Mortal Kombat 1

Announced as part of the 30th anniversary of the series, Mortal Kombat 1 is confusingly the 12th mainline entry and 23rd installment of the long-running Mortal Kombat series. Similar to Mortal Kombat (9) released back in 2011, Mortal Kombat 1 is considered a "soft reboot" taking inspiration from the original game's characters, environments, and storyline.

Mortal Kombat 1 character selection screen.

Kameo Fighters: The new "Kameo" Assist mechanic features a separate roster of recognizable faces from the early days of Mortal Kombat and beyond. Kameo characters are chosen before the fight begins, and can be called into action to perform several different attacks during gameplay. Some of the Kameo characters are inspired by their classic appearances from the late 90s, including but not limited to: Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Sonya Blade, Kano, Goro, Jax, Cyrax, Sektor, and Stryker.


Mortal Kombat 1 Kameo selection screen.

Mortal Kombat 1 will introduce Tag Fatalities. While the main characters on the roster still have the ability to perform their own Fatalities, Kameo characters can now perform combination Fatalities with their Kameo Fighters as well as their own Fatalities individually. As usual for Mortal Kombat, there's a lot of gratuitous violence, gore, and murder.

Reimagined klassic fighters... in a new timeline.

Similar to past modern installments like Mortal Kombat 9, Mortal Kombat X, and Mortal Kombat 11, Mortal Kombat 1 will contain a lengthy cinematic story mode (although details on this mode have not yet been revealed). Ed Boon confirmed that The Krypt will not return in Mortal Kombat 1 and will instead be replaced by a new unlocking system.

The six dlc characters of MK1's Kombat Pack... will move units.

A Mortal Kombat 1 Kollector's Edition was announced in May 2023 featuring a Liu Kang statue by Coarse and other in-game content. The Kollector's Edition costs $249.99.

Mortal Kombat 1 features a new cinematic story mode.


Page Updated: May 16th, 2024
Developer(s): NetherRealm Studios
Publisher(s): Warner Bros. Interactive
Platform(s): PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch, PC
Release Date(s): September 19th, 2023
Characters Scorpion, Sub Zero, Raiden, Liu Kang, Kung Lao, Johnny Cage, Kitana, Mileena, Kenshi, Shang Tsung, Smoke, Rain, Baraka, Li Mei, Tanya, Quan Chi, Ermac, Geras, Takeda Takahashi (DLC), Reptile, Ashrah, Havik, Sindel, Nitara, Reiko, General Shao, Homelander (DLC), Omni-Man (DLC), Peacemaker (DLC)
Kameo Characters Sonya Blade, Kano, Goro, Jax Briggs, Stryker, Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Kung Lao, Cyrax, Sektor, Frost, Darrius, Sareena, Motaro, Shujinko, Tremor, Khameleon, Mavado, Janet Cage, Ferra

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Related Games: Mortal Kombat 11, Mortal Kombat X, Mortal Kombat 9, Mortal Kombat, Mortal Kombat 2, Mortal Kombat 3, Mortal Kombat 3 Ultimate, Mortal Kombat 4, Mortal Kombat Trilogy, MK: Deadly Alliance, MK: Deception, MK: Armageddon, Mortal Kombat Vs. DC Universe, Injustice: Gods Among Us, Injustice 2, Guilty Gear -STRIVE-, TEKKEN 8, Street Fighter 6

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First Impression:

Instead of releasing what would've been the impressively highest numeric fighting game installment to date ("Mortal Kombat 12"), Ed Boon and company decided to scrap the "2" for some random reason and go with yet another reboot. Congrats Mortal Kombat... you're officially and undisputedly the fighting game series that has been "rebooted" the most times. And I'm not surprised, bitch.

I've become less and less interested in playing Mortal Kombat games in recent years... as micro-transactions, "force-fed" gore and murder, gimmicky gameplay systems, and stiff movement really isn't my thing when it comes to enjoying fighting games. Like the most recent prequels (MK11 and MKX), the non-stop gory cinematics are cringey and laughable at best, but mostly off-putting. Seeing the human form being grotesquely dissected in every single match (even before Fatalities) is unpleasant and... GETS OLD. I've stated it before in earlier MK reviews. All the redundant X-Ray moves, Time-wasting Fatalities, and Double Team Fatalities... and no major characters in the series ever actually die. (Quick! Insert a cliché time travel or painfully over-used "multi-verse" story element so it all just barely makes sense.) Yaaay. Still Mortal Kombat. Still bored of it.

In fairness, MK1's Kameo system is interesting and potentially fun, taking heavy inspiration from assist / tag-based arcade fighting games such as the Marvel Vs. Capcom series. On that note, MK1 sort of has a more "arcadey" vibe about it, offering more personality than usual along with some cool throwbacks thanks to Kameos. Even if the core gameplay sucks and MK1 ends up being a dead game in under a year (like the last three NRS games), at least MK1 has ridiculously high production value and a Story Mode worth playing through... once.

Kameo attacks spice up the typical 2D formula we've seen and experienced from NRS before... but the broken / unbalanced gameplay at launch, unpolished online, painfully-overused cinematics, and pandering to the "mass appeal" audience are quite apparent. While certain MK1 animations are impressive and entertaining, the overall stiff character controls and janky animations that we've come to expect out of Mortal Kombat in recent years is still very much alive (more alive than the Steam community of MK1 players, who preferred playing MK11 over this game just months after its launch. Ouch.)

Even though I am not a fan of playing or (watching) modern Mortal Kombat games, I've enjoyed seeing the return of randomly selected "klassic" characters joining the MK1 roster (especially laughable old-timers like Kurt Stryker)... for nostalgia value alone. Guest characters? I have to admit, NetherRealm made some expectedly great choices with the addition of Homelander, Omni-man, and especially Peacemaker (A.K.A. John Cena). Yes, John Cena is now in a proper 2D fighting game... NRS sure makes some crazy things happen in their games.

While a visually impressive game at face value, not much about MK1 catches or keeps my interest. Certainly, NRS will update MK1 with overpriced DLC in the years to come. Like past microtransactions in NRS games that left a bad taste in the community's mouth, MK1 still comes off as a self-serving, big fat XXL money grab. $70 for the base game? $40 to unlock Kameo characters if players don't want to grind? Another $40 for the Kombat Pack 1? Sounds more like "Mortal Money Grab" than the good old days of "Mortal Monday". No, I didn't buy MK1. Now you know why there's no TFG Rating (yet). Maybe I'll buy this game in about a year when it's marked down to $14.99 because no one is playing it and NRS wants to sell DLC (but probably not because I'll be way too busy playing TEKKEN 8 and Street Fighter 6.) Just being honest. Also, shoutouts to Street Fighter 6 for beating Mortal Kombat 1 and winning "Best Fighting Game of 2023" at The Game Awards. Whether or not you want to believe it, the good guys won.
~TFG Webmaster | @Fighters_Gen

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