Why am I doing this again? I thought it would be a fun experience to look at the evolution of Mortal Kombat fatalities: to see how comically unrealistic the early iterations were despite the controversy they generated, to look at how over the top the whole thing became before the eventual reboot, and to compare them to the new HD, ultra realistic look. In order to do so, I watched a few videos which featured each and every fatality to ever grace the Mortal Kombat series, and I must say… MK has gotten a bit too gory for my tastes in recent years.
That is something I had not realized while playing the more recent games. I never really have the time or patience to learn the input combinations necessary to perform the ultra-violent finishers. Therefore, in the rare event where I do perform a fatality or a brutality, it comes off as more of a surprise than a statement, and it is infrequent enough that I had not become completely used to the new style. But now, having watch them all in a row, I must say… that might have been a bit much. It might have been a mistake.
Still, the deed is done and I am not going through this madness alone. I am sharing my pain, and my loss of appetite, with the entire world. Find a place to sit down and get comfortable, because things are about to get graphic as we examine the 15 most gruesome fatalities in Mortal Kombat history.
15 Sub Zero Decides That You Don’t Need A Spine After All
Sub-Zero is just your average ninja who has the ability to control ice and produce it out of thin air. Most of his special moves and fatalities involve freezing people and maybe breaking them into tiny pieces. Despite this control over the element, Sub-Zero’s signature move has nothing to do with ice. Over the years, the one constant in his fatality set is his ability to grabs an opponent by the head and rip the whole thing off, spine included.
This fatality has been with Sub-Zero since the original Mortal Kombat, all the way to the most recent versions. It is relatively short and to the point when compared to some of the most elaborate executions from the other MK cast members, but it is the effectiveness which has made it so recognizable. With one swift movement, Sub-Zero was able to illustrate what Mortal Kombat was all about, send the media and the entire US government in a panic, and leave his mark on the series for years to come.
14 Reptile Has A Craving That Only You Can Satisfy
Now that we are done with the cultural significance of fatalities, we will get to the gory stuff. This entry, brought to you by Mortal Kombat 4, is over the top in its depiction as well as in its implications. First of all, picture this: Reptile jumps at his opponent and proceeds to eat his or her face. He doesn’t just bite into it either: he only eats the skin, as if his adversary was one of the Colonel’s Original Recipe pieces of chicken. His opponent then stumbles backward, exposing something resembling Nicolas Cage mid-surgery in Face/Off.
This is disgusting enough on its own, but it’s the victim’s reaction that makes it especially bad. As he or she falls to the ground, the defeated feels his or her face one last time, meaning that they live long enough to realize that their skin is gone, or to feel the breeze kiss their exposed flesh. The loser’s frozen, grotesque expression shows that they had time to realize the same thing we did: Reptile is a sick individual.
13 Cyrax Does Some Crude Surgery With His Lasers
There’s a scene in the first Resident Evil movie which makes me squirm just writing about it: the heroes are stuck in a corridor and are being attacked by a laser which slices through them in many different, creative ways. Horror movies fans call this “the cut slide” and it is one special effect which I absolutely cannot stand. Therefore, when the cyborg Cyrax decides to do the same thing for his fatality, my response is to contort my face in a disgusted expression and disapprove silently.
While the fatality originated in Mortal Kombat 3, Cyrax still uses it in his most recent appearances. Because he throws a laser net which slices through his opponent, the official name of this manoeuver is “Nothing but Net,” which, sure, I guess it’s a good pun. However, I must remark that his laser is obviously not completely effective, as the size of the net makes it appear as though his victim should be finely diced, while the final result is closer to thick slabs. I do not agree with Cyrax’s methods, but that doesn’t mean that he should not do some self maintenance every once in a while.
12 Sonya Will Make You Sick To Your Stomach
Sonya Blade, one of the original Mortal Kombat characters, is a General of a special unit of the US Army. As such, she has a set of rules she must follow in combat, and everything has to be done by the rules. And yet, in Deadly Alliance, Sonya seems to have some weapons at her disposal which are probably banned by the Geneva Convention. As a fatality, she blows some kind of poisonous powder at her opponent, and it is potent enough to instantly cause the victim to get rid of their lunch, and eventually, their organs. Once she decides you had enough, she delivers the killing blow.
First of all, why? This is unnecessarily cruel. If she had the power to pop someone’s head off just by jumping high enough, is the poison and the vomiting all that necessary? Couldn’t she just trip someone and then do the jump? The little pause, where she watches you get rid of the content of your stomach (and your entire body, really), means that she is probably quite satisfied with herself, enjoying the reward of what she considers a job well done. You are a general, Sonya. I expected more from you.
11 Johnny Cage Wants To Prove That He’s The Best At Smashing Faces
Johnny Cage always appeared to me as an obnoxious try-hard, someone who is too eager to show you how good he is because, secretly, he is doubtful of his own abilities. Therefore, he always does too much: he does not only punch people, he does an unnecessary split before. The same mind frame applies to his fatalities. While he has previously shown that he is strong enough to karate chop an opponent in half, he chooses to take it a step further in Mortal Kombat X by repeatedly smashing a victim’s face on the ground until plastic surgery would be needed, to put it mildly.
His pre-established superhuman strength means that a single face-smash would presumably be enough to slay his opponent. So why does he need to keep going, at least a dozen times more than needed? I am going to assume that as the selfish, flashy jerk that he is, Johnny Cage needed to be seen as not only the best, or the strongest, but also the most gruesome. Everybody else is exploding the heads of defeated Kombatants, it’s not a good way to stand out anymore, so Johnny is going to do it repeatedly until everyone understands that he’s the best at that, too. Get a grip, Johnny.
10 Kung Lao Goes Picasso On You
Anyone who has played more than one Mortal Kombat game over the years must have noticed that Kung Lao has a certain obsession with splitting people in half. Always using the razor-sharp brim of his hat, he has done so in many different fashions, with each new version being more gory than the last. He tries to keep that habit under control in Mortal Kombat X, which is good. However, what he replaces it with might be even worse.
It is admirable that Kung Lao shows great skills with the precision he uses to wield his hat, but his artistic flair needs a bit more work. For example, what the hell is that? This fatality sees Kung Lao rearrange his defeated opponent’s body in a very strange configuration, one which makes absolutely no sense. It’s as if someone forbade him from slicing people in half this time around, and with the little time he was given to come up with something new, he showed that his improvisational skills were not on par with the precision of his blade. It’s gruesome all right, as much for the final result as it is for the actual act.
9 Mileena Is Really, Really Hungry
Both of Mileena’s fatalities in Mortal Kombat X revolve around the fact that she is very, very hungry and please, will someone give her something to eat already? The way she finishes opponents makes me think that most of this violence could be ended if anyone thought of asking if maybe they could bring her something back from the McDonald’s. While the first one is bad enough (think corn on the cob), it’s the ferocity with which she devours the loser in her second fatality which puts her on this list.
Effectively splitting someone in half simply by looking for something to eat, Mileena just keeps feasting on whatever she can find in her victim’s guts, completely disregarding the upper half of her opponent. That person will then try to seize the occasion to get the hell out of there, which does not really go all that well because, oh yeah, the rest of the vital parts are not following. Could this whole situation be avoided if Mileena was to be fought after a good meal? Is food really all that scarce in the Outworld?
8 Tanya Gets Creative Because You Just Won’t Be Quiet
If there is one thing that you can say about Tanya, it’s that she is resourceful. In Mortal Kombat Deception, she has two very sharp blades with her at all time, but it doesn’t mean that she’s only going to rely on them to do damage. Instead, she likes to improvise and see what else she can find to stab her opponents. And if she cannot find anything, then maybe she will use your own thigh bone.
That’s right. Of all the bones in the human body, she could have gone for the spine like Sub-Zero or the arms, like Jax, but no. Tanya is an eccentric. She doesn’t even go for the shin; she goes for the femur, the big one, because I guess she finds it funny to see her defeated adversary dance on one leg. And then, because she cannot bear to hear their screams, she stabs them in the throat with their own thigh bone. Tanya might be resourceful, but no one said she was patient.
7 Noob Saibot Likes To Take His Time
This one… this one is just cruel. I am not an expert when it comes to fatalities, but I would assume that should one be “fatalitied” or “fatalized,” it should be done in the same manner as ripping off a band-aid: it should be swift and if possible, done in a single-motion. For anyone competing under the rules of Mortal Kombat, where one is assumed to either win or die, then the quickest option would be the most considerate. Noob Saibot, however, is evil. He is the corrupted soul of the original Sub-Zero. He does not care enough to be kind.
In Mortal Kombat 9, he uses a double of himself to rip a person in half, which seems like it is a popular act in the MK universe. Him and his double both grab one of the opponent’s legs, and simply pull. That would be terrible enough, but Noob Saibot likes to savour the moment. He does it slowly, stopping for a few seconds at different points, giving himself some time to truly appreciate the finer points of what he is doing. Unfortunately, it also means that his victim gets to live long enough to understand what is going on. Did I mention that Noob Saibot is evil?
6 Ermac Gets A Bit Sloppy When He Is Excited
Ermac has always been fairly grim when it comes to fatalities, but he has definitely upped his game in Mortal Kombat X. His telekinetic abilities pretty much allow him to do whatever he wants, and therefore he has become very creative over the years. His latest work is gruesome in many different ways, because it is executed in two distinctive stages.
For the first step, Ermac’s victim is lifted into the air while their body is being contorted in such a way that it probably breaks every bone in the victim’s body. Most people would already be done at that point, but Ermac just does not know when to stop. This fatality is a special kind of terrible, but let’s try to describe what happens next without getting too graphics: some parts of a human being which should definitely stay inside the body end up leaving through the mouth. And because Ermac is as sloppy as he is creative, he does not really finish the job cleanly, leaving his opponent hanging in the air like a bloody piñata.
5 Havik Makes Himself Sick Because He Doesn’t Know When To Stop
Havik has not really had all that much to do throughout the Mortal Kombat franchise. Since his original appearance in Deception, he has only been playable in Armageddon, and literally everyone was playable in that one. Still, he managed to land one of the most gruesome fatality in that very short time.
It all starts with Havik being extremely voracious and deciding to eat both of his opponent’s arms. He could have gone for the fleshy parts like Mileena, but I guess Havik is the kind of guy who prefers chicken wings to chicken breasts. However, Havik doesn’t know that you shouldn’t eat the bones when you eat wings, so he learns the hard way: eating like a pig makes him sick and he regurgitates most of what he just ingested. As for his victim, they just fall to the ground, presumably still alive for a short time, but Havik is too busy purging his stomach to care. Havik is that friend who goes to the all-you-can-eat buffet and doesn’t leave until the regrets set in.
4 Bo’ Rai Cho Just Wants To Have A Good Time
Before the fatalities even get involved, Bo’ Rai Cho is gruesome simply by his existence. As a character, he farts and vomits on command. However, unlike Havik, he is not stupid enough to make himself sick accidentally. Often drinking while the fight his going on, it seems like the booze has no ill effect on the drunken warrior. Still, it seems like his beverage of choice is potent enough to leave anyone else dead.
In Mortal Kombat X, Bo’ Rai Cho can finish his matches by forcibly shoving whatever he is usually drinking down his opponent’s throat. The poor victim is obviously taken aback by the unexpected strength of Bo’ Rai Cho alcohol and throws up almost instantly. Then, to the victim’s surprise (and our own), they keep throwing up so violently that… the intestines follow? That’s not supposed to happen. What the hell is in that jug? Anyway, Bo’ Rai Cho decides that this whole “being sick” business is taking too much time, so he gently applies pressure to his opponent’s stomach to speed up the process. The result is not totally unlike the sidewalks in front of an Irish Pub the day after St. Patrick’s.
3 Scorpion Leaves His Opponent Hanging
Scorpion’s main ability is that he can control fire. He uses it to great effect with his classic fatality, where he engulfs his opponent in flames until there isn’t much left of them. However, Scorpion’s other, less known ability is that he can freely travel through the realms, using portals to do so. When he gets supremely angry, he sometimes uses them in ways that Chell, Portal's protagonist, would never dare. Mortal Kombat 9 is one such times.
Scorpion wraps the chain of his trusty spear around his opponent’s neck and pushes them through a portal, and then creates a second portal above him from which his victim exits, effectively hanging them. That is terrible in of itself, but at the same time, The Big Bossman has survived worse. What really makes this fatality unnecessarily gory is the fact that the interdimensional portal apparently causes the victim to not only lose their clothes, but also their skin. Burning his opponents was horrible, so I’m really happy that Scorpion has diversified his set of skills. However, I’m wondering if maybe he should have taken up knitting instead.
2 Skarlet Has An Unhealthy Obsession
Skarlet is a newcomer to the series, having only appeared in Mortal Kombat 9. As we all know, everyone in Mortal Kombat has to have a gimmick, some sort of element of which they are a master. Usually, that element has to do with the character’s color scheme. Sub-Zero is blue and has control over ice. Rain is purple, and has control over water and lightning. Skarlet, like her name suggests, is mostly seen wearing red, which could have suggested a mastery of fire, but Scorpion had already claimed that one. So then, what else is red?
Skarlet is a being composed entirely of blood and is therefore obsessed with it. As such, her two fatalities illustrate her unhealthy obsession with the substance. In one, she slashes her opponent’s jugular and drinks from the wound like a water fountain. In the second one, she suspends her victim in the air, slash their belly, and uses them like a camping shower. At best, it is completely unsanitary. At worst, it exhibits a level of sadism which is extreme even by Mortal Kombat standards.
1 Quan Chi Can't Even Do The Dirty Work Himself
Quan Chi was introduced to the world with a simple, yet effective fatality: he rips the leg off an opponent and beats them with it. With a finisher like that, you could argue that Quan Chi has never really been known for his delicate nature and compassionate ways. His most recent appearance goes even further, and what makes his MKX fatality worse than any other is the fact that the victim performs the act by themselves. While it is true that they are under hypnosis during those few seconds, seeing someone willingly walk to their death is gruesome in a way that no other fatality can ever touch.
The video really explains everything that there is to know, but for the people who are unable to watch videos at the moment, let’s try to explain this in a way which will not make me feel nauseous: Quan Chi makes a sword float at his victim’s head level, the blade facing his opponent. He then uses his immense power to convince them to walk forward, mouth open, until their nose is at the hilt. Finally, he combines this already horrifying manoeuver with the MK staple of “splitting people in half” to achieve the ultimate level of unbearable gore. Wow. That still sounded pretty bad.
For the sickening sight of a person walking to their doom and the knowing, bloody wink at Mortal Kombat tradition, this is, in my book, the most gruesome fatality in MK history.