Mortal Kombat originally started off as a game that would feature Jean Claude Van Damme, who would be the inspiration for the creation of Johnny Cage. The creative minds of Ed Boon and John Tobias would later make the first Mortal Kombat game in 1992. While it became a successful hit, it would meet some intense controversy regarding video game intensity. The word “fatality” would essentially become part of the video game vocabulary. After all, what else would this series be known for other than the diverse cast of characters? Despite the game’s controversies, the series would continue to release more games.
It has been nearly thirty years since Mortal Kombat became a phenomenon, and Mortal Kombat 11 will leave fans with high expectations with its innovative story mode. With the release of the launch trailer, fans were ecstatic to hear the infamous Mortal Kombat theme song from the hit 1995 film of the same name. It brought back nostalgia to those who have been fans since the beginning, and it builds up the hype. While there are some hits and misses in the Mortal Kombat franchise, it still holds up as one of the greatest fighting games of all time.
To celebrate the release of Mortal Kombat 11, here are the Mortal Kombat games ranked from worst to best!
22 Special Forces
Ranking at the bottom of the list is the Mortal Kombat spin-off Special Forces. This game was doomed at the start. The fact that even Ed Boon acknowledged that this is the worst Mortal Kombat game shows how bad Special Forces is. The game features Jax Briggs and takes place before the events of the first Mortal Kombat.
While the spin-offs are great to give more characters the spotlight, this one features clunky controls, repetitive gameplay, and terrible level design.
21 Mythologies: Sub-Zero
Look here, another spin-off. Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero is essentially a wasted potential that could have worked, but the gameplay says otherwise. The concept of this game is great, expanding the events that took place before the Mortal Kombat tournament, but like Special Forces, the gameplay is what caused this game to be so bad.
The controls were even stranger, with having to press a button to change standing stance in order to go in whatever direction. At least the acting in the cutscenes is so cheesy that it’s good.
20 Mortal Kombat Advance
For a port that was taken from Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, it is a given how disappointing it would be since it was released on the Gameboy Advance. Because the handheld system was smaller compared to the consoles at the time, there were some major downgrades Mortal Kombat Advance had.
Each character, except for Noob Saibot and bosses, had only one fatality and friendship. There were no stage fatalities either, making this game about fifty percent of what Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 had to offer.
19 Mortal Kombat Vs. DC Universe
Being the eighth entry in the series, Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe would be the first to be in seventh generation consoles. This game is somewhat of a mixed bag, but not in a good way. It would be messed up to have Mortal Kombat characters do an intense fatality on the DC characters, but the game’s T-rating really did not sit well.
This game would eventually lead up to Midway’s falling out, but then Mortal Kombat would be rebooted and Injustice would become its own game series. So perhaps bad can turn into good?
18 Mortal Kombat
The first Mortal Kombat game is not terrible by any means, but it is severely outdated and limited compared to the other games. With seven characters, they have unique personalities and backstories, but their move sets were definitely not as developed. It is the first game, so of course, it will not be exactly perfect.
It did feature a minigame of Test Your Might, which is a nice party game. However, compared to the other Mortal Kombat games, the first game is flawed, but a great start to the series.
17 Mortal Kombat 4
Mortal Kombat 4 certainly had a lot of changes to make. From digitized actors to fully 3D, Midway wanted to be part of the fighting game crowd that used 3D characters and stages. The game itself has aged horribly and let’s not forget the so bad, it’s good voice acting with the character endings.
This game was difficult to make, and it shows since the previous Mortal Kombat games had different graphics. But then another expansion came for this game.
16 Mortal Kombat Gold
Mortal Kombat Gold brought more characters including Kitana, Mileena, and Kung Lao to the roster. It also added some new stages and bring the weapon mechanism that would occur for the game’s sequels. Does that fix the flaws the game had, to begin with?
Not entirely. The graphics were still pretty bad and there would be more glitches even after the previous game’s encounter with them. Out of the Mortal Kombat games, 4/Gold would be the ones that have not aged gracefully.
15 Mortal Kombat Unchained
As a port for Mortal Kombat: Deception, Unchained does have its merits. It is in no way superior to the console versions, but it does have some exclusives. For example, it includes the GameCube exclusives Shao Kahn and Goro, as well as adding Kitana, Jax, Frost, and Blaze.
There was also a nice exclusive mode called Endurance Mode, where the player takes on a wave of opponents. The controls can be iffy but Unchained manages to be a decent port while adding some nice exclusives.
14 Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance
Once Deadly Alliance would open up its intro cutscene, things were going to get dark once Shang Tsung and Quan Chi managed to take out Liu Kang. And he stayed that way until he was resurrected as a zombie by Raiden. Deadly Alliance would feature brand new characters. Some were cool, like Kenshi, while others were forgettable like Hsu Hao.
The Konquest Mode was a new feature and acted as a tutorial for each character. It can get stale, but thankfully, the sequel managed to make this mode more immersive and fun.
13 Mortal Kombat Tournament Edition
If there is one thing that needs to be said, it is always nice to see games be handled with care when ported to another console. Mortal Kombat Tournament Edition might have flawed graphics, but the animation manages to be smooth.
As with ports, it takes from Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance, expanding the story as well. You may also notice how this port is ranked above Deadly Alliance. Well, they are both equal to each other, to be exact.
12 Ultimate Mortal Kombat
Not to be confused with the same title, but with a 3, Ultimate Mortal Kombat is a Nintendo DS port of the former. Strangely, this port happens to be really good. For multiplayer, this would make the game more fun.
What makes this game also great is that if a friend has a DS, but not a copy of the game, then they can play with the owner of the game with DS Download Play. And plus, playing online can make the experience of the game excellent, is what we would say if the Nintendo Wi-Fi was still going for the DS.
11 Mortal Kombat 3
Mortal Kombat 3 is an odd one in the bunch. It does improve from the second game, but there are some drawbacks that are questionable. For example, the lack of Scorpion was extremely surprising, as he was very popular.
The plot is epic, having the player beat Shao Kahn and prevent him from merging Outworld with Earthrealm. While the roster leaves a lot to be desired, it would get fixed in its next update.
10 Mortal Kombat (iOS/Android)
It may seem strange to place a mobile game on here, but we got to give credit to NetherRealm Studios for creating this free game on iOS and Android. For graphics, it is not the best when you compare it to the consoles, but for a mobile game, it is extraordinary.
Sometimes the RNG can be tedious to save up souls to get a certain character, only to get someone like Kano, but the game is a nice for free-to-play players and even whales. The game isn’t perfect, but it’s Mortal Kombat on the go, at least until the Switch’s release of Mortal Kombat 11.
9 Mortal Kombat: Armageddon
Armageddon was the end all, be all for the first timeline for the Mortal Kombat series. It featured every single character that was playable in the main games, including new characters Daegon and Taven. The game even featured character customization and awesome minigames like Motor Kombat.
Armageddon has a ton of problems, however. Everyone was limited to a fatality, which was not unique to them in any way. Even the endings felt rushed, only displaying text and the characters doing fighting stances. It is far from being a bad apple, but it does have a few bruises here and there.
8 Mortal Kombat: Deception
Out of the 3D era games, Deception is an amazing game to represent the said era. While there are new characters that do not get fleshed out, the game is a huge step up to Deadly Alliance by a mile. While there is not a story, the setup for the game is brilliant.
Konquest mode shines at its brightest in this game. Characters have two fatalities instead of one unlike the previous game, while also having hara-kiri, where the character who is defeated takes themselves out instead. It might be outdated today, but it’s still one of the strongest titles in the Mortal Kombat series.
7 Mortal Kombat II
Sequels for games are usually better. Mortal Kombat II is no exception. While it did remove the Test Your Might minigame, it made up for it with new characters, and even new finishers, such as Babalities.
It is also the first appearance of Shao Kahn, one of the greatest villains in the Mortal Kombat series. He is the boss you would want to beat to show that you do not stink. As a sequel, Mortal Kombat II holds up well.
6 Shaolin Monks
It is crazy how the saying “third time’s the charm” is perfect for this game. Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks has been a beloved game and it deservingly is. This spin-off features Liu Kang and Kung Lao to stop Shang Tsung’s plans to invade Earthrealm. The concept has been done plenty of times, but the gameplay and scope make up for this action-adventure game.
This is the spin-off where fans have been begging for a sequel, and for a while, even Ed Boon would love to make a sequel or HD remake. Only time will tell.
5 Mortal Kombat X/Mortal Kombat XL
Mortal Kombat X took some steps forward, but then some back. Regardless, it still holds up as a great game. The graphics improved significantly, the fatalities were creative, and the story, while a bit lacking, was intriguing.
While Mortal Kombat XL is just an updated version of Mortal Kombat X with all of the DLC, it is a solid title that will be a great predecessor to the current game.
4 Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3
Updating a game can be a great thing. While the 90s were a completely different time, it was surprising to see Mortal Kombat 3 get a standalone update. This game would be much needed due to the lack of fan-favorite characters like Kitana and Scorpion.
While it was a great update, it still lacked important characters like Raiden, Johnny, and Baraka. In the end, Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 does have its good merits during its release.
3 Mortal Kombat (2011)
This reboot would eventually raise its way to be one of the strongest Mortal Kombat titles to date. Mortal Kombat 9 would be the first fighting game to feature a full-length story mode that Netherrealm Studios would become famous for.
This game has a lot of content as well, including the challenge tower, online battles, the Krypt, and the “Test Your…” minigames. This game does have some flaws including the repetitive character models, but Mortal Kombat 9 still holds up as a great fighting game even after almost ten years after its release.
2 Mortal Kombat 11
The most recent entry just barely made it to the top two, and that is saying a lot! Mortal Kombat 11 has improved a lot graphically and added interesting ideas like Time Towers and character tutorials.
There are some major drawbacks, like the polarizing story mode and how grindy the towers can be. Once NetherRealm Studios can get the hang of it with constantly updating the game, then the eleventh entry might slowly become to best Mortal Kombat game to date the devs have made.
1 Mortal Kombat Trilogy
What makes Mortal Kombat Trilogy as the best Mortal Kombat game of all time are the amount of characters featured. Not only did it feature all of the characters in the first three Mortal Kombat games, but there are new ones such as Rain and boss characters like the legendary Shao Kahn.
While it is an updated version of Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, this game features all of the stages as well. This game is a fun classic that any Mortal Kombat fan will have fun with.