What was wrong with Mortal Kombat?


After reading the latest EGM issue (the one with the MK revival cover story), I ask myself why I ended up going back to SFII much more often than MK when I was a kid, even when the latter was more popular. There’s was something in SF and other 2D fighting games that kept me interested back then and still does today.

It’s been a while since I played a MK game so I don’t remember the strategies/gameplay very well, hence why I’m asking. What was so bad about the franchise (before it was milked to death) that it never had a more competitive scene than SF? Was it broken? Did every character play the same? Is it because it was an all flash, no substance type of game?

I’m looking more for a quick writeup of design flaws than a simple: “Because MK sucks.”


Mod, move this thread to here: General Strategy


Mortal Kombat’s fighting system is fairly broken, and the characters are very clunky and sluggish to control. Everything they do feels like it has a few metric tonnes of weight, including the most basic punches which seem to take forever to recover from.


you block, then you infitie your opponent. This is the problem.


Actually looking back on MK it wasnt so bad. I played both pretty equally growing up. Mk gets a lot of shit because you dont have to spend 3 hours everyday putting link combos to muscle memory in order to be decent. Characters normals do all look the same but do have some slightly different properties. Normals cause chip .Every one has at least one gdlk special that can be spammed to death
(this is mandatory for all mk characters). So while some people look at it as a negative Its really just different.


It was really broken.


this thread makes no sense since Mortal Kombat games can’t just be lumped together like that
it’s like someone making a “What was wrong with Street Fighter?” and start judging the franchise overall based on the EX series or some shit

UMK3 is the best and i got really interested in it lately… too bad most youtube videos with matches are like 10 fps and the streams i’ve seen so far have been pretty bad
the FADC/Team Spooky videos from ECT2 and Road to Evo2 are awesome though


There’s a very good interview with ed boon that was published recently where he talks about the fundamental differences between SF and MK. He’s very honest-

basically itcomes down to design goals. The MK team saw SF as being very Japanese in it’s demands on the player to hone technique, and being very punishing in terms of technical requirement, muscle memory, spacing etc. Their goal with MK was to make a game with more instant impact, a quicker-rewarding, more American experience. The comparison Ed Boon uses is that in SF, to woah the spectators at the arcade you’d have to be very well practised, with excellent execution and in depth knowledge. In MK you could walk in, execute a fatality and the crowd would go nuts.

That’s their example not mine, but he makes a sound point about the design goals. Whether successful or not, the designers of SF have always tried to make a competitive game that rewards the most knowledgable and skillful player, as a design goal priority.

With MK, this wasn’t the priority, it was accessibility and instant gratuity, with realistic graphics and gore. Competitive balance was sought, but not the priority.

MK is not necessarily a bad series, and umk3 in particular is a decent competitive game.

But the fundamental design goals are a very good indicator as to why MK is seen as very much the poor relation in a competitive community like SRK- some of MKs best points, it’s rich mythology and distinctive visuals and extras are basically stuff people here don’t give a fuck about, by and large.

Sorry I can’t link you to the interview, have a google though.


I recently had a bad grip of nostalgia for MK and purchased MKII on psn and just found the game impenetrable. And to make matters worse that version of the game has no practice mode and I no second ps3 controller. So I got destroyed by the AI while I fumbled with the move set. I don’t know I’ve muddled through fighting games while getting destroyed before and still had a good time. But MK just didn’t feel right, it felt really dated in a way that SF2 still doesn’t. I would be willing to go back to it but man I just don’t know, also MK is astonishingly corny. I want MK9 to be good I really do, but I don’t have a lot of hope.


MK2 is slow as fuck and boring. It’s hella dated. Like I’ve said before, the only way it’s somewhat playable is if you turn off throttle in MAME and turn up the game speed. It’s still just a ghetto MK2 turbo though.

There’s a reason UMK3 is MK that gets brought up as the only game in the series that’s competitive. Because it is. Hopefully now that they’re back to 2D and say they want to make a more technical fighter this time around, they actually pull it off.


Yes basically that is the truth. NO skill was involved in playing earlier Mk series. Even executing fatalities or brutalities. Timing of jumps zoning spacing and specials was the only thing to focus on. So the question is why is a game ( the earlier Mk series Mk1 to Mk Gold “4”) is considered bad amongst most here on SRK & other communities when THEY themselves played and learned the game?

The Mk post series Mk “5” Deadly alliance to MK 9 is also grouped together in the bad category when the developers changed the combo engine from auto combos to the same type of form you would use on tekken or similar type games. MK now required some form of skill and time & technique. Even Though the foundations of the series remained the same (did away with 4-6 directional and button input executions like babalities and animalities) it still did not pick up steam like other fighting series did which if I do remember at that time fighting games were essentially were a afterthought towards other games and platforms which added to the dying of the arcades were fighting games were born.

MK9 must bring back that spark it once had to the casual gamer ( I wish the Street fighter EX plus Alpha series would make a comeback as well SIGH) but to most die hard fans this MK9 will fill the void Mk fans have had since the last couple of Mk games have not been so stellar.

Finnish Him!!!


Damn…YJDK about MK. No skill? Loooooooool.


Shit just felt and looked too stiff compared to Street Fighter too me. I played MK1 liked it, I played MK2 loved it when they added a run button I said fuck this and left the series. I will buy this one if it is decent, I had no interest in 3D MK.


thats a shame. you left when it started to get good. :frowning:


thats a shame. you left when it started to get good. :frowning:


Maybe, but I still don’t like having a run button. A lot of it was timing. I remember when I first seen it, it was at an arcade when I was on vacation in Hawaii. My daughter was a year old, I was working full-time already and I didn’t like the new games over the old when I played them, both SF Alpha & MK3. It was just a preference thing. I’m looking forward to the new one.


Gameplay, gameplay, gameplay*

It had everything else down pat - narrative, character designs, themes, move sets, yearly rehashes… Lamentively for the brand however, in this paritcular genre of gaming, gameplay is the only area of import.

Though, it does beg the question why the SF4s of the world are doing so well… :confused:

Put it down to the era and ‘faute de mieux’. :coffee:


2 more weeks, stay tuned for the iPlaywinner UMK3 Stream straight from West Coast Warzone 3 in Cali.


I think that’s what the X-Ray Supers are going to cater to. I’m thinking easy input, maximum reward. Like the Ultras in SF4. It doesn’t look like 50% damage off of one hit, but you can string them together so I don’t know. Then you take into consideration the ‘combo breaker’ and that might change things up.


what was wrong with MK from what ive read from other peoples post was that they played the console versions and trilogy and never saw the arcade version of UMK3 which is balanced and not broken. Its a different animal than any SF game. I dont understand SF mechanics and I dislike the anime feel of it. I need a block button plain and simple. For all of you who said it was broken give umk3 a chance and you will see that although there are infinite’s they are difficult to pull off at high levels.