MORTAL KOMBAT: Who’s who? (Final Round)

With the release of “MORTAL KOMBAT” (2021) – coming to Blu Ray on July 13th and an all-new animated movie (“Mortal Kombat: Battle of the Realms” – debuting on August 31st), we figured what better way to prep than *another* deep dive into the rich mythology and ever-evolving backstories of this epic video game franchise?

In Round 1, we covered the fighters from the original game (Liu Kang, Sonya Blade, Johnny Cage, Raiden, Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Goro, and Kano). For Round 2, we broke down the roster introduced in MKII (Shang Tsung, Jax, Kitana, Mileena, Baraka, Reptile, Kung Lao, and Shao Kahn). Then in Round 3, we delved into some of the fighters introduced in MK3 and MK: Deadly Alliance, while Round 4 focused on some of the newer characters from Mortal Kombat X and MK11.

For this “Final Round” in our epic breakdown, we’re doing a quick rundown of some of the lesser known (and in some cases forgettable) characters that didn’t quite make the cut for Rounds 1-4, for better or worse, basically everyone else…

NOOB SAIBOT

Affiliation: Netherrealm
First Premiered: Mortal Kombat II (1993) – as a secret boss, Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 (1996) – as a playable character
Fighting Styles: Hapkido, Pi Gua, Monkey
Special Abilities: Teleportation, wraith powers, can project a shadow self as a clone.

The character’s name is Tobias and Boon backwards, the last names of MK creators, John Tobias and Ed Boon. Although he started out as a fun Easter egg, he was later retconned to be the wraith of Bi-Han, the original Sub-Zero. Originally just a shadow with Scorpion’s move set, he has evolved into a wraith with shadow powers, the most annoying teleportation attacks this side of… actually his might be the most annoying. Also, he has some of the more disturbing fatalities in the more recent games.

ERMAC

Affiliation: Shang Tsung / Outworld
First Premiered: Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 (1995)
Fighting Styles: Hua Chuan, Choy Lay Fut
Special Abilities: An entity comprised of numerous souls, telekinesis, teleportation, and the ability to travel between realms.

Started life as a fan rumor based on a glitch in the original arcade game. The word Ermac is short for “Error Macro”. People were convinced that there was a red palette swap of Scorpion/Reptile/Sub-Zero, despite it not being true creators Ed Boon and John Tobias decided to make him real and a playable character starting in Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3. Originally he was just a red palette swap ninja, but his look has evolved as more information is revealed about him. Kreepily enough, Ermac is actually a being komprised of multiple souls of fallen warriors and uses his telekinetic powers to perform some really gross fatalities.

KINTARO

Affiliation: Shao Kahn / Outworld (Shokan species)
First Premiered: Mortal Kombat II (1993)
Fighting Styles: Tiger Fist (no joke)
Special Abilities: Goro but with style (Fight me)

How do you improve upon the awesomeness that was Goro? Why, make him part cat and give him tiger stripes, of course! Kintaro was the sub-boss to Shao Kahn in Mortal Kombat 2, and has been used very sparingly since, which is a shame as he may be the koolest of all the Shokan!

MOTARO

Affiliation: Shao Kahn / Outworld (Centaurian species)
First Premiered: Mortal Kombat 3 (1995)
Fighting Styles: Horse
Special Abilities: basically a centaur with ram horns and a random scorpion tale?

Like Goro and Kintaro, Motaro was a sub-boss that was brought to life with stop motion effects, but hasn’t been in the games much since, presumably because his sheer size is a logistical nightmare. He was used in Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, but the space limitations that game was already facing had them resort to leaving off his hind legs!

Fun fact: Motaro is immune to projectile and energy attacks and is an asshole.

NIGHTWOLF

Real Name: Gray Cloud
Affiliation: Earthrealm (Native American)
First Premiered: Mortal Kombat 3 (1995)
Fighting Styles: Vale Tudo, Tae Kwon Do
Special Abilities: magical tomahawk, animalities, ability to summon spirit animals

At first a throwaway stereotype kharacter, Night Wolf has actually become one of the more important figures in the series’ lore and is one of many “Nightwolves” chosen for the role over the generations. Unfortunately he has been ‘demoted’ to background and DLC kharacter in recent games, but is an awesome fighter for both new players and seasoned vets!

Trivia: Was portrayed by actor / rapper Litefoot in “Mortal Kombat: Annihilation” (1997)

STRYKER

Affiliation: Earthrealm
First Premiered: Mortal Kombat 3 (1995)
Fighting Styles: Krav Maga
Special Abilities: Sharp shooter, “Police Brutality” (man, that did not age well…)

The less said about Stryker, the better. Originally a replacement for Johnny Cage, he was very similar but without the awesome move set, jokes, and bombastic kharacter. So, yeah, just like Johnny. He fights for Earthrealm when he’s not dead or just forgotten by the game creators.

Fun fact: Stryker is Erik’s favorite kharacter! (Lies)

RAIN

Affiliation: Prince from Edenia
First Premiered: Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 (1995)
Fighting Styles: Zi Ran Men
Special Abilities: Demi-God with the ability to control water and lightning, armed with his storm sword.

Rain was literally thrown in the games as a jokey reference to Prince… he was a *purple* ninja called “Rain”… an Edenian prince with… rain powers… he was originally a purple palette-swap of the Scorpion/Sub-Zero model but, like the other palette swap kharacters, has since evolved his own look, which is always klearly visible when he’s standing around in background shots and not doing anything of note, ever.

REIKO

Affiliation: Outworld
First Premiered: Mortal Kombat 4 (1997)
Fighting Styles: Ying Yeung
Special Abilities: Ripping off of Shao Kahn’s style, even his giant hammer, and lust for conquest.

Trivia: One of the lesser known characters from the games, but was given a surprise role in the latest film! And then SPOILERS SPOILERS had his head slapped into a pulpy mess after one or two lines! Like many kharacters introduced in MK4, Reiko hasn’t really made much of an impact or had any real lasting power and has been relegated to background roles and cameos- sorry, kameos. Reiko is a general in Shao Kahn’s army, so he’s got that going for him.

TANYA

Affiliation: Edenia / Outworld
First Premiered: Mortal Kombat 4 (1997)
Fighting Styles: Zi Ran Men, Yue Chuan
Special Abilities: Pyrokenitic abilities

Originally not much more than yellow palette swapped Kitana, Tanya has karved out her own little korner of the fandom. A total jerk, Tanya is besties with Princess Smiley herself: Mileena. Like the toothy klone, she is not to be trusted and always has her own agenda.

JAREK

Affiliation: Black Dragon Clan (Earthrealm)
First Premiered: Mortal Kombat 4 (1997)
Fighting Styles: Dragon
Special Abilities: Weird laugh

Simply put, Jarek is awful. The replacement Kano but without the signature look, attitude, or awesome moves. King of the god-awful voice acting and the most hilarious cut scene ending in video game history.

The worst cut scene in video game history? Probably

LI MEI

Affiliation: Earthrealm (refugee from Outworld)
First Premiered: Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance (2002)
Fighting Styles: Lui He Ba Fa, Baji Quan, Mi Zong
Special Abilities: Distracting cleavage?

Another ‘middle trilogy’ kharacter that has practically been forgotten, Li Mei had a cameo in Mortal Kombat (2011) and was an NPC in Mortal Kombat X. An Outworld citizen who has seeks asylum in Earthrealm, she and her people were enslaved by Shang Tsung and Quan Chi.

KOBRA

Affiliation: Earthrealm (New York)
First Premiered: Mortal Kombat: Deception (2004)
Fighting Styles: Mixed Martial Arts, Kickboxing, Shorin Ryu
Special Abilities: MMA Fighter, Street Fighter cosplayer

Another of the very forgettable Deception/Armageddon gang, Kobra is a member of the Black Dragon kriminal organization.

KHAMELEON

Affiliation: Zaterra (Saurian species)
First Premiered: Mortal Kombat Trilogy (1996)
Fighting Styles: Eagle Claw
Special Abilities: Mimicry, Invisibility

Trivia: there is also a male character called “Chameleon” in certain versions of MK Trilogy, both of them returned for Mortal Kombat: Armageddon.

DAEGON / TAVEN

Affiliation: Edenia (brothers)
First Premiered: Mortal Kombat: Armageddon (2006)
Fighting Styles: Fu Jow Pai (Daegon), Gold Dragon (Taven)
Special Abilities: Edenian Demi-Gods, control over fire, drake swords.

Mortal Kombat: Armageddon was the first and last game in which these two characters appeared. Taven was the protagonist of Konquest mode, while his brother, Daegon was the main antagonist and sub-boss.

FERRA & TORR

Affiliation: Outworld
First Premiered: Mortal Kombat X (2015)
Fighting Styles: ???
Special Abilities: Symbiotic duo, brains and brawn

An interesting experiment, Ferra & Torr are the first kharacters that are playable at the same time (they’re a package deal, it seems), like the Ice climbers in Super Smash Bros. The lightning quick Ferra and the monstrously powerful Torr didn’t seem to catch on with players, as they have not appeared since their introduction in Mortal Kombat X.

Trivia: These two were clearly inspired by Master Blaster from “Mad Max: Beyond Thunder Dome” (the one with Tina Turner). Also, Ferra (the small one) is portrayed by renowned voice actress, Tara Strong! (Bubbles from the Power Puff Girls!)

CETRION

Affiliation: Kronika
First Premiered: Mortal Kombat 11 (2019)
Fighting Styles: Earth Elemental
Special Abilities: Elder Goddess, contol of the elements.

Newly appearing in MK11, Cetrion is actually an Elder God like Raiden. She is the goddess of Life, Virtue & Light. She uses elemental powers to lovingly and virtuously krush bones and skulls, so that’s kool. This ray of sunshine is actually Kronika’s daughter and Shinnok’s sister!

KOLLECTOR

Affiliation: Outworld (Naknada species)
First Premiered: Mortal Kombat 11 (2019)
Fighting Styles: Demonic Magic
Special Abilities: Six Arms, an arsenal of magic weapons, and a magical satchel with endless space for said arsenal.

One of the new kids on the block, first appearing in MK11, this kreepy ass guy is Shao Kahn’s debt kollector, a position he relishes. He fears and worships Shao Kahn, but is really only out for himself, and is quite the greedy weirdo.

TREMOR

Affiliation: Earthrealm (Black Dragon)
First Premiered: Mortal Kombat: Special Forces (2000)
Fighting Styles: Earth Elemental
Special Abilities: Seismic powers

First appearing as an NPC in Mortal Kombat: Special Forces (ugh) and then appearing as a DLC kharacter in Mortal Kombat X, he looks like he would be a member of the Shirai Ryu or Lin Kuei, but this earth-shaking ninja is actually an arms dealer and enforcer of the Black Dragon clan!

DRAHMIN / MOLOCH

Affiliation: Netherrealm (Oni species)
First Premiered: Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance (2002)
Fighting Styles: Netherrealm, Oni
Special Abilities: Demonic monsters from the darkest depths of the Netherrealm. Moloch has brute strength and a magical orb, Drahmin is armed with an iron club, berzerker insanity trapped behind a magical mask, and control over a swarm of rotflies.

Left: Moloch, Right: Drahmin

Drahmin was introduced in Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance and was used again in Armageddon, but has only been seen in one cameo since. Moloch was also introduced in Deadly Alliance as a sub-boss, and is again a sub-boss in Armageddon and also was the star of one cameo since.

MEAT

Affiliation: Netherrealm
First Premiered: Mortal Kombat 4 (1997)
Fighting Styles: Wrestling
Special Abilities: Genetic experiment from Shang Tsung’s flesh pits, has no skin, immune to pain, healing factor

Trivia: “Meat” was thrown in as a hidden character in Mortal Kombat 4 without any backstory or explanation. Just a weird, gross, skinless dude.

MOKAP

Affiliation: Earthrealm / Hollywood
First Premiered: Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance (2002)
Fighting Styles: Karate, Tai Chi, Tae Kwon Do, Wing Chun, Jeet Kune Do, etc
Special Abilities: Motion Capture Effects Artist

Trivia: Including as a secret character in “Deadly Alliance” as a joke, he was popular enough to bring back in subsequent games and has been given a backstory as one of Johnny Cage’s stunt actors, but still, I think we can all agree he’s a bit of a joke.

The entire roster of Mortal Kombat: Armageddon

The Mortal Kombat franchise is still going strong – between the 2021 film (on Blu Ray and 4K, July 13th), a rumored Marvel fighting game in development at Netherrealm Studios, and an all-new animated movie (“Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle of the Realms” – debuting on August 31st, 2021), it’s a great time to be a fan! (Click here for our *Bonus Round* – where we talk about all the 3rd party DLC characters from the last few games!)

Written by Erik Slader and Chris Carroll – check out more of their work on ComicZombie.net and on the latest season of Podcasters Assemble!

Erik Slader

Erik Slader

Erik Slader is an author, podcaster, and full-time nerd. He’s the co-author of the “Epic Fails” book series (The Wright Brothers: Nose-Diving Into History, The Age of Exploration: Totally Getting Lost, etc) and the creator of Epik Fails of History, a podcast and blog about the most epic fails… of history. He’s also a co-host on 2 Young 4 This Trek: A Star Trek Podcast, and an editor / frequent contributor on Podcasters Assemble – where this season they’re counting down to “Godzilla vs Kong”!

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