Appreciating Mortal Kombat’s 30 Years of Brutally Superior Levels

For the previous 30 years, Mortal Kombat has given keen kombatants the means to check themselves in opposition to fierce opponents. The spirit of competitors stayed the identical, however the arenas have modified lots over these three many years. From Earthrealm to Outworld and every thing in between, the characters of Mortal Kombat have thrown fingers within the streets, graveyards, prisons, temples, on boats, and a lot extra. The spectacular feat right here is that out of the multitude of ranges spanning greater than ten titles, there are only a few really dangerous choices, that means it may be troublesome to slim down the levels that stand out. Nevertheless, I’ve performed an excessive amount of of those video games through the years and wish to fake my artwork diploma is helpful, so I’ve taken on the duty. This isn’t a listing primarily based on one side, however all types of degree design and pleasure, as we focus on which levels have left an influence on the sequence.


Shang Tsung’s Courtyard

Considered one of Mortal Kombat’s greatest inspirations was the movie Enter the Dragon, and a part of that affect is seen within the first sport with Shang Tsung’s Courtyard. It’s exterior, within the daylight, with an viewers of monks and a few intimidating guards, as Shang Tsung himself presides over the battles atop a raised platform. The roof of the construction shields solely him from the solar, as a result of nobody apart from the person sitting on the throne is necessary. The distant mountains and golden dragons present a beautiful backdrop, one which the blood stands out completely in opposition to. 

We get to see Shao Kahn take the seat within the Mortal Kombat: Trilogy model of the stage, in addition to a 3D replace for Mortal Kombat: Deception. The trendy tackle the Courtyard for Mortal Kombat (2011) is splendid, however nothing beats seeing the aftermath in Mortal Kombat 11, with Shang Tsung’s Island Ruins displaying off the destroyed enviornment.



Kove is a contemporary stage, solely showing (to this point) in Mortal Kombat X, however it has left fairly an impression. The panorama resembles a twisted tapestry — an oil portray in fixed movement with a dulled palette that helps lots of the characters stick out. The setting is a dock in Outworld, a port of name for vacationers and a office, however the darkish waters cover a boatload of dread and much more blood. There are crates, hooks, damaged ships, and stalwart vessels, however it’s the skull-shaped rock formation and crashing waves that demand probably the most consideration. There are numerous objects that may be interacted with, however the useless our bodies taking pictures up from the water are the very best weapons, and gamers can use the stage fatality to ship their foes to a watery grave with demise by a giant-tentacled sea monster.


The Evil Tower

Having a reputation like The Evil Tower is a strong indicator that this stage is elevated and harmful, however the true speedy clue — and cause most bear in mind this explicit degree — is the fast-moving clouds out the large window. It additionally contains a Shadow Monk floating up entrance, who seems fairly menacing. This enviornment is a small a part of an enormous construction in Outworld — supposedly the seat of Shao Kahn’s energy — with carpets, flooring, and pillars that make the constructing look far nicer than anything in that realm, excessive sufficient that the blue skies may be seen over the corrupted panorama.

The model gamers acquired in Mortal Kombat: Armageddon was wonderful, with breakable parts within the stage and a deathtrap that would ship an opponent flying by an open portal. Mortal Kombat (2011)’s model is perhaps excellent, with its significantly detailed revision and a sped-up day and evening cycle that may be a bit distracting.



This one could appear a bit mundane as compared, however nothing beats a gritty street-level brawl between two kombatants. The inspiration is cracked, and lights flicker and shake whereas trains pace by, inflicting the environment to rumble. It’s harmful, and proof that the battle with Outworld has invaded our properties. These station names within the background that boast the co-creators names, the posters that had been added in, and a variety of element within the later variations really assist the Subway stand out as a mainstay in Mortal Kombat. The stage fatality is a winner as effectively — there’s nothing like utilizing the facility of a locomotive to do an opponent in.

This degree originated in Mortal Kombat 3 and had a few updates, with Mortal Kombat: Armageddon increasing the battlefield and modernizing the stage fatality, however Mortal Kombat (2011) as soon as once more gave one other traditional scene a load of latest sights and made the finisher even wilder.


Dwelling Forest

The woods could also be deep, darkish, and dreary, however this eerie forest in Outworld makes for a superb place to struggle. If the opposite kombatant doesn’t pose sufficient of a risk, the wilderness will. Not solely are their snakes, ensnaring vines, and hungry bushes, however their branches and roots are suffering from the our bodies of earlier victims. It’s a haunting space and rumored to have been a corrupted portion of the previous Edenia, which makes it a tragic place as effectively. Gamers have loved this stage ever since they noticed Jade and Smoke hiding within the background and thought they might knock opponents into the mouths of the scary foliage (which might grow to be a actuality). 

Mortal Kombat 4 tried to present gamers a 3D model, which didn’t look spectacular, however Mortal Kombat Gold’s rendition cleaned it up. Mortal Kombat: Deception expanded on the idea and even added a mud river, however as soon as once more, it was Mortal Kombat (2011) that supplied a genuinely superb replace for these woods, with all of the bells and whistles.


Soul Chamber

Some ranges simply scream evil. There’s an enormous demonic head with a gaping maw, within which sits a swirling tempest of souls, and within the background resides robed Shadow Monks who guard the facility. Early on, the face was mentioned to be a tree husk Shao Kahn had beneath his balcony. Different instances, it appeared to be a rock formation, and later renditions made it appear alive, with shiny power and shifting tentacles. It could actually’t be ignored and one thing about that inexperienced storm of souls screams doom and fatalities.

This place was first seen in Mortal Kombat 3, and it’s no shock that it has appeared in lots of different entries of the franchise. For Mortal Kombat Gold it was rendered in 3D, however Mortal Kombat: Armageddon took that concept and stuffed it out. Mortal Kombat (2011) delivers one other strong glow-up, however it’s Mortal Kombat 11 that actually breathed new life into the Soul Chamber, making it look alive, pulsing, and majestic with shiny backgrounds.


Shang Tsung’s Throne Room

Shang Tsung already has a courtyard to look at the fights, however apparently he wants a throne room to do that in as effectively — one with décor that exhibits simply how further the villain is. Every thing is adorned in deep reds, marble, and gold. There are dragon statues, magnificent pillars, giant home windows with the MK image carved into them, and a finely crafted chair for Tsung to take a seat in comfortably whereas others endure for his amusement. The up to date variations make the world look larger, have added banners, and now a storm rages exterior, setting the tone for what looks like an necessary battle.

Though Shao Kahn’s throne room from Mortal Kombat (2011) could appear initially extra interesting with its colour selection, Shang Tsung’s leaves a stronger impression and is extra prone to be chosen on the stage choose display. Mortal Kombat 1’s authentic is, in fact, at all times going to be traditional, however Mortal Kombat (2011)’s model talked about above is top-notch for spectacle and environment.


The Lifeless Pool

Why anybody would need to struggle in a spot the place one misstep might imply an on the spot acid bathtub could also be a thriller, however there’s no query why this explicit torture chamber retains showing in Mortal Kombat installments. Within the stage’s earlier incarnations it seems rusted as metallic grates and hooks create an uncomfortable feeling and the skinny platform causes nice concern for anybody’s security. Later, there could be our bodies hanging within the background — these Shao Kahn wished to see punished — and statues for intimidating these about to be murdered. The Lifeless Pool earns its title and its stage fatality is a satisfying delight.

Followers first noticed this stage in Mortal Kombat 2, it set the groundwork, however Mortal Kombat: Deception modified up the slender bridge for a sq. platform. Later variations went again to fundamentals, and although Mortal Kombat 11 added extra texture and wonderful lighting to the stage, the very best model should be in Mortal Kombat (2011), the place every thing comes collectively as interesting and threatening.


The Temple

This place of unholy worship has had many alternative names through the years: The Temple, The Church, The Cathedral, however it doesn’t matter what it’s known as, there’s at all times an aura of demise round it. Supposedly constructed by Shao Kahn throughout his invasion of Earthrealm, this construction has daring archways, pillars with flames on high of them, beautiful stained glass home windows, and blood-red candles up on the forefront. The black Mortal Kombat image stands proud because the fighters trip, and typically there may be an altar, coffin, or tomb for further ornament.

In Mortal Kombat (2011) we get a superb replace for the extent, with glowing mild coming in from the home windows, extra element within the background, and energetic NPCs performing what seems like a sacrifice or an post-mortem up on the raised platform. It was a severe improve from the lackluster providing in Mortal Kombat Gold, however nothing beats the Mortal Kombat 3 authentic.


The Pit

That is presumably probably the most iconic stage within the Mortal Kombat franchise, however there’s a tricky argument right here for which model is the very best. The idea of every is simpl: a raised bridge with hazard on the backside, and a loss almost definitely means falling to an uncomfortable spiky doom. Even when the kombatant by some means survived, Reptile is down there ready to complete them off. Collectively, Pit 1, Pit II, Pit III, and Pit X (together with the Pit Backside) might have the best variety of stage renditions, however they aren’t all winners, as Mortal Kombat 3’s method is often seen as a disappointment. It simply doesn’t really feel proper except it’s out within the open with different odd characters preventing within the background.

Mortal Kombat X might need the very best total presentation with its good large moon and wonderful tackle the stage fatality. Pit I from Mortal Kombat 1 will at all times be traditional, however Mortal Kombat 2’s Pit II stands out simply above the others. Even with out the additional particulars, the world feels absolutely realized and screams Mortal Kombat.