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Ready for Kombat

Artistic violence

Andrew Lu, 37, tech writer
I first played Mortal Kombat on a Super Nintendo set in 1996. I had never seen anything half as violent and it shaped how I looked at fighting games. A lot of them have violence just for the sake of it. But this had cool characters and things like fatalities, and there were so many secrets and little things that fans would go crazy about. But you can see the change when it moved from 2D to 3D, because it lost its oomph factor. Back in the day, it was better than any other combat game. But graphics have gotten so much better now that it’s like any other game. As for the movies, the first one was great, the second one was terrible, and the third one is a joke. It’s a movie made for people with an IQ of six.

Character study

Pratik Datta, 37, business director
The graphic violence is what first attracted me to the game, as was the case with everybody. Mortal Kombat was the first to the post in terms of entering the combat gaming market in India. Street Fighter was great too, but it had a different feel. Mortal Kombat had more interesting characters since they were from a different realm. They didn’t look human. You had all these weird-looking characters, like Goro. Street Fighter had people battling it out on earth, so there was less creativity. I’ve seen the first two movies. The first one was great fun, and it had the best soundtrack ever, with awesome techno music. But you’d have to find a synonym for canine excreta to describe the second one.

Fatal moves

Arhan Sett, 35, photographer
I remember that I used to get `10 as pocket money in the late ’90s, and saved up for three months to buy a Mortal Kombat cartridge, which cost `750, a lot of money back then. This was when the rivalry between Nintendo and Sega was at its peak. In Sega, they had something called ‘fatalities’, which was the finishing move, after which you got to gloat about your victory. These moves were so gory that it seemed a bit comical. Sub-Zero’s fatality move was grabbing the opponent’s neck and pulling out the skull and spine, for example. It was unrealistic hyper-violence, like in the movie 300, but taken to the next level. I have unfortunately watched all three movies. The first one was not so bad that it was good; it was good despite being bad. I saw the second one once, which was one too many times. The third one started off well, but had inefficient storytelling after that.

Visceral effect

Viraag Desai, 34, artist
Mortal Kombat was part of the early generation of PC games. What was really striking about it was that they took photographs of actual human actors and animated them. It was also ridiculously gory. Other games had nothing on that level, and as a kid who watches WWE and He-Man, it definitely leaves an impact when you see something that visceral. I am not a censorship kind of guy, but there are times when even I felt that it should be illegal. What sets it apart in terms of gameplay is the ‘fatality’ aspect, since you get to rub it in after defeating your opponent. The storyline was also a little more adult, and the art design was really good. It had this strange He-Man vibe, with castles and dungeons. I also liked the old movies. They were extremely campy and didn’t take themselves seriously, unlike the new one.

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