|home | alphabetical index|
Mortal KombatMortal Kombat, released in 1992 by Midway Games, was renowned as the first fighting game to use digitized characters and blood (as opposed to the hand-animated, more cartoon-like graphics of competing games). Originally an arcade game, it was ported by Acclaim to the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, the Sega Genesis, the Nintendo Game Boy, Sega Master System (Europe only), and the Sega Game Gear. Because Nintendo had a problem with the realistic use of blood, it is replaced with sweat in the SNES version of the game; the Genesis version leaves the blood intact. Mortal Kombat was developed as a reaction to the popular Capcom game Street Fighter II, with simpler controls and digitized graphics. Some say the game's graphic violence was gratuitous, and was only included in order to generate a public outcry and controversy that would increase publicity for the game.
Although highly controversial, the mix of realism and violence propelled Mortal Kombat to the height of popularity. An example of the game's innovations was the Fatality, a special finishing move executed against a dying opponent to create an even more gruesome death. For example, one character would grasp a defeated, wobbling opponent by the head, then rip the head and spine out of the opponent's body, which then crumpled to the ground in a pool of blood. Another aspect of gameplay that became a recurring element in games that followed was the so-called "juggle", where a series of moves could be executed against an opponent who was kept in mid-air by the force of the attacks, and who hence had no defense against further attacks as long as the "juggle" could be maintained. Mortal Kombat was also the first popular fighting game to feature fully digitized characters.
Mortal Kombat was also among the first titles in the beat 'em up genre to include "Secret Characters" and "Secret Games". Mortal Kombat 3, for example, including a hidden game of Galaxian. In the 1992 original, by executing the special "Pit Fatality" when fighting on the bridge, the player could fight "Reptile", a version of the "Sub Zero" character. In Mortal Kombat II, "Reptile" would be developed into a full character with his own special moves and would be available from the outset. Carrying on in this tradition, if the player won 250 consecutive fights he/she would come face to face with the black ninja, "Noob Saibot". It was pioneering ideas like these that has made Mortal Kombat one of the most memorable of the beat 'em up genre.
However, one of the most fascinating elements of Mortal Kombat was completely unplanned and out of the programmers hands. Following the release of Mortal Kombat II, a myth culture was created around the game. The most famous one is the "Goro" myth. In the first game, "Goro" was a four armed monster that acted as a second boss to the games main boss, Shang Tsung. Many fans were convinced that "Goro" was hidden somewhere in Mortal Kombat II and many were obsessed with finding him. The UK's Game Master magazine (also a popular TV Show on Channel 4) received numerous letters asking about where to find "Goro". Much searching was done, both by fans and the computer game press, untill in [[1995 Games Master concluded "We are positive Goro is'nt to be found in Mortal Kombat II, we are positive he would have been found by now."
Midway created four sequels for the arcade and home systems, each one bloodier, more brutal, and stranger than the last. Mortal Kombat 4 brought the series into 3D, replacing the digitized fighters of the previous games with polygon models, while Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance was the first in the series to skip arcades altogether and go directly to consoles, a symptom of U.S. arcade market's dramatic decline. Finishing moves in later games included Animality (turning into animal to violently finish off opponent), the Brutality (decimating an opponent into pieces), and even Friendship (offering one's opponent a token of friendship), yet the most intruiging was the Babality. By performing a Babality on a defeated opponent, that opponent was forcefully morphed by a bright explosion from a proud, full-grown warrior into a little baby. One's enemy is stripped of dignity, age and even clothing - the now infant opponent is usually naked except for a diaper and possibly a degrading form of their previous attire, showing what they once were and how the mighty have fallen. The stunned opponet reacts naturally for a infant by bawling pitifully in protest. The Babality was famed for being the ultimate humiliation. Throughout the series, the game was noted for its simplicity of controls and the exotic special moves it featured.
From a marketing perspective, the 1993 launch of Mortal Kombat for video game consoles by Acclaim was probably the largest launch of a video game up until that time. A "Mortal Monday" television campaign featured a flood of television advertisements, which were unusual for video games at that time, and all four home versions of the game were made available for sale on the same date.
The franchise also sparked two television series, the animated Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm and the live-action Mortal Kombat: Conquest.
|copyright © 2004 FactsAbout.com|