Arcade Jewels #1 Mortal Kombat 2
What is it?: A classic Beat'emup
Where is it? Old arcades, home arcades, Arcade1ups
So, it's 1993 and I'm 13. Street Fighter 2 and Mortal Kombat have been duelling for the best part of a year, trying to steal my hard earned coppers. But, both of these games have since been ported to the SNES and the Megadrive. Both have been played to death. And, because of this, the arcade is stale. Enter Mortal Kombat 2. Bigger, badder, bloodier, gorier. Street Fighter 2 may always have been sublimely balanced, but Mortal Kombat was (and is) cooler. The bloody splashes that accompany every punch to the face, the fatalities that allow you to dismember your opponents. Of course, Mortal Kombat 2 had all of these, but, to quote Spinal Tap, everything was put up to 11.
Stunning digitised graphics and memorable stages set the scene for the bloodiest of bloodbaths, as well as almost double the characters to battle them in (Mortal Kombat 1 had 7, Mortal Kombat 2 had 12; not including secret characters.). Mortal Kombat 2's motley crew of characters include a Shaolin Monk, a thunder god, a mutant with blades protruding from his arms, various ninjas (which, though reskins in a similar way to Ryu & Ken, all have different moves) and a shape-shifting sorcerer. There's also 2 monstrous boss characters, the multi limbed Kintaro and the brutish Shao Kahn. As well as normal special moves, each character has 2 fatalities (death moves) and a friendship move.
The game is also as hard as proverbial nails, but it doesn't feel unfair. The numerous special moves at the character's disposal and the speed of the gameplay attribute Mortal Kombat 2 with both nuanced gameplay and balance. It's also a riot with 2 players. Indeed, get 2 players that know their characters inside and out and you've got a stone-cold classic on your hands.