Mortal Kombat 1: NetherRealm Pulls Out All the Stops

Mortal Kombat has always been known for its brutality. There is a reason it was one of the critical games that led to the creation of the ESRB due to its high level of violence back in the day. To say the least, it has kept that tradition alive with its penchant for gore; Netherealm Studio outdoes itself with Mortal Kombat 1.

But Mortal Kombat since Mortal Kombat 3 has been a weird series for me personally. I’ve dipped in and out of every entry, but none have really been able to keep me locked in. The stories eventually got Kingdom Hearts‘ level of insanity, and the fighting was always just ok. The key focus for me playing the older titles was to go in, do all the fatalities, and bounce out. That was until Shaolin Monks on the PlayStation 2, where it turned Mortal Kombat into a coop beat ’em up. Still easily one of the best PS2 games.

Then around 2009, they rebooted the whole series with a newfound focus on integrating a better narrower story. It was a big success. I found myself invested in a Mortal Kombat for the first time in a very long time. It didn’t hurt that the fatalities were outstanding and very horrific for the time. Obviously, you can look back now, and they seem more tuned down, but that kind of brings us to the most recent entry and the upcoming Mortal Kombat 1.

In Mortal Kombat 1, there was a big thing everyone dove deep into, which was the horrific violence on display during the x-ray attacks and fatalities. It seemed to be a controversial topic among games journalists, who, on one end, found it disgusting and not for the faint of heart and, on the other half, found the ultra-realistic depictions of brutality to reignite their love for the series. 

Well, I can tell you that during my brief playtime of the upcoming Mortal Kombat 1, what they managed to pull off in MK1 seems like child’s play to what they have on display this time around. In fact, one attendee had to be let out of the play booths because the ultra gore was a little too much for them and had begun to upset their stomach. This isn’t a ploy for me to talk down on anyone, but more of a reminder that if you are moved to nausea by gory games, maybe skip Mortal Kombat 1.

During my time, I got to test out four fighters. Liu Kang the Fire God, Kaio Lung, Kitana and Sub Zero. All staples of the series so far. Another standout for Mortal Kombat 1 was just how easy it was to play. You can play with the more complex movement seen in the later Mortal Kombats that will give you finer control over your combos. But for the people who aren’t that great at fighting games, like me, there is a more straightforward style to play with. This makes it easier to pull off flashy moves with ease. It also makes it so Mortal Kombat 1 is one of the best jumping-on points in the series.

After you pick a fighter, you get to choose your Kameo fighter as well. So in my first few matches, I picked Liu Kang and demolished the competition. In what had to be the most visceral way someone has died in the series, brought to life in sickening detail. Liu Kang calls upon chains to lift and splay them out in the sky. Liu Kang then pushes their head through their entire body as gore and viscera just splatter all over the place. Then as Liu Kang reached the ground, he crushed what was left of their head. It is so brutal to experience. I could not do it justice, but whatever the process is behind thinking of these fatalities must be disgusting. We only got to experience the four I mentioned above. Still, I can’t wait to see who else we get to play as and, more importantly, what we get to see in these fatalities because, once again, Nertherrelm Studios has outdone itself on Mortal Kombat 1. Granted, we don’t know the scope or have a good sense of what the story is. Seeing this as a continuation/reboot of the series, it’ll be interesting to see how they weave all of it together. I guess we will all find out together on September 19th.

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