Fatality to Flawless!
Mortal Kombat is upon us. This month we are celebrating the release of Mortal Kombat X with a plethora of Mortal Kombat material. I have been a fan of Mortal Kombat since its release in 1992 (yes, I’m that old.) Mortal Kombat taught me what violence was and since day 1 I was hooked.
Now with the release of MKX, I think it’s time we put all the main series games in their place and rank them from 9 to 1. Let’s begin!
9. Mortal Kombat Armageddon
When Mortal Kombat Armageddon was announced, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Ever Mortal Kombat kharacter ever?! In one game?! Awesome! A brand new Konquest mode which actually played like an action game? This was too good to be true…. and it was…. Kreate a fatality? Cool, but they’ve still got normal unique fatalities right? Nope! That’s an automatic drop in points right there. So fatalities are gone, kharacters are mimicking each others moves, they took away a fighting stance. As much as it tried to be an addition to Deadly Alliance and Deception, it was more of a downgrade. Kreate a fighter was like a shittier unneeded version of a WWE creation system that no one really used, and the adventure mode was as forgettable as kart kombat (which I think I played a total of 3 times.) Yes it was pretty awesome that they included EVERY MK kharacter ever in the game (including the secret khars like Meat and Khameleon,) but it just didn’t feel like a finished MK game to me and to everyone else in the MK kommunity. And that’s why its ranking last place on my list!
Pros: Every MK Kharacter ever, that sweet opening cinematic
Cons: No unique fatalities,unneeded game modes, Minotaur Motaro
Notable First Appearances: None
8. Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe
Marvel vs Capcom, Great! Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe…. not so great! MK vs DC seemed like a good idea at the time, but as every MK fan knows, it was a letdown from day one. While it’s not a bad game, its just not Mortal Kombat. WB slapped a T rating on the game in order to appease the younger DC fanbase, and us MK fans were left with another downgraded game (2 in a row, wtf?!)
Not all was bad with the game. The storyline followed an alternate universe and wasn’t half bad! The game also paved the way for Injustice: Gods Among Us which is a great fighting game in its own right. We also got “Freefall Kombat” “Klose Kombat” and “Test Your Might Kombat” which acted like mini quick time events in the game. These new features were fun, but still couldn’t make up for the lack of blood and toned down fatalities that made Mortal Kombat so great.
Pros: DC Characters, innovative new kombat, Paved way for Injustice
Cons: T Rating, toned down game
Notable First Appearances: None
7. Mortal Kombat 4 (Gold)
The least remembered Mortal Kombat game of all time, Mortal Kombat 4 (or Gold if you had the Dreamcast version.) Mortal Kombat 4 was the first 3D Mortal Kombat game, although it was a 2D game at its core. The game has heart, and attempted to make use of new types of kombat. For the first time ever, each kharacter had their own unique weapon and could use it in kombat. Also for the first time ever, players had the ability to pick up items in certain stages and hurl them at opponents. The weapons were awkward and most of the time ineffective, but hey at least they tried.
Also for the first (and only) time we got cinematic endings for each kharacter. Most of the endings were pretty good, some of them were hilarious (Johnny Cage.) I love the story for Mortal Kombat 4, but sadly it’s never really touched upon in detail like any of the other games. I was hoping MKX would focus more on the MK4 story and the Netherrealm war, however it appears to only be a small part (but whatever, MKX looks amazing, so I’m not komplaining)
Pros: Cinematic Endings, Interactive environments, Good story, Goro’s return
Cons: Weapons fell short, felt too distant to past titles
Notable First Appearances: Quan Chi, Shinnok (Not Including MK: Mythologies)
6. Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 (Trilogy)
Ok…. I know I’m getting into shit with this one, but just hear me out. I’m pretty sure everyone can agree on the 3 worst Mortal Kombat games being those mentioned above, here’s where the real debate happens because every game from here on out is pretty damn good.
Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 upped the graphics, kharacters looked more crisp than MK and MKII. We got a kombo system and run button that were INCREDIBLE. With enough practice, you could destroy your opponent in a quarter of the time it took you to do so in MKII. You could uppercut your opponent into another stage, and we also got new finishing moves with Animalities and Brutalities, AND a memorable storyline. So why am I ranking it at number 6?
Although it was bolstered with new features, Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 also fell short in a few areas too. The main area being fatalities. Fatalities from Mortal Kombat II and even the original were far more exciting than UMK3. Characters would have floating hands, headless bodies that remained standing, and even animalities look like shit. Don’t believe me? Go watch a video of an animality today and you’ll wonder why you ever thought it was cool. Plus they were like impossible to pull off (fucking mercy rule.) Brutalities were nothing special, it showed that you were really good at kombos, but none were unique.
Everyone seems to forget that Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 was an upgrade. The original Mortal Kombat 3 featured NO ninjas. That’s right, your beloved Scorpion WAS NOT in the original Mortal Kombat 3 video game. No Scorpion, no Reptile, no smoke (well not as a human anyway.) There weren’t even any female ninjas either. At least we got Sub-Zero in a new outfit. Shitty fatalities and no ninjas? To me this wasn’t Mortal Kombat, this was something different. It’s like Midway just cleared 75% of its roster and kreated a new fighting game with the MK logo on it.
About half a year later Midway came to their senses and released Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, which was basically the MK3 ninja pack. Included in this updated game was Scorpion, Reptile, Jade, Kitana, Mileena, Ermac, Classic Sub-Zero, Human Smoke, and console exclusives Noob Saibot and Rain.
Pros: New Kombo System, Crisper graphics, Run button, More finishers types, uppercut opponent into different stages, Memorable story
Cons: Underperforming Fatalities, Animalities, lackluster original roster
Notable First Appearances: Cyrax, Sektor, Nightwolf, Sindel, Kabal, Ermac(as a real fighter)
5. Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance
One of my favorite Mortal Kombat games. Deadly Alliance brought me back into Mortal Kombat and got me intrigued with the storyline and history of the game. Many fans disliked Deadly Alliance for its departure from the original 2D Mortal Kombat style. I embraced Deadly Alliance.
After failing with weapon kombat in MK4, Midway finally got it right in MKDA. Every character had 3 fighting styles, 2 martial arts styles and 1 weapon style. For the 1st time ever, you could impale your enemies mid fight with you weapon and drain their life for the duration of the match. The storyline expanded MK’s mythology and drew you in, if you were like me and interested enough to learn more. We also got long branch kombos to connect each fighting style and the konqeust mode to train you on how to perfect each kharacter. One of the best improvements was The Krypt. The Krypt was giant graveyard full of unlockable kharacters, koncept art, and more. Everything an MK fan wanted.
With the new fighting system came many upset MK fans. Many fans disliked the 3D approach MK was taking. MDKA also took away the patented uppercut and sweep moves fans grew to love. I was able to look past these and get hours of enjoyment out of the title, some others were and it is easy to understand why.
MKDA introduced surplus of new kharacters (Most of which were one-offs.) Although I did like the new unique kharacters MKDA gave us, most of them never caught on (except for Kenshi.)
Pros: Great new fighting styles and weapon styles, Fantastic storyline, Loads of unlockables via The Krypt
Cons: Not true to original 2D games, No uppercut and sweep, One-off Kharacters, Only one fatality per kharacter, No Stage Fatalities
Notable First Appearances: Kenshi
4. Mortal Kombat (1992)
It all started with this game. I remember the first time ever seeing Sub-Zero do his head rip fatality at 5 years old, and thats all it took me to get hooked. While I don’t promote violence to youngsters, it was a different time then, and Mortal Kombat helped mold me into the gamer I still am to this day.
Mortal Kombat was created when Ed Boon and John Tobias wanted to make a game “like Street Fighter II” but more violent (or so the story goes.) They created a bunch of kharacters based upon pop culture and the result was amazing. Liu Kang was an homage to Bruce Lee, Johnny Cage was an homage to Van Damme (and was actually supposed to be played by him as well.) Kano resembled the Terminator, Raiden’s was thought up after Big Trouble in Little China. The head rip fatality was from Predator…. the list goes on.
Playing the original Mortal Kombat today you can immediately see how raw and different it is from its predecessors. That’s what still makes it so great. Sure the game is dated, but it still holds that nostalgia that will always bring me back to the first violent video game I had ever witnessed in my life. Kids these days may not understand what Mortal Kombat once was and how big it really was when it first appeared. How big was it? The ESRB was created because of Mortal Kombat, that’s how big it was.
Pros: Paved the way for the franchise, Most kharacters based off pop culture, You could “finish”
your opponent for the first time ever in a video game
Cons: It’s a little dated by today’s standards (but still great!)
Notable First Appearances: Scorpion, Sub-Zero (Bi-Han), Goro, Raiden, Liu Kang, Shang Tsung, Johnny Cage, Sonya, Kano, Reptile
3. Mortal Kombat: Deception
The most underrated Mortal Kombat game of all time. Mortal Kombat: Deception took everything that was great in Deadly Alliance, and improved upon it. They kontinued with the story from the past game and “killed” off much of the roster from the past as well. We got a game full of Mortal Kombat B-listers. While that may not sound fun, the way the executed it was fantastic.
For the first time ever in a Mortal Kombat title, you could explore the different realms of Mortal Kombat in an open world adventure mode. The konquest mode for Deception was incredible, providing us with the best MK storyline to date while also training us how to use each kharacter. The krypt remained from MKDA, but was also improved upon and revamped. For MK vets and fanboys like myself, Deception had also included every past MK kharacter to appear in game (most were kameos in the Konquest mode.)
Aside from the normal tournament mode and konquest, Midway introduced 2 new kombat modes: Chess Kombat, and Puzzle Kombat. While both modes were fun, they got real boring, real fast. I applaud team MK for trying something new, but it just wasn’t needed.
MK: Deception also saw the inclusion of 2 new kombat features: Death Traps and Hari-Kiris. Death traps were awesome and only used in one other MK title. Now instead of waiting for the match to end, you could potentially knock your opponent into a stage fatality mid-match, ending the fight and crowning you the victor. They also added the option to turn this off, if you wanted a fair fight (but who would want to? You can’t tell me knocking your opponent into the giant crusher in the factory wasn’t instantly satisfying.) Hari-Kiris allowed the losing player to kill himself before letting his opponent finish him off, something that was rumored to be in past titles, but never included.
Pros: Epic Story, Konquest mode, Death Traps, Hari-Kiris
Cons: B-List roster, Weak new characters, Chess Kombat, Puzzle Kombat
Notable First Appearances: Havik, Shujinko
2. Mortal Kombat II
A fighter that still holds up to this day, Mortal Kombat II left the original game in the dust. More Fatalities for each kharacter, more stage fatalities. MKII to this day still has some of my favorite fatalities, and they blow UMK3’s fatalities out of the water. Friendships and babalities were included for the first time (and were hilarious.) Mortal Kombat II also upped it secrets game with the inclusion of 3 hidden fighters you could fight if the right codes were done.
There’s not much bad you can say about MKII, the story is still somewhat confusing, but that doesn’t matter. MKII also has an all star roster of kharacters and fan favorites, it also saw was the first time we got a glimpse at Shao Kahn.
Pros: Great roster, More fatalities, Babalities, Friendships, more secrets
Cons: konfusing story (but who cares?)
Notable First Appearances: Shao Kahn, Kitana, Mileena, Jade, Smoke, Noob Saibot, Jax, Kung Lao, Baraka, Sub-Zero (Kuai Liang)
1. Mortal Kombat (2011)
After Armageddon, Ed Boon and company ran into somewhat of a wall. The series had been going on for nearly 20 years, what could be done to bring Mortal Kombat back to the glory it once had? Simple, reboot the franchise without rebooting the franchise using, you guessed it, time travel!
Mortal Kombat (2011) brought back you back to the early days of MK. If you missed out on the original trilogy, now you could relive it with better graphics, a better story, and still be oh so true to the originals. I had a blast with Mortal Kombat (2011). it was everything I wanted out of an MK game. We got a slightly different retelling with all of everyone’s favorite kharacters and none of those one-off kharacters from the later games. For the first time we got a superb online fight mode as well.
I have nothing bad to say about this game as it had met my expectations and then some. Mortal Kombat (2011) is hands down the best Mortal Kombat game in my honest opinion. Mortal Kombat X is looking pretty insane so it may give it a run for the top spot, guess we’ll have to wait and see what happens!
Pros: Reboot of original trilogy, Awesome Online Kombat, Fantastic Story Mode, Babalities return. X-Ray Moves, Klassic attire and kombat
Notable New Characters: Cyber Sub-Zero