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  • Anti-Climax Boss: Shinnok. He just doesn't have the fear factor other bosses have like Shang Tsung or Shao Kahn, and on lower difficulty levels, he doesn't even use his special moveset changes. Especially jarring since he, as a fallen Elder God, is supposed to be leagues above them both yet comes across as a second rate Shang Tsung. Even Ed Boon admits that Shinnok probably shouldn't have been the Final Boss of 4.
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  • Author's Saving Throw: Scorpion's fatality where he turned to a giant scorpion seems to be a saving throw for how in the last game, this kind of move had already been used for Sheeva's Animality since Scorpion missed out the vanilla version and when he got added in Ultimate, he had to settle with a penguin that lays down an exploding egg for his Animality.
  • It's the Same, Now It Sucks!: A major complaint with the game is that despite the jump to 3D, the game still plays pretty much the same as Mortal Kombat 3. (which had already suffered from Capcom Sequel Stagnation thanks to Ultimate and Trilogy, too.) Not helping is that the much-hyped 3D basically amounts to being able to occasionally sidestep a projectile. While this arguably helped dodge the Polygon Ceiling, it still made for a fairly underwhelming game.
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  • Memetic Mutation: Every line Jarek says in the three endings he appears in, particularly "I'M SO GAAAAAAAAAAY!" and his weird humming Un-Evil Laugh.
  • Narm:
    Jarek: Wait! Wait! This is brutality! You can't do it!
  • Porting Disaster:
    • When ported to home consoles, the graphics were greatly reduced, and suffered from Loads and Loads of Loading, which ultimately led to the Updated Re-release being released for the Sega Dreamcast.
    • The Game Boy Color version is a cheap and unplayable bastardization because of technical and graphical limitations. The "music" is a complete nightmare and makes music in pirated bootlegs sound good by comparison. And the fatalities are played out in small, monochrome cutscenes. Prepare yourself.
  • Replacement Scrappy:
    • Jarek was hated by fans who felt that he was nothing but a re-hash of Kano's moves. This is because he was originally supposed to be Kano, but the developers wanted more "new" characters, so they reskinned him. Not helping is that his voice acting is atrocious and his death scream when he falls is ridiculous.
    • Tanya and Reiko were this, mainly in the eyes of the fans of Kitana and Noob Saibot, respectively, because they wanted the latter to appear instead of the former.note  Surprisingly enough, it didn't last long and they were Rescued from the Scrappy Heap, becoming fan favorites because of their distinct personalities.note 
  • Signature Scene: Jax's ending, particularly the part where Jarek is tossed off the cliff natch:
  • So Bad, It's Good:
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Kai. Another member of the White Lotus and a Shaolin warrior in training, he has interesting gameplay quirks (his handstand stance and vertical projectiles) and is even given Raiden's blessing and Lightning Staff in his ending, all of which could have potentially led to future appearances starting in Deadly Alliance. He's instead Put on a Bus until Armageddon as he walks the earth in search of enlightenment.
  • Tier-Induced Scrappy: Shinnok.
  • Tough Act to Follow: Coming up after Mortal Kombat Trilogy. This game was supposed to return to the series' dark atmosphere, having exclusively two Fatalities per character as well as two Stage Fatalities. Sadly, this game lacked the charm of the first three games.
  • What an Idiot!: Quan Chi in Scorpion's ending. Sure he could have just pointed Scorpion at another enemy after Sub-Zero claimed that his family's killer was still out there, but he instead boldly admits that he did it to manipulate Scorpion into killing Sub-Zero before sending him back to the Netherrealm with a spell that, for whatever reason, takes about five seconds to fully activate. Hope you enjoy Scorpion tackling you and dragging you to hell with him Quan Chi!

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