A story started in the arcades of 1992. In the following twenty-eight years, we, gamers, were bestowed with arguably one of the best fighting game series. Eleven main games in twenty-eight years. Several series and movies and millions of fans worldwide. Of course, it is none other than legendary Mortal Kombat.
As always, before starting, I should say that this is a list of ranking based on solely my own opinions. Therefore, it should not be taken as a definitive ranking. With that being said, here is my list of the eleven main games of the famous fighting game series, Mortal Kombat.
11. Mortal Kombat 4 (1997)
The last place of my list belongs to another attempt of moving from 2D to 3D. Don’t get me wrong, not all of these transitions failed, but the fourth game was not one of them. In 1997, Mortal Kombat made the leap to 3D but it was not exactly a smooth move. The clean, digitalised actors of Mortal Kombat 3 have given way to messy-looking 3D models and the roster of the game was a mixed bag of interesting newcomers and forgettable warriors. With that being said, the game deserves some credit for introducing weapons-based action to the mix. However, the series’ most hilariously bad cut scene dialogue and terrible voice acting cast a shadow on it.
10. Mortal Kombat Armageddon (2007)
Mortal Kombat: Armageddon was planned to close in spectacular fashion the PS2/Xbox era of Mortal Kombat titles. Developers thought that the best departing party would be with throwing in every character that had ever been a part of the series together. And while they kept their promise on a technical level, the whole package just felt off. Something was wrong. A pathetic “Kreate-a-Fatality” mechanic replaced the iconic Fatalities of the game. Also, even Armageddon actually has the largest roster of any MK game, the graphics were not negligible. Although Armageddon gets some credit for providing a good Konquest single-player mode and a fun kart-racing minigame, it is usually the most unremarkable of Mortal Kombat games from the PS2 period.
9. Mortal Kombat Deadly Alliance (2002)
The execution of a 3D fighting game that worked out was significantly better than Midway’s first attempt. Yet Deadly Alliance looks like a failed attempt at a much-needed reboot that until Mortal Kombat will get released and set the record straight.
The dynamics of the game worked well but plot decisions, like killing old favourites, failed drastically and were simply not a wise choice. In other words, the story itself was not bad, and the risks that developers take deserve our respect. However, it presented a new fighter set that wasn’t at all really interesting.
8. Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe (2008)
WB Games launched a crossover title of its own in the aftermath of the success of Marvel vs. Capcom. In this title, WB put Scorpion, Sub-Zero, and Raiden against Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. To be honest, Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe had some things including a mode of cinematic storytelling and cool stage transitions. But its overall gameplay and design don’t hold up well today, and its “fatalities” are hilariously mild, simply because it’s a DC-branded title.
Nevertheless, Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe has helped set the stage for the outstanding Injustice from NetherRealm Studios. Moreover, it also paved the way for the Mortal Kombat reboot. In short, the title bears importance not due to itself but due to its successors.
7. Mortal Kombat: Deception (2004)
Deception expanded on everything that was perfect about Deadly Alliance, sprucing up the roster while building on the single-player mode and bringing the franchise to online play. Newbies like Kobra and Hotaru joined fan favourites like returning ones Ermac and Jade. Meanwhile, minigames like Puzzle Kombat and Chess Kombat have been providing some hilariously enjoyable diversions from the battle. Gameplay and battle mechanics essentially mirror their predecessor but with some new nuances like the combo-breaker system and some extremely progressive environmental fatalities. The Konquest mode, as well as the Krypt, return to provide some additional time-killing material for the player, though the mini-game Puzzle Kombat was pretty bland.
6. Mortal Kombat 3 (1995)
Mortal Kombat 3 bizarrely lacked Kitana and Scorpion, and when it released in 1995, it was short on gameplay modes. But only six months later, Midway launched Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 as a separate “update,” which included a 2v2 versus mode and a beef-up tournament mode. The signature move sets of characters have also been expanded and tweaked, with significant improvements to how the combos worked.
Midway published another revamped version of the game called Mortal Kombat Trilogy after Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, which included some new characters and levels. Nevertheless. Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 has always felt better in motion, so the MK3 fight works for us.
5. Mortal Kombat (1992)
That is it. The first, the origin, the notorious gory combat game that is partly responsible for the very nature of the rating system of the ESRB. Without this one, there would be none of the other games on this list, which increases its ranking tremendously.
Of course, in the interests of fairness, the obvious issues need to be addressed. There is little difference between fighters-in fact, beyond their associated special moves, there is really nothing to differentiate their fighting styles, which means players are likely to see everything the game has to offer in one sitting. However, like all other original games in my rankings, it had to step aside for those who would come after it.
4. Mortal Kombat 2 (1993)
Mortal Kombat II had big shoes to fill after the breakout hit which was the original. It filled them and then some, improving mechanics in crucial ways which made fighting easier to pick up but also harder to master.
The second game of the series made the return of the original beloved characters including Sub-Zero, Johnny Cage, and Raiden possible, but it also introduced a handful of new fighters who are now among the most popular of Mortal Kombat’s. The Baraka mutant, the Jax brash, Kung Lao, Kitana, and Mileena all joined MKII in the fight. Mortal Kombat II is the series’ best in 2D entry.
3. Mortal Kombat (2011)
The reboot. Those who read my other rankings will already know my opinions about reboots. For those who did not, to sum it up, I have always seen the reboots as the biggest bet that developers could make. It is mainly because the established fan expectation and already set standards. However, 2011 reboot may be one of those lucky ones that actually delivered on what being a reboot of a legendary series means.
Featuring legendary fighters from the series’ first three instalments, the series felt both a tribute to the classic battle franchise and a fresh start. Even though Mortal Kombat versus DC Universe had debuted on Xbox 360 and PS3 years earlier, but Mortal Kombat was the first true MK experience to run on significantly more powerful hardware.
The return of Mortal Kombat to 2D battle planes proved that the series would actually never have attempted 3D worlds. In addition to that, NeatherRealm showed signs of the juggernaut that it would become in the fighting game scene by creating arguably the best MK story mode so far.
2. Mortal Kombat X (2015)
The sequel to the reboot. A combination that exceeds the risk posed due to it being a reboot. With the most innovative and arguably the scariest fatalities yet, Mortal Kombat X further showed that NetherRealm Studios was more than up to the task of carrying on the legendary franchise legacy. The new characters added to the roster, especially Cassie Cage and Erron Black, felt like full-fledged warriors who forced you to turn your side.
Mortal Kombat X has benefited from the existing games delivery system, with useful DLC characters, and flourishes like new costumes that regularly release after launch. XL, a final edition of the game, features all of the DLC. The story mode may not have been as well-told as its predecessor, but the combat has reached a level of complexity not seen so far by the series and its fans.
1. Mortal Kombat XI (2019)
The top. The pinnacle. Only earned by the latest title in the series. The eleventh main game in the series. For those who want it in short, XI improves everything series has ever offered to the players.
The long version?
It’s filled with content to the gills including the popular Klassic Towers, Towers of Time, story mode, online multiplayer, and Krypt, focused on exploration. Longtime warriors like Sub-Zero and Kitana are joined by newcomers with innovative and frustrating skills, and the immersive features of the stages allow you to always know exactly where you stand.
Spacing plays a huge role in the game which does not rely on combo attacks as heavily as its predecessors. Alternatively, it is all about punishing errors and using brief openings to inflict damage. Therefore, it elevates the strategic aspect of the fight to a whole another level.
Mortal Kombat 11 has plenty of the gory deaths fans are waiting for but it also features the new tactical “Fatal Blows.” Players can use these in matches if you run low on health and can help new players from losing a match before they have a chance to fight back.
I have to say that the game received some negative feedback due to its customization and “unlockables” system. However, in my opinion, they did not matter that much compared to the positive aspects of the game.
To conclude, as I stated before, XI improves the experience the series has ever offered to the players and righteously deserves the first place in my list.