Year Of Release: 1992
Midway wanted a game that would get in on the success of Street Fighter II so they gave Ed Boon and John Tobias the task of making this game, Midway as well as telling the pair that they wanted a fighting game also told them that it needed to be finished in a year. For such a quick project, Mortal Kombat would in many ways change gaming! It has been said that the first Mortal Kombat game was to be an action game that starred a digitized Jean Claude Van Damme, but as he was unable to be part of it, Mortal Kombat was created. Interestingly enough, Johnny Cage shares more than a few similarities with Jean Claude Van Damme.
Mortal Kombat pulled people in with its gore. While it may seem tame by today’s standards. Back in 1992 people were just shocked to see blood in a game like this. It was not just the blood, but the level of violence as well. Each of the seven characters had their own Fatality finishing move with Sub-Zero’s spine rip and Kano ripping a beating heart out of his opponents chest getting the most attention. As well as being very violent, Mortal Kombat also turned heads with its very impressive digitized graphics the fighters not only looked good, but they were animated very well also. The game also had a fairly deep story for a fighting game. The story saw 7 warriors from earth needing to take part in a fighting tournament to stop Shang Tsung brining doom to the world. As the series progressed the story and characters would get much more fleshed out.
Game play wise rather than just copying what Street Fighter II did, Midway went with their own fighting style. Mortal Kombat uses 5 buttons. You have a high and low punch and kick, but blocking also has its own dedicated button. Each character shares certain moves such as an uppercut, roundhouse kick and a sweep. The special moves in Mortal Kombat are different as well. Street Fighter made use of circular motions or holding a certain direction. Mortal Kombat’s special moves were mostly done with taps such as forward forward high kick. Mortal Kombat is a best two out of three rounds fighting game, but upon winning the final round you have the chance to “Finnish” your opponent by doing your Fatality move.
Current High Score: 24,821,500 by Isaiah TriForce Johnson
Mortal Kombat was a huge arcade hit and it blew up even more so when it was released to the home consoles and home computers. The release date of the home versions was called Mortal Monday and it featured what at the time was one of the largest advertising campaigns for a video game. The game would be ported to the majority of home computers and consoles.
The home versions are notable for the 16-bit ports. At the time Nintendo had a strong stance against violence and as a result made Midway remove the blood effects and change the majority of the fatalities. The Sega version of the game kept the blood in and as a result drastically outsold the Super Nintendo version. While the Sega version did have all the blood you had to put in a code at the start of the game to activate it. Nintendo would lower their stance on violence on their system by the time Mortal Kombat II was released.
The gore in Mortal Kombat led to many governments around the world taking a closer look at video game content. And as a result many countries introduced a video game age rating system.
Aft the huge success of Mortal Kombat, Midway had even more success with its sequel Mortal Kombat II. In total Midway would release 5 Mortal Kombat games in arcade before the series was only available on consoles.
The game to this day is a huge franchise. As well as having multiple games released. Mortal Kombat has spawned two live action movies, a live action TV series, animated TV series, live action web series and a ton of merchandise as well.