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Why Mileena's Kiss of Death Fatality is so important to who she is as a Mortal Kombat character

Posted by John 'Velociraptor' Guerrero • October 18, 2020 at 7:53 p.m. PDT • Comments: 25

Mileena isn't the most recognizable Mortal Kombat character, but within the fighting game community she has a fan base that exudes a passion (sometimes disrespectfully and therefore inappropriately) like few other characters can boast. The controversy surrounding her lack on inclusion in Mortal Kombat 11 has been surprisingly potent, and with her now officially en route to the game as DLC, I find myself wondering exactly why and how she's struck such a chord and garnered such a rabid following.

I find a lot of significance in the duality of her identity as she's simultaneously sexy bae and the horrific monster under your bed. Juxtapose these two themes in the right way and you have yourself a figure who fans clearly can't get enough of, and it just so happens that Mileena has one move in particular, her Kiss of Death Fatality, that stands as a perfect manifestation of the combo of sex and violence that the character represents.

There are a few things to quickly cover before we begin, (so Mileena fans don't bite my head off) namely that I'm aware the Fatality image in the banner from Mortal Kombat 9 is actually not a Kiss of Death Fatality and that the kill move itself is not a Mileena original.

This isn't a Mileena original as other characters have performed a "Kiss of Death," but with significantly different thematic execution. Mileena hasn't had this Fatality in all of her appearances, either, but it works so incredibly well with her that I really am hoping NRS will bring it back bolder and more intensely than ever before.

What Makes Mileena so Appealing to so Many?

All of that on the table, I think the move fits her best by far as it plays perfectly on what makes her so attractive as a character. I'm no professional psychologist, but I do often enjoy looking at things from a psychological lens and Mileena is a perfect subject here.

It's overtly obvious as to why her sexuality would draw the attention and favor of potential users, and I don't find it necessary to go into much detail there. Her monstrous side is attractive in a complimentary way as it showcases her ability to survive, take action, and overcome opposition... especially if she's "on your side" given you're the one controlling her and therefore not at risk of being one of the monster's victims.

Sugar AND Spice

We now have a feminine character who can potentially fill some very integral roles when it comes to what many heterosexual men look for in women, especially those who may have yet to fully launch away from momma bear who still provides for and protects in certain capacities.

That's not to say that every heterosexual male who likes Mileena can be placed in this kind of box as there are plenty of other reasons to appreciate her including examples as simple as her general move set or status as a recognizable legacy character many of us grew up with, but gravity of much of Mileena fan base's love for the character seems to evidence more than just an appreciation for a functional move set.

NetherRealm Studios has upped the ante in terms of fleshing out character personalities and story lines. What used to be mostly confined to post arcade ladder stills, quick clips, and/or text boxes has evolved into full length cinematic stories, and Mileena's arc in Mortal Kombat X saw her rise from being more of a pawn-like clone that does Shang Tsung's bidding to becoming one of the most powerful figures in all the realms for a time.

She played a major role in this very recent franchise chapter, and was virtually always of especially high status in every one of her appearances during it. Even as she faced a most gruesome death, her final words to her executors were along the lines of, "Stop talking, hurry up and get this over with, I have places in the afterlife to be."

Mileena faces death like a badass

Kiss of Death in 2020

I did think up one potential Kiss of Death sequence that I think would dance with these themes perfectly and therefore work to further underscore the elements of Mileena's design that seem to work so well together. This will naturally become a good bit graphic as I describe a Mortal Kombat Fatality, so please do consider that before continuing.

First off, good Fatalities in modern MK titles tend to have three segments: the set up, the kill, and then the finish (which usually has some type of memorable quirk attached as an exclamation point). Kiss of Death is naturally going to start with sexuality and end with gory brutality, but I'd like the transition between the two to be hazy and gradual as opposed to stark and sudden. Where exactly does it stop being a kiss and start being a murder sequence? I don't want to know.

Given that we've already seen Mileena use her snake-like tongue to lick blood off her sai as well as get a liberal taste of the side of Liu Kang's face in the few glimpses we've gotten thus far, perhaps this tongue can be extended out a good foot or two.

She could begin the Fatality by using it to gently caress her foe's face as she moves in for a nice five-second frencher, and maybe the opponent even begins to appreciate what's going on more than fear it. We can't see what's going on inside mouths and throats at this point, and so maybe the tongue goes a bit too far and proceeds down into the opponent's esophagus and further into their chest cavity.

The only implications of this are sudden reactions from the victim, who begins to jerk and choke as Mileena continues with an even keel. She eventually retracts her tongue and we find that she's used it to extract her victim's still-beating heart, which she proceeds to devour in whatever creatively horrifying way NRS programmers have elected.

You get your sex, you get your gore, you get your essence of Mileena in Fatality form. Our society tends to be more cautious of sexuality than violence in gaming, but I really don't see this as crossing any lines to alienate any audiences that Mortal Kombat 11 didn't already cross long ago with the rest of its incredibly gruesome content.

Especially because it would make for a poetic an, as odd as this may sound, incredibly appropriate juxtaposition of Mileena's two most attractive themes, I think NRS really should take the gloves off on this one. That's just my two cents, though, and I'd love to hear your thoughts on the matter if you'd care to comment below.

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