The 15 Most Memorable Fatalities in Mortal Kombat

Games Lists Mortal Kombat
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A good fatality is hard to find. That isn’t to say that most of the finishing moves in Mortal Kombat are bad. It’s just that majority of them, even in the latest game, are simple, dull acts of brutality that you can see in any horror movie or other violent videogame. And so few of these animations age well. Beating a man to death with his own leg? Seen it a thousand times before. Zapping someone with electric powers to make them explode? Yawn.

However, over the years there have been a few truly great, memorable finishing moves powered by a devious creativity that manage to toe the line between absurd humor and sickening sadism, scenes that make us look away from the television in disgust while also chuckling.

These 15 fatalities, presented chronologically, are a celebration of Mortal Kombat’s most grotesque and hilarious offerings.

Obviously, discussion (and video clips) of violent content ahead.

1. Spine Rip
  Mortal Kombat

An oldie, and relatively tame in comparison to recent entries, this animation was shocking at the time of the game’s release to the point that many critics consider it to have played an instrumental role in the formation of the ESRB.

The move is pretty blunt. Sub-Zero rips his opponents head from his neck and presents it, spine trailing, to the screen as a trophy (a clear homage to Predator). Brutal. Efficient. Still amusing.

2. It’s Suppertime
  Mortal Kombat II/Mortal Kombat IX

Mortal Kombat II was when the fatalities in the series started to tilt away from straightforward brutality and more in the direction of blood-soaked kookiness. One of the best examples: Liu Kang transforming into a dragon to snack on his opponent. Yum. This fatality also made it into Mortal Kombat IX.

3. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
  Mortal Kombat II

It’s of little surprise that Princess Kitana is a long-time Mortal Kombat fan favorite. She’s swift, equipped with razor sharp steel fans that’ll take someone’s head off, and her fatalities are consistently fantastic (this won’t be the first time she shows up on this list). One of her best involves her kissing an opponent on the cheek, popping her leg up while she does so, and then watching as they expand into a giant fleshy balloon and…well, you know what happens next.

4. Slurp.
  Mortal Kombat II

Mileena, in sharp contrast to the tragic quality of her backstory as a clone created to replace a man’s daughter, has some of the most amusing finishing movies in all of Mortal Kombat, most of which involve eating her opponent. In Mortal Kombat II, she literally sucks their entire body into her mouth and then, after a brief pause, spits out the bones in cartoonish fashion.

5. Speak Up
  Mortal Kombat III

Sindel’s moveset and fatalities revolve around her hair, which seems to have a life of its own, and her supersonic voice. Her second fatality is one of the few ones from the older games that still makes me cringe. She screams in her opponent’s face until their skin flies offscreen, leaving only a bloody skeleton. Ick.

6. Ant…Boot
  Mortal Kombat III

Ed Boon and company have always had a fondness for dropping pop culture references into the series and, later on, even making room in the series’ lore to insert characters from outside of that universe, like Freddy Krueger and God of War’s Kratos. However, one of the most amusing references in the Kombat games is the homage to Bambi Meets Godzilla in Jax’s fatality where he transforms into a giant and steps on his opponent. How does he do it? And why didn’t he just stomp on his opponent at the beginning of the match? Who cares? It’s a giant man using his boot to ground somebody into paste!

7. Didn’t See That Coming
  Mortal Kombat III

Mortal Kombat III, which is probably still the most absurd game in the whole series thanks to its full-tilt “why the hell not?” approach to character design and fatalities, reaches its creative summit with Smoke. Smoke, a ninja turned cyborg, has a fatality that not only obliterates his opponent but also destroys the entire planet. Someone’s an overachiever.

8. Animorph
  Mortal Kombat IV

Mortal Kombat IV, a solid enough game, is easily the worst entry in the series. It has a bunch of dull new characters that are best forgotten and a lot of the fatalities are just rehashes of old ones with nothing new to them except the novelty of Mortal Kombat finally being in 3D. It does have that one rad fatality where Scorpion transforms into an actual scorpion and mangles his opponent into a bloody showerhead though.

9. Goal!
Mortal Kombat: Deception

Li Mei, a nonplayable character in the last two Mortal Kombat games, was actually in the roster in a few of the earlier 3D entries. She also has the most chuckle worthy fatality from Deception: she uppercuts her opponent’s head off their neck and then, when it comes back down, kicks the head into the decapitated body, causing everything to explode into gory chunks.

10. Let Off Some Steam
  Mortal Kombat IX

This is where things get truly nasty (though still funny) thanks to the powers of more current generation hardware.

In Mortal Kombat IX, Smoke, now human and sporting silver hair, has a move where he fills his opponent’s body with steam, causing the unfortunate victim’s skin to fall away as they’re burned from the inside out. Woof.

11. Saw Mill
  Mortal Kombat IX

Without a doubt, one of the most cringeworthy finishing moves in the entire series. Kung Lao throws his spinning, bladed hat to the ground and then slowly drags his opponent groin first through the saw, splitting them in half, before holding up the halves of the body, allowing the player to see the victim’s insides.

Disgusting? Sure. Crossing the boundary from amusing and grotesque into gleefully sadistic and slightly monstrous? Oh, absolutely, and yet, subjecting roommates to this particular fatality in college on the weekends (and my being subjected to that fatality by them) resulted in the dorm filling with a mixture of groans and boisterous laughter. It’s a fatality that manages to capture everything delightful and horrifying about Mortal Kombat in one fell swoop.

12. Meat Tornado
  Mortal Kombat X

I told you Kitana would be back. In Mortal Kombat X her first fatality is one of the more gruesome and dazzling ones in the game. She throws her two daggers into her opponent’s chest and face. The opponent, crying in pain, grabs both blades. Bad move. The daggers transform into the princess’ signature steel fans, shaving off the top of the victim’s head and cutting their torso in half.

That’s not all, though. Kitana THEN summons a small tornado that flings the various pieces of her foe’s body off screen except for the top of the head and their hands, which flop to the ground with a sickening smack.

13. Have A Cigar
  Mortal Kombat X

Jax has always been a figure of pure, monstrous strength. There’s no better demonstration of this than his first fatality in Mortal Kombat X, where, after lighting up a cigar, he crushes his foe’s arms into their body (turning them into a sort of weird looking puppet) and then snaps open their head using only his arms before putting out his cigar on their tongue. The most offensive thing here? He only takes a single puff from the cigar before he extinguishes it. What a waste.

14. Blender
  Mortal Kombat X

Kenshi, essentially Mortal Kombat’s version of Daredevil, is a blind, telepathic fighter who’s handy with a blade. In Mortal Kombat X he can even turn his sword into a whirling blender that not only slices off the unlucky victim’s face, but also reduces the rest of their body to red squirts and bone chips.

15. Smile
  Mortal Kombat X

Cassie Cage, one of the new additions to the MK Krew, while serious enough that she approaches most situations tactfully, is also just as cocky and vain as her father Johnny when it comes time to throw down. Cassie’s fatality, reminiscent of Mortal Kombat III’s endearing wackiness, begins when she severs her opponent’s jaw with a baton, leaving it swinging beneath the remains of their mouth, and ends when she takes a selfie with the bloodied loser and uploads it to a goofy Mortal Kombat version of Facebook where the likes of Goro and Quan Chi praise her technique through public messages.

Javy Gwaltney devotes his time to writing about these videogame things when he isn’t teaching or cobbling together a novel. You can follow the trail of pizza crumbs to his Twitter or his website.

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