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Trivia / Mortal Kombat

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  • Acting for Two:
    • Dan Pesina as Johnny Cage and the ninjas.
    • Ho-Sung Pak as Liu Kang and the elderly Shang Tsung.
  • The Cast Showoff: Ho-Sung Pak could actually perform the cartwheel kick that Liu Kang used as his Fatality. This is presumably why Midway stopped using it when Ho-Sung Pak was replaced by Eddie Wong in Mortal Kombat 3.
  • Descended Creator: The low budget also meant the voice acting was done by the developers, with Ed Boon doing Liu Kang, Kano and Scorpion (the last one's famous "GET OVER HERE!" is still voiced by Boon in all games).
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  • Fake Nationality: Chinese-born Liu Kang was portrayed by Korean-born Ho-Sung Pak.
  • Fan Nickname: Sweat Fighter for the infamous SNES port, which censors all of the fatalities and changes all of the blood into sweat.
  • Follow the Leader: Any fighting game with either a focus on gore or digitized graphics that came out in the wake of Mortal Kombat was generally considered a knockoff. Admittedly, many of them were, and sometimes it was hard to tell the good ones apart from the rest.
  • No Budget: The game had a crew of only four, filmed the actors in a backroom with John Tobias' own camera (without even mats for them to properly do falls or rolls), and only got more attention from Midway once the demos became popular in the office.
  • The Other Marty: Eric Kincaid was the first actor cast as Shang Tsung, but after the developers realized that Shang Tsung had too few moves as a boss and Kincaid was unavailable for re-shoots, the decision was made to have Ho-Sung Pak portray the sorcerer in addition to Liu Kang.
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  • Port Overdosed: Ported to every contemporary platform, including handhelds, and re-released many times since then in compilations and as a downloadable.
  • Sleeper Hit: Mortal Kombat was not intended to be the Flagship Franchise for Midway, but only a game to fill a gap in their arcade schedule. The game was developed as both Take That! and a clone to Capcom's Street Fighter II by a team of only four members (programmer Ed Boon, artists John Tobias and John Vogel, and sound guy Dan "Toasty" Forden) in a ten month development cycle. Due to not being an overly important project, the team had a lot of freedom to make the game stand out via Rule of Cool. The rest is history.
  • Urban Legend of Zelda: Too many to count, many of which would became Ascended Memes:
    • Nudalities. The rumor involved Sonya since Most Gamers Are Male.
    • "Additional" Fatalities. This may have played a part in future games giving characters multiple Fatalities.
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    • There were rumors you could play as Goro.note 
    • The most famous example is Ermac. To elaborate, an early version of this game had a statistic in its DIP menu reading "Ermacs" (short for Error Macros) and sometimes it was said a glitch could turn Scorpion or Sub-Zero into a red-clad ninja fans named "Ermac."note 
    • Another, more minor rumor started after the home ports due to a glitch: if you fulfilled the conditions to fight Reptile during an Endurance Match, then you would fight both Reptile and a second, green tinted version of one of the regular fighters. There was speculation these were secret characters, but it was later proven just to be a bug.
    • The dev team initially tried to Invoke this with Fatalities. The intention was that by keeping them secret, anyone who performed one would be confused and continue playing the game to see if they could figure out how to do it again. Leading to rumors that would increase interest in the game. While people would quickly discover that this wasn't a myth, it did succeed in garnering attention to the game.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • As John Tobias revealed on his Twitter account, the game was almost called Dragon Attack before Mortal Kombat was approved by the legal team.
    • Originally, Scorpion being a Palette Swap of Sub-Zero was meant to be an in-universe Take That!; Scorpion donned a yellow version of Sub-Zero's uniform to mess with him. Said plot element seems to have been retconned, though.
    • Sub-Zero's original name was going to be "Tundra." This is Development Gagged in Mortal Kombat 9 where prior to inheriting the moniker "Sub-Zero", the younger of the two cryomancer brothers went by the codename "Tundra".
    • Originally, a character named Kurtis Stryker was supposed to appear in the game. This character was replaced by Sonya. The character that was supposed to be Stryker would appear in Mortal Kombat II as Jax. A different character under the Kurtis Stryker name would appear in Mortal Kombat 3.
    • Liu Kang was originally going to be called Minamoto Yo Shin Soo. He was a Japanese mythological character, but John Tobias stated that they could not deal with the name. The fact that it's a misspelling ("Yoshitsune" - and also not Chinese) also likely helped prompt the change.
    • There's an unused character design based on Cynthia Rothrock but that was never used, although Sonya's original design is said to owe a lot to Rothrock.
    • Rumor has it the game was originally intended to have Jean-Claude Van Damme in it, and he was to be the hero of the story. Midway was unable to secure his services, however, so the story was retooled to center around Liu Kang, and Van Damme's character was retooled into Johnny Cage.
    • Network play was in test before DSL and cable internet were in wide availability. The test games used T1 Lines.
    • Raiden was originally thought to fight using a staff, but it was difficult to fit the weapon into the game's mechanics. The staff does appear in Mortal Kombat 4, which has a system designed with weapons in mind, but he doesn't actually fight with it until Deadly Alliance.
    • Shang Tsung was originally supposed to be named Shang Lao, and sported robes that made him look more like a Chinese/Taoist emperor/sorcerer and more like Lo Pan's actual body rather than as a decrepit man; this included a Nice Hat and staff.
    • Player-input Fatalities were initially not part of the game design; the only Fatality originally planned would've gone to Shang Tsung, who would behead your character with a sword upon losing; traces of this still remain as there's unused sprites of Shang Tsung's cut Fatality still in the game! The development team eventually came around to giving every character their own finisher and it became the game's key selling point.
    • An official port of the game to the NES was planned alongside the other ports, but they had to scrap it as Acclaim's NES programming resources were being used on Alien 3.
    • A character named Kitsune was originally planned, who was the daughter of Shang Tsung that would betray her father. They decided to cut her but she was later retooled into Kitana.

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