Brad: Way back in the first few days of this project, when we eliminated tons of games in the lightning round, both Street Fighter games got thrown out because they were games requiring six buttons, on a system where the controller only had three. The changes that were made from the arcade versions in order to get them to work on the Genesis ultimately ruined the experience. The Mortal Kombat games should be in a similar dilemma, having 5 buttons in the arcade, but don’t suffer as much in their transition to Genesis. This would seem to be a good thing, but what does that ultimately say about the game?
My point is that if a fighting game is any good, you shouldn’t be able to just get rid of one attack button entirely, and assign blocking to the start button where it will never get used, without messing up the gameplay. But it’s not a problem in Mortal Kombat, because the fighting is so shallow – as long as you can jump kick, leg sweep and uppercut, you’ll be just fine.
Stryker: In the back of our minds, I think we all kinda knew that the gameplay in Mortal Kombat was terrible, but we played them anyway and convinced ourselves that they were awesome so we could see all the blood and fatalities. The farther away we get from when they were first released, the more and more obvious that fact becomes. You could almost picture the two guys who came up with Mortal Kombat sitting back smugly and saying “See? I told you teenage boys will play anything if you put enough blood and gore in it.”
Mr. Do!: Or boobs.
Brad: I think what’s most damning about the whole Mortal Kombat series is our rationale for getting rid of Mortal Kombat II today, while keeping the original around a bit longer. MK2 has slightly refined gameplay, more characters, and more moves. It is, technically, a better game. But Mortal Kombat had much, much cooler fatalities, and even though they are completely superfluous, it really is the only part of this lame-ass series that we, or anyone else, ever really cared about. Back in the day, we probably would have convinced ourselves that MK2 was the better game, because to admit otherwise would be acknowledging that we really only played them for the explicit violence. Today we’re coming clean, and admitting that as teenagers, we were knuckleheads. Mortal Kombat II is out.