CultureHead Magazine

Courtesy of Netherrealm Studios
Courtesy of Netherrealm Studios

With the Mortal Kombat reboot coming out later this week, (check out my trailer breakdown here.) I decided to rank all the main games in the franchise. That’s the 11 main games ranked from worst to best, skipping the spin-offs no matter how good—or bad—they are. 

11. Mortal Kombat Vs. DC Universe (2008)

The MK franchise is known for its brutal and gory death matches. So imagine fans’ surprise when it’s all gone to make room for one of the most bizarre crossovers ever. Using the DC license led to the game removing some of it’s more brutal fatalities, and giving the heroes ”brutalities,” because you know. Heroes don’t kill. You couldn’t have Wonder Woman snapping necks. This game was meant as the eighth installment of the franchise, and I’m glad they decided to create Injustice instead of bringing this back.

10. Mortal Kombat 4 (1997)

The first 3D Mortal Kombat deserves some love, it gave us weapons, and was the first game to have voice acting. However, the voice acting was pretty awful, and the new characters introduced were rather forgettable. Since it was the first 3D game of the franchise, it had some block looking models, and clunky movements. 

9. Mortal Kombat 3 (1995)

So the original MK3 thought it would be a swell idea to not include Scorpion. Yup, you read that right. It also didn’t have fan favorites like Raiden, Baraka, or Johnny Cage. New inclusions like Kabal were broken, and this game would be lower on the list if the later released Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 didn’t fix the big issues and added everyone who was missing. 

8. Mortal Kombat: Armageddon (2006)

This game boasts the largest roster in MK history with 62 playable characters, and literally all the characters in the games thus far. However, a lot of them were clones, and fought the same. Being the conclusion of the Deadly Alliance, Deception saga, the game boasted it’s massive roster as a plus but the inclusion of so many characters meant less fatalities, and no cinematic endings. Less is more. 

7. Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance (2002)

This is the game that introduces a lot of concepts we still see in future titles. Fighting styles, weaponry, and lots of innovation to the combo system. New characters that were well-received and the krypt system that allowed you to kollect koins for kool kollectables unlocks. Deadly Alliance was still a 3D fighting game but was a lot more improved from previous attempts. 

6. Mortal Kombat: Deception (2004)

Interactive stages are awesome. Combo breakers are awesome. Lots of innovation came with Deception, and it improves on Deadly Alliance. But the new characters introduced were bland. The Konquest mode was an action/adventure story mode that allowed you to explore a lot of the other realms and fleshed out the worlds a lot more.

5. Mortal Kombat (1992)

This is the game that started it all, it’s a classic. It’s the reason why I’m making this list, and it deserves its spot. It’s gory and introduced fighting games to a whole new level of violence that we never saw before. It might be hard to go back and play it now after 10 games that expanded upon its fighting system but you gotta respect your elders. 

4. Mortal Kombat 2 (1993)

It took everything from the first game and improved it. It’s one of the best arcade fighting games of all time. It improved on the mechanics, the gore, and added better graphics. It’s a classic that deserves to be remembered as a sequel that just got it all right and then some. 

3. Mortal Kombat 11 (2019)

Great online play, a great and diverse roster. This game is solid. Although it did have a very glitchy beginning. Mortal Kombat 11 is the latest game in the franchise and it does its best to improve on its predecessor. There’s so much to do, and so many ways to play this game from different game modes, like exploring the Krypt for collectibles to time sensitive towers that allow for special unlocks. The story mode is great but Kronika isn’t as cool as Shao Khan for a final boss. 

2. Mortal Kombat X (2015)

The 10th game in the franchise is one of it’s best. It’s as gorgeous as it is gory. It’s one of the most interesting storylines in the series with the inclusion of a new cast of characters like Cassie Cage, Kotal Kahn and Jacqui Briggs. The game is one of the best selling games in the franchise for a reason. A wonderful and compelling story mode, so many character options and some of the most brutal fatalities ever seen. The XL edition simply improves on an already great game by including all the DLC characters for free. 

1. Mortal Kombat (2011)

After Armageddon, the plot of the Mortal Kombat franchise was messy to say the least. Mortal Kombat did something risky, and it paid off. It rebooted the entire series, combining the events of MK 1 through 3 into one game, and setting up for a whole new story to tell. This is the game that reverted things back to its original 2D fighting system. It also included one of the goriest mechanics in the game with new x-ray moves. It was a way of showing off the goriest of the game in a whole new perspective, being able to see bones break in a spectacular and brutal fashion. This earns it’s spot on the top for being the game that appealed to both new and old fans of the series, and provided the foundation for Mortal Kombat to regain its glory as one of the best fighting game franchises of all time. 

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