Despite numerous changes made over the years, characters added, modes, and minigames crammed in, there's just one thing that brings fans of the Mortal Kombat series back over and over and over: the fatalities.
The brutal finishing movies shocked people back in the day - and made parents watch over their kids like a hawk when they were playing video games. Fatalities pushed the boundaries of what a game could contain and helped lead to the creation of the ESRB. In short, fatalities are the main selling point of a Mortal Kombat game.
Since the original, over fifty characters have become part of the franchise, which has led to the creation of almost one hundred fatalities. So making a list of just ten is certainly no easy task. Which ones were the nastiest, bloodiest, or just plain craziest? You may agree, you may disagree, but that's what the comment section is for.
A couple of rules: One Fatality per character, and no other "alities": such as animalities, brutalities, babalities, or friendships, etc.
WARNING! This Top 10 contains lots and lots of blood and gory goodness. If you're under the age of 18, you'd probably get in trouble for reading this, so turn away now.
Honorable Mention: Kung Lao's Unfriendly Rabbit Fatality (Shaolin Monks)
I wanted to include this one so badly, but my conscience would not allow it. It's completely ridiculous as well as implausible, but it's also funny - and I had include it in some way. So, here it is as an honorable mention.
In a nice take on Kung Lao's Friendship from Mortal Kombat II, Kung Lao pulls a rabbit out of his hat. He then gently tosses the rabbit over to his opponent. His enemy, surprised but not unappreciative of the gesture, gently pets the rabbit. Aww, it's just a cute little bunny, isn't it? Just a sweet, harmless little-
"That's no ordinary rabbit!"
10.) Hotaru's Body Slam Fatality (Deception/Unchained)
The characters introduced in some of the later Mortal Kombat games weren't all that memorable. However, you have to give credit when credit's due - as the developer was at least trying. Hotaru is a perfect example. Not a very interesting guy who's obsessed with order and law - which he enforced with extreme prejudice.
The reason this one sticks out is because you feel each of Hotaru's slams. He just whips the guy into the ground over and over - letting you know that Hotaru is not a guy you want to piss off, and if anyone can make you follow the law to a T, it's him.
9.) Johnny Cage's Brain Rip Fatality (Deadly Alliance)
Johnny Cage isn't exactly known for being all that bloody. He's known more for his arrogant personality and movie star background. People often forget that Cage can get just as messy as the rest of the crew if he wants to. He just doesn't want to go there - at least not that often.
You may be wondering why I picked this over Kano's classic heart rip fatality. In movies that have a lot of blood and gore, such as R-rated action or horror movies, you may see a heart be ripped out or stabbed or whatever fairly often. So, props to Johnny for doing something different.
8.) Jax's Head Clap Fatality (MKII)
People remember Jax as being that cool strong guy with the robotic arms. But back in Mortal Kombat II, he was just that cool strong guy (with regular arms). He wasn't remembered that much for his character, but rather for how ridiculously powerful he was. He was just an ordinary human being tossing monsters and gods around like they were nothing.
His strength was especially clear in his fatality. The fact that he can squish your head with his bare hands in a second is plenty of reason to not pick a fight with him. Especially now that he has the robotic arms - perfect example of why you do not get on Jax's bad side.
7.) Liu Kang's Giant Stomp Fatality (Shaolin Monks)
Liu Kang may be the Champion of Mortal Kombat and the main character of the series, but people need to remember that, back when he was first introduced, he was just another homage to martial arts legend, Bruce Lee. He wasn't the first, and he probably won't be the last. Still, as far as homages go, you could do worse than one of the greatest martial artists of all time. So, it was nice for MK to, years after Kang's introduction, pay homage once again.
In a perfect callback to Lee's Enter The Dragon, Liu Kang performs an absolutely brutal stomp to his enemy's chest. However, in a classic MK fashion, he goes a step further and grinds his foot, dividing his opponent in half. Simple, bloody, and showing respect to one of the greats. What more could you ask for?
6.) Raiden's Exploding Uppercut Fatality (MKII)
When you're the God of Thunder, it seems pretty obvious that you would kill your enemies with electricity - and you would do it a lot. But, not all of Raiden's fatalities involved electricity. One just showed off that he was, in fact, a god.
Think about it. What human being can uppercut you so hard that you explode? Answer: none. That's strength that not even Jax possesses. But the God of Thunder certainly can. Proof that, at least within the world of Mortal Kombat, godlike strength is a very likely possibility.
5.) Quan Chi's Leg Rip Fatality (MK4/Gold)
I said that the characters introduced in later MK games weren't as memorable as the earlier combatants, but a few of them were able to make an impact. One of those characters was Quan Chi, who earned fans due to being a manipulative, traitorous, evil monster of a sorcerer. That, and he could be plenty brutal when needed.
It's one thing to rip someone's leg off and hit them with it, but the fact that Chi keeps beating the guy over and over and over, after his opponent is already dead, further cements him as one mean dude. Plus, how humiliating would it be to get beaten to death with your own leg?
4.) Reptile's Face Chew Fatality (MK4/Gold)
Reptile has changed a lot over the course of the series, but one thing that's remained the same is his love of people. And by that, I mean as a food source. In every game he's appeared in, at least one of his fatalities involved eating some part of the human body, but he really peaked in terms of sheer disgust in MK4.
Just stop for a second and try to imagine the situation. You're fighting some scaly half-human, half-lizard thing who can spit acid at you. You're getting your ass kicked when all of a sudden, the monster leaps onto you and EATS YOUR FACE. That's just horrifying. Reptile is one sick freak, and this is proof positive of the fact.
3.) Sheeva's Skin Rip Fatality (MK3/Ultimate 3/Trilogy)
Sheeva isn't exactly the most popular character - and for good reason. She's pretty much just a weaker version of Goro, who is by far a more recognizable fighter. Still, in her debut game she was able to cement herself in gamer's minds thanks to her fatality.
What really puts this over is how fast it happens. One second, you're fighting a four-armed half-dragon thing, then, she grabs hold of you, and suddenly rips your skin off your body like she's peeling a banana. You have no time to prepare yourself, and all you can do is scream in pain and horror as you bleed to death.
2.) Mileena's Yummy Fatality (Deception/Unchained)
Okay, this one is more of a personal pick than any of the others. Mortal Kombat Deception was the first MK game I ever played, and because of that, I wasn't familiar with the characters. When I first saw Mileena, I thought "well, she is clearly evil and someone I shouldn't like, but... she's kind of hot!" Then, one day I finally managed to pull off one of her fatalities, and...
Scarred me for life. Both my brother and I saw this and were like "Oh God why does she have those teeth? And why is she eating that guy's neck?" But what really puts this over the top is the fact that she seems almost turned on by what she just did. That's just sick - and not in a cool way. You probably won't share this exact feeling, but for me, this had to be here.
1.) Sub-Zero's Head Rip (MK1)
I know, I know, this is as cliched as it can get. Pretty much every list of fatalities ever has this at the number one spot, so how can I call myself a writer by following the same trend? Let me try and explain...
Yes, this was shocking back in the day. It was the goriest thing ever seen in a video game before, and because of it, the ESRB was created. But is it still as effective today? Well, yes, actually. Sure, it's one thing to remove the head from the body, but he ripped his opponent's head off, with his one hand, and the spine is still attached. That's just unnecessarily gory, and that's the point of the fatality as a whole.
Its purpose is to give one big middle finger to your opponent after you've beaten them to a pulp. They're supposed to be over-the-top and needlessly bloody, and this is the perfect example of that formula. It's the first thing people think of when they think of the word "Fatality" - because it can still shock new players today. There was no doubt at all that this would be number one.
Agree? Disagree? Anything you want to add? Leave a comment below.
Mortal Kombat returns to its bloody-digusting roots on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on April 19, 2011.