For decades, the Mortal Kombat franchise has won over loyal audiences with its gruesome over-the-top violence. With multiple crossovers and a new movie in development, the Mortal Kombat series is regarded as a pathbreaker in the fighting genre of video games. Characters like Scorpion and Sub-Zero have almost become synonymous with video games.

Despite their legendary status, some of the installments haven’t aged well among critics and fans like Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, while there are others that continue to revamp the franchise like Mortal Kombat 11.

10 BEST: Mortal Kombat X

Mortal Kombat X was a fresh release that introduced a host of new elements, ranging from new characters to highly-engaging online modes. The story mode introduced characters like Cassie Cage and Takeda while bringing back old favorites like Kung Lao. It also went a notch higher in bringing pop-culture icons like Predator, Alien, Jason Voorhees, and Leatherface as playable fighters (as a part of the Kombat packs).

The online Faction War system served as another cherry on the top while the Living Towers too managed to win over players. The latter refers to a set of challenges that keep on changing continuously yielding endless possibilities.

9 WORST: Mortal Kombat Vs. DC Universe

As expected, the story of this ambitious crossover title was delightfully over-the-top. Raiden and Superman’s simultaneous bursts of energy in their respective universes cause the villains Shao Kahn and Darkseid to combine and form an entity known as Dark Kahn. As these universes merge, classic characters from both franchises engage in combat.

It’s definitely an amusing experience to play as both DC and Mortal Kombat characters, the story and comic book-inspired dialogues can get a tad bit caricaturish for a Mortal Kombat game. Modes like the Kombo Challenge mode further got pretty frustrating for a few players. So, while it might not be the worst entry in the series, it isn’t the best either and crossover events like Marvel vs Capcom seem like better alternatives.

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8 BEST: Mortal Kombat II

While the first Mortal Kombat laid the groundwork for the series, Mortal Kombat II made it reach new heights. The game is definitely impactful to this day for having a significant impact on the best Mortal Kombat games, especially the 2011 reboot. Not only did it add to the backstories of characters like Kung Lao and Kitana, but Mortal Kombat II also expanded upon the fighting, giving characters their trademark Fatalities.

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These Fatalities went on to raise eyebrows, garnering controversy for its ridiculously over-the-top violence. Be it for the right or wrong reasons, it made people talk and ensured Mortal Kombat‘s future success.

7 WORST: Mortal Kombat Gold

Mortal Kombat Gold was an updated version of Mortal Kombat 4, the final arcade game in the series. Released exclusively on Dreamcast, the graphics somehow seemed to be worse than its original. Bugs, glitches, and unnecessary weapons were added issues with the game.

The story also gets dull and lacks innovation. Despite its title, Mortal Kombat Gold is the least-worthy of the Mortal Kombat games to earn gold status.

6 BEST: Mortal Kombat 11

The latest Mortal Kombat game proved to be a massive success for a variety of reasons. For starters, the visual atmosphere is improved vastly with appalling arenas, character modes, and new character customizations. The guest characters from other fictional universes keep on increasing, marking the presence of Spawn and Terminator.

However, the unique selling point of Mortal Kombat 11 has to be its time travel-driven plot that finds the game’s beloved characters interact and fight with their past selves. In this manner, Mortal Kombat 11 serves as a perfect time capsule for seasoned die-hard fans of the original 90s games.

5 WORST: Mortal Kombat: Special Forces

A largely forgotten Mortal Kombat spin-off, Special Forces was released for the PlayStation three years after Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero. But just like its predecessor, it made the leap from the fighting to the adventure genre and ended up increasingly forgettable over the years.

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Focusing solely on the character Jax Briggs, the game notably lacked any Fatalities and the franchise’s trademark violence. The tedious strategy-based gameplay also added to the disdain for the game.

4 BEST: Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3

Mortal Kombat 3 was a good-enough addition to the nascent stage of Mortal Kombat games but today, its legacy has been largely surpassed by Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3. The arcade game made significant additions to the former. For instance, the Ultimate edition brings back Scorpion and Kitana while altering the gameplay. It also marked the first appearance of Sheeva, Cyrax, and Kabal.

This included the 2-on-2 mode and an eight-player Tournament mode, along with an extra Master difficulty level. When it comes to the pantheon of arcade games in the series, Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 definitely makes it to the top ranks.

3 WORST: Mortal Kombat: Armageddon

Over the years, Armageddon has turned into a guilty pleasure of sorts which is a shame considering its massive ensemble. The game includes almost every major Mortal Kombat character allowing players to create their own Fatalities, adding to the unpredictability.

This altered gameplay only ends up being quite exhausting, stripping away the personalized moves of the iconic characters it features. The somewhat memorable Motor Kombat driving mini-game (borrowing inspiration from Mario Kart) happens to one silver lining from this 2006 release.

2 BEST: Mortal Kombat (2011)

Arguably one of the best modern video game reboots, 2011’s Mortal Kombat relied on nostalgia with grittier storylines and massive technological updates. Even though the NetherRealms production boasted of a rich and immersive 3D visual style, Mortal Kombat (also dubbed as Mortal Kombat 9) bore clear influences from its innovative 2D roots.

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Before its release, the franchise was going through a slight downfall with its 3D games gaining mixed responses. Mortal Kombat 9 reignited the spark in the franchise, setting a precedent for the future games by the NetherRealm Studios.

1 WORST: Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero

The intention behind this spin-off was noble but it failed to make a mark and can be seen as a polarizing experiment. Released as a prequel to the original Mortal Kombat, the game transitioned from a fighting-based one to a side-scrolling adventure one. In terms of storyline, the game attempts to understand the original Sub-Zero’s (Bi-han) quest to find a magical amulet.

The unpredictable difficulty and the messy gameplay is disappointing, to say the least. Criticism was also directed towards the bland enemies that Sub-Zero faces. It’s safe to say that Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero is probably the worst game in the franchise.

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