the Nintendo DS, was canceled. [46] Arcade 1Up released a home arcade cabinet compilation that included the game, as well as the original Mortal Kombat and Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3. [47]



Mortal Kombat II proved to be an enormous commercial success and even a cultural phenomenon. [48] In the first week of its release, the game made sales to $50 million, which Acclaim Entertainment said was "The largest introduction of a video game in history". Distribution of over 2.5 million copies around 15,000 stores required 65 trucks and 11 jumbo jets. [49]

WMS Industries, owner of Midway at the time, reported its 1993 sales in the quarter ending December 31 rose to $101 million from $86 million and said much of its revenue gain was related to the sale of the arcade version of MKII. [50] By 1996, the number of arcade machines sold approached 25,000 units; at that time, arcade games that sold 5,000 units were considered strong titles (Midway printed special T-shirts to celebrate 300 machines being manufactured in one day [51] ) and an arcade cabinet cost $3,0004,000. [52] MKII was considered an arcade game of the year, [53] taking over from the original Mortal Kombat.

On the day of the release of the game's first four versions for cartridge-based console systems (Sega's Genesis and Game Gear and Nintendo's SNES and Game Boy), dubbed "Mortal Friday" (September 9, 1994), [54] [55] an unprecedented number of more than 2.5 million copies were shipped to be distributed, with the best opening-week sales in video game history at that point. [56] Acclaim's analysts expected that the number of copies sold would reach at least 2.5 million within the first few weeks of release (at an average retail price of $60) [57] and the sales to top $150 million by the end of the year. [33] [58] First-week sales of over $50 million surpassed the initial box office results of that season's Hollywood film blockbusters, such as Forrest Gump , True Lies , The Mask and The Lion King . [59] [60] Mortal Kombat II became the world's best-selling video game (until it was eclipsed by Donkey Kong Country , released in November 1994) [61] and the Genesis version sold 1.78 million copies in the United States alone, along with an additional 1.51 million American copies of the game for the SNES. [62] By 2002, estimated gross sales of Mortal Kombat II home video games exceeded $400 million. [61] Re-released in 2007, the PSN version has continued to occupy the service's top ten monthly sales chart nearly three years later in February 2010. [63]


Aggregate scores
GameRankings SMD: 86% [64]
SNES: 86% [65]
Metacritic PS3: 72/100 [66]
Review scores
CVG SMD: 97% [67]
SNES: 96% [67]
ARC: 93% [68]
32X: 93% [69]
GB: 90% [67]
SGG: 88% [67]
EGM SNES: 8.25/10 [70]
SMD: 7.25/10 [70]
SGG: 7/10 [71]
GB: 6/10 [71]
SSAT: 5.75/10 [72]
Famitsu SNES: 28/40 [73]
SMD: 22/40 [74]
GB: 18/40 [73]
Game Informer SSAT: 7/10 [75]
GamePro SNES: 20/20 [76]
SMD: 17.5/20 [76]
SGG: 16.5/20 [77]
GB: 15/20 [77]
GamesMaster SMD: 94% [78]
GameSpot PS3: 7.9/10 [79]
IGN 32X: 7.8/10 [80]
PS3: 7.3/10 [81]
Next Generation SNES: Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svg [82]
PC: Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg [83]
32X/SSAT: Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svg [84] [85]
Amiga Format AMI: 90% [86]
CU Amiga AMI: 95% [87]
Mean Machines Sega 32X: 92% [88]
SMS: 80% [89]
Sega Saturn Magazine SSAT (Pre-release): 93% [90]
Star full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svg [91]
VG&CE SNES: 10/10 [92]
32X: 9/10 [93]
GB: 8/10 [92]
SMD: 7/10 [92]
SGG: 7/10 [92]

The initial critical reception of Mortal Kombat II was overwhelmingly positive, [94] with Sega Visions describing the way in which the sequel was directed as "sheer brilliance," [95] and Nintendo Power calling it "the hottest fighter ever." [96] Tony Brusgul of The Daily Gazette opined the "incredible" hype surrounding the game was "well deserved," describing it as "a perfect blend of great graphics, action and violence." [97] In his review of the arcade release, Rik Skews of Computer + Video Games (C+VG) wrote: "the only true rival to Street [F]ighter II" returned "in a sequel that bites off the head of the original." [68]

Regarding the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive version, Mark Patterson of C+VG wrote that "Probe has done an incredible job with this conversion. Everything is here, and I mean everything." [67] Sushi-X of Electronic Gaming Monthly (EGM) called it "a great translation considering its limitations," [56] although a reviewer for The Detroit News felt "very disappointed" with this port and recommended the SNES version instead, [56] which C+VG declared "the most perfect coin-op conversion ever." [98] The four reviewers of EGM hailed the SNES version as a "near-perfect" translation of the arcade game. While commenting that its graphics and sounds are not as good as those of the SNES version, they held the Genesis version to be an outstanding port as well. [70] A reviewer for The Baltimore Sun called the SNES version "the best game I've ever played - a true translation," [56] while Patterson noted it was the bloodiest game Nintendo has yet allowed to be released. [67]

Regarding the portable console ports, Patterson stated that "no Game Boy owner should go without this" and called the Game Gear version "still the best handheld beat-'em up" on the market despite all the content that was not present in this version of the game. [67] EGM reviewers concurred that the Game Gear version "has eye-popping graphics, and great control - so much so that you won't believe this is a portable," but were less enthusiastic about the Game Boy version. Though they commented that it is better than most fighting games for the system, two of their four reviewers felt that it was not worth getting with the game available on much more powerful platforms. [71] Next Generation stated about SNES version of the game that "with full creative license, Acclaim has produced possibly the best arcade conversion ever." [82]

Critical reception of the Amiga version was also mostly very favorable, including Ed Lawrence of CU Amiga declaring that "every person who own an Amiga has to own Mortal Kombat 2. In terms of revitalising the Amiga market, this is far more important than any Commodore buy-out could ever be." [87] In a rare dissenting opinion, Jonathan Nash of Amiga Power dismissed MKII as "a clearly nonsensical title," recommending to "buy Shadow Fighter instead." [99] The later PC version was also well-received, with Next Generation stating that "if you like fighting games, this is the best that's available." [83]

About the 32X version, IGN's Levi Buchanan stated that "if you do not have a SNES, this is the home version of MKII to get." [80] In contrast, GamePro remarked that the 32X version offered too little improvement over the Genesis version, even failing to correct the control shortcomings, and was technically poor given the 32X's capabilities. [100] In a review of the 32X version of the game, Next Generation opined that "MKII is a great game, but it's a serious case of 'been there, done that!'" [84] Brazilian magazine Ação Games gave the 32X version 5 out of 5 on all six categories. [101]

Reviewing the CD-ROM based Saturn port, EGM commented that the graphics are identical to the arcade version but that there are missing sound effects and "unbearable" slowdown when first performing a special move. They rated it the best home version of the game to date but felt that with Mortal Kombat II having considerably aged by this point, any port needed to be near arcade perfect to stand out. [72] Next Generation felt that the Saturn version was arcade perfect, but that the Mortal Kombat series as a whole was grossly overrated and lacked any gameplay innovations to make it stand out from other fighting games. They summarized that "if you are a fan of the game (and you know who you are), then the Saturn version is everything you can hope for - an arcade-perfect translation - and yet, there is nothing outside of a flashy presentation and a little gore to recommend this game over a million others just like it." [85] Scary Larry of GamePro agreed that the Saturn port "duplicates the arcade version perfectly", but argued that the slowdown and load times make the game frustrating to play. He concluded that the conversion would make a decent holdover until Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 hit the Saturn, but fails to measure up to Mortal Kombat 3 on the PlayStation. [102] Sega Saturn Magazine was extremely disappointed with the final version of the Saturn port, calling it "much worse than any of the versions seen on the cartridge format," [91] as opposed to the vastly superior pre-release version they had reviewed five months earlier. [90]


Mortal Kombat II received numerous annual awards from gaming publications. Game Players gave it the titles of "Best Genesis Fighting Game", "Best SNES Fighting Game" and "Best Overall SNES Game" of 1994. [103] The staff of Nintendo Power ranked MKII as the second (SNES) and fifth (Game Boy) "Top Game" of 1994, [40] while the magazine's readers voted it to receive the 1995's Nintendo Power Awards for "Best Tournament Fighter (all Nintendo platforms)" and "Best Play Control (Game Boy)", [104] with the game having been nominated by the staff also in the categories "Worst Villain" (positively, an equivalent of "Best Hero") and "Best Overall (all Nintendo platforms)". [105] VideoGames named MKII as the "Best Fighting Game" of 1994, also awarding it second place in the categories "Best Super NES Game" and "Best Arcade-to-Home Translation". [106] Other awards included "The Best of the Show (Super NES)" for the SCES '94 from GamePro [107] and "Bloodiest Game of 1994" from EGM. [108]


As in the case of the first Mortal Kombat game, the content of Mortal Kombat II became the subject of a great deal of controversy regarding violent video games. Nancian Cherry of Toledo Blade wrote that both games had "an army of critics too: people upset by the bone-crunching, blood-spurting, limb-ripping violence depicted on the small screen." [109] According to IGN, "Mortal Kombat II wore its notoriety as a badge of honor, boasting about it in promotional materials, and even parodying it in-game." [110] The game was banned in Germany, [111] where MKII was put in the index by the Federal Department for Media Harmful to Young Persons (BPjM) and all versions of the game except for the Game Boy version [112] were subjected to being confiscated from the nation's market for violating the German Penal Code by showing excessive violence and cruel acts against representations of human beings. Due to regional censorship, the game was also released with green-colored blood and black-and-white fatality sequences in Japan; it was at that time a unique occurrence of a western game being censored in Japan, not the reverse. [42] Years later, Boon recalled: "I've always had the position that the rating system was a good idea and should be put in place. Once Mortal Kombat II came out, there was a rating system in place. We were an M-rated game, and everybody knew the content that was in there, so it became almost a non-issue." [14] Tobias agreed, saying that they "were content with the M for mature on our packaging." [113]

There were also some other controversies. In 1994, Guy Aoki, president of Media Action Network for Asian Americans (MANAA), criticized the game for allegedly perpetuating existing stereotypes of Asians as martial arts experts with the game's portrayal of several of its characters. Allyne Mills, a publicist at Acclaim, responded to this by stating: "This is a fantasy game, with all different characters. This is a martial arts game which comes from Asia.[ sic ] The game was not created to foster stereotypes." [114] Critical studies professor Marsha Kinder accused the game of "a misogynist aspect to the combat," alleging that "in MKII, some of the most violent possibilities are against women. Also, their fatality moves are highly eroticised." [115] Members of Mortal Kombat II cast (Daniel Pesina, Philip Ahn, and Katalin Zamiar, as well as Sonya's actress Elizabeth Malecki), seeking additional royalties for the game's home ports, sued Midway, Williams, Nintendo of America, Sega of America and Acclaim Entertainment for misuse of their likenesses in an unauthorized way in two different cases in 1996 and 1997, losing both of them. [116] [117] [118] After that, Pesina (who sought $10 million for his role in both games, after being paid several thousand) agreed to participate in the BloodStorm advertisement photo shoot attacking Mortal Kombat. He later recalled, "I don't think [the ad] actually upset people at Midway. I think it more upset some of the hardcore Mortal Kombat fans." [119]


Arguably the best Western fighting game to date, and certainly the title that defined Mortal Kombat as a brand, this game launched a thousand imitators en route to becoming one of the most famous -- and infamous -- video games ever made. Its technical and artistic mastery is only matched by its gushing gore. [120]

GamePro in 2007

According to IGN's Leif Johnson, 1994 "was the year of games like Doom and Mortal Kombat II". [121] Over the following years, multiple publications acclaimed Mortal Kombat II as one of the best video games ever. It was ranked as the 97th top game of all time by the staff of Game Informer in 2001, [122] as the 38th most important video game of all time by the staff of GamePro in 2007, [120] and as the 32nd best video game of all time by The Boston Phoenix in 2010. [123] Featuring it in their 2003 video game hall of fame series, the staff of GameSpot wrote: "Mortal Kombat II was so much better, as a sequel, than it had to be that it absolutely deserves a place in the pantheon of all-time classics." [3]

Many publications also listed Mortal Kombat II among the best video games of its genre or era. It was ranked as the third best fighting game by the staff of GamePro [124] and the ninth best fighting game of all time by Rich Knight of Cinema Blend in 2008, [125] as the third top fighting game of all time by Marissa Meli of UGO [126] and the second best 2D fighting game ever made by Robert Workman of GamePlayBook in 2010, [127] and as the third best fighting game of all time by Peter Rubin of Complex in 2011. [128] It was also ranked as the 53rd best game on any Nintendo platform by the staff of Nintendo Power in 1997, [129] featured among the 100 best games of the 20th century by Jakub Kralka of Benchmark in 2009, [130] and ranked as the tenth best 16-bit game ever by McKinley Noble of PC World that same year. [131]

The game also received accolades for its various conversions. Mortal Kombat II was included among the ten best arcade games by Wirtualna Polska, [132] and ranked as the fifth top arcade game by the staff of GameTrailers in 2009, [133] as the 31st top arcade game of all time by the staff of GameSpy in 2011, [134] and as the sixth best arcade game of the 1990s by Complex in 2013. [135] Regarding the 16-bit console versions, MKII was ranked as the fourth best ever Genesis game by Complex [136] and as the 19th best Genesis game by GamesRadar, [111] as well as the 12th best ever SNES game by Rich Knight of Complex [137] and as the 25th top game for the SNES by Richard George of IGN; [138] in 1995, SNES magazine Super Play also ranked it as the best sequel on the platform. [139] In Poland, where the Amiga was the most popular gaming platform of the early 1990s, MKII was ranked as the ninth best ever Amiga game by Michał Wierzbicki of CHIP [140] and as the 22nd best Amiga game by PSX Extreme editor-in-chief Przemysław Ścierski. [141]

Most hard-core fans agree that Mortal Kombat II is the best in the entire series. Midway improved on every single aspect and ... inspired a horde of also-rans. [2]

GameSpot in 2002

GamesRadar called it "the point when the series became great." [142] In 2007, GamesRadar included four elements of this game - Dan Forden's "Toasty!" effect during an uppercut (also ranked as the 11th funniest moment in video games by Rich Knight of Complex in 2012), [143] Friendship and Babality finishing moves, and the ceiling spikes Stage Fatality - among the ten greatest things about Mortal Kombat. [144] Reviewing the PlayStation 3 release in 2007, IGN's Jeff Haynes stated that "Mortal Kombat II still manages to stand up almost 15 years later as one of the best arcade fighters around." [81] As late as 2009, many fans still considered MKII to be the best title in the series. [131] According to a 2011 article by Mike Harradence of PlayStation Universe, the "bigger, bolder and bloodier" game remains "a firm fan favourite among MK aficionados." [145] That year, IGN's Richard George wrote that "Mortal Kombat II is considered by many to be the pinnacle of the series" and called it "still one of the most fun 16-bit fighters to play." [138] In 2013, Rich Knight and Hanuman Welch of Complex wrote that "Mortal Kombat II took everything we loved about the original and magnified it by about a million. ... We still love this game." [135] That same year, Knight and Gus Turner from the same magazine also ranked it as the sixth best 2D fighting game of all time, stating: "Truth be told, the latest MK has nothing on this one. Nothing. A step up from the original in every way, MK II was, and still is, a solid, violent game that's an essential title to grab for any serious fan of fighting games." [146] In 2014, Kevin Wong of Complex wrote: "Today, we remember Mortal Kombat II for its anarchic spirit—the game was endlessly intriguing and weird, and it had an uneasy atmosphere—anything could happen at any given moment. Critics derided Mortal Kombat as meaningless shock value, but its sequel proved those naysayers wrong. Mortal Kombat II was a Flawless Victory—irreverent, hilarious, and horrific in equal measures." [147]


Rumored content

While many games have been subject to urban legends about secret features and unlockable content, these kinds of myths were particularly rampant among the dedicated fan community of Mortal Kombat in connection with Mortal Kombat II. [2] According to GameSpy, "the [arcade gaming] community was abuzz about myriad secrets both true and false." [134] The game's creators did little to dispel those rumors that included supposed "Nudality" or "Sexuality" finishing moves for Kitana and Mileena, Shang Tsung's ability to transform into Kano and Goro, a chance to fight Sonya after defeating Jade in a specific way, and "Hornbuckle" being featured as an additional secret character. [3] [5] [110] [148] [149]

Some of them were eventually implemented in subsequent MK games. Among these rumors to be adapted later were the Animalities (used in Mortal Kombat 3 and its updates) and an ability to throw an opponent into the mouth of a tree in the Living Forest stage (first used in Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks). [110] [150] [151] Rumored characters included a red female ninja character (actually just a glitch that reportedly turned Kitana's outfit from blue to red[ citation needed ]), who was dubbed "Scarlet" by fans and was officially introduced as Skarlet in 2011's Mortal Kombat, [152] [153] and the male ninja Ermac that originated from a misinterpreted indicator in the original game's audits menu, and was teased in MKII before finally becoming playable in Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 . [5] [153] A nameless, flaming palette swap of Liu Kang seen in the background of the Pit II stage, initially dubbed as "Torch" by fans, officially debuted in Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance as a secret character Blaze that later became the final boss of Mortal Kombat: Armageddon . [150]

Some elements of Mortal Kombat II (such as the characters of Kitana and Shao Kahn) are featured in the 1995 film Mortal Kombat. It was, nevertheless, mostly based on the first game.

The plot and characters of the game served as the basis for the 2005 spin-off game Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks, a beat 'em up title which follows Liu Kang and Kung Lao as they fight their way through Outworld to defeat Shao Kahn. Some of the plot of Shaolin Monks, such as the death of Jade, is not compatible with the general Mortal Kombat game series.

The events of Mortal Kombat II, along with the first Mortal Kombat and Mortal Kombat 3 (including its expansions), were later retold in the 2011 fighting game Mortal Kombat, which was as an effective reboot of the series. In it, Raiden uses time travel to revisit the tournaments from the original games in the series in order to change the future in the aftermath of Armageddon. [154] The ladder/arcade mode of this game can follow the same order of bosses as in MKII (with Shang Tsung, Kintaro and Shao Kahn as the final three opponents, although Goro will often be the ninth opponent instead of Kintaro) and its controls and Fatality system are most reminiscent of MKII. Classic costumes from MKII were also brought back as alternate outfits for female ninja characters in the PlayStation Vita version. [155]

Mortal Kombat II was to be one of the three games remade in HD in the cancelled fighting game Mortal Kombat HD Arcade Kollection. [156] [157] However, only a simple compilation game titled Mortal Kombat Arcade Kollection was released instead.


  1. The arcade version also contains a hidden game of Pong . [2] [5]
  2. Jax was originally going to be named Stryker, a name that would later be used for another character in the next sequel. [5] [12]
  3. Previously a palette swap of Sub-Zero with Scorpion and Sub-Zero's moves, Reptile has been made into a distinct character and given his own moves. [5]
  4. Jade is a green palette swap of Kitana who is invulnerable to projectiles. Subsequent MK titles would establish her as a close friend and partner of Kitana.
  5. Noob Saibot's name stems from the names of MK creators Boon and Tobias spelled backwards. Subsequent games reveal that he was the original Sub-Zero who was turned into an evil wraith after being killed by Scorpion.
  6. Smoke is a gray palette swap of Sub-Zero (though he uses Scorpion's fighting stance) who emits puffs of smoke from his body and also moves faster than normal characters. Subsequent games reveal that he is a fellow ninja from Sub-Zero's clan.
  7. 1993's Super Street Fighter II: The New Challengers added Cammy to the roster.
  8. One of them is "Fergality", performed by selecting Raiden and fighting on the Armory stage; when successfully executed, the opponent transforms into a smoking character with an oversized head of Probe Entertainment's Fergus McGovern. [39]

Related Research Articles

Shao Kahn Mortal Kombat character

Shao Kahn is a video game character introduced in Mortal Kombat II, and is a recurring character and one of the main antagonists of the video game series and extended franchise. Shao Kahn is depicted as a brutal warlord who is the Emperor of the mystical realm Outworld. Feared for his godlike strength and knowledge of black magic, he seeks to conquer all of the realms of the Mortal Kombat universe and merge them with Outworld.

Mileena Mortal Kombat character

Mileena was a player and occasional boss character from the Mortal Kombat series of fighting games. A dual sai-wielding assassin, she acts as the evil twin and magenta palette swap of Princess Kitana in Mortal Kombat II in 1993. She has been promoted throughout the Mortal Kombat games as its semi-ironic sex symbol, especially since Mortal Kombat: Deception when she began a pattern of wearing more revealing outfits.

Rain (<i>Mortal Kombat</i>) character in the "Mortal Kombat" series

Rain is a fictional character in the Mortal Kombat fighting game franchise by Midway Games. Originating as a palette-swapped joke red herring inserted into Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 by Mortal Kombat co-creator Ed Boon in order to stir up fan interest in the game, he became a playable character in the follow-up title Mortal Kombat Trilogy.

Baraka  (<i>Mortal Kombat</i>) playable character of Mortal Kombat

Baraka is a fictional character in the Mortal Kombat fighting game series by Midway Games. He was introduced in Mortal Kombat II in 1993 as an unpredictable warrior in service of Outworld emperor Shao Kahn. He belongs to a race of nomadic mutants called Tarkatan, later revealed in Mortal Kombat: Deception to be a crossbreed between Netherealm demons and denizens of the wastelands of Outworld. His most distinctive characteristic, like most other members of his race, is a pair of long retractable blades that extend from his forearms.

Jade (<i>Mortal Kombat</i>) Mortal Kombat character

Jade is a fictional character from the Mortal Kombat fighting game series by Midway Games. Debuting in 1993's Mortal Kombat II as an unplayable secret character who was a green palette swap of Kitana and Mileena, Jade made her first playable appearance in Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3. She has since become a regular supporting character in the franchise, appearing on series merchandise in addition to alternate Mortal Kombat media, such as comic books and the feature film Mortal Kombat: Annihilation.

Jax (<i>Mortal Kombat</i>) Mortal Kombat character

Jackson Briggs is a fictional character from the Mortal Kombat fighting game franchise by Midway Games. Since his playable debut in Mortal Kombat II as the physically-imposing United States Special Forces superior of Sonya Blade, he has become a mainstay in the series canon, appearing in nearly every subsequent series installment, in addition to being the protagonist of the action-adventure spinoff title Mortal Kombat: Special Forces, and was one of the eleven characters representing the series in the crossover game Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe. His most distinctive features in the game are his metal bionic arms, which first appeared in Mortal Kombat 3.

Kitana Mortal Kombat character

Kitana Kahn is a fictional character from the Mortal Kombat media franchise. She was introduced as one of the new player characters in the fighting game Mortal Kombat II in 1993. Since then, Kitana appeared in a majority of Mortal Kombat series' video games and its other media, including the films Mortal Kombat and Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, and the series Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm, Mortal Kombat: Konquest, and Mortal Kombat: Legacy, becoming one of the most popular and recognizable characters of the franchise.

Kung Lao fictional character

Kung Lao is a fictional character in the media franchise Mortal Kombat. A major hero in the Mortal Kombat series, introduced as a player character in the fighting game Mortal Kombat II in 1993. He is a former member of the White Lotus Society who stands in the shadow of his ancestor, the Great Kung Lao. Kung Lao is the brother of the series' male protagonist named Liu Kang and together they were the main characters and heroes of the spin-off game Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks. He gained considerable popularity and favorable critical reception, in large part because of his famous hat, which doubles as a weapon.

<i>Mortal Kombat 3</i> video game

Mortal Kombat 3 is a fighting video game developed by Midway Games and Atari Games and first released into arcades in 1995 as the third game in the Mortal Kombat series. As in the previous games, it has a cast of characters that players choose from and guide through a series of battles against other opponents. The game avoids the tournament storyline of its predecessors, as various warriors instead fight against the returning Shao Kahn, who has resurrected his bride Sindel and started an invasion of Earthrealm.

<i>Mortal Kombat Trilogy</i> 1996 video game

Mortal Kombat Trilogy is a fighting game released by Midway in 1996 as the second update to Mortal Kombat 3 for the PlayStation, Nintendo 64, Sega Saturn and PCs. Further versions were also released for the and R-Zone. It features a similar basic gameplay system and the same story as Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, but adds characters and stages restored from Mortal Kombat and Mortal Kombat II. New additions to the game included the "Aggressor" bar, and a new finishing move called Brutality, a long combination of attacks that ends with the opponent exploding. The game was met with mixed reviews upon release.

Fatality (<i>Mortal Kombat</i>) Finishing Move

A fatality is a gameplay feature in the Mortal Kombat series of fighting video games. It is a finishing move in which the victor of the final round in a match inflicts a brutal and gruesome execution onto their defeated opponent. Fatalities are performed after the announcer says "Finish Him/Her" by players entering, within a short time frame, specific button and joystick combinations while positioned a specific distance from the opponent. The Fatality and its derivations are arguably the most notable features of the Mortal Kombat series and have caused a large cultural impact and controversies.

Sheeva fictional character

Sheeva is a fictional character in the Mortal Kombat fighting game series created by Ed Boon and John Tobias. Making her first appearance in Mortal Kombat 3 (1995), she is of the multilimbed Shokan species from the otherworldly realm of Outworld, like Goro and Kintaro. She has served as the personal protector of Outworld emperor Shao Kahn's queen, Sindel, while harboring a bitter hatred for Motaro, who is of the Shokan's sworn enemies, the Centaurians. In the 2011 reboot, her role in the storyline is that of Kahn's bodyguard and jailer, holding Sonya Blade and Kitana captive on separate occasions.

Reptile (<i>Mortal Kombat</i>) character from Mortal Kombat

Reptile is a video game character from the Mortal Kombat fighting game franchise created for Midway Games by Ed Boon and John Tobias. He debuted in Mortal Kombat as a hidden opponent; it was the first fighting game to introduce a secret fighter, reached if the player fulfilled a set of requirements. He appeared in subsequent titles as a playable character, also appearing in the merchandise and other media related to the series.

Sonya Blade fictional Mortal Kombat character

Sonya Blade is a video game character in the Mortal Kombat fighting game franchise from Midway Games. Debuting in the original Mortal Kombat game from 1992, she was a late addition to the game following a decision that the game needed a female character. Within the series canon, she is the commanding officer of the United States Special Forces and later of a specialized U.S. government agency. Her goal in most of the games is to pursue and capture the villain Kano, as well as eliminate his criminal syndicate, the Black Dragon. In later games she is joined in this effort by her comrade Jax Briggs, and her and Johnny Cage's daughter Cassie Cage.

<i>Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3</i> video game

Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 is a fighting game in the Mortal Kombat series, developed and released by Midway to arcades in 1995. It is a standalone update of 1995's earlier Mortal Kombat 3 with an altered gameplay system, additional characters like the returning favorites Kitana and Scorpion who were missing from Mortal Kombat 3, and some new features.

Sindel Mortal Kombat character

Sindel is a fictional character in the Mortal Kombat fighting game series. She made her debut in Mortal Kombat 3 as the mother of Princess Kitana and the unwilling Queen of the evil emperor Shao Kahn. Despite being a supporting character with few overall playable appearances in the games, Sindel plays a vital part in the development of the series storyline, especially in MK3 and the 2011 reboot of the series.

<i>Mortal Kombat</i> Video game series and franchise

Mortal Kombat is an American media franchise centered on a series of video games, originally developed by Midway Games in 1992. The development of the first game was originally based on an idea that Ed Boon and John Tobias had of making a video game starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, but as that idea fell through, a fantasy-themed fighting game was created instead, nonetheless paying homage to him with nut-cracking movie star character Johnny Cage. Mortal Kombat was the first ever fighting game to introduce a secret fighter, reached if the player fulfilled a set of requirements.

<i>Mortal Kombat</i> (1992 video game) 1992 video game

Mortal Kombat is an arcade fighting game developed and published by Midway in 1992 as the first title in the Mortal Kombat series. It was subsequently released by Acclaim Entertainment for nearly every home platform of the time. The game focuses on several characters of various intentions who enter a martial arts tournament with worldly consequences. It introduced many key aspects of the Mortal Kombat series, including the unique five-button control scheme and gory finishing moves called Fatalities.

Liu Kang Fictional character from the Mortal Kombat fighting game series

Liu Kang is a fictional character in the Mortal Kombat fighting game series from Midway Games, introduced as one of the original seven player characters in the 1992 first game as a Shaolin monk who enters the Mortal Kombat tournament to save Earthrealm (Earth). Following his victory in the tournament, Liu Kang becomes the Mortal Kombat series' hero as the champion and chief defender of Earthrealm guided by his mentor, the thunder god Raiden.

Raiden (<i>Mortal Kombat</i>) Mortal Kombat character

Raiden is a video game character in the Mortal Kombat fighting game series by Midway Games. Making his official debut as one of the original seven playable characters in 1992's Mortal Kombat, Raiden is one of the central characters of the franchise. Based on the Japanese thunder god, Raijin, and portrayed in the series canon as the thunder god and appointed protector of Earthrealm, Raiden defends the planet from myriad otherworldly threats alongside his handpicked warriors. He commands many supernatural abilities such as teleportation, flight, and control of the elements.


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