A timeline of Mortal Kombat ripoffs from the 1990s

The battling video games trend might have been totally in progress by 1992, however it’s safe to state no title generated as numerous clones, knock-offs, rip-offs, inexpensive impersonators and pricey failures as Mortal Kombat and Mortal Kombat 2 did.

In a five-year period, video players in games and their houses were overrun by battling video games that followed the very same format: fights to the death, typically arranged by some supernatural being; an ominous revealing voice commanding gamers to carry out a powerless challenger; gratuitously ruthless finishers that appeared developed to provoke outrage and debate, and secret relocations with inside-joke significances.

Here is a timeline of 9 unapologetic Mortal Kombat ripoffs. It’s notable the number of of them had launches that were scrubbed, and the number of are connected to a platform’s death in the late 1990s.

Time Killers (1992)

Time Killers is notable for 2 factors: One, it’s a combating video game gave you by Amazing Technologies, the very same individuals who make Golden Tee. 2, it was a “weapons-based” combating video game, and the contenders might battle on even after having both arms severed, that makes me question if this seed of a concept might have discovered much better purchase with a Monty Python license.

animated gif of the scene in Monty Python’s The Holy Grail where Arthur lops off the Black Knight’s arms, and the Knight dismisses the injury as “but a scratch.”

‘Tis however a scratch!
Image: Python Pictures/EMI Movies

Time Killers’ lineup of heroes varied from Thugg (20,000 B.C.), who fought alien intruders in his time, to Mantazz (4002 A.D.), a magenta hoping mantis with 2 blade-like appendages. The closest fighter to our time is Rancid, essentially Duke Nukem with a jail tattoo sculpted into his forehead. He’s from 2024 A.D., so try to find him in the next governmental election.

Time Killers’ time as a Super Nintendo/Sega Genesis port didn’t go so well. It was in fact evaluated by Electronic Video gaming Month-to-month 6 months prior to it introduced, and the bad marks triggered THQ to shitcan the in fact ended up task. Nintendo bailed on a port around the very same time. Black Pearl Software application ultimately released the video game in 1996, however already it looked seriously outdated, on top of being a gratuitously violent, un-fun garbage load.

Survival Arts (1993)

Survival Arts was the very first of 4 battling video games constructed by Scarab, 3 of which were vital flops. The 4th, Battling Vipers 2, was a middling port that introduced on the Dreamcast 2 months prior to the console was ceased.

In Survival Arts, basically whatever ended with an excessive casualty, which obviously thin down the appeal of a staple function in battling video games. All you needed to do was drain your challenger’s health bar to see them electrocuted, beheaded, set on fire, or otherwise mutilated.

Scarab was ultimately purchased up by a holding business and relabelled Feelplus, where it was accountable for the Wii port No More Heroes: Heroes’ Paradise that introduced in 2010, soon prior to Feelplus was closed.

Tattoo Assassins (unreleased)

Data East generated Bob Windstorm — who co-wrote Back to the Future with Robert Zemeckis — to direct this direct match of whatever that had actually made Midway millions in 1992 and 1993.

Like Mortal Kombat and Mortal Kombat 2, Tattoo Assassins had (or was expected to have) unapologetically over-the-top casualties and snide humor. However in an effort to make great on a claim of “2,196 fatalities,” beat challengers would develop into hardly identifiable, digitized pictures of Elvis Presley, a sea lion, an automobile, a knight in shining armor, and other random products. That’s in addition to the “nudalities” (stripped-down rivals still concealed their privates) and flamethrowing fart-alities that burnt enemies to a crisp.

Tattoo Assassins’ meaningful functions were unoriginal, and its initial functions were incoherent. Little of worth was lost when Data East ended on Tattoo Assassins, following the feedback of its own designers and testers, and the (right) sensation that it couldn’t stand apart in a crowd that now consisted of the much-better Killer Impulse and Primal Rage.

Primal Rage (1994)

Primal Rage is among the most effective video games, both commercially and seriously, amongst Mortal Kombat’s impersonators. Successfully a sort of fighting-games Rampage, the video game saw a broad release on almost every 1990s platform, so-so evaluation ratings (which is much better than the majority of these), and a lineup filled with dinosaurs conserved Primal Rage from being kept in mind as simply another MK rip-off.

Primal Rage supplied an early test of the brand-new ESRB rankings, which introduced a month after the video game struck racks. Amongst the video game’s casualties, the Kong-like Turmoil simply straight-up pees on his downed challenger (producing a cloud of steam if it takes place on the volcano phase). In 1996, a mama in Arizona saw the ape’s golden shower when her 11-year-old child played the video game on the Genesis, and went directly to the media with her complaint.

The ESRB kept in mind that the video game was ranked T for Teenager, so her kid shouldn’t have it in the very first location, and after that later on verified that an ape peeing on a dinosaur does not increase to the level of Adults-Only material. Excellent to understand!

BloodStorm (1994)

Amazing Technologies got a 2nd bite at the apple with 1994’s BloodStorm, another self-proclaimed, self-hyped “Mortal Kombat killer.” It wasn’t. As if reviewing what made Time Killers so unreasonable, BloodStorm likewise had a relocation that would detach an opponent’s lower body, leaving them wriggling on the flooring however still, technically, in the battle.

The Black Knight is now missing all four limbs, lopped off by a victorious Arthur

“All right, we’ll call it a draw!”
Image: Python Pictures/EMI Movies

Like predecessor Time Killers, BloodStorm’s proposed ports (for the PlayStation and Sega Saturn) were similarly canceled.

Kasumi Ninja (1994)

Aesthetically, it was most likely the most outright rip-off of the Mortal Kombat impostors that in fact introduced, however Kasumi Ninja primarily got away detection by being an Atari Jaguar special — the video game was revealed prior to the Jaguar even introduced. It bore all the trademarks of 1990s MK: digitized sprites and backgrounds, parallax-scrolling results, a battle storyteller, and health bars leaking blood.

Issue is, the action is so sluggish, and the visuals so dark and muddy, nobody can truly inform what is going on with those super-grody casualties. That sort of anticipates the in-game adult control system, making it among the very first console titles with an alternative to restrict blood-and-gore results.

Kasumi Ninja was the very first Mortal Kombat ripoff released for a console after the notorious Senate hearings on computer game violence that liquidated 1993. (Mortal Kombat 2 introduced for SNES and Genesis in September 1994.)

Method of the Warrior (1994)

Naughty Pet, the studio behind eminence titles like The Last of United States and Uncharted series, established Method of the Warrior for 3DO, and it indirectly resulted in Naughty Pet’s long-running association with Sony. Method of the Warrior was released by Universal Interactive Studios, where Mark Cerny was a vice president in charge of advancement in 1994. Sony purchased up Naughty Pet in 2001, and Cerny went on to establish the system architecture for PlayStations 4 and 5.

Crucial reaction to Method of the Warrior was absolutely not what one would anticipate for a Naughty Pet video game twenty years later on. Gameplay, character style, and visual appeal all got thumbs-down, with most folks seeing it yet another Mortal Kombat clone.

Method of the Warrior got Naughty Pet an agreement with Universal to make 3 video games for PlayStation, and those titles ended up being the very first 3 Crash Bandicoot video games. That set in movement Sony’s ultimate acquisition of Naughty Pet in 2001.

Ultra Vortek (1995)

Doing Not Have any Mortal Kombat port for its console, Atari had no option however to cause another clone on the Jaguar in 1995, less than a year prior to the console was ceased totally. Ultra Vortek made a much better vital reception than Kasumi Ninja, however customers were still uninterested.

Ultra Vortek is notable as the only formally released and introduced Atari Jaguar title to support the Atari Jaguar Voice Modem, an unusual peripheral that would call up a buddy with the video game and start a multiplayer match. The JVM was ditched after about 100 systems were produced, however, making it rather a collector’s product.

A fast scan of that casualties video above programs it, once again, appears like a straight lift of Mortal Kombat, simply slower, less competitive, and less amazing. Deaths are called “annihilations,” and there’s even a “poopality.” Maybe it’s a nod to Primal Rage’s popular urine casualty; maybe it’s a commentary on itself.

Thea World Fighters (unreleased)

Atari had another Mortal Kombat doppelganger in the works for Jaguar as that console entered its death throes in early 1996. Thea World Fighters, by High Voltage Software application, was exposed at CES 1995, and scrubbed one year later on, a relocation basically everybody took as the obituary for the unfortunate console.

Thea World Fighters story wasn’t the only thing taken directly from Mortal Kombat 2; 2 stars — Philip Ahn (Shang Tsung in MK 2) and Katalin Zamiar (Jade, Kitana, and Mileena) —who had actually depicted characters because video game likewise took functions amongst a lineup of 25 fighters.

Designers would later on state Thea World Fighters was almost ended up right when it was canceled; a number of ROMs made their method into the wild in the years considering that, launched by collectors and preservationists who got their hands on the code.


Vox Media has affiliate collaborations. These do not affect editorial material, though Vox Media might make commissions for items acquired by means of affiliate links. For additional information, see our principles policy.

HBO Max

Costs taken sometimes of publishing.

The service — now on PS5 and Roku — promotes the HBO, DC Home Entertainment, Animation Network, and Requirement Collection libraries, and will quickly bring WB’s first-run films.

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.