He was born in the Andhaka clan of the Yadavas, and some sources describe him as a brother of Hrithika, who was the great grandfather of Krishna, but this seems unlikely. Though he is depicted as a devotee of Krishna in the Vishnu Purana, apparently he was not in good terms with Krishna, and was one of the conspirators who plotted to kill Satrajit, Krishna's father-in-law during the Syamantaka Jewel episode.
During the great battle at Kurukshetra, Kritavarma was an ally of the Kauravas against the Pandavas and lead the Yadava army (also called the Narayani Sena). He was one of the three survivors of the entire Kaurava army and had helped Ashwatthama in carrying out his heinous night time massacre of Panchala warriors, in which the latter had slaughtered among others, Dhrishtadyumna (the Pandava commander-in-chief), Shikhandi and the five sons of Draupadi. The event is described in the Sauptika Parva of the Mahabharata. He returned to his kingdom after the war and was later killed by Satyaki in Dwarka during the final destruction of the Yadavas, as we find in the Mausala Parva of the Mahābhārata.