The History of Mortal Kombat, 1992-2014

We take a look at the fighting series that's still going strong after two decades.

The Mortal Kombat series first hit arcades in 1992 and, if the hype coming out of E3 surrounding the Mortal Kombat X announcement is anything to go by, the franchise is still as popular today as it's ever been.

In celebration of the tenth entry in the main series, we've put together a video showing footage from every MK game, as well as some of its various spin-offs in the form of comics, TV shows and movies. The video's title cards, listing quick information about each title in the franchise, are summarised after the jump.



Mortal Kombat
Released: 1992
Platform: Arcade

Later releases
1993 — Game Boy, Sega Game Gear, Sega Genesis, Sega Master System, Super Nintendo
1994 — Amiga, Personal Computer, Sega CD
2004 — Mobile phone, PlayStation 2*, Xbox*
2006 — PC

*Part of Mortal Kombat: Deception

Mortal Kombat Collector's Edition
Released: 1992
Comic

Mortal Kombat II
Released: 1993
Platform: Arcade

Later Releases
1994 — Amiga, Game Boy, PC, Sega 32X, Sega Game Gear, Sega Genesis, Sega Master System, Super Nintendo
1996 — PlayStation, Sega Saturn
2004 — Nintendo GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox All as part of Midway Arcade Treasures 2
2005 — PlayStation 2*, PlayStation Portable, Xbox*
2006 — PC
2007 — PlayStation 3 (PSN)

*Unlockable in Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks

Mortal Kombat II Collector's Edition
Released: 1993
Comic

Blood & Thunder / Goro: Prince of Pain / Mortal Kombat: Tournament Edition
Released: 1994
Comics

Mortal Kombat: The Journey Begins
Released: 1995
Animated Movie

• Released by Threshold Entertainment
• Created as a tie-in to the first Mortal Kombat movie to explain character origins
• Traditional animation, CGI and motion capture were all used.

Mortal Kombat 3
Released: 1995
Platform: Arcade, Game Boy, PlayStation, Sega Genesis, Super Nintendo

Later Releases
1996 — PC, Sega Game Gear, Sega Master System
2004 — Nintendo GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox All as part of Midway Arcade Treasures 2
2005 — PlayStation Portable As part of Midway Arcade Treasures: Extended Play
2006 — PC As part of Midway Arcade Treasures Deluxe Edition

Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3
Released: 1995
Platform: Arcade

Later Releases
1996 — Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis, Sega Saturn
2006 — Xbox 360 (Xbox Live Arcade)

• A port for Game Boy Advance was released in 2001, Mortal Kombat Advance
• A port for the Nintendo DS was released in 2007 with some additional features called Ultimate Mortal Kombat

Mortal Kombat Kard Game
Released: 1995
Limited Edition Card Game

• Featured all playable characters from the first two Mortal Kombat games as well as bosses and hidden characters
• Consisted of 300 unique cards with a rarity level ranging from bronze to gold
• Cards available in a 60-card starter pack or a 15-card booster pack

Mortal Kombat
Released: 1995
Movie

• Directed by Paul W. S. Anderson who later directed the Resident Evil movies
• Though it got mixed reviews, the movie spent three weeks as the number-one
film at the box office, earning over $122 million worldwide
• Following the success, a sequel and two spin-off TV series’ were created
• The primary source material was the original Mortal Kombat game with elements of the sequel

Battlewave / U.S. Special Forces / Rayden & Kano
Released: 1995
Comics

Mortal Kombat: Tournament Edition II / Mortal Kombat: Baraka
Released: 1995
Comics

Mortal Kombat: Kung Lao / Mortal Kombat: Kitana & Mileena
Released: 1995
Comics

Mortal Kombat Trilogy
Released: 1996
Platform: Nintendo 64, PlayStation

Later Releases
1997 — PC, Sega Saturn
1998 — Game.com

• Due to limited space the N64 version lacked some of the content of the other versions
• Introduced a new finishing move, Brutality
• Same gameplay and story as MK3 with additional stages and characters from the other games in the series

Mortal Kombat
Released: 1996
Animated Series

• Also known as Mortal Kombat: The Animated Series
• 13 episodes airing from September to December
• Serves as a sequel to Mortal Kombat 3
• Provided the debut of Quan Chi who appeared in future games

Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero
Released: 1997
Platform: Nintendo 64, PlayStation

• A side-scrolling action-adventure game
• The first non-fighting Mortal Kombat game
• Set before the first Mortal Kombat tournament

Mortal Kombat: Annihilation
Released: 1997
Movie

• The story follows on from the first movie though most of the roles were recast
• Based mainly on Mortal Kombat 3
• Directed by John R. Leonetti who was a cinematographer on the first movie
• The movie was heavily criticised and underperformed at the box office
• A planned sequel was halted and never progressed from pre-production

Mortal Kombat 4
Released: 1997
Platform: Arcade

Later Releases
1998 — Nintendo 64, Personal Computer, PlayStation
1999 — Game Boy Color

• The last released arcade game in the Mortal Kombat series

Mortal Kombat 4: Limited Edition
Released: 1997
Comic

• Based on a story by John Tobias and written by Ted Adams
• Gives a backstory to the game
• Provides strong hints at which of Mortal Kombat Trilogy's character endings were actually true.

Mortal Kombat: Conquest
Released: 1998
Live Action TV Series

• 22 episodes aired 1998-1999
• Notable appearances included WCW wrestlers Meng & Wrath, model Dorian and Eva Mendes
• The season ended on a cliffhanger before plans for a second season were cancelled

Mortal Kombat Gold
Released: 1999
Platform: Dreamcast

• Updated version of Mortal Kombat 4
• Released as a launch title for the Dreamcast in both Europe and North America
• Additional characters included Baraka, Cyrax, Kitana, Mileena, Kung Lao and Sektor
• Introduced a new weapon select mechanism
• Included additional stages

Mortal Kombat: Special Forces
Released: 2000
Platform: PlayStation

• 3D action game
• Stars Jackson “Jax” Briggs
• The first game of the series, chronologically. Taking place before
Mortal Kombat and Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub Zero

Mortal Kombat Advance
Released: 2002
Platform: Game Boy Advance

• Port of Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3
• Except for Noob Saibot and bosses, characters have only one Fatality and one Friendship
• Human Smoke, Motaro and Shao Kahn were unlockable characters
• Contained less blood and the violence was toned down due to the younger fanbase on GBA

Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance
Released: 2003
Platform: Game Boy Advance, Nintendo GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox

• Each character had three individual fighting styles
• Number of special moves were reduced to force players to make use of the fighting styles
• Running was removed from the game
• Fatalities were reduced to just one per character

Mortal Kombat: Tournament Edition
Released: 2003
Platform: Game Boy Advance

• The second GBA version of Deadly Alliance
• Frost, Jax, Sub-Zero, Kano, Kung Lao, Kenshi, Kitana,
Li Mei and Sonya Blade, Blaze, Mokap and Moloch were excluded
• The only Mortal Kombat game to not feature Sub-Zero in any form
Unless you count Noob Saibot but his identity was not revealed until Mortal Kombat: Deception

Mortal Kombat: Deception
Released: 2004
Platform: PlayStation 2, Xbox

• Renamed as Mortal Kombat: Mystification in France due to translation issues
• Limited edition contained the original Mortal Kombat game among other limited items
• Featured online play as well as chess and puzzle modes

Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks
Released: 2005
Platform: PlayStation 2, Xbox

• Arcade port of Mortal Kombat II can be unlocked with a cheat code or
completing hidden missions
• Introduced an adventure mode which could be played single player or co-op
• Set after the original Mortal Kombat and spans the events of Mortal Kombat II

Mortal Kombat: Armagedon
Released: 2006
Platform: PlayStation 2, Xbox

Later Releases
2007 - Wii

• A “Premium Edition” of the game was released on PlayStation 2. It included
four unique box fronts, the original Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 and several other extras
• Chronologically the last game in the series and features almost every
character from previous games
• Introduced “Motor Kombat” a Mario Kart style racing game

Mortal Kombat: Unchained
Released: 2006
Platform: PlayStation Portable

• The PSP version of Mortal Kombat Deception
• Four exclusive characters from Deadly Alliance, Blaze, Frost, Jax and Kitana
• Addition of Endurance mode which saw players take on waves of opponents

Ultimate Mortal Kombat
Released: 2007
Platform: Nintendo DS

• Port of Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 but with with additional features
• “Puzzle Kombat” from Mortal Kombat: Deception was brought back
• Arcade perfect port with added Wi-Fi support

Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe
Released: 2008
Platform: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

• A crossover game of Mortal Kombat and DC characters
• Criticised for its tone-downed violence but generally got positive reviews
• Midway Games' last release before filing for bankruptcy and selling the rights
• Midway planned a “dark, gritty, serious” and “back to basics reboot” before the deal with DC

Mortal Kombat: Rebirth
Released: 2010
Live Action Short Movie

• Created by director Kevin Tancharoen as a pitch to Warner Bros. for a Mortal Kombat movie
• Eventually became Mortal Kombat: Legacy before the movie being green-lighted
• Characters had new origins, based more on reality
• Tancharoen spent $7,500 to produce the movie

Mortal Kombat
Released: 2011
Platform: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

Later Releases
2012 - PlayStation Vita
2013 - PC

• An extended version, Komplete Edition, of the game was released on consoles in 2012
• A franchise reboot developed by NetherRealm Studios
• The first game in the series not be developed and produced by Midway Games

Mortal Kombat: Legacy
Released: 2011
Live Action Web Series

• Created by director Kevin Tancharoen after Rebirth
• Filmed as a result of Warner Bros. turning down the idea for a movie
• The first season is a prequel to the original arcade game
• The second season covers the tournament itself which is the basis of the first game

Mortal Kombat X
Released: 2015
Platform: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PC

• Players will be able to interact with the environment and use parts as weapons
• Each fighter has three different variations, each with a different set of moves
• Includes a new and original storyline, starting from the end of the previous game
• Will introduce new characters and offspring of the current cast