This week, we’re looking Mortal Kombat’s blood code – A cheat that was so controversial, that it helped shape the face of video game censorship.
I don’t know about you, but I sometimes long for the days when games were fit to burst with cheat codes – Series of button presses, passwords or unlockables that would allow the player to enable useful or completely useless effects while playing the game, from having infinite lives, to skipping levels, or even turning football referees into dogs (but that one’s a tale for another time). These sort of codes are becoming a rarity in modern gaming, so join me in celebrating these simpler times, as I take a regular look at gaming’s best secrets, and how you too can find them.
We begin with one of the most controversial cheat codes to ever exist, for one of the most controversial video games to ever exist.
Midway’s 1992 arcade hit Mortal Kombat shocked the arcades with its digitised characters and over the top violence, with the added inclusion of blood effects and Fatalities: Deadly finishing moves that depicted defeated foes being brutally murdered in the name of entertainment.
By the time the game was ported to home consoles in September of 1993, on a day dubbed as “Mortal Monday”, it’s reputation was intact. With the topic of violence in video games quickly becoming a political topic in North America, Nintendo understandably put their foot down when it came to the SNES and Game Boy ports of the game, enforcing their Family Friendly policy by ordering that the game’s blood removed from those versions, ultimately removing the infamous Fatalities and changing the colour of the blood to grey and calling it “sweat”.
Meanwhile, while Genesis/Mega Drive, Master System and Game Gear versions of Mortal Kombat shipped without the blood and fatalities, much like the SNES version – Very quickly, it had transpired that the uncensored version of the game could be unlocked via a simple cheat code. Interestingly, the SEGA/Mega CD version of the game that came a little later, already had the gore uncensored, but the game had a higher age rating as a result.
Players who booted up the SEGA versions of Mortal Kombat were taunted by a screen, cryptically referring to different types of code, pontificating on whether the game itself included one. As you can imagine, it’s this screen that unlocks the very code I’m highlighting in this video.
When this screen appears, Genesis/Mega Drive owners need only to press the button sequence A, B, A, C, A ,B, B. At which point, Scorpion will invite you to GET OVER HERE, the on-screen text will turn red, and a “Now Entering Kombat” message will appear.
If that seems like too much work, and you want a little bang for your cheating buck, there’s yet another code that not only lets you unlock the Blood and gore, but also a plethora of useful cheat modes. On the title screen, you need to spell the word, “Dullard”. That’s Down, Up, Left, Left, A, Right, and Down. The Cheat menu will instantly appear.
Meanwhile, for owners of the Master System and Game Gear versions, on a similar code screen, players can press 2, 1, 2, Down and Up, and will also get the “Now Entering Kombat” screen when successful.
Now, when you play the game, you’ll be subject to all that lovely bloody, and those nasty as Hell, Fatalities. None of this wimpy sweat, here – You’ll be free to rip the head off of your opponents or remove the heart of your enemies, to your own heart’s content.
You sure said it, Shang Tsung.
That was one of gaming’s best cheat codes, and I hope your minds weren’t warped by that gratuitous display of violence.
Why don’t you tell me what codes or secrets you’d like to induct into this Hall of Fame for sneakiness. Tell me your suggestions in the comments below.
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