It’s Super Nintendo Week here on GamingHUD to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Super Nintendo console’s release in the North American market (which was on the 23rd August 1991, so it officially was yesterday). Iovan got us kicked off in fine style with his article on Earthworm Jim 2. It’s now my turn to follow suit, in writing my very first Reset Button article since the site’s inception. It’s a little nerve wracking to say the least – Iovan sets a very, very high standard in this arena. First up in a series of 3 from me, will be Mortal Kombat 2. But before I dive into that game, I think I’ll go into a little detail about how I came to fall in love with the SNES.
I grew up on Nintendo – my earliest memories of gaming are from a young age, (<5) of me sitting in the lounge attentively watching the TV as my parents played Super Mario (the very first) on the NES. We then got the SNES a little after it’s release here in Australia late 1992. I didn’t get to play it very much over the next few years but then again, I do remember being encouraged to do the outdoors thing as a kid (which I enjoyed anyway) and at that stage I wasn’t super interested in video games.
It wasn’t until the release of the Nintendo 64 (I was about 10 at the time of release here I Australia) that I really started getting into video games more. To single out but one highlight of pre year 2000, I’d have to say Mario Kart 64. We’d get together with the neighbours to play the game, whether it was at our place or one of theirs. There was about 6 or 7 of us that played in total, ranging in age. Golden Eye also deserves a mention too for similar reasons as to Mario Kart 64. Game time was at a premium though, as I had to share with two younger brothers (boo, sharing!).
“Dean, Dean, Dean. This isn’t Nintendo 64 week, talk about the SNES already!”
I was just getting to that, honest! Fast forward to the year 2000 and I was a pre-teen (12), suffering the affliction known as Junior High for the first time. That year, my parents decided that as I was getting older I needed a room to myself. With a baby sister now getting around, combined with the aforementioned brothers, there just wasn’t any room in the house to make it happen. So, for my birthday, they bought a caravan and that was to be my room (in the backyard).
Say what you want about living in a caravan, but it was FUCKING GREAT!! It was my domain, my kingdom. I made the rules, for I was Dean, almighty ruler of Caravannia. No smelly siblings, no intruding parents and I had electricity. Of course, I had to keep it clean and so forth, but it was a small price to pay for freedom – at least as good as it gets at that age. As part of the gift, I got an old television and the Super Nintendo was found, then given to me also.
Initially I only had a small collection of games at my disposal but fortuitously the local video store was selling it’s entire collection of SNES rentals in order to make room for more Nintendo 64 and Playstation 2 titles (Playstation2 being released that year). And they were dirt cheap. I don’t remember the exact price but they weren’t much more than 2 or 3 dollars I believe. So I used what little pocket money I had as well as promising (and fulfilling, scout’s honour) to do a load of chores for my parents and acquired as many of the games as possible.
So it’s safe to say that I spent a lot of time playing the Super Nintendo particularly over the next two years or so while the caravan was my Kingdom. Play late on school nights, or a quick game of Mario Kart before having to head off to Junior High, sleep overs that consisted of marathon play sessions of various titles… yup, it was during that time I did fall in love with the console proper and gain an appreciation for just how awesome it was and the game catalogue that was available.
I don’t think that any of my all time top 5 favourite games featured on the SNES, maybe one or two at push (I honestly haven’t sat down to try and make such a list, it’d be a right pain in the arse – I don’t think I could even do it). But having said that, there is no console on the face of the world that I have enjoyed playing games on as much as that. I’ll avoid saying that it was the greatest and it had the greatest game catalogue of any console, it’s hard to judge just how much of an affect nostalgia has on our opinions. It does hold a very special place in my heart though, like many others so with that, I say a very happy 20th birthday to the SNES.
I decided that I would write about Mortal Kombat 2 first, which is a bit of an odd choice, I’ll admit. I’m not the biggest fan of fighting games, that is to say I do not go out of my way to play them in most cases. I hate the Street Fighter series for example, I really really do. I think the series is over-rated and for the life of me I cannot see why in recent times SF fans continue hand over cash to Capcom. They are serial abusers of repackaging the same damn game with maybe an extra character or 3 to play with.
Now that I’ve got the Street Fighter community off side (feel free to flame me at your pleasure), I’ll also add that just about every 3D(ish) fighting game I’ve played is garbage, in my opinion. Exception being Super Smash Bros series, I eat that shit up. But then again, who can resist the lure of being able to wail on a little yellow rat that could replace the energiser bunny in battery commercials?
So now that you have my brief view on the fighting game genre, it’s safe for me to continue (I hope). Mortal Kombat 2 was originally an arcade game released in 1993 (like a lot of other titles, Street Fighter etc) that was then ported to the Super Nintendo in 1994. It has since been ported to just about EVERY OTHER PLATFORM IN EXISTENCE and will see ports to seventh generation consoles (Xbox 360, Playstation 3) at the end of August as a part of the Mortal Kombat Arcade Kollection.
Up until the era of 32x ports, the Super Nintendo port of Mortal Kombat 2 was widely regarded as the best port of the arcade version. For those of you playing at home, Sculptured Software (they were acquired in ’95 by Acclaim, then the studio closed entirely a bit later on) developed the Super Nintendo port, which had a secret intro and and unlockable special team mode (Both specific to SNES). Nintendo also decided not to censor the blood and fatalities for Mortal Kombat 2, like it had with the original Mortal Kombat. Except for in Japan, where blood was green (WTF???) and the screen turned black and white during fatalities.
Mortal Kombat 2 is my favourite of the MK series and in terms of the broader scope of fighting games, I’d say it’s a close second behind the first Super Smash Bros. It was probably my first exposure to gore and violence on this scale too! Funnily enough, I suck at this game. I’ve always sucked at it. Way back when, I managed to beat it on the easiest setting and came fairly close on normal but forays into the harder settings always left me broken, bloody and frustrated.
But at least I could beat my brothers at it back then, that’s something right? But that’s about it. If I were to play against my absolutely amazing girlfriend (Hi Meaghan!), I’d get my arse handed to me and I’d be QQ’ing like a pro-noob (are those words even compatible?). I’ll be avoiding such an encounter and getting in a tonne of secret practice. Actually, I probably won’t. No amount of practice could improve upon my sucky skills.
Incase you didn’t work it out from the title, Scorpion is my favourite character. With a controller firmly in hand, he was my most used character. Sub Zero comes in second place, albeit off in the distance somewhere. In terms of characters I hated, Raiden was probably the one that I scorned the most. I used to think his moves were cheap. Incredibly so. I say this with an overwhelming sense of irony.
Because I started playing this a little while ago (before I had realised it was the SNES 20th anniversary and before I had decided I would write about it) on an emulator (while I wait for the Arcade Kollection) and I struggled with the controls. I just couldn’t play my Scorpion the way I used to. I’d fire off those combos and… they wouldn’t work half the time! I didn’t need that. I already sucked, after all. And so there was Raiden, standing there all smug like. “Remember me? You used to think I was cheap. Now I’m your only your hope!” He let out a bit of an evil cackle after that.
But he was right. He was my only hope at beating Mortal Kombat 2 in this format. I could have maybe toughed it out with Scorpion or Sub Zero but the path of least resistance called to me. Raiden’s combos are just so damn easy to use. I’m not ashamed to admit that I made the best possible of this. Back, back, forward sees the Thunder God fly forward and deal damage. I spammed that a lot in my quest to beat the game. I’d throw in a thunder bolt here and there but for similar reasons to why I wasn’t playing my favourite character, I couldn’t make use of that option too often.
Through in a bit of teleporting and I never did anything else other than jump backwards away from my opponent, ready to fly forward again with the POWER OF A GOD! Which is all good and well. I felt pretty damn good – I was owning people, even if it was only on easy. But then a certain Kintaro propped up. I was confident, no one could stop my combo spamming efforts. NO ONE. I of course completely forgot that Kintaro is immune to such techniques. And I got owned, repeatedly. It was severely humiliating. Especially as the first time I came up against him, there were onlookers, raising the stakes.
I kept trying. But I had shoe horned myself good and proper into playing one way. So for now, at time of writing Kintaro remains undefeated. That bastard. I’ve since been mucking around with all the characters, looking for new strategies or to simply try and experience all the fatality moves. Oh and if you weren’t aware, Mortal Kombat 2 saw the introduction of a new finishing technique known as a babality. I’ve never managed to pull one of these bad boys off (and not from lack of trying) but from what I’ve seen, instead of killing your opponent in some inconceivably gruesome manner as is the case with fatalities you turn them into an infant version of themselves. The ultimate insult!
Mortal Kombat 2 also saw the introduction of Stage Fatalities and Friendships (another kind of finishing move that isn’t malicious). Overall, the game had a darker tone than the original but at the same time was less serious and more light hearted in it’s approach thanks to babalities and friendships. A lot of people didn’t like that, but personally I did. Sometimes it’s just better to humiliate an opponent rather than gruesomely end their life, no?
There’s not really a whole lot more I can think to say about Mortal Kombat 2. I mean, I could talk about the story, but let’s face it. No one cares about the story so long as they can punch someone in the face, right? In all honesty though, the story is practically non-existent. It’s bare bones but that’s ok. The lure for MK 2 for me and others, is and was the game play and particularly the gore aspects.
If you’ve read Iovan’s article on Earthworm Jim 2, you’ll know that it was accompanied by videos that he recorded to show off each of the levels. Unfortunately I am not unable to do that presently, but if you check out the official GamingHUD Youtube channel over the course of the weekend, you’ll get to see game play footage of each game I write about this week. Yes, that’s right. You’ll get to see for yourself just how sucky I am at Mortal Kombat 2.
Until next time.
PS. To any Street Fighter fans, go easy on me please. I’m soft and I bruise easily.