Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Why "Mortal Kombat" Is The Greatest Fighting Game Ever

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There are VERY few things I can speak about authoritatively (Dragonball Z, DC Comics, Quentin Tarantino movies, Star Wars and a few other things) but when it comes to "Mortal Kombat", I'm that guy you NEED to talk to. I remember when I first saw "Mortal Kombat" when my Uncle bought a Sega Genesis and we (my brother and I) were urged NOT play it, out of fear of us becoming wanton violent criminals, of course, that didn't happen. What DID happen was I gained a new found respect for storytelling, graphics and the over all coolness of grandiose characters. So in this article, I'm going to explain why "Mortal Kombat" is quite possibly the GREATEST FIGHTING GAME EVER!

There's always a competition going on between fandoms, Star Wars or Star Trek, DC or Marvel the list goes on and on but for me, when it comes to "Mortal Kombat" or "Street Fighter", the answer is undeniably "Mortal Kombat", while I have the utmost respect for "Street Fighter" and I completely recognize it as "Mortal Kombat's" progenitor, "Mortal Kombat" wins (pun intended). Fighting games have come and gone but "Mortal Kombat" continues to rule the roost as being the #1 Fighting game, and it's not hard to see why, what with it's ultra violent moves, larger than life characters and fascinating storyline. One of the main reasons why I couldn't access other fighting games as easily as "Mortal Kombat" is because I had no sense of what I was doing, sure I was beating people up...but why? Case in point, can anyone tell me the storyline of "Street Fighter" ? Yes, I understand it's a tournament, but set up by who and why?

"Mortal Kombat" gives you a clear understanding of who the good guys are, who the bad guys are, their motivations and the personal conflicts between characters. After all Scorpion and Sub-Zero wouldn't be NEARLY as popular if it wasn't for the rivalry these two have,what with Sub-Zero (being framed for) killing Scorpion's entire clan and his wife and child, the backstory is just too delicious to ignore! After all Ken & Ryu are so iconic because of their friendly rivalry, having the same master and similar moves and while Ryu is a down to earth nomad, Ken is cocky American rich kid with a lot of skill. But friendly fire can't compare to literal bad blood between Scorpion & Sub Zero.

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So much win.

Moving away from the storyline aspect, "Mortal Kombat" has been ballsy since day one. "Mortal Kombat" created the video game rating system (for better or worse). In terms of characters, "Mortal Kombat" has given us several diverse characters who are all powerful and bad ass in their own right, for African Americans/Black Characters we have Jax, Kai, Tanya, Darius and Noob Saibot (that last one's a joke), as for females we have Sonya Blade, Kitana, Mileena (persona favorite of mine), Jade, Sindel, Sheeva, Scarlett,Li Mei, Kira, Frost, Ashrah, Nitara, and the up & comers Cassie Cage, D'Vorah, and Ferra of the Ferra/Tor duo (and those are just playable characters). Not to mention the female characters are fully actualized characters with strengths and weaknesses and while many will bemoan the fact that these women's clothing might be revealing, they're ignoring the fact that these women fight and kick ass just as hard as any of the male characters.

Not to mention the central protagonist of the "Mortal Kombat" series has been an Asian man, not a White dude with excellent abs and great teeth, but an Asian man. Despite the fact that many will see Liu Kang as an Asian stereotype, within the context of the game, Liu Kang is one of the greatest fighters spanning several realms and has saved the Earth multiple times, singlehandedly...how many Asian protagonists have done that? Not many. Liu Kang stands the test of time of being one of the greatests video game characters ever based on his track record of who he's defeated (Goro, Shang Tsung, Shoa Kahn, and Shinnok) Liu Kang is a mere mortal and he's fought people that not even gods could take down, and he's fought gods. How many video games can boast an Asian protagonist as their central character who singlehandedly saved Earth and aided in liberating an entirely different realm? I'll wait.

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We gotta bad ass here.

"Mortal Kombat" is also a MAJOR risk taker in the video game world, in 2002, "Mortal Kombat" took a HUGE risk and killed off their central character Liu Kang in "Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance". Granted, they brought Liu Kang back as a zombie, but even then in the game storyline, Liu Kang was dead. Would "Street Fighter" have the balls to kill off Ryu & Ken?

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Rest In Peace, Liu Kang 2002

While I still hold to the fact that killing Liu Kang was a mistake, I admire "Mortal Kombat's" balls to actually do it and make it canon (that is until the reboot, and even then it's still canon because Liu Kang is dead in the reboot as well!) And speaking of the reboot, not only did "Mortal Kombat" kill Liu Kang, but they canonically killed the majority of their entire roster leaving only Johnny Cage, Sonya Blade and Raiden alive for the up coming "Mortal Kombat X".

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Damn, Liu Kang. Dude, just can't catch a break.

You have to admit that "Mortal Kombat" is ever changing animal that hasn't gotten old and while it may have waned in the mid to late 90s, the creative team behind "Mortal Kombat" are always pulling out new tricks and taking risks to keep "Mortal Kombat" fresh either by introducing new characters, ridiculous fatalities, telling a new story and changing the face of the game so that each "Mortal Kombat" game is different from the last and I for one appreciate it. I cannot WAIT to see what the storyline is for "Mortal Kombat X" and who takes over as the central hero and central bad guy. I am hoping Reiko shows up and I'm just REALLY excited. Let me know what you think. I'll see you guys later, FINISH HIM!

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#ReikoInX

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