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Video Game / Mortal Kombat II

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Spoilers Off for Mortal Kombat (1992). You Have Been Warned.

"500 years ago, Shang Tsung was banished to the Earthrealm. With the aid of Goro, he was to unbalance the furies and doom the planet to a chaotic existence.
By seizing control of the Shaolin tournament, he tried to tip the scales of order towards chaos. Only seven warriors survived the battles, and Shang Tsung's schemes would come to a violent end at the hands of Liu Kang.
Facing execution for his failure and the apparent death of Goro, Tsung convinces Shao Kahn to grant him a second chance.
Shang Tsung's new plan is to lure his enemies to compete in the Outworld, where they will meet certain death by Shao Kahn himself.
Now the kombat kontinues..."
MKII's Attract Mode summarizes the events thus far

The original Mortal Kombat was a huge hit, which made the creation of a sequel inevitable. In 1993, that sequel — Mortal Kombat II — was unleashed in arcades. It would eventually be ported to the Sega Genesis, Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Game Boy, Sega Saturn, Sega 32X, Sega Game Gear, PlayStation, PC and Amiga.

With Shang Tsung's plan to conquer Earthrealm through the titular tournament foiled, Shao Kahn — Emperor of Outworld and the man behind the planprepares to end the sorcerer's life. Shang Tsung comes up with an idea to save his skin: because an invitation to Mortal Kombat cannot be refused, if the Earthrealm warriors were challenged to a tournament in Outworld, they would have to which point Kahn's Outworld warriors, led by Shokan warrior Kintaro, who seeks revenge for the death of Prince Goro, could kill the warriors and begin the invasion of Earthrealm. Shao Kahn approves of Shang Tsung's idea, restores the sorcerer's youth as a token of appreciation, and sends out the challenge. Earthrealm's warriors accept Shao Kahn's invitation, and after they arrive in Outworld, they come face-to-face with numerous new foes, all of whom are ready to crush a few skulls.

MKII ramped up the blood'n'guts by giving each character an extra Fatality to their characters and adding new stage-specific Fatalities. It also added two new Finishing Moves — the Babality, which turns the opponent into a baby, and the Friendship, a Non-Lethal K.O. where the characters do friendly or funny things to their defeated opponents, — as potshots at Moral Guardians who hated the first game's violent content.

This game was followed by Mortal Kombat 3.

    Character roster 


  • Returning from Mortal Kombat (1992): Johnny Cage, Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Liu Kang, Raiden, Reptile, Shang Tsung.
  • Newcomers: Kitana, Jax, Baraka, Mileena, Kung Lao.


See also:

Mortal Kombat II kontains the following tropes:

  • A.I. Breaker: Kintaro and Shao Kahn are easily beaten by jump kicks and Mileena's Teleport Kick, respectively.
  • The All-Seeing A.I.: Go ahead and use Reptile's invisibility on any difficulty setting, and see if the AI is at all inhibited by it.
  • Amazing Technicolor Battlefield: The stage "The Portal" has the combatants (or kombatants) fighting on a stony ledge in front of a swirling red void.
  • Announcer Chatter: Played around with Shao Kahn; since he IS the announcer in this game as well as Mortal Kombat 3, he says "I win" instead of "(character) wins" when victorious. "It is official; you suck."
  • Ascended Glitch: The bug that allowed you to punch off more than one head with Johnny Cage's fatality in the first game returns here as a regular fatality, where he punches three heads off the opponent.
  • Backup Twin: The original Sub-Zero was killed off following the events of the previous game; his younger brother assumes his former identity in this game.note 
  • Badass in Distress: Sonya and Kano are chained up in Kahn's arena and Forced to Watch as the tournament takes place; the biggest reason, in Sonya's case, is because Jax is there. One comic book adaptation claims that Shao Kahn plans to brainwash Sonya into becoming his queen; in any case, she's rescued between this game and the next.
  • Bad Boss: In the opening cutscene of the game, Shao Kahn almost has Shang Tsung executed for failing to win the tenth Mortal Kombat tournament, only sparing his life because Tsung came up with a new plan of Kahn to conquer Earthrealm. And that's just the first example.
  • Big "NO!": Should you best him, Shao Kahn will yell, "No! NO! NOOOOOOOOOOO!"
  • Bladder of Steel: In order to unlock Pong, you need to have 250 wins... in a row. In a game without a pause function and automatic progression between screens, giving you a maximum of 98 seconds before having to inflict damage to your idle player 2 in order to avoid a draw. note 
  • Blatant Lies: Triggering any of the bonus bosses says that you must "battle with an undiscovered warrior from Mortal Kombat One". Needless to say, Reptile was the only secret character in that game.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: The first game was already rather bloody, but this one managed to surpass it. This is acknowledged in the 2002 series retrospective featurette in Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance.
  • Boring, but Practical: The Pit II's stage fatality is this compared to the Deadpool and Kombat Tomb; as well as the first and third Pit stages in the franchise. The Pit II has no acid, spikes, sawblades, or any kind of gimmick whatsoever. It's just a flat, rocky ground and the victim dies by falling and hitting the ground...really hard.
  • Bowdlerise: While the English version of the SNES port of the game remained entirely uncensorednote , the Japanese version recolors all blood green, and forces a grayscale filter whenever a Fatality is performed (except for the Stage Fatalities). All other Japanese releases of Mortal Kombat games were completely uncensored (including the Japan-only PlayStation release of II)... until the franchise was banned in Japan outright for being too violent.
  • Butterface: Mileena is just as shapely as Kitana, but when she takes the mask off...
  • Charged Attack:
    • Starting from this game, Liu Kang has the bicycle kick: he floats towards his adversary, making turkey noises, kicking his feet in a bicycle pedal motion. Players have to charge the low kick for a few seconds, but it is well worth the wait.
    • Raiden has a Shocking Grasp for his Charged Attack, which in turn has a Fatality variation, and also a Charged Uppercut fatality. Many other fatalities require you to hold a button for a certain length of time, usually well before you defeat your opponent (eg Shang Tsung's Kintaro morph).
  • Cherry Tapping: The fight against Secret Character Jade is unlocked by winning a certain fight using only Low Kicks. Weirdly, the same tactic - jumping low kicks ad infinitum - is one of the best ways to defeat the final boss.
  • Co-Dragons: Shang Tsung and Kintaro. Shang Tsung has a personal vendetta with the heroes from the original game and is Shao Kahn's Number Two; Kintaro does double-duty as The Brute and is the final opponent the player has to face before Shao Kahn.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: The AI in this game is absolutely ridiculous. After the second round, the CPU does things that no human player can do — like dodging an uppercut or blocking throws and counterattacking with their own. This game's AI is sure to make anyone rage.
  • Darker and Edgier: Even in comparison to the original, MK2 was darker; ramping up the violence, taking place in the unearthly and threatening realm of Outworld, and introducing the Big Bad of the series, Shao Kahn, who utterly dwarfs Shang Tsung in threat scale. The developers realized this and decided to lighten things up a little with the Babality and Friendship finishing moves, which were also intended as sort of a Take That! towards people who decried the first game's violence.
  • Defeat Equals Explosion: This game set the tradition in itself and subsequent installments of making sure the resident Big Bad and Final Boss explodes into pieces every time they are defeated, though a few games made exceptions.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: This can be done with Friendships.
  • Demoted to Extra: Sonya and Kano went from being playable characters to being chained up in the background of Shao Kahn's stage. They were excluded in favor of new characters since they were the least popular characters in the first game. While Richard Divizio reprised the role for the cameo (since he was already part of the MKII cast as Baraka), Sonya became The Faceless (looking downward with her hair covering her face) since Elizabeth Malecki left over a pay dispute after MK 1.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness:
    • Kitana's ending says that her parents were former rulers of Outworld overthrown by Shao Kahn. However, later games established that her parents ruled the realm of Edenia, and that the former ruler of Outworld has no relation to Kitana. This ending likely led to the misconception that Outworld was formerly Edenia, and Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm ran with the idea.
    • Jax does not have his Artificial Limbs here. He wouldn't gain them until the next game.
  • Easter Egg: In the Genesis version, Raiden can perform a "Fergality", which will turn the opponent into Probe president Fergus McGovern. However, this can only be done on one stage, provided if a very specific cheat code is activated.
  • Easy-Mode Mockery: The SNES port would have subverted this if the unreleased prototype were the final version. This version allowed you to turn the blood and gore on or off, but mocked you if you turned it off, saying this game mode had "No blood for the wimps" at the bottom of the Options screen. As for the Bloody mode, the game described it as "With blood for the true sportsman". Being that this was the mid-development prototype version, though, this toggle made no difference since the game was always bloody. The final product omits these messages and the toggle altogether.
  • Enemy Posturing: Shao Kahn, during the Final Boss battle, will occasionally stop fighting just to point at you and insult you. He does this in Mortal Kombat 3 as well.
  • Everything's Better with Rainbows: Shang Tsung's "Friendship" Finishing Move has him form a rainbow with his hands. He does this in Mortal Kombat 11 as well.
  • Expecting Someone Taller: Big Bad Shao Kahn is played by bodybuilder Brian Glynn. Kahn is known for his massive, imposing stature, and while Glynn is impressively muscular, he is actually kind of short in real life. In the games it made no difference since his sprite was simply scaled up, but when Glynn appears at conventions, more than one fan was, well, expecting someone taller.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Babality turns the defeated opponent into a baby.
  • The Foreign Subtitle: In Japan, the game has the added subtitle Kyūkyoku Shinken (The Ultimate Divine Fist)note 
  • Game-Breaking Bug:
    • You can crash the arcade version of the game by performing a Fatality against Jade or Noob Saibot. GLITCHALITY!
    • On early revisions of the arcade version, the Babalities are possible to glitch out. Depending on the characters used and the stage performed on (among other things), glitch Babalities can lead to anything from changing the palette of the stage to crashing the machine and forcing a reset.
  • Genre Shift: The franchise started out as a tribute to martial arts cinema. Apart from the Multi-Armed and Dangerous monster dude Goro, nothing out of the game was too out of the ordinary for those who've seen martial arts movies, and its main claim to fame was being the first major "bloody" fighting game. Then the sequel came around, and the main plot of the series — a dimension-wide conflict for people's souls — took center stage.
  • Glitch Entity: In the Amiga port of the game, if you do the friendship on the morphed Shang Tsung, you end up controlling the long-lost brother of Glitch Reptile.
  • Ground Punch: Possibly the Ur-Example of this trope in fighting games could Jax's Ground Pound move (not related to Ground Pound trope), introduced in this game and being a part of his moveset in every game onwards. The only way to avoid this attack is to be in air when it connects.
  • Immediate Sequel: The challenge for the tournament in Mortal Kombat II is issued within hours of the end of the original Mortal Kombat (1992).
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice:
    • In the Wastelands stage, you can see corpses impaled on pikes in the background.
    • The Kombat Tomb has a stage fatality in which the winner can impale the loser on spikes covering the ceiling. Holding Down on both players' joysticks immediately after entering the sequence to do the fatality results in the body slowly sliding off the spikes and falling back down to the floor; otherwise, the body remains suspended, dripping blood. The camera pans up to capture the impalement, but not back down if the body falls to the floor.
  • It's Personal with the Dragon: Inverted for Shang Tsung, where it's more of a case of It's Personal With The Heroes. A major plot thread of this game is Tsung luring the survivors from the original tournament to Outworld so he can get revenge on them.
  • I Was Told There Would Be Cake: Kitana's Friendship finisher is her handing her opponent a cake with candles.
  • Kid-Appeal Character: The only such character in the series to date is Kidd Thunder, an NPC who appears in Raiden's Friendship in this game.
  • Kiss of Death: Kitana gives one to her opponent as a Fatality.
  • Lighter and Softer: Friendships and Babalities were designed practically with this in mind.
  • Little "No": In console ports, Shao Kahn mutters a little no three times upon defeat before turning to stone and exploding, although in the arcade version he gives a larger no when beaten.
  • Loading Screen: There's a loading screen that includes Pong as a feature, but it's time-based. You can only play it after playing 250 matches in a row.
  • Luck-Based Mission: Although luck isn't strictly required to win the fights against Shao Kahn or Kintaro, it certainly helps. Both have tremendously powerful and versatile movesets that can allow them to hit you for massive damage from all the way across the arena with very limited ability to dodge or block. They both also have a tendency to stop and taunt in the middle of combat. If you're lucky they'll stand around taunting like idiots the whole battle, allowing you to slowly chip away at their health bar with ranged attacks. If you're unlucky they'll charge in immediately and spam their most powerful moves at lightning speed until you die.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: Starting with this game, when the creators went for the dark humor angle, most fatalities would create some actual ludicrous gibs from one character: a full-body 'splosion would yield about seven severed legs, twenty dog-bone-shaped bones, a lung or two, and nothing else. Another fatality will decapitate the victim three times in quick succession, resulting in one headless body and three identical severed heads (which is an Ascended Glitch; in the original, if you were fast enough, you could perform Johnny Cage's fatality over and over again, knocking more heads off your opponent's body than humanly possible), perhaps those were prop heads.
  • The Man Behind the Man: In the first game, Shang Tsung was hyped as the big bad, a deadly, powerful, long haired, evil sorcerer who has taken control of the Shaolin tournament through unethical means, and corrupted it into chaos, ensuring that with 10 consecutive victories, he can take over Earthrealm. Then, with this game, it's revealed that he's doing all of this for his boss, the emperor of Outworld, Shao Kahn, whom the good guys eventually met when they're forced to continue a new tournament in Outworld itself.
  • Media Watchdog: The Friendships and Babalities were introduced in the game to mock video game critics who complained that the first game was too violent.
  • Mini-Me: Raiden has a smaller version of himself called "Kid Thunder" who shows up in his "Friendship" Finishing Move.
  • My Rules Are Not Your Rules: The AI jumps while its sprite is still in the "laid on the floor" animation to counter any hope of continuing a combo after a knockdown.
  • Not Just a Tournament: The Outworld Mortal Kombat is a trap laid by Shao Kahn to kill the Earthrealm warriors and start the invasion of Earth.
  • Now, Buy the Merchandise: The Friendship finisher for Scorpion, Sub-Zero, and Reptile have them advertising their own dolls. Considering how hard it was around that time to come to know about the actual codes to perform them, those finishing moves could be seen as more of a parody of this than anything else. It wasn't entirely Played for Laughs, though — around that time, there was an actual line of Mortal Kombat action figures being sold by Hasbro.
  • Optional Boss: Jade, Smoke, and Noob Saibot can only be fought when the player meets certain conditions. note 
  • Orifice Invasion: One of Shang Tsung's fatalities is forcing himself into his opponent's body, causing them to inflate to ridiculous proportions (though nowhere near the massive sizes Kitana's infamous fatality allows) followed by the victim exploding into a massive shower of blood and bones.
  • Origami Gag: One of Jax's "Friendship" finishers has him present a chain of paper dolls.
  • Palette Swap: This game added two new male ninjas (Noob Saibotnote  and Smoke) and three female ninjas (Kitana, Mileena, Jade) to the existing group of Sub-Zero, Scorpion, and Reptile.
  • Perfect Play A.I.: All characters at hardest setting, though not on the PlayStation port. One such character simply walks over to the player, blocking or dodging any attack with inhuman frame precision and, upon reaching the player, execute a perfectly-timed, unblockable move (usually a throw).
  • "Pop!" Goes the Human: Kitana's Kiss of Death fatality causes the victim to painfully inflate into a massive size and then explode violently.
  • The Power of Friendship: In a lampshading response to parents complaining about the grotesque violence of the Fatality finishing moves, this game and its sequel added finishing moves called "Friendships", which allow you to win the match with an animation of your character doing something sickeningly friendly and decidedly non-fatal:
    "LIU KANG WINS! FRIENDSHIP! ...Friendship?!"
  • Power Up Letdown: If you play as Reptile, you can turn invisible. While this is somewhat useful while playing against humans, it's completely and utterly useless while playing against the computer, which still knows exactly where you are all the time. Furthermore, since the invisibility is total, it makes it impossible for you to see the character, which makes the game harder for the player. Later games in the series have modified the ability so the invisibility is not total.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: As with the first game, Mortal Kombat II for the Game Boy and Game Gear required adjusting the characters' moves to work with the two action buttons and the Start Key, with also a few characters dropped from the roster.
  • Promoted to Playable: Shang Tsung became playable (and young) in this game, because Shao Kahn replaced him as the Final Boss.
  • Pull a Rabbit out of My Hat: This is Kung Lao's friendship move. He puts away his sharp hat from his head and then performs the trick.
  • Revenue-Enhancing Devices: There is an audit on a information screen called "Kano Transformations" as well as a random end game text message that says "Where is Kano/Sonya/Goro?" This is only there to con players into trying to find a secret that doesn't exist (selling guides to sucker kids was big business back when MK was huge and the Internet was not the infinite font of free information it is now; some of the sillier inclusions in Mortal Kombat 3 such as animalities and brutalities were made for the same reason).
  • Running Gag: Dan "Toasty" Forden appears when a particularly vicious uppercut is performed.
  • Sdrawkcab Name: Noob Saibot is the last names of Ed Boon and John Tobias, the co-creators of Mortal Kombat, spelled backwards.
  • Secret A.I. Moves: The CPU jumps while the character is still in a prone position to counter any hope of continuing a combo after a knockdown. The CPU can also throw you in the middle of a projectile attack, which the player simply cannot do. But that's not all; the CPU can also throw you in the middle of just about any other special move, making specials such as Raiden's torpedo complete suicide! They'll also pull off impossible knockdown-to-throw combos that the player can't even attempt to do, instantly throwing you if you fall to the ground and they're right next to you, shaving a quarter of your life bar in the process. If the CPU gets you into a corner, they can chain throw you to death by repeatedly throwing you into the corner, something that is impossible to escape and once again simply not possible for a human player to do. Finally, if the player traps them into a corner by spamming projectiles at them, they'll eventually slide across the ground while crouched down to avoid the projectiles and surprise surprise, throw the player.
  • Sequel Escalation: The first game already managed to drum up some controversy with its Fatalities, of which each character had one. Mortal Kombat II not only added more characters, but gave each of them two different fatalities (three to Shang Tsung), as well as the more humorous Babality and Friendship finishers.
  • Shoryuken: Johnny Cage's Shadow Uppercut that premiered in this game.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: As with Mortal Kombat (1992), for those more familiar with the arcade and SNES versions, the Genesis version is this, since it switches around a couple of the stage melodies. For instance, the Tower melody now plays on Kombat Tomb.
  • Superboss: Following up the tradition set in the first game, II continued it with Noob Saibot, Jade, and Smoke. Noob Saibot appears only if you win 50 battles consecutively. Jade appears if, on the fight before the question-mark box, you only use the Low Kick button to defeat your opponent (can be done on any round). Smoke is the most difficult to get, as you have to make Dan Forden appear and say "TOASTY!" while fighting on the Portal stage, then hit Down + Start while he's on the screen.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: After the supposed death of the four-armed Shokan sub-boss Goro in the first game, this one introduced Kintaro, another four-armed Shokan Mini-Boss. It is likely for this reason that Kintaro is rarely used in adaptations of the franchise, as the comics, TV shows and movies tend to simply use the more popular Goro instead.
  • Tagline: "Nothing, nothing can prepare you."
  • Teleport Spam: Kung Lao is prone to using his vertical teleport move very often when controlled by the CPU. Same with Kintaro, who does it to stomp his opponents to inflict seriously high damage.
  • Unholy Matrimony: In Mileena's non-canon ending, she is a "secret partner" with Baraka. They both kill Shao Kahn and take over the Outworld, ruling it as king and queen.
  • Updated Re-release: The 32x port adds the missing voice bytes ("Round 1, 2, etc.") back in that were missing in the Genesis version, and there are mild cosmetic improvements.
  • You Fool!: Shao Kahn's signature catchphrase. YOU WEAK, PATHETIC FOOL!

Alternative Title(s): Mortal Kombat 2