raiden wins with a brutality victory in mortal kombat 1

How to Unlock and Perform Brutalities in Mortal Kombat 1 (MK1)

While the cinematic Fatalities get much more of a spotlight with every Mortal Kombat release, Brutalities are often more difficult to pull off, which makes them a bit more fun to use against your opponents. Mortal Kombat 1 is no different, giving each of the 30 kharacters many different Brutalities to unlock and use to extremely gruesome effect. Yes, there’s well over 100 horrible ways to see the likes of Scorpion, Mileena, and Raiden die. In this guide, we’re breaking down how to unlock and perform Brutalities in Mortal Kombat 1.

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How to Perform a Brutality in MK1

Unlike Fatalities, there is no obvious window for when you execute a Brutality. Instead, you must finish the match – not just a single round – by inputting and connecting with the Brutality. It is best to do so when your opponent is very low on health, making performing one a risky maneuver. Brutalities have different inputs, except for the standard one that all kharacters have access to by holding down + holding the back punch button.

For the rest of the Brutalities, open up the move list and scroll over to the Finishers section. Be sure to expand to see the advanced information (Square on PlayStation 5 and Y on Xbox), as many Brutalities have specific requirements to pull off, most typically holding down a specific button for them to activate. A great way to practice Brutalities once you’ve unlocked one is to play local versus mode with an idle player 2 – not a CPU. This will ensure you’re more likely to pull of these moves during intense matches.

Related: Mortal Kombat 1 Review in 3 Minutes

How to Unlock Brutalities in MK1

You unlock Brutalities in Mortal Kombat 1 by completing each character’s Mastery track. You can access the Mastery track by pressing the touchpad on PS5 and the share button on an Xbox X controller while not in a match and then scrolling over to the Mastery track.

To level up the Mastery track, play your favorite character in the Ranked, Invasion, or Tower game modes. You’ll also earn a lot of other goodies this way, including new color palettes, gear, taunts, a second Fatality, and more. Note that Kameo characters can also perform Brutalities that you unlock by using them in these same game modes. Typically, you can execute Kameo Brutality by inputting the correct buttons followed by the Kameo button. If you’re not sure how to do this, open up the move list and scroll over the Kameo section.

With all this information under you’re belt, you’re all set to style on your opponents in the most gruesome ways possible with Brutalities in Mortal Kombat 1.

If you’re looking for more on the game, check out our explanation of the wild ending of Mortal Kombat 1.


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Image of Lowell Bell
Lowell Bell
Lowell is a freelance contributor with The Escapist that began his career reporting on live events such as the Penny Arcade Expo and E3 back in 2012. Over the last couple of years, he carved a niche for himself covering competitive Pokémon as he transitioned into game criticism full time. About a decade ago, Lowell moved to Japan for a year or two but is still there, raising a Shiba Inu named Zelda with his wife while missing access to good burritos. He also has a love/hate relationship with Japanese role-playing games.