Mortal Kombat

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Mortal Kombat
Mortal Kombat Logo.svg
Genre(s) Fighting
Action-adventure
Developer(s)
Publisher(s)
Creator(s)
Platform(s)
First release Mortal Kombat
August 1992; 31 years ago
Latest release Mortal Kombat 1
September 19, 2023

Mortal Kombat is an American media franchise centered on a series of fighting video games originally developed by Midway Games in 1992.

Contents

The original Mortal Kombat arcade game spawned a franchise consisting of action-adventure games, a comic book series, a card game, films, an animated TV series, and a live-action tour. Mortal Kombat has become the best-selling fighting game franchise worldwide and one of the highest-grossing media franchises of all time.

The series has a reputation for high levels of graphic violence, including, most notably, its fatalities, which are finishing moves that kill defeated opponents instead of knocking them out. Controversies surrounding Mortal Kombat, in part, led to the creation of the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) video game rating system. Early games in the series were noted for their realistic digitized sprites and an extensive use of palette swapping to create new characters. Following Midway's bankruptcy, the Mortal Kombat development team was acquired by Warner Bros. Entertainment and re-established as NetherRealm Studios.

Gameplay

Mortal Kombat II arcade cabinet's control board Mortal Kombat II arcade cabinet.jpg
Mortal Kombat II arcade cabinet's control board

The original three games and their updates, Mortal Kombat (1992), Mortal Kombat II (1993), Mortal Kombat 3 (1995), Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 (1995), and Mortal Kombat Trilogy (1996), are 2D fighting games. The arcade cabinet versions of the first two used a joystick and five buttons: high punch, low punch, high kick, low kick, and block; Mortal Kombat 3 and its updates added a sixth "run" button. [1] Characters in the early Mortal Kombat games play virtually identically to one another, with the only major differences being their special moves. [2] Through the 1990s, the developer and publisher Midway Games kept their single-styled fighting moves with four attack buttons for a different array of punches, kicks and blocks. Mortal Kombat 4 was the first Mortal Kombat game in which the characters could move in three dimensions and the first to use 3D computer graphics. From Deadly Alliance to Mortal Kombat: Deception , characters had three fighting styles per character: two unarmed styles, and one weapon style. [3] While most of the styles used in the series are based on real martial arts, some are fictitious. [4] Goro's fighting styles, for example, are designed to take advantage of the fact that he has four arms. For Armageddon, fighting styles were reduced to a maximum of two per character (generally one hand-to-hand combat style and one weapon style) due to the sheer number of playable characters. [5] Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe dropped multiple fighting styles for most characters in favor of giving each character a wider variety of special moves [6] [7] 2011's Mortal Kombat returned to a single 2D fighting plane, although characters are rendered in 3D; [8] unlike previous Mortal Kombat games, each of the controller's four attack buttons corresponds to one of the character's limbs, the buttons thus becoming front punch, back punch, front kick and back kick ("front" indicates the limb that is closer to the opponent, and "back" indicates the limb that is farther away from the opponent).

Mortal Kombat: Deception and Mortal Kombat: Armageddon feature "Konquest", a free-roaming action-adventure mode. Both games include distinct minigame modes such as "Chess Kombat", an action-strategy game. Two other bonus minigames, "Puzzle Kombat" inspired by Puzzle Fighter and "Motor Kombat" inspired by Mario Kart , feature super deformed versions of Mortal Kombat characters. [1] The games contain various unlockable content and hidden cheats. [9]

Finishing moves

Kung Lao's "Razor's Edge" Fatality being performed on Mileena in 2011's Mortal Kombat. NetherRealm Studios' Ed Boon described it as possibly the most painful-looking finishing move in the series yet Kung lao Fatality.png
Kung Lao's "Razor's Edge" Fatality being performed on Mileena in 2011's Mortal Kombat . NetherRealm Studios' Ed Boon described it as possibly the most painful-looking finishing move in the series yet

I think [Mortal Kombat] represents the difference in philosophy. [....] So in Street Fighter when you're playing it's the moment to moment gameplay that should be the best, whether you win or lose doesn't really matter. Whereas in Mortal Kombat the fighting and playing is just a pathway to get to the result – it's the Fatality you want to see and you almost want to skip the fighting bit and get to the Fatality because that is the result. [11]

Street Fighter producer Yoshinori Ono

One of the most notable features of the Mortal Kombat series is its brutal and gruesome finishing moves, known as "Fatalities". The basic Fatalities are finishing moves that allow the victorious characters to end a match by murdering their defeated, defenseless opponent. [12] Usually Fatalities are exclusive to each character, the exception being Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, which instead features Kreate-A-Fatality, a feature that allows players to perform their own Fatalities by conducting a series of violent moves chosen from a pool that is common to all characters. [1] [13]

Other finishing moves in the various Mortal Kombat games include Animalities (introduced in Mortal Kombat 3), in which the victor turns into an animal to violently finish off the opponent; [14] Brutality (introduced in Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3) which consists of bashing the opponent into pieces with a long combo of hits; and Stage Fatalities/Death Traps (introduced in the original Mortal Kombat Pit Stage where the victor can uppercut their opponent off of the platform into a bed of spikes below, later made more difficult in Mortal Kombat II by requiring a character-specific button sequence) utilizing parts of certain stages to execute a lethal finishing move (such as a pool of acid). Mortal Kombat: Deception added the Hara-Kiri, a move that allows the loser to perform a suicidal finishing move, giving way to a potential race between both players to see if the winner can finish off their opponent before they can kill themselves. [12] [15]

There are two non-violent finishing moves in the series, which were introduced in Mortal Kombat II as a satire to controversies surrounding Mortal Kombat: [12] Friendship moves, which result in a display of friendship towards the enemy instead of slaughter, [16] and Babalities, which turn the opponent into a baby. [16] [14]

Plot

The series takes place in a fictional universe consisting of numerous realms which, according to in-game backstories, were created by an ancient, eternal, and ethereal pantheon of preternatural divine beings known as the Elder Gods. The Mortal Kombat: Deception manual described six of the realms as: "Earthrealm, home to such legendary heroes as Liu Kang, Kung Lao, Sonya Blade, Johnny Cage, and Jax Briggs, and under the protection of the Thunder God Raiden; Netherrealm, the fiery depths of which are inhospitable to all but the most vile, a realm of demons and shadowy warriors such as Quan Chi and Noob Saibot; Outworld, a realm of constant strife which Emperor Shao Kahn claims as his own; Seido, the Realm of Order, whose inhabitants prize structure and order above all else; the Realm of Chaos, whose inhabitants do not abide by any rules whatsoever, and where constant turmoil and change are worshiped; and Edenia, which is known for its beauty, artistic expression, and the longevity of its inhabitants." [17] [18] The Elder Gods decreed that the denizens of one realm could only conquer another realm by defeating the defending realm's greatest warriors in ten consecutive martial arts tournaments, called Mortal Kombat.

The first Mortal Kombat game takes place in Earthrealm (Earth) where seven different warriors with their own reasons for entering the tournament with the prize being the continued freedom of their realm under threat of a takeover by Outworld. Among the established warriors were Liu Kang, Johnny Cage, and Sonya Blade. With the help of the thunder god Raiden, the Earthrealm warriors were victorious, and Liu Kang became the new champion of Mortal Kombat. [19] In Mortal Kombat II , unable to deal with his minion Shang Tsung's failure, Outworld Emperor Shao Kahn lures the Earthrealm warriors to Outworld for a do-over, winner-take-all tournament, where Liu Kang eventually defeats Shao Kahn. By the time of Mortal Kombat 3 , Shao Kahn merged Edenia with his empire and revived its former queen Sindel in Earthrealm, combining it with Outworld as well. He attempts to invade Earthrealm, but is ultimately defeated by Liu Kang once more. After the Kahn's defeat, Edenia was freed from his grasp and returned to a peaceful realm, ruled by Princess Kitana. The following game, Mortal Kombat 4 , features the fallen elder god Shinnok attempting to conquer the realms and kill Raiden. He is defeated by Liu Kang.

In Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance , the evil sorcerers Quan Chi and Shang Tsung join forces to conquer the realms, killing series protagonist Liu Kang in the process. By Mortal Kombat: Deception , after several fights, the sorcerers emerge victorious, having killed most of Earthrealm's warriors until Raiden steps forth to oppose them. The Dragon King Onaga, former ruler of Outworld, returned to merge all realms back together, but was eventually defeated by the game's protagonist, Shujinko. [20]

In Mortal Kombat: Armageddon , the titular catastrophe begins. Centuries before the first Mortal Kombat, Queen Delia foretold the realms would be destroyed because the power of all of the realms' warriors would rise to such greatness that it would overwhelm and destabilize the realms, triggering a destructive chain of events. King Argus had his sons, Taven and Daegon, put into incubation so one day they can be awakened to save the realms from Armageddon by defeating a firespawn known as Blaze. In the end, Shao Kahn is the one who defeats Blaze and wins the war, causing Armageddon. [21]

The crossover Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe does not share continuity with the other games. After the simultaneous defeats of both Shao Kahn and the alien warlord Darkseid in the DC Universe causes both villains to fuse into the entity "Dark Kahn", both the Mortal Kombat and DC Universes begin to merge. This brings the warriors and heroes into conflicts after suffering bouts of uncontrollable rage. The heroes and villains of both universes repeatedly battle each other, believing each other to be responsible for the catastrophe, until only Raiden and Superman remain. The two confront Dark Kahn and team up to defeat their common foe. After Dark Kahn's defeat, the two realms defuse, with Shao Kahn and Darkseid trapped in each other's universes to face eternal imprisonment.

In the 2011 Mortal Kombat soft reboot, the battle of Armageddon culminated in only two survivors: Shao Kahn and Raiden. On the verge of death by the former's hand, the latter sent visions to his past self in a last-ditch attempt to prevent this outcome. Upon receiving the visions, the past Raiden attempts to alter the timeline to avert Armageddon amidst the tenth Mortal Kombat tournament, during the original game. His attempts to alter history mean that events play out differently to the original series. While he succeeds in preventing Shao Kahn's victory with help from the Elder Gods, he accidentally kills Liu Kang in self-defense and loses most of his allies to Queen Sindel, leaving Earthrealm vulnerable to Shinnok and Quan Chi's machinations.

Mortal Kombat X sees Shinnok and Quan Chi enacting their plan, leading an army of undead revenants of those that were killed in Shao Kahn's invasion of Earthrealm. A team of warriors led by Raiden, Johnny Cage, Kenshi Takahashi, and Sonya Blade oppose them, and in the ensuing battle, Shinnok is imprisoned within his amulet and various warriors are resurrected and freed from his control, though Quan Chi escapes. Twenty-five years later, the sorcerer resurfaces alongside the insectoid D'Vorah to facilitate Shinnok's return. A vengeful Scorpion kills Quan Chi, but fails to stop him from freeing Shinnok. To combat him, Cassie Cage, daughter of Johnny Cage and Sonya Blade, leads a team composed of the next generation of Earthrealm's heroes in defeating him. With Shinnok and Quan Chi defeated, Liu Kang and Kitana's revenants assume control of the Netherrealm while Raiden taps into Shinnok's amulet.

Mortal Kombat 11 and its expansion, Aftermath, sees the architect of time and Shinnok's mother, Kronika, working to alter the timeline following her son's defeat and Raiden's tampering with her work. In doing so, she brings past versions of the realm's heroes to the present, aligning herself with some while the rest work to defeat her. After nearly killing Liu Kang a second time, Raiden discovers Kronika has manipulated them into fighting across multiple timelines as she fears their combined power. Despite her interference and attacks by her minions, Raiden gives Liu Kang his power, turning him into a god of fire and thunder so he can defeat Kronika. In the Aftermath expansion, it is revealed that Liu Kang inadvertently destroyed Kronika's crown, the item needed to restart the timeline. Her defeat also revives Shang Tsung, who was absent in the base game due to his imprisonment by Kronika. To recover the crown, Liu Kang sends Shang Tsung and other Earthrealm heroes back in time to obtain it before Kronika, though Shang Tsung manipulates events so that he comes into possession of the crown. At the end, either Liu Kang or Shang Tsung becomes the Keeper of Time, depending on the player's choice (who they want to fight with in the final battle) and the outcome of the battle.

Mortal Kombat 1 , the second reboot on the series' timeline, sees Lord Liu Kang has created his New Era and strives to maintain peace between all the realms. However, his plans begin to unravel when Shang Tsung and Quan Chi, despite his attempts to have them de-powered and unable to cause trouble, ally with General Shao in order to conquer Earthrealm and Outworld. Investigating the matter, Liu Kang discovers that the Shang Tsung from MK11: Aftermath is responsible, as Liu Kang's attempts to access the Hourglass' power resulted in a break where every character in Mortal Kombat's universe defeated Kronika and gained control of the Hourglass. In an attempt to stop the sorcerer from taking control of all of the multiple timelines, Liu Kang leads an army of good variations in an assault on Titan Shang Tsung's dimension, where, after an intense battle with all their evil counterparts, Liu Kang and a player-decided champion defeat him and erase his timeline from existence.

Characters

Cosplayers of Kitana, Reptile, and Sonya Blade at Dragon Con 2012 DragonCon 2012 - Thursday Night 01.jpg
Cosplayers of Kitana, Reptile, and Sonya Blade at Dragon Con 2012

Through its iterations, the series has featured scores of player characters, some of them becoming mainstays, such as Baraka, Cassie Cage, Cyrax, Ermac, Fujin, Goro, Jade, Jax, Johnny Cage, Kabal, Kano, Kenshi, Kintaro, Kitana, Kung Lao, Li Mei, Liu Kang, Mileena, Motaro, Nightwolf, Noob Saibot, Quan Chi, Raiden, Rain, Reptile, Scorpion, Sektor, Shang Tsung, Shao Kahn, Sheeva, Shinnok, Sindel, Skarlet, Smoke, Sonya Blade, Stryker, Sub-Zero and Tanya. Among them are Earth's humans and cyborgs, good and evil deities, and denizens of Outworld and other realms.

Starting with Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, which featured several DC Universe heroes and villains, all subsequent games have included guest characters such as Freddy Krueger from A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, Kratos from the God of War franchise (exclusively for PlayStation 3), Jason Voorhees from the Friday the 13th franchise, the Xenomorph from Alien , Leatherface from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise, the titular character of Predator , the titular character of the Terminator franchise, the titular character of RoboCop , Spawn of Image Comics, Omni-Man from Image Comics's Invincible , John Rambo, Homelander from The Boys , and the Joker, who was previously in Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, and Peacemaker (more specifically: the character from the DC Extended Universe and DC Universe), both from DC Comics.[ citation needed ]

Development

Release timeline
Main series in bold
1992 Mortal Kombat
1993 Mortal Kombat II
1994
1995 Mortal Kombat 3
Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3
1996 Mortal Kombat Trilogy
1997 Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero
Mortal Kombat 4
1998
1999 Mortal Kombat Gold
2000 Mortal Kombat: Special Forces
2001 Mortal Kombat Advance
2002 Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance
2003 Mortal Kombat: Tournament Edition
2004 Mortal Kombat: Deception
2005 Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks
2006 Mortal Kombat: Armageddon
Mortal Kombat: Unchained
2007 Ultimate Mortal Kombat
2008 Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe
2009
2010
2011 Mortal Kombat
Mortal Kombat Arcade Kollection
2012 Mortal Kombat: Komplete Edition
2013
2014
2015 Mortal Kombat X
Mortal Kombat Mobile
2016 Mortal Kombat XL
2017
2018
2019 Mortal Kombat 11
2020 Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath
Mortal Kombat 11: Ultimate
2021
2022 Mortal Kombat: Onslaught
2023 Mortal Kombat 1

Origins

Mortal Kombat started development in 1991 with four people: Ed Boon (programming), John Tobias (art and story), John Vogel (graphics), and Dan Forden (sound design). [22] [23] According to Mortal Kombat actors Richard Divizio and Daniel Pesina, the first game began as a ninja-themed project by John Tobias (a young new employee of Midway Games at the time) and them as well as Carlos Pesina, however their pitch to Tobias' boss Ed Boon was rejected by the management of Midway. [24] Midway was approached to create a video game adaptation of the then-upcoming 1992 film Universal Soldier , starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, [25] and Tobias imagined a fighting game featuring a digitized version of Van Damme. [26] Intending to make a game "a lot more hard edge, a little bit more serious, a little bit more like Enter the Dragon or Bloodsport " than contemporary cartoonish fighting games, [27] Tobias and Boon decided to continue their project even after the deal to use the Bloodsport license fell through. [28] The first of Mortal Kombat characters, [24] Johnny Cage (Daniel Pesina), became "a spoof on the whole Van Damme situation." [25] Divizio credits himself with convincing Tobias to go back to the original idea and trying again. [24]

It was the success of Capcom's Street Fighter II: The World Warrior that convinced Midway Games to let the team produce their own arcade fighting game, the genre chosen by Tobias for his game as to let him use as large digitized sprites as possible, [29] but there was not much influence by Street Fighter II on the project. According to Tobias, who cited 1984's Karate Champ as an inspiration, [30] they intentionally worked on making a game different from Capcom's title in every way. [29] Besides the digitized characters that differentiated it from its contemporaries' hand-drawn ones, one stark difference was in the very high amount of blood and violence. Capcom's senior director of communications later compared Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat by asking if the interviewer preferred the "precision and depth" of Street Fighter or the "gore and comedy" of Mortal Kombat and also stated that the Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat rivalry was considered similar to the Coke and Pepsi rivalry in the 1990s. [31]

Mortal Kombat didn't rely on just good looks and gore for its success. Although the intense gore was a great way to attract attention, Mortal Kombat offered another side – an often-overlooked side – that kept people coming back for more: its storyline, including the uniquely different kind of gameplay as far as the fighting system within itself. [32]

GameSpot

John Tobias said that his inspirations for the game's story and characters came from Chinese mythology and some of the stories and rumored events about the Shaolin monks. [25] Regarding the film Big Trouble in Little China , Tobias wrote that although the film "kind of Americanized my obsession for supernatural kung fu films from China, it was not my biggest influence. [33] My biggest influences came from Tsui Hark films -- Zu Warriors & The Swordsman . We had to get them from bootleggers in Chicago's Chinatown." [34] In 1995, he said about their general process of designing characters for the series: "First we figure out the type, like she or he and will she/he be big or small. Then we'll get the theme of the characters, like ninja or robot. Then we'll design the costume, and while doing that we create the storyline and how s/he fits into the universe. Then we'll find an actor that kinda resembles our character." [35] Tobias' writing and artistic input on the series ended around 2000 [29] following the release of Mortal Kombat 4. In 2012, he said: "I knew exactly what I was going to do with a future story. A few years ago, I [wrote] a sort of sequel to the first MK film and an advancement to the game's mythological roots." [36]

The title Mortal Kombat was the idea of pinball designer Steve Ritchie, [37] following difficulties trademarking the original title of Mortal Combat. [30] Since then, the series often intentionally misspells various words with the letter "K" in place of "C" for the hard C sound. According to Boon, during the Mortal Kombat games' development they usually spell such words correctly, only making the substitution when one of the developers suggests it. [38]

Graphics

The characters of the original Mortal Kombat and its initial sequels were created using digitized sprites mostly based on filmed actors, as opposed to hand-drawn graphics. [39] Mortal Kombat games were known for their extensive use of palette swapping, which was used for the ninja characters; many of the most popular characters have originated as palette swaps. [40] In the first game, the male ninja fighters were essentially the same character; only the colors of their attire, fighting stance, and special techniques mark a difference. [40] Later games added further ninjas based on the same model, as well as several female ninja color swap characters initially also using just one base model. All of them gradually became very different characters in the following installments of the series. Eventually, Mortal Kombat 4 brought the series into 3D, replacing the digitized fighters of previous games with polygon models animated using motion capture technology. [41]

Hidden content

Most series releases included secret characters, secret games, and other Easter eggs. The original game contained the hidden fighter Reptile, who could be fought by players if they fulfilled an exact set of requirements. A counter for ERMACS (short for error macros) on the game's audits screen was additionally interpreted by players as referring to a second hidden character named Ermac. Midway denied the character's existence in the series before adding him to Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 in response to the player rumors and feedback. [42] [43]

Some Easter eggs originated from in-jokes among the series developers. One example is "Toasty", which was included in Mortal Kombat II in the form of an image of sound designer Dan Forden that randomly appeared in a lower corner of the screen after a player landed an uppercut. [44] Hidden games of Pong and Galaga were included in Mortal Kombat II and Mortal Kombat 3, respectively. [45] [14]

Games

Overview over titles and versions in the Mortal Kombat series
TitleReleaseOriginal platformPortsNotes
Mortal Kombat 1992 Arcade Various The original Mortal Kombat game.
Mortal Kombat II 1993ArcadeVariousSecond main game. Sequel to Mortal Kombat.
Mortal Kombat 3 1995ArcadeVariousThird main game. Sequel to Mortal Kombat II.
Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 1995ArcadeVariousUpgraded version of Mortal Kombat 3.
Mortal Kombat Trilogy 1996 PS1, N64 Saturn, Windows, Game.com, R-Zone Second upgraded version of Mortal Kombat 3.
Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero 1997PS1, N64First of four spin-off games. An action-adventure beat 'em up video game starring Sub-Zero. Prequel to the first Mortal Kombat.
Mortal Kombat 4 1997ArcadePS1, N64, WindowsFourth main game. Sequel to Mortal Kombat 3. Last MK game to appear in arcades.
Mortal Kombat Gold 1999 Dreamcast Upgraded version of Mortal Kombat 4, made for the Sega Dreamcast only.
Mortal Kombat: Special Forces 2000PS1Second of four spin-off games. An action-adventure beat 'em up video game starring Jax. Prequel to the first Mortal Kombat.
Mortal Kombat Advance 2001 GBA The Game Boy Advance version of Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3.
Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance 2002 PS2, Xbox, GCN GBAFifth main game. Sequel to Mortal Kombat 4.
Mortal Kombat: Tournament Edition 2003GBAThe second GBA version of Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance.
Mortal Kombat: Deception 2004PS2, Xbox, GCNSixth main game. Sequel to Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance.
Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks 2005PS2, XboxThird of four spin-off games. An action-adventure beat 'em up video game starring Liu Kang and Kung Lao, set in an alternate timeline between Mortal Kombat and Mortal Kombat II.
Mortal Kombat: Armageddon 2006PS2, Xbox Wii (2007)Seventh main game. Sequel to Mortal Kombat: Deception, and the final title of the original main series.
Mortal Kombat: Unchained 2006 PSP The PlayStation Portable version of Deception.
Ultimate Mortal Kombat 2007 NDS Re-release of Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 on the Nintendo DS with additional features.
Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe 2008 PS3, Xbox 360 Eighth main game. A non-canonical crossover set in an alternate timeline between Mortal Kombat 3 and Mortal Kombat 4.
Mortal Kombat 2011PS3, Xbox 360 PS Vita (2012), Windows (2013)Ninth main game. A reboot story containing plots from the first three games (story mode takes place after the events of Armageddon). An upgraded version containing all DLCs released as Mortal Kombat: Komplete Edition.
Mortal Kombat Arcade Kollection 2011PS3, Xbox 360Windows (2012)A compilation of Mortal Kombat, Mortal Kombat II, and Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 with online play.
Mortal Kombat X 2015 PS4, Xbox One, [46] Windows Android, iOS Tenth main game. Sequel to 2011's Mortal Kombat. An upgraded version containing all DLCs released as Mortal Kombat XL.
Mortal Kombat Mobile 2015 Android, iOS, iPadOS Mobile version of Mortal Kombat X, this free-to-play mobile game has received updates well into the 2020s. [47]
Mortal Kombat 11 2019 Nintendo Switch, Google Stadia, PS4, Xbox One, [48] Windows PS5 (2020), Xbox Series X/S (2020)Eleventh main game. Sequel to Mortal Kombat X. An expansion titled Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath was released in 2020. An upgraded version containing all DLCs released as Mortal Kombat 11: Ultimate.
Mortal Kombat: Onslaught 2022Android, iOSFourth of four spin-off games. An action-adventure beat 'em up role-playing game. [49] Set in an alternate timeline between Mortal Kombat X and Mortal Kombat 11.
Mortal Kombat 1 2023 PS5, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch, WindowsTBATwelfth main game. The continuation of Mortal Kombat 11 and series' second reboot.

Main series

The original Mortal Kombat game was released by Midway in arcades during October 1992, and has been ported to several console and home computer systems, with early ports released by Acclaim Entertainment. [50] The sequel, Mortal Kombat II , was released for arcades in 1993, featuring an increased roster and improved graphics and gameplay, then ported to the numerous home systems in 1993–1995, released again by Acclaim. [51] Mortal Kombat 3 followed in 1995 in both arcade and home versions. [52] Mortal Kombat 3 received two updates which expanded the number of characters and other features from the game: Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 , released that same year in arcades, [53] and Mortal Kombat Trilogy , released for home consoles the following year. [54] The following game, Mortal Kombat 4 , was released in 1997, and marked the jump of the series to 3D rendered graphics instead of the digitized 2D graphics used in previous games. Mortal Kombat 4 was ported to the PlayStation, Nintendo 64 and Microsoft Windows. Mortal Kombat 4 was the last Mortal Kombat game released for arcades. Its updated version titled Mortal Kombat Gold was released for the Dreamcast in 1999.

At this point that the series started being targeted at consoles only. Also the series' naming scheme changed to favor the use of sub-titles instead of numbered installments, beginning with Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance in 2002. [55] Deadly Alliance was released initially for the Xbox, PlayStation 2 and GameCube. [56] [57] [58] Deadly Alliance was also the first Mortal Kombat game to feature fully 3D gameplay, where up to Mortal Kombat 4 the gameplay had stayed in a 2D plane; this trend would continue for the following two games.

The next sequel was 2004's Mortal Kombat: Deception , released for the PlayStation 2, Xbox, and GameCube. [59] [60] [61] Its port for the PlayStation Portable, Mortal Kombat: Unchained, was released in 2006. [62] Mortal Kombat: Armageddon was published in 2006 for the PlayStation 2, Xbox, and in 2007 for the Wii. [63] [64] [65]

Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe , a non-canonical crossover fighting game between the Mortal Kombat franchise and DC Comics, was released in 2008 for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. [66] [67]

A ninth game in the series, a reboot titled Mortal Kombat , was developed by the former Midway Games, now known as NetherRealm Studios. [68] It was released for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in 2011, and was ported to the PlayStation Vita in 2012 and Microsoft Windows in 2013. Downloadable content became a feature of games in the series at this time. Its first sequel, Mortal Kombat X , was released in 2015 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Microsoft Windows, and marked a return to numbered sequels. This was paired with the first Mortal Kombat game for tablet and smartphones, Mortal Kombat Mobile . A follow-up, Mortal Kombat 11 , was released in 2019 for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and Microsoft Windows. A sequel to Mortal Kombat 11, Mortal Kombat 1 , released in September 2023. [69]

Spin-off games

Besides the fighting games, there are three action-adventure titles that work as spin-offs from the Mortal Kombat storyline. Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero was released in 1997 for the PlayStation and Nintendo 64; [70] [71] its story is focused on the first incarnation character of Sub-Zero and is focused in the timeline before the first Mortal Kombat game. The next action game was Mortal Kombat: Special Forces , released in 2000 for the PlayStation, starring Major Jackson Briggs in his mission to destroy the Black Dragon. [72] Both games were critically panned (although the reception of Mythologies was more mediocre). Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks, developed by Midway Studios Los Angeles, was released in 2005 for the PlayStation 2 and the Xbox, starring Liu Kang and Kung Lao and telling an alternate version of the events between the first and second Mortal Kombat games. A similar game entitled Mortal Kombat: Fire & Ice, which was to star Scorpion and again Sub-Zero, was canceled when the developers of Shaolin Monks "couldn't do it in time and under budget". [73] On October 18, 2022, Mortal Kombat: Onslaught was announced; it is a role-playing game released in 2023 for Android and iOS. NetherRealm said it would be a cinematic experience and also it will be loyal to its core visceral nature. [74]

Other media

Films

Animated

An animated prequel to 1995's Mortal Kombat film, titled Mortal Kombat: The Journey Begins , was released direct-to-video in the same year as the live-action film. [75]

A series of direct-to-video films titled Mortal Kombat Legends began in 2020 as a co-production between Warner Bros. Animation and either Studio Mir or Digital eMation. The first, Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion's Revenge , was released in April 2020, as the first R-rated Mortal Kombat film. [76] The second film, Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle of the Realms , was released in August 2021. [77] The third film, Mortal Kombat Legends: Snow Blind , was released on October 11, 2022. [78] A fourth film, Mortal Kombat Legends: Cage Match , was released on October 17, 2023. [79]

Live-action

Mortal Kombat was adapted into two major motion pictures, Mortal Kombat (1995) and Mortal Kombat Annihilation (1997), both released by New Line Cinema. The first film was released on August 18, 1995, grossing $23 million on its first weekend. [80] Despite mixed reviews from critics, Mortal Kombat became a financial success, grossing approximately $70 million in the U.S. and over $122 million worldwide; the film gained a cult following amongst fans of the video game series with Robin Shou, Linden Ashby, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Bridgette Wilson, Talisa Soto and Christopher Lambert starring, and its success launched the Hollywood career of its director, Paul W. S. Anderson. [81] Mortal Kombat Annihilation was directed by John R. Leonetti with Shou and Soto as the only two returning from the first film. The film received a poor reception by critics, grossing $36 million in the U.S. and $51 million worldwide. [82]

In 2010, director Kevin Tancharoen released an eight-minute short film titled Mortal Kombat: Rebirth , [83] made as a proof of concept for Tancharoen's pitch of a reboot film franchise to Warner Bros. Pictures. [84] Tancharoen later confirmed that the unofficial short featured the writing of Oren Uziel, who at the time was rumored to be writing the screenplay for a third Mortal Kombat film. [85] In September 2011, New Line and Warner Bros. announced that Tancharoen had signed on to direct a new feature-length film from a screenplay written by Uziel, [86] with the intention of aiming for an R rating. [87] Shooting was expected to begin in March 2012 with a budget of well under $100 million (projected at between $40–50 million [88] ) and a release date of 2013, [89] [90] but was ultimately delayed due to budget constraints. Tancharoen quit the production in October 2013. [91]

A reboot, Mortal Kombat (2021), was released on April 23, 2021 to mixed reviews, grossing over $84 million worldwide from theaters while also releasing simultaneously on the streaming service HBO Max. [92] [93] Production restarted on a reboot in 2015 when James Wan joined to produce and director Simon McQuoid joined the following year. [94] [95] [96] The script was written by Greg Russo and David Callaham with Lewis Tan, Jessica McNamee, Josh Lawson, Tadanobu Asano, and Hiroyuki Sanada starring. [97] A sequel is in development with McQuoid returning as director and Jeremy Slater set to write the screenplay. [98] [99]

CharactersFilms
Mortal Kombat Mortal Kombat
Annihilation
Mortal Kombat
199519972021
Raiden Christopher Lambert James Remar Tadanobu Asano
Liu Kang Robin Shou Ludi Lin
Johnny Cage Linden Ashby Chris Conrad  
Shang Tsung Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa   Chin Han
Sonya Blade Bridgette Wilson Sandra Hess Jessica McNamee
Kitana Talisa Soto  
Kano Trevor Goddard   Josh Lawson
ScorpionChris Casamassa (Ed Boon Voice) J. J. Perry (Ed Boon Voice) Hiroyuki Sanada
Sub-Zero I/Noob SaibotFrançois PetitJ. J. Perry Joe Taslim
ReptileKeith Cooke (Frank Welker Voice) CGI
Goro Tom Woodruff, Jr. (Kevin Michael Richardson Voice) CGI (Angus Sampson Voice)
JaxGregory McKinneyLynn Red Williams Mehcad Brooks
Shao KahnCGI (Frank Welker Voice) Brian Thompson  
Shinnok  Reiner Schöne  
Sindel  Musetta Vander  
Jade  Irina Pantaeva  
Motaro  Deron McBee  
Sheeva  Marjean Holden  
Sub-Zero II Keith Cooke 
Nightwolf  Litefoot  
Ermac John Medlen 
Cyrax J. J. Perry 
Rain Tyrone Wiggins 
Baraka Dennis Keiffer 
Smoke Ridley Tsui 
Mileena  Dana Hee Sisi Stringer
Cole Young*   Lewis Tan
Kung Lao   Max Huang
Kabal  Daniel Nelson (Damon Herriman Voice)
Reiko   Nathan Jones
Nitara  Mel Jarnson

* Cole Young is a film-exclusive character who has not appeared in any of the games.

Comics

Midway published official one-shot issues based on Mortal Kombat and Mortal Kombat II, which were written and illustrated by Tobias and set prior to the storylines of both games. From 1994 to 1995, Malibu Comics published a licensed series consisting of two six-issue miniseries in addition to one-shot specials and miniseries dedicated to specific characters. Special tie-in issues were packaged with the PC release of Mortal Kombat 4 and for Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, respectively. [100] A Mortal Kombat X series by DC Comics, set before the game's events, ran from January to September 2015 with three miniseries of twelve issues that were released weekly in 36 chapter installments.

Novels

A novel titled Mortal Kombat was written by Jeff Rovin and published in 1995, and featured an original plot that preceded the events of the first game. [101] Novelizations of both Mortal Kombat feature films were written by Martin Delrio and Jerome Preisler, respectively.

Music

Mortal Kombat: The Album , a techno album based on the first game, was created for Virgin America by Lords of Acid members Praga Khan and Oliver Adams as The Immortals in 1994. [102] Its iconic theme "Techno Syndrome", incorporating the "Mortal Kombat!" yell first shown in the Mortal Kombat commercial for home systems, was released in 1993 as a single and was used as a theme music for the Mortal Kombat film series. Each film had their own soundtracks (including the hit and award-winning compilation album Mortal Kombat: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack ), as had the second video game (Mortal Kombat II: Music from the Arcade Game Soundtrack). The 2011 video game saw the release of Mortal Kombat: Songs Inspired by the Warriors , a new soundtrack album featuring electronic music by various artists.

Television

Animated

An animated series titled Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm was released in 1996. It ran for one season and received negative reviews.

Live-action

In 1998, Mortal Kombat: Conquest was released. It lasted one season. [75] In 2010, Warner Premiere ordered a web series inspired by the Rebirth short, titled Mortal Kombat: Legacy and also directed by Kevin Tancharoen. [103] The series' first season was released for free on YouTube starting in April 2011, promoted by Machinima.com, [104] and the second season arrived in 2013. [105]

In 2014, Blue Ribbon Content had been developing a live-action series that was to tie in with Mortal Kombat X for a planned 2016 release, titled Mortal Kombat: Generations. The series, however, was not released. [106] [107]

Stage show

A stage show titled Mortal Kombat: Live Tour was launched at the end of 1995, expanded to 1996, and featured Mortal Kombat characters in a theatrical display on stage.

Collectible card games

BradyGames produced the collectible card game Mortal Kombat Kard Game in 1995. [108] The Duelist called the game a "worse clone" of Magic: the Gathering . [109] Score Entertainment's 2005 collectible card game Epic Battles also used some of the Mortal Kombat characters.

Reception

Aggregate review scores
As of June 18, 2019.
Game GameRankings Metacritic
Mortal Kombat (GEN) 84.17% [110]
(SNES) 83.33% [111]
(SCD) 60.00% [112]
(GB) 42.17% [113]
Mortal Kombat II (SNES) 85.87% [114]
(GEN) 85.62% [115]
(PS3) 68.40% [116]
(GB) 64.50% [117]
(SAT) 57.50% [118]
(PS3) 72 [119]
Mortal Kombat 3 (SNES) 80.23% [120]
(GEN) 76.67% [121]
(PS1) 70.33% [122]
Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero (PS1) 53.20% [123]
(N64) 44.84% [124]
Mortal Kombat 4 (N64) 76.07% [125]
(PS1) 75.75% [126]
(PC) 72.14% [127]
(DC) 54.97% [128]
(GBC) 46.00% [129]
Mortal Kombat: Special Forces (PS1) 40.23% [130] (PS1) 28 [131]
Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance (GBA) 84.63% [132]
(Xbox) 82.68% [133]
(PS2) 81.99% [134]
(GC) 81.82% [135]
(GBA) 81 [136]
(Xbox) 81 [137]
(GC) 81 [138]
(PS2) 79 [139]
Mortal Kombat: Deception (PS2) 82.00% [140]
(Xbox) 81.31% [141]
(GC) 77.43% [142]
(PSP) 70.88% [143]
(PS2) 81 [144]
(Xbox) 81 [145]
(GC) 77 [146]
(PSP) 70 [147]
Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks (Xbox) 80.64% [148]
(PS2) 78.70% [149]
(Xbox) 78 [150]
(PS2) 77 [151]
Mortal Kombat: Armageddon (Xbox) 77.39% [152]
(PS2) 75.33% [153]
(Wii) 72.49% [154]
(Xbox) 77 [155]
(PS2) 75 [156]
(Wii) 71 [157]
Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe (PS3) 77.87% [158]
(X360) 74.55% [159]
(PS3) 76 [160]
(X360) 72 [161]
Mortal Kombat (Vita) 87.31% [162]
(PS3) 86.09% [163]
(X360) 85.67% [164]
(X360) 86 [165]
(Vita) 85 [165]
(PS3) 84 [166]
Mortal Kombat X (XONE) 85.97% [167]
(PS4) 84.18% [168]
(PC) 75.20% [169]
(XONE) 86 [170]
(PS4) 83 [171]
(PC) 76 [172]
Mortal Kombat 11 -(PS4) 82 [173]
(XONE) 86 [174]
(PC) 82 [175]
(NS) 78 [176]
Mortal Kombat: Onslaught

Sales

Mortal Kombat has been one of the most successful fighting game franchises in video game history, previously only trailing Bandai Namco's Tekken , Capcom's Street Fighter , and Nintendo's Super Smash Bros. As of 2021, it has surpassed the competitor fighting game franchises in worldwide lifetime series sales. It generated more than $4 billion by the late 1990s [177] and $5 billion in total revenue by 2000. [178] A particularly successful game was Mortal Kombat II, which had unprecedented opening week sales figures never seen before in the video game industry, for the first time beating the box office numbers of summer hit films. [179] The Mortal Kombat games, however, have not been localized in Japan after the Super Famicom release of Mortal Kombat II, due to content guidelines against depictions of blood, gore and dismemberment (Tobias blaming their "very americanized" character design [180] ).

Mortal Kombat games have sold more than 6 million units by 1994 [181] and 26 million by 2007, [22] and the figure has exceeded 30 million by 2012. [182] As of 2022, the franchise had sold about 79 million units. [183]

Ratings, reviews, and awards

The 2008 edition of Guinness World Records Gamer's Edition awarded the Mortal Kombat series with seven world records, including "most successful fighting game series". [184] The franchise holds ten world records in the 2011 Guinness World Records Gamer's Edition, including the "largest promotional campaign for a fighting video game" (Mortal Kombat 3), "highest grossing film based on a beat ‘em up video game" (Mortal Kombat 1996), and "most successful video game spin-off soundtrack album" (Mortal Kombat: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack). [185]

Numerous publications described it as one of the most important and also most violent series in the history of video games; in 2011, the staff of GameSpy wrote "its place in fighting game history is undeniable". [186] In 2009, GameTrailers ranked Mortal Kombat as the ninth top fighting game franchise [187] as well as the seventh bloodiest series of all time. [188] In 2012, Complex ranked Mortal Kombat as 37th best video game franchise overall, commenting on its "legendary status in video game history". [189] Mortal Kombat as a series was also ranked as the goriest video game ever by CraveOnline in 2009 and by G4tv.com in 2011; [190] [191] including it on their list of the goriest games, Cheat Code Central commented that "Mortal Kombat had enough gore to simultaneously offend a nation and change gaming forever." [192]

Legacy and cultural impact

According to IGN, during the 1990s "waves of imitators began to flood the market, filling arcades with a sea of blood from games like Time Killers , Survival Arts , and Guardians of the Hood. Mortal Kombat had ushered in an era of exploitation games, both on consoles and in arcades, all engaging in a battle to see who can cram the most blood and guts onto a low-res screen." [1] Notable Mortal Kombat clones, featuring violent finishing moves and/or digitized sprites, included Bio F.R.E.A.K.S. , BloodStorm , Cardinal Syn , Catfight , Eternal Champions , Kasumi Ninja , Killer Instinct , Mace: The Dark Age , Primal Rage , Street Fighter: The Movie , Tattoo Assassins , Thrill Kill , Ultra Vortek , Way of the Warrior , and Midway's own War Gods . [193] [194] John Tobias commented: "Some of the copycat products back then kind of came and went because, on the surface level, the violence will attract some attention, but if there's not much to the product behind it, you're not going to last very long." [30]

In a 2009 poll by GamePro , 21% of voters chose Mortal Kombat as their favorite fighting game series, ranking it third after Street Fighter and Tekken. [195] In 2012, Capcom's Street Fighter producer Yoshinori Ono said he is getting a lot of requests for Street Fighter vs. Mortal Kombat and understands why people want it, "but it's easier said than done. Having Chun Li getting her spine ripped out, or Ryu's head bouncing off the floor...it doesn't necessarily match." [196] In 2014, martial artist Frankie Edgar opined Mortal Kombat has been far superior to Street Fighter. [197]

The series and its characters are also referenced in the various other works of popular culture, such as in the title of Powerglove's debut album Metal Kombat for the Mortal Man and the Workaholics episode "Model Kombat". According to Complex in 2012, "Years ago, Mortal Kombat became a phenomenon far outside gaming circles alone. Its name has become recognizable enough to be name dropped on sitcoms ( Malcolm in the Middle and Married... with Children ), found in movies (Christian Slater plays Mortal Kombat 4 in Very Bad Things ), and used as part of cultural studies (see Justine Cassell and Henry Jenkins' book From Barbie to Mortal Kombat: Gender and Computer Games)." [27] It was also featured in the film The Doom Generation . The name "Mortal Kombat" was even given to a dangerous illegal recreational drug that was introduced and caused multiple fatalities in early 2014. [198]

In 2012, Tobias said: "If you look at any other pop culture phenomenon—like if you look at the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles , for instance—it became popular at the time right around when Mortal Kombat became popular, and it had its highs and lows, and here they are once again talking about a major motion picture. That's because of its place in pop culture. It's always there for someone to pick up, polish off, blow the dust off of it, and re-release it. And Mortal Kombat will always be that way. It'll be around 50 years from now." [30]

Competitive play

Fighting games have been a popular genre among tournaments since the late 1990s. Mortal Kombat has its place in some of the world's biggest fighting game tournaments including Evo and Combo Breaker, as well as many local and online tournaments around the world. Since the 2011 Mortal Kombat game was released, the game has been one of the most popular games at these events. Between 2014 and 2017, the game was mostly absent from the tournament scene, due to NetherRealm Studios being focused on their Injustice series as their top priority; [199] Mortal Kombat games returned to Combo Breaker in 2018. [200]

Controversies

The series was subject of a major video game controversy [201] and several court cases, largely related to its extremely violent content, especially in relation to the original game which paved a way for the introduction of the ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board) game rating system in 1994 as well as the Australian Classification Board. [28] [202] [203] [204] [205] Various games in the series, as well as advertisements for them, have been censored or banned in a number of countries. According to SuperData Research CEO Joost van Dreunen, "Because of the obvious rift between gamers on the one hand and adult society on the other, Mortal Kombat set the tone for what constituted gamer culture." [206]

In Germany, every Mortal Kombat game was banned for ten years from its release until 2015. Mortal Kombat (2011) is also banned in South Korea, and was banned in Australia until February 2013. Mortal Kombat 11 is banned in Indonesia, Japan, China and Ukraine. [207] [208]

See also

Related Research Articles

<i>Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance</i> 2002 video game

Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance is a 2002 fighting game developed and published by Midway for the Xbox, PlayStation 2, GameCube, and Game Boy Advance. It was the first all-new Mortal Kombat fighting game produced exclusively for home consoles, with no preceding arcade release. It is the fifth main installment in the Mortal Kombat franchise and a sequel to 1997's Mortal Kombat 4. Its story focuses on the eponymous alliance between sorcerers Quan Chi and Shang Tsung and their schemes to revive an ancient army to conquer Outworld and Earthrealm. The game is the only main installment not to feature series protagonist Liu Kang as a playable character. It is also the first game in the canon series to not have the involvement of co-creator John Tobias, as he left Midway in 1999 to pursue other interests.

Sub-Zero (<i>Mortal Kombat</i>) Mortal Kombat character

Sub-Zero is a name used by two characters in the Mortal Kombat fighting game franchise by Midway Games and NetherRealm Studios. They are depicted as two Chinese brothers and ninja warriors of the Lin Kuei clan principally defined by their blue attire and ability to control ice in many forms. Both incarnations of Sub-Zero are the only series characters to have appeared in every main installment of the series in addition to being featured as the protagonist of the spin-off Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero (1997).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Johnny Cage</span> Mortal Kombat character

Johnny Cage is a character in the Mortal Kombat fighting game franchise by Midway Games and NetherRealm Studios. Introduced in the original 1992 game, he is an action movie star with an extensive martial arts background. The series depicts Cage as one of the primary heroes defending Earthrealm from various threats, as well as the comic foil. In the rebooted timeline, Cage is also the love interest to Special Forces officer Sonya Blade and the father of their daughter Cassie. He is inspired by martial arts star Jean-Claude Van Damme, particularly Van Damme's character, Frank Dux, in the 1988 film Bloodsport. A staple of the franchise, Cage has appeared in various media outside of the games. Reception to the character has been generally positive for his role in the series, character development, gameplay, and Fatality finishing moves.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Shao Kahn</span> Mortal Kombat character

Shao Kahn is a fictional character in the Mortal Kombat fighting game franchise by Midway Games and NetherRealm Studios. Depicted as emperor of the fictional realm Outworld, he is one of the franchise's primary villains. Feared for his immense strength, which he complements with a large hammer, and knowledge of black magic, Shao Kahn seeks conquest of all the realms, including Earth. He serves as the main antagonist final boss of Mortal Kombat II (1993), Mortal Kombat 3 (1995) and its updates, and the 2011 reboot, as well as the action-adventure spin-off Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks (2005). An amalgam of Shao Kahn and DC Comics villain Darkseid also appears as the main antagonist and final boss of Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe (2008) under the name Dark Kahn. A younger persona known as General Shao appears in Mortal Kombat 1 (2023).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mileena</span> Mortal Kombat character

Mileena is a character in the Mortal Kombat fighting game franchise by Midway Games and NetherRealm Studios. Introduced in Mortal Kombat II (1993), Mileena was initially depicted as a clone of the Edenian princess Kitana, created by Shang Tsung with the blood of the fictional Tarkatan species, and raised alongside her "sister". Following the time-travelling actions of Raiden in Mortal Kombat 9 (2011), Mileena's background as a Tarkatan clone of Kitana remains the same, although she was only recently awoken, rather than raised alongside Kitana. Mortal Kombat X (2015) depicts her attempts to regain her throne as Empress of Outworld, following her overthrow by Kotal Kahn.

Ermac Mortal Kombat character

Ermac is a character in the Mortal Kombat fighting game franchise by Midway Games and NetherRealm Studios. Debuting as an unlockable character in Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 (1995), he is an amalgam of the souls of deceased warriors and possesses telekinetic abilities.

Characters of the <i>Mortal Kombat</i> series

This is a list of playable and boss characters from the Mortal Kombat fighting game franchise and the games in which they appear. Created by Ed Boon and John Tobias, the series depicts conflicts between various realms. Most characters fight on behalf of their realm, with the primary heroes defending Earthrealm against conquering villains from Outworld and the Netherrealm. Early installments feature the characters participating in the eponymous Mortal Kombat tournament to decide their realm's fate. In later installments, Earthrealm is often invaded by force.

Jax (<i>Mortal Kombat</i>) Mortal Kombat character

Jackson "Jax" Briggs is a fictional character in the Mortal Kombat fighting game franchise by Midway Games and NetherRealm Studios. Introduced in Mortal Kombat II (1993) as the leader of a Special Forces unit, he became a mainstay of the series, including as the protagonist of the action-adventure spin-off Mortal Kombat: Special Forces (2000). The character is distinguished by his metal bionic arms, which he first received in Mortal Kombat 3 (1995), and his abilities are based around his upper-body strength.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kitana</span> Mortal Kombat character

Kitana is a character in the Mortal Kombat fighting game franchise by Midway Games and NetherRealm Studios. Debuting in Mortal Kombat II (1993), she is a royal from the fictional realm of Edenia. She uses steel fans as her primary weapon.

Kung Lao is a character in the Mortal Kombat fighting game franchise by Midway Games and NetherRealm Studios. He debuted in Mortal Kombat II (1993) as a Shaolin monk and close friend of series protagonist Liu Kang, and his trademark characteristic is his wide razor-brimmed hat that he uses as a weapon. Kung Lao is depicted as one of the series' primary heroes, including a main role in the action-adventure spin-off Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks (2005).

Kenshi (<i>Mortal Kombat</i>) Mortal Kombat character

Kenshi Takahashi is a character in the Mortal Kombat fighting game franchise by Midway Games and NetherRealm Studios. He makes his series debut in Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance (2002) as a blind swordsman and Special Forces operative. In addition to his sword skills, he possesses telekinetic abilities.

Scorpion (<i>Mortal Kombat</i>) Mortal Kombat character

Scorpion is a fictional character in the Mortal Kombat fighting game franchise by Midway Games and NetherRealm Studios. A ninja dressed in yellow, his primary weapon is a kunai rope dart, which he uses to harpoon opponents. Debuting in the original 1992 game, Scorpion has appeared as playable in every main installment except Mortal Kombat 3 (1995).

Reptile (<i>Mortal Kombat</i>) Mortal Kombat character

Reptile is a character in the Mortal Kombat fighting game franchise by Midway Games and NetherRealm Studios. He debuted in the original 1992 game as a hidden opponent, establishing him as the first secret character in fighting game history. Reptile became playable in the follow-up Mortal Kombat II (1993) and has remained a mainstay of the franchise. As implied by his name, he is a Saurian, a fictional species of reptilian humanoids. One of the last surviving members of his race, he aligns himself with the series' primary villains in the hope his service will lead to the Saurians' revival.

<i>Mortal Kombat: Deception</i> 2004 video game

Mortal Kombat: Deception is a 2004 fighting game developed and published by Midway. It is the sixth main installment in the Mortal Kombat franchise and a sequel to 2002's Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance. It was released for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox in October 2004, for the GameCube in March 2005 and later ported for the PlayStation Portable under the title Mortal Kombat: Unchained in November 2006. Mortal Kombat: Deception follows the storyline from the fifth installment, Deadly Alliance. Its story centers on the revival of the Dragon King Onaga, who attempts to conquer the realms featured in the series after defeating the sorcerers Quan Chi and Shang Tsung, the main antagonists in the previous game, and the Thunder God Raiden, defender of Earthrealm. The surviving warriors from the previous titles join forces to confront Onaga.

<i>Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks</i> 2005 video game

Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks is a 2005 action-adventure beat 'em up video game developed and published by Midway for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox. A spin-off of the Mortal Kombat franchise, it is a retelling of the events of Mortal Kombat II (1993). Players control the eponymous Shaolin monks Liu Kang and Kung Lao in either single player or cooperative play as they protect Earthrealm from the forces of Outworld.

<i>Mortal Kombat: Armageddon</i> 2006 video game

Mortal Kombat: Armageddon is a 2006 fighting game and it is the seventh main installment in the Mortal Kombat franchise and a sequel to 2004's Mortal Kombat: Deception. The PlayStation 2 and Xbox versions were released in October 2006, with a Wii version released on May 29, 2007 in North America. The Xbox version was not released in PAL territories. Chronologically the final chapter in the original Mortal Kombat storyline, it features virtually every character from the previous games. Players select one of them and battle a selection of the other fighters. The story follows a warrior named Taven after being awakened who goes on a journey to defeat his evil brother leading up to the Armageddon war to determine the fate of the Mortal Kombat universe.

<i>Mortal Kombat</i> (2011 video game) 2011 fighting video game

Mortal Kombat is a 2011 fighting game developed by NetherRealm Studios and published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. It is the ninth main installment in the Mortal Kombat series and a soft reboot of the series. The game was released for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 systems in April 2011, and a PlayStation Vita port was released in May 2012. An expanded version of the game, titled Mortal Kombat: Komplete Edition, was released for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in February 2012 and for Microsoft Windows in July 2013.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Liu Kang</span> Mortal Kombat character

Liu Kang is a fictional character and the main protagonist in the Mortal Kombat fighting game franchise by Midway Games and NetherRealm Studios. Depicted as Earthrealm's greatest warrior and champion, he debuted in the original 1992 game as a Shaolin monk with special moves, which were intended to be the easiest for players to perform. Since his introduction, Liu Kang has appeared as playable in every main installment except Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance (2002). He is also one of the protagonists of the action-adventure spin-off Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks (2005).

Raiden (<i>Mortal Kombat</i>) Mortal Kombat character

Raiden is a fictional character in the Mortal Kombat fighting game franchise by Midway Games and NetherRealm Studios. Based on the Japanese deity Raijin, he is depicted as the god of thunder who possesses control over lightning. He debuted in the original 1992 game and has appeared as a playable character in every main installment except Mortal Kombat 3 (1995) and its first update. In the storyline of the games, Raiden is the protector of Earthrealm. He fulfills his duty by selecting and training the warriors who defend Earthrealm from various threats, while also participating directly in the realm's defense. Raiden generally serves as a mentor figure to the franchise's heroes, although he sometimes assumes a darker role in the story, which sees him become more ruthless in his protection of the realm. One of the franchise's central characters, Raiden has appeared in various related media outside of the Mortal Kombat games, including guest appearances in NBA Jam Tournament Edition (1995), NFL Blitz (1997), Unreal Championship 2 (2005), and Injustice 2 (2017). He has generally received a positive reception and is among the series' most popular characters for his design and special abilities.

Mortal Kombat is an American series of martial arts action films based on the fighting video game series of the same name by Midway Games. The first film was produced by Lawrence Kasanoff’s Threshold Entertainment.

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