--> ''The battle raged at the end of the first tournament. The forces of Earthrealm were facing their greatest challenge...''

''Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks'' is an action game released in 2005. Based on the events that occurred at the end of ''VideoGame/MortalKombat1'' leading into ''[[VideoGame/MortalKombat2 Mortal Kombat II]]'' and its final confrontation with Shao Kahn, players take on the role of Liu Kang and Kung Lao as they fight to defend Earthrealm.

The story begins with Earthrealm's warriors battling for their lives against Outworld's forces on Shang Tsung's island fortress. Liu Kang eventually confronts the sorcerer and gains the upper hand against him, only for Goro to enter the fray. While the heroes are distracted by this new threat, Shang Tsung is able to open a portal to Outworld and retreats with his evil allies as the fortress [[LoadBearingBoss begins to crumble]] around them. Escaping, Liu Kang and Kung Lao find the Wu Shi Academy under attack from Baraka and his Tarkatans. Defeating them the duo decide to meet the threat head on, despite the odds, and battle through Outworld itself to face Shao Kahn in person.

The game was welcomed by fans and critics alike for being an enjoyable fatality-filled action beat 'em up; no doubt in part to the last two {{Spinoff}} games, ''[[VideoGame/MortalKombatMythologiesSubZero Mythlogies]]'' and ''[[VideoGame/MortalKombatSpecialForces Special Forces]]'', being less than stellar.

Whilst the gameplay and bloodshed was greeted with joy, many story elements were not. Kung Lao's character was now arrogant, jealous of Liu Kang becoming champion and no longer the reluctant warrior of his original introduction. Many established canon story elements and characters were now changed or completely altered. Whether the game was intended as a {{Broad Strokes}} approach to the story, a {{Retcon}}, an AlternateContinuity or simply a case of Creator/{{Midway|Games}} not knowing their own continuity is up for debate. Needless to say the fans have their own opinions on the matter.

!! Tropes found in this game:

* AdaptationalJerkAss: The same Kung Lao who was once a humble warrior who did not seek the spotlight is now an honour obsessed, ill-tempered JerkJock who endlessly teases Liu Kang about [[SheIsNotMyGirlfriend Kitana]], not to mention buying into Shang Tsung's scheme.
* BigBad: Shang Tsung.
* BigBadWannabe: Shang Tsung, much like the main series. [[spoiler: His entire plan to overthrow Shao Kahn. His plan never gets very far as he's killed by Liu Kang and Kung Lao before he has the chance to even try, implying he didn't have a chance of success regardless.]]
* BonusBoss: The player has the option of fighting Kano before leaving to fight Shao Kahn. Doing so results in Kano's death & Jax arriving to take Sonya back to Earthrealm, which'll also leave you an extra health item to use in the final boss fights; otherwise they remain in the background of the arena. Ermac can also be challenged in the Warrior Shrine, and a return trip to the Living Forest and exploring the previously unreachable treetops can get you a second fight with Mileena.
* ButThouMust: In the battle against Kitana, Mileena, and Jade, it doesn't matter which one you hit with the Fatality stunner, [[spoiler: Jade]] is always the one killed.
* CanonDiscontinuity: Subverted. ''VideoGame/MortalKombat9'' doesn't make any direct references to Shaolin Monks in the story, aside of a small nod, and seems to use the "original" versions of ''[=MK1=]'' and ''[=MK2=]''[='=]s stories instead, but several of the Challenge Tower missions are directly based on parts of the game.
** The game also adopted Kung Lao's outfit here as his standard, and a minor plot point [[spoiler:of him sneaking into the first tournament disguised as a guard]].
* DressingAsTheEnemy: [[spoiler:Kung Lao and Shang Tsung]] in the opening.
* EverythingIsBetterWithSpinning: Shao Kahn has this attack with his hammer. The player won't be thinking this is "better" however, it has a lot of reach, if the player gets hit once, they will get stunned and hit again by the rest of the attack.
** The player also has access to Kung Lao's spin special, which can be upgraded to encompass a wider radius.
* EyeScream: After disabling Mileena with a punch to the face, Liu Kang kills [[spoiler: Jade]] by stabbing her in the eyes with Mileena's sai. Yes, it was both completely unnecessary and [[BloodyHilarious completely hilarious]].
* {{Fauxshadowing}}: Raiden's warning that "Outworld changes a person. The next time you see Sonya Blade, she may not be a friend"? Nothing comes of it. And this is despite the LetsYouAndHimFight nature of fighting games. [[spoiler: Possibly justified, as "Raiden" is actually Shang Tsung trying to sow seeds of distrust in the monks.]]
* GreaterScopeVillain: Shao Kahn. The main plot is kicked off by Shang Tsung's plot [[spoiler: to overthrow Shao Kahn]] and fighting Shang Tsung is the focus of the game. Shao Kahn only appears at the end of the game after Shang Tsung is killed.
* HoistByHisOwnPetard: Ermac is crushed by the same boulder he planned to use to crush the heroes. In fact his psychic concentration is broken when another boulder he threw at them is kicked right back at him.
* KillSteal: Johnny Cage interrupts the player to land the killing blow on Goro. This is followed by Cage raising his fist in celebration, and Kung Lao shrugging in confusion. The next scene even has Liu Kang (or rather, [[spoiler:Shang Tsung]]) grousing about Cage stealing his kil.
* LoadBearingBoss: In the opening cutscene, Shang Tsung's defeat brings his entire fortress crumbling down around the Earthrealm warriors, though if the player comes back through a hidden portal, the island isn't exactly any worse for wear than it was at the start of the game.
* {{Metroidvania}}: A hybrid of this, Beat-em-ups, and ''Mortal Kombat''[='=]s over-the-top gore.
* MythologyGag:
** In the fight between Liu Kang, Kung Lao, and Goro, Johnny intervenes and finishes off Goro. This is both a mirror of his rivalry with him, and a nod to the final scene of the Cage vs. Goro battle in the first movie.
** BonusBoss [[spoiler:Ermac]]'s inclusion is likely a reference to his origins as a rumored secret character in the first game.
** The Fatality delivered to Shang Tsung mirrors with how he killed Liu Kang in the opening of ''[[VideoGame/MortalKombatDeadlyAlliance Deadly Alliance]]''
** Two of Kung Lao's fatalities have him pulling {{killer rabbit}}s out of his hat, referencing Kung Lao's Friendship in ''II''.
* NoKillLikeOverkill: This being ''Franchise/MortalKombat'', there are several candidates and all but [[spoiler: Kintaro's death is gloriously over the top. All four arms torn off, then his head for good measure.]] You can then throw it at Shao Kahn afterwards when you fight him.
* NostalgiaLevel: Many of the levels are based on the classic stages from the first two games. Justified since it's a retelling of ''MKII''.
* ObviousTrap: Shang Tsung is blatantly trying to goad Liu Kang and his allies into entering Outworld, where they will be vulnerable and likely fail to save Sonya. So of course they take the bait and decide to fight against the odds.
* PrecisionFStrike: Every once in a while, when Scorpion uses his spear, he says either "GET OVER HERE, BITCH!" or "GET THE FUCK OVER HERE!"
* PullARabbitOutOfMyHat: Two of Kung Lao's Fatalities feature him doing this and then offering the rabbit to his victim. The first has the victim accept the rabbit, which results in them [[KillerRabbit getting mauled by it]]. The second has the victim reject the rabbit, which results in Kung Lao ''[[NoHoldsBarredBeatdown mercilessly beating them to death]] '''[[GrievousHarmWithABody with]]''' [[RefugeInAudacity the poor rabbit]]''.
* RunningGag: Kung Lao endlessly teasing Liu Kang about his attraction to Kitana.
* SecretCharacter: Both Sub-Zero and Scorpion are playable characters after you beat the game. Both have their own unique playstyles, what with Sub-Zero's ability to freeze his enemies, and Scorpion's signature spear attack. However, you only play through the levels as them. The story and cutscenes are the same. Though Scorpion and Sub-Zero replace Liu Kang and Kung Lao respectively in the scenes, the game acts like it's the same character.
* SheIsNotMyGirlfriend: A lot of the dialogue in this game is Kung Lao mocking Liu Kang's attraction to Kitana and an exasperated Liu protesting that Kitana isn't his girlfriend. Its almsot to the point that "Kitana is not my girlfriend!" becomes Liu's CatchPhrase.
* ShoutOut: [[ShoutOut/MortalKombat This way]].
* SocializationBonus: Some of the secrets are only accessible in co-op mode. None of them are ultimately that essential, though, and generally just consist of artwork.
* {{Spinoff}}
* TheStarscream: Shang Tsung [[spoiler:disguised as Raiden]] manipulates Liu Kang and Kung Lao into [[spoiler: going into Outworld and killing many so that he can take their souls, giving him enough power to betray Shao Kahn and become ruler of Outworld.]] Unfortunately for him, Shao Kahn is fully aware of Shang Tsung's attempt at treachery. However, the emperor lets the Sorcerer proceed with the plans anyway, then watches as the heroes [[spoiler: defeat the sorcerer, ending his plans of betrayal]]. As Shao Kahn would say, "All in this realm serve my will, even those who would betray me."
* WhatTheHellHero: Kitana's reaction to Liu Kang killing [[spoiler:Jade]].
* WhenTreesAttack: The Living Forest is here, and this time, you actually ''can'' feed your enemies to the trees. It's actually required to do in order to progress,[[VideoGameCrueltyPotential but you can do it as much as you like.]] However, if you run out of health in the area, [[HaveANiceDeath YOU will be fed to the trees.]]