Guest Issue #06 – FlawlessVictory

Posted by FlawlessVictory on April 1st, 2005

The Top 10 Best-Designed Fatalities

A great fatality is many things for sure: violent, unique, and animated well to name a few. Other factors, however, are based on preference, like realism or humor. Selecting criteria to use for naming the definitive greatest fatalities of all time is impossible. Recognizing this, I’ve done my best to construct a list that both reflects popular concerns and omits favoritism by judging all of Mortal Kombat’s fatalities independently in six categories. Although the results will undoubtedly spark some controversy, I hope that you will gain some insight into the amount of depth that can be involved in developing this beloved aspect of the game.

Before I reveal the list, though, allow me to clarify a few things. When I say, “all fatalities,” that means that no console-dependent fatalities were ignored. What it does not include is the stage fatalities, animalities, friendships, brutalities, babalities, or hara kiris. That being said, I’ll discuss the judging process briefly.

The first category is creativity, but it applies only to the major components being used in the execution. You can think of this as the “how” aspect. Following that is originality, which refers to the “what” aspect. This looks at the ultimate cause of death, whether or not it has been done in MK before, and how unique it is amongst the character roster within the game of origin.

Style is used to refer to visual and sound effects. Not to be confused with quality, this generally manifests its self as a point for each significant effect present. A separate category not seen in the list, called mechanics, was used solely to deduct a point for any sound or graphics mistakes.

Pain and gore are combined. While gore is strictly quantitative in terms of blood and organs, pain also accounts for what hurts the most. Burning gets a small advantage over everything else because it is in reality the most painful. Post-mortem damage that the victim would not feel does not add to pain but almost always adds to gore.

Apt, or aptness, studies how well the fatality suits the character. Background, plot relevance, personality, the character’s moves arsenal, and status as a signature move make up the five maximum points here. Last, humiliation should speak for itself. In actuality, a point was also given in this category for any additional humor.

Total score naturally carries the most weight. In the event of ties, creativity became the deciding factor, proceeded by originality, pain/gore, style, and aptness if necessary.

By my count there are a total of 210 fatalities, and although all scores have been recorded, there simply isn’t enough room to address them all.

And now, here are the top ten:

#10. Scorpion’s toasty from MK 1

Creativity: 1 Originality: 4 Style: 1 Pain/Gore: 4 Apt: 4 Humiliation: 1

Although greatly improved over the years, technological limitations didn’t hold the original back from being the best toasty, the best of Scorpion’s fatalities, or even one of the top 10.

#9. Shang Tsung’s soul steal from MK 2

Creativity: 1 Originality: 5 Style: 1 Pain/Gore: 1 Apt: 5 Humiliation: 2

This is the most apt fatality of all, and the only one that has really built plot lines.

#8. Smoke’s invisible decapitation from MK 6

Creativity: 0 Originality: 0 Style: 4 Pain/Gore: 6 Apt: 1 Humiliation: 5

What Reptile’s invisible fatality lacked was suspense. Smoke makes use of his invisibility well, toying briefly with the victim. The spinning camera added much to the sense of fear portrayed.

#7. Jade’s decapitation from MK 6

Creativity: 2 Originality: 0 Style: 5 Pain/Gore: 6 Apt: 1 Humiliation: 2

This is the most creative decapitation you are likely to ever see in MK history. It gets off to a great start by being one of the first two fatalities to impale the head rather than the torso (Baraka being the other).

#6. Darrius’ decapitation from MK 6

Creativity: 1 Originality: 0 Style: 3 Pain/Gore: 8 Apt: 0 Humiliation: 5

Decapitation reigns by far the most common in Mortal Kombat, but it’s the beating with one’s own dismembered arms that delivers the heaps of pain and humiliation which make this a top 10 fatality.

#5. Baraka’s dismemberment from MK 6

Creativity: 1 Originality: 0 Style: 4 Pain/Gore: 8 Apt: 2 Humiliation: 2

Baraka had a decapitation and an impaling as his set of fatalities in every one of his previous titles. Here, several deep cuts precede the impale, and with a pull the corpse becomes both dismembered and decapitated simultaneously.

#4. Li Mei’s brutality from MK 6

Creativity: 1 Originality: 0 Style: 4 Pain/Gore: 10 Apt: 0 Humiliation: 2

I can’t help but be reminded of the pressure-point technique in Kill Bill volume 2. The barrage of punches Li Mei unleashes greatly helped to make it the most painful fatality ever.

#3. Kung Lao’s hat split from MK 2

Creativity: 1 Originality: 5 Style: 2 Pain/Gore: 6 Apt: 1 Humiliation: 3

The most disappointing thing about this move is the fact that it was never updated, neither for Kung Lao nor any other blade-wielding kombatant. The unique vertical slice literally opened up the possibility for more gore than horizontally torn torsos.

#2. Sub-Zero’s split-torso decapitation from MK 6

Creativity: 2 Originality: 0 Style: 4 Pain/Gore: 5 Apt: 2 Humiliation: 4

The beauty of this move is its striking departure from the MK norm. Sub-Zero’s fatalities had always targeted the upper body. Now, not only does he strike low, he also becomes the first and only character to use the sweep maneuver in any finishing move.

#1. Baraka’s impale from MK 2

Creativity: 1 Originality: 5 Style: 3 Pain/Gore: 4 Apt: 2 Humiliation: 3

This was the first impale in Mortal Kombat, not to mention the only one in MK 2. Surprisingly, this version remained the most elaborate despite its reappearance in MK Trilogy and MK Gold.

I’d like to personally thank site editor holygrail_4 for inadvertently sparking my idea to do this, as well as forums member Silent Assassin for providing me with corrected sequences for Deception’s fatalities.

Last, but not least, keep in mind: every fatality is a winner when you are the one performing it.