There are fighter games, and then there are great fighter games! Mortal Kombat is the latter of the two. It was 1993 and I was in the tenth grade, I walked into an arcade just like any other day, any other time. A game I had never seen before with a dragon picture above it had a crowd around it. A crowd draws a crowd; indeed as it drew me.
Upon first glance I remember being very impressed because it looked as if real people were doing battle. When one is used to games like Street Figher II this realness was gritty and there was blood, boy was there blood. Uppercut after glorious uppercut it went flying and I remember having to shut my mouth from amazement because it was dry from all the cold arcade air. Yep, this was my kind of game!
There were 7 fighters to choose from to do battle with:
My personal favorite Subzero
Each of these fighters had there own moves but what really brought the playing system together for me was that everyone could uppercut, and everyone could sweep their opponent. This simplified and streamlined fighters for years and it was a brilliant move. Simplicity is big with me and Midway eventually had so many different moves/fatalities/babalities/friendships/anamalities/brutalities in the future MK's that it was just way to overwhelming. This game was perfect.
This was one of the first games to introduce an interactive environment to fighters. I remember watching a fight that looked like it was on some kind of stoney bridge and then I saw something that was different from anything else I had seen in a game before, the words "FINISH HIM!". What could this mean? What do you do? Well my question was soon answered as the person playing Scorpion uppercut Liu Kang but he didn't stop at the stoney bridge but rather kept falling, and falling, until meeting a violent death at The Pit landing on spikes next to heads and skeletons...I had hearts for eyes.
Not only The Pit but Fatalities were introduced and everyone had them. The race was on, school buddies were interoggated, I had to find out who knew these moves so I could do Fatalities! Remember before the internet this was how it was done, and soon I found a person that knew all of them and I couldn't copy onto a piece of paper the moves fast enough!
My love for this game was sealed as fatality after fatality was done by these experts of a game I did not know existed. Now we come to the best fatality to date, even after several Mortal Kombat games since, Subzero pulled Johnny Cage's freakin head and spine out! WOW. I was hooked and loved every match I played since then.
It was from this game the ESRB was created so home consoles could have the blood and gore. The Nintendo version did not have it but the Sega game did only after you entered in the code. Sega had the blood, Nintendo had the graphics. Moms and dads all across the country cried out in horror as they were afraid their kids would turn into monsters after playing this game. "Mom, it's just a game" I said as I understood the difference between games and reality. But oh what a fun this game has been!
Other Mortal Kombats came out, the most successful was Mortal Kombat II, I actually owned an original arcade unit of this game. I still like MKI the best because "Babalities" and "Friendships" are silly to me.
On a personal note I hope to see the realness return and for the fighters to be real people again in Mortal Kombat. With the technology used in games like Fight Night 4 and UFC Undisputed player models never looked so real. The potential is there, we can only hope they'll use it!
Thanks for your time and I hope you enjoyed a walk down FATALITY lane!