Genre: Fighting Developer: Probe Software Publisher: Acclaim Players: 1 Released: 1995
“FINISH HIM” is a phrase that made parents sweat and tremble in the early 90s. Such words had dominated arcades and home video game systems as violent fighting games like Mortal Kombat made the scene. By the time Sega of America’s 32X expansion had been released, the second game in the Mortal Kombat series was already out. The game was released to much fanfare and for good reason, every version before it of the game had played quite well.
The 32X version was no exception, but there were symptoms of mediocrity in its release. The sound bites and the graphics were obviously recycled from other releases. The female characters had the same screams as the male characters during the fatalities, and many of the backgrounds showed obvious signs of poor coloring and blurriness. All these things were entirely unacceptable considering the raw power of the 32X. It was obvious this was a quick and rushed port of the game.
In other versions of the game, particularly the Genesis and SNES versions, it was apparent that the developers put forth their best efforts to squeeze as much performance out of their respective systems as possible. Again, however, it’s clear that the same effort was not extended to the 32X.
After fifteen minutes of play it’s pretty obvious this game was thrown together rather quickly, probably recycling graphics and sounds from the arcade, SNES and Genesis versions. The sloppiness and inconsistency in graphical quality and accuracy to the arcade original causes this game to seem much worse than it actually plays. Some of the animation is missing obvious frames, creating an inconsistency throughout the game. It’s a shame that they didn’t bother to raise the production value of this game. The game is plenty of fun to play, and quite lovely, but the little things can get irritating.
This however shouldn’t matter much, considering it is the very best port of the game. The sloppiness, though irritating, doesn’t affect the awesome gameplay or the superior graphics of this version. Though many site the SNES version as the best port, it ultimately falls slightly short in comparison to the 32X release. This version combines the superior color palette of the SNES version, with the tight control of the Genesis version. The sound is also crystal clear, in comparison to both the Genesis and SNES games.
Mortal Kombat II holds the same opportunities to kill your enemy at the end of a match, just like the original, but gives more variety in its options. Each character has at least two ways to end the fight, in addition to many other secret options. Many of these options add a level of silliness to the game, which is otherwise serious and violent. This adds a taunting effect when playing against your friends. It also plays much faster than the original, giving a vibe of increased intensity.
All the characters have the same basic moves, but each of the twelve fighters has their own unique special moves and abilities. This adds a whole new level of strategy to the game as the player’s skill level increases with each of the characters. The replay value lies in mastering each of the twelve characters throughout different battles.
This game alone doesn’t justify the purchase of a 32X. It’s a pity, because it could have easily been the sole reason for owning one. It may be better than the 16-bit incarnations, but it’s far below what you’d expect from the 32X. Again, the poor production values reduce the quality of the game significantly. It’s a really fun port of Mortal Kombat II, but it’s a sore disappointment for the 32X system. For 32X owners, however, it’s an additional title and an improvement over the limited Genesis.
If you own a 32X, go ahead and get this version, it plays better than the Genesis version. Its smooth, fast, and clean. If you don’t, however, stick with the Genesis version. Even these days, where a 32X system runs about $15 USD, this game still doesn’t justify the purchase of the system/expansion. Ultimately, it serves as a little bonus for 32X collectors otherwise, stick with your system, the developers tried much harder elsewhere.
SCORE: 8 out of 10