The Top 7… Most absurd Mortal Kombat offshoots

There are a billion reasons to make fun of any particular Mortal Kombat game, but it’s harder to knock the series for having a sense of humor. After all, this is a franchise that creates entire characters out of inside jokes, turns violent murderers into babies, and brings out its own sound designer to punctuate your ruthless acts of aggression.

Above: Toasty, anyone?

The game’s never taken itself all that seriously, even though we, the fans, often do! Looking back on the series as a whole, it’s difficult to see anything other than an incredibly dire bloodbath, especially since the latest Mortal Komabt is an earnest “return to form.” With that in mind, we thought it’d be fun to take a look back at some official MK asides because once you wander off the beaten path, Mortal Kombat can get batshit insane!

7. The Grid

The Grid might be an arcade obscurity, but those who saw it will never forget it. Mainly that’s pretty difficult to do because the cabinets were fucking huge, so as to allow four players to go head-to-head in a fairly novel third-person arena shooter, and thus stave off the death in the face of encroaching LAN gaming broadband connections. More interestingly, the trackball arcade game was the last ever produced by Midway in the waning days of coin-ops, and it was shepherded into existence by none other than the team behind Mortal Kombat. Want proof?

Mortal Kombat never shied away from the ridiculous, but there’s still something oddly puzzling about watching Sub-Zero and Noob Saibot firing giant guns? Giving Scorpion a flamethrower is like giving a volcano a propane grill. These are hellfire-forged assassins, so assuming you could get them to agree to show up to a little round of Monday Night Kombat, they’d probably have an easier time picking off opponents from the bleachers using the abilities they already have.

Whatever… can you blame Midway for shoehorning MK characters into the game? Let’s just assume they saw the writing on the wall, because The Grid marks the last time anything related to Mortal Kombat ever debuted in an arcade.

Above: Perhaps it was a little retaliation for this NBA Jam/Hangtime MK-themed court which was rejected for being too awesome 

6. Puzzle Kombat

Introduced as a bonus in Mortal Kombat: Deception, you’re basically looking at MK’s answer to Super Puzzle Fighter II. Okay, the genre worked well for them, but Capcom was cutesifying cartoony pugilists with a sense of honor and general decency, and not Outworldian hellbeasts better known for their horrific acts of barbarism.

And whereas Puzzle Fighter remains a unique and deep experience in its own right, Puzzle Kombat is a fairly by-the-numbers puzzler. While each character has a specific non-fatality move to rig the board in their favor, they were defensive moves you unleash on a board of aggressively bland blocks. Its design makes it impossible to see what the hell the chibified characters below are actually doing, so there’s no real reason for them to be there to begin with. Which is a shame, really, because anybody playing for realz probably missed out on tidbits like this:

Above: D’awww… they’re in wuv!


  • Starwind1985 - April 22, 2011 9:09 p.m.

    I actually remember going to Mortal Kombat Live. I was pissed. It was like a really lame Six Flags stunt show, and to top things off, the actor who played Sub Zero had been hurt so they had a stand-in...a FEMALE stand-in...who they disturbingly had lip sync her lines to a rather deep male voice. o_0
  • SerpentineZERO - April 15, 2011 5:35 a.m.

    God, that last entry is fuckin hilarious, especially the bored Scorpion.
  • ulmxn - April 15, 2011 12:40 a.m.

    Just wondering, can you get the Grid on the PSN or Live Arcade?
  • therawski - April 13, 2011 9:42 p.m.

    "We'll let you live (but you'll lose your job)."
  • city17fan - April 13, 2011 6:15 p.m.

    No wonder Midway went out of business.
  • TheElephantManchurianCandidate - April 13, 2011 12:57 p.m.

    Man that live show interview was hilarious Shang didn't know what he was talking about
  • TheHiFiJedi - April 13, 2011 12:29 p.m.

    All of the live action stuff is soooooo bad. Who, why and how did all that happen. It's awful!
  • Aforextreme - April 13, 2011 7:28 a.m.

    I had forgotten about that MK vs DC video you guys did, but seeing it again, I couldn't stop laughing. Good stuff!
  • TwoFirstNames - April 13, 2011 3:12 a.m.

    Wow! I had no idea about the Special Forces game. That looks teeeeeeeeribble! Eww, no wonder it was $20 dollars.
  • taterboob - April 13, 2011 1:38 a.m.

    Can't wait for the Tdar elaboration. A little aside: I used to fap to that picture of Sonya from Special Forces.
  • Mboy1100 - April 13, 2011 12:16 a.m.

    I'm on a drug, called CHARLIE SHEEN!! Lol.Winning.I wish it was MK vs Marvel....I like spiderman ^_^
  • Pytor - April 13, 2011 12:09 a.m.

    Can I get live action Sonya Blade daughter's number?
  • DeathbyFira - April 12, 2011 11:50 p.m.

    good god the 90s shure had some fing akward times and the live action stuff made me cringe cant even see the damn video that is bad just hope the new movie they are comeing out with doesnt get as akward as this stuff lol
  • Yeager1122 - April 12, 2011 10:56 p.m.

    Wow MK did alot of weird things.
  • ObliqueZombie - April 12, 2011 10:10 p.m.

    That was one of the most awkward videos I've ever seen. I felt flustered and uncomfortable the whole time.
  • foxyexplosion - April 12, 2011 9:33 p.m.

    Great article, next time I see a bond flick start Im gonna say it looks like The mortal kombat: special forces intro.
  • batmanboy11 - April 12, 2011 8:38 p.m.

    Damn, #1 definitely deserved its spot.
  • fetalspray - April 12, 2011 5:42 p.m.

    Say what you want I enjoyed Puzzle Kombat and also the Chess Kombat of Deception, yeh pretty dissapointed chess Kombat didnt make the list though. On another note i couldnt watch that news piece all the way, just too cringeworthy for me to handle.
  • Japanaman - April 12, 2011 5:33 p.m.

    That NBA Jam court looks so sweet. I've always wanted to see an MK Basketball game. Imagine Scorpion going up for a dunk, losing his mask, and setting the hoop on fire. Or Sub-Zero slamming the ball, freezing the entire basketball goal, and shattering it. Even Shaq can't shatter the ENTIRE goal!
  • Cleanser247 - April 12, 2011 4:32 p.m.

    Damn, this is a great Top Seven Chris : ) I really enjoyed reading it! Keep up the great work : )

Showing 1-20 of 68 comments

Join the Discussion
Add a comment (HTML tags are not allowed.)
Characters remaining: 5000