[[quoteright:256:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/mk_shaolin_monks_2180.jpg]]

--> ''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 only for Goro to enter the fray. Distracted by the 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 Shu 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 {{Midway|Games}} not knowing their own continuity is up for debate. Needless to say the fans have their own opinions on the matter.

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!! Tropes found in this game:

* 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; 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 can get you a second fight with Mileena.
* 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.
* DressingAsTheEnemy: [[spoiler:Kung Lao and Shang Tsung]] in the opening.
* EyeScream: After disabling Kitana 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.]]
* 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 Kung Lao to land the killing blow on Goro. This is followed by Cage raising his fist in celebration, and Kung Lao shrugging in confusion.
* LoadBearingBoss: In the opening cutscene, Shang Tsung's defeat brings his entire fortress crumbling down around the Earthrealm warriors.
* {{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.
* 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.
* ShoutOut: [[ShoutOut/MortalKombat This way]].
* {{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."
* XMeetsY: ''Mortal Kombat'' meets ''VideoGame/GodOfWar'', although they were developed at the same time and released a few months apart.
* WhatTheHellHero: Kitana's reaction to Liu Kang killing 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.]]
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