Mortal Kombat


Back in the day, I would lose horribly to my cousin in Mortal Kombat II, I believe it was. No amount of button mashing would work, and I'd be left wanting to play Mario Kart instead, where I at least stood more of a chance at actually competing.

Fast forward... decades now... and I get the chance to play Mortal Kombat, that infamous video game nasty where blood and guts and decapitations caused every videogamer 'concerned' citizens to demand action to be taken in censoring or at least alerting people to the violence contained within gaming.

It is because of Mortal Kombat that games are rated these days, such was its impact, but does that make it a good game? I'm going to play the censored SNES port to find out (and probably the Mega Drive port too).

Oh, and one more goal - I want to finally pull off a fatality for myself...


I'm going to let the screenshots speak for themselves for a little while here... We begin at the bottom rung of the tournament ladder, Johnny Cage vs Sonya.

I lost badly, switched the difficulty from Medium down to Very Easy, made a little progress, lost just as badly in the third fight, against Scorpion.

All in all, it sucked. I sucked, the controls sucked, my grasp of the controls sucked, everything sucked. I'll elaborate, though.

The customisable face buttons can be mapped to High/Low Kick/Punch, with the two shoulder buttons defaulting to a dedicated block button - a fighting game first, and one of many. The option to have things mapped to your liking is great, but in the game it all just felt off. I can't quite describe how it was off - it wasn't slow, or quick, but it was both slow and quick.

Maybe I'm just looking for excuses because that sentence helped nobody.

Whatever was going on, I wasn't enjoying it. Button mashing didn't work, but even trying to plan out just a few moves wasn't going my way either, and not because the CPU would outsmart me, but because I'd forget the buttons - even when doing the same move just seconds before.

In this short run, there was nothing that made me want to play it again. I didn't want to improve to see what the bouts at the top of the tournament were like, I just wanted to turn it off.

But I hadn't yet got a fatality, so I tried my luck with the Mega Drive port instead.

Fun Times

I succeeded in kicking Sonya off screen for 100,000 points. This, too, sucked. And then, for good measure, I lost to Sub-Zero.

In my weak defence, I don't think I had all the buttons at my disposal. Might not have set the emulation up right. How I got through Sonya was anyone's guess, if that was the case.

Final Word

I know for certain that Mortal Kombat is entertaining, especially with all the blood, gore, bells and whistles, and for this game at least, in the arcades where bragging about fatalities would have been some kind of currency.

On a home console port, with my useless fingers and potentially incorrectly set-up software, Mortal Kombat is an altogether different experience - one that I'm not in any rush to give a second go. A sequel or two might get played in its place, but the OG MK can wait.

However you play it, it has clearly gone down in video game history, and any game that does that should be played, if not to find out why, then to at least form your own opinions based on the game itself, not what others think of it.

It's a funny old discussion sometimes, video games and violence, but one that I don't care enough to go into, certainly right now. All I care about is that I finally landed a fatality and it wasn't as cool as I wanted it to be.

You will, no doubt, do much better.

Fun Facts

The game was developed in only 10 months, supposedly just to fill a gap in Midway's release schedule, rather than directly compete with Street Fighter II.

Mortal Kombat, developed by Midway Games, first released in 1992.
Version played: SNES, 1993, via emulation.
Sega Mega Drive, 1993, via emulation.
Version watched: Arcade, 1992 (bdcool213)