Mortal Kombat’s 10 Best Fatalities
The cult of the Fatality is alive and well, judging from the amount of attention lavished on bloodthirsty finishing moves by the dev team at Netherrealm, who created the newest installment in the long-running Mortal Kombat franchise. In honor of their game‘s release, we’ve picked over Mortal Kombat games past and present in search of the ten best Fatalities of all time (in no particular order). Our selections are below — please chime in the comments if your favorite evisceration got passed over.
- Sub-zero – Spine Rip (Mortal Kombat I)
- Kitana – Kiss of Death (Mortal Kombat II)
- Sheeva – Stripped Down (Mortal Kombat IX)
- Kano – Heart Rip (Mortal Kombat I)
- Liu Kang – Dragon
- Quan Chi – Leg Beat (Mortal Kombat IV)
- Noob Saibot – Make a Wish (Mortal Kombat IX)
- Cyrax – Internal Shredder (Mortal Kombat Dark Alliance)
- Babalities (Mortal Kombat II, Others)
- Scorpion – Toasty (Mortal Kombat I)
The first time I saw this in action, the only thing keeping me from tossing my cookies all over my friend’s keyboard was scientific curiosity. Never let them tell you that video games don’t teach you things, kids. At that particular point in my life, I was unaware of the close anatomical bond between skull and spine, and it had never occurred to me that both could be ripped out of the body at once by an enigmatic, blue-clad ninja. This fatality’s bona fides are obvious, but if you remain unconvinced, allow me to quote top YouTube commenter BlackKnightJ1108: “This fatality created the ESRB.”
The best fatalities combine gore with dark comedy, and this is one of the most amusing. Kitana may not be a very compelling character, but I like the idea that one kiss from her can cause people to blow up like a balloon (believe it or not, some people out there have a fetish for this kind of thing happening to women — thanks, YouTube Related Videos). In any event, the combination of 90′s mo-cap facial rendering and 90′s animated swelling/explosion leads to truly hilarious results. Mortal Kombat II’s reliance on cartoonish viscera/giblets raining from the sky is just icing on the cake.
At the other end of the technological spectrum, you have Mortal Kombat’s 2011 incarnation, which marries the truly violent imaginations of its creators to the latest and greatest in simulated realism. Sheeva’s fatality, in which she rips her opponent’s skin off in two halves like a pistachio nut, is a remarkably faithful rendering of what it might actually look like if a four-armed, jiggly-breasted warrior princess ripped someone’s skin off.
I’ve always loved Kano’s fatality not so much for the carnage itself (which, to be fair, is awesome), but more for the pose he adopts afterwards. There’s a long tradition (dating back to Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom) of holding up a heart triumphantly after you’ve ripped it out of someone’s chest. I wonder why this is so popular — maybe the blood feels nice when it’s dripping down your forearm? Next time I meet a priest in a death-worshipping Hindu cult, or a cybernetically enhanced British criminal, I’ll try to remember to ask.
Liu Kang always seemed like sort of a nice guy. He’s one of the ostensible heroes of the Mortal Kombat story, such as it is. It doesn’t make sense to have him decapitating, eviscerating, or dismembering opponents. Still, he needed a fatality. I would have loved to be a fly on the wall when this idea was proposed: “Liu Kang can still be the moral center of the story if his fatality is him turning into a giant dragon and biting off people’s torsos.” It certainly surprised the hell out of me the first time I saw it in action.
Quan Chi is a latter-day Mortal Kombat character. He’s Scorpion’s boss — pretty much the ultimate badass credential. And despite being the Arch-Sorceror of NetherRealm, his fatality is surprisingly blue-collar and non-magical. Simply put, he rips your leg off and beats you to death with it. The ridiculous, giant-tear-drop-shaped blood spatter is just a bonus.
Noob Saibot started out as sort of a joke character — his moniker is derived by taking the surnames of the two Mortal Kombat kreators “Boon” and “Tobias” and spelling them backwards. His fatality, despite the clever name, is not a laughing matter, however. Even if you have a healthy appetite for violence and gore, it’s downright unsettling. Most disturbing is the look on the faces of Noob’s opponents, fully conscious and in agony as they are ripped apart from crotch to neck, viscera spilling onto the ground.
Cyrax is tricked out with all the tools of a mercenary assassin’s trade. He even has an internal blender, for disposing of evidence! One wonders if it has multiple speed settings — sometimes, you want to liquefy a defeated opponent, not just frappe him. Either way, after watching this fatality, its no surprise that Cyrax’s strawberry-acai smoothies have always tasted a little funny.
The decision to include babalities, in which victorious kombatants eschew killing their opponents in favor of turning them into babies, has to rank up there among the most bizarre game design decisions ever. Still, we love the babilities, especially those that feature babies wearing distinctive character accessories, like Johnny Cage’s sunglasses of Kung Lao’s deadly hat.
Scorpion is widely acknowledged as the coolest Mortal Kombat character. He was always everybody’s favorite, mostly due to his easy-to-master harpoon attack and his awesome appearance. He took it up a notch, however, when he pulled of that intimidating mask to reveal that his face is actually a skull and he can breath f*cking fire! As violent surprises involving immortal ninja warriors go, it really doesn’t get any better than that.