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Mortal Kombat 1: Everything you need to know

Box art for Mortal Kombat 1
Netherrealm Studios image
Box art for Mortal Kombat 1

Mortal Kombat?

Created by Ed Boon and John Tobias, Mortal Kombat is a 1v1 fighter where you fight your opponent to the death. You can pick from a vast number of characters with special abilities. Once you beat your opponent you can perform a fatality, or in other words, an over-the-top gory, finishing move that gives the game its M rating.

On September 14th, 2023, the Mortal Kombat team reintroduced the series with an all-new timeline and story, and with it came all-new gameplay mechanics, reworked characters, and more

As a Mortal Kombat fan, I had to check it out. And with my personal experience, I’d like to share it with those who are interested in Mortal Kombat. 

Warning: Keep in mind that the game is $69.99 and is rated M17 for violence and heavy gore, if you can not stomach violent scenes then I strongly suggest you do not buy this game

History of Mortal Kombat

Over the years Mortal Kombat has had a number of games released by various game studios. 

October 8th, 2023 is where it all started with their first game being “Mortal Kombat.” Originally an arcade game, the first installment of the Mortal Kombat series would be produced by Midway Games. However, the game was extremely controversial. 

The game was released right around the release of Capcom’s, Street Fighter 2, where people compared the gruesome more realistic feel of Mortal Kombat to Street Fighter 2, more comical and light-hearted based combat. Which led to the first “M” rated game

However this controversy worked towards Mortal Kombat’s popularity, everybody wanted to play the first “M ” rated game. With everybody rushing to arcades, Mortal Komabt(1992) generated over $300,000.

Over the next couple of decades, the Mortal Kombat franchise would find new innovative ways to make their series more appealing to new players. One of the ways they did this was by adding guest characters, or characters outside of the Mortal Kombat franchise.

The first guest character was Freddy Kreuger. Freddy was positively received by numerous players. And understandably Mortal Kombat decided to capitalize on this. So they went on to add a wide variety of characters over the next couple of years. Adding characters like Kratos, the Xenomorphs, Spawn, Terminator, Rambo, and more.

Mortal Kombat 1 will be released on September 14th, 2023. About a 4 year difference from the last game they released. During that 4 year time period, Netherrealm Studios would be the ones producing the Mortal Kombat 1.

In an interview with Ed Boon, he was asked questions regarding the whole Kameo system, he dived into what he wanted to do with it, and how there were challenges with brainstorming ideas. 

Ed Boon said “ I also wanted to have more of a novelty with our old games. And so that turned into characters that would come out to help you. The fact we have Mortal Kombat, [we have] about 100 characters we can dig from and include in the game. Once we started to think of it as having two rosters–the main roster and the Kameo roster–it really took a life of its own.”

Ed Boon wanted to create a new mechanic in the game, creating the Kameo system. Since they’ve had so many games and new and unique characters made, they have so much potential with the Kameos, so they decided to run with the idea. 

Mortal Kombat was a big hit in the 90s, leading to decades worth of Mortal Kombat content leading to Mortal Kombat 1(2023)

People’s Thoughts

Many people are in the Mortal Kombat community and have played the new game Mortal Kombat 1. And with it comes different experiences and opinions on the game.

Jessica thinks “I like the graphics and the storyline. Because they changed the classics and went into a direction i didn’t expect, so the surprise was pleasant, I couldn’t have imagined these interpretations of the characters and story”

The direction Mortal Kombat 1 went in is drastically different from its different iterations. And it also surprised me because of how innovative Netherrealm Studios was with this game.

8th grader Naomi, “I like that it’s very rich in ideas, and there’s a lot of variation with combos original characters, and more”

And I could agree. No two characters play the same, each looks very distinct from one another and overall it is easy to find your favorite character as both a returning and new player. Not to mention the stages that you fight on.

Naomi said, “I like the scenes, and settings and the transitions from the character select screen to the actual stages. I just like looking at how each background is unique and distinct from the rest.”

Just like the characters,  the two maps are the same. For instance, on one map you might be at a Tarkatan colony, A deserted, isolated, and dry land, while on another map you could be fighting in a laboratory, with gruesome experiments down in Shang Tsung’s basement.

Freshman Zahir thinks, “What I like about the game is the introduction to kameos. Kameos have so much potential, they could extend combos, add pressure and so much more.”

Kameos adds so much when it comes to gameplay. Certain combinations of both main fighters and Kameos also lead to more skill expression and how you want to play.

Zahir also said, “I also like how they Redid the characters, like Reptile or Ashrah.”

They did a complete overhaul of the Mortal Kombat characters for this game. This overhaul works in Mortal Kombat’s favor as this reimagining of the characters could attract new players as well as keep old players.

However this game isn’t all positive, there are some downsides to the game too. Jessica thinks, “I don’t like the new mechanics anymore, I would have assumed it would’ve been like MK11, but that wasn’t the case. They made fighting too technical. For example, when new players got on you didn’t need to know all the mechanics to get the upper hand, however, you needed to know the start of a combo, which Kameos goes well with characters and more”

While this is true, Mortal Kombat provided a tutorial for new players who booted up the game and gave another tutorial for the players who want to become more advanced.

Naomi said, “I don’t like how they removed items and parkour material off of the stages That’s Why I kept dying to you because I keep getting cornered, pressing R1 expecting to get out of the corner”

If you didn’t know, in past Mortal Kombat games, there were platforms and materials on certain stages that you could use to leap or swing to get away from your opponent. However in Mortal Kombat 1 (2023) they completely removed all forms of items or parkour materials.

Zahir said, “I don’t like the lack of customization, Mortal Kombat 11 had way more customization which was better.”

Mortal Kombat 11’s customization allowed you to change your fighter’s clothing and weapon. However, the twist was that you could also change your abilities. In Mortal Kombat One, you only get to change your fighter’s clothes and a certain clothing piece that’s unique to your character.

Despite these setbacks, Mortal Kombat still manages to outweigh those downsides, through its unique gameplay, interesting characters, and scenic maps,

Highs and Lows of Mortal Kombat

I really enjoyed Mortal Kombat 1. I liked the reimagined characters, the new story, and best of all, the new mechanics that the game offered. I’ve beat the game and the new mode they had to offer, Invasions mode. (Also I won’t spoil the game)

Let’s start off with the character. I can appreciate the reimagined characters from Mortal Kombat’s history. I also like how their redesigns tie into their gameplay mechanics. 

For instance, Reptile has had a complete overhaul of his character. In past titles he was a fusion of a human and a lizard, now he completely transforms from a human to a lizard.  Or how they made a race of cannibals a disease instead of a race. 

The game is also beginner-friendly. They’re easy to learn and understand and once you start playing the game more, you could unlock a wide variety of combos. 

Speaking of combos, the new addition with “Kameos” is what I probably liked the most. The Kameo system reminded me of the Ultimate Marvel Vs Capcom 3 tag system, where you called out another character to help extend combos, add pressure, or change in and out of characters. 

What Mortal Kombat did with this system is for me the main highlight of the game. You have your main fighter, and then you can pick any Kameo you want. Each Kameo has 3 different moves, each varying from one another. 

I also enjoyed the new Invasions mode that they added. In the mode, you’re on a board and have to move from tile to tile fighting different enemies. The twist about this game mode is that both you and your opponent and Kameo have an element assigned, each having buffs and weaknesses against the other.

What I liked about the mode is how each tile you have to have a different approach. You couldn’t just beat the game mode with one character, you were encouraged to change your characters. 

For example, say I’m using Sub-Zero and the Kameo frost whose elements are both ice. The opponent I’m facing has the element fire, which beats ice. So unless I’m really good at the game, 9 times out of 10 I’m more likely to lose since my element is weaker towards my opponent.

I also really like the future guest characters they’re adding. They have both Mortal Kombat original and some outside the franchise, which I could appreciate. 

They have returning characters, Takeda from Mortal Kombat X, Ermac from Mortal Kombat Deception, and finally Quan-Chi who was in Mortal Kombat 4. For guest characters, they have Omni-Man from the show Invincible, Homelander from The Boys, and lastly Peacemaker.

The roster for the first DLC pack is really good, as they have a mix of fan-favorite Mortal Kombat characters, as well as characters positively received by the media.

My issues with the game are mainly nitpicks as they aren’t drastically affecting my experience. You shouldn’t have to purchase fatalities. For some context, Mortal Kombat updated their game with some Halloween-themed fatalities. The fatalities were positively received until Netherrealm Studios decided to put a price tag on them. For the grand price of $10 or 1,200 Dragon Krystals (In-game currency), you could buy the Halloween-themed fatality. 

My thing is, the Mortal Kombat community already spent $70 on the game, or $110 if you get the extra bonuses. Not to mention that they have an entire rotational item shop, with skins and cosmetics for your favorite characters that also cost money, why put a price tag on the fatalities?


Overall, Mortal Kombat 1 has been very successful with new and veteran players. Despite the whole item shop fiasco, I do think that you should go and buy the game. It’s beginner-friendly, finds new and innovative ways to make each fight feel unique, and has DLC worth purchasing. Additionally, they have an online mode if you want to get into the competitive side of this game.

Warning: The game is priced at $69.99 and contains extremely graphic material, like I said earlier, if you can’t stomach graphic scenes, or can’t afford it, then I do not recommend this game.

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