10 Best Mortal Kombat Games Of All Time
Mortal Kombat is a popular fighting game franchise. It may have changed hands, but many of its entries still hit a core with its audience. Whether it’s one of the entries from the past or present, each game delivers the mind-numbing mayhem fans grew to appreciate from this brutal franchise.
From its trademark Fatalities to its iconic cast, Mortal Kombat is here to stay for a long time. As such, it’d be intriguing to look over all the titles and nail down 10 of the best entries to come from the franchise. Whether it’s the mainstream Mortal Kombat 11 to the dormant Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks, Mortal Kombat’s delivered many memorable experiences over the years.
Therefore, here are the 10 best entries from the Mortal Kombat franchise that are worth your time. Of course, feel free to comment on your favorite Mortal Kombat games down below.
Mortal Kombat 11
Mortal Kombat 11 is one of the later entries in the Mortal Kombat franchise. It features classic characters like Scorpion, Liu Kang, and Sub-Zero alongside some bizarre choices like the Terminator and Robo-Cop. The game’s mechanics are delightful and the brutality is at an all-time high in this installment. The game received much praise for its realistic visuals and character models.
Mortal Kombat 11’s attacks feel like they carry weight, too. The stages are as gorgeous as the game’s character designs. Mortal Kombat 11’s story mode receives a massive overhaul with its storytelling. It tackles fun sub-plots and themes. It contains several emotional bits that will make you teary-eyed. The game’s online ecosystem is healthy, too. If you haven’t played a Mortal Kombat game in a long time, I recommend giving its eleventh entry a shot.
Mortal Kombat: Armageddon
Mortal Kombat: Armageddon was released in 2006 and served to cap off the original Mortal Kombat storyline. It contains every character from the previous games and a new take on the game’s classic Fatality finishers. Instead of having pre-scripted Fatalities, Armageddon allowed players to whip up their own Fatalities from a series of brutal attacks.
This game also has a neat “character creator” mode which ties into its story-based Konquest mode. Armageddon also features a quirky kart-racing minigame called “Motor Kombat” for those who enjoyed the wackiness of “Puzzle Kombat”. The Konquest mode and enormous playable roster won many critics and fans over.
Unlike previous entries, Armageddon gave each character two fighting styles to utilize in battle. One focused on classic hand-to-hand combat while the other lets players use weapons. However, there were some bosses and specific characters who only utilized one fighting style. With a refined Konquest mode, fun fighting styles, and a decent minigame, Mortal Kombat: Armageddon is one entry in the franchise you don’t want to overlook.
Mortal Kombat (1992)
If it wasn’t for the first Mortal Kombat game, the franchise wouldn’t have existed. The premise is straightforward and focuses on several martial artists competing in a tournament with global consequences. It introduced the franchise’s five-button control layout and fatalities, gory finishing moves that left many parents baffled and hardcore gamers enthused.
Like other extremely violent titles, Mortal Kombat sparked controversy for its depictions of gore and realistic violence. The graphics may not hold up to some, but for their time, they were revolutionary. While everyone fought the same, they all had different abilities and one-liners that helped fans tell them apart.
From Liu Kang’s bicycle kicks to Scorpion’s kunai spear, there were many memorable attacks to take away from the first game. The first game had well-designed stages that reflect the series’s horrific roots. If you’re looking for a fabulous fighting game with gruesome elements and great characters, consider checking out the first Mortal Kombat title.
Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance
Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance was one of the first Mortal Kombat entries to skimp out on arcades. The story follows the events that take place after Mortal Kombat 4 and hones on the alliance between Quan Chi and Shang Tsung. The two sorcerers plan to revive an ancient army to conquer Outworld and Earthrealm.
Unlike Armageddon, Deadly Alliance gives characters three different fighting styles. Two distinct forms of hand-to-hand combat and one weapon style. Some characters like Blaze and Mokap receive three hand-to-hand fighting styles to fit with their characters’ themes, though. Characters can move within the third dimension. This allows each map to feel less repetitive and more intense and refreshing.
The game’s locales look stunning and character models appear more realistic and have jiggle physics. Characters cannot perform multiple fatalities in this entry, though. However, this game introduces players to the Konquest mode, a story-driven experience with several missions for players to contend with. Give this a shot if you’re looking for a game-changing Mortal Kombat entry.
Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks
Interestingly enough, Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks is a spin-off title that takes the Mortal Kombat franchise in a different direction. Where previous games followed the traditional fighting game formula, this one opted for an action-adventure beat-em-up experience. Nonetheless, this game incorporates fatalities, combos, and a versus mode to appeal to its core audience.
The game tells the events that transpired in Mortal Kombat II. It follows Liu Kang and Kung Lao on an adventure to protect Earthrealm from the Outworld’s forces. Players can attack the game’s enemies in multiple directions and perform staple attacks from Liu Kang and Kung Lao’s arsenal. The game includes a Fatality meter that players can build up after defeating a swarm of enemies. With its assortment of combos, hazardous environments, and a new spin on the franchise, Shaolin Monks is worth playing.
Mortal Kombat: Deception
Mortal Kombat Deception is a sequel to 2002’s Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance. It centers around the revival of Onaga, the Dragon King. He attempts to conquer the realms after defeating Quen Chi, Shang Tsung, and Raiden. Therefore, it’s up to the warriors from the previous game to fight together to thwart Onaga’s heinous plans.
This game features 26 playable characters and several quirky features. These include a puzzle and chess mode, but there was online functionality to entice players to replay the title. The Konquest Mode returns with a new plotline and more open-world exploration features in between the game’s storyline, unlike Deadly Alliance.
The game’s combo system felt more realistic as Ed Boon wanted Deception to feel like an unpredictable fighting game. Furthermore, the game had branching arenas. For example, if you knocked an opponent off the stage you’d continue the same fight in another location. This made battles feel more dynamic and appealing to players. With a decent storyline and slight gameplay improvements, Mortal Kombat: Deception is a fun entry in the franchise.
Mortal Kombat 3
Mortal Kombat 3 (MK3) was an oddball entry in the franchise. It’s the only main installment to exclude the series’s trademark ninja, Scorpion from its roster. Nevertheless, MK3 has some compelling characters like Nightwolf, Sonya, Liu Kang, and others for you to play as. Furthermore, the game drops the tournament storyline in favor of having you run through a gauntlet that leads up to Shao Kahn.
He’s resurrected his bride Sindel and started an invasion in Earthrealm. Therefore, you must defeat the dynamic duo to save the realm from turmoil. MK3 is as brutal as previous entries but introduces new Fatality types, combos, buttons, and a code system called Kombat Kodes. By entering the right symbols, you could unlock additional content.
The game’s graphics were great for its time. The combo system allowed for more energetic play and led to some delightful turnouts. Including new Fatality types like Animalities made the game’s death animations more appealing to audiences, too. If you’re okay with the game omitting certain characters, Mortal Kombat 3 is worth playing.
Mortal Kombat X
Mortal Kombat X is the sequel to 2011’s Mortal Kombat. It has great graphics, a nice playable roster size, and brutal combat. Like other titles, it consists of players fighting others in one vs one matchup. It has a variety of modes and challenges. The Krypt mode was one of the more unique ones as it allowed players to traverse an area in first-person to collect rare items.
Mortal Kombat X includes the X-ray techniques from 2011’s Mortal Kombat. This allowed you to see your enemy’s bones snap and break. This made fights feel more gruesome and pulled people in with its uniqueness. You can interact with your arena during the fight by grabbing a hold of various artifacts to injure your opponents with.
Mortal Kombat X introduces two new Fatality types called Quitality and Faction Kills. If your adversary quits during a multiplayer match, they’d die instantly, causing the former. For the latter, you’ll perform a set of finishing moves based on the game’s five factions like Brotherhood of Shadow and White Lotus. If you’re looking for a compelling modern Mortal Kombat game to play, Mortal Kombat X should satisfy you.
Mortal Kombat II
Mortal Kombat II is a phenomenal entry and follow-up to the first-ever Mortal Kombat game. This one expands upon the lore and introduces more varied finishing moves and introduces characters like Mileena, Kung Lao, Noob Saibot, and more. The story follows the same foray as the first but has players battling representatives of Outworld and Earthrealm.
They’ll collide until meeting the game’s final boss, Shao Kahn. The game received much praise and many awards for its achievements. However, the game received some controversy with its violent depictions. Mortal Kombat II introduced the crouching punch and made better enhancements to low, high, and roundhouse kicks. Returning characters received new special moves, too.
Mortal Kombat II feels faster than the original game. The multiple Fatality types like Friendships and Babalities made the game feel more expansive and matchup conclusions feel unpredictable. With its incredible improvements and content variety, Mortal Kombat II is one of the best entries of all time.
Mortal Kombat 2011
Mortal Kombat 2011 (MK9) served as a reboot for the franchise. Despite picking up where Mortal Kombat: Armageddon left off, MK9 retcons the plot to the events of the first three games. It involves Raiden attempting to change the aftermath of the events of Armageddon by communicating with his past self.
Although MK9 has better 3D graphics, its gameplay feels more in line with its 2D counterparts. Therefore, it follows the 2.5D structure. The game received many Fighting Game of the Year awards. However, it got banned in several parts of the world due to its violent nature. The gameplay still remained the same with its trademark one vs one match, though.
MK9 introduced the super meter to the franchise, though. It had three levels that enabled different actions. The first level gave you an enhanced special attack, the second allowed players to interrupt combos, and the third let you pull off an X-ray move. This lets players see one of their opponent’s bones or organs break. In addition to having many different and enjoyable modes, Mortal Kombat 9 was the reboot the franchise needed to win fans over again.
So, there we have it, our pick for the 10 best Mortal Kombat video games through the years!
What do you think of our picks? Do you agree? Are there any notable omissions? Let us know in the comments below!