A Hardcore Fan’s Reaction to Freddy Krueger in Mortal Kombat

He haunted my dreams all night.

Okay, I admit it. I overreacted a bit to yesterday's news of Freddy Krueger being the fourth DLC character for Mortal Kombat. When I heard the news, months of excitement and anticipation instantly turned into shame and disappointment. But like usaglory said, "At least it's not Miley Cyrus," and "There's always the choice of, you know, not downloading it."

That response to my initial reaction got me thinking… he was so right, but oh-so wrong. Thank god (Ed Boon) that it's not Miley Cyrus… though her singing would make for a gruesome fatality: You tear your own eardrums out. [And don't forget our collective dream to maim, freeze, puncture, rip out, and outright kill her… voice. ~Ed. Nick]

But for a life-long, hardcore Mortal Kombat fan like me, it might as well have been Hannah Montana. That's because there isn't a choice for me of "you know, not downloading it". I don't play Mortal Kombat half-assed. I own every DLC character. I don't stick to one fighter, I play as them all. 9 out of 10 times, I go random select and let the game choose my character. That's just how I roll.

That should give you a little bit of an idea of how hardcore of an MK fan I am. I don't fuck around. I sound ridiculous when I say this–I know–but, this is more than just a game to me.

I don't actually have this tattoo. But I should.

It all started this one day when I went to my local video rental store. They only had one arcade machine: Street Fighter II. I was obsessed. I spent $5 every time I went to rent a video, which was a lot back then (there wasn't any Netflix instant streaming, imagine the horror). But one day, it was replaced with Mortal Kombat. "WTF is this? What is this shit?!", I thought to myself, pissed that my favorite game was replaced by something I had never even heard of.

I had already cashed my $5 into quarters by then, and as a kid, you wouldn't dream of giving cash back to your parents, or God forbid, saving it. So I reluctantly inserted my coins and chose Sub-Zero. I sucked. I was beaten by the CPU in no time at all. But then… Kano ripped my still-beating heart from my chest. And from there on out, Mortal Kombat had stolen my heart forever. I was in love. Till death do us part.

If I had all the quarters I'd spent in arcades between Mortal Kombat and Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, I would have enough to put a down payment on a summer cottage in the Berkshires. It may sound like an over-exaggeration, but I assure you that quarters rack up to big bucks at 50 cents a play over the course of 6 years. (At $5 per week, that would be over $1550.) I was an arcade junkie, but only for Mortal Kombat (and a little bit of Killer Instinct). I went to pool halls, my local movie theater, arcades, wherever weird place I could find MKII machines. It was like I was drawn to them. I even got into a fist-fight once because someone took my quarter off the corner of the screen signifying I had next. Like I said above, I don't fuck around.

Don't touch my QUARTERS!!!

Then Mortal Kombat 4 happened. It was… meh. I still loved it, because I loved anything MK. Then came some MK games I'd much rather forget, like Mortal Kombat Mythologies. There was a shitty TV show and two shitty movies (well, the first one was okay). Mortal Kombat had turned into a quick cash-out for anyone that wanted to pay for the name.

More installments were released. They weren't bad, but they certainly weren't what I'd call good. More so, they definitely weren't what I'd call real Mortal Kombat. It all came to a head when Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe released. I had given up. No real fatalities? Are you kidding me? It's like eating cake… but not. It was pure bullshit in my eyes. Mortal Kombat was dead.

But then, at E3 2010, a new Mortal Kombat was revealed. A new Mortal Kombat that was just like the old Mortal Kombat games. Hell, even the story was a retelling of the old Mortal Kombat games. The newly formed NetherRealm Studios pegs it as a Mortal Kombat for the hardcore fans. The best part about this was the fact that they actually delivered in all aspects. Mortal Kombat was back.

The roster featured all of the characters I loved growing up. Almost no one was missing. The few who were, I was confident that they'd make an appearance as DLC – a first for the franchise. The first of these DLC characters was Skarlett.

Skarlett as a character paid homage to my entire life as an MK fan. What I mean is, she was created out of nonsense rumors from back in the day. Skarlett was never real. She was really just a palette glitch that turned Kitana's costume crimson red. But, like Ermac before her, the fans believe in her existence so strongly that the developers gave in and made the rumor into a character. There are literally dozens more characters that could be created out of Mortal Kombat's rich lore.

Told you, I don't fuck around.

After Skarlett was released, I felt it more than ever: Mortal Kombat was a MK for the true, hardcore MK fans. Kenshi arrived next as DLC. Not my favorite, but he was a good fit. After that was Rain – a character that fans were begging for and probably should have been in the roster in the first place. 

A big part of Mortal Kombat was always about the hidden characters and the secrets. So when another DLC character was announced, but was left as a mystery, my mind ran wild with speculation. Being such a storied MK fan, I could think of a handful of characters off the top of my head it could be. But it didn't matter, I thought. Whoever NetherRealm brought to the game would be for us hardcore Mortal Kombat fans… boy, was I wrong.

I shouldn't have been so shocked. A buddy of mine at TheBitBag said both Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees were coming as DLC to Mortal Kombat. I heard this before the game even released. Not that I doubted the news; I believed it. It's just that I thought that this would come down the line, after the hardcore MK fans were well taken care of. You know, maybe for Halloween or something.

And that's where I lost it. That's why I dislike this addition of Freddy Krueger so much. That's why I'm pissed. If this was truly a game for the hardcore MK fans, then there are at least 20 characters that could have been DLC before Freddy. It's not at all that I don't think he fits; he does. It's that I don't think it was the right time to do something like this. Freddy could have waited while other MK greats were added. It's not even the Robert Englund Freddy Krueger.

I've now had a shitty, sweaty night's sleep to let this settle in, and I'm not quite as upset as I was about it. I'll buy Freddy, I'll keep playing Mortal Kombat. Sure I was pissed at NetherRealm for adding Freddy over the dozens of Mortal Kombat characters out there, but hey… I can't be too mad… at least they're not Capcom.