“Finish him!” Few phrases are more iconic in video game history, and few video games have caused more controversy than the Mortal Kombat series. From the very first Mortal Kombat, the franchise has attracted attention for its graphics and over-the-top violence, exemplified by the gory “Fatalities” that often end battles.
Spines are removed, heads are severed, and over the years, characters have been murdered in increasingly gross ways. The best Mortal Kombat fatalities are not just gory, but creative and humorous. Players get a kick out of seeing just how wacky the developers can go, and they’ve been blessed with some truly wonderful Fatalities from their favorite characters. From Scorpion’s “Toasty” to Sonya’s “Kiss of Death”, here are some of the most brutal and iconic Fatalities from the Mortal Kombat series.
Kano – Heart Rip (Mortal Kombat)
If you really lay down the punishment on a fighting game opponent, you need to make a statement to finish them off. Kano’s “Heart Rip” move certainly did that, pulling an enemy’s still-beating heart out of their chests as their lifeless body hits the ground. It’s quick, it’s effective, and it’s simple. That makes it a bit of an outlier compared to today’s Fatalities, but you have to respect the classics.
Sub-Zero – Spine Rip (Mortal Kombat)
Perhaps the most iconic Fatality from the original Mortal Kombat, Sub-Zero’s “Spine Rip” manages to subvert your expectations the first time you see it. What looks to be a “standard” uppercut to decapitate an enemy is actually a grab that ends with their entire spinal cord removed from their body. Their terrified head is still attached at the top, as well, adding extra insult to a very gruesome injury.
Scorpion – Toasty (Mortal Kombat)
This is the kind of Fatality that becomes legendary. Iconic character Scorpion pulls off his mask, revealing a skull underneath, and delivers a blast of fire-breath that turns his enemy into a skeleton in mere seconds. The corpse remains on its knees, almost as if it’s worshipping its killer, and variations on the move have appeared in subsequent games. Following the kill up with your own rendition of the series’ classic “Toasty!” exclamation is optional, but it’s heavily encouraged.
Liu Kang – Dragon (Mortal Kombat 2)
Sure, getting cut up into tiny bits by a human (or humanoid) character is terrifying enough, but what if that fighter were replaced by a giant dragon? For Liu Kang’s famous Mortal Kombat 2 fatality, he turns into a classic dragon and eats his enemy at the waist before turning back to his normal self. It’s gruesome, it’s elegant, and it lets your opponent know who’s boss – they literally “Enter the Dragon.”
Reptile – Tongue Lash (Mortal Kombat 2)
Speaking of reptilian creatures eating their opponents, Reptile won our hearts with his “Tongue Lash” move from Mortal Kombat 2. Standing several feet from his dying enemy, he throws out his tongue like he’s a frog catching a fly, sticking it to their head and ripping it off in gloriously blood fashion. The kicker is the way he rubs his tummy after swallowing it, though we can’t imagine it tastes very good.
Shang Tsung – Inner Ear (Mortal Kombat 2)
Venturing further into the absurd in a way that would influence the future of the series, Shang Tsung’s “Inner Ear” is one of the most ridiculous Fatalities in Mortal Kombat 2. Shang Tsung travels inside his opponent’s body via their era canal, causing them to vibrate before exploding into a downpour of bones and fleshy bits. By the time it’s over, you can’t even tell what each body part is.
Mileena – Man Eater (Mortal Kombat 2)
One of the quicker and more efficient Fatalities in Mortal Kombat 2 Mileena’s “Man Eater” is deceptive. She begins the move by giving her enemy a kiss on the cheek, but immediately inhales them like a bowl of noodles and spits out their bones – picked clean and dry. They don’t even have time to scream, though we’re not sure she is able to enjoy eating them, either.
Liu Kang – MK Arcade Machine (Mortal Kombat 3)
In one of the more meta joke Fatalities in Mortal Kombat history, Liu Kang’s “MK Arcade Machine” in Mortal Kombat 3 does exactly what you’d think: It crushes his enemy with a full Mortal Kombat arcade cabinet. Where did the cabinet come from? Do they play the game in their own universe? Did anyone get this far in their line of thought, or did they just laugh?
Stryker – Explosion Device (Mortal Kombat 3)
The best Fatalities can be great for their creativity or excessive gore, but they can also be great for their animation. Stryker’s “Explosion Device” involves the character strapping a pack of C4 to his enemy before backing away and plugging his ears to protect his precious hearing. The enemy is turned into a bloody pulp, limbs and bones flying out in all directions.
Quan Chi – Leg Beat (Mortal Kombat 4)
If you’ve ever had a bully tell you to “stop hitting yourself,” then you understand Quan Chi’s “Leg Beat” Fatality from Mortal Kombat 4. The enemy’s leg is ripped off in a quick and bloody manner, after which it’s used as a club to beat them to death. It isn’t the goriest fatality out there, but it is one we can’t stop thinking about.
Sonya – Kiss of Death (Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance)
We’re confused by this Fatality, and that’s why it’s one of the best. Sonya’s “Kiss of Death” in Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance starts with a simple kiss blown to her enemy, which causes them to vomit uncontrollably and collapse on the floor. She finishes the Fatality by leaping up and stomping on their head, completely destroying it.
Kenshi – Telepathic Stretch (Mortal Kombat: Deception)
Kenshi doesn’t even have to touch is enemy to deliver a devastating kill with his telepathic stretch Fatality. After lifting them into the air using his powers, Kenshi begins pulling them apart like they’re a piece of gum or taffy before they’re ripped into two equally dead halves. What type of person would deserve such a fate?
Sindel – Migraine (Mortal Kombat 9)
Like a banshee drawn up from the depths of Hell, Sindel is a force to be reckoned with in 2011’s Mortal Kombat. For her “Migraine” Fatality, she grabs her enemy’s head and lets out a blood-curdling shriek, causing their brain to explode out of the other side of their face. The other half remains attached, collapsing to the ground along with the rest of their body.
Baraka – Up the Middle (Mortal Kombat 9)
Baraka has some of the most brutal Fatalities in the entire series (more on that later) and his “Up the Middle” move from 2011’s Mortal Kombat is among the most over-the-top. After slicing off his enemy’s arms, he pins them in place with one of his blades and uses the other one to split them down the middle like a fillet of fish.
Cassie Cage – Bubble Head (Mortal Kombat X)
Mortal Kombat X newcomer Cassie Cage had plenty to prove in the game, and her “Bubble Head” Fatality stuck with us long after we finished playing. After shooting her enemy in both kneecaps, she finishes the attack with a bullet to the head. But once that’s done, she walks to the corpse and sticks bubblegum in the bleeding wound, allowing the blood to fill it up and pop it in disgusting fashion.
Johnny Cage – Here’s Johnny (Mortal Kombat X)
In one of the series’ best nods to popular culture, Jonnny Cage pays tribute to The Shining with his “Here’s Johnny” Fatality in Mortal Kombat X. After ripping a hole in his enemy using his bare hands, Cage manages to fit his head in through their back and pop it out their chest to deliver the memorable line. It’s twisted, it’s gross, and it’s one of the funniest things Mortal Kombat has ever done.
Goro – Peek-A-Boo (Mortal Kombat X)
Johnny Cage isn’t the only fighter in Mortal Kombat X to experiment with heads inside chest cavities. Goro does so as well with his “Peek-A-Boo” move, but it’s an enemy’s head inside their own chest. Ripping their head off with his bare hands, Goro then slams it back into them with great force, embedding it inside their ribcage as they fall to the ground. Someone needs to keep their head up!
Skarlet – Bloody Mess (Mortal Kombat 11)
Who would have guessed that your own blood could be a weapon used against you in battle? Skarlet certainly did, as her “Blood Mess” Fatality kicks things up a notch in Mortal Kombat 11. Holding her enemy in place, she draws blood out through their head and turns it into crystalized spears that are then thrown back down at them. She thrusts one of them further into their head, popping their eyeball out the other side.
Baraka – Food For Thought (Mortal Kombat 11)
Baraka is crude, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t creative with his Fatality moves. For “Food for Thought,” Baraka rips his enemy’s skin off of their face, then follows up with another blow that tears the front of their skull away. In his last attack, he pulls their entire brain out of their head, gazing at it lovingly for a second before taking a nice, healthy bite out of it. Tasty.
What’s the one thing more humiliating than getting turned into a blood mist by your enemy? How about getting turned into a crying baby? The long tradition of “Babality” moves in Mortal Kombat has been among its best features, with characters all getting shrunk down and left to spend out the rest of their days after adorable and helpless creatures.