Mortal Kombat

Mortal Kombat is a well-known fighting game series which set the standard for other games of the same genre, while maintaining its very distinct flavor regarding both artistic style and gameplay elements.

The basic premise of Mortal Kombat is the existence of several realms created by the gods. In order for one realm to conquer another, it must defeat the best warriors of the opposing world in a ten round tournament. Raiden, the god of thunder, takes the side of the humans of Earthrealm and fights for mortals while also helping the fighters become stronger, as he is not able to do everything alone. Each character has his or her own reasons for participating in the tournament, and their stories are revealed by playing in arcade mode, although sometimes the information contradicts sequels and/or prequels.

There is an array of playable characters. At first the only distinction is their different special moves, but as the series progressed, they drifter farther apart until even their simple moves caused different amounts of damage. That doesn’t mean that in the first game had nearly identical characters! Raiden could instantly zap in and out of range, Scorpion could throw his harpoon and drag his opponents towards him and Sub-Zero could freeze foes.

It was barely until 1997 that MK games stopped using sprites and switched to 3D. The sprites were created by capturing footage of real actors dressed up as various characters and performing all the possible moves. Of course, due to lack of space, these had to be reused through the infamous “palette swapping”; so, at closer inspection, you could see that it was the same character only colored differently. Sure, it wasn’t so pleasant once you realized that, but it’s much better to have more playable characters that resemble each other, rather than having only a handful of unique-looking ones.

As you would expect, Mortal Kombat features tournament style gameplay, with two players (the second one human or otherwise) fighting each other, generally in a “two out of three” match. As mentioned, besides the most simple of moves (punches, kicks, jumps etc.), characters can perform various (magical) attacks in a memorable button mashing fashion. Of course, MK was the one that introduced the fatalities, allowing players to get one free hit, resulting in a very graphic and overall gruesome death of the opponent, with the right combinations. While the games can always be played in single player, the most fun comes when playing against another person, although this means that they are prone to “ghosting” from using the same keyboard.

To conclude, Mortal Kombat is a great and long-running series which continues to this day, albeit confused and experiencing a series of reboots in regards to games, movies, cartoons and comics.

See also

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