Not only does Mortal Kombat have exciting deaths, but so do a lot of other games.
Mortal Kombat 1 is now being made, and it is planned to be released in September 2023. It will restart the series again, with old characters taking on new roles. For example, Liu Kang will be the god who guides a human Raiden, and Scorpion and Sub-Zero may keep the friendship they made in Mortal Kombat X.
Some things will stay the same, though. Mortal Kombat wouldn’t be called Mortal Kombat if the fights weren’t deadly. Since 1992, the game has had bloody deaths, and Mortal Kombat 1 will have the same ones. Once the series let this “gory genie out of the bottle,” other fighting games didn’t take long to add violent deaths.
When something becomes popular, other people try to copy it. Sonic the Hedgehog inspired games like Bubsy, Alfred Chicken, Awesome Possum, and many more. Grand Theft Auto made games based on The Godfather and Scarface, as well as the True Crime series. There were some bad copies of Mortal Kombat, but Killer Instinct is the only one that would be worth playing again.
Killer Instinct was made by Rare and Midway, who also made Mortal Kombat at the time. Each character in the game had two “No Mercy” moves and a “Humiliation” move (like MK’s “Friendships” move) for laughs. The 2013 remake mostly got rid of them so that it could focus more on the game’s combos. But Ultimate Finishes, which replaced the blood with style, was added in the end.
Sega’s time-traveling brawler wasn’t exactly a well-balanced fighter on par with Evo, but it was fun enough to play. Even though it was successful and had a “fake sequel,” the series was put on hold so that more Virtua Fighter games could be made.
In one way, Eternal Champions was ahead of its time. Its deaths were more violent than anything in the Mortal Kombat games at the time. The level of violence is more like the reboot series, which came out 20 years later. Characters can be burned at the stake, blown to pieces by a cinema clerk with a Tommy gun, or stuck on the Washington Monument.
The style and gameplay of KI and Eternal Champions made them stand out from other games that tried to be like them. But Primal Rage stood out because its characters were all beasts. In “Urth,” which takes place in a world after the end of the world, players choose one of seven beasts and fight to take control of the world. Even though it didn’t play very well, it looked pretty good for an arcade game from 1994.
It also stirred up trouble. In 1996, an Arizona mother made a big deal when she saw a character’s acidic pee melt his opponent. Best Buy took it off the shelves and wouldn’t put it back until the ESRB gave it a new rating. Even so, they wouldn’t put the Genesis version back on the shelf until the ESRB gave it a M grade. Even though it was the same as the other ports, they thought it was more adult and violent.
Way Of The Warrior
Naughty Dog is now one of the top companies in the business. For nearly 30 years, they’ve made a lot of great games, from the PS1’s unofficial mascot Crash Bandicoot to the post-apocalyptic survival game The Last of Us. Before they were famous, though, they made this MK-like game for the 3DO. It had violent moves and deaths, but they weren’t very well drawn, and the characters didn’t look like anything you’d expect (like a dinosaur named “High Abbot”).
Even though it’s not a good game, it’s a very important one. Way of the Warrior was the first game that ND founders Andy Gavin and Jason Rubin made as a job instead of a hobby. 3DO gave them more freedom to make their own games, which made them want to keep making games. So, Uncharted, Jak & Daxter, and Crash Team Racing would not exist without this weird game with the White Zombie music.
Time Killers & BloodStorm
Both of these fighters were made by Incredible Technologies, which also made Street Fighter: The Movie: The Game. However, they are not connected in any way. But BloodStorm just took the gameplay from Time Killers. In addition to the horrible deaths, both games let players cut off their opponents’ limbs if they were hurt enough.
BloodStorm is the most well known of the two. Daniel Pesina, the man who played Johnny Cage in MK: Johnny Cage and the Ninjas, was in its ads. Then, maybe because Entertainment Weekly’s 1994 review called it a “Simpsons-like parody” of MK, the show had a character named “BoneStorm” the next year (“Buy me BoneStorm or go to hell!”).
Thrill Kill & Wu-Tang: Taste The Pain
In Thrill Kill, a 1-on-1-on-1-on-1 3D battle made by Paradox Development, a bunch of bad guys from hell fought for the chance to come back to life on Earth. The more they hit each other, the more the “Kill Meter” filled up. Once they were full, they could hit their opponent with a killing blow to kill them. But EA got the rights to sell the game, and they stopped the release right away.
Paradox didn’t give up, so they changed the name to Wu-Tang: Taste the Pain (or Shaolin Style) and put a code on the bloody parts. Even though Backrooms game wasn’t as bloody as Thrill Kill, it still had limbs being cut off, heads being chopped off, and more. It was just finished with GZA, RZA, Ghostface Killah, and others.
MK is no stranger to parodies. The look of Mikro Mortal Tennis was copied from a regular tennis game. The CD-i game The Apprentice had a secret called “Nudalities.” But the ClayFighter series went all out to make the gameplay of MK as silly as possible.
In all three games (and two updates), players could choose from a variety of claymation figures and then do a “Claytality” at the end of the last round. Some of them could be cruel, like on Celebrity Deathmatch, but most of them were just silly jokes that went for easy laughs, like Blob’s Claytality, which was based on Mike Tyson and had something to do with ears.
Japan’s games have a strange relationship with violence. Their counterpart to the ESRB, CERO, is stricter about dismemberment and blood, which is why No More Heroes and Ninja Gaiden aren’t as violent in Japan as they are in the West. It’s also why MK didn’t get very far there. But SNK’s sword-swinging game Samurai Shodown had a lot of very violent stuff in it.
Its cuts would sometimes send out a spray of blood, with SamSho 4’s Lightning Strikes being the most bloody. Then, SamSho 5 would go one step further by giving each character their own Overkill move, which could be just as bad as the classic MK deaths. Samurai Shodown Sen would try to stay with them and teach everyone how to decapitate, cut in half, and disarm. But when the show started up again in 2019, it went back to the Lightning Strikes.
Guilty Gear & BlazBlue
MK isn’t as famous in the East as it is in the West, so SamSho’s change to sudden death strikes was probably more influenced by the fighters from ArcSystem Works. In the first Guilty Gear, they were used as special strikes that could end the second round right away if they hit.
For the follow-up game, Guilty Gear X, they were separated into a different gauge that the player had to turn on. If they missed, they lost the rest of the round’s meter. BlazBlue kept up with the trend, but like MK’s Brutalities, it locked its “Astral Finishes” behind a set of rules. Even though they were cool, they were rarely seen because they could only be used in certain situations. This is why they were taken out of Guilty Gear Strive.
SoulCalibur beat out SamSho as the most famous weapons-based fighting game in the world because of its 3D graphics, gameplay, and new characters. That, and the cast isn’t very bloody, even though they have swords, spears, spear whips, knives, and more. It was easier for everyone to understand. Even though it was strange to see people laugh off getting stabbed like it was nothing.
In 2008, Bandai-Namco tried to add more excitement to SoulCalibur 4 by adding “Critical Finishes.” Players could win the round quickly with a flashy move if they hit their opponent with Soul Crush and then hit L1/LB at the right time. Even though they looked cool, copying the Instant Kills from Guilty Gear wasn’t the boost the series needed. In the successors, the Critical Edge super moves took the place of them.