Inside PlayStation Network – Mortal Kombat II

The digital delights of Sony’s scrumptious PlayStation Network service know no bounds. Aside from letting punters compete in online gaming, stream films, browse the Internet and more, its premier attraction rests in the copious supply of downloadable games ripe for the picking. From PSN exclusives to PSOne Classics, minis and plain old add-on content, Sony’s online space is chock full of goodies battling it out for your hard-earned digital dollars.

Welcome back to another installment of Inside PlayStation Network, where every Monday – Friday we’ll pluck a PSN release—be it new or old—and put it in the spotlight for a thorough dissection. Fancy getting a new PSN game but don’t know what one to plump for? Perhaps this feature will help. Didn’t realize that a game was available in your region until now? We’ve got you covered. Or, perhaps you were musing over what those lucky Japanese folk were tucking into over in the Land of the Rising Sun? You can be sure our coverage will extend to those rare regional exclusives as much as those firmly embedded on the public consciousness.

Join us now as we turn the clocks back to one of the first games to arrive on Sony’s online service – Midway’s marvelous Mortal Kombat II.

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Developer: Midway
Region(s) available: North America, Europe
Price: $5.00/£3.99

If you were lucky enough to be one of those fabled 90s kids (and if not, you have our sympathies), then chances are you adhered to one of only two religions that mattered back in the day – Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter. Well, ok, either that or DuckTales / Chip N’ Dales Rescue Rangers, but that’s another story altogether. Indeed, Midway’s bloody brawler barely kept its head out of the spotlight during the early-mid 1990s, attracting ample controversy for its depiction of bone-crushing, spine-ripping fatalities and general penchant for redecorating environments in brain matter gray. Parents loathed it, gamers loved it. It wasn’t a case of all blood and no backbone, though; MK played like a dream, offering a diverse mix of characters, strategically timed specials and satisfying multiplayer.

Mortal Kombat II is no different, packing in meatier moves, heaps of fresh faces and a barrage of bloody fatalities, not to mention the comical friendships and babalities for those who don’t fancy ripping their opponent’s face off after a match. As tradition dictates, Midway also included another Pit stage, this time allowing players to uppercut their foes off a bridge, sending them plummeting to their deaths below. There’s nothing quite like admiring your handiwork as you leer at your fallen foe splattered against the cold, hard concrete. It’s bloody fantastic – no pun intended.

Other memorable combat arenas include the Living Forest (complete with animated trees howling for blood), The Kombat Tomb, Kahn’s Arena and the Dead Pool – the latter featuring the ability to send your victim hurtling in to the background for a quick acid bath. MKII saw the return of numerous fan-favorite fighters, though elbowed the likes of Sonya and Kano out in favour of barbaric mutant Baraka, strongman Jax and femme fatales Mileena and Kitana. Oh, and who could forget one of gaming’s most recognisable Easter Eggs in Dan “Toasty” Forden? Classic stuff.

Bigger, bolder and bloodier, the sequel remains a firm fan favourite among MK aficionados, and has seen a countless number of ports over the years, including the ultra-rare PlayStation version, released only in Japan. Further testament to its continued popularity can be seen in the fact the brawler racked up impressive sales following its release on Sony’s online service. Sure, the PSN conversion suffers from some dodgy sound compression, but overall it’s a near arcade-perfect endeavour augmented by the addition of some satisfying online play. And, with developer NetherRealm releasing the hotly anticipated eponymous entry in the series later this year, we couldn’t think of a better time to indulge in a spot of vintage 2D Kombat.

Join us tomorrow as we take another trip Inside PlayStation Network.