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OC HIGH: STUDENT NEWS AND VIEWS : Mortal Kombat II; For Sega Genesis and Game Gear, Nintendo SNES and Game Boy


Here's how good Mortal Kombat II is: Put it in the ring with MKI, and the original gets carried out in a body bag.

Yes, Mortal Kombat, which earned a place in the video game Hall of Fame (behind the lawn mower in my garage) both for general excellence and for pretty much single-handedly forcing the industry to implement a rating system, is history.

Long live MKII!

You remember Mortal Monday, when the first game was released. Well, Sept. 9 was sort of Mortal Friday, the day four versions hit the streets--Sega Genesis and Game Gear, Nintendo SNES and Game Boy.

One change from the original is important to SNES owners. The Nintendo version will be just as gory as the one for Genesis. In Round One, Nintendo refused to permit some of the bloody "finishing" moves.

The two 16-bit games have all 12 characters, plus two bosses. If you've played MKII in the arcade, backgrounds and moves will be familiar.

Played side by side, the SNES version boots Sega's cart into the weeds. Sound and graphics are as close as you can get to arcade quality, while Sega suffers with poor sound and lesser graphics.

Of course, it's not like you're stuck with dreck if you're a Genesis fan. This time, SNES is just better. You won't be disappointed if Sega's your bag.

The story: Some five centuries ago, shape-shifter Shang Tsung was banished from the Outworld to Earth because he was bad. With the help of his sidekick Goro, he was supposed to so unbalance the planet that his boss, Shao Kahn, could stroll in and take over.

Didn't work.

But he convinced Shao Kahn he had a plan that might work. He lured his key enemies to the Outworld by setting up a martial arts tourney. Of course, the folks he invited are a bit better than your average street fighter.

But they have to be. To win the tournament, you first have to defeat all the other fighters from Earth. Then you have to get past Shang Tsung.

Say you beat Tsung. Next up is Kintaro, a half-human, half-dragon relative of Goro. Then, the final fight--Shao Kahn himself.

Beat him and you've saved the world. Until next time, of course.

MKII gives you a lot of flexibility. You can choose a difficulty level from very easy to very hard. You can use a three-button or six-button controller, or the activator, if you're playing the Genesis version.

Graphics are excellent. Gouts of blood gush when punches or kicks land. Bodies dissolve in slimy green pits or are hurled aloft to be pinned on spikes embedded in the ceiling. Heads go flying from lethal blows.

Learning MKII is pretty much a career thing; it could take you forever to learn all the controller combinations calling up the various moves, Friendships, Babalities and Shang Tsung's morphing ability.

But you can have a great time wrecking your opponents without mastering the game.

When it comes to hand-to-hand fighting games, MKII rules. There is nothing to compare it with, and that bodes well for gamers.

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