Mortal Kombat 30 Anniversary

Gabe Ojeda, Staff Writer

Characters who decapitate their opponents, blood splattering profusely during each hit, and photo-realistic graphics of hyper-violent fight scenes are the hallmark of the Mortal Kombat franchise, which turns 30 years old this October. 

Mortal Kombat first appeared in arcade games and it shocked the world. It showed realistic characters instead of the cartoonish graphics featured in other prominent fighting games like Street Fighter II. And the game famously included the “fatality” ending to matches in which one killer would kill another character in ultra-violent ways. Fatalities were a shocking point to many parents. It showed characters ripping heads off, pulling hearts out, and many more gruesome things.

Parents were so upset to the point the U.S. Senate began hearings to pass laws to prevent violent video games from reaching kids. This led to the creation of the ESRB rating system that is still in use today. The ESRB ratings are used to help parents know if the game is suitable for kids to play. For example, Mortal Kombat got an M rating because the game has blood, gore, and intense violence whereas most other fighting games have Teen ratings, which have minimum blood and no gore but has some strong language.

Mortal Kombat was such a hit that Midway, the game’s developer, made three more arcade machine games, including Mortal Kombat 2, 3, and Ultimate 3. Eventually, Midway decided to use a 3D arena instead of the traditional 2D side view that it started with.

Mortal Kombat has experimented with crossovers with DC Comics characters and when everyone first heard about it everyone was super excited to see Batman fighting Scorpion. When the game was announced fans were thinking maybe they can see Batman doing a fatality move. But players were disappointed because the developers designed the game to be rated T for teens.

I believe that Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe could’ve been a great game if it was graphic, but it’s understandable because seeing Batman getting his head chopped off will not sit right for the younger audiences. However, either way, the game to me is like a big what-if game.

Midway Games went bankrupt after Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, and that was the end of Midway Games until Warner Bros. Interactive bought Midway Games and changed it to NetherRealm Studios.

After three years without Mortal Kombat releases, a new trailer dropped showing a rebooted version of the Mortal Kombat series going back to its original 2D side-view fighting game. This 2011 version of the game received many awards such as “Fighting game of the year.” The game has many new features and gameplay changes, including the new x-ray move to deal more damage to the opponent. The game also added a tag team mode where you or your friends can pick two characters to fight each other and most of the characters can go directly into combos after they switch. The game had some DLC to keep the game fresh, including new characters  Rain, Kenshi and Skarlet. It also includes Freddy Krueger, one of the most iconic horror slashers to be in the Mortal Kombat game. For owners of a PlayStation 3, players could also play as Kratos from God of War. Kratos has his own moveset, including his quick time events in some of his combos.

Rebooted Mortal Kombat Timeline Story

When the story of Mortal Kombat was rebooted with the release of Mortal Kombat 9, two timelines emerged. The original timeline from Mortal Kombat I to Mortal Kombat: Armageddon. The newer versions of the game are featured in Mortal Kombat 9 through Mortal Kombat 11.

The story starts off with Shao Kahn defeating Raiden in battle. However, right before Shao Kahn attempts to kill Raiden, Raiden says “He must win” and then the scene jumps to multiple flashbacks until see Raiden is seen at the Mortal Kombat tournament where Earthrealm has to win the tournament to save its realm. 

Raiden tries to put everything together and the only thing he pieces together is that Liu Kang is supposed to win. Raiden also tries to alter the original timeline by preventing Scorpion from killing Sub-Zero and Johnny Cage from being killed by Cyrax, although Raiden succeeds in Johnny Cage’s survival he also fails to save Sub-Zero, after the death of Sub-Zero Liu Kang faces Shang Tsung eventually beating Shang Tsung and Goro, Raiden’s amulet begins to cracked again realizing the future hasn’t changed.

Shang Tsung went back to his master Shao Kahn to tell him what has transpired, so Shang Tsung tells Shao Kahn about a second tournament and Shao Kahn agrees and restores Shang Tsung’s youth back. Shang Tsung enters Earthrealm and threatens them with an invasion unless Earthrealm agrees with the second tournament, Raiden accepts it and goes to Outworld with the surviving contestants. 

Once again Raiden tries to change the future for some Earthrealmers. He prevents Smoke from becoming a cyborg from Sub-Zero’s clan which lead to Sub-Zero becoming a cyborg (the new Sub-Zero is the brother of the Sub-Zero that died). Katana discovers a cloning project which brings us to Mileena. 

Raiden switches Liu Kang with Kung Lao to fight in the final tournament and it leads him to win beating Shang Tsung and Quan Chi, moments after beating them, Kung Lao and everyone is celebrating but then Shao Kahn snaps Kung Lao’s neck killing him. This rages Liu Kang so he leaps into battle punching a hole into Shao Kahn’s chest, again Raiden’s amulet is still cracked.

This brings us to Quan Chi healing Shao Kahn’s chest and Quan Chi reviving Shao Kahn’s wife Sindel. Shao Kahn launches a full invasion on Earthrealm, and Cyborg Sub-Zero learns that Quan Chi plans to revive the souls of the dead Earthrealmers and to make them fight for Shao Kahn.

The invasion was so bad Raiden takes Liu Kang to see the Elder Gods, after they leave Sindel is granted massive power by taking Shang Tsung’s power and kills pretty much every Earthrealm. Raiden couldn’t get the Elder Gods to agree with him and they inform him that it was not against their will to invade another realm and Shao Kahn will still need to win Mortal Kombat.

Raiden realizes what was meant by he must win, Shao Kahn must win so the Elder Gods can punish Shao Kahn. Liu Kang is furious after seeing all of his dead friends and charges to fight Shao Kahn but Raiden steps in front of Liu Kang telling him he can’t face Shao Kahn, Liu Kang doesn’t care and Raiden accidentally shocks Liu Kang, killing him.

Raiden submits saying he surrenders to Shao Kahn but before Shao Kahn can kill Raiden, the Elder Gods possess Raiden granting him massive power to finish Shao Kahn. Raiden finish’s Shao Kahn and Raiden, Johnny Cage, and Sonya Blade help and rebuild Earthrealm, but they don’t know that this was part of Shinnok the fallen Elder God’s plans and now Shinnok is planning to conquer both Earthrealm and Outworld, leading us to Mortal Kombat X.

New Generation of Mortal Kombat Fighters

Mortal Kombat X has Cassie Cage, Kung Jin, Takeda, and Jacqui Briggs. Cassie is the daughter of Johnny Cage and Sonya Blade. Kung Jin is the nephew of Kung Lao. Takeda is the son of Kenshi, and Jacqui Briggs is the daughter of Jaxson Briggs. These are the main cast of the story and the focus point.

Shinnok is invading Earthrealm, he proceeds to go past the guards, Raiden, and Fujin. When Shinnok passes threw them he goes inside the Jinsei corrupting it and gaining the power to become more powerful making him a demon, Cassie and Jin go to the Jinsei temple seeing Shinnok and D’vora torturing Johnny Cage, and Cassie manifests powers similar to her fathers then proceeds to defeat Shinnok.  

A wounded Raiden gets up and then proceeds to enter the corrupted Jinsei to purify it, stripping Shinnok’s power and forcing the revenants to flee. Later Raiden has  Shinnok’s amulet and now corrupted with issues a warning to the revenants Liu Kang and Kitana now rulers of the Netherrealm, Raiden throws Shinnok’s head and tells them “There are fates worse than death” if they threaten Earthrealm.

Mortal Kombat 11 

Mortal Kombat 11 has Kronika a so-called titan in the story that wants to erase Raiden from existence. She erases the corrupted Raiden but brings the younger versions of Kano, Erron Black, Jade, Raiden, Kitana, Liu Kang, Johnny Cage, Sonya Blade, Jax, Scorpion, Kabal, Kung Lao, and Shao Kahn. With the younger versions of those characters, there’s a bad side to them if the younger version of the alive characters died the older version and their children will not exist. However, they know a way to stop Kronika and that is to get a crown to control the hourglass. So they send Jacqui Briggs and the younger Jax to Shang Tsung Island to obtain the crown but they’re stopped by Cetrion.

Sometime later Scorpion comes back to the Fire Garden his home but Raiden attacks Scorpion with Shinnok’s amulet, then Liu Kang interferes with Raiden telling him to hear what Scorpion is trying to say. However, Raiden doesn’t care as he is corrupted by holding Shinnok’s amulet then proceeds to fight Liu Kang. When he fights Liu Kang, Raiden begins to see multiple timelines of him fighting Liu Kang. Kronika orchestrated all of them because all their combined strength would be the only thing that can stop her. 

Kornika kidnaps Liu Kang and delivers Liu Kang to the revenant Liu Kang to absorb his soul to be stronger. Raiden and the others are on their way to stop Kornika, the revenant Liu Kang drops in and tries to kill Raiden but Raiden stops him then Raiden merges with the revenant Liu Kang to become Fire God Liu Kang; acquiring the memories of Kornika’s plans from revenant Liu Kang. The heroes breach Kronika’s Keep, only for Kornika to reverse time but this doesn’t affect Fire God Liu Kang proving his god-like status. Fire God Liu Kang defeats Cetrion, revenants Kung Lao, Kitana, and Jade before battling Kornika.

At the end of the battle, there are three different endings when you beat Kornika

  • If Kornika wins she kills Liu Kang and begins the new era 
  • If Liu Kang defeats Kronika without losing a round, he meets mortal Raiden who offers to become Liu Kang’s advisor for as long as his lifespan. ( this ending is canon for the AfterMath story of Mortal Kombat 11)

If Liu Kang defeats two rounds straight, Liu Kang will meet mortal Raiden and ask him who would accompany him in the hourglass. Liu Kang chooses Kitana, and both vow to create a new better timeline but Kitana worries that mortals will make evil choices, then Liu Kang assures Kitana that the two will face whatever happens together.

Mortal Kombat 11 AfterMath 

Mortal Kombat 11 AfterMath starts right after Fire God Liu Kang and Raiden is trying to fix time in the hourglass, but he is interrupted by Shang Tsung Fujin, and Nightwolf, all of whom were imprisoned in the Void by Kronika for refusing to join her. 

Shang Tsung tells Liu Kang he can’t change time because he destroys the crown therefore they have to go back in time to get the crown, so Liu Kang sends Fujin, Shang Tsung, and Nightwolf back in time to get the crown. Shang Tsung, Fujin, and Night Wolf arrived just before Kitana was about to be the Kahn of OutWorld they attempt to leave without being detected, but news spreads so Kornika tries to delay their plans. Shang Tsung determines to resurrect Sindel to face Cetrion, so they go to Netherrealm to get the revenant Sindel. 

Returning to OutWorld Shang Tsung uses the Soul Chamber and restores Sindel, Sindel joins Shang Tsung and the others to Shang Tsung Island, and Fujin defeats Kronika’s forces and convinces Jax to change sides after that Sindel defeats Cetrion and gets the crown.

The crown possesses Fujin and Shang Tsung. They travel to the Fire Garden to convince Raiden to side with the Shang Tsung alliance. Kronika tries to intervene but Raiden, Fujin, and Shang Tsung fend her off and she tells them who made the crown and the crown maker was Shang Tsung.

When everyone is about to go to Kronika’s Keep Shang Tsung orders Sindel to betray and join Shao Kahn and they defeat the Cage family, defeat Liu Kang and Kitana, and they throw Kung Lao in the Sea of Blood.

When Shang Tsung arrives he gets the crown and reveals his true plans, then proceeds to defeat Fujin, Raiden, and NightWolf. When he defeats them he steals their souls, Shang Tsung arrives at the Keep, finds Kronika and he defeats her then absorbs her.

When he absorbs Kronika he goes to the Hourglass but before he is about to rewrite history FireGod Liu Kang shows up and tells him that he knew what his plans were.

There are two different sides the player can choose one is Shang Tsung and the other is 

FireGod Liu Kang:

  • If Shang Tsung wins, he will absorb Liu Kang’s soul and he rewrites history making Fujin and Raiden his lackeys, and his campaign is to conquer all the realms.
  • If FireGod Liu Kang wins he erases Shang Tsung from existence and he makes a New Era. Liu Kang visits the Shaolin temple and meets Kung Lao’s ancestor, the Great Kung Lao. Liu Kang wants to make the Great Kung Lao a champion in Mortal Kombat.