* AwesomeMusic: The whole soundtrack. Even if some of the game's faults undercut its tone (see FranchiseOriginalSin below), the music is damn atmospheric for a fighting game.
** [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jV2jo0npRUs The Bank]]
** [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Fai6JGkq2Y Subway Stage]]
** [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6xu2h-cimQ8 The Bridge]]~
* CreatorsPet: The designers anticipated that Stryker would become one of the most popular characters in the series. When this didn't happen ([[TheScrappy quite the reverse, actually]], thanks to his design clashing with the rest of the series) they responded by increasing his power until he was a GameBreaker, which just made people hate him more. Some players, however, like the contrast, and the irony in how he's a darkhorse for being the most normal character in the game. It helps that his grenades are great against jumpers.
* EnsembleDarkhorse:
** Kabal and Ermac started out as mild {{Base Breaker}}s due to their [[GameBreaker initial overpoweredness]], but when toned-down for their return in ''Deception'', the two cemented themselves as this. Ermac even gets [[AscendedExtra to play cleanup for the heroes]]!
** Khameleon, introduced in the [=N64=] port of ''Trilogy''. Fans were not pleased that she wasn't included in ''Armageddon'', to the point that she was added to the Wii release of the game.
*** Khameleon's inclusion in ''Armageddon'' is a possible case of FridgeBrilliance, as it mirrors how the different ports of ''Trilogy'' included these silver, translucent ninjas. The Sony Playstation and Sega Saturn versions had the male ninja Chameleon, who cycled through the male ninja's moves. The Nintendo 64 port featured the female Khameleon, who cycled through the female ninja's moves. Fast forward to Armageddon, and Nintendo's port still has the female and male while the Sony and Microsoft (taking place of Sega) versions have only the male.
** ''Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3'' is this for the ''VideoGame/MortalKombat3'' series of games on the whole, so much so that it is the only version of the game to see further releases on modern consoles. Aside from improving on several glaring flaws in the Vanilla version, it was also the most balanced and fun of the three games.
* EpilepticTrees: Sheeva's connection to Goro. Speculation goes anywhere from his sister/a relative of his (a la Kintaro) to his wife.
* EvenBetterSequel: Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 is considered (by some, hence why this trope is YMMV) to be the best game not just in the Mortal Kombat 3 series of games, but the entire series as a whole until ''VideoGame/MortalKombat9''.
* FetishRetardant: Mileena.
** YMMV. [[NightmareFetishist Some find her teeth attractive.]]
** And even if you don't like [[MoreTeethThanTheOsmondFamily the teeth,]] [[BoobsOfSteel there's always]] [[{{Stripperific}} the rest]] [[ShesGotLegs of her.]]
* FranchiseOriginalSin: The series' [[RuleOfCool sense of cool]] started to dissipate with ''VideoGame/MortalKombat3''. Shockingly enough, many fans still love it. If anything, everything stated below is possible NarmCharm:
** All the [[HighlyVisibleNinja colorful ninjas]] [[ConservationOfNinjutsu pouring off]] [[PaletteSwap an assembly line]], riding [[SuperPrototype Scorpion and Sub-Zero's]] popularity.
** [[TheScrappy Stryker]], forcing us to admit a lot of the series' [[ImpossiblyCoolClothes designs]] were actually kind of dorky and the games ran on [[GameBreaker cheapness]]. Even [[WordOfGod Ed Boon]] admitted as much in the DVD extras for ''Armageddon'', although he found it amusing that players initially stayed away from him because of the lame design, even though, as people would discover, he had some of the most overpowered moves in the game.
** The fatalities becoming extremely stupid and lazily done, with things like static dismemberment (imagine cutting up a photograph with scissors and you'll get the idea of how this looked; thankfully, the iOS version of ''Ultimate'' being [=3D=]-rendered amended this problem) and exploding bodies raining down dozens of limbs, skulls and ribcages--''[[ArtisticLicenseBiology all from]] [[ThereIsNoKillLikeOverkill a single victim]]''. Compare the decapitations in ''[=MK3=]''/''[=UMK3=]'' (where the head simply falls off the body straight to the ground, the body standing completely upright) to the ones in ''[=MK2=]'' (the head tumbles in the air as it's lopped off and rolls a couple of times on the ground while the body staggers then drops to the floor).
*** Though some people found the overabundance of gore in fatalities [[NarmCharm awesomely hilarious]].
** It was the moment when the cast gained familiar, western tropes. Until then even the American characters were still [[SupernaturalMartialArts supernatural martial artists]] in exercise clothes. Now you had the [[MagicalNativeAmerican magical Indian]], the SuperCop, the [[VaderBreath deformed guy with a respirator helmet]], and a whole mess of {{cyborg}}s. Ignoring how the first three just happened to be [[GameBreaker incredibly]] [[TierInducedScrappy broken]], all their concepts were things we'd grown up [[CaptainEthnic seeing]] [[CreatorsPet done]] [[GasMaskMooks better]]. Some of us paused for a second and wondered, "[[FridgeHorror Is this how the rest of the game looks to Asians?]]"
** Bears repeating: [[NinjaPirateZombieRobot ROBOT NINJAS]].
** Since the game takes place on Earthrealm, about half of the stages lack the interesting Asian mythological feel of the first two games and are rather mundane, such as "The Bridge", "The Waterfront" and the [[SarcasmMode ever-exciting]] "[[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Bank]]".
* GameBreaker:
** Kurtis Stryker went from out of place in ''[=MK3=]'' to out of place and freaking annoying to fight in ''[=UMK3=]'' when Midway gave him a gun for one of his special moves. This blew him to full-on CreatorsPet-dom and cemented his being {{put on a bus}} until ''Armageddon''.
** Nightwolf had this early on in the original ''[=MK3=]'''s life cycle. In early arcade versions, he could run faster than he could throw. This let him pull off combos which were both impossible to avoid and not actually supposed to be possible in the first place. Thankfully, later revisions slowed down Nightwolf's running speed and kept him from Stryker's fate.
** Both Rain and Noob Saibot have unlimited combos in ''Trilogy'', the former using his screen-wrapping roundhouse over and over, and latter using his Teleport Slam.
** In an example that ended up defining him instead of making him an annoyance, Kabal was the fastest character in the game. Add in the Run button and you've got some really quick beatdowns.
** Kabal and Ermac in their respective debuts (vanilla ''[=MK3=]'' and ''[=UMK3=]'') at least ''approached'' this status, so the dev team was savvy enough to tone them down a bit in the {{Updated Rerelease}}s.
** Sheeva's Teleport Stomp move in ''[=MK3=]'' made her one. It was easy to pull off and quite damaging. With enough patience and skill, even Motaro can be swiftly taken down with it.
** And there is Motaro himself. You really no longer have to bother with such futile things as skill or strategy once you unlock him.
** Shang Tsung can temporarily morph into any other playable character, complete with their moves, combos, and fatalities. It can be a lot to juggle, but learn the ropes and there's literally no reason to pick anyone else.
* MagnumOpus: This was considered to be such at least until MortalKombat9, due to the PortingDisaster that was Trilogy and hitting the PolygonCeiling with the 3D games onwards.
* MostAnnoyingSound: [[BigBad Shao Kahn's]] announcer voice in ''[=MK3=]''.
* NightmareFuelStationAttendant: Mileena, again.
* PortingDisaster: ''Trilogy''. You're pretty well boned no matter what version you opt to get.
** The Playstation/Saturn version contains every available character (a few with multiple iterations), but being on a disc, there's LoadsAndLoadsOfLoading involved, and the game is prone to locking up.
** The N64 version, by contrast, has a much smaller character roster, is missing frames of animation, suffers from tinny sound, and has the problem with the N64's controller design, but is arguably more stable and contains a few additional features.
** ''Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3'' for the SNES is considered to be one of the glitchiest games ever released for the console. One wrong move can crash your game, or render the current match totally unplayable. Ironically, a lot of players actually have fun triggering these glitches, if only to see how many [[http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL6D0C2182ED08B7BA interesting ones they can find]].
*** The Genesis version also has more than its share of glitches; both cartridges presumably fell victim to the game's roster pushing their limits, even with (or even because of) all the palette swaps.
** ''Mortal Kombat Advance'', a port of [=UMK3=] [[SuperTitle64Advance for the Game Boy Advance]]. It was farmed out to another studio, Virtucraft, to make a quick buck on the ''MK'' name, and it '''shows'''. It has the dubious honor of receiving EGM's first ever rating of a 0.
* RescuedFromTheScrappyHeap: Stryker in ''VideoGame/MortalKombat9''. Inverted with Sindel in the same game.
** The concept itself was rescued by the ''Ultimate'' update, and, at least until ''Mortal Kombat 9'', considered that to be the peak of the franchise. This is lampshaded by the character roster of ''Mortal Kombat 9'', which only features characters from the first 3 games (save for Quan Chi and Kenshi).
* TheScrappy: Stryker, before his ''Armageddon'' redesign. Being a cop in an era where "Fuck da Police" was still a #1 jam was already a bad start, but the attempts at making him a BadassNormal just went too far. A beer gut and a backwards baseball cap simply don't mix, and being an apocalypse survivor despite having zero special power whatsoever felt like CharacterShilling.
* ScrappyMechanic: If you watch a lot of the behind-the-scenes footage and interviews for ''[=MK3=]'', Ed Boon and John Tobias tout the combination lock system for multiplayer as something "revolutionary" and was the main focus in its advertising to arcade operators, listing that codes and symbols were going to be everywhere and that every ''MK'' player was going to be dying to seek them out. In execution, it was a cheat system that not a lot of players used and Midway's ''NBA Jam'' series had been using this code system several years before ''[=MK3=]'' did.
** Let's not forget the run button; It was a mechanic added to introduce combos into the game, specifically chain-styled, but when you used it, you either ran out before you could pull off anything useful, or your foe hit you, canceling your assault. It was better to call it a suicide button, because that's basically what you get when you press it.
* ThatOneBoss: Motaro, [[OurCentaursAreDifferent a centaur]], who can teleport behind you and chain attacks with no end. Not to mention his immunity to projectiles. And then there's the uber-fast Shao Kahn...
** WeaksauceWeakness: Jump kicks seem to baffle Motaro...
* TierInducedScrappy:
** In this era, [[GameBreaker Nightwolf ran faster than he threw people]]. Thankfully, ''Deception'''s lack of a Run button prevented a redux of this.
** Stryker was unpopular in ''[=MK3=]'', so the developers tried to compensate for this by ramping up his threat level in ''[=UMK3=].'' Thing is, he wasn't unpopular because he wasn't powerful enough...
* VindicatedByHistory: ''Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3'' gets a lot more tournament play nowadays (and was one of the first online-enabled XBOX Live Arcade games), and a lot of the characters that were hated back in the nineties are now returning fan favorites in ''VideoGame/MortalKombat9''. Inverted with Sindel after a particularly infamous scene late in the story mode of ''Mortal Kombat 9''.
* {{Yellowface}}: White bodybuilder John Turk's portrayal of the Chinese Shang Tsung can be seen as this.