Several weeks ago I used Mortal Monday as a way to show my appreciation for my ten most favorite finishing moves of all time. The thing is, as any self-respecting Mortal Kombat fan knows, the MK universe is comprised of much more than decapitation punches. This week we’re going to look at the world of MK finishers, from the iconic to the absurd.
In the beginning there were fatalities; the Johnny Cage decapitating uppercut, the Kano heart rip, the Sub-Zero spinal adjustment. These moves put MK on the map and they separated it from the more cartoonish Street Fighter II (its primary competition). Fatalities are iconic, a principal part of what makes the MK universe what it is. We’d soon find out that there was much more in store for us than just fatalities though.
Of course, your regular, run-of-the-mill fatality wasn’t always enough, so some stages in Mortal Kombat have always had their own special fatalities. Right from Mortal Kombat I, players could knock their opponents into the spiked pit below the bridge stage as a fatality. In MK II and beyond many more stages with fatalities were introduced, including a spiked ceiling fatality and an flesh melting acid pool fatality.
The original Mortal Kombat took a lot of flak for its ultra-violent content. As a big of a tongue-in-cheek nod to the controversy caused by MK I, Friendships were introduced in MK III. Acting as the antithesis of a fatality, players could perform some type of kind gesture instead of brutally murdering and opponent. While friendships were never as popular as fatalities, it was always fun to see the screen go a bit darker, hear the dreaded finishing move music, and then be greeted by some by some absurdly out of place act of kindness.
While fatalities and friendships provided players with a good balance of violent and non-violent finishing move choices, babalities were always something of an absurd afterthought. Performing a babality meant turning the opposing character into an infant, complete with a little infant version of their costume. Yes, this really happened, and it’s every bit as absurd as it sounds. Babalities have had a rough history, removed after fans complained of their silliness, and then added to later games again.
A different take on traditional fatalities, animalities allowed players to dispatch their opponents by transforming into an enlarged version of an animal reminiscent of the character (Scorpion is… a scorpion, for example) and killing the opponent using some type of animalistic attack. Animalities were introduced in MK III largely as fan service for the rumors of their existence.
Hara-Kiri – also called Seppuku – is a Japanese term for a specific type of ritual suicide, usually reserved for dishonored samurai. In the MK universe a Hara-Kiri maneuver was used as a sort of counter to a fatality. Players could opt to kill themselves in dishonor rather than be subjected to the whims of their opponent. While popular with fans, Hara-Kiri’s only ever made it into Mortal Kombat: Deception.
For Mortal Kombat: Armageddon the traditional concept of for fatalities was scrapped in favor of a combo system. The system allowed players to chain together various different violent maneuvers to create a “Kustom” fatality. Met with mixed reviews, the Kreate-A-Fatality system was only ever used in Armageddon.
The Fergality: The Sega Genesis version of Mortal Kombat II contains an extra fatality wherein Raiden turns his opponent into Fergus McGovern, an employee of Probe Ltd., the company that worked on the port of the game.
The Multality: Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks features a different type of fatality. While fighting multiple enemies, the player can unleash the “Multality” finishing off all enemies in the vicinity with one blow.
Fan made fatalities: Fans of Mortal Kombat have even made their own fatality animations, and some are pretty well made! Obviously these aren’t readily available in a retail versions, but they’re still pretty awesome.