- Mortal Kombat 1 maintains its tongue-in-cheek tone throughout, even amidst the blood and guts, with the violence played for laughs.
- The story mode of Mortal Kombat 1 stays lighthearted and incorporates bizarre elements that remind players of the franchise’s overall tone.
- The final act of Mortal Kombat 1 is bombastic and takes a more lighthearted approach, embracing the absurdity of the situation to create a fun ending.
PLEASE NOTE: This article contains MAJOR SPOILERS for Mortal Kombat 1.Despite all of its blood, guts, and gruesome finishers, the Mortal Kombat series can be far from serious. While it may be one of the most hyper-violent video game franchises out there, Mortal Kombat adopts a tongue-in-cheek tone, over-the-top even, for the vast majority of its runtime. So while it’s true that players will see severed limbs, blown-apart heads, and more blood than an abattoir all in just one average Mortal Kombat match, it’s always played for laughs. And Mortal Kombat 1 is no exception to the rule.
This tongue-in-cheek tone often extends to Mortal Kombat‘s story mode as well. Though a Mortal Kombat campaign can have some pretty high-stakes moments and a good few character deaths, it’s rarely presented in a serious way, and there are usually enough bizarre elements to consistently remind players of Mortal Kombat‘s more lighthearted overall tone. This is certainly the case for Mortal Kombat 1‘s own story mode, which while fairly grounded throughout most of its runtime, goes off-the-rails crazy in its final act, but in the best way possible.
Mortal Kombat 1’s Final Act Is Perfectly Bombastic
Mortal Kombat 1‘s story mode follows directly from Mortal Kombat 11‘s Aftermath DLC, where Fire God Liu Kang took over Kronika’s hourglass and was tasked with restarting the universe how he saw fit. It’s eventually revealed later on in Mortal Kombat 1‘s story that Shang Tsung from the previous timeline has somehow survived, and has invaded Liu Kang’s new universe. After the Aftermath DLC, Shang Tsung betrays the new timeline’s Shang Tsung – which is already a perfect twist – the former then decides to bring in the rest of his alternate universe gang to try and destroy Liu Kang’s universe. When that doesn’t work, all hell breaks loose, and the multiverses start to collide.
Mortal Kombat 1‘s final act sees Liu Kang and all of his alternate-universe heroes go up against Shang Tsung and all of his alternate-universe villains. In just a few short missions, Mortal Kombat 1 goes from a fairly grounded but lighthearted action plot that revolves around stopping the Deadly Alliance, to a full-blown Marvel movie blockbuster that sees countless different iterations of beloved characters emerge out of portals and start fighting the nearest opponent.
Though there are some incredibly high stakes on the line – with the entire multiverse in jeopardy – Mortal Kombat 1‘s final act decides to take the more lighthearted approach and lean into the sheer absurdity of the situation, which is for the better. The final set of missions in Mortal Kombat 1 sees players face off against a slew of fighters that are alternate universe amalgamations of beloved characters, such as a mix between Geras and Reptile, Kenshi and Smoke, and Kung Lao and Scorpion among others. From the get-go, it’s clear that NetherRealm had a lot of fun designing this act, with the names of each character being a delightful play on words, like Klockodile for Geras and Reptile, and Stung Lao for Kung Lao and Scorpion.
Though some fans probably would have preferred a more gritty ending, it’s likely that for many long-time Mortal Kombat fans, this is the ideal ending for Mortal Kombat 1. With absurdly high stakes, ridiculous visuals, and plenty of tongue-in-cheek, self-referential humor, Mortal Kombat 1‘s ending is pretty fun, and with players battling their way up Mortal Kombat Armageddon‘s pyramid, facing off against countless iconic characters, this final battle feels like a true love letter to the franchise’s 30-year-long history.
Mortal Kombat 1 is available for PC, PS5, Switch, and Xbox Series S/X.
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