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Which Mortal Kombat Game is the Greatest of All?

Updated: Sep 24, 2023

Fatality! With Mortal Kombat 1 releasing soon, we thought it was the perfect time to look back and rank all the previous games.


The Mortal Kombat franchise has been around for quite some time, and it's safe to say that it has evolved in more ways than one. From the early pixelated days to the gore-filled graphics of today, Mortal Kombat has come a long way. But which game is the greatest of them all?


We've ranked every Mortal Kombat game from worst to best so that you can decide for yourself. Just be warned, we may have some controversial opinions. Let's dive into the bloody world of Mortal Kombat!


Mortal Kombat Logo with the text "Mortal Kombat Games Ranked"
All Mortal Kombat Games Ranked

The Evolution of Mortal Kombat Games

From its humble beginnings to the latest installment, Mortal Kombat 11, the Mortal Kombat series has come a long way. With each new game, fans have been treated to fresh characters and fighting styles that keep the gameplay exciting. Not only has there been an evolution in graphics and gameplay mechanics, but the popularity and relevance of Mortal Kombat games in the gaming industry have also continued to grow.


This franchise has significantly impacted the fighting game genre, standing alongside other iconic titles like Street Fighter. Whether you've played it on Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo, Sega, The Arcade, or even on your PC, Mortal Kombat always delivers with its special moves, memorable characters like Goro and Johnny Cage, and the signature fatalities that make it the best in the business.



The Early Days of Mortal Kombat

Ah, the early days of Mortal Kombat, when the world was introduced to this groundbreaking game in 1992. It was a time when video games were just starting to push boundaries, and the original Mortal Kombat was no exception. With its unique and controversial fatalities, it quickly captured the attention of players everywhere. The success and popularity of Mortal Kombat II solidified its place in gaming history, paving the way for other fighting games to follow.


Who can forget the iconic characters like Liu Kang, Scorpion, and Raiden? They became household names and helped establish Mortal Kombat as a force to be reckoned with. It's incredible how something that started all those years ago still holds a special place in our hearts today.



The Middle Years and Changes in Gameplay

Then came the middle years of Mortal Kombat! This is where things really started to spice up. Games like Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance and Deception brought in new gameplay elements that kept fans on their toes. And let's not forget about the inclusion of story modes and arcade endings in the later games. It added a new layer to the experience, giving players a deeper connection to the characters.


Oh, and how could I forget Mortal Kombat: Armageddon? That game boasted the most extensive roster in the series. It was a dream come true for fans who wanted to play as their favorite fighters. And let's not overlook the transition to 3D graphics in Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance. It was a visual feast for the eyes.


Speaking of innovation, Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks took things in a completely different direction with its co-op adventure gameplay. It was a refreshing change that showed the versatility of the Mortal Kombat series. So, as you can see, the middle years of Mortal Kombat brought about some exciting changes and additions that kept the franchise fresh and exciting.


A screenshot of Raiden in a cinematic scene from the 2023 game Mortal Kombat 1
Raiden in Mortal Kombat 1 (2023)

Recent Developments in the Mortal Kombat Series

Let's talk about the recent developments in the Mortal Kombat series. The denizens at NetherRealm Studios really know how to keep things fresh and exciting. One of their most significant moves was the series' reboot with Mortal Kombat (2011). They took the classic formula and gave it a modern twist, bringing back the brutal fatalities and intense fighting that fans love.


But they didn't stop there. They also had a crossover with DC Comics in Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, pitting our favorite MK characters against iconic heroes like Batman and Superman. It was a wild and unexpected mash-up that brought together two legendary franchises.


And let's not forget about Mortal Kombat11. This game took us back to the roots with its return to the classic 2D-style gameplay that made the series so popular. But it also introduced new gameplay mechanics like Fatal Blows and Krushing Blows, adding a whole new layer of strategy to the fights.


And as if that wasn't enough, NetherRealm Studios has been expanding the Mortal Kombat universe through DLC characters and storylines. We've seen familiar faces return and new ones, like Cassie Cage and Goro, join the roster. They're always coming up with new stuff to keep us hooked.


So, yeah, the Mortal Kombat series isn't going anywhere anytime soon. With each new release, it just keeps getting better and better (for the most part).



Who are the main characters in Mortal Kombat games?

The main characters in Mortal Kombat games include iconic fighters such as Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Raiden, Liu Kang, Sonya Blade, and Johnny Cage. These characters have become fan favorites and are often featured prominently in the game's storyline and marketing materials.


Every Mortal Kombat Game Ranked From Worst To Best

We're gonna dive into the world of Mortal Kombat and rank every game from worst to best. We'll look at each game's story, gameplay, and overall enjoyment to show you which ones are worth your time. Of course, we'll also consider how these games have changed over time and what the fans and critics say about them.


This list does not include mobile versions of Mortal Kombat, such as GameBoy's Mortal Kombat Advanced or the Android / iOS game Mortal Kombat Mobile. So, let's settle the score and find out which Mortal Kombat game reigns supreme!


14. Mortal Kombat: Special Forces

Platforms: PlayStation | Release Year: 2000


Let's talk about Mortal Kombat: Special Forces, the black sheep of the Mortal Kombat family. This spin-off game was released with high hopes but received a beating from critics and fans alike. The gameplay mechanics and storyline were far from what fans expected, deviating from the traditional Mortal Kombat formula. Special Forces left gamers feeling frustrated, as it failed to capture the essence of the beloved series.


This game looks straight awful! And what's up with the Mortal Kombat guys wielding guns? The impact of Special Forces on the Mortal Kombat series was undoubtedly negative, tarnishing its reputation.


Unsurprisingly, this game is often ranked as the absolute worst in the franchise. From clunky controls to uninspired level design, everything went against it. But hey, every series has its low point, right?


A screenshot of Mortal Kombat Special Forces gameplay
Mortal Kombat Special Forces (2000)

13. Mortal Kombat 4

Platforms: Arcade, GameBoy Color, N64, PlayStation, PC | Release Year: 1997


Ah, Mortal Kombat 4. The game attempted the daring transition from 2D to 3D graphics. It brought with it a fresh roster of characters, including the likes of Quan Chi and Shinnok. While some fans embraced the change, others criticized the gameplay mechanics and fatalities, feeling that they didn't quite live up to the Mortal Kombat legacy.


Despite its mixed reception, Mortal Kombat 4 still left its mark on the series. It paved the way for future installments, pushing the boundaries of what the Mortal Kombat games could achieve. Though it may not be regarded as the best in the series, it undeniably played a crucial role in shaping the franchise.


A screenshot of Mortal Kombat 4 gameplay, Scorpion vs Reptile
Mortal Kombat 4 (1997)

12. Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero

Platforms: N64, PlayStation | Release Year: 1997


Now let's talk about the spin-off game Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero. This game takes a deep dive into Sub-Zero's backstory and adventures, allowing players to explore his world like never before. It introduces platforming and puzzle-solving elements that add a new dimension to the gameplay. However, the game received a mixed reception and faced criticisms for its design flaws.


Despite this, Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero expanded the lore of the Mortal Kombat universe and offered fans a different experience from the traditional Mortal Kombat games. While it may not have reached the same level of popularity as its predecessors, it still holds a special place in the hearts of Mortal Kombat enthusiasts.


A screenshot of Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero gameplay
Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero (1997)

11. Mortal Kombat: Armageddon

Platforms: PlayStation 2, Wii, Xbox | Release Year: 2006


Now, let's talk about Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, the eleventh game in the Mortal Kombat series. This game is known for its unique feature of including every character from previous Mortal Kombat games. It's like a Mortal Kombat family reunion! Players had the opportunity to explore the vast Mortal Kombat universe through the Konquest mode, delving into the rich lore and history of the franchise.


One of the highlights of Armageddon was the vast array of fighting styles and combos available for each character. From fast-paced martial arts to bone-crunching special moves, there was something for everyone. The game's storyline also brought all the forces of good and evil together for the ultimate showdown. Talk about an epic battle!



Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, the 11th game in the series, received mixed reviews. While it included every character from previous games, some felt it was a desperate attempt to compensate for lackluster execution. The storyline aimed to bring forces of good and evil together but was convoluted. Despite various fighting styles and combos, the gameplay was criticized for feeling sluggish and unresponsive. Armageddon didn't meet high expectations but captured Mortal Kombat enthusiasts' attention.


A screenshot of Mortal Kombat Armageddon gameplay, Taven vs Sub-Zero
Mortal Kombat: Armageddon (2006)

10. Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe

Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 | Release Year: 2008


Prepare for an epic showdown in Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, where two iconic worlds collide. This game brings together the brutal fighters of Mortal Kombat and the mighty superheroes from DC Comics. It's a unique blend of Mortal Kombat's intense gameplay mechanics and the superpowers of beloved characters like Batman and Superman.


The storyline merges the Mortal Kombat and DC Comics universes, creating an intriguing narrative that fans couldn't resist. However, this crossover also faced its fair share of controversies. While the idea had immense potential, the execution fell short with clunky fighting and movement mechanics. The superheroes and fighters could use a lesson or two from Cassie Cage or Goro.


Despite the flaws, Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe remains a fascinating entry in the Mortal Kombat series. It's a testament to the creativity of Midway Games and the ambition to push boundaries. Just imagine the possibilities of a Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter crossover! But until then, let's appreciate the daring endeavor that brought these legendary characters together.


A screenshot of Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe gameplay, Green Lantern vs Jax
Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe (2008)

9. Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance

Platforms: GameBoy Advance, GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox | Release Year: 2002


Time to talk about Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance! This game brought fresh faces to the Mortal Kombat universe, like Kenshi and Frost, adding a new level of diversity. The fighting styles and fatalities were seriously upgraded, making the battles feel more intense and realistic. And let's not forget about the Konquest mode, which gave players a whole new way to experience the game's storyline.


Visually, the graphics and sound were top-notch for its time, really immersing players in the action. Introducing the mysterious Krypt mode added an extra layer of excitement and mystery. The game also became more mature and serious than its predecessors. So, it's no wonder this game ranks number 9!


A screenshot of Mortal Kombat Deadly Alliance Gameplay, Kano vs Mav Ado
Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance (2002)

8. Mortal Kombat

Platforms: Arcade, Super Nintendo, Sega Mega Drive, Sega CD, Dos, Windows, and a bunch more | Release Year: 1992


Ah, Mortal Kombat, the game that brought us so much joy and frustration back in the day. Released in 1992, this iconic arcade hit overtook the gaming world. Who could forget the intense battles between Scorpion, Sub-Zero, and Raiden? The fatalities, oh my, the fatalities! They were so unique and brutal that they set Mortal Kombat apart from any other fighting game.


And let's not forget about the groundbreaking graphics and sound design. We were blown away by what Midway and NetherRealm Studios were able to achieve. So, why does this game rank number 8? It's because Mortal Kombat laid the foundation for the entire series, paving the way for future sequels and establishing itself as one of the best fighting games ever.


A screenshot of Mortal Kombat gameplay, Rayden vs Sub-Zero
Mortal Kombat (1992)

7. Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks

Platforms: PlayStation 2, Xbox | Release Year: 2005


Let's take a trip back to 2005 when Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks was born. This beat-em-up spin-off game followed the epic journey of Liu Kang and Kung Lao as they faced off against the notorious Shang Tsung and Shao Kahn. It received rave reviews for its co-op play, mesmerizing music, and stunning visuals.


This Mortal Kombat game is the bomb! Fans absolutely love it, and it's become a cult classic. The story is super captivating, and the action is intense - a total immersive experience. It's a little different from the classic MK fighting style, so it doesn't quite make it to the top of the list, but it still holds a special place in our hearts at number seven.


A screenshot of Mortal Kombat Shaolin Monks gameplay
Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks (2005)

6. Mortal Kombat: Deception

Platforms: GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox | Release Year: 2004


So, here we are at number 6 on our journey through the greatest Mortal Kombat games of all time: Mortal Kombat: Deception. This game brought some exciting new gameplay mechanics to the table. We're talking about interactive environments and puzzle-like elements.


And let's not forget the impressive roster of playable characters, like Sub-Zero and Scorpion. Deception also added some unique game modes, such as Chess Kombat and Puzzle Kombat, which were a big hit with fans. Additionally, the game features a distinct minigame mode called "Konquest," a free-roaming action-adventure mode.


But it wasn't just the gameplay that made Deception stand out. The graphics and visuals significantly improved from previous Mortal Kombat games, giving the experience a polished and immersive feel.


The story mode of Deception was also well-received, adding depth to the Mortal Kombat lore. And with the addition of online play, gamers could now challenge opponents worldwide. Therefore, Mortal Kombat: Deception deserves its spot as the number 6 game in the series. It introduced innovation, excitement, and surprises that any fan would enjoy.


A screenshot of Mortal Kombat Deception gameplay, Shujinko vs Bo' Rai Cho
Mortal Kombat: Deception (2004)

5. Mortal Kombat 9

Platforms: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox, PC | Release Year: 2011


Let's get ready to rumble! Mortal Kombat 9, officially titled Mortal Kombat, brought back all the classic characters we know and love and introduced some fresh faces. It was like a reunion party but with updated graphics and gameplay mechanics that made everything feel brand new.


The storyline was a reboot of the series, giving us a fresh start to the franchise. And let me tell you, this game's challenges and difficulty levels were no joke. It kept us on our toes, trying to improve our skills and conquer every battle.


But what really took it to the next level was the tag team mode. This added a whole new layer of strategy and excitement to the game. Teaming up with a friend or going solo, you had to unleash your best moves and coordinate attacks to take down your opponents. And if that wasn't enough, the DLC content kept us thirsty for more. New characters, new costumes, it was like Christmas morning every time we fired up the game.


So why does Mortal Kombat 9 rank number 5? It took everything we loved about the series and gave it a modern twist. It was a glorious celebration of the Mortal Kombat legacy, blending nostalgia with innovation. Plus, it got us hooked on its challenging gameplay and addictive tag team battles. Mortal Kombat 9 truly brought the heat and deserves its spot as one of the greatest games in the series.


A screenshot of Mortal Kombat gameplay, Johnny Cage vs Sonya Blade
Mortal Kombat (2011)

4. Mortal Kombat II

Platforms: All 90's Sega Consoles, GameBoy, PlayStation, PC | Release Year: 1993


Now, it's time to talk about one of the most beloved games in the Mortal Kombat series: Mortal Kombat II. This game is regarded as one of the best in the franchise for several reasons. First and foremost, the improvements in graphics and gameplay mechanics were truly impressive. The characters looked better, and the fights felt smoother and more intense.


Speaking of characters, Mortal Kombat II introduced some iconic additions to the roster. Kitana, Baraka, and Mileena brought diversity and depth to the game, giving players even more options. The new finishing moves - the "Friendship" and "Babality" finishers added a fun and playful twist to the fatalities.


Considering its impact on the fighting game genre and enduring popularity among fans, Mortal Kombat II is undoubtedly one of the greatest Mortal Kombat games of all time, ranking at number 4.


A screenshot of Mortal Kombat II gameplay, Jax vs Shang Tsung
Mortal Kombat II (1993)

3. Mortal Kombat 3

Platforms: Arcade, GameBoy, Sega Genesis, Super Nintendo, PlayStation, PC | Release Year: 1995


So, here we are at number 3 on our list of the greatest Mortal Kombat games of all time: Mortal Kombat 3. Now, what made this game stand out from its predecessors? Well, it introduced some awesome new characters that became instant fan favorites. Who could forget the mysterious ninja known as Ermac? Talk about bringing fresh excitement to the game!


But it wasn't just the characters that made Mortal Kombat 3 special. Adding "run" moves and chain combos added a whole new layer of strategy to the gameplay. It was all about timing and execution, my friends. And let's not forget about the game's improved graphics and sound design. Midway really upped their game with this one.



Of course, we can't discuss Mortal Kombat without mentioning the fatalities and other finishing moves. I mean, come on, the gore factor is one of the things that makes this series so iconic. And let's not overlook the complexity and engagement of the game's storyline. It was a step up from previous installments, keeping players hooked from start to finish.


An improved version, Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, was eventually released. Mortal Kombat 3 ranks third for a good reason. Its impressive lineup of characters, various game modes, and high replay value solidify its position as one of the best Mortal Kombat games ever made.


A screenshot of Mortal Kombat 3 gameplay, Kung Lao vs Kung Lao
Mortal Kombat 3 (1995)

2. Mortal Kombat X

Platforms: Android, iOS, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC | Release Year: 2015


Okay, so let's talk about Mortal Kombat X, the game that takes the number two spot on our list. Now, this game brought many new things to the Mortal Kombat universe. We're talking about new characters with unique abilities that added a fresh twist to the gameplay. And the story mode was top-notch!


Engaging cutscenes made you feel like you were part of the action, and the character endings were just the cherry on top. Plus, it even has Motor Kombat, which was super fun too.


Plus, the graphics and visual effects were seriously impressive. Talk about eye candy! And if you were into online multiplayer, Mortal Kombat X had you covered. There was always something new to keep the game exciting, thanks to DLC characters and skins. So, it's safe to say that Mortal Kombat X really raised the bar for the series.


A screenshot of Mortal Kombat X gameplay, Kotal Khan vs Kano
Mortal Kombat X (2015)

1. Mortal Kombat 11

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStay 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PC | Release Year: 2019


Alright, it's time to talk about the creme de la creme of Mortal Kombat games - Mortal Kombat 11. Get ready to rumble, as this game brings the heat in more ways than one. First off, let's talk about the character roster. It's got the most extensive and most diverse lineup of fighters yet. From classic favorites like Scorpion and Sub-Zero to newcomers like Cassie Cage, there's a character for every kind of player.


But it's not just about the characters. The graphics and animation in MK11 are out of this world. The fatalities are jaw-droppingly brutal, making you cringe and cheer at the same time. And don't even get me started on the story mode. It's like playing through a blockbuster movie, with twists and turns that will leave you on the edge of your seat.


The gameplay has been refined to perfection, balancing accessibility for newbies and a challenge for seasoned veterans. And if you're looking to test your skills against real opponents, the online multiplayer mode has got you covered. With various modes and options, you'll never run out of ways to prove you're the ultimate fighter.



So why does MK11 take the top spot? Well, it's the total package. This game is a knockout from the extensive character roster to the mind-blowing graphics and engaging story mode. Whether you're a die-hard Mortal Kombat fan or a newcomer to the series, Mortal Kombat 11 will have you hooked from the moment you step into the arena. Time to finish them!



A screenshot of Mortal Kombat 11 gameplay, Scorpion vs Frost
Mortal Kombat 11 (2019)

Conclusion

So, after analyzing all the Mortal Kombat games, we have come to a conclusion. The greatest Mortal Kombat game of all time is none other than Mortal Kombat 11! Its stunning graphics, intense gameplay, and roster of iconic characters truly take the cake. But let's not forget the other amazing games on the list. Each game has left its mark on the franchise, from the classic Mortal Kombat II to the groundbreaking Mortal Kombat X. So, whether you're a die-hard fan or a newcomer to the series, there's a Mortal Kombat game out there that will satisfy your cravings for brutal combat and fatalities.

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