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Mortal Kombat Fatalities: Progress

Updated on February 15, 2015


In 1992 Mortal Kombat was developed and released by Midway Games. One of its more major innovations was the fatality, a button combination that could be input after a victory to make a character performs a special attack that resulted in the opponent getting parts of their bodies ripped-out, getting eaten, and getting scenes that generally resulted in a shower of blood. Mortal Kombat as a franchise was famed for creating bloody fatalities which has gotten even more bloodier and gorier through its sequels. The original 1192 game established what a fatality was and the results forced people to make it so that only certain age groups could have access to the bloody content. The 2011 reboot, also called Mortal Kombat, took the ideas of old fatalities, improved on them with better graphics, and included an "x-ray move", which allowed players to see internal damage in an opponent. Finally, Mortal Kombat X, an upcoming sequel to the 2011 Mortal Kombat game already showed signs that its fatalities will be even more gorier than its predecessors. Fatalities in the Mortal Kombat franchise were a defining aspect for all of its games, and the later sequels have managed to make the original content even more intense.

In the previous continuity, this was just a sample of playable characters. Most of them were sequel characters.
In the previous continuity, this was just a sample of playable characters. Most of them were sequel characters.


The original Mortal Kombat was the creator of the fatality. At this point in time most fatalities consisted of fighters tearing hearts out with their bare hands, punching someone's head off, burning someone's flesh off until only bones were left, and pulling someone's neck and spinal cord out of their body. Needless to say, depictions of gore during this time were met with protests and controversy. Due to the realistic depictions of gore and violence, government officials forced the video game industry to develop a rating system to better determine what video games would be sold to a certain age group.

Thus the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) was created. Basically Mortal Kombat was a fighting game that was, at the time, so violent that people forced the video game industry to find a way to prevent children in certain age groups from buying the game. Fortunately Mortal Kombat experienced a drastic rise in popularity that ensured that it would continue to produce sequels. With those sequels came improved graphics. And with those sequels with improved graphics came more fatalities.

New continuity. More brutal fatalities.
New continuity. More brutal fatalities.


In 2011 Mortal Kombat as a whole underwent a reboot. With better graphics and the ability to render human bodies that were anatomically correct, the fatalities could potentially become less like a cartoon, and more realistic anatomically. In addition to more violent fatalities, Mortal Kombat also created "x-ray moves". These moves allowed players to attack the opponents with moves that momentarily had scenes where the player got to see internal bodily damage to a fighter's body. Bones shattered, brains got stabbed, and people suffered from injuries that would have been completely fatal in the real world. This being Mortal Kombat, the x-ray attacks only ensured significant damage towards the victim.

Since the Mortal Kombat reboot was also a more serious interpretation franchise in regards to its violent content, a majority of its fatalities emphasize the sheer horror of having to experience these moves. People got cut in half, decapitated, and had their bodies cut into little pieces. Some fatalities had people burned, limbs and head telekinetically removed, or experiencing fatalities from the first Mortal Kombat game, but improved. And while the people wee capable of harming other people in horrific ways, some of the stages could kill people. trees fed on defeated fighters, spiked floors fatally impaled people, various vehicles were used as murder weapons, and some stages melted or burned people into bloody skeletons.

The x-ray attacks were arguably more violent compared to fatalities because the player could see the damage of the internal organs. Bones were shattered, organs were stabbed, and the skull was frequently broken. Ironically, Mortal Kombat did not give the x-ray attacks any fatality abilities. Which means that while realistically all of the x-ray attacks would kill a person instantly, in Mortal Kombat, they just cause heavy damage to an opponent, but nothing that would instantly end a fight. Since some of the more brutal characters in this franchise were either monsters, cyborgs, humanoids from places different from Earth, or genuine deities, it made sense to make them more resistant to certain injuries.

A sequel to an already brutal reboot. Which means even more brutality.
A sequel to an already brutal reboot. Which means even more brutality.


Three years was enough time for some video game sequels to improve on their predecessors content. In the case of Mortal Kombat X, this improvement meant even more realistic fatalities. Being set a number of years past the original Mortal Kombat, Mortal Kombat X improved on fatalities by making everything even more realistic.Bones could be shattered in a more unique fashion compared to its predecessor, blood spurts and flows realistically,and the gore of fatalities were more visceral thanks to improved gaming systems allowing more violent animation to be produced. While Mortal Kombat X has not been released yet, the released content revealed how violent and brutal this new game will most likely be.

With a story that implied that the world of the 2011 Mortal Kombat game took a turn for the worse in Mortal Kombat X, the increased brutality of the fatalities could be seen as a symbolic representation of just how bad the world was going to be.


Mortal Kombat as a franchise was famed for its fatalities. Mortal Kombat revolutionized the brutality that could be displayed in a video game, so much so that the ESRB had to be developed. The 2011 reboot of the original game, also called Mortal Kombat took all of the fatalities of previous games, improved on the gore that was already there, and made new x-ray attacks that emphasize the increased intensity of this game. With the trailers for Mortal Kombat X exposing even blood, bones, and gore, the franchise looks like it will still be one of the most violent and visceral video games developed.


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