There was a period, during the heyday of 32-bit consoles, when Mortal Kombat attempted to expand beyond its fighting game roots into other genres and media. There were a pair of live action movies, an animated television series, a live action television series, and a pair of spin-off action games—the execrable Mythologies: Sub-Zero and Special Forces.
There was one game, though, that may have actually been superior to many of the Mortal Kombat titles of the day, though it wasn’t realized until the previous console generation, on the original Xbox and PlayStation 2. Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks retold the stories of the first two Mortal Kombat titles as a co-op beat’em up. It was fast-paced with smooth combat and terrific graphics, as well as a fatality mechanic that offered tremendous variety.
And was appropriately brutal.
In a recent interview with X360A, Ed Boon indicates that he is interested in once more moving Mortal Kombat beyond the realm of fighters. He noted that Shaloin Monks “almost showed that that could be done successfully.” Shaolin Monks was good enough that, if that was only “almost” successful, I’d love to see a truly successful Mortal Kombat action game.