Over the years, the Mortal Kombat franchise has attracted a cult-like following from gamers all over the world. Right from the debut in 1992, each new blood-soaked edition is more riveting and delightful than the previous.
In case you missed some of the action or would like to relive every Mortal Kombat game ever released, here is a complete list.
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Release date: September 8, 1993
Supported platforms: PC
The debut edition of the franchise set the tone for what was to follow. The ruthless approach that became synonymous with Mortal Kombat was evident right from the beginning.
The first edition featured seven warriors each of them armed with a specific set of strokes to unleash on the opposition. A combination of directional keys would set the character on the warpath with a series of attacks.
The first edition was dull at best. The graphics were average, but the game was quite exciting and kept gamers at it for hours.
Mortal Kombat II
Release date: May 14, 1994
Supported platforms: PC, PlayStation 3
Less than a year after the first edition, the second sequel to a game that was first introduced as an arcade game in 1992 was released.
The new edition did not change much. After all, given the positive reception of the first game, it did not make sense to start making changes so early.
Nonetheless, there were some exciting additions which included new attack combinations, new warriors and new arenas which gamers were more than happy to try out.
Mortal Kombat 3
Release date: October 6, 1995
Supported platforms: PC
The third edition in a series of skill battles from Midway Games development remained faithful to the central theme of the franchise. The rules of the game were the same from the earlier two games as well as the cycles.
However, the new edition had an increased number of warriors, new arenas to pick from, and the special attacks increased in number and viciousness. Using a combination of blows, the warriors could put an end to the fight in an instant.
Mortal Kombat Trilogy
Release date: October 10, 1996
Supported platforms: PC
This was the last of the popular series of virtual fights that used two-dimensional digitised models facing off in a computer-generated background.
This was a worrisome time for gamers. While the changes were highly anticipated, there was a chance the following release would have been a drop from the action, and blood-filled fights that gamers had been accustomed to.
Mortal Kombat 4
Release date: June 24, 1998
Supported platforms: PC, PlayStation 1
To keep up the hype and make the game more interactive in a very competitive field, the developers of Mortal Kombat had to come up with new ideas to inject life and excitement into the game.
This happened in Mortal Combat 4. In this edition, the clashes now take place in a three-dimensional arena.
The title remains the same, and so do the elements and the characteristics of the cycle. To the relief of gamers, the brutal finishes on defeated enemies are left intact, ensuring the blood-soaked action is untouched.
Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance
Release date: November 18, 2002
Supported platforms: GBA, Xbox, PlayStation 2, GCN
Deadly Alliance continued with the three-dimension theme of the game. But the graphics were not the only improvement the game offered. The basic fighting mechanics of the game also got a boost. The fighters not only had special moves but also felt unique.
The most standout characters in the game were Shan Tsung and Wuan Chi. In the game, the two beasts join efforts in a bid to destroy Raiden.
The fighters in this edition are not afraid to get down and dirty. They have bleeding wounds, shredded kimonos and the music brings a more dramatic feel to the game.
Mortal Kombat: Tournament Edition
Release date: August 25, 2003
Supported platforms: GBA
The Tournament Edition continues the storyline of Deadly Alliance it was a quick release designed for GBA.
The game surrounds the duel of the two dark forces. Players have to win the tournament to save the world. It's a unique opportunity, and though virtual, it is one that players take very seriously.
Mortal Kombat: Deception
Release date: October 4, 2004
Supported platforms: PlayStation 2, Xbox
Deception is one of the best and most solid entries of the franchise. There was not much that was added to the edition. Instead of getting fancy, the developers focused on rebalancing the enjoyable fighting that was introduced by Deadly Alliance.
This is hands down of the most exhilarating entries in the franchise. The game had excellent capabilities, and the introduction of sixth-generation gaming consoles enhanced the experienced.
The developer also added a few touches to make the game more immersive. The bloody fights were untouched, but the arenas had more diversified themes. There were also subtle attractions like mini-games, crypts to visit and a fictionalised campaign mode to give the game more zest and keep players playing longer without finding the combat too monotonous.
Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks
Release date: September 20, 2005
Supported platforms: PlayStation 2, Xbox
The Shaolin Monks entry was released during the 6th generation of gaming consoles. This meant the quality and performance of the game was excellent for the time, and the fluid combat system was designed to deal with multiple enemies.
Instead of a racial fight, the game introduces a complete 3D adventure, and this time around, the events are presented in the Third Person Perspective (TPP).
The developer tried to sneak in a progression system that players can use to upgrade Liu Kang and Kung Lao's moves, but the system was somewhat primitive and not thought out clearly. However, it was an excellent idea.
The new addition was not an instant hit, but it was good enough to keep gamers busy long enough. It also happened to be one of the better spin-offs in the series.
Mortal Kombat: Armageddon
Release date: October 9, 2006
Supported platforms: Xbox, PlayStation 2, Wii
Compared to the games in the series that were released in the 90s, those published in 2000s were not doing as well. That was until Armageddon was released.
What is surprising is that the gameplay in Armageddon is strikingly similar to that of the previous two editions, Deadly Alliance and Deception save for the customisation of the options and the side content. Even the core combat mechanics of the game heavily borrowed from Deception.
Perhaps what players found intriguing about the new entry was that they could now create new fighters and even put together unique finishing combination. The addition of a well-thought-out and executed Konquest mode and a silly kart racing mini-game were the icing on the cake for the game. The game offers variety which to gamers is a magnet.
Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3
Release date: October 20, 2006
Supported platforms: Xbox 360
A couple of weeks after the release of Armageddon, Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 was released. It was the next instalment in the best-selling series of virtual fights. Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 was a remake of a title that appeared in 1995 which explains the first development and release. The game was only available on the Xbox 360.
Mortal Kombat Unchained
Release date: November 13, 2006
Supported platforms: PSP
Mortal Kombat Unchained was a remake of Mortal Kombat: Deception. The game was quickly put together for the portable PlayStation.
The game revolves around the characters of Shao Kahn and Goro. It also adds other fan favourites like Kitana, Jax, Blaze and Frost to the roster.
The best thing about Unchained is that all the characters and stages of the game were available to the players from the onset of the game. The only unlocking required was for alternate costumes.
The Endurance mode, which allowed players to face a flurry of opponents was also a nice addition. With the PSP's wireless Ad-hoc functionalities, players could also engage in multiplayer games.
Ultimate Mortal Kombat
Release date: November 12, 2007
Supported platforms: NDS
Midway was doing its best to penetrate the handheld gaming consoles market. Instead of creating new games, the developer quickly ported games that had hot-streaks in the past for handheld devices.
Ultimate Mortal Kombat was a port from Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3. It was released for the Nintendo DS and is best known for having a near-perfect port of the arcade version.
Most of the characters featured in Mortal Kombat Ultimate are the same as those featured in the arcade version and include Mileena, Ermac and Classic Sub-Zero.
A few features like the Nintendo Wi-Fi and the DS Download play allowed players to play against each other as long as they were nearby.
While the ported version worked excellently, there wasn’t much added to the game. Most of the features and storylines remained untouched.
Mortal Kombat Vs. DC Universe
Release date: November 16, 2008
Supported platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
This entry was created courtesy of the cooperation of DC Comics, Warner Bros. and Midway Games. The spin-off gives the players a chance to take part in spectacular battles between stars of the Mortal Kombat franchise and the superheroes from DC Comics.
The visualisation of the game was carried on the Unreal Engine 3 which promised better performance and graphics.
The game also came to be known as the last game that was published by Midway Games before it went out of business.
The attempt to bring the fold of the fans of DC Comic's dark and vicious approach did not pan out as Midway expected. Not only did the new game fail to attract a new audience, but it also alienated diehard fans that come to love the gory and blood-filled fights they had been accustomed to.
It was an unfortunate turn of events. Perhaps if the mergers were handled better, the results would have been more impressive.
Release date: April 11, 2011
Supported platforms: PC, PlayStation 3, PSV, Xbox 360
The 2011 entry of Mortal Kombat gave the franchise a big boost. The new developer NetherRealm wanted to make the right impression, and with a little help from the father of the franchise Ed Boon who was the supervisor, it couldn't have gone any better.
The new instalment rebooted the license in a big way. An over the top Story Mode, a brilliant fighting engine that seamlessly wavered between 2D and 3D graphics without affecting the brutal fights were all the franchise needed to dig itself out of the mud after a decade of inconsistency.
Other game modes like Tag Team and an X-ray system were also introduced into the game to make it more fun and interactive.
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Mortal Kombat Arcade Kollection
Release date: August 31, 2011
Supported platforms: PC, X360, PS3
The Mortal Kombat Arcade Kollection features refreshed versions of Mortal Kombat, Mortal Kombat 2, and Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3.
Along with better presentation, the collection also features multiplayer duel modes. It does an acceptable job in ensuring the arcade staples are available to gamers in better and more accessible formats.
However, like arcade games, this entry is slightly tacky and overly difficult rather than fair. But, if you're looking for a challenge, this is an excellent instalment to try.
Mortal Kombat X
Release date: April 8, 2015
Supported platforms: Xbox 360, AND, PlayStation 3, XONE, PlayStation4, iOS, PC
This is a near-perfect instalment of the Mortal Kombat. The Story Mode would have been slightly longer and more engaging but other than that, everything else came together like magic.
The brutal, blood-soaked fights are back, the match ending moves are also back, and additions like the stamina meter means players now have to be strategic before executing specific moves.
The game features a wide array of fighters with a few new ones. Each of the players has new, and various tactics and combat styles, and the duels are now held in cold 2.5D arenas that have several interactive elements that you can use when squashing your opponent. The developers also made sure there were plenty of local and online multiplayer modes to keep everyone happy and smiling.
Mortal Kombat XL
Release date: March 1, 2016
Supported platforms: PC, XONE PlayStation 4
Mortal Kombat XL is an expansion of Mortal Kombat X. It follows the same storyline of events that take place 25 years after the original game but tells a new story with new characters like Johnny Cage play a significant role.
Like in most expansions, the mechanics did not change much and the graphics which remained 2.5D. Special attacks and finishes are still the highlights of the game with plenty of skins available for the warriors to look flashy as they spill blood.
Mortal Kombat 11
Release date: April 23, 2019
Supported platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, XONE, Switch
The 11th instalment of the Mortal Kombat franchise is also the most recent. It has a new graphics engine, and NetherRealm Studios has done an excellent job at crafting new worries and giving them new blood spilling techniques and finishes.
The new game now rewards players for their tactical and timing prowess, but on the downside, players have to deal with a Progression system as well.
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The Mortal Kombat franchise is proof that the road to success is never smooth. After flying out of the gates swinging in the mid-'90s, the franchise struggled through the mid-2000s and eventually saw the original developer close shop.
Since NetherRealm took over, the franchise seems to have a new breath of life, and the tables are turning to its favour. Gamers can finally breathe easy knowing the franchise will be around for a long time to come.