Mortal Kombat II is an arcade game and the second title in the Mortal Kombat fighting game series. Storywise, it is supposedly preceded by Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks, but (in recent times), the canon of that game has come into question, so (for many), Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks is not canon to the story of Mortal Kombat II, and is more of a what-if story.

Characters and castEdit

New charactersEdit

  • Baraka (Richard Divizio): Tarkatan warlord.
  • Jax (John Parrish): A member of the U.S. Special Forces and a longtime comrade of Sonya Blade, who enters the tournament to rescue her from Shao Kahn.
  • Kitana (Katalin Zamiar): Shao Kahn's personal assassin and step-daughter.
  • Kung Lao (Anthony Marquez): Shaolin monk and best friend of Liu Kang, who seeks to avenge the destruction of the Shaolin Temple.
  • Mileena (Katalin Zamiar): Shao Kahn's personal assassin.
  • Reptile (Daniel Pesina): Shang Tsung's personal bodyguard. Reptile appeared in the original Mortal Kombat, but this is the first game where he is playable and contains his own moveset.

Returning charactersEdit

  • Johnny Cage (Daniel Pesina): Hollywood movie star who joins Liu Kang in his journey to Outworld.
  • Liu Kang (Ho Sung Pak): The Shaolin monk who is the reigning champion of Mortal Kombat. Travels to Outworld to seek revenge for the death of his fellow monks.
  • Sub-Zero (Daniel Pesina): The younger and merciful brother of the original Sub-Zero, sent to assassinate Shang Tsung.
  • Scorpion (Daniel Pesina): The Hell-spawned spectre who returns to the tournament to once again assassinate Sub-Zero, the man who murdered his family long ago.
  • Shang Tsung (Dr. Phillip Ahn, M.D.): The evil sorcerer who has convinced Shao Kahn to spare his life after losing the last tournament, with a new evil plan to appease his master Shao Kahn, who in turn also restores Tsung's youth, making him more mobile and agile.
  • Raiden (Carlos Pesina): The Thunder God who returns to Mortal Kombat to stop Shao Kahn's evil plans of taking the Earthrealm as for his own.

Non-playable charactersEdit

  • Jade (Katalin Zamiar): An Outworld assassin who cannot be hit by projectiles. Childhood friend and protector of Kitana.
  • Kano (Richard Divizio): Cameo appearance in "Kahn's Arena" stage.
  • Kintaro (Stop-motion): Shokan warrior, general of Shao Kahn's army, and Goro's successor and best friend.
  • Noob Saibot (Daniel Pesina): Evil dark ninja, a lost warrior from a previous Mortal Kombat. His true identity would be revealed in Mortal Kombat: Deception.
  • Shao Kahn (Brian Glynn, voiced by Steve Ritchie): the Emperor of Outworld.
  • Smoke (Daniel Pesina): Sub-Zero's friend from the Lin Kuei, emits puffs of smoke from his body.
  • Sonya Blade (Elizabeth Malecki): Cameo appearance in "Kahn's Arena" stage.
  • Goro (Stop-motion): Cameo appearance in the begining cutscene.
  • Blaze (Ho Sung Pak): Cameo appearance seen fighting Hornbuckle in the backround of The Pit II stage.
  • Hornbuckle (Ho Sung Pak): Cameo appearance seen fighting Blaze in the backround of The Pit II stage.


"500 years ago, Shang Tsung was banished to the Earth Realm. 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 scheme 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..."


Following his defeat, Shang Tsung begs his master, Shao Kahn, to spare his life. He tells Shao Kahn that the invitation for Mortal Kombat cannot be turned down, and if they hold it in Outworld, the Earthrealm warriors must attend. Kahn agrees to this plan, and restores Tsung's youth. He extends the invitation to Raiden, who gathers his warriors and takes them into Outworld. The tournament is dangerous, as Shao Kahn has the home field advantage, and an Outworld victory will unbalance the furies and allow Outworld to subsume Earthrealm.

Mortal Kombat II follows Mortal Kombat and precedes Mortal Kombat 3.

It seems to have been replaced storywise by Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks, though many argue that this game has many contradictions to the events in the Mortal Kombat storyline, and, as such, should not be considered canon.

New to the seriesEdit

  • As Midway's technology and experience improved, they increased the resolution of their characters and stages and improved the character designs. The series' story begins to flesh out in this game as well.
  • This would be the first arcade game (as well as Mortal Kombat title) to use William's DCS sound system. All Mortal Kombat arcade games to follow would use this sound board, dropping the original Mortal Kombat's inferior Yamaha sound board.
  • MKII's characters have multiple Fatalities and more special moves, and stage Fatalities have been added for the Pit II, the Kombat Tomb and the Dead Pool.
  • In addition to more Fatalities, MKII also introduces the Babality (turns your opponent into a diaper-clad infant) and Friendship (do something nice to your opponent rather than kill them) finishers.
  • Dropped the Test Your Might minigame.
  • Eliminated the scoring system, and instead measured progress only by consecutive matches won.

Kombat zonesEdit

There are a total of ten different backgrounds to fight on:

  • The Dead Pool - When an opponent is defeated on this stage, he/she can be uppercutted into the acid bath, burning away the flesh and leaving just a skeleton floating in the acid.
  • Kombat Tomb - When an opponent is defeated on this stage, he/she can be uppercutted into the spikes on the ceiling.
  • Wasteland
  • Shadow Monastery
  • Living Forest
  • The Armory
  • The Pit II - When an opponent is defeated on this stage, he/she can be uppercutted off the bridge where they will meet their demise on the rocky bottom below.
  • The Portal
  • Kahn's Arena
  • Goro's Lair - Returning from the original Mortal Kombat, this stage is only accessible when the player is fighting one of the hidden opponents.
  • The Blue Portal (only Sega Mega Drive/Genesis) - This stage is used instead of Goro's Lair when fighting the hidden opponents.

Characters live backgroundsEdit

  • Reptile in The Living Forest
  • Baraka in Wasteland
  • Shao Kahn and Kintaro in Kahn's Arena

Jade, Smoke and Noob Saibot in The Living forest.

Easter eggsEdit

  • In the arcade version, the 250th two-player game would unlock a session of the arcade classic Pong.
  • After landing a strong uppercut against the opponent, the face of sound designer Dan Forden would appear in the lower-right corner of the screen and shout, "Toasty!" The "Toasty" shout had originated from Scorpion's finishing move. He would remove his mask, to reveal a (sometimes) fiery skull, and would spit fire at his opponent. This is randomly demonstrated in the new game "Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks" for his fatality. In the Portal stage, if the player very quickly held down and hit the start button before Dan's head left the screen, they would then instantly begin a new stage against a secret character named Smoke, a grey recolor of Scorpion. However, the Mega Drive/Genesis version includes an alternate Toasty image: By activating the cheat menu in the options screen, Dan Forden is replaced by a crudely drawn sprite inserted by one of Probe Entertainment's (the team responsible for the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis version) programmers. The "Toasty!" sound remains unchanged. Toasty has become one of the best-known video game easter eggs, among the likes of dopefish. Many games have included their own versions of Toasty, such as StepMania, in which a character (Charmy) pops out and sings "Toasty!" after a long combo of perfects. Even Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler has gotten into the act; he could be heard occasionally warbling "Toasty!" in response to explosions in Midway's 1994 Aerosmith-starring rail shooter Revolution X.
  • Another secret character was named Jade, a more dangerous green recolor of Kitana and Mileena. To fight Jade, a player would have to defeat their opponent before the mystery "?" stage using nothing but low kicks. In the Living Forest stage, both Smoke and Jade could sometimes be seen peeking from behind the trees as a clue to their existence as hidden characters.
  • If the player won 50 consecutive fights (25 in the Sega Genesis version) he/she would come face to face with the black ninja Noob Saibot, which originates from the last names of the lead designer John Tobias and lead programmer Ed Boon spelled backwards.
  • After knocking the victim into the acid pool, if the player holds down on the joystick, Dan Forden will say "Ow-a" or something similar.
  • Press down on any joystick during the attract mode to bring up the top 15 players.
  • On the Kombat Tomb stage, if the player holds down on both joysticks immediately after knocking the victim into the spikes, the victim will gradually slide down the spikes.
  • Two non-existent hidden characters were "Torch", and "Hornbuckle." In Mortal Kombat II there is a location called The Pit II. Far in the background of this stage there is another bridge across the chasm. Standing stationary on this bridge are two fighters: one of them is a Liu Kang sprite with green pants who was named Hornbuckle by fans. One of Jade's hints was "Hornbuckle who?", which people thought was the name of a hidden fighter, and was apparently given to the guy opposite "Torch" on the Pit II. If you watch the ending credits, one of the programmers' last names is Hornbuckle. The other fighter is a humanoid character that seems to be made of fire. As these two characters never move, it has been suggested that the "other fighter" is actually a funeral pyre. Finally, there is a cloaked figure who floats in front of the window during fights in The Tower and Portal stages in MK2. This character was dubbed Cloak by fans, and was assumed to be a hidden character. The character of Torch, who had been very popular with fans, eventually showed up as a playable character in Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance. Unfortunately, due to trademark issues regarding the name, The Human Torch of the Fantastic Four, he was renamed Blaze. The true identity of Cloak was revealed in Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks to be one of Shang Tsung's servants, a shadow priest.

Tricks to tryEdit

  • On the Dead Pool stage, with Sub-Zero or Shang Tsung morphed into Sub-Zero, deep freeze the opponent (F-F-D-HK) and then proceed to shatter the victim (F-D-F-F-HP) but press LP + LK immediately. If done correctly, the screen will turn dark and the victim will fly into the acid (see first pic on right) This trick also works with Johnny Cage's Head uppercut (F-F-D-U).
  • On the Kombat Tomb stage using Sub Zero or Shang Tsung morphed into him, deep freeze your opponent and quickly enter your level fatality code and uppercut them into the spikes.
  • On the Kombat Tomb stage hold down on the joystick immediately after knocking your opponent up into the spikes and he/she will slip off the spikes and fall to the ground
  • On the Armory stage, with Reptile or Shang Tsung morphed into Reptile, do the tongue fatality and watch the floor move.
  • With Shang Tsung, morph into Sub-Zero and keep deep freezing the victim till you morph back. Then quickly morph into Jax and do the head smash fatality. The colour map of the victim will get screwed up.
  • Many interesting fatalities can be created using Shang Tsung/SubZero. Try turning into Sub Zero, doing the deep freeze, turn back into Shang Tsung, then Liu Kang, then do the dragon fatality. The dragon will then turn into Liu Kang, and immediately back into Shang Tsung.
  • On the final battle with Shao Kahn, catch him with Kitana's fan lift when the timer runs out in the winning round. The machine will play the exploding sound of Shao Kahn and then it will lock up. A good way to earn a free credit.
  • In the Sega Genesis version, there is a rare glitch involving Kung Lao whose Hat Throw attack may accidentally chop off the opponent's head, automatically counting as a Fatality.


To create the character animations for the game, actors were placed in front of a gray background and performed the motions, which were recorded on a Hi-8 videotape, which had been upgraded since the development of the first title from standard to broadcast-quality. The footage was then processed into a computer, and the background was removed from selected frames to create 64 or 128 color sprites. Towards the end of Mortal Kombat II's development, they opted to instead use a chroma key technique and processed the footage directly into the computer for a similar, simpler process. The actors were sprayed lightly with water to give them a sweaty, glistening appearance, while post-editing was done on the sprites afterward to highlight flesh tones and improve the visibility of muscles, which John Tobias felt set the series apart from similar games using digitized graphics. Animations of characters morphing into something else were created by John Vogel using a computer, while hand-drawn animations were put into effect for other parts of the game, such as the finishing moves (fatalities).

Care was taken during the programming process to give the game a "good feel", with lead programmer Ed Boon simulating elements such as gravity into the game's design. Tobias noted that the previous game's reliance on juggling the opponent in the air with successive hits was an accident, and had been tightened in Mortal Kombat II. Boon noted the reason to not completely remove it in favor of a different system of chaining attacks together was to set the game apart from titles such as Street Fighter, and allow for players to devise their own combinations of attacks.[2] Many attacks were kept uniform between characters to prevent from over-complicating gameplay. Due to memory limitations for the title two characters from the original Mortal Kombat, Sonya Blade and Kano were excluded, reasoned by Boon as them being the least-picked characters in the original game, and the development team's desire to introduce more new characters into the game.

Game systemEdit

Mortal Kombat II is an extension of the previous game. A few normal moves have been added (crouching punch, for example). The roundhouse kick was made more powerful, and knocks opponents across the screen. Additionally returning characters gained new special moves. The game also introduced multiple fatalities, as well as additional finishing moves to the franchise. However, each character still shared generic attributes – speed, power, jump height and airtime – and all normal moves were the same between each character. As with its predecessor, the only thing differentiating each character were their appearance, special moves, and finishing moves. However, the game plays slightly faster and much more smoothly than the original.

As with its predecessor, matches are divided into rounds. The first player to win two rounds by fully depleting their opponent's life bar is the winner. At this point the loser's character will become dazed and the winner is given the option of using a finishing move. In addition to the Fatalities of its predecessor, the winner could also use Babalities (turning the opponent into a crying baby). Friendships (a non-malicious interaction such as Scorpion, Reptile and Sub Zero holding up a doll of themselves with text saying "Buy a [character's name] doll!" and stage-specific Fatalities. This game also drops the point system from its predecessor, in favor of a consecutive win tally.

The characters of Mortal Kombat II have a less digitized and more hand-drawn look to them than in the first game. Both the theme and art style of the game are slightly darker, although with a more vibrant color palette employed. Also, the graphics system now uses a much richer color depth than in the previous game. Mortal Kombat II also strays from the strongly oriental theme of its predecessor, though it does retain the original motive in some aspects, as in some of the music. Finally, the nature of the game is slightly less serious with the addition of trivial and 'joke' Fatalities and the addition of alternative finishing moves.


Mortal Kombat II was awarded Bloodiest Game of 1994 by Electronic Gaming Monthly. Mortal Kombat II was awarded the 10th best 16-bit game ever by PC World.

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