Greetings from the Odinson,
There have been many, many combat games over the years – Tekken, Marvel vs. Capcom, Killer Instinct, and Injustice: Gods Among Us, just to name a few. But there is no doubt which two games sit perched high atop the hill as King of the Fighting Games and that’s Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter II. Back in the day (circa 20-25 years ago), stand up arcades were all the rage. They were locales located usually in the local mall, boardwalk, or Putt-Putt Golf course where kids and teens could gather to play a multitude of exciting new games. Somebody could spend hours feeding quarters into these eye-popping, senses-shattering contraptions of modern entertainment.
What I remember most about Street Fighter II (released in 1991) is that though its graphics are archaic by today’s standards, at the time, the cool anime-inspired graphics really made it a standout. With Street Fighter II, they broke the mold. It set the standard for all other games of this type to follow. In fact, other than a tweaking of graphics and the addition of new characters, Street Fighter is essentially the same game now as it was over twenty years ago. And it holds up.
What I remember most about Mortal Kombat (released in 1992) is the ominous disembodied voice that would call out to you as you walked by the console. “TEST YOUR MIGHT” – it would say. Well, who could resist that challenge? Originally the game featured animation placed over real actors. This gave the game a realistic feel, even if the combatants could do very unrealistic things. But one thing that separates MK from all the rest is that over that last twenty years the game has evolved. With game play and character development, each new release has improved on what came before and the game just gets better and better.
That is another aspect of these two games that has always captured my imagination – the storylines. Even though at their core, Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat are “Fighting Games,” they both have really cool storylines as their backdrops. In Street Fighter there is a terrorist organization called Shadoloo bent on world domination. For varying reasons, all the world’s greatest fighters join the Grand Fight tournament. Some are in it for the glory while others infiltrate the contest to bring down the Shadoloo Empire. In Mortal Kombat, there is an ancient tournament held once a generation when the world’s greatest fighters meet in combat to decide the fate of mankind. If the Earthrealm warriors should fall, the plane of mortals will be invaded by the hordes of the Outworld, a mystical realm of wizards, demons, monsters, and dark gods.
The characters from both series have been fleshed out over the years and the back stories are just as rich with continuity as any fictional universe in pop culture. But one question still remains – Who is the King of the Fighting Game? Mortal Kombat vs. Street Fighter II has all the pop culture polarizing grandeur as The Beatles vs. the Rolling Stones, Coke vs. Pepsi, McDonalds vs. Burger King, or Marvel vs. DC. In the end, there can be only one true champion. And since the Powers That Be will never allow this fanboy’s dream of an epic crossover to come true, the Odinson shall decide once and for all in a no-holds-barred contest which game universe would win.
Part 3: Mortal Kombat vs. Street Fighter II
Johnny Cage vs. Ken Masters – Johnny Cage is the biggest Hollywood action star in the world. He’s brash, cocky, handsome, and deadly. Ken Masters trained under the legendary martial arts master Gouken. He’s cocky, talented, and, next to Ryu, he is arguably the second greatest practitioner of karate in the world. He simply lacks the dedication and focus of his friend. Cage and Masters are rivals outside of the ring as well as inside as they try to out do each other with the ladies, cocky quips, and combat skills. Though Cage brings some pretty sweet splits and rush-kick moves to the fight, in the end, Ken’s Ha-do-ken fireballs and Sho-ryu-ken Dragon Punch will prove victorious. K.O. – Winner: Ken.
Sub-Zero vs. Dhalsim – Sub-Zero is a Chinese ninja warrior whose heart is so cold that he can freeze his opponents in place and shatter them into a million pieces. Dhalsim is a master of yoga and can contort and stretch his body into impossible attack positions. Though Dhalsim can breathe fire and thus counter Sub-Zero’s cold attack, Sub-Zero is not only one of the deadliest assassins alive, but he is the leader of an ancient ninja clan that through the centuries has forgotten more about killing than other assassins know. FINISH HIM -Winner: Sub-Zero.
Sonya Blade vs. Chun-Li – Sonya Blade is a Special Forces operative hell bent on taking down Kano, the man that murdered her partner. She’s tough as nails and trained for combat by the best. Chun-Li is reportedly the “strongest woman in the world.” She seeks revenge against M. Bison, the man that murdered her father. Her legs are so powerful that she can leap around the battlefield with near superhuman ability and attack with a flurry of kicks that come at her opponents so fast that it ignites the air with flame. Both women seek revenge and are super determined, but only one of them can win. K.O. – Winner: Chun-Li.
Jax vs. Guile – Jax is a hulking Special Forces operative, trained in dealing with the supernatural and armed (literally) with bionic implants that increase his strength to super human levels. His robotic fists can shake the ground and pummel his adversaries into unconsciousness with a furious windmill attack. Guile is a Special Forces operative whose job it is to bring down the international criminal organization known as Shadoloo. His Flash Kick is devastating and nearly impossible to defend against. K.O. -Winner: Guile.
Goro vs. Zangief – Goro is half human/half dragon and four arms of terror. Eight-feet tall, Goro uses his superior strength and size to overpower his opponents and has been known to beat them to a bloody pulp before dismembering them with his bare hands. Zangief is a monstrous professional wrestler that trains to fight by grappling with grizzly bears. His back-breaking suplexes and thunderous piledrivers can pummel his opponents and leave them broken and out cold. However, Goro is a nine-time Mortal Kombat Champion. That means for generations he has faced and defeated the best fighters in the all the Realms and proven victorious. FINISH HIM – Winner: Goro.
Shang Tsung vs. E. Honda – Shang Tsung is a thousand-year-old demon sorcerer who collects souls of fallen warriors and adds their power to his own. To face Shang Tsung in combat is to face a thousand adversaries. E. Honda is a mighty sumo whose flying head butt and Hyaku-retsu-hari-te Hundred Hand Slap attacks, more times than not, prove to be too much for most opponents. But Shang Tsung is no ordinary opponent. He is quite cunning and, more importantly, deadly. FINISH HIM – Winner: Shang Tsung.
Baraka vs. Blanka – Baraka is a fierce Tarkatan warrior from the wastelands of Outworld. He can tear opponents to pieces with his clawed hands and razor-sharp Shark-like teeth. But his most devastating attacks come from his berserker rage and two footlong razor-sharp talons that protrude from his forearms. Blanka is a man-beast from the dark depths of the Brazilian rain forests. As if his brutal feral attacks weren’t enough, Blanka also possesses a devastating electrical charge that renders all those unlucky enough to get caught by it defenseless and open to attack. K.O. – Winner: Blanka.
Scorpion vs. Balrog – Scorpion is a lost soul bent on revenge. The ninja Sub-Zero murdered Scorpion’s family and now he has returned from the depths of the Netherealm empowered with supernatural might and fueled by unquenchable rage. Balrog is a former professional boxer and now a professional bone-breaker and henchman whose devastating uppercuts can pound his opponents into oblivion. Balrog may have at one time been the most feared pugilist in the ring, but Scorpion’s harpoon attack, fire summoning abilities, and bone-shattering combo attacks are just to terrible to overcome. (GET OVER HERE!) FINISH HIM – Winner: Scorpion.
Reptile vs. Vega – Reptile is a one of the scariest combatants in all the Realms for he is superhumanly fast and deadly. His elongated tongue can strike from a distance and behead warriors, and he can spew acid with devastating effects. Vega is a deadly cage fighter from Spain who fights with a clawed weapon and possesses near super human agility and speed. He wears a mask to protect his handsome face. This match is pretty even. Reptile may loose a few limbs in the battle, but it’s nothing his reptilian regenerative powers won’t grow back. Too bad Vega can’t grow back his head after Reptile lashes out with his vicious tongue and takes it from him. FINISH HIM – Winner: Reptile.
Kano vs. Sagat – Kano is a cunning cutthroat with a bionic eye and is a master knife fighter. Sagat is a master of Muay Thai and a former Grand Fight Champion. He is a cunning adversary that relishes in the defeat of powerful opponents. Though in the battle of the bad guys Kano usually wins, Sagat’s bone-crunching knee and elbow strikes will prove to be just too much. K.O. – Winner: Sagat.
Raiden vs. M. Bison – Raiden is the god of thunder and protector of the Realm of Earth. His strength and speed are far beyond that of mortal men. He can fly, teleport, and call down the thunder. M. Bison is the leader of Shadoloo. He is a would-be-world conqueror empowered with Psycho Power, a kinetic energy field that increases his already considerable physical abilities to superhuman levels. M. Bison is not an adversary for even a demi-god to take lightly. But when the battle is done, it is Raiden’s eyes that will be sparking with the glint of victory. FINISH HIM – Winner: Raiden.
Liu Kang vs. Ryu – This is it! The contest of champions! This is the battle that will settle the debate once and for all. Who will prove to be the mightiest warrior in the world? Liu Kang is from China. He is the youngest but also the fastest warrior in the tournament. He’s a Shaolin monk that has trained his entire life to compete in the Mortal Kombat tournament and defend Earth against the invading hordes of Outworld. Ryu is from Japan, a Shotokan karate master. He is a lone warrior that walks the earth in search of new challenges and seeks the world’s strongest fighters to test his fighting prowess against. His one goal in life is to be the world’s strongest warrior.
So what will prove victorious, the fluid grace of kung fu or the straightforward power of karate? Ryu’s Ha-do-ken fireballs, tornado kicks, and Sho-ryu-ken Dragon Punch attacks can lay even the mightiest adversary low. Meanwhile, Liu’s own fireballs, gravity-defying bicycle kicks and flying kick attacks have proven capable of defeating demon sorcerers and dark gods. This battle is almost too close to call, but the Odinson is determined not to cop out. I will decide on a winner.
I literally could have gone either way with this one, but in the end, Liu Kang IS the Chosen One. And if Buffy Summers and Neo have taught me anything over the years it’s that the Chosen One always comes out victorious in the end. FINISH HIM – Winner: Liu Kang.
Shao Khan vs. Akuma – Somewhere on a cloud-rimmed mountain top, high above the tournament below, the two most notorious villains of these games meet to decide who will pick up the pieces of what’s left and rule the world with an iron fist. Shao Khan is a dark demi-god whose might and combat prowess is only matched by his cunning and expertise in backstabbing tactics. Akuma is a demon warrior whose attacks are so fierce, so apocalyptically powerful that he has been known to kill an opponent with a single blow. The earth shakes when these two malevolent titans clash. But when the dust settles, only one villain will be left standing. K.O. – Winner: Akuma.
Since both game series easily have a hundred characters between them, I tried to narrow the competition down to only the essential core cast. The main heroes and villains that make these games tick. Both Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat are legendary games, legendary stories, and legendary pieces of pop culture history. It is a shame we may never see this epic crossover happen.
This is Odinson bidding thee farewell