YMMV / Mortal Kombat 9

  • Ass Pull: Sindel suddenly slaughtering the heroes near the end of the story feels like a rather rushed way to kill off several of the cast members for the sake of the storyline, which made a point about heroes making "unthinkable sacrifices."
    • Shao Kahn paying the Quan Chi's services with the souls of Earthrealm's warriors. Aside from the game never showing such a deal took place, Shao Kahn shouldn't have any jurisdiction over Earthrealm's souls, and the Netherrealm's rules state that it only accepts souls that are evil or tainted.
  • Awesome Music: Nearly all of the music of the original games gets a remix, including several very well done orchestral remixes.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Quan Chi. He's either a trollish Magnificent Bastard, or a boring Villain Sue and a spotlight hog due to being retconned into the events of the first few games.
    • Kratos. You've got the fans who think he's a great addition to the roster, the fans who are vehemently against his presence in the game, the fans pestering Netherrealm Studios to add a 360 exclusive character, and the fans who just don't care about him being in the game.
    • With the reveal that the fourth DLC character is Freddy Krueger, the fanbase is further split between those who think he's a welcome addition and those who feel that he's even less fitting in the game than Kratos is and that the reveal is a disappointment after the hype leading up to his release.
    • Cyber Sub-Zero is a HUGE one among the fans thanks to being seen as not only unnecessary, but a rather cheap way to change the timeline as well. It doesn't help that the narrator has no voice clip for his name and that his ending is just a cutscene with absolutely no voice acting at all. Many fans dislike fan-favorite Sub-Zero being cyberized then uncerimoniously killed off, while others like the change and find Cyber Sub-Zero's moves and playstyle sufficiently different to make him an engaging character in his own right. Then others contest that his moveset makes him too good, verging on a Game-Breaker.
  • Best Known for the Fanservice: Inverted AND averted within Story Mode. Most of the female characters remain clothed to some degree, with one surprising exception at first. No, not Sonya. Or Kitana. Or Jade. Or Mileena. Or even Sheeva. It's Sindel. In what is the only display of "frontal nudity" of any kind in the entire series, when Quan Chi resurrects her to match the events of Mortal Kombat 3, she is brought back naked, with only a view shown of her upper chest above the nipples.
  • Breather Level: Challenge 150, Gor-Owned, is much easier than anything near it in the Challenge Tower. This is mostly due to the challenge involving you playing as Goro. You keep his ridiculous armor and damage resistance, and you even get a considerable damage boost. Not even the requirement of having to defeat five people without healing makes this at all difficult.
  • Broken Base:
    • Chapter 15 in Story mode has only two sides to it: either it's a Wham Episode that left many fans in tears after seeing their favorite characters get killed by Sindel so easily and abruptly or it's a clumsy failed attempt at being a Wham Episode because of how sloppy the deaths were, and because of the obvious Diabolus ex Machina.
    • To a lesser extent, the blatant Fanservice in all the costumes, especially the female ones. Some players don't care or like the skimpy outfits, while others feel it's too much of a good thing or undermines some important characters (Sonya's ludicrously impractical outfit is probably the best example of this). Mileena's Flesh Pits costume unlocked by beating the Challenge Tower was another point of contention - not only did some feel it was taking things too far, but it's also a hugely underwhelming reward for such a mammoth task. Some felt it was pushed so far Netherrealm should have just made a "Nude Kombat" mode and been done with it. Responding to these complaints is likely why the Fanservice and Stripperific details were severely toned-down for the next game.
    • Shang Tsung's Bang Bang! fatality. Some find it a hilarious Take That! towards the Joker's censored fatality in Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe. Others see it as completely Out of Character or ill-fitting for Shang Tsung.
    • Babalities are back in the game. Without Friendships or Animalities to accompany them.
    • There's also the announcement that goes both ways: Unmasked Sub-Zero, YAYYYYY! Wait, Retro Cyber Sub-Zero, BOOOOOO!
  • 8.8: IGN gave the game a "mere" 8 out of ten, with a one page review and some complaints about the single player mode. The latter falls under sloppy research, since they were that it was too hard, and that the story mode wasn't comprehensive enough. When the reviewer states in the review that when he made remarks about the difficulty to other IGN writers, they noted "Sounds like Mortal Kombat, then" and that none of the other fighting games except for a few feature a Story Mode.
  • Catharsis Factor: Some enjoy the idea of having Freddy Krueger as a DLC fighter as this means they can finally deliver torture upon him with Fatalities and make him suffer as much as his victims did.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Johnny Cage's inflated ego has ironically made him a fan favorite this time around, as his douchebaggery reaches So Bad, It's Good levels of funny. His being a Jerk with a Heart of Gold also helped.
    • Also, Stryker gained a lot of popularity in this game, due to his savvy personality and re-tweaked look. In light of the backstory he's given (described by Hardcore Gaming 101 as "the MK version of John McClane"), it may even be argued this crosses over with Took a Level in Badass and Rescued from the Scrappy Heap (especially considering how reviled he was back in MK3).
    • Ermac's fanbase increased substantially after this game, mainly due to how badass he's portrayed in the game's story (effectively being the only villain other than Sindel to actually have a couple wins onscreen and making an appearance that presents him as a bigger threat than a team-up of Goro and Kintaro).
  • Genre Turning Point: Before MK9, story in fighting games was considered a complete afterthought that casual players can look up in the manual, and was often only vaguely referenced as each character only had an arcade ending and nothing else. It was generally agreed that story didn't matter in fighting games, with the reasoning is that they're meant for competitive play and one doesn't need a story for why two people are fighting each other. However, once MK9 came out, it completely flipped the script on the idea of what can be done with a story in fighting games. Basically, it proved that you can have a fully cinematic story in a fighting game, and have it be compelling for gamers. MK9 made it perfectly reasonable, if not expected, for a fighting game to have a full-fledged story mode, and the term "fighting games don't need a story" has slowly waned from being "universally accepted" to "a lazy excuse not to have content". Since then, nearly all big-name fighting games have included one, with other developers likely taking cues from the success MK9 had.
  • Good Bad Bugs:
    • Some of Goro's and Kintaro's weaknesses can be exploited via these. They can't comprehend uppercut spamming on Normal difficulty, and are also impotent against diving kicks, especially Cyber Sub-Zero's, which is a Godsend when you fight both of them towards the end of Story Mode.
    • There's also a glitch that lets you do most characters' X-Rays with other characters.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: The ending to Mortal Kombat: Conquest, where Shao Kahn kills everyone, is oddly prescient of this game, which ends with Shao Kahn killing almost everyone. In both cases, Raiden unwittingly caused the destruction, and Kahn used super-powerful proxies to fight in his stead instead of fighting himself.
    • Stryker's pre-battle quote is "Police brutality, coming up!", a threat he makes good on even if the player chooses not to use a Fatality. A few years later, police brutality would become a hot button issue in America due to several publicized police shootings.
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight: Johnny Cage hitting on Sonya at the very beginning of the game, as Cassie Cage's presence on the Mortal Kombat X roster shows.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm gave us a non-canon glimpse of Cyrax and Sektor before they underwent automation; they were respectively shown to be Asian and Black. While we've known that (in canon) Cyrax has been shown to be dark-skinned at the least since his ending in Gold (additionally, his bio for this game confirms that he's Motswana), this game's story shows us all of the major Lin Kuei warriors before they were converted into cyborgs. Sektor is shown to be Asian, thus meaning that he and Cyrax swapped races between the games and the cartoon.
    • A year before the game was announced, a YouTube user uploaded this video. At the time it was just a show off of Armageddon's "Kreate-A-Fatality" feature, where the player could build their own character, with their own powers, fighting stances, weapons, etc. But now that Freddy was confirmed to be DLC, the video seems (unintentionally) prophetic...
    • Freddy Krueger wouldn't be the last horror movie villain to show up in the series, as his rival Jason and fellow icon Leatherface showed up in Mortal Kombat X as playable kharacters.
    • Canon Foreigner Hydro becomes a cyborg. So does Sub-Zero! Made funnier by the fact that a fangame (Mortal Kombat Project) has Hydro with the same cyborg design as MK3!Cyrax and Sektor, which eventually became Cyb-Zero's downloadable costume! Even better: Cyb-Zero's moveset is very similar to Cyborg Hydro's in the aforementioned fangame.
    • Annihilation features a scene where Rain announces to Shao Kahn that he's captured Kabal and Stryker. Cue 9, and both of them are Bash Brothers.
    • Challenge Tower #115 has players using Stryker, voiced by Matthew Mercer. Said challenge is called, we shit you not, High Noon.
    • Freddy Krueger is notably voiceless and not based on Robert Englund in his appearance. Fast-forward to Injustice 2 and Batman villain Scarecrow is reimagined as a Krueger-like being with Englund as his voice actor.
  • "Holy Shit!" Quotient: The X-Ray moves and Fatalities in particular have high HSQs, though there's no shortage of this in the game's storyline as well. Particular mention goes to the massacre in Chapter 15
  • Idiot Plot: Several fans accuse the game of being this due to Raiden's excessive What an Idiot! moments.
  • Memetic Loser:
    • Scorpion, a.k.a. "Quan Chi's bitch", due to his utmost complacency to Quan Chi and being fooled by him at one point. Thankfully averted in the next game.
    Raiden: Is this why you chose not to save your family and clan? To maintain your place at his feet?
    • Raiden thanks to his What an Idiot! moments derailing the timeline and negatively affecting the heroes.
  • Memetic Mutation: Combining Sub-Zero's versus portrait with those of other characters has yielded hilarious results.
    • This dialogue, from Challenge #20 in the Challenge Tower:
    Scorpion: "I HATE TEDDIES!"
    Mileena: "But I worked so hard on it. You MUST accept it!"
    • Thanks a particular leak about DLC, "DLC BASEMALE is my main/is God Tier" looks like it's working its way up as well.
    • Stryker and Police!Kabal's conversation in the middle of Chapter 12:
    Kabal: "Stryker, check her [Mileena] out! What do you think? Friend or foe?"
    Stryker: "Foe."
    Kabal: "Dressed like that?"
    Stryker: "Definitely foe."
    • ... And Kano is still frozen.note 
  • Narm Charm: Some of the game's corny dialogue and extreme hamminess is what makes it so good and endearing.
  • Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: Mileena, again.
  • Older Than They Think: People praised the game for innovating when it came to single player content in a fighting game. This is despite that it had already happened several times before. Furthermore, this isn't the first time the MK franchise had a character-episodic Story Mode. Even the much-maligned 3-D games (starting with Deception) had a story mode and some extra single player modes; it's just that no one was paying attention because the main gameplay was bad.
  • Porting Disaster: Maybe due to insufficient testing to ensure compatibility on a variety of configurations, the PC version may play perfectly to some, while others experience problems like inconsistent framerate — you may play the first round of a fight going with a fast forward button, then the second in slow motion — or sudden framerate drops when some visual effects are played. It can be remedied only by fiddling with some configuration files. Also, the compression of the cutscenes is lower than in the console releases, which causes a jarring contrast with the higher resolutions allowed on PCs; fans have released a higher-res movies pack.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap:
  • The Scrappy: Sindel after the events of Chapter 15 where she effortlessly curbstomps 10 people at once killing all but Johnny Cage and Sonya. Only in this reboot, because original timeline!Sindel was actually received normally without strong hatred. And even then, this event sticks out and making people forget some facts that Sindel didn't ask about being empowered with Shang Tsung's souls and losing her mind, and Shao Kahn wouldn't have done this if it wasn't for Raiden interrupting and killing Motaro earlier than expected (which Sindel suggested that she goes to the frontline... and that's it). But that mass-murder scene is kind of hard to forget.
  • Special Effect Failure: In the Vita release of this game, there's a big Art Shift when going from cutscene to gameplay, much more than was noticeable in the home-console version (which was practically seamless). It doesn't help that most shirtless characters look like their muscles are just painted-on now. The PC version also has this problem if your resolution is set higher than the resolution the cutscenes play at.
  • That One Attack: Shao Kahn has two of note; his Hammer Throw and his Upward Shoulder. The former has a noticeable wind up, but it stuns the player for a very long time. The latter sends the player into the air, and Shao Kahn hits the ground before they do, allowing him to do the attack again and keep juggling them. Both attacks trap the player in a Cycle of Hurting allowing Shao Kahn to take off as much as forty percent of their health, with the only thing keeping him from depleting all of the player's health with them is because he is programed not to.
  • That One Boss: All the bosses in grand tradition are this, but Shao Kahn regardless of match up is an SNK Boss that will send you home crying for mommy.
  • That One Level:
    • Challenge #251, you must KO Shao Kahn with Shang Tsung, AFTER facing Baraka and Sindel on maxed out AIs. This is on top of the fact Shang Tsung has a rather mediocre move list.
    • Challenge #257 pits you against Noob Saibot with reduced damage taken, damage boosted x3, a super meter that never drops below 2/3, and input-reading A.I. Fun times. Fittingly, this challenge is simply called "Hell."
    • Challenge #269 requires KOing 3 Shao Kahns as Stryker, with no health restore. It practically forces you into a tedious Hitscan spam.
    • Challenge #300: You have any choice of character, but you must fight all three bosses (and Mileena) back-to-back with one health bar as they get bonuses up the wazoo while you are crippled constantly with disadvantages. Partially subverted in that the game tones down the difficulty the more times you fail (one of the only times it does so).
    • The final story mission. You face an overpowered, A.I.-maxed Shao Kahn with Raiden. Kahn is absolutely merciless in this mission and his already impressive defenses are boosted to inhuman levels. This mission is almost impossible to beat without using A.I.-abuse moves.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Noob Saibot. Not much was done with his character other than what was already known about him in the alpha timeline, and an opportunity to have his rivalry with Scorpion more fleshed out was completely wasted.
  • Tier-Induced Scrappy:
    • Shang Tsung. He can only morph into to the character being fought, and they can block this to prevent it. His moves aren't that great, one of which even leaves you open for attack, and is easy to do by mistake when throwing combos involving uppercuts. And 2 of his big advantages, his grab and Soul Steal, are useless on the bosses. He can be played okay in the right hands, but even then, he's moderately good at best.
    • Sheeva as well, considering that for all her power her specials offer, she doesn't have much to work with in combos and specials and is rather large to boot.
    • Kabal takes the cake. He has effectively rendered the metagame completely useless considering that he's a tier onto himself. He has no crippling weakness and functions as a zoner, grappler and can rushdown. His instant air fireball allows him to retreat while having multiple projectiles on screen at once. He is a definitive Game-Breaker.
  • Unexpected Character:
    • The protagonist of God of War, Kratos, appears as a playable character in a Mortal Kombat game. Though he had already been a Guest Fighter for Soulcalibur: Broken Destiny on the PSP (and played completely differently).
    • Freddy Krueger was completley unexpected by everyone, as he comes from a horror films series and not a video game.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Scorpion has been getting some of this sort of reaction from those who were introduced to the franchise via MK9. Granted, it is unfortunate that he lost his clan, and especially his wife and infant child, in a brutal massacre and is intended to be a tragic figure. However it doesn't justify him aligning with the likes of Quan Chi and by extension Shinnok and instead makes Scorpion look more like an angry asshole who jumped out of a Dark-Age, Liefeld-inspired comic book. To the credit of the creators, this is somewhat acknowledged at the beginning of Chapter 16 when Raiden chews him out for his continued service to Quan Chi which will do nothing at all to revive the Shirai Ryu or at the very least do something with some sort of good intention.
    • To some degree for some fans, Liu Kang, while he is right about Raiden in the end to an extent, he loses trust in Raiden because of Raiden's changes of time. This is in spite of the fact Raiden has to juggle the responsibility of protecting the heroes and change the timeline for the better, which is not an easy task. However, Liu Kang is justified as he did not actually see the visions.
  • What an Idiot!:
    • Raiden just stands and watches the Lin Kuei cyborgs abduct Sub-Zero; that this comes after warning Cyrax against the Cyber Inititave & his saving Smoke from that same fate makes it especially glaring. An argument could be made that his inability to understand his message from the future ("He must win") could fall under this, as he keeps thinking that it means a specific combatant from Earthrealm, even after Liu Kang's victories over Shang Tsung & Shao Kahn didn't ward off Armageddon. In fact, Raiden from the original timeline could fall under this too, because he could have very easily specified who the message "He must win" was referring to, though to be fair, he was just beaten up and about to be killed, so he must have had little time to clarify. That being said, "Kahn must win" uses the same number of syllables and is a hell of a lot less cryptic (though it would probably have been even harder to convince others to follow him in that case). He ended up as the God of the Trope.
      • For one, he didn't go to the Elder Gods until the last possible minute, nor explain his visions.
    • Hey Sonya, Ermac's got a hold of Jax! Want to help Jax out? No? Okay, let's just hope nothing bad happ—Oh wait, there go his arms. Good thing you're here Sonya, now you can stop the bleeding!
    • Shao Kahn himself at the very start of the game. If he simply killed Raiden there and then as he started his gloating, the timeline wouldn't have changed and he wouldn't have been annihilated by the Elder Gods.
    • Sindel's slaughter of the whole team of heroes wouldn't be that bad if they just attacked her all at once or at least used their projectile attacks at her first.
    • Kung Lao was probably unwise in not keeping his head on a swivel in Shao Kahn's arena. As a result, Shao Kahn turned his head into a swivel.
    • Raiden really shouldn't have brought out his lightning against the fiery Liu Kang when trying to stop him from rushing against Shao Kahn. As a result, Liu Kang gets fried.
      • Inversely, Liu Kang was given multiple warning shots by Raiden before he gets his block knocked off before attempting to go all "TOASTY!" on Raiden, though he was in a highly emotional state during the fight and couldn't be reasoned with by that point.
  • Win Back the Crowd: This game won over the fanbase and then some after a dry spell of games that were either derided as being broken (Mortal Kombat: Deception), rushed (Mortal Kombat: Armageddon), or mediocre (Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe). The sheer effort placed into this game and all of the features included made this a hit. As put by The Fighters Generation's Frank Yagami:
    "Mortal Kombat was arguably "dead" in the hardcore fighting game arena after the glory days of MK 2 and UMK 3. It took about 15 years, but Boon and company finally did next-gen Mortal Kombat right. MK 9 is by bar the best Mortal Kombat game to date. At the very least, Mortal Kombat can once again be competitive with the top fighting games of the genre. Way to dig yourself out of "the pit" MK!"
  • The Woobie: You can't help but feel for Raiden after all's said and done. Accidentally betraying your friends, being manipulated by every evil bastard between Outworld and the Netherrealm, watching your world destroyed in an invasion, finding no help from your superiors, and ultimately, figuring out it all went south because you couldn't even understand your own doomed message. Even if he played with the Idiot Ball, Raiden deserves a Friendship by the end of Story Mode.
    • Liu Kang as well. He is groomed to be the chosen one by Raiden only for the latter's mistakes to screw everyone, including his good friends Kung Lao and Kitana into oblivion. This makes him lose trust in Raiden and ends up getting killed when he fights his mentor out of fury, cursing him with his last breath. Even worse, his arcade ending and Shang Tsung's has him kill Raiden and become a violent thunder god doomed to be killed by Tsung thanks to his annoyance with Raiden. No matter what, Liu Kang and Raiden are doomed to have their friendship ruined.
    • Cyber Sub-Zero is this both in Story and Arcade Ladder. In both cases he is doomed to A Fate Worse Than Death, both an initial, temporary one, and a second, possibly more permanent one.
    • Kitana. She feels guilt over failing to kill Liu Kang, which displeases her father, Shao Kahn. She then finds out her life was a big lie and has her mother brought back evil. She ends her life begging her to return to normal before she kills her and dies in Liu Kang's arms and is enslaved by Quan Chi. To top it off, she and Liu Kang are teased to love each other.
    • Sindel, too. Both in-game and out. What she did was horrible but she was under the control of Shao Kahn and the spell of Quan Chi. From the moment she was resurrected by Quan Chi and put under his spell, Sindel was basically their puppet, and they were the ones using souls to boost her powers to crazy levels and turn her into some kind of juggernaut. Sindel by herself is powerful (the most powerful female character in the games so far), but still not nearly enough under any other circumstances to take out practically everyone in quick succession, let alone with little to no effort; Quan Chi and Shao Kahn are the ones who caused that and were in control of the situation. Furthermore, in her Arcade Ladder ending, the spell is broken and Sindel is no longer imbued with Shang Tsung's souls, and as a result she returns to her normal self and aligns with the heroes again, indicating she would not have chosen the side of evil or gone homicidal maniac like that if she'd still had free will or been in her right mind. Now she is doomed to be an undead slave along with those she murdered, and is being viewed as a monster for something that she didn't plan and was outside of her control (which, by the way, her plan after seeing Motaro died earlier was merely 'go to the frontline herself'... she certainly didn't expect Shao Kahn to have ideas on his own).
    • Long story short, this game made the setting a Crapsack World. It is utterly heart-wrenching to see the domino effect screw over nearly everyone.