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  • Awesome Music: Most would agree that the soundtrack is pretty good and adds a nice ambiance to the levels.
  • Anti-Climax Boss: Shinnok turns into this when you realize you can just jump over him when he attacks and then freeze him, allowing you to easily take his amulet, then run away from his One-Winged Angel. If you want to actually defeat him, it’s a different story.
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  • Die for Our Ship: Poor Sareena. Don't you know just how much fangirls hate it when a canon female character is paired up with a Mr. Fanservice?
  • Difficulty Spike:
    • The fights with the Earth God and the Prison Guard/Warden both qualify. As if this game wasn't already hard enough. Hope you can use Sub-Zero's Slide move.
    • And then there's the Wind Temple... You have to get through that hellish experience—which is only the second stage—long before the above bosses, letting you know exactly what kind of game this is.
  • Enjoy the Story, Skip the Game: While the game is certainly functional, it is such an extreme case of Nintendo Hard that you would be far better off just watching the cutscenes, which tell a very interesting narrative which goes into the backstory of Bi-Han, Shinnok and Quan Chi, all of which blend perfectly well with the mainline games and even helped the latter two become Canon Immigrants. It helps that said cutscenes are drowning in Ham and Cheese, making the story even better.
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  • Evil Is Sexy: Sareena (at first), as well as Kia and Jataaka. Unsurprisingly, the tried-and-true combination of Dark Action Girls and dark leather works here in Mortal Kombat as well.
  • Goddamned Boss: Shinnok's first form. You can only hit him right when he attacks or taunts you, otherwise your attacks will be blocked by his Deflector Shields, which also hurt you if you touch him. And if you take too long reaching him after freezing him, you have to freeze him again. If you freeze him while his shield is up, it will stay up, leading you to take damage when you try to jump over it.
  • Ham and Cheese:
    • Rich Divizio's portrayal of Quan Chi. He's far and away the best actor in this game, and is clearly having the time of his life.
    • Every other actor has their own fair share of hammy cheesiness, and yet all of them still make it into their own special kind, both in body movement and voice. Even in-game, the ham is still prevalent, especially in Shinnok's voice:
      DIIIIE, LIN KUEIII!
      NO... THE AMULET! NNNOOOOOO! RWUUUAAAAAAAA
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  • Harsher in Hindsight: After Bi-Han returns with Shinnok's Amulet, he asks Raiden about what Quan Chi meant by him being tainted with evil what that meant for his future. The thunder god told him that "But only you can control your destiny. Not even the gods can alter your chosen path in life." These words would likely haunt Raiden in light of what happened in Mortal Kombat 9, in which he sent a message to himself into the past to alter the timeline in order to thwart Shao Kahn's victory in the Battle of Armageddon and ended up unwittingly bringing about several heroes' deaths in the process.
  • Heartwarming Moments: While the blooper reel is mostly funny, they can be rather endearing to watch; it is very evident that the FMV cast had a wonderful time on set, even if the final product amounts primarily to Narm Charm.
  • It's Hard, So It Sucks!: The game is made ridiculously hard by the bad controls, cheap instant death traps, confusing layouts, poor hit detection, and over abundance of enemies.
  • Memetic Mutation:
  • Narm:
    • The FMVs... are kind of laughable, one example being the Death Throws that play whenever Sub-Zero drops down a bottomless pit. The acting is quite melodramatic and the scenes look very cheap; some of them use the exact same animations. They surrender to Camp completely by the time you get to the outtakes: while the cast all had a great time on set, they were clearly on the verge of corpsing most of the time.
    • Fire-breathing dinosaur and robot guards as sub-boss adversaries that hinder Sub-Zero's quest in Netherrealm. Since Netherrealm is "a realm for tainted lost souls", the idea of dinosaur and robots existing in that place is absurd and ridiculous.
  • Older Than They Think: The Mortal Kombat fighting engine was first moved to an adventure game by Batman Forever for the Super Nintendo. As you might guess, the game was full of Scrappy Mechanics like here.
  • Porting Disaster: Despite being on a more powerful system, the Nintendo 64 port is inferior to the PlayStation original in every way aside from the lack of load times, with muffled audio, blurry sprites and background textures, even worse controls, and the FMV cutscenes replaced by still images accompanied by text.
  • Scrappy Mechanic: The transition from a fighting game to an action game brought multiple issues:
    • Sub-Zero's walking animation is terribly slow. He walks just like in the fighting game. The player can try running but they will become defenseless.
    • Platforming is incredibly complicated in the second stage. There are platforms that spin 360 degrees and getting to them is close to guessing.
    • Changing direction from left to right requires to press one of R/L buttons rather than the directional buttons. As a result the player will be defenseless while doing it.
    • Players who try Easy will feel slapped in the face when the game ends with a cliffhanger and they have to replay the entire game in a harder difficulty to actually finish it.
    • The RPG elements. Many were disappointed that you had to learn Sub-Zero's moves instead of starting out with them like in other games.
  • So Bad, It's Good: The acting in the PS1 cutscenes is just so unintentionally silly that it's worth a watch on YouTube. Some of the death animations when Sub-Zero falls ("AAAAAAAAAH") are pretty funny, too.
  • Special Effect Failure: Sub-Zero's climbing animation. His arms don't quite touch the rope and his legs don't move period. It's often joked that he looks like he's juggling (or, as Retsupurae put it once, plate-spinning).
  • That One Boss:
    • Fujin, the Wind God, is a pain to everybody. To make it worse, when he is weakened, he tries a Kamikaze technique and figuring out how to avoid it takes some time. note 
    • Shinnok can also be this if you want to actually defeat him rather than just stealing his amulet. At first he fires projectiles which don't do a lot of damage on their own, but the number he launches racks up damage very quickly. He is also hard to even hit since when he's not attacking his Deflector Shields will block all of your attacks and damage you if you touch it. Taking his amulet causes him to break out his One-Winged Angel where he becomes an Advancing Boss of Doom that kills you in three hits, but his long reach means if he hits you once you'll get hit as soon as you get back up. In other words, getting near him spells instant death. The game expects you run away at this point so the portals that would normally take you to the opposite end of the stage will take you to the ending. This means the only reliable way to beat him is spam the Polar Blast and hope you have enough restorative items to use it enough times to beat him before he reaches you.
  • That One Level: Pretty much every level in the entire game is difficult, but here are the worst offenders:
    • Level 2 is probably the game's hardest level based on its multiple platforming elements, the worst ones having to be the windmills (it is nigh-impossible to time your jump perfectly) and the falling platforms, due to there being such a small window to get it right as well as the clunky controls hindering you. On top of all of this, it contains That One Boss in the aforementioned Fujin.
    • Even Level 1 can be this due to its incredibly annoying traps, most notably the ceiling pillars which can crush you instantly. Oftentimes you will find yourself between two of them; once you get chipped by one, you will helplessly stagger into the other one and die.
    • Level 4 is absolutely hellish in that it is incredibly confusing — every single area looks exactly the same, making it hard to figure out where you are going. In the rooms with the rope, an enemy will often be at the other side, and Elder Gods forbid he hits you while you are in midair.
    • Level 7 is also easy to get lost in, because of multiple instances of Guide Dang It!: the camera hides lower platforms leading to pivotal locations, making it seem like half of the map is pitfalls and therefore making the level rather tedious. This level even contains a Game-Breaking Bug: if you have the misfortune of mistiming a jump above an electric fence, you will land on top of the fence. As such, Sub-Zero will wind up stuck there, infinitely juggled by the fence, taking chip damage with every hit. The most insulting element is that Sub-Zero is stuck in midair once this glitch occurs, and can only enter a death state when he falls out of the map or is on the ground — therefore, you are stuck on this fence even after your health goes to zero, at which point you'll want to reset the entire level to escape the glitch.
  • Vindicated by History: Downplayed. While this game still has plenty of flaws as noted above, it is at least something of a Cult Class—... er, "Kult Klassic" that contributed to the mythos of the series (details concerning the Netherrealm including Shinnok, his past with the other Elder Gods, and his Sacred Amulet), added new characters (Fujin and Sareena), and introduced Quan Chi, who originally debuted in Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm, as a canonical character. The same could not be said for Mortal Kombat: Special Forces, which has been virtually retconned out (save for a surprise appearance by Tremor both in the Bonus Challenge Tower of the PlayStation Vita port of Mortal Kombat 9 and Mortal Kombat X proper, as well as Tasia featuring in the MKX prequel comics).

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