Mortal Kombat was released on Commodore Amiga in 1992 and immediately caused a sensation. The game featured the afformentioned fatalities, which allowed you to kill your opponent in a gruesome matter after defeating him. Hearts were pulled out, people were set ablaze and heads were ripped off with spinal cords included. There was already some discussion about the arcade version, but the console and Amiga release brought the violence to the masses and under the attention of the media.
The game was censored for it’s home console release, but violence was there nonetheless. According to talk shows, moms were horrified by the violent nature of the game and forbid their children to play it. It eventually lead to the creation of the ESRB rating system. The game was amazing, the whole 90’s Budget Kung-Fu Bloodsport movie atmosphere totally immersed you into the game. As you pressed start, the loud ringing of a gong welcomed you to the character select screen, and man did it look good. Ninja’s, assassins, movies stars and Bruce lee lookalikes were displayed in near photo realistic sprites with smooth animation.
The battles took places in ancient temples, Shrines and even on a small walkway above a spike filled pit during a full moon. It looked so real, mading the violence extra convincing. The gameplay was very interesting, each character basically had the same moveset of roundhouse kicks, sweeps, punch combo’s and the trademark uppercut. It made the fights feel really balanced. What made each character unique was their special moves. Scorpion would throw harpoons at his opponent and pull them towards him while shouting “GET OVER HERE!” another (Sub Zero) would freeze their adversary with an ice bolt. Thunder gods would fly across the screen screaming and ramming their victim against the wall while murderers would throw knives at your face. It was a sight to behold, and most importantly, incredibly fun! Mortal Kombat remains one of the favorite beat em ups to date, it was followed up by an even better sequel and the series continued to grow as the years went by.