Mortal Kombat II (commonly abbreviated as MKII) is a competitive fighting game originally produced by Midway Games for the arcades in 1993. It was later ported to multiple home systems, including the PC, Amiga, Game Boy, Sega Game Gear, Sega Genesis, Sega Saturn, Super Nintendo Entertainment System, and various PlayStation consoles, mostly in licensed versions developed by Probe Entertainment and Sculptured Software and published by Acclaim Entertainment.
Mortal Kombat II was the second game in the Mortal Kombat series, improving the gameplay and expanding the mythos of the original Mortal Kombat, notably introducing more varied Fatality finishing moves and several iconic characters, such as Kitana, Mileena, Kung Lao, Noob Saibot, and the series' recurring villain, Shao Kahn. The game's plot continues from the first game, featuring the next Mortal Kombat tournament set in the otherdimensional realm of Outworld, with the Outworld and Earthrealm representatives fighting each other on their way to challenge the evil emperor Shao Kahn.
The game was an unprecedented commercial success and was acclaimed by most critics, receiving many annual awards and having been featured in various top lists in the years and decades to come, but also perpetuating a major video game controversy due to the series' continuous depiction of graphic violence. Its legacy includes spawning a spin-off game Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks and having the greatest influence on the 2011 reboot game Mortal Kombat, as well as inspiring numerous video game clones.
The gameplay system of Mortal Kombat II is an improved version of that from the original Mortal Kombat. There are several changes in standard moves: a crouching punch and turnaround kick are added, low and high kicks have greater differentiation (be they crouching or standing up), the roundhouse kick are made more powerful (knocking an opponent across the screen, like the game's uppercut), and it is easier to perform a combo due to reduced recovery times for attacks. Returning characters also gained new special moves, including some to be used in mid-air, and the game plays almost twice as fast as the original. However, all playable characters in the game still share most generic attributes (such as power and jump height) and all normal moves are also the same between each character.
As with its predecessor, matches are divided into rounds, and the first player to win two rounds by fully depleting their opponent's life bar is the winner; at this point the losing character will become dazed and the winner is given the opportunity of using a finishing move. Mortal Kombat II lacks the "Test Your Might" bonus games and point system from the first game, in favor of a consecutive win tally where wins are represented by icons.
The game marked the introduction of multiple Fatalities (post-match animations of the victorious characters executing their defeated foes) as well as additional, non-lethal finishing moves to the franchise: Babalities (turning the opponent into a crying baby), Friendships (a non-malicious interaction, such as dancing or giving a gift to the defeated opponent) and additional stage-specific Fatalities (the winner uppercutting his or her opponent into an abyss below, spikes in the ceiling, or a pool of acid in the background). Finishing moves cannot be performed neither by nor against the boss and secret characters.
Following his failure to defeat Liu Kang in the Mortal Kombat tournament, the evil Shang Tsung begs his master Shao Kahn, supreme ruler of Outworld and the surrounding kingdoms, to spare his life. He tells Shao Kahn that if they hold it in Outworld the invitation for the next Mortal Kombat cannot be turned down, and the Earthrealm warriors must attend. Kahn agrees to this plan and also restores Shang Tsung's youth. He then extends the invitation to the thunder god and Earthrealm's protector, Raiden, who gathers his warriors and takes them into Outworld. The new tournament is much more dangerous, as Shao Kahn has the home field advantage, and an Outworld victory will allow him to subdue Earthrealm.
According to the Mortal Kombat series' canon, Liu Kang won this tournament as well, defeating Shao Kahn and his bodyguard Kintaro. The game's story mode can be also finished using any other playable character, resulting in different non-canonical endings for each of them.