Mortal Kombat is the eighth canonical installment of the Mortal Kombatfighting game series.note Although it is counted as the ninth game by NetherRealm Studios, due to the inclusion of Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe. It was released in 2011 for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, and a port for the PlayStation Vita was released in 2012. While the game was released in North America, Australia didn't get a chance to play it, due to the game's extreme violence and gore. But now, thanks to a new R18+ rating for Australian video game classification that was announced in early 2013, Aussies finally got their hands on this game (with all of the extra DLC, to boot) on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita on May 2013.A PC port of Komplete Edition was confirmed for release in Summer 2013, and was released on Steam on July 3rd.The game's story begins at the end of Mortal Kombat: Armageddon: Shao Kahn — who now rules over all realms — prepares to kill Raiden, the last remaining survivor of the apocalyptic battle. Before Kahn's finishing strike occurs, Raiden manages to send a cryptic message — "He must win" — to his past self, who now finds himself responsibile for preventing Shao Kahn's ultimate victory.The game's playable characters include:
Mortal Kombat retells the events of the first three games of the franchise, but thanks to Raiden's timeline alterations, events occur much differently than before. The game also serves as a return to the series' roots (as it's a 2.5D fighter) while including numerous modern-day touches; new gameplay mechanics include the chance to use enhanced versions of special moves, Combo Breakers, and a highly-damaging X-Ray Move (which briefly shows the target's skeleton and other innards during impact). On top of that, the ludicrouslybloodyFatalities (and Stage Fatalities) make their return — and they're all gorier than ever before.Mortal Kombat also includes a tag team mode, a Challenge Tower (where players must complete certain tasks in order to advance), and an online King of the Hill Mode akin to Super Street Fighter IV's Endless Battle mode.Mortal Kombat was a critical and commercial smash; the game sold over three million copies (which Warner Bros. stated covered the cost of buying Midway's assets alone) and holds a stellar 85% critical rating at GameRankings (the video game equivalent of Rotten Tomatoes), with praise being heaped for its Story Mode, plethora of content, and tournament-worthy play. The latter even earned the game a spot as one of the featured tournament titles at the Evo Championship Series, a first for a Mortal Kombat title. The reception to the story itself amongst the fanbase, however, remains mixed.
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Mortal Kombat in general
Adult Fear: Stryker and Jade's Babalities tread rather close to this line, as Stryker's involves playing with a loaded gun, and Jade gets smacked on the head by her sharp-edged boomerang.
Double fights in story mode. Not only do you have to deal with enemies that each have a health bar equal to your own, they can do considerable damage upon switching in. Plus, since they will take more damage, their Super Bar will fill up faster.
SNK Boss: The three bosses (Goro, Kintaro, and Shao Kahn) have Super Armor while attacking, and a damage reduction (Goro and Kintaro only take two-thirds of the damage they should have, Shao Kahn takes 1/2). That said, they're aggressive to the point of stupidity, and if you only attack after successfully blocking something, you can typically put them on ice pretty quickly.
Fan Disservice: The game certainly is Hotter and Sexier, but usually by the end of a match, your character will be covered in their opponent's blood, along with any horrific injuries they may have picked up during the fight.
Funny Background Event: The billboard for Johnny Cage's Ninja Mime in the city stages ("He's silent, but deadly").
The cameos fighting on The Pit and Shang Tsung's Garden.
The newspapers that fly when a train passes by in the Subway are a Funny Foreground Event: if you pause the game at the right time, you can see the headline is about Shao Kahn's invasion, and it reads "WE ARE SCREWED."
Gameplay and Story Segregation: All of the DLC characters have their own Arcade Ladder endings, but aren't actually involved in the story. A few of them cameo at best.
There's even an achievement that says "It's Not Mortal Kombat Without Blood!" (which is actually the Recursive Translation of the Brazilian Portuguese name to the "There Will Be Blood!" achievement).
Getting Crap Past the Radar: Averted with on Kitana's battle-damaged models. The concept art showed, among the usual lacerations and bruises, a bloody handprint on her rear. Apparently, that was too much, as said handprint doesn't appear in-game.
Groin Attack: Not just Johnny Cage this time. Striking the groin is also a part of some characters' X-Ray moves (like Sindel's and Jade's). Sonya also kicks the opponent between the legs as part of her throw.
High Pressure Blood: In glorious Mortal Kombat tradition. To drive the point home, there is actually an achievement/trophy for spilling 10,000 pints of blood. You will earn it quickly.
Hotter and Sexier: More boobage and less clothing was the order of the day for all the female characters.
How Much More Can He Take: Since the character models have been designed with painstaking detail to show the damage inflicted on their bodies, both external and internal, expect to see a lot of fighters look like they've packed up for a trip to the morgue before the end of the first round. Particularly nasty are the characters who lose an eyelid when busted up. Yes, their eye is just barely hanging there completely exposed.
Idle Animation: In contrast to the older games, the fighters will now do something when standing still long enough, usually stretching a body part to keep from stiffening up, such as Scorpion punching the air with both arms, Ermac who will move his arms back and forth and rotate his wrists, or interestingly, Skarlet who will do a sexy hip swing if she stands still too long.
Interface Screw: The PlayStation Vita port includes a mode where blood will obscure the player's view unless they wipe it off via touchscreen.
Some of the Test Your Luck effects do this, from the most simple (like removing the health or Super bars so you can't tell how much you have on each) to things like Dark Kombat (the screen goes pitch-black for a second from time to time) and Psychosis (where everything is upside-down, including your directional inputs).
Jiggle Physics: Used subtly, almost in spite of itself. A few of the ladies, like Milleena, have a move set which makes them more prone to it.
Jump Scare: There are screamers in the Krypt menu.
Leg Cling: When Shao Kahn wins a match, one of his slave girls crawls up and clings to his leg.
Limit Break: This game has a "super meter" which fills by doing damage, taking damage, and using specials. Once it's 1/3 of the way filled, you can enhance a special to make it do more damage, give it a bigger hitbox, etc., or, in a 2v2 battle, you can bring your ally in to do a Tag Special (switching them in is optional). Once it's 2/3 filled, you can do a Combo Breaker. Completely filling it up lets you use a devastating X-Ray attack that does around 30-40% damage and shows the internal damage you do to your opponent.
Luck-Based Mission: The aptly-titled "Test Your Luck" minigame: slot machine reels determine what rules are added to the match, from silly stuff like rainbow blood and zombie mode to major changes like armless combat, magnetic floors, disabled super meters, and so on.
Made of Iron/Made of Plasticine: In gameplay, the combatants can fight unhindered even with shattered skulls, broken ribs, or (in extreme cases) after having major organs frozen and shattered while they're still inside of them. Once you hear the good old "Finish Him!" command, though, all it takes is one good punch to knock their head clean off. Of course, they're already beaten to the point of shattering to bits by then.
Nostalgia Level: Many of the game's arenas. Two of them, The Pit and Shang Tsung's Garden, even shows various post-MK3 fighters duking it out in the background, much more dynamically than Blaze and "Hornbuckle" did in MK2.
Only a Flesh Wound: The X-Ray attacks make surviving a battle in this game more unfathomable than in any other game in the 'Mortal Kombat'' franchise. Characters getting broken spines, eyes stabbed out or destroyed internal organs are a slap on the wrist.
The most notable one probably being Baraka's X-Ray, in which he impales his opponent through the neck and spine with his arm-blade, and then again through the eye and straight through the skull and brain, before simply kicking them off his blade. Assuming they have health left, they'll get up as if nothing particularly injurious happened. Freddy Krueger's is also certainly fatal, but slightly less obvious, as his first attack during it jams his blades in-between his opponent's ribs and impales their internal organs; his second attack, which would typically be unnecessary at that point, is literally nothing more than a slap to the face with his right glove, but does identical damage.
Orange/Blue Contrast: The box art (pictured above) shows Scorpion wielding orange flames on the left and Sub-Zero wielding blue ice on the right.
Rule of Fun: Some portions of the Challenge Mode can be this. For example, Mileena trying to give a Teddy Bear to Scorpion. Your goal - "Defend your right to hate Teddy Bears!" Interspersed with text of Mileena trying to talk Scorpion into accepting it.
Rubber Band A.I.: Opponents in both Ladder and Story will ease up on repeated tries, even bosses. If you can't beat Shao Kahn on Medium, he'll eventually reduce himself to doing a lot of taunts around the 4th attempt.
Secret A.I. Moves: Shang Tsung can morph into everyone in the game, but not in the player's hands. The closest thing would be when Tsung morphs into his opponent upon hitting them with Soul Steal.
Also, when you fight him in the Arcade Ladder, he can morph into two other characters at random, in addition to your own. This is because the game's engine does not support more than four different fighters for each battle.
Shows Damage: definitely. The one exception are the X-Ray moves, where bones heal between blows. (This is easily verified by using Kitana's, which involves shattering her opponent's skull twice. Programmer oversight or Genre Savvy character?)
Stripperiffic: All of the female characters in this game wear outfits that are so sheer that you can't help but wonder how their boobs don't fall out. At one point in the campaign, Mileena (when she's introduced in the story) fights wearing nothing but bandages that barely cover her crotch and her nipples. She also fights wearing them in the final Tower Challenge and, if you beat this challenge, you will unlock this outfit for her.
Teleport Spam: Many of the faster-teleporting characters can do this, but Smoke is the most popular example. This is also the recommended method to beating the bosses. The AI is so prone to abusing teleport moves on any character that has it (which is most of them) that it will probably teleport more times than it jumps in any given fight.
Tournament Play: This is the first game in the series to be deemed tournament-worthy by EVO standards.
Updated Re-release: The PS Vita port, in addition to touchscreen functionality, assigns missions to the previously-DLC fighters, includes a few more alternate costumes (including MK2 and 3 iterations for Skarlet), and allows them to be shown in the Coliseum with biographies and casual ending access.
Victory Pose: All characters have three different types, depending on the context. Between rounds, after a victory, they'll either do something short and sweet (like Jax kissing his biceps, Cyrax adjusting a bomb in his chest, and so on) or, if they're too close to the fallen opponent, they'll perform a show-off action that puts them back at a fair distance from the recovering opponent (the cyborgs like to hover on jets from their hands back to a safe distance, Baraka does a Sword Drag, Smoke smokes away, and so on). In non-Story Mode battles, finishing off an opponent without using a Fatality has them do some other unique pose or action.
Video Game Remake: The game was approached in this fashion with regards to Mortal Kombat Trilogy, since it reunites everybody from the first three games, except Motaro, who is relegated to a cameo appearance.
Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Noob Saibot's X-Ray Move finishes with a side kick to the victim's stomach, rewarding him with a gush of olive-drab spew. Even if the victim is wearing a mask. Or is a robot. Or Reptile.
Adaptation Distillation: The story mode is basically the plot of the first three games condensed into one, while cutting the fat away. While there are changes (some quite major) because of the Timey-Wimey Ball, most of the stuff that happened in the old games still happens in this one.
Adaptation Expansion: Some characters get the most character development they've ever had in this game. The Lin Kuei who are not Sub-Zero in particular (Smoke, Cyrax, and Sektor) get a lot of development that fleshes out their characters much more than the barely-there story they had before.
All Myths Are True: Or, at least, some of them. Nightwolf, one of the few spiritually aware denizens of Earthrealm, identifies Raiden as Haokah, the spirit of thunder and lightning in Lakota mythology. He explicitly calls him such a few times during the course of the story, and Raiden responds to him without hesitation.
Anyone Can Die: If a sequel is made, it'll be an achievement to fill up the character select screen.
Sub-Zeronote Kuai Liang: Be stealthful as the night... Smoke: ... and deadly as the dawn.
Sektor: We are the Lin Kuei, more stealthy than the night, more deadly than the dawn!
This possibly also serves as a dialogue-related version of a Dark Reprise; Smoke and Sub-Zero, who are shown reciting the creed, are human. Later, Sektor gives the modified version after becoming a cyborg.
The Bad Guy Wins: Shao Kahn is defeated, but both his forces and Earth's are almost completely defeated, exactly according to Quan Chi and Shinnok's plan.
Bittersweet Ending: Yay! Armageddon was prevented! The Big Bad is dead! Yet, most of the main cast in the good guys' side were killed in the process, several of them meaninglessly and senselessly. Liu Kang, practically The Messiah, dies cursing Raiden's name, completely disillusioned. And not long after the Big Bad's defeat, Shinnok's forces are poised to strike both Earthrealm and Outworld, armed with the enslaved souls of the dead good guys and probably other demons and people, while Earthrealm's forces are only composed of three able but battered warriors.
Bloodless Carnage: During most of the Story Mode, despite still suffering the horrifying effects of the various X-Ray attacks, none of the fighters show any physical damage during the fights. Fatalities are also a no-no, though the reasons for this should be obvious; Shang Tsung does call out the trademark "FINISH HIM!!" in a few cinematics (when Johnny Cage defeats Baraka and when Cyrax beats Johnny), however no one complies.
Book Ends: Subverted. The intro cutscene and the cutscene right before the final boss show Shao Kahn tossing Raiden around in the same fashion and with the same dialogue. Said cutscene even flashes back to the intro cutscene at certain points. The subversion comes when Shao Kahn is ready to strike the final blow. The Elder Gods stop their lazy attitude and empower Raiden in order to allow him to finish Shao Kahn. Once he's done with that, the cracks in his amulet heal, indicating Armageddon has been prevented.
The MK3 arc itself also applies somewhat; it ends on a rooftop in a devastated city—the same rooftop where, in the beginning of the arc, Stryker and his partner Kabal were helping fight off the Outworld invasion earlier in the day.
Call Back: The one-on-two tag battles in Story mode can be seen as a throwback to the endurance matches from the original game.
Call Forward: Mixed in with a Mythology Gag. When Kung Lao faces Shang Tsung and Quan-Chi in a two-on-one match in his story mode chapter, Quan Chi remarks that Kung Lao won't be able to stop "this Deadly Alliance."
Cosmic Retcon: Raiden telling his past self the story's Arc Words is the cause of any changes in this particular timeline.
Creator Cameo: Ed Boon, Steve Beran, and John Vogel are mentioned in Cyber Sub-Zero's chapter, when he's trying to get information from Sektor, and we see a map with the Subway station, (Boon-Beran) and an university called Vogel.
Also, Kabal is permanently scarred and needs a respirator mask after getting hit with Kintaro's fire breath, which usually just takes off a chunk of your life meter.
Deadpan Snarker: Most of the heroes get their turn to snark at the situation, their enemies and even each other with Johnny Cage being the main instigator/target for it.
Deal with the Devil: Raiden tries to make one with Quan Chi to help turn the tide against Shao Kahn after Sindel's massacre; the souls of all those killed in the battle for Netherrealm's aid. Unfortunately, Kahn had already sold all the souls to Quan Chi.
Deus Exit Machina: The battle against Sindel might have gone a bit more smoothly had not Raiden and Liu Kang conveniently been away at that moment.
Diabolus Ex Machina: Near the end of the Mortal Kombat 3 retelling, things are looking bad for Earthrealm, but on the whole the new timeline isn't much worse than the original one, save for the death of Kung Lao. And immediately after the heroes defeated the Cyber Lin Kuei and after Nightwolf saved the souls of Earthrealm by destroying the Soulnado Quan Chi created, Sindel, empowered by the soul of Shang Tsung, decides to pay the heroes a visit.
Dropped a Bridge on Him: Near the end of Chapter 11, Shao Kahn just walks behind Kung Lao and snaps his neck with no effort at all.
Chapter 15 has nearly every hero getting killed by Sindel in a very abrupt and annoying way. It's actually pathetic to see someone like Cyber Sub-Zero die because he got punched in the face three times. Overall, virtually every character who dies in Story mode dies unceremoniously.
Flexible Tourney Rules: Not only can Shang Tsung declare a fight is 2 v. 1 on a whim, he can call a challenge as soon as fighters say harsh words to each other, and when the MKII part rolls around, he can declare that there will be another tournament.
In the original timeline, when the Lin Kuei set about turning their assassins into cyborgs, Sub-Zero escaped while Smoke was forced to become a cyborg. In this new timeline, Raiden saves Smoke from being captured, only for Sub-Zero to be roboticized in his place. It also has the unfortunate side effect of the Lin Kuei pledging loyalty to Kahn in exchange for allowing them to take Sub-Zero.
In the original timeline, Motaro served as one of Shao Kahn's best soldiers and leader of the extermination squads that overran Earth during his invasion. In the new timeline, Raiden kills Motaro, preventing Johnny Cage's original death. This has the side effect of Shao Kahn deciding to sacrifice Shang Tsung to empower Sindel, who then slaughters her way through the majority of the heroes.
Freeze-Frame Bonus: Cameos aside, meticulous examination of scenes reveals a few noteworthy tidbits about some of the characters.
This trope also reveals the individual fates of some characters the aftermath of the Battle of Armageddon. Most of the deaths seen in Armageddon's intro did indeed happen. Additionally, a long chain of deaths involves Noob Saibot being killed by Scorpion who was killed by Sub-Zero who was killed by Baraka who was killed by Kung Lao who was killed by Shinnok's clone.
Gameplay and Story Segregation: As mentioned elsewhere, the broken bones and destroyed organs detailed in various X-Ray moves don't seem to impair anyone at all. This is particularly interesting in that there's not even a Fade to Black or Wipe between rounds; the defeated kombatant just gets right back up, the life bars refill, and we're back at it.
To a lesser extent, Kenshi lost his invulnerability to Sonya's Kiss of Death move which he had in Deadly Alliance onwards. Likewise, he's affected by Stryker's X-Ray, which can only be handwaved by assuming the flashlight is physically burning him by being a very high wattage bulb.
Godzilla Threshold: Essentially the crux of Raiden's plan at the end of the game; letting the Big Bad win finally caused the Elder Gods to get off their asses and help.
Raiden's killing of Motaro served as this for Shao Kahn. Up until that point, things had been progressing mostly the same, barring Sub-Zero becoming a cyborg instead of Smoke, and Kung Lao's death. Once Motaro's body is brought in front of him, Kahn decides to sacrifice Shang Tsung to empower Sindel, giving her enough power to murder most of the heroes.
Good Costume Switch: Kitana and Jade wear their default outfits when they fight for Outworld, but after they defect to the heroes' side, they start wearing their alternate outfits.
La Résistance: Raiden, Liu Kang, Johnny Cage, Sonya, Sub-Zero, Smoke, Jax, Stryker, Nightwolf, Kabal, Kitana, and Jade.
Lazy Artist: While all of the character models here are new, the intro depicts the (very bloody) aftermath of Mortal Kombat: Armageddon (as well as a hyper-accelerated flashback of several key events leading up to MKA). Most of the characters shown are in their new outfits, instead of wearing their actual attire from those games.
Never Say "Die": Story Mode removes Fatalities and visible character injuries. Also, no characters die unless the plot requires it.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The new game's story mode covers the events of the first three Mortal Kombat games, but changed slightly due to Raiden receiving incomplete visions of the future. Almost everything he does as a reaction to those visions only seems to make things worse.
Also, Nightwolf in Freddy's Arcade Ladder ending. All Nightwolf accomplished was returning Freddy to the place where he was always the biggest threat, the Dream Realm.
No Campaign for the Wicked: Averted; Scorpion does have a chapter in Story Mode, though he is more a neutral. Cyrax also receives his own chapter, and begins to gravitate towards Raiden's side, only to be captured offscreen and roboticized.
Prophecy Twist: "He must win" is referring to Shao Kahn, who has to succeed in his invasion of Earthrealm to get the Elder Gods to finally pay attention and get rid of him. The prophecy would not have to be a twist though, if it was less vague.
Red Herring Shirt: Johnny Cage lives. If you know anything about him in the original timeline, this can be a bit of a shocker.
Reset Button: This game is a Broad Strokes approach to the original trilogy; since Raiden has knowledge of the future, some things are going to change.
Continuity Reboot: Very ingeniously subverted. At the end of Armageddon, during his final moments at the hands of Shao Kahn, Raiden manages to perform one last act of godhood: he sends messages to his past self during the events of the first three games, in an attempt to avoid the horrifying future he's currently in. This results in Past!Raiden changing events to avoid Armageddon, hence how the game happens in the timeline of the classic games but is still a proper sequel and does not discard the story of the previous ones.
Even though the Arcade Ladder endings clash with Story Mode's ending, Jade's ending looks like another very possible hook.
Same goes for Raiden's ending. The events detailed in that ending closely follows what happened in Story Mode, and two of the four figures shown being empowered by Raiden's soul heavily resemble Johnny and Sonya, the only two remaining Earthrealm heroes besides Raiden himself.
Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Raiden at the time of Armageddon sent a message to himself as of the original Mortal Kombat, attempting to avert Shao Kahn's victory.
The Bad Guy Wins: Played with. Toward the end of the game, Raiden realizes that the message his future self sent is referring to Shao Kahn. He lets Kahn merge Earthrealm with Outworld, only for the Elder Gods to punish Kahn, since he broke the rules of Mortal Kombat. Played straight since all of this was planned by Shinnok and Quan Chi from the start to make Earth Realm and Outworld vulnerable to invasion from the Nether Realm.
Title Drop: Liu Kang delivers one during his pre-fight speech to Shang Tsung prior to their battle from the first tournament. The trope's Justified, since the story retells events from the first three games, which featured a Mortal Kombat tournament and an attempt to merge Outworld and Earthrealm together whilst ignoring the rules of Mortal Kombat.
Liu Kang:"Face me in Mortal Kombat."
Other drops happen during the course of the story, which goes without saying.
Took a Level in Badass: A number of lesser characters on both sides managed to take a level in this game — which also means some of the more imposing villains suffer from The Worf Effect on occasion.
Sindel took a level in mass murder.
Stryker, Kabal, Smoke, and Cyber Sub-Zero (once he regains his free will) serve as more traditional examples.
Nightwolf became one of the game's bigger badasses: he manages to land the role of Raiden's deputy, and when The God of Thunder's not around to directly lead the Earthrealm warriors, he leads the group into battle.
Trying to Catch Me Fighting Dirty: In both the MK and Outworld tournaments, Shang Tsung (the tournament Grandmaster) often forces one of the Earthrealm combatants to fight two combatants from Outworld, either in succession or simultaneously. Oddly, nobody from Earthrealm questions the fairness of this move.
On top of that, he also thins out the Earthrealm combatants outside the usual tournament schedule at every opportunity, either by declaring a casual argument-turned-scuffle between Earthrealmers to be an official challenge (and thus elimination), or by sending minions to off them during downtime.
Wham Episode: Near the end, Sindel singlehandedly kills almost all of the heroes.
The game's a reboot of the original plot, so it's going to stick to that original plot, right? They won't do anything too major, right? They especially won't drastically change one of the most popular characters in the entire series...right?Yeah, uh...Cyber Sub-Zero says "Hi there."
In Smoke's chapter of Story Mode, he faces off Kitana and Sektor and triumphs without much difficulty. When they meet again (Kitana and Nightwolf's chapters, respectively), Kitana beats him alongside Cage, and Sektor treats Smoke like a ragdoll, with Smoke being unable to successfully land a blow before Sektor gets him into a chokehold and Nightwolf has to intervene.
If the Story Mode is any indication, Sub-Zero punked Kratos (PS3 version only) off-screen and put him on ice.
It's a running gag that Sub-Zero is by far the strongest character when he's offscreen, having previously done the same thing to Superman in vs. DCU.
Sindel, empowered by Shang Tsung's soul/essence, attacks the heroes after the automated Lin Kuei warriors fail to kill them. The battle quickly escalates into a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown like no other; Nightwolf, Kitana, Sonya, and Cage are the only immediate survivors — and of those survivors, one later dies of their wounds, and another pulls a Heroic Sacrifice to stop Sindel.
Particularly egregious is Cyber Sub-Zero, who is a cyborgized Sub-Zero the Younger and had not been long having defeated Kintaro and Goro in a handicap match. He got killed with three punches.
Your Soul Is Mine: Late in the game, Quan Chi begins creating a "soulnado," a green vortex designed to suck out the souls of every living person in Earthrealm. It ends up being destroyed thanks to sucking up a Humanoid Abomination.
Wolverine Publicity: Scorpion and Sub-Zero are both in the game cover, title screen and most commercials with the former even being part of Netherealm's logo even though they are supporting characters in the story mode.