And now we prefer it censored.
One of the nicer nods to previous games in the series found in Mortal Kombat 11 was Kabal’s screamer brutality.
In 1995’s Mortal Kombat 3, one of Kaba’s fatalities involved him taking his mask off and screaming at his hapless foe. So shocking was what was underneath the mask that Kabal was able to literally scare the life out of his enemy. Here’s how it looked:
And here’s how Kabal’s screamer brutality looked in Mortal Kombat 11.
Note the pixellated effect on Kabal as he performs the brutality in Mortal Kombat 11. This was seen as a joke on the part of NetherRealm – Kabal’s face is so frightening, it’s too much to show in even the goriest fighting game in the world.
Fast forward to this week, and NetherRealm released a significant update for Mortal Kombat 11 that makes some welcome changes and additions to the game, including a way to practise krushing blows without having to perform their fiddly requirements.
But the update also added new mystery brutalities for players to find, and as part of this removed the pixellated effect from Kabal’s screamer brutality.
Here’s how it looks post-update:
I kind of wish NetherRealm hadn’t bothered removing the pixelated effect, because what we have now is just weird. Kabal doesn’t actually remove his mask – he never did in the first place, it turns out – so we see his hair shoot out and his eyes pop out while his mask stays on, which makes no sense at all. Even when Kabal is in younger form, it still looks silly – the hair pops out while his hair remains in place, and his eyes pop out while his eyes firmly remain in place.
Given Mortal Kombat 11 lets you customise the characters with a variety of gear items, including new masks for Kabal, and certain outfits show the Mortal Kombat speedster without his mask pre-facial injury, I understand why this brutality was originally smoke and mirrors.
The problem is, sometimes when you pull back the curtain on a magic trick, what we discover is disappointing. Kabal’s uncensored screamer brutality is, for me, one of those times.