October 15, 2008 - Back in the day, our local arcade picked up a new fighting game that seemed to garner immediate and obsessive attention from players. Kids would hesitantly drop quarters in other nearby machines, while waiting for the crowd huddled around Mortal Kombat to thin out enough to get a crack at it themselves. When my turn finally came, I became instantly absorbed in one of the most violent, gruesome, and competitive games I'd every encountered. And I loved every second of it.
Mortal Kombat consumed many months of allowances, and I jumped at the chance to play the game at home on my SNES when it finally hit consoles the following year. The thought of virtually ripping hearts out, punching heads clean off, rending spinal columns, impaling opponents on spikes, burning their flesh off, and executing many other myriad sadistic finishing moves upon hearing the token "finish him" phrase was exciting to me.
My enthusiasm prevailed until I heard about the tame nature of Nintendo's console version. I begrudgingly decided to pick it up just so I could enjoy the fighting action from the comfort of my own living room. To say it was unsatisfactory would be a most severe understatement.
The Genesis version included some gore, but a code allowed players to unlock the full level of gruesomeness of the arcade original. Sadly, the SNES version was reduced to characters spraying "sweat" instead of blood, and the fatalities were toned down to an unacceptable level - a particularly insulting move to anyone who enjoyed the bloodbath in the arcade version. Nintendo's elective self-censorship essentially emasculated a once potent force of diabolical multiplayer mayhem. It was an egregious mistake rectified in later installments, but a mortal trespass on the gaming masses nonetheless. Bleeding sweat; what were they thinking?
CCC Staff Contributor / Pixel Artist