Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks Image

Generally favorable reviews - based on 41 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 51 Ratings

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  • Summary: Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks is an Action/Adventure title driven by both intense single and multi-player action. Similar to "Mortal Kombat: Deception," background interactions (i.e., acid pits, living trees, spiked ceilings, etc.), multiple new fatalities, and action-based puzzles also play an important role in the player's quest for an "outstanding" victory. Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks features an impressive line-up of Mortal Kombat characters, as well, that make frequent appearances as enemies, in boss battles and during several additional in-game interactions. For the first time ever, Mortal Kombat fanatics can explore all the mythos and rumors of the Mortal Kombat universe from an entirely new perspective. Action/Adventure fans will be blown away by the intuitive kombat system, puzzle solving and epic storyline that can be experienced in either the single player mode or through co-op play. [Midway] Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 31 out of 41
  2. Negative: 0 out of 41
  1. 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.
  2. The fighting - and there's tons of it - never grows laborious or monotonous... [Nov p.76]
  3. It's a really nice combination of old and new Mortal Kombat.
  4. It's not overly deep or terribly long, but for anyone looking for simple, cartoonish blood and brutality, this is very definitely the place.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. It’s a non-offensive way to while away a few hours digging up the past, but the core gameplay doesn’t hold a candle to the title it’s so fondly remembering. [Nov 2005, p.108]

See all 41 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 19
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 19
  3. Negative: 1 out of 19
  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 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
  2. NickJ.
    Oct 14, 2005
    Amazing fighting and kombat God of War plus fatalities.
  3. FarooqA.
    Sep 24, 2005
    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 "", 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
  4. NicoleC.
    Feb 9, 2006
    Love it love it love it
  5. May 29, 2011
    Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks is a worthy addition to the MK series and is one game that the series needed for a long time. Whereas every other previous MK game was just a 1 on 1 fighting, MK: Shaolin Monks is an adventure style beat-em-up. This was something new for the franchise, and it was good. MK: Shaolin Monks takes place right after the events of MK1. It starts off with a brilliant cinematic of several MK characters fighting each other, and then you begin. There are two playable characters at the start - Liu Kang and Kung Lao. Though playing alone is fun, I think the essence of Shaolin Monks is to play it co-op with a friend or sibling. The gameplay is very good, the mechanics of fighting are some of the best in an MK game. If Mortal Kombat: Armageddon (another MK game for PS2) would've used the same style of fight mechanics and combos as MK: Shaolin Monks, it would've been a much better game. In addition to a huge variety of moves to use on the minions you can also perform fatalities right in the middle of a fight, which greatly spices up the gameplay. Throughout the game you'll get to visit all the classic MK stages and meet a lot of classic MK characters. The story is not bad. It's somewhat cheesy in places, but it's fun nevertheless. Finally once you complete the game you get to unlock two more characters to play as in the story mode - Scorpion and Sub-Zero. You will be surprised, because they do have a lot of their own moves and combos. Playing as them might be a bit harder however since their projectile attacks (spear and ice ball) deal a lot less damage than the projectile attacks of Kung Lao and Liu Kang. The slightly disappointing thing is that Sub-Zero and Scorpion only have 2-3 fatalities each, whilst Liu Kang and Kung Lao had about a dozen. There is a versus mode in the game too, but that one in my opinion is very weak as you only have 8 characters to play with. Overall a solid and very fun game, with plenty of challenges and lots of gore. The only reason why I am not giving it a 10 is because I thought the last boss was way too overpowered, which kind of ruined the experience for me. Not only is the last boss very hard, but there are also two other boss fights you engage in right before that one without getting a chance to save or replenish your health. It's hard on co-op, it's even harder if you play alone. Expand
  6. Jun 8, 2014
    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 _).

    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.

    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.

    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.
  7. AlexN-M.
    Jan 17, 2007
    This game is poor! You think that you will be good and make a "Fatality by pushing two buttons in the same time? Your wrong! My note is 0! No more comments about this POOR game! Expand

See all 19 User Reviews