Mortal Kombat: Special Forces

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Mortal Kombat: Special Forces
Midway, Have you not learned that making an action-adventure game with Mortal Kombat always results in a bad idea?
Protagonist(s): Major Jackson "Jax" Briggs
Genre(s): Action-adventure
Beat 'em up
Platform(s): PlayStation
Release: NA: June 30, 2000
EU: September 29, 2000
Developer(s): Midway Games
Publisher(s): Midway Games
Country: United States
Series: Mortal Kombat
Predecessor: Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero (chronologically)
Mortal Kombat Gold (officially)
Successor: Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance (by release date)

Mortal Kombat: Special Forces is a 2000 action-adventure video game developed and published by Midway Games for the PlayStation. It is a spin-off set prior to the events of the tournament in the original Mortal Kombat.

The game was also going to be released for the Nintendo 64 and Dreamcast, but those ports were cancelled.[1]


Special Forces is chronologically the first game in the Mortal Kombat storyline, as its events take place even before Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero. Kano frees his gang, the Black Dragon from a maximum security prison. Major Jax, seeking revenge for the slaughter of his Special Forces comrades at the hands of the Black Dragon, undertakes a mission to stop them from retrieving an artifact of great power, the Eye of Chitian.

Why It's Not Special

  1. Although many Mortal Kombat games have good graphics, Special Forces is somehow absent from that category. Unlike many games from the series, the graphics in this game are ugly, especially for a game released for the PlayStation as late as 2000. The models and textures are no better; the models are blocky, and the textures are muddy. Even Mythologies: Sub-Zero came out 3 years before this game, and had better graphics than this game.
    • Not to mention that the game uses Distance Fog for it's lighting engine, which is bad since it results in the levels being hard to navigate and almost impossible to complete due to bad game design and the levels being badly designed themselves, which hinders the game even further.
  2. The controls are rather oversensitive and tend to clash with the bad camera angles, as Jax is extremely slow and is prone to falling off ledges in dark areas quickly, which can get frustrating at times when the camera messes up and the controls get very loose and the player falls off and loses a live, which can make the game very tedious to play.
  3. The boss fights can be exploited easily. You just have to press the "X" button 4 times, short pause and then just repeat all over again without even letting the boss hurt you at all. Not only that, pressing the "X" button 4 times in the boss fight, you will just do mindless spamming, and this will just prove you are unfairly fighting with the boss.
  4. The music, while not bad, is repetitive, unlike in other games.
  5. The plot does not fit in with the rest of the games, as Sonya Blade is the one who has the rivalry with Kano and Jarek, and Jax doesn't actually get his metal bionic arms until Mortal Kombat 3.
    • It also serves no purpose to the series in the canonical timeline, since Special Forces can be skipped entirely and nothing would be lost, which is why most fans consider this game to be non-canon to the series as a whole, even the creator Ed Boon himself considers it non-canon due to how much he hates the game overall.
  6. Stupid combo names. For example, one of the combos is named "Git some suka". And on top of that, in the word "suka", the letter "c" is missing, which looks like the developers made a typo.
  7. The enemies feel overpowered and tend to outsmart Jax with their strong attacks and powerful combos, and since most of the moves Jax performs are almost impossible to perform due to the bad controls, it makes Jax feel underpowered and considering that most of them are placed in some of the worst places in many of the levels where they're either too far away and yet be able to shoot Jax with their weapons and outsmart him overall, it results in the game being unfair when facing them and considering the Mortal Kombat series is infamous for it's cheap AI, it puts another bad example on why this game is so infamous since this game has easily the worst AI in the entire series with how cheap it is, even more so than the other games in the series (especially Mortal Kombat 2).
  8. Poor combat, as the attacks and moves are impossible to input due to the bad controls, and the overall moves themselves are useless and attacking enemies feels awkward with poor collision detection that feels very glitchy at times. This is mostly ironic, as the Mortal Kombat series is known for it's amazing combat and tight gameplay, so seeing this game as an exception is quite the accomplishment for the series.
  9. The game barely feels like Mortal Kombat. The game lacks fatalities, which made the Mortal Kombat series great. Instead, one the boss is defeated, you just receive a transmission from Gem.
  10. Dull and uninspired voice acting, Jax and Kano's voice acting is no better than Gem's.
  11. Awful level design, as the levels are way too linear and boxy with tiny corridors that have no freedom at all and have badly placed objectives and tend to be confusing to navigate due to poor lighting, and since the game lacks platformer elements that could've helped with the bad level design, it makes the game feel very dated and the overall game design itself is quite bad due to how poorly-designed it is and since the game was rushed in development, it makes the game an overall chore to play.
  12. The game has terrible camera angles in places that aren't very well-designed, making the game more frustrating by the terrible controls when combined with this factor.
  13. Special Forces lacks a jumping mechanic, which could've benefitted the game in a lot of ways due to how badly-designed the levels are and the last level being very hard to navigate overall with how narrow it is along with the bottomless pit that's very hard to avoid in general.
  14. It had a troubled development cycle. It was originally going to feature Sonya as a playable character, have more levels, tell us how Kano got his Bionic eye and Shang Tsung and Kabal were also meant to appear. There was also going to be released for the Nintendo 64 and Dreamcast as stated above, but due to many problems including the departure of John Tobias, the game ended in the state that everyone knows today.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. As mentioned before, the music is great, just like the rest of the series, though it's repetitive in this game.
  2. The intro is possibly the best of the entire game.


Of all the Mortal Kombat games, Special Forces is considered by many to be the worst, to the point of being called a total disgrace and travesty to the Mortal Kombat series, even more so than Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero and Mortal Kombat Advance.

It has an average review score of 28/100 on Metacritic. Its sales were so low that Midway placed the series on hold in preparation for Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance. Ed Boon himself stated: "The game had a pretty bumpy development ride, and the game didn't turn out very good at all."

In 2011, GamesRadar+ ranked it as the second most absurd Mortal Kombat offshoot, behind only Mortal Kombat: Live Tour. In 2013, they also ranked it as the 41st worst game ever made.

WatchMojo ranked this game #5 on their "Top 10 Worst PS1 Games" video.

Ed Boon, the creator of Mortal Kombat, hates the game to the point he wants to forget its existence.



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