The 90’s scene was all about furry hedgehogs and cute plumbers until Midway Games came and changed everything. Ed Boon and his friend John Tobias wanted to make a fighting game that was brutal and bloody. Originally, the game that eventually became ‘Mortal Kombat’ was supposed to be based on martial arts superstar Jean-Claude Van Damme.
Though that did not happen, the character Johnny Cage was inspired by the ‘Muscles from Brussels’. The game was based on a fictional fighting tournament headed by Shang Tsung who had the ability to transform into any character in the game. One had to beat the other fighters to reach the six-limbed monster Goro and beat him in a one-on-one vs showdown. Finally, the player would face Shang Tsung in an ultimate battle. The original Mortal Kombat was released on Sega Genesis and Super NES in 1992 and competed against Capcom’s ‘Street Fighter 2: Special Championship Edition’.
It featured popular characters such as Bruce Lee look-alike Liu Kang, female warrior Sonya Blade, Thunder God Raiden, Sub-Zero and Scorpion. The now-iconic voice-overs of ‘Choose Your Destiny’, ‘Fight’, ‘Finish Him’ and ‘Fatality’ are all staples of the super-successful MK games.
Fatalities introduced a unique concept to fighting games. These were gory and insanely brutal for their time. Every character had a special power and by pressing a unique combination of buttons on the control pad; he or she would completely destroy the opponent in many different ways.
Mortal Kombat proved so successful that it spawned several sequels introducing new characters on the way such as Shao Khan, Mileena and Reptile. Later games also added ‘babalities’ that would turn your opponent into a baby when you were asked to ‘finish him’.
There have been cross-overs, especially after Warner Bros. took over the franchise after Midway declared bankruptcy in 2009. Six years ago, ‘DC vs. Mortal Kombat’ brought the two worlds together on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
The franchise was rebooted in 2011 as Mortal Kombat (also known as Mortal Kombat 9), developed by NetherRealm Studios, and the last title to be published under the Midway Games label. Mortal Kombat X, re-ignited with their trademark gore and blood, is the hotly-anticipated sequel to be released sometime next year and the first of the franchise to make its debut on current-generation platforms the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
From the new cast, we have Cassie Cage, the offspring of Johnny Cage and Sonya Blade. Ferra/Tor is a human brute carrying a young girl on his back. Kotal Kahn is a marine version of Shao Kahn hailing from an Aztec village. And newcomer D’Vorah who seems to have a ‘thing’ for bugs as her weapons.
Unreal Engine is utilized and to make things less monotonous, fighters are equipped with one of many featured fighting styles. The controls are much smoother and the learning curve is well balanced for ’newbs’ and those averse to memorizing long combos. Enhanced x-ray moves will also make their way into the game and it is said, will be devastating.