When Mortal Kombat first debuted in arcades in 1992 It’s main competition was Street Fighter II. While I loved both games, but Mortal Kombat was always my preference. For a long time though, I feel like I was probably in the minority.
While MK may have been the more edgy, interesting game, I believe that the consensus among most people was that SFII was the better game mechanically. As MK and SF both began to crank out sequels, there was certainly a period where Street Fighter grabbed the spotlight. Games like the Marvel vs. Capcom series helped to push that mentality (even though those aren’t technically SF games). At the same time, franchises like Tekken and Soul Calibur were bring a new dimension to fighting games (LITERALLY!!!). Somewhere in there Mortal Kombat became a bit of a forgotten property.
Things have certainly changed since then though. Capcom, as it seems to be doing with all of it’s worthwhile properties, has forgotten that Street Fighter exists (except of course to re-release a new version of Street Fighter IV every year). Franchises like Guilty Gear and BlazBlue are certainly making good games, but the world doesn’t appear to be paying a ton of attention. Meanwhile, NetherRealm has begun to pump out consistently fantastic fighting games. Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, Mortal Kombat 9, and Injustice: Gods Among Us are all first class fighters, with universes and characters that people care about.
When the launch trailer for Mortal Kombat X hit YouTube a week or so before E3, I found myself salivating with excitement for a new MK title. When the gameplay footage came out, I think I peed a little. While other fighting game franchises seem to be dying, or languishing in obscurity, Mortal Kombat is thriving. What’s wonderful to see is that MK isn’t just thriving because other franchises are absent, it’s thriving because its titles are consistently amazing. No one is saying, “Well MK kind of sucks but there is no new Street Fighter so I guess I’ll play it.” Instead, people are getting positively pumped over this new installment of MK. And they should. NetherRealm has been knocking it out of the park lately, and there is no reason to believe that this new game will be any different than the last.
As a Mortal Kombat fan, I can’t help but feel this swell of pride as my franchise finally begins to grow into the crown it so richly deserves. As Ralph Waldo Emerson so eloquently put it though, “In the game of fighting, you either win or you get fatality’ed”.