Enjoying 30 years of brutally awesome Mortal Kombat stages

For 30 years, mortal combat empowered greedy fighters to test themselves against fierce opponents. The competitive spirit has remained the same, but the arenas have changed a lot over those three decades. From Earthrealm to Outworld and everything in between, the characters of mortal combat threw their hands in the streets, cemeteries, prisons, temples, on boats, and much more. The impressive feat here is that out of the multitude of tiers spanning over ten titles, there are very few really bad offers, which means it can be difficult to narrow down the stages that stand out. However, I’ve played too many of these games over the years and like to pretend my art degree is useful, so I accepted the task. This isn’t a list based on one aspect, but on all forms of level design and fun, as we discuss the milestones that left an impact on the series.

Court of Shang Tsung

One of Mortal Kombat the biggest inspirations were the movie Enter the dragon, and some of that influence carries over to the first game with Shang Tsung’s Courtyard. It’s outdoors, in daylight, with an audience of monks and a few intimidating guards, as Shang Tsung himself presides over the battles atop a raised platform. The roof of the structure only protects him from the sun, as no one other than the individual seated on the throne is important. Distant mountains and golden dragons provide a wonderful backdrop, against which the blood stands out perfectly.

We see Shao Kahn taking his place in the Mortal Kombat: Trilogy version of the scene, as well as a 3D update for Mortal Kombat: Deception. The modern version of the court for Mortal Kombat (2011) is splendid, but nothing beats seeing the sequel in Mortal Kombat 11with the ruins of Shang Tsung Island showing the destroyed arena.


Kove is a modern scene, only appearing (so far) in Mortal Kombat X, but it left quite an impression. The landscape looks like a twisted tapestry – a constantly moving oil painting with a dull palette that helps many figures stand out. The setting is a wharf in Outworld, a port of call for travelers and a place of business, but the dark waters hide a boatload of terror and even more blood. There are crates, hooks, broken ships, and solid ships, but it’s the skull-shaped rock formation and crashing waves that demand the most attention. There are plenty of objects to interact with, but water-spurting corpses are the best weapons, and players can use Stage Fatality to send enemies into a watery grave with death by a monster. sailor with giant tentacles.

The evil tower

Having a name like The Evil Tower is a solid indicator that this stage is high and dangerous, but the real immediate clue – and the reason most remember this particular level – is the fast-moving clouds. through the giant window. It also features a floating Shadow Monk in the front, which looks quite menacing. This arena is a small part of a massive structure in Outworld – supposedly Shao Kahn’s seat of power – with carpets, floors and pillars that make the building much more beautiful than anything else in this area, quite high so the blue sky can be seen over the corrupted landscape.

The version players received in Mortal Kombat: Armageddon was excellent, with breakable elements in the scene and a death trap that could send an opponent flying through an open portal. Mortal Kombat (2011) The build could be perfect, with its very detailed overhaul and an accelerated day and night cycle that can be a little annoying.


This one might seem a bit mundane by comparison, but nothing beats a street-level brawl between two fighters. The foundation is cracked and the lights flicker and shake as trains speed past, making the surrounding area rumble. It’s dangerous, and proof that the war with Outworld has invaded our homes. Those station names in the background that boast the names of the co-creators, the posters that were added, and a lot of detail in later versions really help the Metro stand out as a mainstay of mortal combat. Stage Fatality is also a winner – nothing like using the power of a locomotive to drive an opponent in.

This level originates from Mortal Kombat 3 and had some updates, with Mortal Kombat: Armageddon expand the battlefield and modernize the scenic fatality, but Mortal Kombat (2011) once again gave another classic scene a load of new views and made the finisher even wilder.

living forest

The woods can be deep, dark and dreary, but this bizarre Outworld forest is a great place to fight. If the other fighter isn’t enough of a threat, the desert will. Not only are their serpents, their vines caught and their trees starved, but their branches and roots are littered with the bodies of previous victims. It is a haunting area and is said to have been a corrupted part of ancient Edenia, which also makes it a tragic place. Players have been enjoying this stage ever since they spotted Jade and Smoke lurking in the background and thought they could knock their opponents into spooky foliage’s mouths (which would become a reality).

Mortal Kombat 4 tried to give players a 3D version, which didn’t look spectacular, but Mortal Kombat Gold’s rendering cleaned it up. Mortal Kombat: Deception developed the concept and even added a mud river, but again it was Mortal Kombat (2011) which provided a truly glorious update for these woods, complete with all the bells and whistles.

soul chamber

Some levels simply cry foul. There is a giant demonic head with a gaping maw, inside of which is a storm of swirling souls, and in the background reside robed shadow priests who guard the power. At first, the face was said to be a tree pod that Shao Kahn had under his balcony. Other times it looked like a rock formation, and later renditions made it appear alive, with glowing energy and moving tentacles. It cannot be ignored and something in this green storm of souls screams death and death.

This place was first seen in Mortal Kombat 3, and it’s no surprise that he’s appeared in many other franchise entries. For Mortal Kombat Gold it was rendered in 3D, but Mortal Kombat: Armageddon took that idea and fulfilled it. Mortal Kombat (2011) offers another solid glow, but it’s Mortal Kombat 11 which really breathed new life into the soul chamber, making it lively, thrilling and majestic with glowing backgrounds.

Shang Tsung Throne Hall

Shang Tsung already has a courtyard to watch the fights in, but apparently he also needs a throne room to do so – one with a setting that shows just how awesome the villain is. Everything is adorned with deep reds, marble and gold. There are statues of dragons, magnificent pillars, large windows with the MK symbol carved into them, and an intricately crafted chair for Tsung to sit in comfort while others suffer for his amusement. Updated builds make the arena look bigger, added banners, and now a storm is raging outside, setting the tone for what looks like an important battle.

Although Shao Kahn’s throne room of Mortal Kombat (2011) may initially seem more appealing with his choice of colors, Shang Tsung leaves a stronger impression and is more likely to be chosen on the scene selection screen. Mortal Kombat 1 the original will, of course, always be classic, but Mortal Kombat (2011) above mentioned version is top notch for show and ambiance.

The Dead Pool

Why anyone would want to fight in a place where one misstep could mean an instant acid bath may be a mystery, but there’s no doubt why this particular torture chamber keeps popping up in mortal combat payments. In early incarnations of the stage, it looks rusty as the metal railings and hooks create an uncomfortable feeling and the thin platform raises serious concerns for anyone’s safety. Later, there would be bodies hanging in the background – those whom Shao Kahn wished to see punished – and statues to intimidate those who were about to be murdered. The Dead Pool lives up to its name, and its stage fatality is a satisfying delight.

Fans saw this scene for the first time in Mortal Kombat 2that laid the groundwork, but Mortal Kombat: Deception changed the slender bridge to a square platform. Later versions went back to basics, and although Mortal Kombat 11 added more texture and great lighting to the scene, maybe the best version is still in Mortal Kombat (2011)where everything combines as attractive and threatening.

The temple

This unholy place of worship has had many different names over the years: temple, church, cathedral, but no matter what it is called, there is always an aura of death around it. Supposedly built by Shao Kahn during his invasion of Earthrealm, this structure has bold archways, pillars with flames on them, beautiful stained glass windows, and blood-red candles in the foreground. Black mortal combat The symbol stands out as the fighters come and go, and sometimes there is an altar, coffin, or grave for additional decoration.

In Mortal Kombat (2011) we get a great update for the level, with glowing light coming from windows, more background detail, and active NPCs performing what looks like a sacrifice or autopsy on the raised platform. It was a serious upgrade from the lackluster offering of Mortal Kombat Goldbut nothing beats it Mortal Kombat 3 original.

The pit

This is perhaps the most emblematic stage of the mortal combat franchise, but there’s a tough argument here about which version is better. The concept of each is simple: a raised bridge with danger below, and a loss most likely means falling into an uncomfortable thorny fate. Even though the fighter somehow survived, Reptile is waiting there to finish them off. Collectively, Pit 1, Pit II, Pit III, and Pit X (along with the Pit Bottom) may have the most scene renders, but they’re not all winners, because Mortal Kombat 3 approach is generally perceived as a disappointment. It doesn’t seem fair unless it’s out in the open with other weird characters fighting in the background.

Mortal Kombat X might have the best overall presentation with its brilliant huge moon and its excellent vision of fatality on stage. Pit I of Mortal Kombat 1 will always be classic, but Mortal Kombat 2 Pit II stands out just above the rest. Even without the extra details, the arena feels fully realized and screams mortal combat.

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