Like many card-carrying 'edgy' kids at the turn of the millennium, I tried hard to shock my parents with black t-shirts, piercings, goth and metal music, and of course Mortal Kombat. I'm still waiting to get the attention I deserve, so over 10 years later, all these things are still part of my life. It's been tough to stay faithful to Mortal Kombat over the years, since the franchise has had some questionable dips in quality. I've duked it out on Soul Calibur, Tekken, and Street Fighter but it also feels like an unfinished fight if I leave an opponent with all their bones still inside their body.
But ever since Warner Bros restored support to Mortal Kombat X, I've rediscovered my love for the ultra-violent splatterfest and it even earned a spot in my best of list.
When it comes to the crunch
Mortal Kombat sells itself on the visceral impact of its over-the-top brutality. One way to sell this impact is through graphical details, such as revealing the bones and internal organs in the now signature 'x-ray' moves. But an important part of making this experience feel striking to the player is in the sound effects department.
Bones need to crunch and crack, blood needs to splatter, internal organs squelch and burst. Then there's the unmistakable hiss and bubble of flesh dissolving in acid. Done effectively, it's these sounds provide that extra something, making the player wince, flinch, or suck in their breath. Without the right noise to accompany Baraka's arm-blade sliding in and out of Quan Chi's skull, penetrating through bone along the way, the game just wouldn't be nearly as satisfying to play.
Netherrealm Studios' foley artists make some sickening sounds
Foley is the art of reproducing sound effects from everyday objects than can be later used in video games and film. Most props and costumes in films don't sound the way they're supposed to, and of course in video games, where the action is created digitally, foley is doubly important.
In the above video, MK foley artists manipulate goo with plungers, straws and their hands to create some of the more gross-sounding effects of dripping blood, acid splash and putrefaction. It does sound like ASMR for fart noises in places, but it looks like a really, really fun job.
So where does it all end up?
Now, it might just be the green color of the goo playing on my mind, but my best guess is that the liquid noises from this particular clip are linked to the acid-based fatalities of one of my all-time favorite MK fighters, the mighty Reptile.
Check out the acid bath fatality below -- do you reckon I'm right?