Today, I’ve decided talk briefly about what is perhaps the most infamous franchise in video game history: Mortal Kombat.
Now, I should make it clear from the start that when it comes to games, I prefer RPG’s. I am not denying that for a moment. With a few exceptions, fighting games usually bore me to tears (probably because I am so absolutely terrible at them). As such, I can’t say I have followed the franchise in much detail. Therefore, I will not jump to conclusions regarding the quality of the games.
However, I do believe that, while I am far from an expert, I don’t need to be, in order to notice when something makes no sense.
So with that in mind, I’d like to spotlight an addition to the newer games in the franchise that really annoys me.
That addition being the X-Ray moves.
As their name suggests, they are powerful attacks that feature a slow motion x-ray of the victim, showing their bones and organs breaking or rupturing.
Now, this kind of violence is hardly new to Mortal Kombat. I did describe it as “Infamous” earlier for a reason, after all. The term “Fatality” is all but ingrained into pop culture by now. People lose arms, blow up, are incinerated, crushed, beaten to pulps or impaled left, right and center in these games.
What, then, is so special about the X-Ray moves for them to annoy me?
The answer is that they happen mid-fight! The characters are subjected to them… and then get right back up again.
I’m sorry, but that’s flat out idiotic.
And I know what you’re thinking. These games are hyper-violent. That’s the point. Ridiculously over the top carnage with a side of magic and gore is the dish of the day for these games. I understand that. I know that I am being much more nitpicky than usual with this.
But even in the face of everything this franchise presents, like sorcery, otherworldly monsters, cyborgs, a literal god of thunder and fire-breathing skeleton ninjas, I have to call this out as insane. This is where I draw the line.
I’m not an expert on anatomy, but I’m pretty damn sure that if I kick you in the back, to the point where it shatters your spine like a bread-stick, or snap your femur like dry spaghetti, you’re not getting back up. You’re not standing, walking, running or bicycle kicking. You’re in a wheelchair, eating through a straw for the rest of your life.
And I promise that if a giant with four arms grabs you, lifts you up and squeezes your head so that your cranium cracks like an egg, there’s no “second wind” for you. That’s it. You’re dead.
Not dazed, not stunned, not unconscious. Dead. Game over. Fatality.
If I may borrow a phrase, you’re not passed out, you’ve passed on! You are no more! You have ceased to be. You have expired and gone to meet your maker! You’re a stiff. Bereft of life, you rest in peace. If you weren’t left in Outworld, you’d be pushing up the daisies! You’ve snuffed it! You have rung down the curtain and joined the fucking choir invisible!
YOU ARE AN EX-FIGHTER!
Take any X-Ray move in the game, and you’ve got something that, if it doesn’t kill you, will actually cripple you for life.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t have a problem with these moves in and of themselves. But if you go through all that trouble, designing them and putting them in the game, showing us in such graphic, gritty detail exactly what just happened…
That has to have consequences! They need to have a lingering effect, beyond losing part of your life meter. If you just have them appear, but there are no discernible effects, then showing the x-rays is meaningless!
And the thing is, you CAN still have those in the game, without them be a wasted effort. You know how?
Just have the attack, without the X-ray parts. When you activate it, you unleash an incredibly powerful attack string.
However, if that attack string ends up KILLING the opponent, THEN you show the X-Rays. Because at that point, it shows that the characters are going all out, with their final attacks being so powerful, they shatter bones, split organs and crack skulls. You’d effectively combine X-ray moves and brutalities.
It’d make far more sense, and it’d be much more satisfying to see.
That’s really all I have to say about Mortal Kombat. Hopefully, people will not now hunt me down and beat me to a quivering pulp, for nitpicking a game they like.
Assuming that doesn’t happen, and they instead agree with me: