Mortal Kombat has more in common with Street Fighter than you may think. Before you judge me insane just look at the facts. The original Mortal Kombat has terrible play control, horribly silly level designs, and extremely interesting characters. Similarly the original Street Fighter suffers from all of these faults. And Mortal Kombat's problems were all fixed in the sequel, which improved on the game in every way and became one of the greatest arcade games of all time. The exact same thing came be said about Street Fighter II, the granddaddy of arcade fighting games.
Before there was Mortal Kombat II there was Mortal Kombat, a game that seemed to get by on novelty alone. Mortal Kombat worked not because it was a fighting game up to the caliber of Street Fighter II, but because it was riding a wave of controversy (and graphic violent hype). Some thought the game crossed the limits when it came to the ultra violence, others viewed it as being no different than the R-rated movies you see every weekend. With such sadistic fatalities (such as spines being ripped out of their bodies), Midway's fighter was something that kids, teenagers, and adults couldn't get enough of.
When the game was released on home consoles it was met with equal controversy. But not because of the violence, but because only one of the versions actually featured the blood and fatalities that made the game popular. Sega allowed Acclaim to release the game intact, while Nintendo ordered massive cuts. Gone was the blood, the brutal fatalities, and the rest of the over-the-top violence. It was Nintendo's defining moment when they drew a line in the sand and said they weren't going to cross it.
But then Acclaim, who has proven time and time again that they are not happy until they have released their games on every system available, announced that the Sega CD version of the game was in the works, and would be released about six months later. Our hopes were simple. Keep the blood, speed and arcade-exact play control (for better or worse) from the Genesis version, and then take the good graphics from the Super NES version. Unfortunately that's not what happened.
What we eventually got was nothing more than the Genesis version of the game, with better sounds and load times. Massive load times. Load time no matter what you do. There's no way around it, there is so much load time that there is almost no reason to own this CD version of the game.
The Super NES version was coded by Sculpture Software, whereas the Genesis version (and this Sega CD version) was coded by Probe. Each developer has a slightly different take on the game, and neither is exactly arcade perfect. It would have been interesting to see Sculture Software also develop a Genesis and Sega CD version, but that just wasn't in the cards.
As it is there really is no reason to own the CD version of this game. The game play is exactly the same as it is on the Genesis, the graphics are the same, and there is nothing new or extra here to warrant the purchase. Worse yet, since the Genesis version doesn't have load times and isn't a step down in quality it's actually the better deal. I feel bad for anybody who decided to wait for this Sega CD version, but needless to say if you buy this on CD you are a sucker. Stick with the Genesis port, this Sega CD version is easily one of the most unnecessary games of all time.