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Title screen



The buttons on the arcade panel are laid out in the following fashion (the Run button is only present in Mortal Kombat 3 and Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3):


The L and H stand for Low and High while the middle icon stands for a Block. Low attacks are directed at the opponent's low to mid-section while high attacks are directed at the opponent's upper-section. Holding down the Block button (center button) allows you to block high or low enemy attacks.

New to Mortal Kombat 3 is the Run button, positioned below and to the left of the other buttons. Holding down Run allows you to run forward.


The joystick works intuitively in that pressnig left will generally move your character left and pressing right will generally move your character right. But it is more important to think in terms of relative direction.

  • If your character is facing to the right, then pressing left on the joystick means backward, and pressing right on the joystick means forward.
  • If your character is facing to the left, then pressing left on the joystick means forward, and pressing right on the joystick means backward.

For this reason, all instructions are given with respect to forward and backward since the left and right directions change purpose when your character switches directions.

The following directions assume that your character is facing right, the starting direction of every fight for player one, who begins on the left side:

Jump straight up.
Arcade-Stick-UL.png Arcade-Stick-UR.png
Jump diagonally backwards. Jump diagonally forwards, possibly over your opponent's head, switching directions.
Arcade-Stick-Left.png Arcade-Stick-Right.png
Move away from your opponent. Move toward your opponent.
Arcade-Stick-DL.png Arcade-Stick-DR.png
Crouch, avoiding high attacks. Crouch, avoiding high attacks.
Crouch, avoiding high attacks.

How to Play[edit]


Each battle consists of best-of-three round match between you and your opponent. At the start of each round, both player's health bars are full. A player can win a round by either reducing the opponent's health to zero, or by having more health when the timer runs out. The first player to win two total rounds wins the match and moves on to the next opponent. If a single player loses to the computer, the game is over and the player must continue to rematch the recent opponent.


To win a round, the player must use his or her character's attack moves to damage the opponent and block or dodge the opponent's attacks. Each player may attack from a standing or crouching position or they may jump in to the air and attack. To attack from a standing position, press any single attack button. To attack from a crouching position, pull the joystick in a downward direction (including both diagonals) and press any single attack button. To attack from the air, direct your character to jump straight up, or jump in a diagonal position, and press any single attack button in mid-air.


To block an attack, a player must hold the block button when the opponent attacks. Blocking can be done while standing (which blocks middle and high attacks), as well as attacks in the air, but does not block attacks which are low to the ground. Blocking can also be done by holding down the joystick and then pressing the block button, which will deflect low attacks. High attacks (and some mid attacks) will usually break crouching blocks. A block can be interrupted at any time by throwing your opponent.

Special attacks[edit]

In addition to normal attacks there are attacks known as command moves and special moves. Command moves are special combinations of a joystick direction and a particular attack button that produces a different attack than when the button is pressed alone; these moves cannot be used by other characters as each one is unique in its own way. A special move is a move that requires different button and joystick combinations. For example, Liu Kang's high fireball needs an input of two forward joystick directions and then a high punch button press. This causes Liu Kang to shoot a fireball at the opponent. Special attacks can be blocked like any other attack, but they do what's known as "tick damage." That is, even when blocked, they remove a single hit point from your health bar. Most special moves have a pause associated with them that leave you vulnerable to attack if you miss the opponent, or "whiff".


The last form of attack available in Mortal Kombat II is a throw. Throws are executed by standing immediately next to your opponent and pressing an low punch button. If performed correctly, your character will grab the opponent and toss them to the ground in a manner specific to your character's fighting style; throws are blockable by holding backward.

Versions and ports[edit]

Title Handheld 3rd Gen. 4th Gen. 5th Gen. 7th Gen. Others
Mortal Kombat 1 GB, GG SMS MTU, SNES, SMD, Ami, SCD - PS3, X360, Vita PC, Mobile
Mortal Kombat 2 GB, GG SMS MTU, SNES, SMD, Ami PS1, SAT, 32X PS3 PC
Mortal Kombat 3 GB, GG SMS MWU, SNES, SMD PS1 - PC
Ultimate MK3 - - MWU, SNES, SMD SAT X360 iPhone
MK3 Trilogy GCOM - - PS1, SAT, N64 - PC