Growing up, the question in school was always "Are you a Street Fighter kid or a Mortal Kombat kid?"
The key phrase there is "growing up". As time wears on it's hard to not look at the original Mortal Kombat as a one trick pony that cared more about making waves through its outlandish design, technological innovations, and violent content.
Mortal Kombat is not completely devoid of merit, but it does lack substance. The motion captured animation style severely limited the characters' movement capabilities and as such many matches are reduced to spamming cheap projectile attacks and spin kicks. The paltry amount of characters actually available to choose also makes it nearly impossible to actually develop a playstyle and feel particularly embarrassing in retrospect when compared to the amount of fighters available in similar titles of the era.
To really appreciate just how archaic this game is, try playing it on the Super Nintendo where the violence is all but gone. With that extreme element out of the equation, it's almost impossible to get any joy out of playing the original Mortal Kombat even from a nostalgia standpoint.