Mortal Kombat is synonymous with violence -- hell, it's baked into the franchise's name. But despite how increasingly gruesome the series has become with each successive release throughout its 23-year history, it hasn't lost sight of keeping the tone light as a counterbalance. Whether that's a head popping up saying, "Toasty!" in falsetto after a particularly brutal uppercut, or turning an opponent into a crying baby that slips on a puddle of frozen urine at the end of a match, humor is just as intrinsic to the game as its bloodshed. What the series delivers is cartoony, over-the-top violence akin to the B-movie horror of something like Peter Jackson's Dead Alive. Fatalities, Mortal Kombat's signature, end-of-match moves, are shockingly gory, for sure, but somehow developer NetherRealm keeps the game from feeling like torture porn.
"We're not out trying to make Saw or a horror film," says NetherRealm Lead Designer John Edwards. "We don't take ourselves too seriously."