The early Mortal Kombat games are among the most beloved in the entire canon of video games. From MK1 to MKT, Mortal Kombat could do no wrong and, although the star dipped for a good decade and a half before Mortal Kombat re-emerged as the premiere AAA fighting game franchise, the peak of the franchise ensured MK would always have a place in pop culture.
Its heyday was, however, undoubtedly, the late 90s. This period gave us a plethora of MK materials aside from the main games and all of them are worth revisiting. Even Annihilation gives good "so bad it's enjoyable" schtick and MK Conquest is fun in the incredibly cheesy, low budget, slightly exploitative late 90s action adventure show way.
That is, of course, except Mortal Kombat Special Forces. Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the absolute nadir of Mortal Kombat.
If you haven't experienced the grinding pain that is Special Forces, you can just watch this video and skip out on playing the game which, I promise, will lose all "ironic" fun real goddamn fast. You have Matt McMuscles to thank for that, as he'll lay out the massive cluster**** that is Special Forces just for you (and thousands of other viewers). Every part of it.
From development to gameplay to storyline, this game is to Mortal Kombat as Attila is to rock and roll. It would be diplomatic to call it "misguided and poorly executed". It would be more realistic to call it "a borderline war crime committed against the entirety of Earth".
Gaze not into the abyss, lest it gaze back into you.
Take the already pretty poor gameplay of MK Mythologies and make it much, much worse, exchange the beloved characters of Sub Zero and Scorpion for Jax and Sonya, remove the world building and mythology crucial to MK4 and replace it with some guff about Jarek, No Face and Tasia escaping from prison, build the game out of Lego that's been soaked overnight in sulphuric acid, add a pinch of 70s blaxploitation rip-offs and you've got Special Forces. It sucks, is what I'm saying.
Check out Matt's video here, if you've had enough of my pent-up rage at this game finally boiling out.
Without wishing to steal Matt's thunder, I can honestly say, with no exaggeration, that this game is among the worst games in history. God knows I love Mortal Kombat, we all do and NRS and the MK team at Midway produced some of my absolute favourite games before and after Special Forces but good god, this game is horrifically bad. It is singularly appalling, with its only redeeming features being that it sorta kinda gave Kano a better backstory and introduced the world to the sassy-ass Gemini, who is my headcanon for Jacqui's mother.
Papa Briggs got some lovin' that night. AWWWWUH YEAAAAH (it's not racism, it's literally the goddamn dialogue)
Ready to discard this as a typical example of how MK games were actually all atrocious before MK2011 and sneer at those of us who like the 3d era? Hold your horses there Captain ****head!
Because Special Forces was, until MKX, the only appearance of the one and only Tremor!
Ironically, those polygons are still better balanced and designed than Crystalline.
Now, I still think Tremor sucks but his MKX incarnation earned him no small share of fans so, if you're a Tremor fan, you are legally obligated to like Mortal Kombat Special Forces. It's in the Geneva Conventions (like you've ever read them to say it's not).
Personally, I will eternally hold a grudge against all those involved with the creation of Special Forces. Receiving a new Mortal Kombat game only for it to be this pile of **** decimated my young brain at five years old, causing irreparable damage and trust issues which spiraled out of control until finally being resolved by NRS thankfully not abusing fan trust with Kombat Pack 2 and including Fujin and Sareena, not some bullshit like, I don't know, Leatherface.
Oh sweet Jesus, I'd almost forgotten. Damn you Boon.
I'm gonna end this now before I cause myself anymore massive psychological pain.
As always, check back to TYM for all the latest news on the NRS scene, including Injustice 2, Mortal Kombat and the crimes against humanity disguised as innocent adventure games released in the late 90s.
Mortal Kombat Special Forces, 'Wha Happun' by Matt McMuscles