WARNING: Violent Imagery & Gore from Mortal Kombat 1 ahead

Everyone has their own opinion on which fatalities in Mortal Kombat 1 are most fun to witness, excluding Kameos. We thought we’d put ours together too. I’m averaging each character’s two fatalities as one. This list is in ascending order, so the best are at the bottom.

I promise I’m not a sicko sadist; I’m just trying not to repeat the same words over and over. All of these fatalities have vision. None are truly bad in my opinion, except maybe Smoke’s.

Smoke

As cool as I think Smoke is in Mortal Kombat 1, I wish his fatalities were too. He mainly utilizes his powers to stealth or teleport. I was expecting a bigger payoff from stuffing a smoke grenade into someone’s mouth. The jawless look is cool though. His other finisher feels lackluster, slicing his opponent up from the shadows.

Kenshi

Another cool montage, but there’s not much conceptual synergy in Kenshi’s blend-then-slice finisher. It’s fun seeing the enemy’s terror before their execution. The blood splatter on the camera is a nice touch. However, the sliced body isn’t even mangled up after he cuts it in half. In my opinion, his other fatality is more exciting; he commands his sword to flow through his opponent’s body.

Ashrah

I like how Ashrah uses her feathers to stab her foe. They make a satisfying “thunk”. She engulfs them in flame, leaving charred remains. The whip sword is cool, but in a game of cool fatalities it pales in comparison. The camera movement and dance-like choreography looks great but I wish there was more impact when she lacerates her enemy.

Kitana

I personally love her outfit in this Mortal Kombat edition. She’s as clean and as elegant as one can be when shredding enemies to scraps. The look of fear on her victim’s face adds a nice touch. I also love a femme fatale, but her kissing fatality is a little too simple for my tastes.

Raiden

Raiden has well-executed animations in Mortal Kombat 1, but nothing really excites me. I applaud the decision to have him fly into through his victims’ bodies; it makes his finishers more involved than to simply fry everyone from afar.

I wish his first fatality ended with a bloody burst, but I understand the need to differentiate it from his second skeletal animation. If I were directing, I would speed up Raiden collecting the two halves and elevate his smash with more impact. Nevertheless, there’s nothing to be mad over Raiden.

Baraka

Impaling someone through their eyes is cool. Compared to his other fatality, the execution is less flashy but still raunchy. What really sets this apart is Baraka’s retraction. The giant flap left behind in his foes is something I haven’t seen before. Now, roasting your victim over a fire and feasting on them is great. We should all try it sometime.

Geras

Shredding people with a sandstorm is a novel idea, but smashing them into the ground isn’t. Geras’ time loop fatality may not be the most original idea in Mortal Kombat 1, but there’s great execution. It’s not glamorous, but it’s hilarious, a classic concept, and very fitting for him. I just love it when you can hit your foe with their own body parts.

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Sindel

At first, I wasn’t impressed; I loved MK11 Sindel’s fatalities. But after repeated watches I’m liking it more and more. She’s a queen, in all aspects. MK 1 especially highlights her dialogue.

She rips off her enemies’ arms and replaces them with her hair, which is a cute parallel. The expressions contorting in her victim’s face is my highlight for this fatality. “Who’s your queen?” is cunty. I wish she tossed her victims aside with more flair because it feels like an afterthought. However, what remains is absolutely gnarly.

Her second fatality appears simple, but there are some nice details I didn’t catch. I like how she affects the terrain with her voice. The enemy’s eardrums burst before their eye sockets as they cry out one last time. Her final screech feel great, wiping all flesh off the bone. And I love her jaunty laugh in the victory screen.

Nitara

First things first, Megan Fox’s performance is not as bad as the internet makes it out to be. Her worse deliveries are truly awful, don’t get me wrong. But from what I’ve seen of gameplay, she’s also got decent line reads that fit Nitara and the overall tone of Mortal Kombat. Credit to Cristina Valenzuela as well for additional voicework.

In my opinion, Nitara’s fatalities are generally of better quality. Force-feeding live bats is metal no matter what. I wish it ended with an implosion, but I’m not mad at how she rips out their innards. Her second animation is even goofier, which I like. The skeleton was an unexpected but welcome note to end on.

Reptile

Reptile is pure fun. Both fatalities successfully highlight his bestial abilities. You can choose a more savage, violent side by digesting and smashing your opponent. Or melt away your victim’s limbs and neck before you crunch their head with your jaws.

Rain

Rain’s animations are surprisingly “elegant” due to how he manipulates water. I really love the movement, sound, and pacing; it really accentuates water’s amorphous nature. I found him splitting his victim’s body a little extra, but hey it’s Mortal Kombat. I also really like Rain’s second fatality; again, it highlight’s water’s flexibility. Crushing his enemy’s head is a classic button to close on.

Kung Lao

Both of his fatalities are solid in terms of execution, creativity, and suitability for the character. There’s nothing too over the top, but satisfying nevertheless. I see his animations as a benchmark to compare to. Although, there isn’t too much variety between his two finishers. He slices them up with his hat.

Li Mei

Li Mei’s planted, delayed-bomb finisher is rather average. It’s nice to see her familiar burst from the victim, but other than that there’s nothing too special about it.

But Li Mei’s fire cracker fatality is a favorite of mine. It has it all: gore, creative build-up, a goofy run-and-kick combo, and an end with a fireworks display that delivers expectations. Her victim’s head still elicits panic while in air!

Liu Kang

If you want flashy, Liu Kang’s got it. My main stand-out detail is his POV when smashing/melting his opponent into the ground. The mask of a skull left behind is such a nice button to end on. In his other fatality, he summons a black hole to disintegrate his adversary. Both are certainly eye-catching.

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General Shao

General Shao’s fatalities are simpler in style but still pleasantly gory. His first animation is comical. He swings his adversary with so much force, their flesh peels away. The eyes are a nice but gruesome detail. His second fatality highlights slow slicing as he drags his victim across his greataxe. It’s a classic and timeless execution that guarantees a grimace.

Tanya

Like Kung Lao, Tanya is a benchmark standard in my opinion. I also just really like Tanya’s design; those colors compliment well.

That baton slap is really satisfying as it turns your enemy’s head around. Then there’s thrusting a pole-arm into the throat. The magic hands literally and figuratively push this fatality over the top as she extracts the spine with a satisfying thud.

Her second fatality isn’t as intricate, but it still holds its own. She flings her staff like a javelin as it skewers her enemy’s head. Their body collapses and we zoom in on a nice closeup as the head slides down when the staff lands. Their limbs are left hanging before they’re dropped. It’s a nice visual and transition into the victory screen.

Scorpion

Scorpion’s first fatality is impressively creative. You get gouged eyes, a beheading, and a body split in one elegantly cinematic move. I am also partial to his second; I love me a variety of weapons. It’s not really an entire arsenal, but I like it when there’s more stuff and people; It may be silly but it makes it feel like production value increases.

Sub-Zero

Sub-Zero’s wall fatality is alright. I love seeing the bloodied, smashed-in face through the ice. But man, the second is one of my favorites. His ice blade boomerangs, he roundhouse kicks the detached torso, it turns 180 degrees, the blade makes impact, and that slide. It’s such a great ending as your enemy’s facial expression droops and vomits out blood. Goddamn, that slide.

Havik

Havik’s got some real creative choreography. Swapping his opponent’s hearts is a campy and unique finisher.

But it’s his second that needs to be dissected. Havik breaks his own leg by kicking his adversary. He uses his own fractured fibula to stab them in the jaw. He punches them, breaking his own arm. Then stabs their throat with his sharp ulna and radius. He drags his forearm down, ripping their guts open. Lastly, he reconstitutes as if nothing ever happened. Kinda sick if you ask me.

Mileena

Like General Shao, Mileena’s fatalities are uncomplicated and pleasantly barbaric. Her first finisher may be simple, but I appreciate it for the visceral barbarism. I never knew it would be so fun to watch her chomp into someone’s skull and slurp out their brain.

Her other fatality is more creative but just as violent. Beheading via counter clockwise screw has got to hurt. Her casual toss and nonchalant pose contrast well against her vicious nature.

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Reiko

Reiko’s animations in Mortal Kombat 1 make me scrunch my face up in disgust and pleasure. It’s so entertainingly grisly. What adds that extra level of satisfaction is the sound, especially during the impalement. Hearing the victim’s grunts highlights how they’re still alive and enduring all that pain. That’s why it’s more satisfying than say, Rain’s splitting fatality.

Again, the creativity is to be applauded. Shoving someone’s fractured ulna and radius into their jaw is new to me. In addition, ripping out spines is a timeless classic, but I’ve never seen someone doing so by way of stomach. Reiko’s fatalities are sublime in its gore, tangibility, and originality.

Shang Tsung

Both animations are well directed. There’s a nice close-up on the victim’s face as their neck is pierced and acid is poured down their throat. With a smile, Shang Tsung slashes them open, leaving them to melt in their guts.

The other fatality is even more extreme. In one swift swipe, he stabs, shoves, and slices his victim open onto a shackled bed. He pours another harmful concoction, but it won’t just sting. Like a scene from Alien, a spined snake bursts forth and fucks UP the victim’s face. Akin to a pig and slop, the serpent gobbles away until it tosses their brain into its own gullet.

Again, another pair where sound really enhances the experience: the “shing” of the claws, the piercing of flesh, the cries of agony, the gurgling of acid. Shang Tsung’s combo of claws and magic fluids are like PB&J. Stabby and slicey meets burning corrosion; they’re a synergistic palette from the various textures of pain.

Johnny Cage

I believe Johnny Cage has the best fatalities in Mortal Kombat 1, as he should. His walk of fame has unique facial expressions each time. And he always has to show off those splits when slamming his opponent’s face.

His whole car sequence is fantastic, from the goofy shadow kick to the brutal crash. You just know what’s next when that car door lifts. Not only are his animations brutal, but they have that cheesy and campy element. It perfectly encapsulates his character. You totally get who he is.

Honorable Mentions

These are just details I noticed and liked. Kano shoves his partner aside during his Kameo. Johnny Cage whips out his phone to record a Kameo. Sonya diving, leaping, and flying across the stage like a jazzercise super mom.

Favorite Kameo Fatalities: Jax, Frost, Cyrax, Sektor, Sareena, and Shujinko.

Again, the developers and animators did a great job. I’m sure Mortal Kombat 1 is as fun to play as it is to watch. Do you disagree with my placements? I hope to hear what your favorites are. Anyway, did you count how many times I used “nice”, “enemy”, “goofy”, “cool”, “my opinion”, “opponent”, “satisfying”, and “creative”?

Luke Sakanashi
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