The Definitive 50 SNES Games: #21 Mortal Kombat II

Click here to view our list of the Definitive 50 SNES games. Links to each video and write-up are included.

The original Mortal Kombat slammed arcades in 1992 and changed video games forever in the process. The game’s release helped fuel a video game moral panic in the early 1990s. Parents and politicians became convinced that children were being permanently damaged by playing violent video games, and as a result video games were corrupting society. The response led to the creation of the Entertainment Software Rating Board, or ESRB, by which all games are rated for the suitability of their content to this day.

The Super Nintendo’s port of the game avoided some of this controversy by being severely toned down. Nintendo had the developers remove much of what generated so much interest (both from fans and critics). The ruby red blood commonly spilled in other versions of the game was changed to grey sweat. The title’s infamous Fatalities were changed to “Finishing Bonuses” and severely reduced in gore. Despite graphical superiority to the Genesis version of the game, the SNES title was poorly received in comparison.

Nintendo avoided making the same mistake when it came time to port Mortal Kombat II. All of the glorious gore and bountiful bloody from the arcade version came along for the ride when the title was released September 9, 1994.

Mortal Kombat II takes 21st place on the list of Definitive 50 SNES games.

Like most of the fighting games of its era, Mortal Kombat II features one-on-one matches occurring in side view. Combinations of punches, kicks, jumps, and blocks must be strung together in order to beat down your opponent and claim victory.

Mortal Kombat‘s famed violence is in full force in this title. Players knock gobs of red out of one another as they battle. Defeated opponents can be disposed of through numerous gruesome ends thanks to the game’s infamous Fatalities.

The game features a vastly improved roster from the fairly thin one of its predecessor. Famed mortal combatants like Scorpion, Sub-Zero, and Johnny Cage are joined by new-comers like Baraka, Kitana, and Kung Lao.

Also present is Mortal Kombat‘s memorable use of real-life images for its player characters. Real actors were used to portray the violent gang of misfits available for play in this game.

Mortal Kombat II‘s ridiculous violence and kitschy graphics are worth checking out today, even if only as a reminder of the important part they played in a story that shaped the video game industry we love.

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