Amongst all the Jack Thompson hate for violent and suggestive video games, one title stands tall as being one of the first to hold the collective parents’ breath in aghast and disbelief. Broken bones, superfluous amounts of blood, torn heads from their anatomical perches, a grotesque (if not over-the-top) idea of how your body would behave without a skeleton; and, the pleasures of zapping, burning, and throwing victims into sharp things. The list of brutal and unusual macabre goes on and on. Even if you don’t care for the Mortal Kombat series given its failed attempts at diversification and a dated (k)ombat system, its legacy is deeply rooted in the upbringing of the industry and also with how it impacted the view of interactive entertainment.
Times have changed, and unfortunately not for the better. Midway can no longer substitute its mediocre gameplay for a tired trademark that has come to define its image. Fatalities held the most noticeable bit of persuasion for the appeal to the game, something that now has backfired as superior fighters with more depth make their appearance. Hell, fighters in general don’t seem to be sticking around for long in the mainstreams eye before they are ditched for an FPS or RPG. As a result of these current economical predicaments, Midway has filed for Chapter 11. Whether they can seat themselves back on the blood gilded throne of their past or only fall into the dark, stank pit of failure (spikes included), all we can do is hope for the best. While we do all this hoping though, let’s indulge in some of those fatalities and remember why we love(d) them so much.
10. Liu-Kang — Dragon Snack
What does this knock-off impersonator have over the authentic martial arts master from which he is inspired? Bruce Lee is a no-questions-asked case concerning his fighting prowess — but — could he turn into a dragon to munch the fleshy meat and gurgle on his foes’ blood? Bruce may have "Entered the Dragon" but Lui-Kang was the dragon, are you getting the implications? I’m not either.
Dragon. The ultimate one-upmanship.
9. The Pit — Spike O’ Rama
Uppercut your enemy. Enemy falls. Spikes at bottom of fall. So simple a caveman could understand it. The pit was the one definitive fatality that you could perform by simply being in the right place, no right time needed. Basically a freebie, its still a satisfying venture to pop someone and watch them fall helplessly to their skewered fate. All we would need then is Scorpion for barbeque and shishkebobs.
8. Fan — Rotary Slaughter
Just when you thought fans were an amiable amenity; this debacle is testament that even the most pleasant of things can have a dark side. What’s next? Toasters, arm-chairs… kittens!? It goes to show that nothing can be trusted anymore, and that I deserve a job at Midway as a concept designer. Watch out for wayward appendages when you toss your victim into the blades.
7. Baraka — The Demon’s Pas de Deux
Nothing screams “respect me” more than a head on a pike, and you gotta give Baraka some credit for his improvisations. Classifiable as a semi-human demon-guy, Baraka’s ugliness is only vindicated by his savagery. Lip off to him and he’ll be using your head to kiss his ass.
6. Sub-Zero — The Ice Basilisk’s Art
Sub-zero knows how to get down with the fatality jive in style. It may not be a terribly bloody display, may even be boring to some, but what this old kombat veteran has over the flashy youngsters of the series is experience. His nonchalant attitude followed by his slick moves shows he really knows how to break the ice in the plethora of mundane finishers.
5. Quan Chi — Three Legged Race
Quan Chi shows he’s got a leg up on the competition. It’s as I always say, you gotta put your best foot forward in life if you want to survive. Never let people walk all over you: you gotta learn to stand on your own two feet. If you get tread upon you always have to be ready to put your foot in someone’s ass, or any variation of that general concept.
4. Sindel — Better than a Fan
Between all the ninjas, robots, and demons, Sindel looks pretty harmless in comparison. Don’t let her refined beauty fool you, as she knows all too well how to create some carnage. Her skill with the pole trumps the almighty Fan fatality with an emphasis on dismemberment that is fully realized.
3. Joker — Bang! Roll Snare Drum
Criminally insane is nothing but a dysphemism for spiritual and cognizant freedom. The Joker is just living life and telling jokes. What’s a few lighthearted gags between friends and a few bullets between enemies? As long as you get the punchline that’s all that matters.
2. Smoke — Armageddon
It’s not enough to beat the hell out of someone, you gotta maim him beyond recognition to really be worth your salt. Smoke takes it one step further to show just how much better he is than you are with suicidal mass genocide. Smoke. The very best there is. When you absolutely, positively got to kill everyone in the world, accept no substitutes. What a jackass.
1. Johnny Cage — Aw, Nuts!
Whenever you hear the name "Johnny Cage" the thought of groin punishment is right around the corner. Admit it, you picked him because he did the splits and indiscriminately threw a "cheap-shot" to anyone within reach. It only seems fair to give the top honor to a guy who had the cojones to smack talk, make Goro fall off a cliff, punch people in their nether regions, and all the while looking good with his $500 dollar sunglasses.