A new Mortal Kombat game was unveiled this week, and I suppose I’m mildly excited, which is kind of strange to say, because like most gamers who grew up during the 90s, I used to be all about the Kombat. I loved the first three entries in the series, but then Mortal Kombat 4 happened and the franchise hasn’t really grabbed my attention since. I don’t think I’m alone in that.
So, what does Mortal Kombat X have to do to get old time fans back on board? Here’s a few bloody good ideas…
I’m pretty sure no human being has this much blood in their entire body, never mind their head.
Make the Gore Ridiculous Again
The violence in recent Mortal Kombat games has gone down the wrong path — regular punches, kicks and attacks barely cause any bloodshed at all, while Fatalities have become overly detailed and clinical, to the point they’re more gross than fun.
Mortal Kombat violence needs to be absurd. Every punch needs to send spurts of bright red blood flying everywhere, and the Fatalities should be ridiculous — falling arcade machines and Johnny Cage nut punching people to death, not the torture porn-ish stuff the last game served up.
Bring back Bear Blowjobalities!
Bring Back All The Alities
Speaking of Fatalities, the next game needs to have all the Alities. Animalities, Brutalities, Friendships and, of course, Babalities. Hell, make up some new ones! Abnormalities! Turn into a mutant freak and tear your opponent apart. Dualities! Have a clone of your guy appear so you can destroy your opponent with a tag team finisher. Beastiality! Uh, wait, maybe not that one.
Drop The Stupid Storyline
Back when 99% of video game narratives were “save the princess/kill the aliens” everyone praised Mortal Kombat’s “complex” (er, sorry, “komplex”) back story, which apparently went to Ed Boon’s head, because now every Mortal Kombat is weighed down by confounding, meandering plots. I mean, how many times has this series killed Liu Kang by now? Who actually cares about this stuff?
If you can’t sum up the story in a quick text scroll, it’s not worth having. Shao Kahn invites everyone to an island to fight each other, Goro shows up, blah blah Netherrealm, Liu Kang wins. That’s all you need!
Take A Street Fighter Approach to the Cast
Yeah I know — Mortal Kombat should take a page from Street Fighter? Blasphemy! But still, Street Fighter is very good at introducing new characters. Most Street Fighters give you the classics, your Ryus, Zangiefs and Chun Lis, then mix a small, carefully selected group of new fighters in. These new characters get to bask in the credibility of the old fan favorite fighters, without overwhelming the cast.
Most Mortal Kombat games don’t do this. They either go with an entirely classic cast like they did with the last game, or they throw the Kombatants out with the bath water and load the cast up with new characters, which end up lost in the crowd of new faces. Mortal Kombat X should stick to the classics with maybe four to six well-crafted new additions.
The discovery that Reptile was real was the most important thing to happen during the 90s.
One of the most entertaining parts of classic Mortal Kombats were all the secrets and oddities hidden away in the dark recesses of the games. Of course fans made half of this stuff up themselves, but Mortal Kombat X should tap into that. Have a secret character or two that are as difficult to unlock as Reptile was in the original MK. Have characters randomly change color during fights, or have bits of code pop up on the screen from time to time. This stuff doesn’t even have to lead to anything, just toss it in to get folks talking.
Come on, how ’bout a smile Sub-Zero?
Lighten the F*ck Up
Classic Mortal Kombat games were goofy as sh*t. They have been rated Mature, but the general tone was “this was created by a hyperactive 10-year-old”. The Mortal Kombat X teaser trailer was visually impressive, but it was smothered under a dark cloud of self-seriousness. Ripping out spines and choking people with their intestines is fun if it’s all a joke, but it gets a little off-putting if it’s not.
Well, that’s what I’m looking for in a new Mortal Kombat. What about the rest of you Kombatants? What would you like to see?