There I was, wrapping up a match in Mortal Kombat X and trying to remember the inputs for a finishing move so I could pull off a spectacular win. Then, suddenly, my opponent died in a totally egregious way that I wasn’t expecting! This sudden Brutality reminded me that I’ve always loved Mortal Kombat’s bloody surprises.

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These unexpected endings to my Mortal Kombat matches have happened at least three times so far and have genuinely surprised me at every instance. I’ve known that Mortal Kombat has had secret Brutalities and that they require special win conditions and inputs in order for the sarcastic screaming deaths to start. But I’ve been away from the series’ latest installment for a while and have only gotten back into Mortal Kombat X after its most recent update. I haven’t researched how to do Brutalities at all. Each time they popped out, I get a tiny little thrill.

Over the years, I’ve liked Mortal Kombat for the same reasons as millions of other players. Its ludicrous lore, rapid pace and over-the-top approach to martial arts fighting tickled the thrill junkie parts of my lizard brain. As the series evolved, the seeding and discovery of hidden elements became an essential part of the Mortal Kombat recipe. Finding out how to get friendships, babalities and hidden characters all added a layer of intrigue to Mortal Kombat games as time has gone on. That layer gives Mortal Kombat a distinct flavor from other fighting franchises.

Secrets give players another reason to wade through the gore and talk to both other fans and the game-makers themselves. Folks can be guarded about the specific strategies they use to win matches and master various characters. The hidden elements of Mortal Kombat create a camaraderie around the game that’s a lot friendlier than you’d expect.


Contact the author at evan@kotaku.com.