Mortal Kombat II (SNES)

Pub: Acclaim | Dev: Sculptured Software | September 1994 | 24 MEGS
Pub: Acclaim | Dev: Sculptured Software | September 1994 | 24 MEGS

First there was Mortal Monday (September 13, 1993). And then there was Mortal Friday (September 9, 1994). That of course was the infamous release date of one of the most eagerly anticipated SNES games of all time: Mortal Kombat II. Following the censored disappointment of the first game a year ago, would the sequel learn from the mistakes of the past or were they doomed to repeat it? Thankfully the game was allowed to be uncensored. I remember the days leading up to the release. It was one of the biggest gaming events of the year. And I’m happy to say that they got it mostly right this time around. It was the redemption all SNES Mortal Kombat fans were waiting for.


The craze could not be contained
The craze could not be contained

When Mortal Kombat first exploded onto the arcade scene in 1992, it made an immediate impact and became the talk of the town. Its unique digitized graphics, extreme violence and infamous Fatalities left a lasting imprint. But there were many who felt the gameplay wasn’t anything special. The following year Mortal Kombat II was unleashed and it changed everything. More fighters, more combos, more Fatalities and more secrets made even the biggest Mortal Kombat critics raise an eyebrow. Now not only did Mortal Kombat II have the novelty factor going for it but the gameplay too.

The craze could not be contained
The cover that haunted my youth

In December of 1993, my brother Kevin subscribed to EGM. Our first issue was #54, January 1994. I’ll never forget coming home from school that one day, with dark clouds lingering overhead, opening my mailbox and seeing this striking cover staring right back at me. The game logo jumped off the cover as if it were in 3D. I couldn’t take my eyes off of the menacing monster, Baraka. He was an odd combination of looking cool yet also very cheesy. My mind couldn’t process which one won out, but I knew it struck an emotional chord. As much as I loved Street Fighter II at the time, Mortal Kombat was the more violent and gritty alternative. It was like ECW vs. WWF in the mid ’90s. To this day I vividly remember standing there at my mailbox holding this issue in my hand and admiring the cover for what felt like 10 minutes. Finally, I decided I better head in before the rain comes pouring down. Kevin would kill me if I got the goods damaged. I suddenly imagined him giving me his own version of a Fatality. And with that, I tucked the magazine under my arm like a running back and raced inside.

Mortal Kombat II was everywhere you looked
Mortal Kombat II was everywhere you looked

Just six months later, EGM put out their 60th issue in June of 1994. Once again featuring Mortal Kombat II on the cover, #60 was an absolute jaw dropper. This time it was all about the Mortal Kombat II home ports. What a time it was to be a 10 year old boy growing up in suburban America. I was smack dab in the middle of the fighting game golden age as well as the Super Nintendo’s prime. And with summer not far behind, which promised endless lazy days playing video games galore with my best friend Nelson, it was a special period of my life that a small part of me today every now and then still yearns for. The art of those Mortal Kombat characters were amazing. Inside there was a blow-out preview on all four home ports. They used a color coordinated border around each picture to indicate which home port you were looking at. I still recall it was ORANGE for SNES, which just seemed like a right fit. My brother and I read that article easily 100 times over.


What a change of heart for family-oriented Nintendo
What a change of heart for family-oriented Nintendo
At long last, redemption was ours
At long last, redemption was ours
Note: this was originally made on September 9, 2014
Note: this was originally made on September 9, 2014







SNES owners breathe a huge sigh of relief when it was confirmed that the SNES port of Mortal Kombat II would be uncensored. Not only were the Fatalities left intact but each character now had two to choose from. It only made sense to make everything about this sequel superior to the first. And Mortal Kombat II delivered just that; players marveled to the sadistic joy of severing limbs and heinous acts of decapitation. It was quite the 180 for Nintendo and looking back, part of me still can’t believe that this turned out as faithful to the arcade as it did. “SUPERB!”








Remember the Pit Fatality from the first game? The sequel has even more Stage Fatalities! The Dead Pool is my favorite one. Few things are as sweet as knocking a bastard into the green acidic ooze.








Traditional Pit Fatality for the purists out there.

I miss the traditional spikes though
I do miss the traditional spikes though







Spikes, eh? Here are your GAWD DAMN spikes!

What goes up must come down... or not
What goes up must come down… or not
Turn your opponent into... a baby?! Strange but true
Turn your opponent into… a baby?! Strange but true
Don't behead 'em... BEFRIEND 'EM!
Don’t behead them… BEFRIEND ‘EM!
Totally bonkers but it adds some humor to the game
Totally bonkers but it adds some humor to the game


Life was good. It was a great time to be a kid  ^_^
Life was good. It was a great time to be a kid  ^_^


I hope you weren't too fond of Sonya and Kano, though
Hope ya weren’t too fond of Sonya and Kano though


Dead Pool
Dead Pool

As a kid I thought the acidic pool looked so realistic. Even today it still looks pretty stunning to me. Best of all, it never gets old throwing someone into the burning acid.

The Living Forest
The Living Forest

One of the all time great fighting game stages, the Living Forest gives Mortal Kombat II a ghoulish and creepy vibe. The sound of the evil trees growling is embedded in my soul. Love how menacing and unsettling those unholy growls sounded…

The Portal
The Portal

Speaking of creepy, the Shadow Priests look like they jumped straight out of a deranged horror flick. I’ve always hated cloaked figures growing up and these bastards did nothing but perpetuate that childhood fear.

Seriously creepy with a capital C!
Seriously creepy with a capital C!
The Wastelands
The Wastelands

Welcome to the barren and desolated decaying mess of the Outworld. Cloaked in darkness and shadows, this bleak backdrop is as hopeless as it can get.

The Pit II
The Pit II

While Mortal Kombat II does almost everything better than the original, not so with The Pit. I miss the nice simplicity of the original pit stage. But it’s pretty cool to see a guy burning on fire in the background I have to admit. Adds that visceral punch to this stage but I still prefer the original one.

The Armory
The Armory

Sorry, this stage kind of sucks :P

The Tower
The Tower

Big Brother is watching you each step of the way, even up here. Scale the wicked Tower to continue your quest to face Mr. Big Evil himself, Shao Kahn.

The Kombat Tomb
The Kombat Tomb

Any stage that offers a “Stage Fatality” is automatically awesome by default. You can impale your foe on the spikes above. OUCH!

Kahn's Arena
Kahn’s Arena

The emperor of the Outworld sits high on his throne, watching with great amusement as opponents rip each other limb from limb. On each side Kano and Sonya can be seen tied up. Nice cameo and fan service there!

Goro's Lair
Damn straight!

Return to Goro’s decrepit lair of despair. The big guy is long gone but in his place is the deadly hidden character, Jade. More on her later.















Johnny’s projectile now curves high or low. I love how it’s got that sweet trailing action. Cage’s trusty Shadow Kick returns and his brand new Shadow Uppercut knocks fools out of the air.













Searching for your better half? So is Jax…















Similar to Sagat, Liu Kang’s fireballs now hit either high or low. His Super Kick makes Shawn Michaels jealous and his Bicycle Kick allows him to work out his abs as he’s smashing your face in.



















Easily one of the most memorable and coolest Fatalities in Mortal Kombat lore.















Rayden, the Thunder God, appropriately has some lightning-based attacks. He can also teleport and launch himself torpedo style in M. Bison fashion.







Uppercut from Hell.















Scorpion’s Harpoon Spear is back in all its glory. “GET OVER HERE!” Part man and part ghost, he can teleport from one side to the other.













Ripping his mask off to reveal his true grotesque nature, Scorpion roasts his victim. They spaz out before exploding into tiny charred pieces.















Freeze your competition with his trusty Iceball. The Slide is good for a sneak attack and his new Ground Freeze makes fighting Sub-Zero a slippery slope (sorry).







Iceman Cometh.















Scraping his blades together, the Blade Spark gives Baraka a long distance advantage. Up close he can damn near take his rival’s head off as well as catch them in a bloody game of slice and dice. Baraka is easily one of my favorite new characters.













Baraka impales his victim with his razor sharp blades, lifts them high and sneers as he watches them slide down ever so slowly. As a kid I could not believe this made it to the SNES uncensored. Grisly and graphic!















Making the most out of his powerful fist, Jax’s Ground Pound sends forth a devastating blast. His Sonic Wave makes the coolest sound effect. Up close he’ll grab and pummel you senseless.







Horror film aficionados can’t help but love this one. Talk about a serious headache…















Kitana’s oriental fans contain hidden razor blades. Whether you use her fans to slice and dice or lift them up for a combo attack, Kitana has developed quite the FANboy following [FANtastic… -Ed.]













Someone once asked Kitana for some “head.” She has been happy to comply ever since.





















Anyone can throw a projectile, but few can control them like Kung Lao does. Press up or down to guide his hat. His Whirlwind Spin would make Mechagodzilla proud. A quick striking kick and teleportation round out his arsenal.

Siiiiick. Speaking of sick, see below…





























Shades of Kung Lao from the film Tai Chi Hero!
Shades of Kung Lao from the film Tai Chi Hero















Throw her sai either on ground or in mid-air. Mileena can tuck and roll with the best of ‘em. Her Teleport Kick is a good way to surprise overly aggressive opponents.













Reminds me of a Dateline special I once saw on young anorexic girls who binge eat and then force themselves to vomit. This repulsive Fatality reveals Mileena’s ugly kisser.

Shades of the Slit Mouth Woman!
Shades of the Slit Mouth Woman!















Reptile is so cool. His Acid Spit fits the character perfectly and is one of my favorite projectiles around. He emulates Sub-Zero’s Slide and his Force Ball briefly suspends his opponent, leaving them wide open for possible combo strikes.

Reptile can also go invisible temporarily
Reptile can also go invisible temporarily



















Similar to Scorpion, this Fatality gives us a glimpse at the real Reptile behind the mask. After a hard fought battle there’s nothing quite like a tasty post-match meal…









Throw one, two or even up to three consecutive fireballs. It just keeps coming [That’s what she said -Ed.]







Shang Tsung will take your soul without consent.

Shang's greatest power is morphing into anyone
Shang’s greatest power is morphing into anyone




Shao, you ever thought of writing greeting cards?
Shao, you ever thought of writing greeting cards?
He's not very amused, I see...
He’s not very amused, I see…




During the ? screen, use only Low Kick to fight Jade.


There's also SMOKE and NOOB SAIBOT...
There’s also SMOKE and NOOB SAIBOT…
As kids we all thought he said WHOOPSIE!
As kids we all thought he said “WHOOPSIE!”




One of my favorite memories involving Mortal Kombat II took place in the winter of 1994. My best friend Nelson and I were so obsessed with the game that one morning before school began, we took turns on the playground pretending to be Shang Tsung. One of us would stick our hands out to emulate his fireball motion and the other one would lean back and breathe out. Our breath made it seem like “smoke” was coming out of our mouths. It captured the effect that Shang’s fireballs created upon impact. Damn, we were such dorks… [were? -Ed.]


My poor Crash Dummy :P
My poor Crash Dummy

In the early ’90s I was infatuated with the Incredible Crash Dummies. Its toy line stood out to me. With the press of a button, your Crash Dummy action figure would explode with limbs flying every which way. It wasn’t long before Tyco released a giant plush figure whose head and limbs were attached to Velcro. This led to new creative ways of torturing your Crash Dummy. On December 23, 1993, I finally got one from KB Toys. But rather than destroying my plush Crash Dummy buddy, I felt a bond with Spin and started to treat him as though he were my pet. Just… don’t ask. At the same time, Mortal Kombat II was pretty fresh in the arcades and reigning atop the gaming world. One weekend my out of town Gaming Crew came down for yet another legendary sleepover. I sadly made the fatal mistake of leaving Spin out in plain sight. The guy we affectionately referred to as Sushi-X, upon seeing Spin, grabbed him and issued an ominous decree. “WATCH THIS.” I gasped in abject horror as Sushi-X proceeded to replicate Jax’s Arm Ripper Fatality.













Everyone cheered. I watched helplessly as my Gaming Crew began taking turns acting out various Mortal Kombat II Fatalities on poor ol’ Spin. I wanted to tell them to stop but I also didn’t want to come off as the weird guy who had bonded with his Crash Dummy buddy. It was quite the quandary. Acceptance of your esteemed peers, or become the laughingstock of the group? Sadly, cowardly self-preservation won out. The next 10 minutes consisted of them reenacting every single last Fatality on the poor little guy. Hey, boys will be boys.


My actual childhood Hollywood Video!
The actual Target my bro got Mortal Kombat II from

One of my favorite gaming memories revolves around the release date of Mortal Kombat II. It came out on MORTAL FRIDAY, September 9, 1994. I sprinted home as soon as school got out in order to make the trek to Target with my mom and brother. She had agreed to buy the game for us. It was rare in those days for her to buy us a game outside of a birthday or Christmas. Somehow even she knew the magnitude of Mortal Friday. I have many fond memories of the local Target in my childhood home town. In fact, it’s one of the few entities from the ’80s that still stands today in the same spot. Oh sure it’s been renovated over the years but even to this day whenever I pass by four or five times a year I can’t help but stare and smile. A wave of memories always come roaring back ^_^


My mom and I used to go to Target every Friday after school back in the ’90s. I have fond memories of entering through the back via the classic Garden Center. I rarely came through the front entrance. My mom always went here first too since she loved gardening. And I loved it because the entrance into the store inside the Garden Center always led you directly to the toy section! So it was a win-win for all. As corny as this may sound, I can still smell the distinct and rich smell of fertilizer whenever I close my eyes and think about Target’s Garden Center. Some childhood smells just stay with you!


It was a tradition of mine to hit the toy section first, followed by the magazine section and then the electronics department that housed the latest 16-bit titles. I always went through the Garden Center. My mom did her shopping while I ran around Target by myself. Looking back, it was such an innocent time in my life. I remembering gawking at the various giant LEGO play sets. I drooled at the latest Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toys and I would always bounce those silly looking bright bouncy balls that they kept stored in a cheap black plastic rack. I would then make my way over to the magazine aisle where I could thumb through the latest EGM and GameFan issues. Finally, I’d hit the game section to admire the latest and greatest. Good times.


After buying Mortal Kombat II on Mortal Friday, my brother and I spent that entire weekend playing it to death. We were blown away by what a great port it was. But we did have one small issue with it. For whatever reason, our copy was defected. Rayden’s electrocution special move didn’t work. Sure, it was kind of a shitty move anyway that left you wide open for attack if you missed, but details! We didn’t like the idea of owning a game where even one special move didn’t work properly. But it was late Sunday night and so we had to wait until Monday. My mom couldn’t take me right after school so I had to wait for my dad to come home later that night… setting the stage for one crazy Monday night…

I'll never forget the lights disappearing under my feet
I was a man on a mission

My dad had to work overtime that fateful Monday night, so when he finally arrived home and finished his late dinner it was already 9:45 PM. We rushed to Target hoping to get in before closing time. The Garden Center was already closed so this was one of those rare times I headed in through the front entrance. I still remember the image vividly of power walking down that long well-lit aisle all the way down to the electronics department. I was a man on a mission as I clutched my defective copy of Mortal Kombat II. The lights reflecting off the floor passed under my feet as I power walked to the game section before they could close at 10. Once there I explained to them about the game’s defect. As I finished explaining, a voice blared over the PA system: “Attention Target customers, we will be closing in 5 minutes.” The worker I spoke to was a young buck in his early 20s. He gave me a funny look and then said, “Hey, I guess we can always check it.” I stood there waiting for him to take my game off the counter and to the back. But he never did. Instead he dropped a bombshell on me. “Hey kid, wanna come back there?”

Suddenly I had a backstage pass!
Suddenly I had a backstage pass!

Before I knew it the young college kid guided me and my dad through the backstage area of Target. Walking through the backstage tunnel felt quite surreal. Suddenly we were getting a sneak peek behind the scenes. As he led me and pops through that long hallway, I could only think to myself how awesome the whole thing felt. Finally, we came to a cozy staff room with some couches and a TV with a Super Nintendo plugged in. He threw my copy into the machine and away we went! It was absolutely surreal being backstage at one of my favorite childhood stores. After he confirmed that Rayden’s electrocution move didn’t work (he tried holding down HP for 2 seconds, then 4, then 6, then 20… none of them worked), he conceded and allowed me to exchange it for a working copy. He then most likely broke a law as he told me and my dad to hang tight. He ran off to snag a new Mortal Kombat II copy off the shelf so we can make sure it would not be defective as well. My dad and I suddenly found ourselves sitting there in Target’s staff room all by ourselves (as non employees). I remember just thinking to myself HOLY SHIT! I don’t think this is supposed to be happening but it was! As an 11 year old kid at the time it was frigging awesome.

All because this move didn't work in the first copy
All because this move didn’t work in the first copy

When he finally came back, I saw that he wasn’t alone. Not only did he have a nice new copy of Mortal Kombat II but yet another Target employee walked in with him. He was also a young college kid. I looked up at the clock and realized it was now past 10 — the store had closed! They tore open the new copy and fired it up. The two of them tested to make sure that Rayden’s electrocution move worked on this copy. It did. At this point more Target employees started pouring in and the staff room was suddenly swarming and buzzing with about 10 workers. My dad and I found ourselves right in the thick of it all. Before I knew it they even asked me if I was interested in playing a few rounds. HELL YEAH! Playing Mortal Kombat II with some cool random college guys past closing hours on a school night? SIGN ME UP! I looked at my dad, who was now standing in the corner looking on, and he nodded with a smile. I ended up playing about 10 matches with various Target employees! They let me play on even if I lost. I remember my first win caused the room to erupt as they gave me hi-fives and teased the guy I had somehow beaten like there was no tomorrow. Finally, we turned the game off and they gave us the exchange.

Best customer service ever
Best customer service ever

On our way out, and I’m not sure why but I remember this SO vividly, a lovely female employee asked me if I wanted something from the vending machine that hugged the wall at the end of the staff room. She told me and my dad it’s on the house. My dad got a Pepsi and I ended up getting an ice cold Sprite. We walked out of Target at around 10:30 that night, a solid half hour after they had officially closed. In our hands were two ice cold beverages and a new defect-free copy of SNES Mortal Kombat II. It was one of those magical nights from your childhood you can never forget. After all, how many kids can say they played Mortal Kombat II backstage at their local Target with some cool college cats? It’s a memory that has stuck with me ever since.

Looks like I wasn't the only one...
Looks like I wasn’t the only one…
Brian George from Indiana, you weren't alone...
Brian George from Indiana, you weren’t alone…
The Target guys and I were only 240 matches shy...
The Target guys and I were only 240 matches shy…



Mortal Kombat II fared extremely well with the critics. EGM rated it 8, 8, 8 and 9. GameFan gave it ratings of 85, 90 and 94%. Super Play rated it 90%. It was well received by nearly everyone. Tony Mott of Super Play fame said, “There’s a vast amount of playability lurking beneath its deceptive surface and in quality of conversion terms there’s little around to touch it.” K. Lee from GameFan declared “Mortal Kombat II is a 95% arcade to home translation. This is truly an Mortal Kombat fan’s dream come true.” Al Manuel of EGM called it “as close to the arcade as it’s gonna get” and Danyon Carpenter said simply, “Mortal Kombat II fans can finally shut up. Their game is here and what an excellent translation it is.” Well said, my friends. Well f*cking said.

Nintendo Power rated it the 53rd best game of all time
Nintendo Power rated it as the 53rd best game ever



It was only missing the names inside the bars
It was only missing the names inside the bars


Redemption never tasted so sweet
Redemption never tasted so sweet

The first Mortal Kombat was a disappointing port. Not just because it was censored but because there was a slight lag in the gameplay that kind of threw everything off a bit. Mortal Kombat II on the other hand thankfully got so much right. Crisp control and it was uncensored. It’s one of the best ports the Super Nintendo ever saw. From the moment my brother bought it on Mortal Friday, Mortal Kombat II became a permanent mainstay in our SNES collection. I think back to those times where my brother, our gaming crew and I would play this late into the night. We mastered all the Fatalities, tinkered with the Easter eggs and many evenings were spent happily glued to the glow of the TV set. Looking back on it, those were some of the best gaming days of my youth.

Twice the fun, twice the violence
Twice the fun, twice the violence, twice as nice

In some cases nostalgia can blind us. But in this case, Mortal Kombat II on the Super Nintendo holds up well even 20+ years later. The visuals were amazing for its time. Hell, they still look pretty damn good. The sound is well done and very memorable. From “FINISH HIM!!” to the eerie trees growling in the living forest, it is a true arcade-like experience. But most importantly, the gameplay is about as spot on as you can hope for a tap-tap Mortal Kombat affair to be. Unlike the first game, there’s no funky split second delay in control. Every once in a while that Mortal Kombat itch strikes. While there are other sequels with much bigger rosters and even more moves, Mortal Kombat II remains the one I most often reach for. It expanded on the first game enough yet it maintained a certain level of simplicity and purity that later sequels lacked. Those sequels became a bit unnecessarily convoluted (i.e. Animality and Brutality). Mortal Kombat II on the other hand hits the sweet spot. “EXCELLENT!”

Graphics: 9
Sound: 9
Gameplay: 9
Longevity: 9

Award4Overall: 9.0
Gold Award


Check out my YouTube MK II tribute video below
Check out my YouTube MK II tribute video below















Sweet dreams...
Sweet dreams…

Mortal Kombat (SNES)

Pub: Acclaim | Dev: Sculptured Software | September 1993 | 16 MEGS
Pub: Acclaim | Dev: Sculptured Software | September 1993 | 16 MEGS

Street Fighter II arrived on the scene in 1991 and arcade fighting games were never the same again. It jumpstarted a revolution and inspired many other companies to develop their own fighting games, hopeful for a slice of the pie. Midway changed the gaming industry on August 2, 1992, when they released Mortal Kombat. Featuring a more “realistic” look, buckets of gore, eye-popping Fatalities and an elaborate backstory, Mortal Kombat became nothing short of a phenomenon. It’s crazy to believe it’s almost been exactly 25 years to the day that this game first came out. It was a different era back then. And whether you liked or hated Mortal Kombat, it was the kind of game that elicited a reaction. That year Midway, Capcom and SNK all battled for arcade fighting game supremacy. What a time to be alive.



Who could ever forget the infamous ad campaign for MORTAL MONDAY? That, of course, was the big day the home ports of Mortal Kombat were set to be released. It was one of the most memorable campaigns to any video game ever. September 13, 1993 was the day Mortal Kombat finally came home. It was quite the moment and an amazing time to be a robust 10 year old boy growing up in suburban America. Whether you liked the game or not there’s no denying that the hyped release was a HAPPENING. Yup, no 16-bit gamer who grew up back then will ever forget those two infamous words, Mortal Monday. Good times.

This was originally made on September 13, 2013
PS- this was originally made on September 13, 2013

Indeed, it was a special time. SNES owners had been enjoying Street Fighter II Turbo for a month, and then Mortal Kombat joined the fray. I was 10 years old, loving the 5th grade and loving my SNES. Life was simple and life was good.


Ah, I miss early-mid '90s video gaming comic art...
Ah, how I miss early-mid ’90s video gaming comic art
"Now I am become Death, the Destroyer of Worlds..."
“Now I am become Death, the Destroyer of Worlds…”


Love this opening sequence!
Love this opening sequence!







You’re not the only one who grew up in the ’90s wanting to do that to Acclaim at some point. Thanks for making our dreams come true, Goro. You’re a real hero.




Indeed, there were only a measly 7 combatants to select from, but one could argue Street Fighter II had only 7 itself as well (Ryu and Ken had matching movesets). At least the two palette swaps here, Sub-Zero and Scorpion, have their own unique, distinct fighting styles.


It previewed the daunting road ahead in grand fashion
It previews the daunting road ahead in grand fashion


Nope, you certainly did not
Nope, you certainly did not

We didn’t quite understand the infamous FINISH HIM!! part when we first encountered Mortal Kombat in the arcades as kids. It was clear though that in those 3 seconds post-battle, you had the chance to do something. I’ll never forget the first time I saw somebody pull off Scorpion’s Fatality in the arcades. It was the first Fatality I witnessed and a moment in time that I will never forget. Everyone huddled around the arcade cab started screaming and basically losing their shit. We had never EVER seen anything like THAT before. It instantly put Mortal Kombat on the map. Say what you will about the game — it’s a gimmick, it’s a novelty, it’s a far cry from what constitutes as a “good” fighting game — but there’s NO denying that being a kid and seeing your very first Fatality back in 1992 was a moment you’d never forget. It’s just one of those epic defining moments in the ol’ video game memory bank. It’s right up there next to the first time you saw the two Barons of Hell bursting out of their pods from DOOM, or the rabid zombie dogs crashing through the window in the very first Resident Evil.




Yeah it's not the same but it's still pretty damn cool
Yeah it’s not the same but it’s still pretty damn cool



You find yourself on the inside but the battle has only just begun. You feel the intense burning eyes of over 20 monks tracking your every movement. In the far distance, high above, the creepy Shang Tsung looks on. I love the way the monks are all quietly bobbing away. Reminds me of all the kung fu flicks I watched as a kid growing up…


Ominous clouds linger overhead as you continue to prove your worth. The giant Buddha statue there is certainly a nice touch. If you can defeat your opponent here, the gates open to reveal the…


Only the best of the best are immortalized here with a life-sized statue. Goro’s gigantic statue eerily towers over the combatants, constantly reminding you of what terrors await at the end of the arduous road.


Lurking deep below in the pit are hundreds of razor sharp spikes. Many bodies have been mutilated when knocked over the precariously narrow platform ledge. It’s a very basic but effectively sadistic stage. One of the true Mortal Kombat classics. Gotta love it!


Under the watchful glare of Shang Tsung, you battle to the death for his twisted amusement. It’s genuinely creepy how he claps at the end of a round. The motion of the clapping is a bit erratic and just doesn’t seem right…

Shang Tsung gets closer with each step of the way...
Shang Tsung gets closer with each step of the way…

The skeletons adorned to the walls and glowing red eyes flickering in the dark say it all. Many heinous acts, far too horrible to speak of, have been conducted down here in this decrepit dungeon of DEATH and DESPAIR. The foul and putrid smell of decaying bones invade your senses. You would probably puke and gag if you weren’t busy trying to stay alive. Meanwhile, somewhere nearby the hideous monster Goro lurks…


Every fighting game had to have one back in the day
Every fighting game had to have one back in the day



Can’t help but love that name. Johnny Cage is a shallow narcissist who also happens to be a grand martial arts fiend. He’s capable of taking out a small army in the matter of seconds. Why did he enter the tournament? To garner more publicity toward his brand and to prove he’s truly the best in the universe. His fashion sense could use some work but hey, it was 1992.







Through years of intense training, Johnny can muster up so much chi that he’s able to unleash a lethal green flame from the palm of his hand. His trusty Shadow Kick produces so much force that you can actually see a shadow trail.


His Fatality has been sadly neutered.


Kano is nothing but a punk. Leader of the deadly Black Dragon clan, Kano believes Shang Tsung’s palace to be made of gold. He entered the tourney in order to find out if the rumor’s true or not.







Never one to shy away from violence, Kano’s Knife Throw travels fast and cuts even harder. He’ll do anything to gain the upper hand, including putting his very own body in harm’s way. This is clearly evident by his Cannon Ball where he throws caution to the wind. Eat your heart out, Blanka. Hell, Kano would.







Infamous for his vicious “rip their heart out” Fatality, Nintendo of America of course would not allow such a thing. Wish I could tell you the pillar there is blocking the heart graphic but it was sadly censored and Kano in fact doesn’t hold a heart at all. This makes the animation of him staring into his empty hand a bit awkward.


Who didn’t get a kick out of Liu Kang back in the day? This Bruce Lee wannabe is out to restore nobility and honor to the tournament, which has been tainted by the likes of madman Shang Tsung. Liu Kang once said, “Spikes don’t hit back… wait, actually, they sort of do… hmmm.”







Dragon Fire scorches its target. His lunging Dragon Kick darts across the screen in a flash, keeping opponents on their toes.







Another horribly neutered Fatality, he does a little fancy flip into an uppercut. Really?


In my gaming crew back in the day we used to joke about how one of our friends was secretly the elusive Sushi-X from EGM fame. We also thought another one of our friends, Tommy, moonlighted as Rayden. For a couple years there in the early-mid ’90s, we tried several times to sneak a rice hat onto Tommy’s head, always to no avail. I swear the dude was the spitting image of Rayden. Ah, those were the days…







Rayden’s Lightning Bolt is sure to electrify the competition (sorry). His infamous Super Man torpedo elicited many exaggerated “AH-LA-LA-AHH-LAAA!” yelps from fans back in the early ’90s.













Teleport from one side to the other to catch the opposition off guard. Start a fancy combo if you wish or simply nail them with an uppercut that sends them sky high!



















Rayden electrocutes his victim into a pile of dust. It’s a bit hard to pull off but it’s one of the better looking Fatalities in this port. Don’t mess with the Thunder God.


Ah, Scorpion. My friends and I — hell, everyone I knew growing up — always thought he was badass. But when we witnessed his Fatality for the very first time and saw that hideous skull behind the cool ninja mask, Scorpion officially became a legend among legends. This hombre is frigging awesome. Besides, he is responsible for three of gaming’s most iconic words: “GET OVER HERE!!”



















Scorpion’s infamous “GET OVER HERE!!” Spear is to Mortal Kombat what the Hadoken is to Street Fighter II. It’s one of the most iconic special moves in fighting game history. Scorpion can also teleport and quickly reappear attacking on the other side.



















Never before 1992 had I seen anything like this. There was a palpable buzz in that arcade hall the moment the screen went dark. Scorp takes off the mask, reveals his true horrific identity which naturally elicits a collective gasp from the crowd, *POOF* does his thing and the rest is history. It’s one of those legendary video gaming moments that you never forget.


Sonya was Miday’s answer to Capcom’s Chun-Li. You may scoff at her fashion sense but back in ’92 no one knew any better. Kind of scary, when you think about it.













Before Chun-Li’s Kikoken fireball you had Sonya Blade’s Energy Rings. Sonya also loves taking to the air as well as tossing her opponents with her mighty strong legs.













Brings a whole new meaning to “Kiss of Death.”


Sub-Zero is the man. Who doesn’t love ninjas, especially ones with ice powers? His longstanding rivalry with Scorpion is well documented.







Putting the big freeze on an opponent leaves him or her frozen for a few moments. This makes them ripe for the taking. Sub-Zero also has a sliding attack to keep his opponents honest.













While it’s not his uncensored arcade original Fatality of ripping out one’s bloody spinal cord, this more kid-friendly reimagining is not too shabby.




Indeed he is. And what a sight for sore eyes. When we first saw him, like many of the Fatalities themselves, there was a palpable visceral reaction. He looked, moved, sounded and played the part of a menacing monster like we had never seen before.

Not ashamed to admit he kinda scared me as a kid...
Not ashamed to admit he kinda scared me as a kid…


What a creepy portrait!
What a creepy portrait!


Shang Tsung is a shapeshifting bastard. The idea of a boss who could turn temporarily into any of the other fighters always appealed to me. After all, if there was a boss code that meant you could pick a character who would basically serve as an in-game Russian Roulette :P



The arcade had actual shots. We settled for this
The arcade had actual images. We settled for this


It was cheap and lazy but hey it is what it is
It was cheap and lazy but hey it is what it is


Remember the Mortal Kombat song? It was actually pretty damn cool. Great beat and I loved the actual Mortal Kombat announcer saying the fighters’ names and memorable phrases like “EXCELLENT!” and “TEST YOUR MIGHT!” To honor the theme song, I compiled a montage below that walks you through the first part of the song. So if you’d indulge me for a bit, click on the YouTube song and enjoy a blast from the past as you scroll through the pictures below.












Ah, what a lovely trip down memory lane :)
Ah, what a lovely trip down memory lane :)


There will never be another era like this ever again
There will never be another era like this ever again

EGM gave it scores of 7, 7, 7 and 8. GameFan gave it ratings of 75, 76, 78 and 80%. Super Play scored it 81%. It was praised for its amazing visuals and sound but the severe censorship definitely was not a popular choice with the critics. Late 1993 was a great time to be a Super Nintendo owner as well as a fighting game fan. Street Fighter II Turbo and Mortal Kombat, released only a month apart of each other, battled for SNES supremacy. I always saw Turbo as the superior game but Mortal Kombat did stand as an intriguing alternative. The tap tap style was certainly unique, as well as the huge digitized characters. The debate would rage on that fall of ’93 as the two games graced magazine covers galore. It was all part of the fun of that magical era… a time period in which I still look back on with a real deep fondness even more than 20 years later.

The classic Mortal Kombat symbol
The classic Mortal Kombat symbol


Dang. it's almost been 25 years. I'll be damned...
Dang. it’s almost been 25 years. I’ll be damned…

1993 was a special time in my life. It’s a year I’ll never forget. I was 10, I had a best friend, my 5th grade teacher was the best I ever had, the school’s two cutest girls were in my class, the SNES and Genesis were waging war at their peak, and it was the age of the 2D fighting game. When I think back to that precious time of my life and the games that helped to define that era, Mortal Kombat inevitably comes to mind. Its bloody mayhem and rivalry with Street Fighter II Turbo was simply the stuff legends are made of. And so too was the hype train when these two games were set to make their shiny SNES debut. My brother bought Street Fighter II Turbo and our gaming crew bought Mortal Kombat. It was the best of both worlds as we hosted tournaments for both games whenever we got together back in those days. Good times!


The SNES port, aside from being censored, was decent for its time. The fighters were colossal and looked pretty amazing back in 1993. The sound captured the intensity of the arcade original. I’ve always enjoyed the music and sound effects of Mortal Kombat. The gameplay, however, takes a bit of a hit. I was never the biggest fan of the arcade original in terms of sheer playability. I always felt the Street Fighter games were in another class. The original Mortal Kombat, I feel, was never a fantastic game to begin with. It was the unique novelty that drew us in. While the SNES port is fairly faithful, Fatalities and blood aside, it’s a fairly faithful port of an arcade game that wasn’t all that good to begin with. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy busting out this game even to this day for the random stroll down memory lane. But the control wasn’t all that great and left the gameplay feeling a little stiff as a result. Moves don’t flow out smoothly and it takes a while to get used to. It’s a fun piece of history I suppose, and a look back at simpler times — a magical time of childhood and the awe of witnessing your first blood-laced Fatality. But as a game, it just doesn’t quite hit the mark. Now, Mortal Kombat II on the other hand…

Graphics: 9
Sound: 8.5
Gameplay: 6.5
Longevity: 6.5

Overall: 6.5

MK72Mortal Kombat falls a little short in my book, not just because it was censored but because the control is not as crisp as it should have been. Still, it’s something of a guilty pleasure I have to admit and a game that I still randomly pop in for the sake of nostalgia. It’s a relic from my youth that perfectly captures those lazy, hazy, crazy 1993 days.

Nothing but cheesy goodness
Nothing but cheesy goodness
Thanks for the memories, Midway...
Thanks for the memories. Long Live Mortal Monday!