A video game arcade without a few fighting game cabinets is like a YouTube comments section without the kind of vitriol spewed forth by what I can only assume is the angriest collective of 12 year-olds that the world has ever seen. There may be certain genres which drove people to arcades, but it’s the humble fighting game which kept them there, ready to smack a token on the side of the cabinet as they waited their turn.
I’ve seen a ton of great fighting games grace arcades over the years. Killer Instinct, Eternal Champions, Tekken, Dead or Alive, Street Fighter and a truckload more. But nothing, nothing ever beats your first time playing Mortal Kombat on an arcade stand.
Let me paint a picture for you: It’s a hot day in the Eastern Cape, I’ve sought refuge and I’ve found it in my local arcade. And in the corner, there’s a Mortal Kombat II stand. Now, never mind the fact that by the time this stand had arrived, Mortal Kombat Deadly Alliance was all the rage on the PlayStation 2.
The stand itself was dusty, the decals were cracked and the fight-stick was worn down from years of abuse and QCF actions. But what the hell, it looked like fun.
I don’t need to wax lyrical about how Mortal Kombat II was a monumental step forward for the franchise. New characters, smoother combos and better finishing moves.
While Geoff and I will still have heated arguments over which Mortal Kombat is best (MORTAL KOMBAT 3 SCREW YOU GEOFF), you just cannot deny how instrumental the first sequel was in moving the franchise forward.
But here’s the thing: Mortal Kombat II had what appears to be a stock-standard arcade stand. The typical two-player setup, with a familiar shape. But it’ll always be one of my favourite stands, of all time thanks to the decals on it.
There’s just something magical about seeing Raiden throwing lightning on the sides, as if he’s channelling a quickening from Highlander, with the new logo smackdab in the middle of the top decal.
And then there’s the fight stick layout. I swear, Mortal Kombat II had a layout which knew precisely where to position every input action for the various high and low combos.
Mortal Kombat II isn’t just one a gold standard for what a fighting game sequel should be. It’s also one of the damn finest examples of arcade kabinet that you’ll ever see. And worth every koin spent on it.
Last Updated: September 9, 2015