Every video game has a few secrets and fun facts that even some longtime fans have overlooked. Mortal Kombat is well known for it’s bloody combat, distinctive art style and its various mysteries and hidden content.
Back in 1992 when the first Mortal Kombat game was released secrets weren’t often widely known due to the absence of the internet so players had to rely on their own skills to discover them. Midway became renowned for leaving hints for secrets that weren’t often there.
With that in mind here are 10 things you probably didn’t know about Mortal Kombat:
10. Mortal Kombat 1 was created by a team of 4 people
The first Mortal Kombat game was developed over a brief period of 10 month by a team of only 4 people.
“The first Mortal Kombat game was four guys, literally. One programmer (Ed Boon), myself, two graphics guys (John Tobias and John Vogel) and a sound guy (Dan ‘Toasty’ Forden) were the entire team” – co-creator Ed Boon
Animality is one of the memorable features in the classic Mortal Kombat games and it actually started as fan invented rumor. In the Mortal Kombat 2 era there was a popular urban myth about a Fatality move that was so secret and hard to perform that only a few gamers saw it. The Animality was an ability for your fighter to morph into a giant animal or mythical creature to maul and devour your foes. The developers heard about there rumors and introduced the Animality move in Mortal Kombat 3.
8. Ermac was a glitch
In the early installments of Mortal Kombat, developers had to cut production cost and memory usage so they used a single actor to portray several ninjas by placing the red color over their costumes. It was called a “palette swap” and the red could be replaced with different colors and created specific characters (blue for Sub-Zero, yellow for Scorpion or green for Reptile). However there was a rare glitch that would cause one of these ninja characters to revert to the original red color of the costume and display an error Er Mac which stands for Error Macro.
As this rumor about a secret character spread, in 1995 developers created a real character named Ermac and gave him a backstory – he is the accumulation of souls belonging to fallen warriors.
7. Mortal Kombat: Deception has hidden messages
Mortal Kombat: Deception featured Deadly Alliance’s game style called ‘Konquest‘ where players take the role of Shujinko in order to collect six powerful items for a being called Damashi. As you roam around in the open world of Chaosrealm and the Netherrealm you will meet NPC’s that seem to speak in an unusual language. The audio is actually normal speech played backwards saying things like “I am talking backwards, spooky, isn’t it?”, “drink milk, get plenty of sleep, listen to your parents and do your homework“, and most amusingly “if you have decoded this, you have way too much time on your hands“.
6. In Mortal Kombat 2 you can play Pong
One of the most bizarre easter eggs in the Mortal Kombat franchise is the ability to play Pong in the arcade version of the game. In order to trigger the Pong game players had to endure 250 consecutive matches and upon winning the last match a message will appear saying “You have reached the outer limits of the tournament. Now you must both face a challenge from your past“.
The screen is then occupied with a classic game of Pong and after a player reaches 7 points, the pong will end and cut back to the next normal game of Mortal Kombat.
The purple-clad ninja known as Rain, who made his debut in Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, is another reference to third-party content, this time the popular song Purple Rain by Prince. As the color palette and name were not enough, in his backstory Rain is also a prince in his realm, Edenia.
4. Jax was called Kurtis Stryker
Jax was first created as a kickboxer called Kurtis Stryker but he was dropped because he looked too similar to other characters from Street Fighter, such as Balrog and Sagat. This is why Jax made his debut in Mortal Kombat 2 as Sonya’s partner and he was given a military background. Instead the name was given to the police officer we know now as Stryker who appeared in Mortal Kombat 3 and onwards.
3. Noob Saibot
In Mortal Kombat 3 Noob Saibot’s sprite is almost pitch-black, causing many to assume he was yet another easy palette swap for one of the other ninja characters. The truth is Noob Saibot is simply a silhouette of a Kano sprite that features only Kano’s combos and strikes with nothing else added. With the release of Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 Noob Saibot was given his own moves and a backtory.
2. The role of Johnny Cage was reserved for The Crow
In 1995 Mortal Kombat became a feature film produced by New Line Cinema. The role of Johnny Cage was reserved for Brandon Lee, the actor from the cult classic movie, The Crow. However a horrible event occurred and Lee was accidentally shot and lost his life before starting to film for Mortal Kombat. As a result, Linden Ashby took over the role of Johnny Cage.
1. Mortal Kombat – Bloodsport
When Mortal Kombat began production it was intended to be an adaptation of the popular 1980s movie Bloodsport. Jean-Claude Van Damme was even supposed to appear in the game but dropped out of the project to pursue stardom in another video game that ended up never materializing. A reference to this can be found in the form of Johnny Cage’s first appearance in Mortal Kombat.