It was the special moves that we've never been able to master: those combinations of perfectly-timed swipes and button-presses.
Frankly, we lost more games of Street Fighter II through trying (and failing) to perform the poxy special moves than we won because of them. Hadouken? Hadon'tken more like.
Because of this, you might think we hate beat 'em ups. Certainly, we hate playing beat 'em ups against people who are good at them... but the fact is, providing we're going the single-player route, or playing against someone as cack-fingered as we are, we tend to get on just fine. It's probably something to do with not wanting to be laughed at.
That said... the Mortal Kombat franchise was never a favourite of ours. It always felt like a juddery step behind the Street Fighters, and Tekkens - putting gross-out gore and heavy metal symbolism above its gameplay, like a desperate-to-shock teenager who's just dyed his scrotum black.
Given that - traditionally - Mortal Kombat has put its aesthetics and novelty above its gameplay, we'd not been expecting much from MKX. There was a little-loved reboot a few years back, which signposted that, perhaps, the franchise was close to suffering a Fatality of its very own.
However, Mortal Kombat X comes to us from NetherRealm Studios, the team behind DC super-heroes punch-a-thon Injustice: Gods Among Us - one of the few traditional beat 'em ups in recent years to have successfully sunk its thumbs into our eye sockets.
In some respects, X feels like an extension of that game - there's a similarly glossy-dark visual style, and you can use the environment to inflict damage on your opponent. However, MKX goes further, is more polished, and - much to our relief - is actually smoother to play, if not to master.
In addition to the roster of veteran MK characters, there are a number of newcomers to the series; our favourites included insect-woman D'Vorah, and Ferra/Torr - a double act comprising a massive, masked, brute, and the armour-clad imp who rides on his back.
What sets MKX astride from other beat 'em ups is that each combatant possesses three distinct sets of combat moves. In practice, it helps to balance out the battles, and adds extra visual oomph and variety to the fights (and, naturally, also makes it harder for us to remember the combinations of button-presses).
Typically, there's a selection of revoltingly creative, photorealistic Itchy & Scratchy-style, finishing moves - ripping out hearts, sticking bubblegum in bullet wounds (no, really), and stabbing frozen entrails in people's eyes (and, hilariously baiting the purists, idiots like us can actually purchase "easy" fatalities as DLC). There's plenty of single-player content (including a slickly-done story mode), plus an online "Faction War" mode, which we failed to be of any use in, due to our aforementioned hopelessness.
If there is a complaint to be had about MKX, it's the way it adopts a freemium model to unlock its downloadable content: you can slog through the mostly unlovely Krypt mode to earn in-game currency... or you can just skip all that, and dip into your own pocket.
It's a practice that we've long since grown tired of... while hating ourselves for simultaneously forking out another 79p in Peggle Blast to buy three more fireballs.
That gripe aside, Mortal Kombat X doesn't reinvent the wheel. Take away the horribly polished visuals and the sublime presentation, and you've got a game that is steadfastly traditional. But, as the best Mortal Kombat game yet, what it does do is almost perfect the wheel - you know, by making it even rounder, and putting a playing card in the spokes so that it goes "Whpp-whppp-whppp-whppp" as you ride around the park.
Not a game for everyone then, but certainly a game for everyone who has ever wanted to choke a person with their own sternum.
SUMMARY: Frankly, as good as traditional beat 'em ups get.
SCORE: Four punches to the throat out of five.