Glitches in gaming can be a beautiful thing, from accessing cheat menus, developer rooms, unlimited items or money to even helping speed runners. Glitches can both infuriate and make gamers laugh, as they have been in games since their first release. As the years went on, and with the internet having a bigger presence, glitches are documented wildly. Today I will take you through a list of glitches in the Mortal Kombat series of games.
Mortal Kombat has been around since 1992 with games on every generation of console, along with a few movies here and there. Even from its first game, there have been a plethora of glitches on hand, from small changes like colours to game freezing bugs. MK was also a first in the industry to create a character out of a glitch and fan speculation, listening to their fan base and delivering to their demands.
Whether you’re a fan of the series or just a fan of glitches in general, you should love this list. In the aspect of being fair, I tried to include one glitch from every main title of games in chronological order. I also kept the list to glitches that I could show image or video evidence of, as with such an old franchise, there were plenty of playground rumours that turned out to be fake. But enough of the introduction, it’s time to break the legs of Mortal Kombat!
15 Ermac – Mortal Kombat
Back in the SNES days, glitches were the rumours of the playground, from Mew hiding under a van to unlockable characters in fighting games. Ermac stood tall amongst them all, as both a glitch and a lie from gamers. Unofficially showcased in Mortal Kombat, Ermac was a red recolour of Scorpion and was linked, by fans, to a name in the audit menu “ERMACS.” A shorthand version of Error Macro, Ermac was sought after by many a gamer.
While Ermac started off as a glitch, fan speculation led to his character being immortalized, in more ways than one. The developers saw the creations and love for this character, who did not exist, and went into creating a new character based on them all, Ermac, who appeared in Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3. With control over souls, even being made up of many souls, Ermac was given his own move set and aesthetic, becoming a main character as the series went on.
14 Johnny Cage’s Double Decapitation – Mortal Kombat
The main man, Johnny Cage, is definitely one for being cocky, overconfident and boastful, all while holding a smile and wooing fans. While he does appear dorky at times, others as an incompetent fighter, sometimes the Yamcha of the group, Johnny has a great repertoire of moves. Moving away from the comic relief side of things as the series got older, Johnny Cage started off in quite the glitchy manner, debuting in the first Mortal Kombat with a unique style of ball smashing action.
Among many glitches in the first game, Johnny cage’s glitches mostly kept to his Fatalities. You could make the screen go black, do premature fatalities, and attack after the fatality. One of the more funny ones had to do with his ability to duplicate the heads of Johnny Cage (2nd player), Kano, Sub-Zero and Scorpion. If you have the dexterity to do so, imputing his fatality twice will result in him punching two heads off of his opponent, neatly landing next to one another.
13 Over Teleportation Leads To Unusable Moves – Mortal Kombat II
Even a God has limits and when they are gifted with teleportation and magical powers, too much of a good thing can lead to something bad. With both Raiden and Scorpion, the two teleporters of Mortal Kombat II, there was a game breaking glitch. If they teleported 100 times in a single round, it would create a clone of their character, frozen in a single frame on the screen. After this point all special and basic moves will cease to function.
While it is impossible to do this in a normal match, you can set it up so that you have enough time in a match to pull off the 100 teleports required to do so. It wasn’t a major bug, nor was it found often due to the conditions needed to create it, but it led to many a gamer shouting they found it.
12 Too Much Smoke – Mortal Kombat 3
Taking a page from Johnny Cage’s autobiography, Smoke decided to join the glitch arena. Being able to turn invisible, similarly to Reptile, opens up a new bag of glitches and graphical bugs. From being invisible you can perform fatalities, cause glitches when hit with Nightwolf or Scorpions fatalities, and even display weirdly when thrown whilst invisible.
There are some glitches when selecting Human Smoke, giving you the normal Smoke skin and even freezing the game, causing an error message to appear. The most detrimental to his health however is when you choose endurance two-players versus mode, selecting only Smoke as your characters. When Smoke is killed and your second one jumps in, they will be coated in even more smoke, slowing down the game and eventually crashing it. A hidden “smoking kills” glitch? Or simply trying to differentiate between characters, either way, Smoke smells like trouble. Lastly, there was a glitch when trying to perform his Animality, as his animal would just run in place.
11 Wrong Facing Sweep - Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3
Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 was plagued with bugs, almost second place to MK Gold. Among the glitches is a recurring error when it comes to sweeping kicks. Sweeping Kabal as the final attack will cause him to lay down in the wrong frame. Sweeping Liu Kang will allow you to run over his model, even if he was not killed by it.
One of the least balanced glitches however, leading to plenty of frustration in gamers back in the day, is the ability to sweep someone without touching them. While not tied to a specific character, if you were to do a sweep kick when the opponent is jumping over you, the sweep will still connect causing the opponent to fall to the ground behind you. Since this was a universal glitch, you could use it to great effect if you could calculate when the opponent was to jump.
10 Stuck in the Environment – Mortal Kombat 4
Before we were unleashed into the world of glitchy Gold, MK 4 had quite a list of glitches on its hands. One of the most comedic and reoccurring glitches were to do with characters getting stuck in the floor, the wall or in objects. The most common of these was when you used a weapon to hit an opponent into the camera, whilst performed in a corner you will force the model to sink into the ground, continual attacks will keep them there.
Returning in teleporting glory, Raiden can teleport whilst in a corner to get stuck within a wall of the arena or objects placed in the corners, along with Sub-Zero’s Ice Clone move. While not crashing the game, these glitches were easy to pull off, frustrating and making several gamers laugh.
9 Black Arena and Bleeding Portraits – Mortal Kombat Gold
Mortal Kombat Gold was known for its plentiful glitches, mostly in the ease of which they occurred. With the addition of cheat menus, glitches were spreading through games like wildfire, accessed by the press of a button. All that additional code and information to read certainly did a number on this release. Reading the disc proved too difficult, causing this glitch to happen.
This glitch would happen on the game loading up, messing with the graphics of character portraits as well as the background images or colours. The most prominent feature however was when you entered into any sort of combat arena. The area would turn black, models would become invisible or distorted and their blood turned into portraits from the character select screen. Being so in your face, this glitch led to many a laugh from gamers, with random music to accompany it in the background. You can go to this video for a longer look at how this glitch really affect the game.
8 Abomination Goro - Mortal Kombat Gold
It was bound to happen eventually, with four arms and a big build; Goro was just asking for a hilarious glitch. Rather than changing him or breaking the environment, or gaining new moves, Goro decided it would be best to scare all the children of Earthrealm. If you were to play Arcade mode with 2 on 2 Kombat, selecting two different players, going to the master tower and rotating it three times, when you reach the second round Goro will have changed… drastically.
As the image above shows, Goro will try and change his model to suit the first character, Johnny Cage in this instance. Splitting up his body as if he was Rayman, this glitch was way too obvious, it does not look intentional at all. It is possible to do this with other characters, but had the highest success with Johnny Cage… he does love that limelight.
7 Shang Tsung’s Invisibility Knee – Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance
The next game in the series didn’t have many crashes or graphical glitches, however, what it did have was glorious. From colour changes to floating models off the screen, Shang Tsung decided to show his real magic. If you were to choose him as your character, do three Strong Knee attacks in a row with them hitting the intended target, something random will happen.
You'd kick your opponent into an ever-floating pose, be stuck to the ground or even disappear from the stage. His Warlock powers on full display, Shang Tsung’s Invisible Knee attack was followed up with spinning throws and even repeated falls to the ground after a Soul Steal move. This is one Warlock you don’t want to mess with.
6 Countered Fatality - Mortal Kombat: Deception
Just like its name, Deception brought with it new ways to glitch up your game and turn the tables on your opponent. From purple blades and endless spins by Ashrah to this next glitch, the counter fatality. This was a harder one to find, as it is only possible if the loser inputs a Hara Kiri at the same time the winner inputs their fatality. Thankfully, the work put into this can cause quite the comedic effect, becoming slightly different based in your weapons.
If done correct, the winner who is trying to start their fatality will have the fatality affect themselves instead. This can look hilarious if the fatality includes melting or dismemberment, like many do, as the model will do the animation but have it occur on their model. There is a video showcasing all of these counters on YouTube.
5 Debug Character “0” - Mortal Kombat: Armageddon
Moving onto glitches that are more placeholders now, with the mysterious character named 0, with a unique name and combat style of “Bug This.” To find this glitch you need to start a two-player game, select your own created fighter and switch between profiles. After a while you will find the hidden on match start-up.
Starting as a default, this model is simply wearing underwear. After getting this character you will enter the game with the name 0, “Bug This” as a combat style and a default female Kreate-A-Fighter model to use in the battle. It isn’t every day you can break the game to its base values, but when you can, it is glorious.
4 Scorpion Pose - Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe
We’ve had plenty of glitches centred on you getting stuck in the air or the environment, but only one that created a clone of your body. Scorpion saw that and decided to improve on the formula, creating a copy of himself to pose for all the gamers at home. As displayed in a 2 minute video, there is a glitch where Scorpion’s model will become frozen in the arena, in one frame of his animation. While he can do this standing up, the more common occurrence is him in his ducking teleport position.
Being an intensely rare glitch, with not much images or videos around it, this glitch took quite a while to get discovered. Fighting against super powered beings obviously made Scorpion feel downplayed, so he made sure to make his own mark in the form of this glitch.
3 Red Downloadable Content Select Character - Mortal Kombat (2011)
Acting as if they were a descendant of “0,” this glitch follows the theme of sitting in the default slots of characters. On entering Training Mode, scroll down to DLC character slots and highlight a character. While the box is still open, cancel your selection and choose a character again. When selecting a character for the CPU, move the cursor outside of the DLC box and try to highlight a DLC character.
By doing all of that, you will be able to select a Downloadable Content Select box that contains a blank monochrome red-coloured male model. Selecting this won’t change anything as that character cannot be used, instead when you select a character to use, the announcer will call Sub-Zero’s name. While we cannot play as Red Man, he got his foot in the door, reminding us of the old days with “0” girl.
2 Jason Will Get You - Mortal Kombat X
Horror Movie villains are almost always portrayed as invincible, surviving scissors, nails and even bullet wounds. An axe through the head even has trouble keeping them down. Jason Voorhees feels just as unstoppable, as this glitch brings his murderous rampage to life once again. When a brutality would normally kill Jason, if he is in his Unstoppable variation, it will enact his resurrection animation.
Raising to your feet after death is normal for Horror movies, but Jason can do this even after brutalities that would render him without a leg or even his head. Seeing that corpse get up is enough to Hara Kiri yourself right there and then.
1 Quitters Get The Last Laugh - Mortal Kombat X
We’ve seen glitches that get you stuck in the environment, different coloured projectiles, invisibility knee attacks, default models and a man who survives without a head. What could top that all? What could annoy you more? Well, it had to be something that took away your well-deserved victory of course!
When you have won a match, it is almost instinct to finish it with a Fatality. However, if the online opponent is just that extra bit salty, they can rage quit the match. If they quit at just the right time, as you are inputting your fatality, it will reset your character, having the Fatality said by the announcer as well as your score given. But, you will just stand there, doing nothing, leaving the foe to stand there untouched… I bet you want to rip out his spin even more now.