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!


  • ABACADA6494 - April 12, 2011 1:45 a.m.

    first.... anyways i was just wondering where this was. Yay Top 7...
  • Dabenguin - April 12, 2011 1:50 a.m.

    Nice and punctual Chris, nice and punctual.
  • SlinkyDink - April 12, 2011 1:54 a.m.

    You forgot Shaolin Monks, but i guess it wasn't really all that absurd. Then again I wouldn't say MK VS DC was all that absurd either. SHAZAM!
  • blakebeauchamp - April 12, 2011 1:54 a.m.

    MK got weird. Just realizing this.
  • inSovietRussiaDatesRecallBrettElston - April 12, 2011 1:55 a.m.

    good to see that a 'lets get this karty started' reference made it's way into another GR feature, lol
  • Redeater - April 12, 2011 1:56 a.m.

    Sweet! Just heard about this on T'dar. Was looking forward to it.
  • Spocksjock - April 12, 2011 1:59 a.m.

    To be honest I liked Mortal Kombat vs. DC universe but it was really really odd.
  • Turboash - April 12, 2011 2:07 a.m.

    Wow that news clip was hard to watch.
  • ninjaemperor - April 12, 2011 2:08 a.m.

    I can't wait to hear about the live tour on Tdar this week!
  • juicenpancakes - April 12, 2011 2:25 a.m.

    "Boomtube" has become a regularly used word amongst my friends and I.
  • TheGuy42 - April 12, 2011 2:26 a.m.

    Get Some MK!
  • juicenpancakes - April 12, 2011 2:28 a.m.

    Or *among, in case you aren't from the 18th century.
  • skynetiscoming - April 12, 2011 2:31 a.m.

    I love the stupid grin on the Joker's face while he's getting clocked.
  • mchammer75 - April 12, 2011 2:34 a.m.

    Jesus this might be the best top 7 you guys have done, I had no idea how far the MK series has strayed over the years. The animated stuff is gold as well, please chris, watch the horrible animated crap I'm sure there is plenty to sample from for the podcast: MK the journey begins
  • MexicAntista - April 12, 2011 2:49 a.m.

    Hahahahaha!!! Oh god! That news piece is hilarious. I love that Baraka is just a guy in spandex and a ski mask. Make some effort.
  • clubsandwich - April 12, 2011 2:53 a.m.

    Yep. my dad totally surprised me one night and trucked my eight-year old ass to the civic center for the Live Action Mortal Kombat thing. It's a little fuzzy, but there were lazers and a smoke machine and kung-fu. Nostalgia Trip. Also, My dad loved it. Also, my dad is a pothead.
  • bviper - April 12, 2011 3:26 a.m.

    The Grid was awesome me and my friends you to kill the crap out of each other on that machine. You c
  • pin316 - April 12, 2011 3:29 a.m.

    holy crap, talk about having zero-personality...that interview was painful. only slightly redeemed by being able to imagine that just after the camera vct, the reporter actually goes on from the pose to crane-kick Sonya Blade
  • iAmARealSuperTurrican - April 12, 2011 3:33 a.m.

    Jesus, I forgot how bad the acting was in the Sub Zero game. Also funny to see Divizio in make-up doing his best acting.
  • BigLandoz - April 12, 2011 3:34 a.m.

    Wow. Just...WOW. The Live Action tour just blows my mind. Great article. A fun read. ------ Recaptcha - 1/EEC Gestop Do I need to show my work on how I got "gestop"?

Showing 1-20 of 68 comments

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