Mortal Kombat X
Mortal Kombat is a truly infamous game franchise. Since its debut more than 20 years ago, the series has drawn consistent negative attention from professional game critics and regular workaday parents alike for the terrible physical violence it depicts. Of course, back in those arcade gaming days when everybody first started taking notice, the bloody visuals were still pretty blocky and unrealistic.
Well, let's just say Mortal Kombat X is one of the most vividly gruesome games ever made.
One Demon in Particular
Pit two powerful characters against each other until one is bloodied and bested. Then do it again. And again. That's the bent and bleeding backbone of this game. But there's also a rather lengthy story mode to play through that depicts the ongoing saga of a fictional universe full of various human and nonhuman realms that were once created by some mysterious Elder Gods. It's a convoluted, violent narrative of battles between demons and demigods that's hard to keep up with. Hey, at least it serves the purpose of helping you get to know the cast list of 24 superpowered and magic-blasting characters—each sporting three different fighting styles and an assortment of deadly moves to choose from.
You say that's not necessarily a good thing? Well, you're right, so I'll keep my recap short by profiling only one of the female battlers, Mileena. She's a ballet-graceful fighter sporting a sleek form; lots of cleavage; barely there outfits; and a face full of oversized, wickedly sharp teeth. One of her fighting-style variations features teleporting moves that let her to disappear and then reappear behind her foe to launch a surprise attack. Another variation gives her improved ranged scythe attacks and stabbing combos. And her third possible variation features close-combat bite moves that make her jump up on an opponent's torso and rip at his neck and shoulders with those chomping teeth of hers.
The fighting styles of her competitors are just as "impressively" fluid and, um, creative, presenting unique problems and surprises. And it's the impossibly fast and versatile moves that open the gaming door to quick wins, geysers of blood and a variety of deadly finishing blows.
Gagging on Gruesome
The Mortal Kombat *franchise is best known for its use of hyper-violent and blazingly brutal coup de grace moves after an opponent is already beaten and staggering. In the old days that equated to the announcer calling out *"Finish him!" and your character snatching a foe's heart out of his 2-D chest and laughing as the guy keels over. But that's all so 1992 nowadays. Here the kill moves make up a stomach-turning smorgasbord of ripped torsos, dangling entrails, yanked spines, popped-out eyeballs, sliced-off faces and severed brains—all awash in spewing, gurgling bodily fluids and surround-sound-enhanced screams.
One of Mileena's finishing moves, for instance, involves her jamming a blade into a victim's skull, forcibly ripping his head off and then eating his face, mouthful by mouthful. Another fighter snaps a female foe's arms and jams them down into her torso, leaving nothing but her hands sticking out. Then he proceeds to rip the woman's head open so he can extinguish his cigar in her gurgling throat.
The dreadful dissecting gets worse from there.
There are also special slow motion x-ray views, mid-fight, that depict skulls breaking into shards, backbones snapping like twigs, ribcages shattering and even testicles bursting.
And remember, these aren't nameless, faceless automatons battling it out like some high-tech Rock'Em Sock'Em robot. You actually get to know some of them quite well through the game's story mode. So when I then had to watch a heroic female character, for instance, be beaten to the ground and have her head sawn in half, it became almost too physically painful to endure.
When The Daily Beast asks if Mortal Kombat X, with its "gruesome symphony of spine-ripping fatalities," is the "most violent video game ever," well, they may be understating the situation just a bit. Writes Alec Kubas-Meyer, "Mortal Kombat X is the kind of game that keeps overly protective parents up at night, convinced it will turn their children into heartless killers. And it revels in the guaranteed controversy. It knows exactly what it is, and it shoves your face in it."