Following the story of its predecessor (Mortal Kombat), 500 years ago, Shang Tsung was banished to the Earth realm. With the aid of Goro, a 2,000 years old half-human dragon mutant warrior, his mission was to unbalance the furies and doom the planet to a chaotic existence. By seizing control of the Shaolin Tournament, he tried to tip the scales of order towards chaos. Only seven warriors survived the battles and Shang Tsung's scheme would come to a violent end at the hands of Liu Kang. Now, in Mortal Kombat II title, facing execution for his failure and the apparent death of Goro, Shang Tsung convinces Shao Kahn, the Outworld emperor, to grant him a second chance. Shang Tsung's new plan is to lure his enemies to compete in the Outworld where they will meet certain death by Shao Kahn himself.
Matches are divided into rounds, and the first player to win two rounds by fully depleting their opponent's life bar is the winner. Much like the first title, the losing character (when life bar goes to zero) will become dazed and the winner is given the opportunity of using a finishing move. A classic Mortal Kombat feature, which was cloned to various other fighting games to follow!
Among the original 12 characters, the Game Gear port offers no more than 8 selectable characters, each one with up to 5 special moves: Jax, Kitana, Mileena, Reptile, Scorpion, Shang Tsung, Sub-Zero and Liu Kang. Unfortunately the almighty Baraca, Kung Lao, Johnny Cage, the superb Raiden are missing here. There are also 2 hidden characters Jade and Smoke (only the 3rd hidden character of the original, Jade, is missing here). Fortunately the boss characters Kintaro and the mighty Shao Kahn are here too. Note that, only a 2 (out of the original 10) stages/arenas to fight are available in the Game Gear (and Game Boy Color) port.
The gameplay is pure arcade fighting on the go.
Ok, despite all the content that was not present in this port, the Game Gear version was outstanding in terms of gameplay, and presentation.
The graphics look wonderful here! All characters are digitized and move quite smooth. It is worth mentioning here that, (much like to its predecessor) to create the character animations, actors were placed in front of a gray background and performed the motions, which were recorded on videotape and video capture footage was then processed into a computer, and the background was removed from selected frames to create sprites! How impressive that was back to the days! The animations offer all the nice feeling of the original (arcade) version. I only complain about the only two (2) types of backdrops (all characters fight in only two available stages here). Note that, the Game Gear port does have blood too which was restricted to the Game Boy Color version.
The sound is ok, offering some nice in-game tunes along with a few SFX during fighting (no sampled sound though here).