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April 8, 2013 6:07 PM   Subscribe

Hardcore Gaming 101 present an in-depth examination of the Mortal Kombat series.
posted by griphus (44 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
I've posted HG101 here before. While I don't agree with 100% of what they say, I probably do 95-99% of it. They do good work.
posted by JHarris at 6:36 PM on April 8, 2013


Huh? Why the fuck would I want to read an in-depth write-up of a video game? That seems like an idiotic waste of time. I'd like to think we're all to smart for that.

Haha, just kidding. I'll be back in a few hours, after I'm done reading this and then looking up about 30 Mortal Kombat wikis, ranging from Wikipedia to TV Tropes to GoroFan69.Wikia.com.

Signed, Mr. Unproductive, esq.
posted by Uppity Pigeon #2 at 6:42 PM on April 8, 2013 [8 favorites]




I was late to pick up my then girlfriend because I detoured to pick up a copy of Mortal Kombat 2, of course on Mortal Kombat 2sday.

This was

1 - The first major date specific launch that I can think of within the game industry, as in, it was a big deal and was coming out on a specified launch date.

2 - A bad idea to actually tell your girlfriend you were late because of a video game. She had fun playing MK 1 and 2, but this was always brought up.

MK was a really great series through 3, I've played one on the PS3 for about 5 minutes, and while it was pretty, it just wasn't the same and I'm too old to spend time memorizing 200 different special moves for several characters to see the really cool effects.
posted by efalk at 6:43 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Nothing makes me giggle like an inspired fatality.
posted by roger ackroyd at 6:46 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Today I learned that they're apparently still making Mortal Kombat sequels.
posted by brennen at 6:52 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


If you have fond memories of Mortal Kombat but (like any normal reasonable person) can't be bothered to learn bizarre button combinations, try any modern Japanese fighting game - Guilty Gear and the more recent BlazBlue series are good examples. Pretty much all the moves are just stick movement plus a single button press and the list of them is shorter, so it's much more about knowing the right tool for the job and responding in the moment than mastering your controller or playing Simon Says.
posted by 23 at 7:12 PM on April 8, 2013


Today I learned that they're apparently still making Mortal Kombat sequels.

I just read the first part, the characters section. It went like this:

Uh-huh, Liu Kang. Scorpion. Sub-Zero, ha, Reptile. I remember these guys.

Oh, that dude's name was Goro? Huh.

Kitana, eh? I guess they added female characters. Ha. Great name, guys.

Shao Kahn, the boss! Wow!

Oh jesus, Nightwolf? Wow. Okay. Native Americans can have bad names I guess.

Rain? Chameleon? ERMAC? WTF?

Kai? Reiko? MEAT? How many years has it been? FUCK do I feel old.

Okay, they...made a character who's a motion capture actor. That's okay, that's...normal. There can't possible be much more.

Oh, there's like, five more pages of characters...

Freddy...Krueger. And Lex Luthor! Why the fuck not!

It was at that moment that I realized that someone, somewhere, was fucking with me.
posted by clockzero at 7:13 PM on April 8, 2013 [8 favorites]


One thing I respect Mortal Kombat for was putting in the ultra-secret character Reptile in the very first game, which a friend of mine actually found on his own.

1. You have to play the stage "The Pit."
2. When you get there, in the background there must be shadows passing in front of the moon.
3. When that happens, win the match with a Double Flawless victory (take no damage), without using the Block button, and at the end perform your character's Fatality move.

The fight will move down into The Pit itself and you fight Reptile, who is very difficult. Beating him is worth 10M points.

BTW, back when Mortal Kombat 3 came out there was this system of "Kombat Kodes" players could enter before the match to activate different modes and effects. Midway hid the codes in a number of their other games at the time, including at least a couple of their pinball machines; Kodes can be found, if I remember correctly, in Medieval Madness and No Fear.
posted by JHarris at 7:20 PM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


It was at that moment that I realized that someone, somewhere, was fucking with me.

Darth Vader, Spawn, and Link are playable in different versions of Soul Calibur 2.
posted by JHarris at 7:21 PM on April 8, 2013


Wait, amend that -- Spawn, Link and Heihachi that are playable in that version. D.V. (and Yoda) are in some later version.
posted by JHarris at 7:23 PM on April 8, 2013


Reading the character list jogged my memory and now I'm looking up the weird ending sequences for Mortal Kombat 4. They all seem to feature exploding heads. I find this one particularly funny. The Scorpion one is pretty funny too.
posted by A Bad Catholic at 7:23 PM on April 8, 2013


..and Link are playable in different versions of Soul Calibur 2.

Link was probably my favorite character in SC2.
posted by curious nu at 7:29 PM on April 8, 2013


Darth Vader, Spawn, and Link are playable in different versions of Soul Calibur 2.

If I had found out about that by looking through chronological strata of playable characters, it might have been equally surprising, but now I just want to play soul calibur 2 as Link
posted by clockzero at 7:42 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Who could forget the Nimbus Terrafaux hoax from Egm back in the day? I'm surprised they didn't put that in the sequels.

One of the highlights of my old job was tooling around the Acclaim headquarters during the bankruptcy auction. Much of the cool stuff walked away in the hands of pissed off employees who weren't sure if their last paychecks were going to clear. Got to see packaging parodies they made as jokes for each other, the motion capture studio, and the machine that fabricated GameCube discs.
posted by dr_dank at 7:43 PM on April 8, 2013


I remember being very sad as a kid when I found out Scorpion was on the "evil" side of things.

Somehow, in my mind, I imagined him as a sort of jolly fellow, who happened to have harpoons that burst out of his arms, a talent he used for various good deeds.
posted by cacofonie at 8:00 PM on April 8, 2013 [13 favorites]


“Yeah, hi. Johnny Cage, first-timer. Uh, with all due respect, sir, it kinda looks you have me fighting... everyone.” (I think the Goro joke is a bit off-base, but the the video’s thesis stands.)
posted by scottjacksonx at 8:25 PM on April 8, 2013 [6 favorites]




Season 2 of the fantastic Mortal Kombat: Legacy series is coming soon!
I see Stryker's in the mix. Dude fights using guns and grenades and a nightstick. Y'know, regular martial arts equipment.
posted by scottjacksonx at 9:47 PM on April 8, 2013


The tl;dr of Mortal Kombat: it sucks. The only reason it was ever popular is because it had crappily-animated photographic characters, and tons and tons of blood. It required very little skill. It was a stupid game on every possible axis. It was the arcade machine for disturbed people who wanted gore, not game.

Later versions have improved, occasionally, but I don't think any of them ever got to the chesslike complexity and pure insane skill levels that the real fighting games, the Street Fighter series, did. Seeing Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat being played, side by side, at maximum skill levels, was roughly like comparing the San Francisco Symphony with a kazoo player, spitting blood out the end of his instrument.

I truly and honestly think we'd be better off just forgetting that those games ever existed.
posted by Malor at 11:43 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well, not being a high-level player (at fighting games) I loved Mortal Kombat vs. DC. I got to play as The Joker. In a fighting game. And beat up Superman.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:01 AM on April 9, 2013


The tl;dr of Mortal Kombat: it sucks.

It was pretty great if you were 12.
posted by jason_steakums at 12:15 AM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, you make a persuasive case, Malor, but I think you're forgetting that MORTAAAL KOMBAAAAAAT!!!
posted by No-sword at 2:17 AM on April 9, 2013 [12 favorites]


I say FINISH HIM *da ba duuuuum*

Toasty!

MK2 was pretty great and considering Street Fighter (the first one) is barely playable nowadays, I would judge MK too harshly.
posted by ersatz at 3:18 AM on April 9, 2013


MK1 was released on 'Mortal Monday' in the UK. I can still remember the abysmal review one of the version got in GamesMaster magazine: 'Mortal Kombat will be released on Mortal Monday, which will be followed by Ticked-Off Tuesday, Where's My Receipt Wednesday, Threaten A Shop Assistant Thursday, and Find A New Game Friday.'

Despite this, I still have MK Trilogy for the PSX somewhere. No idea why.
posted by permafrost at 4:41 AM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


I was in high school when Mortal Combat 2 came out. I was hooked. I met a guy at the arcade that had a bunch of printed pages for all the special moves and fatalities. I asked him where he found all those out. He said, "On the Internet" and I asked what the Internet was.

That was a long time ago.
posted by johnpowell at 4:58 AM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


...comparing the San Francisco Symphony with a kazoo player, spitting blood out the end of his instrument.

Honest to god I have, in my short life, attended more orchestral performances than I have ever wanted and given the choice I'd almost immediately pick the blood fountain kazooist over yet another one.
posted by griphus at 5:09 AM on April 9, 2013 [8 favorites]


Maybe it's because that's when I played it, but to me Mortal Kombat is like high school - you know that it sucked, but you can't help but look back and find some fond memories.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:30 AM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


We were talking about Mortal Kombat at work the other day, and one of the coworkers mentioned how his first encounter with it was the Super Nintendo version. Then he was like 'so, yeah, I never really got into fighting games.'
posted by box at 5:52 AM on April 9, 2013


Street Fighter (the first one) is barely playable nowadays.

To be fair, SF1 was barely playable even when it was released in the 80s. Even the die-hard Capcom fighting game fans are generally in agreement that the series didn't really become fun until SF2 came along.
posted by Strange Interlude at 6:18 AM on April 9, 2013


BTW, back when Mortal Kombat 3 came out there was this system of "Kombat Kodes" players could enter before the match to activate different modes and effects. Midway hid the codes in a number of their other games at the time, including at least a couple of their pinball machines; Kodes can be found, if I remember correctly, in Medieval Madness and No Fear

Yeah, that worked out SO well. I was at WMS at the time. What happened was that things were starting to fall apart at Williams/Bally/Midway. Distributors were eager for MK3 and pretty much nothing else. The wheels were coming off pinball sales and video wasn't looking much better.

So the idea was spawned to turn the rest of the WMS lineup into a treasure hunt for MK3 players. As in "see, if you buy these other games, players will find the secret codes for hidden MK3 stuff".

Of course, the codes were out and all over the internet and points beyond within a matter of weeks. And things were back to falling apart.
posted by JoeZydeco at 8:14 AM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


MK2 was pretty great and considering Street Fighter (the first one) is barely playable nowadays, I would judge MK too harshly.

Well, I never played SF1, but I think it was a couple years earlier. SF2 and MK1 were new in arcades at about the same time. From memory, MK1 came out after SF2, so it's a much fairer comparison.

SF2 is absolutely playable nowadays; I'd take it over many more recent titles. There have been other great fighting games, but MK was not one of them.
posted by Malor at 9:17 AM on April 9, 2013


Street Fighter is from 1987 and an absolute turd of a game. SF2 and MK were roughly contemporaneous.
posted by griphus at 9:34 AM on April 9, 2013


Also, my favorite bit of trivia re: SF, and confirmation that my uncle wasn't fucking with me that time at the arcade:
In the deluxe version of the arcade game, the player's controls consist of a standard eight-way joystick, and two large, unique mechatronic pads for punches and kicks that returned an analog value depending on how hard the player actuated the control.
posted by griphus at 9:38 AM on April 9, 2013


Somehow, in my mind, I imagined him as a sort of jolly fellow, who happened to have harpoons that burst out of his arms, a talent he used for various good deeds.

He got a cat out of a tree once. Sort of.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:44 AM on April 9, 2013 [7 favorites]


JoeZydeco, huh. I like pinball a great deal, and I think in the long run those games will be WMS' primary legacy. But they worked like crazy to get those pinball games sold. The treasure hunt idea isn't a bad one necessarily, it really doesn't affect those games very much and is a cool idea, but yeah, the Internet ruins it. Ubiquitous FAQs have been both a blessing and a curse to gaming in general.
posted by JHarris at 9:50 AM on April 9, 2013


The mechanics for MK was far more evened out than SF, and that came through in the fact that everybody and their brother didn't pick one of two characters. Also, people were really getting into complexity of game play at the time and knowing how to do all the different special moves was kind of like a badge of knowledge. Remember, we're talking about when the arcade was a better experience than consoles and comparing the ports really isn't fair. IIRC, SF II was still somewhat laggy for the console. Also, all the crazy graphics that none of the other games had helped MK.
posted by P.o.B. at 11:05 AM on April 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


everybody and their brother didn't pick one of two characters.

Except the fireball-spamming Liu Kang-loving uncle that was the bane of my first forays into fighting games. His fireball SFX can still shake my confidence years later, long after I figured out how to beat that tactic.
posted by jason_steakums at 12:13 PM on April 9, 2013


Mortal Kombat is an awesome series of games, I don't know what y'all are talking about. Come over to my house, and my Kitana will mess you the hell up.
posted by gkhan at 12:54 PM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Except the fireball-spamming Liu Kang-loving uncle

Yeah, Liu Kang was the easy low bar entry into that game, but he wasn't overpowered as compared to the other characters.
posted by P.o.B. at 3:57 PM on April 9, 2013


Aw man this brings back memories. I roleplayed Mortal Kombat once-upon a time. I played Sonja and Ermac and it ruled.
posted by Deoridhe at 6:58 PM on April 9, 2013


Well, I don't know much about Mortal Kombat, but I do know Gav from The Escapist did a great song based on it.

Oh, and I saw part of the movie once. That was really bad. I mean, really bad.
posted by Canageek at 7:20 PM on April 9, 2013


SF2 and MK1 were new in arcades at about the same time

True. My point was that the SF series didn't spring forth perfect from the first installment. Besides, MKII was in arcades at the same time as Hyper/Champion/Super SF2 and I'm possibly projecting here, but I always think of SF2 Champion Edition when I think of SF2 because Vega/Balrog/M. Bison/Sagat.
posted by ersatz at 4:39 AM on April 10, 2013


Relatedly, Gameological Society just posted a big thing about Tattoo Assassins.
posted by box at 6:15 AM on April 10, 2013


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