It's hard to believe that it's been 20 years since Mortal Monday, the fateful day that Mortal Kombat exploded onto home consoles. It's pretty nuts how so many of our favorite old SNES games are now celebrating 20 years. Here at RVG I'm all about commemorating the SNES' legacy. In an age where these games are long forgotten to bills, Facebook and real life, I'm proud to offer a look back at more innocent times. Times in which we will never forget How does Mortal Kombat stack up 20 years later? Let's see...
MORTAL MONDAAAAAAY!!! ~SEPTEMBER 13, 1993~
It's a bit nuts to think that it was 20 years ago today that Mortal Monday took place. It was a massive campaign the likes of which very few games before had seen. I recall it completely capturing the collective consciousness of my gaming motley crew. September 13, 1993. The day Mortal Kombat would hit no less than four video game systems. It was quite the time period, and an amazing time to be a robust 10 year old boy growing up in suburban America! Ah, good times
Indeed, it was a special time. SNES owners had been enjoying Street Fighter II Turbo for a month, and then Mortal Kombat joined the fray. I was 10 years old, loving the 5th grade and loving the SNES. Life was good
Truly those times were one for the ages. You never forget them...
THE STORY GOES...
Ah, how I miss early-mid '90s video gaming comic art...
"NOW I AM BECOME DEATH... THE DESTROYER OF WORLDS"
Goro was such a badass. Look at that freak
This little sequence here was a sick way to open up the game
Yeah Goro, you're not the only one who wants to knock Acclaim around...
Every 16-bit kid in the early '90s remembers growing up with MK
But, how did the SNES translation fare, and how does it hold up?
Indeed, there was only a measly 7 combatants to select from, but one could argue Street Fighter had only 7 itself (see Ryu/Ken)
Scorpion was my favorite, with Sub-Zero a very close second
It previewed the daunting road ahead, and did so in style
FATALITY... FINISH HIM !!
When us kids first came across the Mortal Kombat cabinet in the arcades, we didn't quite understand the infamous FINISH HIM!! part. It was clear though that in those 3 seconds post-battle, you had the chance to do something. I'll never forget the first time I saw somebody pull off Scorpion's Fatality in the arcades. Everyone huddled around the screen screamed and jumped up and down like mad dogs. We had never EVER seen anything like THAT before, ever. It instantly put Mortal Kombat on the map. Say what you will about the game -- it's a gimmick, it's a novelty, it's a far cry from what constitutes as a "good" fighting game -- but there's NO denying that being a kid and seeing your very first Fatality back in 1992 was a moment you'd never forget, and probably one of the defining moments in your video game memory as a youth. It's just one of those things that stick with you. If nothing else, Mortal Kombat (appropriately) bludgeoned itself into every gamer's conscious, and prove that there's no such thing as bad publicity (and believe me, or recall to yourself, that it was a master at receiving bad publicity more than 20 years ago!)
You never forget the first time you saw this back in 1992
See the sweat there? Such a shame but wow at those graphics
Yeah it's not quite the same but it's still pretty damn cool
You find yourself on the inside, but the battle has only just begun. The intense eyes of over a hundred monks are tracking your every movement, expecting you to fail. In the far distance, high above, the creepy Shang Tsung looks on
Love the monks all quietly bobbing away while Shang stares on
THE PALACE GATES
Ominous clouds litter the background as you continue to prove your worth. If you can defeat your opponent here, the gates open to reveal the...
The giant Buddha statue there is certainly a nice touch
HALL OF CHAMPIONS
Only the best of the best are immortalized here with a life-size statue. If you're good, and lucky, you won't end up being as lifeless as those statues are...
Goro's gigantic statue eerily towers over the combatants
Lurking below in the pit are hundreds of razor sharp spikes. Many a bodies have been MAD mutilated when knocked over the precariously narrow platform ledge
A very basic but effectively sadistic stage. Love it
Under the watchful glare of Shang Tsung, you battle to the death for his twisted amusement. It's genuinely a bit creepy how he claps at the end. The motion of it doesn't seem right...
Shang Tsung is getting closer with each step of the way...
See what I mean? C-R-E-E-P-Y!
The skeletons and glowing red eyes flickering in the dark background say it all. Many heinous acts, far too horrible to speak of, have been conducted down here in this cold, damp and dank dungeon of DEATH and DESPAIR. Somewhere, the hideous monster Goro lurks...
The foul and putrid smell of decaying bones invade your senses...
THE BONUS STAGE
Every fighting game's gotta have one and this is Mortal Kombat's
Gotta love that name. Johnny Cage is a shallow narcissist, who also happens to be a grand martial arts fiend, capable of taking out a small army of foes in the matter of 30 seconds. He's entered the tournament to garner more publicity toward his brand
His fashion sense could use some work but hey, it was the '90s
Johnny, through years of intense training, is capable of mustering up so much chi that he can literally unleash a lethal green flame from the palm of his hand. He has been working on getting his fireball to hit his foe at a curving angle but he hasn't quite mastered that art, yet. When the green flame fails, he looks no further than his trusty Shadow Kick, a quick lunging kick that will not only strike fear into his opponents... but quite possibly knock their hearts out as well. There's so much force behind his kick that you can see his shadow
Cage's fatality has been neutered much, to say the least. Not only is he an actor and a martial artist, but he is also a doctor, performing a little internal surgery here!
Quickest way to a man's heart isn't food, it's foot
Kano is nothing but a punk. Leader of the deadly Black Dragon clan, Kano believes Shang Tsung's palace to be made of gold. He entered the tourney in order to find out if the rumor's true or not
Kano, you need to show some heart [He took that to heart -Ed.]
His knife toss travels fast and cuts hard. And when that fails, Kano rolls up into a ball and launches himself at his enemy. The mad man puts his own body in harm's way
Kano's infamous "rip their heart out" fatality is gruesome yet simple. Wish I could tell you that the pillar there is blocking the heart graphic, but sadly Nintendo censored it and Kano doesn't hold a heart at all. This makes the animation of him staring into his empty hand a bit awkward. Not to mention do you see sweat there in the first picture? Oh, silly NoA...
Who didn't get a kick out of Liu Kang back in the day? This Bruce Lee wannabe is out to restore nobility and honor to the tournament, which has been tainted by the likes of madman Shang Tsung
"Spikes don't hit back... wait, actually, they sort of do... hmm"
Liu Kang's fireball lights up the screen and scorches its target. He also can dart across the screen in a flash, kicking his rival straight in their heart. He's quick and dangerous
His fatality was one of the most neutered. He does a little fancy flip into an uppercut
In my gaming crew back in the day we used to joke all the time about how one of our friends was secretly the elusive Sushi-X from EGM fame. We also thought another one of our friends, Mister Tommy, moonlighted as Rayden. For a couple years there in the early-mid '90s, we tried to sneak a rice hat on Tommy's head, but always to no avail. Ah, those were the days...
There was a real, true innocence to those golden, lazy days, ah...
Send a charge up their ass with Rayden's lightning bolt. His infamous torpedo elicited many exaggerated "AH-LA-LA-AHH-LAAA!" yelps from fans alike back in the early '90s
Now you see him, now you don't. Teleporting from one side to the other, this is a great way to catch sleeping opponents with a surprise uppercut blow, sending them sky high
WATTS UP?!?! [Yer fired -Ed.] The thunder god lights up the screen with this electrifying move that electrocutes his victim into a pile of dust. It's a bit hard to pull off, but it's easily one of the better looking and more satisfying fatalities in this translation. That's gotta hurt!
Ah, Scorpion. Us kids always thought he was badass, but when we first witnessed his fatality and saw that hideous skull behind the cool ninja mask, Scorpion officially became a legend among legends. This hombre is friggin' badass, 'nuff said
Three of video gaming's most iconic words: GET OVER HERE!
His infamous "GET OVER HERE!!" harpoon throw and haul-in special is to Mortal Kombat what Hadoken is to Street Fighter II. It is one of the most iconic special moves in fighting game history. Scorpion also has a cool teleporting move where he disappears and quickly reappears on the other side, coming at 'cha with a straight fist. It helps keep them honest
Man, when I first saw this fatality in the arcades back in 1992, I about crap myself. Never before had I seen anything like this, and the moment the screen went black, there was a palpable buzz in that cheesy aroma filled arcade hall. Scorp takes off the mask followed by a collective gasp of the crowd, POOF and the place literally went APESHIT. Even the Street Fighter diehards had to stop and look over their shoulder to see what all the buzz was about. It's just one of those legendary video gaming moments that you never forget
Because every fighting game needs at least one female fighter, Sonya is Mortal Kombat's answer to Chun Li. You may scoff at her fashion sense now but back in '92 no one knew any better. Kind of scary, when you think about it
Actually, VERY scary
Before Chun Li ever had her new Kikoken fireball, Sonya Blade had her own. I remember the nerd debates on Chun Li vs. Sonya Blade more than 20 years ago. The most popular one was who was hotter, but a few surrounded their fighting abilities, and people always loved to bring up Sonya's deadly ring toss as the tipping point should the two ever meet in combat. Ahhh, there was nothing like being a game nerd in the early-mid '90s. Sonya also loves taking to the air, as she can knock out jumpy opponents with her wave flight
Get too close to this vixen and she'll squeeze you with her legs and flip you straight over like yesterday's trash. The scissor grab makes boys out of men. Some say it is worth it...
Sonya Blade brings new meaning to the term "Kiss of Death." It's no wonder she's single! She blows her sweet bubble kiss to fill her victim with love, inspiration... and kerosene
Sub-Zero, simply stated, is the man. He was the face of Mortal Kombat. Everyone loved him. He was the, pardon the pun, cool fighter to root for. Everybody loves ninjas. And a blue ninja? With an ice attack? Sold and sold! His rivalry with Scorpion was the cherry atop the cake. The haters can slam Mortal Kombat all they want, but there's just no denying Sub-Zero is sick
Man, we wanted Sub-Zero and Scorpion vs. Ryu and Ken so bad!
Chill with the Iceman, baby! [You're fired, again -Ed.] Sub-Zero sends forth an arctic freeze that can lock up his opponent for a few seconds, allowing for a free attack. He can also slide across the screen as though he were on ice. Good move to catch them dozing...
Sub-Zero puts the freeze on them, then pounces and shatters 'em into a thousand pretty party ice cubes. It's not quite rip their spinal cord out, though, but it's still kinda cool...
Are you ready to battle the grotesque Goro?
Indeed he is. And what a sight for sore eyes he was. When we first saw him, like many of the MK fatalities themselves, there was a palpable visceral reaction. He looked, moved, played and sounded the part of a menacing monster to a T
Kinda makes Sagat not look so intimidating, eh?
I ain't gonna lie... he kinda scared me when I was a kid...
Shang Tsung... the evil mastermind behind the tournament
What a creepy portrait!
This game came out right around the same time that World Heroes did. There too was a morphing end boss in that game, so it's hard to say one copied the other when both came out at roughly the same time. At any rate, an end boss who can morph into any of the fighters was just too cool of an idea. If you can control the boss, imagine the different combinations that lie at your disposal...
Enjoy this look while you can because in part II he's young...
The arcade version had actual shots. Being cheap and lazy here
Retire... sure... that is, until the next payday...
Yes, there was a Mortal Kombat song. And it was actually... pretty damn cool. Great beat and I loved the actual MK announcer saying the fighters' names and all that stuff, like EXCELLENT! and TEST YOUR MIGHT! To honor the theme song, I have compiled the following sequence of shots that walks you through the first part of the song
So if you'd indulge me for a little bit, click on the youtube song and enjoy a blast from the past...
Late 1993 was a great time to be a 16-bit Super Nintendo owner as well as a fighting game fan. Street Fighter II Turbo and Mortal Kombat, released only a month apart of each other, went head to head for total SNES supremacy. It was never much of a real battle in my mind, as Turbo was always the superior game. What Mortal Kombat did though was provide for an intriguing alternative title. The tap tap style was certainly unique, as well as the huge digitized graphics. EGM gave it scores of 7, 7, 7 and 8. GameFan gave it ratings of 75, 76, 78 and 80%. Super Play Magazine scored it 81%. The debate would rage on as the two games made magazine covers galore. It was all part of the fun of that magical era... a time period in which I still look back on with a real deep fondness 20+ years later. What a special time it was
It was an era like none other... there will never be another like it
The classic Mortal Kombat dragon symbol. Epic then. Epic now!
1993 was a special time in my life. It's a year I'll never forget. I was 10, I had a best friend, my 5th grade male teacher was the best I ever had, the school's two cutest girls were in my class (I never looked at them quite the same way after that week of sex ed...), the Super NES and Genesis were waging war at their peak, and it was the age of the 2D fighting game. When I think back to that precious time of my life and the games that helped to define that era, Mortal Kombat always comes to mind. Its bloody mayhem and rivalry with Street Fighter was simply legendary. And so too was the hype train when these games were gearing up for their shiny SNES debuts. My bro bought Turbo, and our gaming crew bought Kombat, and then we'd share. Awesome times. I remember those days!
Truly, those moments and precious memories are embedded deeply
The SNES port, aside from being censored, was pretty solid. The fighters were colossal, and the graphics were amazing for its time. I felt the sound captured the intensity of the arcade original, and there's a certain classic track that backs Mortal Kombat. I have always enjoyed the music and sound effects of this game. The gameplay is most definitely the least flattering thing about it. Let's face it, the arcade was never about quality gameplay or, how to put it, "chessmanship," if you will. But rather, it was all about the blood and the twisted fatalities. The original Mortal Kombat, I feel, was never a fantastic game to begin with. It was the unique novelty that sold it, for the most part. Yes, the Super NES translation is fairly faithful, fatalities and blood aside, but it's a fairly faithful port of an arcade game that wasn't all that good to begin with. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy popping in this game, even to this day, for the random stroll down memory lane. But the control wasn't all that hot, and the gameplay can feel a little stiff. It's a fun piece of history I suppose, and a look back at simpler times, a magical time of childhood, fantasies and dreams. But as a game, it doesn't quite hit the mark. Now, Mortal Kombat II on the other hand...
Graphics: 9 Sound: 8.5 Gameplay: 6.5 Longevity: 7
Mortal Kombat falls short of earning any trophies in my book, but it's good enough to get a special original Sub-Zero fatality. Believe it or not, I still fire up the SNES port on occasion, if nothing else than to relive my youth 20+ years ago for 20 minutes. "GET OVER HERE!"
"SUB-ZERO WINS! ......... FATALITY!"
Mortal Kombat and the early-mid 1990s... how I recall thee fondly
Man, those of us who grew up in the early-mid '90s had it GOOD! SNES owners got MK and Street Fighter II Turbo within a month!