Retro Rant: Street Fighter 2 VS Mortal Kombat

Hi all. It’s been a while since the last retro rant, so this week I have decided to take a look at two iconic fighting games in comparison. I’ll be using the SNES versions of the games in their basic editions for this. Lets get ready for a little Street Fighter 2 VS Mortal Kombat.

Firstly, Street Fighter 2 gave us eight characters to choose from, giving us a different story line for each one. The characters were entered in the World Warrior Tournament for various reasons. Although the story wasn’t the most epic thing you’ve ever seen, it was adequate for a fighting game.

Street Fighter 2 Vs Mortal Kombat

Mortal Kombat gave us by comparison, seven playable characters, who likewise had their own story lines. They entered the Mortal Kombat Tournament for various reasons. While there was a lot of potential lore and story, you didn’t really get to see much of it, unless you left the game idle for a while.

Street Fighter 2 Vs Mortal Kombat

Street Fighter 2 had versatile styles of gameplay. With the exception of Ryu and Ken, each character had a completely different move set. Special moves not withstanding, each characters basic moves worked differently, for example, Dhalsim’s basic attacks had a lot of range, while Blanka’s punches were quite short. There were different strengths of moves too, from low to high, which opened up a whole other dimension on attacking and counter attacking.

Mortal Kombat on the other hand, gave each of the characters basic moves that were equal. Not counting the special moves of each character, the punches and kicks were pretty much the same for all characters. This took a little bit of variety away from the gameplay and made it a bit more about the special moves. Depending on how good a player was at counting frames, it was possible to stun lock an opponent with a sweep every time they tried to get up. Mortal Kombat’s ace in gameplay over Street Fighter 2 lay in the finishing moves, the fatalities. Gruesome special attacks that were input at the end of a match. It was satisfying to pull the fatalities off, but the rest of the matches tended to be a little lack luster.

Street Fighter 2 Vs Mortal Kombat

Speaking of luster, Street Fighter 2 had colour bleeding from every pixel. Bright character outfits, animated backgrounds that reacted to the progress of the game. It was easy on the eyes, and gave a fun feel to the game. Mortal Kombat on the other hand, was very grey. To be fair, it could be argued that it was to keep in with the theme of the game, a much more sombre and serious setting. But really the backgrounds were a little tough on the eyes. There was an interesting fatality based on a stage in the game that later became a staple of the series and unlocked a hidden fight, but again this was a novelty.

Both games had bonus levels. Street Fighter 2 had players smashing up objects using their special moves against the clock. This was pretty fun, depending on the character you were playing. Mortal Kombat had a control-breaking button basher where you filled up a meter and broke some wood or diamond. It wasn’t all that fun.Street Fighter 2 Vs Mortal Kombat

Street Fighter 2 gave us four boss characters (that would become playable in revised editions) making the game that bit more challenging, as you couldn’t practice with them to learn their moves. Mortal Kombat gave us two bosses, and one secret fight (reptile, which was a pallet swap of a playable character with one or two extra moves) they were fun, but a little anti-climatic when you beat them. You were given a blurb as to what happened after you won the tournament and the credits would roll. Street Fighter 2 gave you a whole scene, like when you beat the game as Blanka, and someone (I’m going to be nice and avoid spoilers for any young readers- and yes they probably already know) emerges from the crowd.

Street Fighter 2 had fast music that fit the pace of the fights, but also decent themes for the endings and game over screens. Putting this together with all the action and colour, and it’s safe to say we got a pretty exciting game.

Mortal Kombat has music that fit the theme of the game, but was still as dull and drab as the rest of the game. I have to be fair here and say that Mortal Kombat was a very good concept. It has been improved on time and time again, and they were really just testing the waters with the first game, given they pioneered the fatality and blood gimmick. It’s still a great fighting game, but you will probably have more fun playing Street Fighter 2. The current run of the games however,  is a lot harder to say which is better.

‘Til next time.

Eric Gallagher
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