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!