This is a neat little series on the history of Mortal Kombat. I must say that I lost interest after finishing Mortal Kombat 3 (which by the way has my favorite playable character in Kabal). Anyways this series brings us up to date on the MK franchise in all it’s successes and many failures.
Mortal Kombat and I go way back to 1992 when the original game arrived in my arcade. By this time, I had mastered Street Fighter 2 as much as I was going to, and was looking for another machine else to take my quarters. Plus I needed something to do with my friends when we skipped school (grade 12 was not a productive year!). The graphics on this game looked killer, and with all the blood and gore, what wasn’t there to love? At first the controls seemed a little stiff compared to SF2, and it took a while to get used to the “block” button, but after spending about $5 on the game in quarters things seemed to feel more comfortable. Now you have to remember that this game was brand new, and there was not internet to look up the moves and/or combos. You either learned a move by random button mashing/joystick maneuvering, or through word of mouth. It didn’t take long for us to figure out Scorpion, so he was my boy in the beginning… plus his finishing move was really easy…. get about 3 inches from your foe, hold “block” and press up on the joystick a bunch of times. We knew all the characters had finishing moves (as we discovered by dying in single player mode), but had absolutely no idea how to get them to work. This was a brilliant scheme by Midway as it kept us coming and pumping in the quarters! It took months to figure out all the characters… and well over a year before the games secrets went from rumor to reality! Reptile!
Then in 1993, just as I was walking around with a high level of confidence for my MK skill, Midway released the second chapter! All of the original characters were in the game (Sonia and Kano were prisoners in the background and thus were unplayable), plus you had seven brand new ones! These 12 playable characters was a bit intimidating at first, however by this time MK was really popular and thus the learning curve wasn’t nearly as steep as the original. Plus the sequel had even more blood and gore to discover! Fortunately I was juiced into a good union job as a janitor at a hospital on the weekends so the quarters flowing.
On a personal note, one of the creators of the game was a former student of my karate Sensei, and apparently was such a fan that he named two of the characters (Sonia and Mileena) after Sensei’s daughters… both who kick ass in real life, and now in the video game world as well!
This game came out in 1995, and to be honest I was a little MK fatigued by this point, so didn’t really give it a shot in the arcade. In university, the Sega Dude and I were roommates the first year, and MK3 was released for the PC, we were quick to acquire a copy! Although lacking the competition of the arcade forum, this game was still fun as it presented us with a total of 20 playable characters… as I mentioned, Kabal was my favorite. It also had a really cool minor boss in Motaro… a huge demon centaur with horse legs, a human torso, goat horns, and a deadly tail! It was always fun taking down this beast!
After this though, I kind of lost interest in the franchise. There were other games, some complete flops, others not too bad… but none really captured the magic of the first three in the series. If you are or were ever into Mortal Kombat, I recommend sitting back, drink a few beers, and and enjoy the five part series that 616Entertainment just posted on YouTube. I thought he did a fantastic job in walking us through the fame and glory that was/is Mortal Kombat.
Happy Holidays, and until next time,