The Fatality

Mortal Kombat: Johnny Cage’s Fatality: 1.5 seconds

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BPyIK_Vnbl4&start=13]

Even today, Mortal Kombat can count on its shocking Fatalities to stir controversy and attract bloodthirsty fans. These finishers are cruel and unusual, but at least in the beginning the suffering was brief.

Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3: Jade’s Fatality: 8.27 seconds

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[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYNZt5yqlbY&start=110]

Fatalities eventually became the focal point in the series as then-developer Midway devised increasingly elaborate ways to kill people. Aside from Jade turning her staff into a cocktail shaker, other goofy executions included Smoke firing enough bombs to blow up the planet, Kabal inflating craniums like they’re balloons, and Liu Kang dropping an MK arcade cabinet on his foes.

Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance: Mavado’s Fatality: 14.4 seconds

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w7sP3G1UD8A&start=348]

After transitioning from into 3D, Mortal Kombat tried to move away from copy-and-paste ninjas and robots in favor of more original characters, but most of them never became fan favorites. Mavado here tries to impress by slingshoting himself into his victims, but he instead comes off as a high-school student trying to make a viral YouTube video.

Mortal Kombat (2011): Johnny Cage’s Fatality: 11 seconds

It’s important to note in the Mortal Kombat reboot’s widely acclaimed story mode, Johnny Cage refused Shang Tsung’s order to finish off his opponent, as he didn’t want to kill anyone. Outside of that narrative, however, he will gleefully rip off his opponent’s torsos or stuff trophies onto their split-open heads if the player puts in the right code. No one likes a wet blanket in the middle of the gore parade.

Injustice: Gods Among Us: Fortress of Solitude stage transition: 12.1 seconds

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sHQpN52xFpk&start=123]

The superheroes of DC Comics are the subject of the MK team’s newest brawler, but the suits at Warner Bros. would never allow their cash cows to die brutally — unless it was a B- or C-tier character whose death would raise the stakes of a storyline and can be reversed a few years later. Instead, the animation team focused on traditional super moves and creating multilevel stages where heroes and villains will tumble around like they were in a Looney Tunes gag if they get knocked from one arena to another. These are American-made games, however, and Japanese developers can get in on the act too.