Personally, I’d wash it first.
MORTAL KOMBAT: DECEPTION/MORTAL KOMBAT: UNCHAINED
Deception was designed to build upon what Deadly Alliance had introduced to the series. More fighters, going back to two Fatalities each, adding Hara-Kiris, ring-out stage Fatalities, throwing in a Puzzle Kombat side game, and introducing a massive Konquest Mode that let players explore all of the realms while unlocking stuff. It was easily the high point of the Playstation 2 era of Mortal Kombat.
3. Goro’s Limb Tear: The Wii port of the game threw in Goro and Shao Kahn, giving flimsy explanations for why they weren’t dead. Not counting Mortal Kombat 4‘s Gameshark mode where he just performed other characters’ animations, Deception was the first time Goro was actually capable of pulling off a Fatality.
In one move, he grabs his opponent by their wrists and ankles. After some tension, he tears off all four limbs at once, leaving the torso to fall to the ground. It’s a Fatality so fitting that Goro would sort of reprise it in Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion’s Revenge.
2. Havik’s Arm Feast: A big chunk of Deception’s story is about the juxtaposition between a realm of extreme order and one dedicated to extreme chaos. Chaosrealm is represented by Havik, a mad cleric who wants to bring endless conflict and insanity to the multiverse. Havik himself is a stand-out weirdo freak.
I’m not too big on Fatalities that involve a character destroying themselves, but Havik has a move that works perfectly for him. He creeps over and devours his enemy’s arms from the fingers to the shoulder, extremely fast, like a cartoon beaver eating through a tree. After eating both arms, he steps away and lets the corpse collapse to the floor. Rather than simply celebrate his win, he takes a second to choke on his meal and vomit up some blood. THEN he strikes a pose. No pain, no gain.
1. Sub-Zero’s Leg Shatter: A weird thing about Deception is that Midway came up with two ice-based Fatalities, while Scorpion got the spine rip this time around. It was worth it, though.
Sub-Zero – now a Shredder cosplayer – gets one of the more terrifying kills in this game. He freezes the bottom half of his opponent, then kicks in his enemy’s icy legs, shattering everything below the waist. Crippled and bleeding out, the opponent is still conscious enough to understand their situation. They desperately try to crabwalk backwards to safety. But since Sub-Zero still has his legs, he snuffs out what little hope remains by walking over and stomping on his enemy’s stomach so hard that the victim’s head flies off.
MORTAL KOMBAT: SHAOLIN MONKS
Of the three Mortal Kombat side-games, Shaolin Monks was without a doubt the best one. A non-canon retelling of Mortal Kombat II, Liu Kang and Kung Lao fight through Outworld in an adventure-based beat ‘em up where nobody has plot armor. The game featured many, MANY Fatalities. Liu Kang and Kung Lao had a ton that they could use on canon fodder. There was also a versus mode featuring characters from the first few games who had a couple of Fatalities each. Finally, there were boss battles featuring cinematic murder sequences.
3. The Tearing Down of Kintaro: The best sequence in the game is the introduction of Kintaro. After Shang Tsung is killed by the player in a coliseum, Shao Kahn muses over how to deal with you. The crowd chants Kintaro’s name and Kahn perks up. Even a cruel ruler like himself knows to give his people what they want every thousand years or so. With that, Kintaro marches down to face our heroes.
Once defeated, you’re able to tear off Kintaro’s lower arms. Then you remove Kintaro’s other two arms one at a time as a confused and pained Kintaro flails around. Once he’s completely armless, Kintaro bows down, all but defeated. The player grabs him by the head and tears it off. When you face Shao Kahn moments later, Kintaro’s head is available as a weapon.
2. Johnny Cage’s Crotch Destroyer: Since the first game, Johnny Cage has been known for his split punch. Despite it being his trademark, it never factored into his Fatalities. Then Shaolin Monks came along.
Johnny does a split and starts unloading punches into his opponent’s private area. He stops for a second to tip his sunglasses at the camera before unleashing more punches, turning his enemy’s pubic business into a speedbag. This culminates in his opponent’s pelvis exploding. Maybe they should have included this in the movies.
1. Scorpion’s Judgment Day: At one point, you face Scorpion in the Netherrealm, where he’s practically a god. Surrounding the battleground is lava, plagued with damned souls out to tear apart anything that comes their way. As you outfight Scorpion, he backs up to a ledge and a few skeletons climb out to attack him. Scorpion shrugs them off.
The player runs over and kicks Scorpion off the platform and into the lava. More skeletons start to rise up and gang up on him. Scorpion momentarily escapes the situation by using his spear as a grappling hook. As Scorpion’s on his way to safety, the player kicks a corpse into him and knocks him back into the lava. Now he’s helpless as he’s grabbed from all sides and pulled under to be eternally tormented.
Before going under completely, Scorpion gives the player a thumbs up, Terminator 2 reference that comes out of nowhere. It happened 14 years before the Terminator actually showed up in Mortal Kombat!
MORTAL KOMBAT VS. DC UNIVERSE
Midway’s last hurrah put Mortal Kombat’s classic fighters up against the heroes and villains of the DC Universe. On one hand, the game introduced what would become NetherRealm Studios’ story mode layout and even had some creative arcade mode endings that made the best of the crossover. On the other hand, this was years before Zack Snyder had Batman asking Superman “Do you bleed?” so Warner Bros. wasn’t too chill about its heroes being featured in a game about grisly murder.
With a Teen rating, the game had splashes of blood here and there, but it was also very tame in the Fatality department. No dismemberment. No gore. Superheroes couldn’t partake in Fatalities, but Heroic Brutalities, where the victim would twitch around to show that they were still alive. If someone was set on fire, it would turn their skin into a charred black and nothing more. If someone was blown up, there could be no remains outside of a clean skeleton.
In other words, coming up with a top three wasn’t easy. Even SNES Mortal Kombat’s finishers were more impressive than these.
3. Joker’s Cards: Being a showman of a villain, Joker actually puts forth some charisma in his kills. In a variation of Reiko’s Throwing Stars Fatality from Mortal Kombat 4, Joker starts flicking razor-sharp playing cards at his victim. They all lodge themselves into the loser’s body, but the last one is sharp and fast enough to cut through their skull and hit the brain. As the opponent succumbs to the wounds, Joker gives a graceful bow.
2. Scorpion’s Trip to Hell: Scorpion opens up a portal to Hell. Jumping through it, he creates another portal beneath his opponent. The portal seems almost lava-like as it drags the opponent down to their screaming doom. Once the deed is done, a skeleton is spat out of the portal.
1. Joker’s Gun: Joker pulls out a gun, aims it at his opponent’s head, and pulls the trigger. A “BANG!” flag darts out and he completely loses his shit, while his opponent just stands there looking confused and slightly disappointed. Joker suddenly pulls out a real gun and shoots his victim in the head.
This one was leaked before the game’s release, but due to how graphic it was, they later ended up cropping it so you don’t see the victim getting shot. It’s still easily the best Fatality in the game and it would return in Mortal Kombat 9 as one of Shang Tsung’s Fatalities.
MORTAL KOMBAT 9
After the death of Midway, Mortal Kombat moved forward as a franchise in the hands of the WB-owned NetherRealm Studios, headed by Ed Boon, one of the series’ creators. The studio’s first installment went back to the franchise’s roots, a time-travel-based reboot that did a descriptive, albeit chaotic, retelling of the first three games. The game brings together everyone from the trilogy (except Motaro) as well as Quan Chi, Kenshi, Skarlet, and special guest Freddy Krueger.
The Fatalities here were a major step forward and picking only three was a challenge.
3. Kung Lao’s Hat Trick: On paper, this one’s pretty basic. Kung Lao tosses his hat like a boomerang and it chops off his enemy’s head. After catching it, he uses the hat to cut the body in half down the middle and it proceeds to split apart. The best part is the slimy way the body splits open. It’s like there’s a bloody film connecting to each side, being pulled apart.
2. Sheeva’s Lend a Hand: Goro and Kintaro are always given variations of “grab an opponent and tear them apart.” Sheeva goes with something far more stylish. Grabbing onto her opponent’s body with her top hands, she uses her bottom hands to yank off their arms. She flips the arms so they’re hands-out, puts her top hands behind the back of her head, and starts punching her victim with their own fists. One such punch gets a slow-motion close-up because why the hell not at this point. Once the kill is complete, Sheeva celebrates by applauding…using the two severed arms.
1. Noob Saibot’s Make a Wish: This one is both the most graphic and the most painful to watch to the point that I’m somewhat surprised this didn’t earn the game an Adults Only rating. Noob Saibot brings in his shadow clone and they each grab one of the opponent’s legs. The two proceed to pull their victim apart, tearing the opponent in half from the crotch up. Not only does it look horrifying, but the character’s insides all fall to the floor.
MORTAL KOMBAT X
Having said all there is to say about the original trilogy, NetherRealm Studios moved on to the next generation of fighters. The series jumped forward about 20 years, giving us martial arts offsprings and lots of middle-age crisis beards. While the game reestablished Shinnok as a top villain, it also put more focus on the strangeness of Outworld by giving us new and exciting warriors who were trying to keep order in that barbaric realm. The game also created a new version of Brutalities, where certain match-ending special moves would be treated as fatal under the right circumstances.
3. Quan Chi’s Mind Game: A regular version of this move would be messed up enough, but it’s the sleepwalking/mind-control that makes this one so grisly. Quan Chi uses his magic to summon a levitating sword and wills his opponent to walk in its direction with their mouth open. Without reacting in any way, the opponent keeps advancing, despite the sword slicing its way through their mouth and impaling their throat. Needing a big finish, Quan Chi levitates his victim so that the sword can slice them in half.
2. Mileena’s Tasty Treat: Weirdly enough, up until Mortal Kombat 11, Baraka’s never really used his giant, fang-filled face for anything other than talking. It’s always been Mileena’s thing to bite or eat people. While the earlier games played it up as something swift and rather cartoonish, she goes full-on savage in Mortal Kombat X.
Mileena shoves her enemy over, pounces on them, and starts tearing their midsection open with her bare hands. It’s just guts flying all over the place. The victim tries to crawl away but eventually collapses and dies. Mileena pays them zero mind as she ravenously continues to tear them apart and feast on whatever pieces of intestinal meat she can get her hands on. It’s like Garfield eating lasagna, but directed by Eli Roth.
1. Cassie Cage’s Selfie: Johnny Cage and Sonya Blade’s lovechild is a loaded concept and God bless NetherRealm Studios for hitting the right notes with the highly-trained millennial killing machine who is good enough not to take everything so seriously. Since Mortal Kombat II, one of Johnny Cage’s trademarks has been his tendency to hand out signed photos of himself. It’s the perfect mix of ego, confidence, and insult.
How do you do that for the next generation? Simple. Cassie uses a baton to messily remove her opponent’s jaw. With said jaw hanging on by a thread, Cassie grabs the dying opponent and takes a selfie with her cellphone. To bring it to another level, the screen then pans out to reveal that she’s uploaded the Fatality pic onto social media. There are constant comments – some of which by fellow kombatants (Sonya angrily wonders why Cassie had friended Kano) – scrolling in response and certain newsfeed headlines and ads plastered on the sides that act as Easter eggs.
MORTAL KOMBAT 11
The plot of the latest game is that Satan’s mom is really mad about her son getting snuffed out, so she messes with time a bunch in order to create another reboot. Mainly, this sequel is an excuse to have Mortal Kombat II-era characters interact with their modern selves.
As for the Fatalities, they all now tie into the dramatic winpose style introduced in the Injustice games. Every Fatality is drawn out a bit, culminating in an impactful and usually splatter-filled final image, an in-your-face freeze frame. Well, not quite freeze frame. Just very, very, very slow. It’s a neat effect.
3. Terminator’s Target Terminated: Quick aside, there’s a Fatality in the game where Cassie Cage runs over and kicks her opponent so hard in the crotch that their skeleton bursts out of their skin. Doing this to the Terminator is absolutely hilarious.
Anyway, one of Terminator’s kills has him use his shotgun to blow off his opponent’s shins. Rather than finish them off himself, he activates a time sphere and sends them off to his future. Suddenly in a dystopian warzone, the opponent is too wounded to get their bearings and is easily shot to death by nearby Terminator exoskeletons.
2. D’Vorah’s New Species: This is it. Mortal Kombat body horror has hit its absolute peak. D’Vorah, whose character is essentially “annoying bug queen from your nightmares,” stabs her prey in the shoulders with her giant bug legs and pulls them towards her. She then starts puking into their mouths and you can see that there’s a lot of maggot-like larvae mixed in there. D’Vorah shoves her enemy onto the ground, where they immediately start convulsing.
Soon, four giant spider legs burst out of the loser’s torso. As the legs touch the ground, the torso is separated from the character’s legs and this creature-within-a-corpse starts crawling forward. Finally, the bug’s head appears in the place of the character’s head, causing their skull to split open from the inside. Anyway, let’s never speak of this again!
1. Johnny Cage’s Who Hired This Guy?: Back in the first Mortal Kombat, there was a weird glitch/code for Johnny Cage’s Fatality where instead of just uppercutting his opponent’s head clean off, he’d perform three uppercuts and three heads would pop off, one at a time. This bit was brought back in Mortal Kombat II for the hell of it. Fun as it is, it doesn’t really make sense.
Mortal Kombat 11 riffs on this in a way that breaks the fourth wall. He goes for the uppercut and it knocks his opponent’s jaw off. Annoyed, Johnny steps away while a boom mic pops into view and you hear a woman cut the scene for a reset.
The second time, Johnny uppercuts his opponent, but the head doesn’t so much pop off as it tears halfway, turning the victim into a Pez dispenser. Johnny starts to lose his cool, screaming, “Who hired this guy? What the fuck?!”
The third time, he uppercuts the head off, but the head is stuck over his fist, like a glove. Fed up, he throws the head into the camera, cracking the lens. He gives the camera the middle finger.