Mortal Kombat is an iconic franchise, there’s little doubt of that. Like most iconic franchises, it inspired and influenced many other games of the time. Today, we’ll be taking a look at some of the lesser known games that share some of the MK lineage. As a quick aside though, we won’t be touching on Street Fighter. Obviously Street Fighter is very much its own franchise with its own success and needs little extra attention.
Take Mortal Kombat, subtract the people, add dinosaurs and gorillas, keep the blood and the fatalities, and you have Primal Rage. Debuting in 1994, Primal Rage sought to take the same “realistic” style graphics pioneered by Mortal Kombat I and give it a new spin. It’s mechanics were never as polished as the MK series though, and as such, Primal Rage never enjoyed the same type of success that MK did.
Time Killers came out about one month after the original Mortal Kombat. One might argue then, that Time Killers was clearly in development alongside MK and therefore couldn’t really have been influenced by its release. If you watch the above video though, it’s pretty obvious that Time Killers was probably created in about two weeks, so it seems completely feasible that someone dreamt up this abomination and gave it life in the month between the release of MK 1 and Time Killers. The game features graphics more akin to the cartoon style of Street Fighter, but includes all the same MK blood and gore. As an added bonus, you can chop the limbs off of your opponents mid battle, forcing them to continue on without the use of them.
When Eternal Champions came out in 1993, its release had a major flaw, there was no arcade version. The game was only available on the Sega Genesis, and while it was a pretty decent fighting game, it failed to grab the spotlight the way MK did. Eternal Champions featured some of the same blood and gore as MK though it was much less prevalent, and it did have fatalities (although they were all stage fatalities). As a child of the 90’s, and a Genesis owner, it’s impossible not to have fond memories of Eternal Champions, even if it never was the MK killer was probably supposed to be.
At the beginning of this article I was careful not to use the term “rip-off”, as some of the games on this list were actually more than just cheap knock-offs. Tattoo Assassins does not fall into that category. The most blatant rip-off of MK, the game features very similar graphics, gameplay, sound-effects, blood and gore, and fatalities. Tattoo Assassins boasted over 200 finishing moves, include animalities (before the MK series) as well as nudalities (although all the characters covered their nether realms (DO YOU SEE WHAT I DID THERE?!?!?!)). Tattoo Assassins was so bad that it never actually saw the light of day. I think we’ll all survive though.