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The List Thread


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Who doesn’t like lists?

Well, OK, this might just be me, so maybe this is a stupid question. Nevertheless, the Internet seems to like its lists. Articles with titles containing “Top 10...” “20 greatest…” and “50 ways to…” litter the place like dried-up chewing gum on a busy street. So, why not have a thread for them?

I just want to make clear that I don’t want to see this become a simple “favourites” thread. If you want to create a “The best of…” list, that’s OK, but add some detail and make it into an interesting read; don’t just list them and leave it at that.

With that out of the way, I’m going to kick this off with something that I’m sure is very dear to the hearts of many gamers; gratuitous violence.


I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve always liked the Mortal Kombat series. Sure, if you judge it purely as a fighting game, it’s not very good. The controls tend to be stiff and awkward, the characters are all very similar, and the CPU is one cheating son of a bitch, so you’d better have a friend to play it with.

But nobody really ever cared about that. We only bought it for the violence. Mortal Kombat knows that its blood and gore is its selling point, and it milks this for all it’s worth. What we get is a rather cynically self-aware series that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Characters being able to scream even after their heads get cut off may seem stupid and asinine at face value, but I like to think that it just goes to show that Mortal Kombat knows how to laugh at itself. It knows it isn’t all that, and it doesn’t really care; as long as it can keep you entertained with over-the-top, silly violence, it’s happy.

So, without further ado, let’s take a look at what has proven to be Mortal Kombat’s biggest and most memorable feature. (Unfortunately, due to that accursed character limit, I've had to split this one up.)

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#10: In which a face is removed

Character: Scorpion

Appearances: Mortal Kombat I/II, Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, MK Trilogy, MK 4

Button Input: Up, Up (originally)

What better way to start than with one of the classics?

This finisher is good for two reasons. Not only is it pretty damn cool, but it also gives us some insight into what Scorpion really is, more so than any amount of poorly written background text could. In just three frames of animation, we discover that what we thought was just some throwaway ninja minion with a silly colour scheme is actually some kind of vengeful undead creature, and then he goes ahead and barbecues his opponent just to drive the point home.

It also received a significant upgrade in Mortal Kombat II. Rather than just immediately collapsing into a charred skeleton, the unfortunate victim now gets to flail around a bit before exploding violently, leaving nothing intact but a smouldering skull. Also, if you performed an additional button input, you got to hear Dan Forden himself shout “Toasty!” afterwards. Who says immolation can’t be funny?

#9: In which you get the everloving shit scared out of you

Character: Kabal

Appearances: Mortal Kombat 3, Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, MK Trilogy

Button Input: Run, Block, Block, Block, High Kick

In Mortal Kombat III, Kabal shows us that fatalities don’t always have to be about dismemberment and decapitation and bloody explosions. Sometimes, you can end your opponent’s life just by giving them a good, old-fashioned heart attack.

Kabal’s background revealed that he suffered severe injuries in his past that left him horribly scarred, hence the constant presence of his respirator mask; not only does he want to keep his face covered, but he needs it to stay alive.

Here, however, the mutilated warrior throws caution to the wind and tears away his mask, revealing his hideous visage to the world…which looks suspiciously like Large Marge from Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure.



He looks into the camera and lets out an ungodly shriek, (I feel very sorry for anyone who watched this fatality as a young child) then turns to his opponent and does the same thing. The experience is so horrifying that the opponent literally drops dead from fright, and their soul exits their body and flees in terror.

This fully deserves to be the most memorable fatality in MK3. It’s clever, unique, morbidly humorous, and manages to be entertaining in spite of being completely bloodless. What more could you ask for?

Maybe just the ability to un-see Kabal’s face afterwards.

#8: In which many heads roll.

Character: Johnny Cage

Appearances: Mortal Kombat I/II

Button Input: Hold Low Punch, Block, Low Kick (Forward, Forward, Down, Up)

Ah yes. We all remember this one. It’s a classic staple of the MK series that has been with it since day one, and one of the simplest and yet most fun fatalities it has ever produced; uppercutting your opponent’s head off as Johnny Cage. Well, if doing it once was good, why not do it three times in a row?

This is probably a pretty well-known secret by now, but by slightly modifying the button input for Johnny Cage’s standard fatality, you’ll get this. He crouches, punches his foe’s head off…then crouches and punches your foe’s headless body again, whereupon another head mysteriously flies out of nowhere and falls to the ground. He then does it AGAIN, leaving three heads lying in a neat little row before finally allowing them to collapse.

I really don’t know how this fatality came about. Maybe it was a glitch the developers encountered when they were making the game and decided to leave in because they found it amusing, or maybe they included it intentionally. Either way, there’s no better finisher available to amuse yourself while simultaneously making the other player go “Wait, what the hell?”

#7: In which another face is removed

Character: Reptile

Appearances: Mortal Kombat 4

Button Input: Hold High Punch, Low Punch, High Kick, Low Kick (Up)

Mortal Kombat 4 was a pretty bad game even by Mortal Kombat’s standards, but it did manage to come up with a few good finishers, and this is probably the most gruesome of the bunch.

Reptile leaps upon his dizzied opponent and then proceeds to literally EAT THEIR FACE. Not their whole head, like he did in MKII. Just their face. Blood is flying everywhere, he’s frantically gobbling away like a thing possessed, and all the while the opponent is screaming bloody murder. When he’s done, the opponent clutches at their head in horror and falls to the ground after letting out the most genuine wail of agony ever included in an MK game, and we get a nice close-up of their bloody skull and lidless eyes.

This fatality is absolutely brutal, and surprisingly convincing in its execution as far as Mortal Kombat goes. It’s like something you’d expect to see in a horror movie, not a silly series of mindlessly violent fighting games. Granted, the effect is diminished somewhat by the blocky character models and the choppy animation; this is one I’d like to see given the next-gen treatment. Nevertheless, it’s still a spectacular finisher. Definitely one of Reptile’s best.

#6: In which we bear witness to the second best hat trick ever

Character: Kung Lao

Appearances: Mortal Kombat II

Button Input: Forward, Forward, Forward, Low Kick

Of course I wasn’t going to get through this list without including what is probably the goriest fatality ever featured in the MK series.

Now, a lot of characters end the lives of their opponents by cutting them in half one way or another, but Kung Lao puts a new spin on this approach in that he does so vertically. After the unfortunate character is sliced right down the middle, they fall to their knees and collapse into two neat halves, and we are treated to the sight of their ribs poking through the bloody mess that is their carved-up innards.

What I love about this one is that Midway could so easily have made this into another “torso removal” finisher by having Kung Lao swing horizontally, but instead they decided to go the extra mile and give us a truly awesome fatality that had the bonus of being pretty easy to pull off. If nobody gave a damn about Kung Lao at first, they sure as hell did after seeing this.

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#5: In which we bear witness to the best hat trick ever

Character: Kung Lao

Appearances: Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance

Button Input: Down, Up, Back, 3

Mortal Kombat’s foray into the PS2 generation was a dark time indeed for fatalities. Deadly Alliance saw the finisher list being seriously downsized, allowing only one fatality per character, as well as introducing the utterly retarded “bloody popcorn”. If you’ve played this game, you know exactly what I’m talking about. If not, watch this video and you’ll see what I mean.

Deception brought it back up to two fatalities per character, but unfortunately, a lot of these fatalities were pretty damned lame, with a lot of characters just pulling an arbitrary weapon out of hammerspace and dismembering their opponents, rather than using their unique abilities to finish them off in creative and entertaining ways.

As for Armageddon…don’t even get me started. That goddamned “Kustom Fatality” system is the worst thing Midway has ever done. Come on, guys. What made you think it would be a good idea to make your characters even LESS unique? I realise that it’d be a lot of work to come up with new finishers for that many characters, but you didn’t even have to do that. Why not just re-use some of the classic fatalities from your older games? I, for one, would love to see some of those being given the 3D treatment.

Anyway. As big of a mound of crap as the whole thing was, there were a few gems lurking in there, and this was one of them.

The fatality itself is pretty simple. Kung Lao whips his razor-edged hat off and hurls it sideways at his opponent’s face, whereupon it embeds itself their head. It manages to be simple and elegant without just being another decapitation fatality. However, what really makes this one ten times better is what he does afterwards.

After executing his foe, he begins walking towards them in a way that channels the essence of every badass motherfucker known to man, a manly swagger that would make Shaft swoon. He cranks the machismo dial all the way up to eleven here, swinging his arms, taking slow, deliberate steps, swaying from side to side slightly, tilting his head and nodding smugly to an invisible audience, daring them to challenge the coolness of what he just did. He only does it for about three seconds, but that short space of time is more than enough to convey the message; Kung Lao is awesome and by god he knows it.

He casually looks down at his stricken opponent, as if to say “Oh, what’s this, my hat buried in your skull?”, then flips the hat into the air with his foot, catches it, pops it back on his head and strikes a pose.

If you don’t want to have Kung Lao’s babies after seeing this, there is something wrong with you. I’m not even kidding. Get yourself to a psychiatrist right now, because you need help.

This isn’t the most epic or outlandish of fatalities, but it doesn’t need to be. Everything about it is pure style, and that’s what makes it great.

#4: In which the world comes to an end

Character: Smoke

Appearances: Mortal Kombat 3, Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, MK Trilogy

Button Input: Up, Up, Forward, Down

Smoke demonstrates that there is indeed such a thing as overkill in this fatality, wherein he unleashes a huge cluster of bombs that not only obliterate his opponent, but also the WHOLE FRIGGIN’ PLANET. Seriously. Once the bombs are in place, we cut to a nice little clip of the Earth exploding.

Of course, if Smoke has access to bombs that powerful and no regard for self-preservation, one wonders why he bothered to beat up his opponent first instead of just blowing them up right away, but whatever. This is the fatality to end all fatalities, and I mean that in a very literal sense.

The one thing I really love about this finisher is that the announcer simply says “Fatality” after it’s done, just like he does with all the others. Wow, man. Way to understate it. I don’t know how you operate over there in the MK universe, but here, the destruction of an entire planet is something we like to call “apocalypse”. Just calling it a fatality doesn’t really do it justice.

Better yet, after the entire world is destroyed, you just go straight on to the next match like nothing happened.

This is exactly what I mean when I say that Mortal Kombat doesn’t take itself too seriously. This fatality is utterly ridiculous, but in a good way. We don’t care that it makes no damn sense whatsoever because it’s just too awesome to complain about, and that is exactly the feeling that a Mortal Kombat finisher should evoke.

#3: In which a mug of nails is consumed

Character: Mileena

Appearances: Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, MK Trilogy

Button Input: Back, Back, Back, Forward, Low Kick

God, this one is bizarre. Even by Mortal Kombat’s standards.

We all know by now that Mileena is a crazy, monstrous bitch beneath that pretty, purple mask, but in this fatality, it is also revealed that she..eats nails, I guess.

Yeah. I’m not kidding.

For this finisher, she pulls a mug out of nowhere and opens her mouth wide. Disturbingly wide. It looks like she’s done the snake trick of dislocating her own jaw.


She then upturns the mug, emptying a load of oversized metal nails into her mouth. She proceeds to spit these nails across the screen at machine-gun velocities and skewer the opponent from head to toe.

I just…I don’t even know what to say to this one. It’s like something you’d see in a Looney Tunes cartoon, if Looney Tunes cartoons included bloody executions.

I mean, the weirdest thing is that this could pretty much have been done with any character. There’s no particular reason why it should have been Mileena. She has a pair of distinctive weapons and some nasty, sharp teeth, so it’s not like there wasn’t enough there to work with. Apparently, though, someone at Midway just said “Nah, let’s have her swallow a fuckload of nails instead. That’ll be awesome.”

That company employs some seriously messed up people. Brilliant, but messed up.

#2: In which an alternative method for making ice cubes is demonstrated

Character: Sub-Zero

Appearances: Mortal Kombat: Deception

Button Input: Forward, Back, Down, Forward, 2

Sub-Zero is probably one of the first names that comes to mind when you think of Mortal Kombat, and with good reason. He’s the only character that has been playable in every version of the game to date, and has consistently provided us with solid finishing moves throughout the series, so it’s no surprise that he made it on to this list.

In this fatality, Sub-Zero summons all his power and freezes his opponent solid, leaving them completely immobile. He strolls up to them and nonchalantly plucks their frozen head off, then slides backwards on a trail of ice, using this movement to gain momentum before hurling the head at his opponent’s body, shattering it.

Sub-Zero’s done the old “freeze ‘em solid and bust ‘em up” finisher quite a lot in his time, but this is by far its best incarnation. It’s everything a Mortal Kombat fatality should be; stylish, fun to watch, over-the-top, and making use of the character’s special abilities to deal the finishing blow, rather than just being something that anyone could (theoretically) pull off.

#1: In which PETA is given the middle finger

Character: Kung Lao

Appearances: Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks

Button Input: Up, Up, Up, Down, 3

Oh. Boy.

I know what you’re thinking. Kung Lao again? Well, yeah. What can I say? He’s awesome and his fatalities are awesome, but this one absolutely takes the cake as the single greatest thing that Midway has ever, ever done. EVER.

In this fatality, Kung Lao removes his hat and pulls a rabbit out of it, which he holds out to his enemy. At this point, you’re probably thinking “Wait, wait. Isn’t this his Friendship move from Mortal Kombat II? WHAT A GYP. I wanna see some death, damn it.”

Your disappointment is quickly alleviated, however, when the enemy holds up their hand in a “No thanks” gesture. When this happens, Kung Lao promptly flips the fuck out and beats his enemy to death.

With the rabbit.

Do I even need to say anything else? This is too goddamn epic for words. This fatality is a thing of beauty, a work of art. It deserves a place in the Louvre. It should be set to an infinite loop on a high-definition plasma TV, right next to the Mona Lisa.

It’s interesting to note that the best fatality should come from the Mortal Kombat game that most deviated from the formula. (Unless you count those godawful Mythologies games, which I think most of us would rather forget about.) Some might not even call it a true MK game and therefore declare that this finisher has no place on this list at all, let alone in the number one spot. To these people, I say “Spin on it.” This fatality is PERFECTION, and a true testament to Kung Lao’s badassness. After all, can you name me just one other video game character that can fatally pummel the living shit out of their enemies with a small, furry animal?

I didn’t think so.

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#10: In which emotional scarring is inflicted

Character: Liu Kang

Appearances: Mortal Kombat: Deception

Button Input: Right, Right, Up, Up, 3

Oh Christ.

At first glance, this fatality doesn’t really seem to belong on this list. It’s pretty creative, it’s entertaining to watch, and it manages to be a decapitation-style fatality without actually being Just Another Decapitation.

What happens is this. Liu Kang transforms into this glowing, green mist and enters his opponent’s body, presumably possessing them. They spazz out for a while, then reach up, grab their own head and rip it off, revealing Liu Kang’s head underneath.

Sounds fun, right?

Well, it is. It’s a good fatality. Clever concept, good execution, nothing at all wrong with it.

Unless you do it to certain characters. Then it transforms into something horrifying.

Just imagine this for a second. Let’s say you’re fighting Jade. In this game, Jade is portrayed as a beautiful Brazilian-looking woman who doesn‘t wear very much at all. You’ve never done this fatality before, and you don’t know what to expect. You punch in the motion and sit back in your chair.

You then have to watch as Jade pulls off her own head, revealing Liu Kang’s square-jawed, snarling zombie mug atop a smoking hot, bikini-clad female body.


Now, like I said, this isn’t really a bad fatality in the true sense, but I think the simple fact that it shows you something that you will spend the rest of your life wishing you had never seen means that it deserves a spot here.



#9: In which the stage becomes a bouncy castle

Character: Noob Saibot

Appearances: Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, MK Trilogy

Button Input: Down, Down, Up, Run

As the Mortal Kombat series progressed, the character roster steadily became larger, and memory constraints got tighter and tighter. As such, by the time MKIII came along, a LOT of fatalities were ending with the victim exploding into blood and bones. This saved the developers from having to create unique sprites for murdered characters, thus saving them some space.

Some of these, unfortunately, were pretty boring, as they just consisted of a character performing one of their normal special moves, except that this time it makes the opponent blow up for some reason. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Noob Saibot’s fatality in Mortal Kombat Trilogy.

In it, he teleports towards his opponent and grabs them by the wrists. He then lifts them into the air and begins bouncing off the ground with them, gradually getting higher and higher until they eventually explode.

Now this isn’t like Ermac’s telekinesis fatality, in which the victim is brutally SLAMMED into the ground over and over again. Here, they just lightly bob along, landing feet-first each time, not going any higher than they do when they jump…and then the opponent just explodes for some reason, which makes no goddamned sense at all. I guess Mortal Kombat characters just become extremely volatile when they get beaten up enough or something. And how do you even bounce on concrete in the first place?

As an aside, Noob Saibot lives up to his name in that he is probably the cheapest character in the entire game. His projectile is absurd. It comes out fast and low, making it difficult to react to and impossible to crouch under, and when it hits, it turns your opponent into a flashing shadow ghost thing, making them incapable of attacking for five to ten seconds and basically rendering them helpless while you toss them around the ring like a ragdoll, IN ADDITION TO INFLICTING DAMAGE. Aside from that, he has the aforementioned teleport slam move, which cannot be blocked and is nigh-impossible to avoid, and he can also send a clone of himself running across the stage to throw you, which ALSO cannot be blocked and allows him to juggle you into his godlike projectile attack.

With that in mind, if you’re going to play as Noob Saibot then you’d better select a stage that allows for “pit” style finishing moves. Choosing a grossly overpowered character is bad enough, but ending the match with this abortion of a fatality into the bargain is an excellent way to end relationships, shatter friendships and get murdered in your sleep.

#8: In which a plagiarist is plagiarised

Character: Human Smoke

Appearances: MK Trilogy

Button Input: Run. Block, Run, Run, High Kick

I don’t think anyone really expected much from Smoke; that is, the human version of Smoke, rather than the robot. His first appearance was really just to provide players with an obnoxiously difficult secret boss fight, and when he actually became a playable character, he was literally just a clone of Scorpion, except his costume was grey and he constantly spewed smoke all over the place.

It probably doesn’t come as a surprise, then, that one of his fatalities is stolen from another character. This wouldn’t be so bad, except that ANOTHER CHARACTER STOLE IT FIRST.

If you don’t know, I’m talking about the classic manoeuvre of removing your opponent’s head with an uppercut. Now, when Johnny Cage did it, it was cool. Then Ermac appeared in Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 and stole it. That wasn’t such a big deal, though, because Cage wasn’t in UMK3, so at least in that particular incarnation of the game, it was an original fatality.

Then along came Human Smoke, who stole Ermac’s idea of stealing Cage’s fatality, and to make matters worse, the only game in which Human Smoke was playable featured both Ermac and Johnny Cage. He’s literally copying a copycat, which is so unbelievably lame it defies explanation.

#7: In which I honestly don’t know what the hell

Character: Human Smoke

Appearances: MK Trilogy

Button Input: Forward, Forward, Back, Run

Just when you were starting to think that Smoke was an entirely pointless character with no techniques of his own, along he comes with a brand new, completely unique fatality!

Unfortunately, it sucks.

I don’t even know what’s supposed to be happening here. When you input the command, Smoke immediately strikes his victory pose, which might make you think that there’s been some kind of glitch that caused the whole “killing your enemy” thing to get skipped over. However, a few seconds later, he disappears.

Then the opponent’s sprite starts getting all distorted. It kind of looks like an invisible pair of giant hands has grabbed them and is fluffing them up like a pillow. We hear all these weird squelching sounds, and then for no apparent reason, they just abruptly explode.

…OK, so what did he do? Did he teleport out of the game and use Photoshop to mess with his opponent’s sprite? Did he turn them into a plushie? Do we get any kind of explanation at all?

Nope. That’s it. The announcer says “Smoke Wins” and the match ends.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against weird and wonderful fatalities, but not when I don’t have a friggin’ clue what’s going on.

#6: In which shoulders are rubbed

Character(s): Sub-Zero, Jax, Nightwolf, Kung Lao

Appearances: Mortal Kombat 3, Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, MK Trilogy

Button Input: Varies

We’re cheating a little bit here in that we’re venturing into Animality territory.

Now, to be honest, most of the Animalities are pretty bad. They were only really included for novelty’s sake, in response to the (false) rumours that they existed in Mortal Kombat II. It was kind of cool seeing the characters transform, but none of them really did anything special. Also, you had to fulfil the stupid arbitrary requirement of performing a “Mercy” on your opponent first, which in turn meant you had to fulfil the stupid arbitrary requirement of winning on round 3 rather than round 2 (essentially, you weren’t allowed to beat your opponent twice in a row.)

So, we know that Animalities suck, but this one really stands out amongst all the mediocrity. In it, the victorious character transforms into some kind of predator, then knocks their opponent to the ground and…I guess they’re supposed to be mauling them to death, but it looks more like they’re administering a vigorous massage. Whatever the case, all we really get is a few frames of jerky, looped animation and some blood spurts.

Now this wouldn’t be so bad if only one character did it, but apparently Midway thought it would be a good idea to give this move to no fewer than FOUR PEOPLE. I’m serious. Sub-Zero, Nightwolf, Jax and Kung Lao; all of them do the exact same goddamn thing. The only difference is in the animal into which they transform.

YOU CAN DO BETTER THAN THIS, GUYS. I mean, it’s not as if there are a limited number of species in the animal kingdom to choose from. If you’re going to make us jump through hoops to perform these super-secret finishing moves then you could at least have the courtesy to give us something worthwhile for our trouble.

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#5: In which censorship interferes

Character: Classic Sub-Zero

Appearances: MK Trilogy

Button Input: Down, Down, Down, Forward, High Punch

Oh how the mighty have fallen.

Everyone who’s played Mortal Kombat remembers the sight of Sub-Zero triumphantly holding his opponent’s severed head aloft, spinal cord dangling in the wind. Indeed, it appears that this is exactly what we’re going to get in this fatality when Sub-Zero reaches for his helpless opponent’s neck…

…then the screen fades out, leaving us unable to see what’s happening.

Are you KIDDING ME? You’ve got people being sliced and diced every which way, people being blown into bloody chunks, people being burned to ash and people having the skin torn from their bodies, and you think that a simple head-rip is so bad that it needs to be CENSORED? IN A MORTAL KOMBAT GAME?!

I don’t know what the folks at Midway were thinking here, but whatever the case, one frame of animation followed by a fade-to-black doesn’t cut the mustard. At all. F for effort. F for execution. Fs pretty much all round.

#4: In which a graphical failure occurs

Character: Sub-Zero

Appearances: MK Trilogy

Button Input: Down, Forward, Forward, Forward, High Punch

God. Sub-Zero. Come on, man. You’re one of the coolest characters in the game, if you’ll pardon the pun. How the hell did you end up on this list three times?

Well, to be fair, this fatality isn’t too bad in and of itself. Sub-Zero launches his opponent into the air with an uppercut, then uses his power to create an icy stalagmite on the ground, upon which his opponent lands and is impaled. Fair enough. Kind of a rip-off of Jade’s fatality, but the execution is different enough that I’m willing to let that slide.

There’s one thing that completely ruins it, however, and that is that the opponent’s sprite is placed BEHIND the sprite of the stalagmite, so it looks like they’re just floating in the air rather than skewered on it.

I mean, look at this:



This is just sheer laziness. All they had to do to make this one look right was put the character’s sprite on top of the stalagmite, but instead we get this. For Christ’s sake, it looks like he’s playing on it. Like he’s holding on to the tip with his hands and swinging back and forth, as a child would on a climbing frame. Scorpion. The fearsome phantom ninja. Making merry as a schoolboy on Sub-Zero’s icy sculpture.


#3: In which a fat man breaks wind ISN’T THAT FUNNY

Character: Bo Rai Cho

Appearances: Mortal Kombat: Deception

Button Input: Up, Left, Right, 3

Farting is not inherently funny. I’d like to think that we, as a society, have realised this by now.

However, time and time again, this dream of mine is shattered; I keep seeing attempts at making fart jokes that don’t really provide us with anything to laugh at other than the simple fact that the person farted. This is especially prevalent in movies aimed at younger audiences, which I suppose is OK as long as it stays there, but here, the trend has infringed upon my beloved video games, and I am not happy about it at all.

The fatality is performed by a character named Bo Rai Cho. Bo Rai Cho attacks by vomiting. If this doesn’t immediately make you hate him, read on.

You can probably hazard a guess as to what happens in the scene, but I’ll go ahead and describe you for it anyway. Bo Rai Cho removes a torch from his belt, lights it, turns around and holds it to his backside, whereupon he lets out a tremendous fart and consumes his opponent in methane flames.

You might argue that this isn’t necessarily supposed to be funny, but as I pointed out earlier, Bo Rai Cho uses puke as a special move. He is the comic relief character. So yes, it is supposed to be funny, but no, it definitely isn’t.

The worst thing about it is that it’s basically just a carbon copy of his other fatality, except that instead of using his sake jug (I assume it’s sake) to set his opponent alight, he’s using putrid colon gas. That means they gave him the same damn fatality twice just so that they could make a stupid fart joke. Unacceptable, Midway.

After his opponent has been vanquished, he waves his hand in front of his face and says “Whoa, that was a stinker.”

How right you are, you disgusting little man.

#2: In which monkey business ensues

Character: Reptile

Appearances: Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, MK Trilogy

Button Input: Down, Down, Down, Up, High Kick

This one’s another Animality, but it really is so bad that I just can’t bring myself to omit it. We’ve already established that the quality of Animalities is uniformly mediocre, but this one…good god. Just let me describe it and it’ll speak for itself.

Reptile turns into a monkey and chases his opponent off.

Oh, I’m sorry, were you expecting more? Well, there isn’t more. That’s it. That’s ALL THAT HAPPENS.

Where do I begin.

Firstly, what is so terrifying about a small monkey that the opponent feels compelled to run away screaming? This would make a little bit more sense if it was a huge gorilla or something, but it’s just a monkey no taller than a man’s waist. Granted, even a huge gorilla still wouldn’t be as scary as Reptile already is. I mean, he’s a freakish lizard ninja thing that spits flesh-dissolving acid and can turn invisible at will.

But anyway. Secondly, how is this supposed to be a finishing move? I mean, the opponent runs off and Reptile chases them while waving his arms in a weird way. Nothing else. We don’t hear any gruesome death sounds from off-screen, and it isn’t like Kabal’s fatality where the character is literally scared to death; they’re still very much alive when they flee. In fact, this is actually LESS of a finisher than just knocking your opponent down with a standard attack. At least that way they end up unconscious.

If you weren’t even going to bother finishing the opponent off in this one then why didn’t you build upon that idea? Why not do the classic banana peel gag? Poo flinging? Fucking ANYTHING BUT THIS.

Thirdly, WHY IN GOD’S NAME DOES REPTILE TURN INTO A MONKEY? His name is “Reptile.” Why the hell doesn’t he turn into a reptile? Granted, Scorpion turns into a penguin for his Animality, but at least he has an excuse; Sheeva called dibs on the scorpion before Scorpion was introduced in UMK3. Besides, when MK4 came along, we finally did get to see Scorpion transform into an actual scorpion, and it's a hell of a lot cooler than when Sheeva does it, so that's OK.

Here, though, there’s absolutely no reason not to have Reptile change into something appropriate. His name gives you an entire class of animals to work with, for god’s sake. It’s not like you were strapped for options.

This was all set to take the number one spot, right up until I remembered the following little number. Brace yourselves, ladies and gentlemen.

#1: In which Midway phones it in

Character: Kobra

Appearances: Mortal Kombat: Deception

Button Input: Forward, Back, Forward, Forward, 2

This is so pitiful that it doesn't even deserve a pithy introductory paragraph. Let's just get it over with.

Kobra grabs his opponent in a reverse headlock and gives them a couple of quick knees to the chest. He then lets go of them and backs away.

Um, OK. So is this going to be one of those Fist of the North Star, “You’re already dead!” deals where it turns out he hit some vital pressure points and now their head’s going to explode? Or perhaps this is the beginning of a Brutality-style finisher in which he just pummels them into a bloody paste? That’d actually be pretty cool. We haven’t seen a fatality like that done in 3D yet. This is going to be good, right?

But no. Oh no. He just looks at them for a moment, then kicks their head off.

Are you serious? All that set-up just for that? If all you were going to do was decapitate them then what was the point of the headlock and the knee strikes? They didn’t even look cool when you were doing them. They added NOTHING to the overall finisher.

Honestly, this is like Baby’s First Fatality or something. It’s as if Kobra’s never done this before. He’s not really sure what‘s expected of him. To buy himself some time, he grabs the opponent and hits them a couple of times, just to break the monotony, then steps back, desperately racking his brain for some creative idea. After failing to come up with anything, he just says “Ah, fuck it” and knocks their head off. GEE, KOBRA, WE’VE CERTAINLY NEVER SEEN THAT BEFORE.

This fatality is Midway’s greatest flop. It’s uninspired, not at all entertaining, and the whole thing just feels…awkward. It’s like one of those conversations you have with your girlfriend’s dad who doesn’t approve of you; you know, how you start off with some curt, strained small talk, stare at one another for a moment, and then he just says to hell with manners and starts berating you and your lifestyle. That, only with blood and a severed head.

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