Where would the video game industry be without Mortal Kombat and its blood-soaked, intestine-wrapped Fatalities? The controversy over the 1992 arcade game was a major factor in the establishment of the ESRB after all. It’s good to see NetherRealm keeping the tradition alive all these years later with some of the series’ most realistic-looking finishing moves yet. Here are 10 of Mortal Kombat 1’s most gruesome Fatalities that we just can’t look away from.
10. Reiko – The Impaler
Reiko holds no prisoners with his Fatality, “The Impaler” begins with him cleanly cutting off his opponent’s limbs before impaling them with his spear. The most gruesome part comes next and it makes me squirm when I see it. Reiko reaches up and pulls his enemy’s rib cage out from the bottom of their chest but it gets stuck and drags their whole torso down with it, keeping the head skewered to the tip of the spear. Reiko’s other Fatality called “For the General” is almost as bad, breaking his opponent’s forearms and impaling them into their head, he then folds them like a deckchair and pulls out their spine.
9. General Shao – Spin Cycle
In Mortal Kombat 1 Liu Kang has created a new timeline. In doing so he changed the origins and powers of many familiar characters. One such character was the mighty Shao Khan who, despite losing his God-like strength, is still as fearsome as ever. The Outworld general’s Fatality “Spin Cycle” sees the warrior launch his opponent into the air with his battle axe and jump to meet them. He spins them ferociously by the arm, getting faster and faster as his foe’s skin peels from their body. He slams the remaining skeleton to the ground where it shatters under a shower of blood. It’s a simple, yet effectively gruesome Fatality. The close-up of the Fatality’s victim as their lips, nose, and mouth are ripped off is especially horrible.
8. Scorpion – Killer Klones from Netherrealm
You can’t have a list of Mortal Kombat Fatalities without Scorpion now, can you? In his Fatality “Killer Klones from Netherrealm”, the ninja summons three clones of himself to help finish off his opponent. The first clone stabs his opponent with a flaming sword, the second lodges a large axe in their skull, and the third sets them on fire. Scorpion pulls his foe toward him with his kunai rope dart, finishing them off with a kick to the chest that separates their skeleton from their body. In a game that loves separating skin from bone and giving players a good look at characters’ skeletons, this Scorpion Fatality is equally abusive to both flesh and bone; leaving half of it still in the adversary’s body, propped upright by the giant axe.
7. Smoke – Hazed and Confused
Smoke was raised alongside Sub-Zero and Scorpion after his parents were killed by the Lin Kuei clan, however, he does not have supernatural powers. When he’s not throwing an old lady over a balcony in the campaign, Smoke is defending Earthrealm. In the case of his “Hazed and Confused” Fatality, Smoke makes use of smoke bombs to seemingly teleport behind his enemy. He slices off their arms with his karambats and forces them to their knees, then he stuffs a smoke grenade into their mouth. It explodes in a cloud of smoke blood and bones. While it is not the most gruesome Fatality in Mortal Kombat 1, there is something about the way the victim’s jawless face looks, with vacant eyes and blood spurting from the remains of their mouth. I just can’t look away.
6. Rain – The Red Sea
While Liu Kang removed Rain’s divine lineage while building his new timeline, the sorcerer still found himself becoming a powerful hydromancer. Turning water into a weapon, “The Red Sea” is a brutally biblical Fatality. First, he traps his foe in a vortex of water, the speed of the current ripping off one of their arms, then a hand, and then their skin. Like Moses, Rain then parts this red sea, ripping his foe in half. The cinematography of this Fatality is top-notch as we get multiple angles of the kill. Rain’s perspective from the front of the body as it rips in two, and a reverse shot of Rain, arms outstretched, bordered by two pillars of skeletal water.
5. Mileena – Appetizer
Mileena may be the heir to Outworld’s throne, but there is nothing regal about this princess’s Fatality. “Appetizer”, as the name might suggest, sees Mileena grabbing a spot of lunch at the end of the fight. More specifically her opponent’s brain. She starts by stabbing their ear with her sai and breaking their neck, then stretches her Predator-like mandibles and plants her teeth into their skull. She sucks up the brain and swallows it whole before diving back in for seconds.
While not as gruesome as her first Fatality, I also want to shout out her second Fatality. Called “A Little to the Left” it sees Mileena stab a sai into either side of her enemy’s temple, rotate the head 180 degrees, and rip it off. There’s something about the way that Mileena makes her victim’s neck crack as the bones break that makes my skin crawl.
4. Liu Kang – Spaghettification
In Mortal Kombat 1, Liu Kang is the God of Fire and the creator of the franchise’s new timeline. It is no surprise then that the Protector of Earthrealm is capable of out-of-this-world Fatalities. “Spaghettification” sees the demi-god open a portal to the vastness of space and summon a black hole with the click of his fingers. The sound design is fantastic in this Fatality and it’s possibly the most unique on the roster. A show of real power, it’s impossible to look away as Liu Kang floats emotionless while his enemy deforms in his hand, turning into bloody spaghetti as they get sucked into the black hole.
3. Havik – RAD-ius Incision
Havik’s “RAD-ius Incision” arguably does as much damage to Havik as it does to his foe (excluding Kameo fighter Cyrax’s Fatality “Annihilation” which explodes the entire Earth). The undead terrorist begins by kicking his opponent so hard that he breaks his leg. Havik then stabs his foe in the chin with his shattered kneebone. Next, he punches his opponent in the throat, breaking his arm and impaling the foe with his splintered ulna and radius. He then uses the remains of his forearm to jaggedly saw through his foe from chin to waist. Just as gruesome is the way Havik flings his limp arm back together as he stutters into his victory pose.
2. Shang Tsung – Side Effects
Shang Tsung may have been introduced to players of Mortal Kombat 1 as a con artist and snake oil salesman but it isn’t long until the sorcerer is up to his old tricks. Experimenting on Outworlders and plotting for control of the realm, Shang Tsung’s Fatality “Side Effects” gives his foes an especially gruesome case of acid reflux. The sorcerer forces his opponent to consume a glowing lava-like potion that burns them from the inside out. As they cough up the potion it burns their skin and a hole through their throat. To make things worse, Shang Tsung tears their abdomen open. A mix of potion and entrails spills out, forming a burning puddle at the victim’s feet which they slowly sink into.
1. Sub-Zero – Brain Freeze
As one of the most iconic figures in the Mortal Kombat franchise, you kind of expect Sub-Zero to feature on a list like this, and the Lin Kuei Grandmaster does not disappoint. His move “Brain Freeze” begins with Sub-Zero conjuring an ice wall behind his opponent and, as they turn to look at it, he smashes their head against the cold surface. He smashes his foe’s face against the wall again and we see in gruesome detail that their nose and face is stuck to the cold surface. Sub-Zero pulls what’s left of his opponent from the ice with blood and flesh hanging on for dear life. One last smash cements the enemy’s face into the wall and when Sub-Zero pulls the corpse back neither its face nor its brain comes with it. To rub salt in the wounds Sub-Zero then freezes what remains of his foe’s head and smashes it into the ice wall, shattering both.
Mortal Kombat 1‘s Fatalities are as brutal as ever. As more characters get added to the deadly roster you can be sure we’ll be adding to this list of Mortal Kombat 1’s most gruesome Fatalities that we can’t look away from. In the meantime check out our review of NetherRealm’s latest title and information on the latest AAA games.