With Mortal Kombat X‘s release approaching, and some of the most gruesome Fatalities coming with it, we thought it was a good idea to revisit the Top 25 ways to humiliate your opponents at the end of a match. To be fair, we split it up into two sections: arcade (MK1-MK4) and console-only (MK:DA-MK9). So come join us as we journey through the history of gore, from 16 bit pixelated blood to last-gen realism.
25.) Johnny Cage’s Head Decapitation: Mortal Kombat 1
This is the epitome of cool; Johnny has time to literally knock a guy’s block off and put back on his stunner shades before the dude’s head even stops rolling on the ground. And in 1992, this was one of the most horrific things in gaming.
24.) Jax’s Arm Rip: Mortal Kombat 2
No. No, you may not leave. Just stand there like an idiot with no arms. This becomes Jax’s signature throughout the franchise, and it’s hard not to argue with it’s hilarity, but it’s not exactly the most effective Fatality in terms of actually being fatal.
23.) Scorpion’s Hell Hand: Mortal Kombat 3
Scorpion takes his role as a hellspawn very seriously. He’s been the skeleton-y fire breather for 2 games already. He’s now been promoted to the giant hand summoner guy. Here’s wishing Hanzo Hasashi the best in his future career endeavors.
22.) Kabal’s Head Balloon: Mortal Kombat 3
This move is an automatic license to call your opponent an airhead for at least a week. Kabal is quite the weirdo, but he has some funny Fatalities, including this one, where he pumps air into an opponent’s head, inflating them to the point they float up to the air, then pop. The adult in me thinks it’s dumb, but the 7 year old in me thinks your mom is dumb.
21.) Kano’s Heart Rip: Mortal Kombat 1
If I could name any one movie that I associate with this fatality, it’s Lion King, right around the end of the wildebeest stampede. This is another move that shocked people, and was actually censored for the SNES version.
20.) Sub Zero’s Absolute Zero: Mortal Kombat 2
Death by exploding from a frozen uppercut is what the doctor told me. Better bring your A game, else wind up like this poor sucker who combusts from reacting with Sub Zero’s awesomeness. Uppercutting is always the most relieving move in an MK game, but to do it in such dramatic fashion after a match is icing on the cake.
19.) Johnny Cage’s Torso Throw: Mortal Kombat 2
You ever been in line for something for hours, and then this snarky a-hole jumps in front of you and starts yammering on with his buddies? This move is dedicated specifically to that person.
18.) Fujin’s Wind Skinner: Mortal Kombat 4
You could say that this move really… blew me away. Haaaa. The power of wind isn’t exactly the most exciting one to have in the MK world, but if you’ve ever seen the damage that pressurized air can dole out, then you know this is one of the most painful ways to die in the game.
17.) Sheeva’s Ground Pound: Mortal Kombat 3
Okay, sure, it’s pretty comical, and the visual effects are even funnier, but… no, that actually about hits it on the head. Listen, if you’re brave enough to play as Sheeva in MK3, people are already laughing at you, so why not pull off this one and shut them all up?
16.) Liu Kang’s Arcade Drop: Mortal Kombat 3
It’s 1995, you’re the new kid in town, and you’ve been trying for weeks to get a chance to play the new Mortal Kombat 3 game at your local arcade, but the town bully is racking up victories with Liu Kang (because only assholes use Liu Kang, let’s be honest) and won’t let you get a turn. After finally challenging him to Mortal Kombat, you whoop his butt in front of everyone with his own character and drop the arcade on him, sending him packing like only somebody in a Might Morphin Power Rangers scene could do justice. There is a new victor this day.
15.) Shang Tsung’s Soul Steal: Mortal Kombat 2
Nobody was really that impressed with MK1‘s Shang Tsung, am I right? And the bus boy ninja outfit in MK2 wasn’t really doing it for me either, until I saw somebody pull this Fatality off. Sucking the soul right out of the character and leaving an unrecognizable carcass behind terrified the bejeezus out of me. I was also 7 years old.
14.) Jax’s T-1000 Slicer: Mortal Kombat 3
You knew that MK3 gave Jax cybernetic arms, but what you didn’t know is that he also turned into T-1000 from Terminator 2. In this Chop Slap of an infomercial, Jax turns his opponent into diced man meat with just the use of his arms. Ludicrous, yes, but still pretty damn awesome for us 80’s babies.
13.) Sonya Blade’s Scissors Split: Mortal Kombat 4
If you’ve played MK the whole way through, then you know how stupid it’s been for girls trying to get a cool Fatality for their characters, especially Sonya Blade. Every single Fatality for Sonya leading up to MK4 is some variation of the “Kiss of Death.” Here, Sonya lets her legs do the talking. Oh, and if you’re a fan of the “Kiss of Death,” don’t worry, there is a variation of the move in every MK game aside from MK9. MK9 also includes an updated Scissors Split.
12.) Smoke’s World Destruction: Mortal Kombat 3
This is how you ended a sleepover MK3 tournament, right before your mom comes to pick you up. You can’t keep beating your friends anymore because you blew up the freakin world! Sorry Tommy, homefield advantage couldn’t even help you. I don’t even own this game! And then you drop the mic like Chris Rock, knowing that you just ruined Tommy’s birthday.
11.) Sheeva’s Strip Down: Mortal Kombat 3
Sheeva – lame character, awesome fatalities. Stripping a character right out of their own skeleton is just narsty. Forget everything you know about anatomy; this four-armed she-Shokan will embarrass you, exposing your goodies like a loose dress on prom night.
10.) Liu Kang’s POV Fireball: Mortal Kombat 4
The POV-style Fatalities were a great inclusion to the franchise, and I’m surprised that it’s been used so sparingly in the recent games. It adds to the brutality of it all, like you are a spectator in the stands. It even makes this jerkoff, Liu Kang, look like a professional.
9.) Stryker’s Grenade Strap: Mortal Kombat 3
Hats off to Michael O’Brien for mo-capping this Fatality. Strapping grenades to a drowsy foe is as 80’s action star as it gets, but the way he plugs his fingers in his ears in preparation for the explosion is just hilarious, not to mention the way he LAPD’s that shit by shooting one off in the air. This was officially the last time police brutality was acceptable as a joke.
8.) Kano’s Skeleton Rip: Mortal Kombat 3
A spin on Sheeva’s Strip Down, Kano reaches deep in the throat of his opponent and pulls out… their entire skeleton. Talk about a magic trick! Great creativity on this one – I especially enjoy the slump of skin, hair and clothing that falls to the ground after the gigantic head gap is exposed.
7.) Liu Kang’s Dragon Transformation: Mortal Kombat 2
Previous to this, I had never seen anything so crazy in a game. Yeah, MK was over-the-top, but turning into a dragon was something that people just didn’t do when I was younger. I mean, what happens to the undigested foe as they sit in Liu Kang’s belly? Not the brightest move, Liu Kang. Can you say “heartburn?”
6.) Jax’s Head Clap: Mortal Kombat 2
Jax is fed up with your shit, and he’s going to kill you. Sure, make all the angry black man jokes you want, but if all you listened to all day were ad-libbing ninjas, (and that asshole, Liu Kang) you would probably snap, too. Not to mention that Raiden is definitely a racist. Just one little clap of the ears and it will all be over soon, Jax.
5.) Kung Lao’s Hat Slice: Mortal Kombat 2
Considering that Mortal Kombat 9 was all about slicing people in half, this move was well ahead of its time. Kung Lao’s hat has become just as much a part of him as Scorpion’s dagger, so it was cool to see him utilize it in a Fatality. It’s not just a creative idea, but technically well-done for its time.
4.) Quan Chi’s Leg Beatdown: Mortal Kombat 4
How disrespectful can you be? We live in a civilized world, but I can name at least a dozen people I knew as a child that would not hesitate to kiss their mothers goodbye, and then proceed to beat each other’s lifeless bodies to death with another person’s disembodies legs. Some people’s children…
3.) Ninja Sub Zero’s Icicle Impale: Mortal Kombat 3
If I had the power of ice, I would be: cheating at snowball fights, constructing ice furniture, and learning to surf around like Silver Surfer to avoid transportation. It would never cross my mind to impale somebody through the dick on a giant icicle. But I guess that’s why Kuai Liang got the job and I did not.
2.) Sub Zero’s Spine Rip: Mortal Kombat 2
Damn, if there was any better way to put your opponent in her/his place, it was by forcefully ripping out their head and spinal column, then displaying it for the player to see. The move has historically been known as the one that freaked everybody out, and it still holds today, being used multiple times in several variations over the franchise’s span.
1.) Scorpion’s Toasty: Mortal Kombat 1-4
Toasty! The most recognizable signature move had to be Scoprion’s Fatality. The whole time, I thought he was just a ninja, but it turns out dude is a hellspawn that burns his foes to a crisp. The move was used for his Fatality in every single one of the arcade games, and even brought back in the Klassic Pack for MK9. The move is named after Dan Forden, the franchise’s sound director, who occasionally comes on screen to taunt/congratulate players for big moves and combos.
That concludes our list of Top 25 Mortal Kombat Fatalities from the arcade days. Check out our list of the Top 25 Fatalities from the modern games here.
Thanks to YouTubers for the videos to create these GIFs and MK Wikia for some of the GIFs.