• Publisher: Midway
  • Release Date: Sep 16, 2005

Generally favorable reviews - based on 41 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 31 out of 41
  2. Negative: 0 out of 41
Buy On
  1. While it ventures into new territory,it does so in an interesting way.
  2. AceGamez
    A shining triumph of beat 'em up glory, spinning off from the traditional MK one-on-one gameplay and showing us all just how excellent the old-school beat 'em up can be in this current generation of gaming.
  3. What you get out of Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks depends on your familiarity with the series. The more you know, the more you’ll like.
  4. The 3D beat ‘em up I have been waiting a long time for. The fighting engine just feels fantastic.
  5. 88
    Unfortunately, this game is not online, something that would have significantly boosted replay value.
  6. The game flows extremely well, and is just a complete blast to play. Seeing your favorite MK landscapes come to life is a total joy and the story provides some insight into the strange MK world.
  7. 85
    While the nutball MK mythos is annoying—click through those windy speeches by Raiden as quickly as possible—it's all good once disembodied heads are bouncing around like popcorn.
  8. A good mix of an action/adventure game and a traditional fighter. Fans of either genre will find something to enjoy and MK fans will especially enjoy the references to MK lore.
  9. A little bit of "Final Fight" and "Devil May Cry," and an even littler bit of "Prince of Persia," Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks is a must-have for MK fans. It's repetitive – what did you expect? You fight the same enemies repeatedly.
  10. Far from the dodgy cash-in we expected, Kombat dwarfs the likes of Beat Down and offers genuine improvements in the formerly stagnant scrolling fighter genre. [PSM2]
  11. It's a really nice combination of old and new Mortal Kombat.
  12. The combat system is easy to learn but has enough depth that it will take time to master.
  13. 80
    Midway has done a great job of taking a very popular, well-entrenched franchise and moving it over to another genre with success. Shaolin Monks isn't without its faults, but the game's tenets are good, the moves, the fighting, the unlockables, and its surprising level of depth all count for so much. And all of this is topped off with the superb co-op mode.
  14. It's a game that will certainly appeal to MK fans thanks to its self-referencing details, but more than that, Shaolin Monks will appeal to action/adventure fans in general thanks to a very solid combat system that surpasses previous attempts at multi-directions 3D combat.
  15. If you're looking for a fight you came to the right place. If you're looking for something more than just a fight you've also come to the right place. Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks puts the mental fun back in fundamental.
  16. 80
    It offers a stellar single-player adventure mode experience, a ton of unlockables, a comprehensive two-player versus mode, and best of all, the original freakin' "Mortal Kombat II" arcade game. For all of these different modes in a single game, the price tag is practically a steal.
  17. The mighty "God of War" is a little more deserving of your action cash if you've only got the funds to buy one game where you run around killing stuff. But Shaolin Monks is a very close second-best in the heaving action sector, thanks to its good looks, decent play and a gory, blood-soaked style that's well in keeping with the Mortal Kombat legacy of pain. [PSW]
  18. If you don't understand Mortal Kombat, this isn't the game for you. But if you do get it, especially if you loved the first two arcade games, this IS the game for you.
  19. The Mortal Kombat transition from fighting game to action-adventure experience is handled exceptionally well in Shaolin Monks. As Scorpion would say, "Get over here!"
  20. Were it not for the sometimes-unclear objectives (coupled with a tough-to-follow map); puzzles that almost always involve throwing an enemy into a wall, spikes, and the like; and some minor annoyances, this one would be award worthy.
  21. Apart from actually putting together a completely decent gameplay engine, Shaolin Monks is so ridiculously chock-full of hidden goodies and subtle wink-and-nod-style in-jokes that anybody who professes to have a degree in MK will be hard-pressed not to come away entertained.
  22. 80
    Shaolin Monks certainly has its problems, but the action at its heart is the most enjoyable the series has offered in ages.
  23. The creators get points for keeping the combos, juggles, air attacks, and instant-kill fatalities, not to mention the chopsocky feel and cameos from familiar faces like Baraka and Reptile.
  24. 80
    It's not overly deep or terribly long, but for anyone looking for simple, cartoonish blood and brutality, this is very definitely the place.
  25. The story is weak, boss fights are hard, but the action is extremely enjoyable and in a game where the main focus is the action, which is all that counts.
  26. Official Playstation 2 Magazine UK
    Reinventing Mortal Kombat was risky, but Shaolin Monks rams home the action with style, guts and excitement to spare. [Nov 2006, p.138]
  27. Game Informer
    I haven't had this much fun with a co-op game in quite some time. [Oct 2005, p.122]
  28. Play Magazine
    The fighting - and there's tons of it - never grows laborious or monotonous... [Nov p.76]
  29. PSM Magazine
    It's a game that gets back to the basics and is chock-full of Mortal Kombat goodness, especially for two players simultaneously. [Dec 2005, p.84]
  30. This game has a lot of things to keep you coming back. You can play the single player or Ko-Op mode again with a new set of characters (we will keep them secret for now) and the unlockable arcade version of MKII is a nice addition for the fans.
  31. Official U.S. Playstation Magazine
    The game's simplistic look and occasionally spotty camera might be a turnoff for some, but the pure fun the game provides easily overrides these shortcomings. [Nov 2005, p.91]

Awards & Rankings

#41 Most Discussed PS2 Game of 2005
#11 Most Shared PS2 Game of 2005
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 93 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 81 out of 93
  2. Negative: 5 out of 93
  1. Mkfan786
    Sep 19, 2008
    This game is a Mortal Kombat game, but not ur usual style of MK gane. It's a change but still Mortal Kombat with plenty of classicThis game is a Mortal Kombat game, but not ur usual style of MK gane. It's a change but still Mortal Kombat with plenty of classic characters in there including Kung Lao, Liu Kang, Scorpion, Sub Zero, Ermac, Human Smoke, Reptile, Noob Saibot, Sonya, Jax, Rayden, Shang Tsung, Shao Khan, Goro, Kintaro, Kitana, Mileena, Jade, Baraka, Johnny Cage and Kano. You can play as Scorpion and Sub Zero aswell as Kung Lao and Liu Kang, who each have about 10 fatalities each! Plus there is the new multality mode, allowing you to perform a fatality on multiple enemies at same time, and also a brutality mode. There is a vs mode with more playable characters to use, and there are plenty of hidden things to find and unlock including the full Mortal Kombat 2 game, and a superb hidden survival mode that pits you against all kinds of enemies and multiple bosses at the same time. There is also a ko op mode allowing 2 players to play on screen at once which doubles the fun you can have with this game. If you are like Mortal Kombat then this is an essential purchase for you, and even if you don't, this game is still very fun to play, especially in ko op mode with 2 players. Full Review »
  2. Apr 24, 2011
    A enjoyable co-op or single player adventure game! Mortal Kombat fans and casual gamers will love this,any other who says this is not goodA enjoyable co-op or single player adventure game! Mortal Kombat fans and casual gamers will love this,any other who says this is not good must be really,really a big die hard street fighter fan! Full Review »
  3. GinF.
    Oct 6, 2006
    Really fun game, lots of ennemies, lots of combo possibilities, extreme well-done multi-directional combat, good plot... The only problem Really fun game, lots of ennemies, lots of combo possibilities, extreme well-done multi-directional combat, good plot... The only problem would be the duration of the game, i finished it in 4 hours. Could've been longer but still a good game and anyone who'll say otherwise are die hard Street Fighter fans who hate MK Series. Full Review »