Mortal Kombat is one of the most recognizable fighting video game series in the world. It is widely known for its brutality and gore – some of the finishing moves include tearing out the spine, crushing the head into pieces or cutting the opponent’s body in half, exposing the bloody guts.

The first game of the series was released in 1992 on arcade machines, often found in bars, restaurants or amusement arcades. A year later it became available on most of the popular consoles, like Super NES or Game Boy, and in 1994 – on Amiga. The series proved to be a massive hit among the gamer community and even got two movie adaptations which with the exception of the soundtrack, are not very highly rated by both the fans of the video game series and critics alike. The latest entry in the franchise is Mortal Kombat 11, which was praised by the players and gamer community for upholding the quality of the previous entry which is considered the best in the series.

In Mortal Kombat players duel against each other in the side-viewed arenas, utilizing a wide array of moves and tricks to reduce the opponent’s health to zero. Each of the available characters plays differently and offers different moveset, making the experience much more diverse. Mortal Kombat games usually allow to compete not only against computer-controlled characters but also against other players – either over the internet or locally using multiple controllers attached to the console or PC, making the title a popular choice for house parties or other friendly meetings.

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Over the years the Mortal Kombat franchise grew in a lot of titles, some of them being more successful than others. If you are not sure which Mortal Kombat game to pick today, we decided to present you with a list of the top 10 titles of the series to hopefully make that choice much easier.

1. Mortal Kombat

Genre: Fighting game
Release date: 1993
Developer: Midway

This is where the Mortal Kombat series started, so it is definitely worth mentioning.

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The game was at first only available on arcade machines, but later also made its appearance on the portable consoles and computers. Mortal Kombat introduced the most iconic characters of the franchise, like Scorpion with his famous „Get over here!” line.

Key features
  • Play the original Mortal Kombat game which gave life to the entire franchise
  • Defend the Earth Realm from evil powers in the ultimate martial arts tournament
  • Execute enemies by performing the famous brutal fatalities

2. Mortal Kombat X

Genre: Fighting game
Release date: 2015
Developer: NetherRealm Studios

The title from 2015 scored highly on the list, and not without a reason – it was the fastest-selling game of the entire franchise.

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The game features plenty of game modes and completely new fatalities including the stage-based ones which activate when certain environmental conditions are met. The game introduced multiple new playable characters, including Johny Cage’s daughter, Cassie, and Kung Lao’s younger cousin, Kung Jin.

Key features
  • Experience the new engaging modes – Living Towers, Factions and 5v5 team battles
  • Perform new breathtaking bloody fatalities, including the stage-based ones
  • Explore the Krypt – a single-player first-person dungeon filled with unlockable items

3. Mortal Kombat (2011)

Genre: Fighting game
Release date: 2011
Developer: NetherRealm Studios

Similarly to the above-mentioned titles representing the new generation of Mortal Kombat, the game is rendered in full 3D but is played from the side view.

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This is the first game of the series developed by NetherRealm Studios. The company managed to meet the challenge of extending the longevity of the franchise and delivered a polished and well-received product. The most notable feature is the X-ray attack which, when performed, shows the victims’ breaking bones and organs. Also, long-forgotten non-lethal babalities made a return – the defeated player can be turned into a harmless baby.

Key features
  • Experience the alternative history presented in the first titles of the franchise
  • Charge the super meter and use the stored energy to perform effective X-ray moves
  • Complete the Challenge Tower – a 300-floor single-player dungeon filled with difficult encounters

4. Mortal Kombat 11

Genre: Fighting game
Release date: 2019
Developer: NetherRealm Studios

Mortal Kombat 11 is the latest installment and a worthy successor to the Mortal Kombat series. Besides the fantastic graphics quality, the game offers advanced character customization, multiple engaging game modes, an exciting story, and a multiplayer leaderboard.

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The game features most of the characters known from the previous games, like Johny Cage, Kitana and Sonya Blade, but also introduces the new ones: Cetrion, Geras, and Kollector.

Key features
  • Slash through the opponents in an all-new story mode or compete online with other players
  • Enjoy the most stunning up-to-date visuals in the Mortal Kombat franchise
  • Customize characters by choosing from tons of different unlockables – outfits, gears, abilities and more

5. Mortal Kombat 4

Genre: Fighting game
Release date: 1997
Developer: Midway/Eurocom/Digital Eclipse

Mortal Kombat 4 is the first game to be played on the 3D arenas, and the first that allowed to use weapons to fight. These could be swung, tossed or even picked up by the opponent.

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The game also features a damage cap system which prevents the exploit of infinite combos – the combo breaks once the damage threshold is reached. Developers decided for a more brutal and serious approach, removing entirely the so-called „babalities” introduced in MK2.

Key features
  • Choose one of the 18 unique characters, including well-known ones like Raiden and Scorpion
  • Duel to death with the fierce CPU on the various 3D arenas
  • Make use of the weapons to gain an advantage over opponents and deliver a killing blow

6. Mortal Kombat 3

Genre: Fighting game
Release date: 1995
Developer: Midway/Atari Games

Mortal Kombat 3 was a huge milestone in the series.

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The game introduced pre-programmed chain combos, as well as dynamic multi-floor arenas – using an uppercut results in the opponent being thrown in the air; he breaks through the ceiling, where the duel continues.

Key features
  • Choose from 15 playable characters and learn each character’s unique moveset
  • Master the combo system to continuously deliver high amounts of damage
  • Defeat your opponent and perform various finishers including completely new animalities

7. Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe

Genre: Fighting game
Release date: 2008
Developer: Midway

This game’s uniqueness lies in the crossover between characters of Mortal Kombat and DC Universe’s superheroes. Depending on the player’s choice, one group is considered as the invaders of the other’s world. Mortal Kombat vs.

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DC Universe introduces rage mode and mid-air combat – when a character is thrown to the lower level of the arena, both characters enter an additional fighting mini-game.

Key features
  • Play the classic Mortal Kombat game as one of the popular superheroes – Batman, Catwoman or The Flash
  • Fill the rage meter and use it to gain an additional advantage like guard-break and increased damage output
  • Enjoy the visual damage effects – after receiving damage, the character retains his scars until the end of the duel

8. Mortal Kombat: Deception

Genre: Fighting game
Release date: 2004
Developer: Midway

Among the new mechanics introduced in the Mortal Kombat: Deception is a Combo Breaker system which allows interrupting the opponent from performing a combo few times per match.

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The game also introduces an interesting take on the chess, Chess Kombat – a classic game of chess with the pieces being replaced by Mortal Kombat characters who need to defeat the other in order to take its square.

Key features
  • Play as one of the 17 returning characters or 9 completely new ones
  • Enjoy the improved Konquest, a third-person action RPG mode with a rich storyline and multiple quests
  • Play an alternative version of chess, where chess pieces are replaced by Mortal Kombat characters

9. Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance

Genre: Fighting game
Release date: 2002
Developer: Midway

The game introduces the Konquest mode, a set of 8 missions acting as a tutorial for each character.

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It also features the Krypt, where the player can spend Koins to unlock the 626 koffins containing various unlockables. The game itself became easier to play, thanks to the simplified controls.

Key features
  • Switch between different fighting styles on the go to adapt to every situation
  • Learn the game through completing the Konquest challenges
  • Earn the virtual currency and spend it on the in-game unlockables in the Krypt

10. Mortal Kombat: Armageddon

Genre: Fighting game
Release date: 2006
Developer: Midway/Just Games

Mortal Kombat: Armageddon introduced a new way of performing fatalities.

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Instead of pressing the sequence and watching the cinematic, now players manually perform fatality attacks one after another – each successful fatality move increases the fatality level, up to an Ultimate Fatality after 11 successful moves. The game features all previous Mortal Kombat characters, and even allows you to create your own.

Key features
  • Choose from over 60 playable characters or make your own with Kreate-A-Fighter
  • Finish your opponent with custom fatalities
  • Play the Motor Kombat – a racing mini-game resembling the Mario Kart