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Mortal Kombat II: What Did the Critics Say in 1994?
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on May 09, 2014   |   Episode 40 (Show Archive)  


Mortal Kombat II (Super NES)
Ever wonder what Electronic Gaming Monthly, GamePro and other popular magazines thought of your favorite 8-, 16- and 32-bit games? Now you can find out, thanks to Review Crew! This is the only show on the internet that is willing to go back in time to find out what old school critics thought of retro games at the time. Did they pan your favorite game? Did they love something terrible? Find out every week as Defunct Games presents Review Crew!

Although the critics enjoyed Mortal Kombat on both the Sega Genesis and Super NES, there was a clear favorite between the two. But what about Mortal Kombat II. By 1994, Nintendo had realized their mistake and the Super NES version was full of blood and gore. Did this have an impact on the critics or are they already sick of Scorpion, Sub Zero and the rest of the Mortal Kombatants? We turn to Electronic Gaming Monthly, Next Generation, Video Games, Die Hard Game Fan and other classic magazines for the answer.

(NOTE: Although we occasionally cut for length, no other edits are made to the review. Defunct Games does not change any of the wording, grammar or punctuation use. Also keep in mind that our score is the average of all critics at the time, not just the sample that is reprinted on this page. If you still have more questions, I recommend you check out the Review Crew FAQ, where we address the review guidelines, converting scores, magazine covers and more.)

Mortal Kombat II
[ Company: Acclaim | Console: Genesis & Super NES ]

5 out of 5

SNES: "The once "child-safe" Nintendo actually called up Acclaim to ensure an equally bloody version of MKII. As a result, this is the first Nintendo game ever to carry a content rating on its box. This SNES version is unquestionably better than the Genesis cart in every way. The graphics are richer, the sound is deeper, and the control is smoother. With full creative license, Acclaim has produced possibly the best arcade conversion ever."

VIDEO GAMES (October 1994)
10 out of 10

SNES: "I don't think there's a word in the English language for how great it feels to play this game. "Ecstasy" is not strong enough, and I'm not really sure if I can say "orgasmic" because we'll get letters and I might get fired. So I'll use a French word that means the same thing. Mortal Kombat II for the SNES has a gaming jouissance all its own." -Nikos Constant

DIE HARD GAME FAN (October 1994)
94% out of 100%

SNES: "MK 2 matches the arcade version in the music department, but what really makes the game so good are the colorful graphics that the Genesis version is lacking - every little detail from the arcade is in this game. Finally, there's a simple choice if you want to buy MK 2. Either buy the SNES version because it's PERFECT, or don't buy anything at all." -The Enquirer

GAME PLAYERS (February 1995)
92% out of 100%

GENESIS: "It's BAD and it's BACK! Fatalities, mayhem and blood - more blood than you can shake a spine at! (Of coure, you have to rip that spine outa your opponent, first!) This plays like a horror movie."

DIE HARD GAME FAN (October 1994)
90% out of 100%

GENESIS: "This is one of the best fighting games for the Genesis I've ever played. The graphics are good, there's carnage galore and the play control is absolutely fantastic. The music could have been a little better and there are a few sound samples missing here and there, but I still consider it to be one of the best arcade to home translations on the Genesis." -K. Lee

9 out of 10

SNES: "This is the version of Mortal Kombat II to get. It plays very well ... well, perhaps a little bit looser than the arcade. It looks almost the same, and a lot of the sounds are here. The hits sometimes sound annoying, but it's a small price to pay. All the secrets you could want are here, except for Reptile's floor move in the Armory. I'm surprised at how well this one plays. All my combos worked. That won it for me." -Ed Semrad

90% out of 100%

SNES: "I for one didn't expect MKII to be this impressive. There's a vast amount of playability lurking beneath its deceptive surface and in just quality of conversion terms there's little around to touch it. Realistically, Super Street Fighter II is a better fighting game, but it doesn't have the humour or the variety of Mortal Kombat II. A real improvement on MKI, and a potential classic. It's more than just blood that makes this well worth a look. Hoorah!" -Tony Mott

DIE HARD GAME FAN (October 1994)
76% out of 100%

SNES: "MK2 SNES is the version to have this year. The addition of the blood that MK fans love so much, and the near perfect translation make this an MK lover's dream come true. I found playing with the clunky SNES pad a royal pain, but devotees will no doubt develop calluses getting it down perfect. You got your blood, go to it... Play It Loud!" -Skid

8 out of 10

GENESIS: "Mortal Kombat II for the Genesis looks a lot better compared to the first game, and the control is about the same. The graphics, however, are also improved. The sounds could have been added in, though. Only a few sounds are really there. I miss when Raiden roars, and everything is muffled. For me this was a good conversion, but also check out the other versions. It is a great game nevertheless." -Ed Semrad

DIE HARD GAME FAN (October 1994)
80% out of 100%

GENESIS: After playing Virtua Fighters and Darkstalkers, the whole MK thing has kind of left me. So it gushes blood. The rounds are too short and the game doesn't flow that well. I also hate blocking with a button. Enough with the blood thing already, too. The novelty has worn off now that every game gushes blood. Fans will love this game, it's a great translation. It's just not for me." -Skid

8 out of 10

SNES: "Let's just say safter the first translation I wasn't expecting them to be able to pull it off. With more characters, and moves how could they do it. Well, they did! This is an excellent reproduction that truly is "as close to the arcade as the hardware would allow." All the moves and little nuance are here to make you feel right at home. Graphics and sounds are excellent. The big thing though, it plays very well." -Sushi X

VIDEO GAMES (October 1994)
7 out of 10

GENESIS: "If you own a Sega Genesis but not a Super NES, Mortal Kombat II is worth every penny. It is fun, fun, fun. If you happen to be spoiled rotten and own both systems, you'll like the SNES version better. Either way you'll be satisfied, because this is probably the best fighting game to come out for either system." -Nikos Constant

7 out of 10

GENESIS: "You have to face some of the limitations of the Genesis. If you do, you'll have to admit that MK II is a great translation. If you compare it to the Super NES, sure it isn't quite as detailed or colorful, but it is good nonetheless. Play control is a bit lighter on this platform but controls well enough to get some heated battles going. Genesis owners should check it out, it is definitely one of the best fighting games for the system." -Sushi X

NINTENDO POWER (September 1994)
3.3 out of 5

SNES: "Here it is -- the hottest fighter ever, and the Super NES delivers the hottest version of MKII outside of a video arcade. Plus: Excellent graphics, sound and play control. All the fatalities, babalities and friendship moves are included in their original form. Graphic realism unequaled on other platforms. Lots of secrets. Minus: Depictions of violence may turn off some players."
REVIEW CREW AVERAGE: 90% - Talk about a reversal of fortune. After being disgusted with the bloodless original, critics have finally embraced the idea of Mortal Kombat on a Nintendo system. From the excellent graphics to the bloody fatalities, the critics loved every second of Mortal Kombat II on the Super NES. Nikos Constant from Video Games had a hard time finding the right word to describe the greatness of the game, while Next Generation called the SNES port "possibly the best arcade conversion ever." That's high praise coming from Next Gen.

Nintendo Power called it the "Hottest version of MKII outside of the video arcade." Despite what sounds like a compliment, the Redmond-based magazine actually gave Mortal Kombat II a relatively low score. With a score of 3.3 out of 5, they were the harshest of the critics. Their only negative comment involved the violence, which may have been too much for the kid-friendly publication.

GENESIS VS. SUPER NES: It seems that the Super NES and Genesis completely swapped positions going from Mortal Kombat I to II. As you'll recall, the SNES version of the first Mortal Kombat averaged a score of 80%. And wouldn't you know it, Mortal Kombat II on the Sega Genesis averages the very same 80%. On the other hand, Mortal Kombat II on the Super NES scored 90%, which is even better than MK1's 87% on the Genesis. No matter what, one thing is definitely clear: Critics think you should buy the Super NES version of Mortal Kombat II.

STREET FIGHTER II VS. MORTAL KOMBAT II: Even with the excessive blood and gore, critics preferred Street Fighter II over Mortal Kombat. But what about Mortal Kombat II? With an average of 90%, MKII comes close to Street Fighter II's incredible 93% score. On the other hand, critics did side with Mortal Kombat II when it came to Street Fighter II: Special Champion Edition (89%) and Super Street Fighter II (81%). Street Fighter II still trumps Mortal Kombat, but the gap is narrowing.

ON MONDAY'S EPISODE: Monday brings one of the most requested games of all time -- Earthbound. Did critics love this Nintendo role-playing game when it first came out, or were they confused by the lack of high fantasy trappings? We'll take an in depth look at what critics thought of Earthbound next week, exclusively at Defunct Games. Make sure and check out the Review Crew archive for more old school reviews, and don't forget to tweet me @DefunctGames to let me know what games you want to see next!



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