Way back in 1995 (ask your grandad), one of the grimmer moments in gaming was Mortal Kombat 3’s intense screamer brutality, courtesy of the masked terror Kabal.
The idea was that the face underneath Kabal’s mask was so disfigured, so shocking, that removing it to literally scream at an opponent would cause them to drop dead from fright. The tech wasn’t quite there in 95 though, so below is what we actually got when Kabal unmasked:
While it might not have aged well, it’s remained iconic and well-loved by fans of Mortal Kombat, to the extent that NetherRealm included the screamer brutality in Mortal Kombat 11 as a nice little reference to a previous game in the series.
When the screamer brutality was first uncovered in Mortal Kombat 11, fans were disappointed to learn that the developer had pixellated Kabal’s unmasked face. This led us to wonder just how truly grotesque Kabal could look in the game, that his visage would be censored in a title as gory and intense as Mortal Kombat.
As it turns out, not all that grotesque at all. A new update for the game has, among other things, removed the pixel effect from Kabal’s brutality. You’ll find the new, uncensored result hilarious or crushingly disappointing, depending on your perspective.
With the pixels gone, we can now clearly see that Kabal’s screamer brutality looks… pretty much exactly like it did in Mortal Kombat 3. The exact same sound effect remains (a nice touch), but Kabal doesn’t even take his mask off – his eyes just kind of bulge out of the mask and his hair stands on end.
With so many different skins and looks for Kabal in the game, I can understand why they didn’t bother to animate him removing a mask (especially since some Kabal skins already have him without a mask), but maybe this uncensoring is proof that some things are better left to the imagination.
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Ewan Moore is a journalist at UNILAD Gaming who still quite hasn’t gotten out of his mid 00’s emo phase. After graduating from the University of Portsmouth in 2015 with a BA in Journalism & Media Studies (thanks for asking), he went on to do some freelance words for various places, including Kotaku, Den of Geek, and TheSixthAxis, before landing a full time gig at UNILAD in 2016.