MOOOOOOORTAL KOOOOMBAT!!!!! Yes 1992 was a good year for gaming. Infact the early 90’s was fantastic for console owners as they began to see their 16 Bit games consoles making massive strides towards arcade quality looking games. Sega and Nintendo were head to head leaving all competition behind as anyone around at the time will remember trying to defend their own console frantically if their mates had the opposite.
Whilst Street Fighter 2 was doing an amazing job at keeping us glued to the TV screen before school, after and weekends, nothing could have prepared us for what was coming our way at the end of the year.
Yes Mortal Kombat hit the arcades. A choice of seven characters each with their own special moves, realistic digitized visuals and gore that blew people away (and still look good to this day), amazing sound effects, stage visuals, story and something that is written into video gaming history forever “FINISH HIM!” Not only did you beat the living hell out of each other while watching your opponent actually bleed all over the place you could then perform a fatality with a key combination and brutishly finish them off.
This game made people sit up and take notice to fighting games even more, not only did people flock to the arcades to play the game, learn the special moves and watch as the older kids pulled off the finishing moves, it started making headlines on the TV. The game was so brutal that by the time 1993 came along and the home versions were ready to be released, a new type of gaming censorship was thought up and an age restriction was stamped on the games box
Sega and Nintendo’s battle became even more fierce with the advertised Mortal Monday release date in 1993. Mortal Monday was to be the release date of the home versions crossing nearly all platforms. All eyes were on the Sega Mega Drive and Super Nintendo versions of course and to the horror of Super Nintendo owners , the decision was made to replace the blood with sweat (or whatever that was supposed to be) and for the some of the fatalities to be changed for less violent versions
The Sega Mega Drive version was close to the arcade version if you tapped in a code before the title screen. The code ABACABB (a Genesis album name, fitting for the American Sega Genesis) would unlock the blood and fatalities. Although the gore and fatalities were included on the Mega Drive version and missing from the Super Nintendo version, the SNES version was closer to the arcade in visuals and sound. The control pad was also in Nintendo’s favour as it had more button allowing better game play. You could buy a six button pad for the Sega Mega Drive but that meant more cost.
Both versions included the story mode where the player had to fight thier way through all of the opponents and then a mirror match. The mirror match could be tough due to the slight differences in shades of the players outfits. Between player progression you had the opportunity at gathering more points at a bonus stage. Your object was to tap two buttons as fast as possible so your character could then break the solid object between his hands. Each bonus stage the material was tough to brake so a combination of timing and speed was necessary before pressing the button.
Endurance fights came next where the player had to take on two opponents one after the other each round. This could become incredibly tough on harder difficulties. One key stage that everyone remembers from Mortal Kombat is the pit stage. After beating your opponent in the second and watching the “Finish” message appear, performing a standard uppercut would send your opponent up into the air and off the pit. You would see an animation of your character falling until plunging to its death on the pit floor. Character Lui Kang could include this uppercut as part of his fatality. Also the pit stage would allow you to play the secret character Reptile. You needed to wait for a silhouette to cross the moon and beat your opponent without loosing health or blocking in both rounds. Then fatality must also be performed. You fight reptile at the bottom of the pit and receive huge points bonus if you win.
Before fighting the end boss you have to fight one of the most recognised character in fighting game history. Goro!!! Goro is a miniboss but he will always be hugely memorable due to having four arms and the ability to wipe you out in mere seconds if the mood takes him. Fatalities would not work on Goro and he was also not selectable in the Arcade or Sega Mega Drive or Super Nintendo version.
Finishing off the long battle would take you to the end boss Shang Tsung. Shang Tsung also had a memorable feature in which he could morph into any character he wished. He would also appear in some of the stages background. This made the final battle more interesting than other games at the time as you had to adjust your strategy depending who he morphed into. He could morph multiple times a round so finally defeating him felt like an epic journey and ultimate victory.
Mortal Kombat went on and produced arguably the best game in the Mortal Kombat franchise with MK2 bettering the original in nearly ever way. Many equals would follow and Mortal Kombat is still going strong today with Mortal Kombat X (which i might add is very good) Films were made due to the games popularity, comics, books and animated cartoon series too.
But its the original Mortal Kombat that started it all and created generations of MK fans. It will always be in my memory forever, watching the advert at the cinema (Mortal Monday Commercial) and feeling goosebumps. This game was big and it delivered with a gory punch to the face!
Finally for Da22’s request i am including a link to the films title theme although the film was released after Mortal Kombat 2, the sound track had a great selection of bands and of course this…
Remember people, Mooooooooortal Kombat because its in the gaming hall of fame forever!