• Publisher: Midway
  • Release Date: Sep 16, 2005
User Score
8.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 60 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 52 out of 60
  2. Negative: 5 out of 60

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  1. Jun 8, 2014
    9
    OVERALL: Maybe the best 2-player cooperative game, certainly the best of those in the Beat-em-Up genre (yes, better than the Sega Die Hard/Dynamite Cop games, better than Shank 1, better than Double Dragon Neon, better than Dynasty Warriors _).

    PRESENTATION: 8 Graphics are good, especially in their adherence to the mortal kombat aesthetic and in character designs, at least by PS2
    OVERALL: Maybe the best 2-player cooperative game, certainly the best of those in the Beat-em-Up genre (yes, better than the Sega Die Hard/Dynamite Cop games, better than Shank 1, better than Double Dragon Neon, better than Dynasty Warriors _).

    PRESENTATION: 8
    Graphics are good, especially in their adherence to the mortal kombat aesthetic and in character designs, at least by PS2 standards. The exception is the Sub-zero special effects, which look like ugly static bitmap blue clouds plastered over what's supposed to be "frozen." Enemies blast into bloody gibs if you hit them hard enough, which I loved. Sound effects are great. The cutscenes, CGI and rendered, have really great fight choreography, although they are extremely silly in the classic mortal kombat style.

    CONTROL:10
    Although moves only affect one enemy at a time, MK:SM lets you move around really well with the left joystick so you don't lock-on. Combos are based on button presses, not directional inputs, which avoids the problems of Devil-Must-Cry games. There's dedicated throw button, dedicated jump button, (so already we're leagues ahead of modern beat-em-up games), attack button and launch/uppercut button. Holding down the shoulder button makes these buttons activate different character-specific special moves that draw from a recharging meter. You can also pick up, use and throw weapons. The feel of combat is perfect, and it's amazing how well all the character-specific special attacks from the 2D games translate into 3D space. You can also pick up, use and throw weapons. Fatalities are incorporated as instant kill or "rage" attacks.
    It's just simple enough to allow friends to pick-up-and-play, but deep enough to carry the entire game as you upgrade the special attacks and unlock more combos. There's a large variety of enemy types, incorporating most of the MK2 characters as well as background extras from the first movie. I personally prefer the MK:SM versus mode for one-on-one combat to any of the fighting game series of mortal kombats.
    In addition to combat, there's also some basic platforming. Puzzles work well because they all amount to throwing or knocking enough enemies into specific obstacles, so they're integrated into combat.

    DESIGN:3
    Here is where all the little annoyances appear, due to some bizarrely-obviously bad design decisions.
    For one thing, there are parts of the game where you need a walkthrough to figure out where to go, not to mention the secrets (including critically important unlockables like the survival mode, extra bosses to fight and extra characters for the versus mode) that are impossible to find without one.
    There's no way to drop-in/drop-out of cooperative versus single player mode, so you have to restart the game to change. There's not even a way to switch characters besides restarting.
    Also, both players share one health bar, which seems like the worst possible design choice in terms of player health.
    There are only 4 playable characters in the campaign mode, even though there are 8 in versus mode and more besides that as bosses.
    But it's a mark of how great the core gameplay was that this is the only game I have ever gone through the hassle of getting the Action Replay cheat system to work for. Using cheats, you can play as not just the 8 fully-coded-for characters, but also as any enemy that appears in the game (although most of the enemies have limited movesets).
    It also gets very difficult at the end. I'm not too proud to admit I had to cheat heavily to get past the final boss Shao Kahn, who is very cheap in the classic mortal kombat final boss way.
    And it's short. 4 hours!? But better a brilliant short game than a good but padded one.
    Despite the flaws, it remains the best 2-player cooperative campaign I ever played, and even as a single-player game it rivals the best of the beat-em-ups.
    Expand
  2. Sep 17, 2012
    9
    I wrote a 4000 character review on how this game was amazing though I accidently clicked back on my mouse and am not going to write the review again >:( Anyway 9/10, I would recommend this to anyone as a coop game.
  3. Apr 24, 2011
    10
    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 good must be really,really a big die hard street fighter fan!
  4. SergioG.
    Jul 10, 2005
    10
    It's da bomb.
  5. NickJ.
    Oct 14, 2005
    10
    Amazing fighting and kombat God of War plus fatalities.
  6. NickdogS.
    Oct 22, 2005
    10
    1 of the best games since god of war, gtasa.
  7. CraigJr.
    Oct 4, 2005
    10
    Wow, its the best Mortal Kombat ever...anyone who thought MK2 was awesome will surely fall in love with this one. The Vs. mode is the best feature, it brings each background from MK2 to an intesely interactive 3D 'environment', upping the exotic factor of the old school backdrops to a really utilizable MK utopia. While the game is offstream the usual flow of the series as it is Wow, its the best Mortal Kombat ever...anyone who thought MK2 was awesome will surely fall in love with this one. The Vs. mode is the best feature, it brings each background from MK2 to an intesely interactive 3D 'environment', upping the exotic factor of the old school backdrops to a really utilizable MK utopia. While the game is offstream the usual flow of the series as it is a remake, it offers some of the deepest rush seen in the beat-'em-up genre, with gameplay depth far deeper than god of war and even Devil May Cry, and some of the most intense coloured lighting effects so far, its strange how little the difference between PS2 and Xbox versions is. No doubt Midway has out done itself this time. Making a fully functional adventure game in just one year, keeping the originality to its maximum and providing the most of the capabilities of the consoles, its just an artistic masterpiece. A sure to buy folks ! Expand
  8. Wongit
    Oct 5, 2005
    9
    I bought alot of games these past few weeks, and this one for some odd reason outdoes burnout revenge, ultimate spiderman and marvel nemisis, not that those are bad games, but MK shaolin monks is wonderfully addictive. the acting sucks, which makes it extremely fun to watch for some reason. The gameplay is amazing, it flows like crazy and its fun from beginning to end. The boss battles I bought alot of games these past few weeks, and this one for some odd reason outdoes burnout revenge, ultimate spiderman and marvel nemisis, not that those are bad games, but MK shaolin monks is wonderfully addictive. the acting sucks, which makes it extremely fun to watch for some reason. The gameplay is amazing, it flows like crazy and its fun from beginning to end. The boss battles are great and require some strategy, the characters you unlock are awsome. koop and vs. are great to play with a friend when you two are bored. The game is awsome simply the best game ive played in a long time. Expand
  9. LeeT.
    Sep 25, 2005
    10
    The last couple mortal kombats where crud. Shaolin monks is different to all the other MKs, lots to unlock, heaps of moves n fatalities and the co op mode is awesome.
  10. NicoleC.
    Feb 9, 2006
    10
    Love it love it love it
  11. FarooqA.
    Sep 24, 2005
    10
    From the games-industry point of view, this game lies in the category of "Blood Will Tell", filled with all possible stuff a person could get enjoyment from but just lacking the visual edge. Only the visual betterment got 'Ninja Gaiden' such a high industry rating, other-wise its just nearly as good as Sega's 'Shinobi'. MKSM delivers all the current-gen console From the games-industry point of view, this game lies in the category of "Blood Will Tell", filled with all possible stuff a person could get enjoyment from but just lacking the visual edge. Only the visual betterment got 'Ninja Gaiden' such a high industry rating, other-wise its just nearly as good as Sega's 'Shinobi'. MKSM delivers all the current-gen console specialities like a great number of instantaneous polygon feasta, totally new gameplay, great possibilities but definitely it loses the rank mark just due to graphical under-achievement. From the "Mortal Kombat" franchise point of view, this game simply rocks, MK has always been about a great story, in-depth scenerios, with a flawless story-line which seems to be very much worked upon in terms of continuity. It is so exotic that it lets the players feel theirselves deciding the out-comes of the lives of the ingame characters. One of the remarks of the series co-creator Mr. Ed Boon was that 'reality is boring, we have gone beyond reality', keeping the natural behaviour of the affairs natural, MK rises beyond reality and delivers that excellent world to live in that the purist Hong Kong cinema promised in the 80s. Tony Goskie's great art work just can't be forgotten once you have peeked at it. MK has always provided such a mystical, gothic and exotic locations in which any person who has respect for art and virtual reality in terms of aesthetics will surely die to go and reside. I myself kept playing the previous part of the series MK:Deception just for knowing which new stage will be unlocked, and this time around in MK:Shaolin Monks there are everywhere such beautiful sceneries to look at and get immersed..So the conclusion is that every body loves 'Wuxia' (if anybody is does not know the term, a great description is available at "en.wikipedia.com", just write in search "Wuxia" and you'll know), and if you really want to satisfy your thirst in an action adventure game for Wuxia, you're bound to play: For Japanese Wuxia :- "Blood Will Tell" For Chinese Wuxia:- "Mortal Kombat : Shaolin Monks". Expand
  12. Mkfan786
    Sep 19, 2008
    10
    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 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 SubThis 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. Expand
  13. MaganY.
    Nov 26, 2005
    9
    I'll what this game is: brilliant A master class in old-school beat 'em up The game itself: fantastic fun.
  14. DavidA.
    Sep 29, 2005
    10
    Great game the best mortal combat game.
  15. FurqanF.
    Sep 29, 2005
    10
    Looking at the last two installments in the m.k. games by midway...it appears as if developers are taking an asian/oriental-focused turn which is nothing less than an excellent decision. The old man Shujinko from the previous installment in my opinion has been the coolest guy ever featured in a fighting game, he had such a deep personality that was further garnished by a complete game Looking at the last two installments in the m.k. games by midway...it appears as if developers are taking an asian/oriental-focused turn which is nothing less than an excellent decision. The old man Shujinko from the previous installment in my opinion has been the coolest guy ever featured in a fighting game, he had such a deep personality that was further garnished by a complete game mode done for him alone ("Konquest" that is). The whole mystic feel surrounding him gave waves of honour and dignity that you find largely incorporated by and from the philosophies of the two awesome diciplines of Chinese Kung-Fu-Buddhist traditions that are "Wudang" and "Shaolin"(Good study midway!). And within days (not weeks) of the launch of the last installment the anouncement of the next m.k. project was done and it was named "Mortal Kombat : Shaolin Monks"...WOW, the name alone stirred the m.k. fans because they were already starting to understand the authenticity, the m.k. brand had started to deliver since the start of this generation of gaming. Knowing the Shujinko/Chinese-Hero emphasized characterization in the last m.k. game and listening to the name of the next m.k. game being focused upon Shaolin Monks, it was already cleared that we are in for an excellent Kung-Fu movie ride that is nothing less than absolute fun. Now we have the game in our hands and it has tuned out to be one of the best m.k. games ever. With the unique art style of the midway's m.k. team and great talent incorporated from the paradox team, this game truly stands up to the expectations of the huge fan-base m.k. brand has gather over more than a decade. While this installment stays true to the fighting elements known accordingly throughout the history of the product(blood, weapons, projectiles, combos, fatalities and miscelleneous other -alities), it has succeeded in delivering the true charisma of the oriental folklore, myth and philosophy that games like(although very, very authentic content wise)Jade Empire and Dynasty Warriors fail to provide. Since the tale of the Mortal Kombat has always been quite keenly developed and deeply inter-linked, it grows quite complex to be apprehended by a new-comer to the series (a perfect candidate story for an RPG game,...maybe someday midway takes that step too) but the beauty of the whole scenerio is that if you take some time to understand it, you won't find any holes in there. It is very much mastered. M.K.:Shaolin Monks is the adventure remake of the original m.k. 2 that came out in 1993, and this time midway actually hired a storyline expert who can track the whole of the story with all its events intact, an effort not to be seen in development of any other fighting game titles... On the technical side, this game has the newly developed , first of its kind "Multi-Directional" fighting engine, more fatalities than in any other m.k. game ever, a long 16 hours gameplay and the unique, gracious soundtrack partially remade from the original m.k. 2 samples and partially fresh, wierd and catchy. If you are looking for some art-enriched and mystic interactive experience people, go grab a copy today, this one R.O.C.K.S. ! Expand
  16. IsaacM.
    Nov 19, 2007
    9
    Ah Old school Mortal Kombat is back with a vengeance!!! This game is perfect in the way it captures the essence of the early MK's combining it with some great gameplay to boot if you loved MK1, MK2 and Trilogy buy this game now you will love it to bits!! The only gripe I have is its a bit simplistic I like my games to have a bit of a tougher learning curve but its thoroughly Ah Old school Mortal Kombat is back with a vengeance!!! This game is perfect in the way it captures the essence of the early MK's combining it with some great gameplay to boot if you loved MK1, MK2 and Trilogy buy this game now you will love it to bits!! The only gripe I have is its a bit simplistic I like my games to have a bit of a tougher learning curve but its thoroughly enjoyable nonetheless and made me want to revisit MK1 and MK2 again Expand
Metascore
77

Generally favorable reviews - based on 41 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 31 out of 41
  2. Negative: 0 out of 41
  1. Despite there being a massive selection of attacks at your disposal, you won't use them, and after battling through your seventeenth batch of Oni bastards, you'll soon settle for the simplest and most effective means of disposal and trade any style for progress.
  2. 70
    It won’t win any game of the year awards, but for a piece of brainless action, you can’t really go wrong with Shaolin Monks.
  3. 60
    Shaolin Monks' replay value could use a jump-start or two from Raiden’s fingertips. Despite an arcade port of Mortal Kombat II and a two-player versus mode, there’s simply not enough "kontent" to justify a purchase for most.