[[quoteright:269:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/mk_3_2701.jpg]]

->''"You have been chosen to represent Earth in Mortal Kombat. Be warned. Although your souls are protected against Shao Kahn's evil; your lives are not. I cannot interfere any longer as your Earth is now ruled by the Outworld Gods."''
-->-- ''These are the words of '''Raiden'''.''

->''[[ThisLoserIsYou "It's official: you suck!"]]''
-->-- '''Shao Kahn'''

The ''Franchise/MortalKombat'' series was at the height of its of popularity in [[TheNineties the mid-90s]]; with the huge success of the first two games, another sequel was pretty much inevitable -- and in 1995, '''''Mortal Kombat 3''''' was launched. The game premiered in arcades before being ported to the SuperNintendo, SegaGenesis, GameBoy, Sega GameGear, SonyPlaystation, and PC. Roughly half of the second game's cast returned (Liu Kang, Kung Lao, Sub-Zero, Shang Tsung, and Jax), Sonya and Kano returned, and several new characters -- including [[NinjaPirateZombieRobot cyberninjas]] Smoke, Cyrax, and Sektor, as well as [[GasMaskMooks Kabal]], [[MultiArmedAndDangerous Sheeva]], [[BadassNative Nightwolf]], [[BadassNormal Kurtis Stryker]], and Kitana's resurrected mother [[BrainwashedAndCrazy Sindel]] -- were introduced. Sindel's presence is the key to this game's storyline: resurrected by [[EvilSorcerer Shang Tsung]]'s Shadow Priests on Earth, Sindel's presence allowed Outworld -- and Shao Kahn -- to enter Earthrealm and [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt begin its invasion]]. [[TheMentor Raiden]], unable to take an active role in Earth's defense due to his status as a god, gathered Earthrealm's best remaining fighters together in order to fight back Kahn's forces and prevent a complete apocalypse.

On the gameplay side of things, ''Mortal Kombat 3'' introduced the "Run" button (along with a "Run" meter), Kombat Kodes (which allowed the player to access secret fights and several other bonuses), chain combos (referred to as Dial-A-Combos), and debuted both Animalities and [[AlienBlood character-dependent blood]].

The reception to this game was underwhelming, due in part to the new combo system and Run button, as well as the removal of fan-favorite characters [[EnsembleDarkhorse Scorpion]] and Reptile in lieu of new characters who failed to measure up to ''[=MK2=]'''s memorable newcomers.

''[=MK3=]'' received two {{Updated Rerelease}}s. The first -- ''Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3'' (or ''Mortal Kombat 3 Ultimate'') -- brought back all the masked ninjas from the previous games (Scorpion, Reptile, Kitana, Jade, ''et al'') and introduced [[AscendedMeme Ermac]]. The second -- the home-console-exclusive ''Mortal Kombat Trilogy'' -- added the remainder of the missing roster, turned Goro and Kintaro into playable characters, and introduced yet another masked ninja in Khameleon. It also spawned a {{spinoff}} game called ''VideoGame/MortalKombatMythologiesSubZero,'' a BeatEmUp that would lead to two more spinoff games before the focus returned to MK's fighting game roots.

Followed by ''VideoGame/MortalKombat4''.
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!!The game has examples of the following tropes:
* ActingForTwo: Richard Divizio as Kano and Kabal, Sal Divita as Nightwolf and the robot ninjas, and John Turk as Shang Tsung and Sub-Zero. John Turk and Becky Gable both played all the masked ninjas in ''Ultimate'' as well.
* AfterTheEnd: In ''3'', humanity is all but wiped out by the Outworld warriors. It's implied by the [[AllThereInTheManual supplementary comic for]] ''[[AllThereInTheManual 4]]'' that it has managed to rebuild a great deal, and very quickly.
** It's implied that Earthrealm's victory over Shao Kahn undid all the massive soul-snatching, thus bringing the humans back to their due places (especially considering that basically 99.9999% of them were not kombatants).
* AIBreaker: In the CD versions of Trilogy the AI, even on the hardest difficulty, is hilariously susceptible to Rain's Mind Control Orb into Lightning Bolt combo (Or Mind Control Orb into high kick for the bosses.)
* AlienBlood: Sheeva (and Reptile, in ''Ultimate'') both bleed green blood, while the Lin Kuei cyborgs bleed oil. Averted with Khameleon and Chameleon, although ''Armageddon'' later retconned both to have green blood as well.
* AnAxeToGrind: All of the PaletteSwap male ninjas use an axe in some of their combos.
* BlondeBrunetteRedhead: Cyrax, Smoke and Sektor don't have the hair but they do have the color scheme.
* TheChooserOfTheOne: Raiden.
* CompositeCharacter: Due to memory limitations, the N64 version of ''Trilogy'' only features one Sub-Zero -- the masked "Classic" version with his moves, fatalities and ending, but who can also use Unmasked Sub-Zero's Ice Shower and Ice Clone moves.
* TheComputerIsACheatingBastard: Probably one of the most infamous examples is ''[=MK3=]'' and its updates, due to the CPU reading the player's controls and countering every move. And then there are moves that simply can't be done by a human player that are done effortlessly by the CPU, such as performing Jade's projectile invulnerability on reaction or Liu Kang's Bicycle Kick twice in a row.
* CyberneticsEatYourSoul: The Cyberninjas. Smoke's case also includes BrainwashedAndCrazy.
* DarkerAndEdgier: ''[=MK3=]'' came along [[UpToEleven and was even darker than the first two games combined]].
** DenserAndWackier: Paradoxically, [=MK3=] is this, too. It also added in far more cheesy character designs and intentionally silly "-alities" than the first two games combined.
* {{Defeat Means|Friendship}}... [[DefeatMeansFriendship Friendship?]] ''[[MetaGuy Again?]]''
* DemotedToExtra
** Raiden, who appears only in the attract sequence. He returned as a playable character in ''Trilogy''.
** Kitana shows up in Liu Kang's ending before she was made into a playable character in ''Ultimate''.
* DivergentCharacterEvolution: Played straight with the unmasked Sub-Zero and robot version of Smoke in the original ''[=MK3=]'' and then subverted with the addition of their masked variants in ''Ultimate'' (as far as their character designs are concerned).
* DoubleUnlock: One Kombat Kode simply prints "Hold Flipper Buttons During Casino Run" on the screen. Any normal player would be baffled as to what "Casino Run" is, but some people would figure out that it means "play the almost completely unrelated {{pinball}} game ''Pinball/JackBot'' and hold the flippers at the start of [[WizardMode "Casino Run"]]... sometimes".
* DreamMatchGame: ''Trilogy'' is a rare American example. It follows the same basic story as ''Mortal Kombat 3'', but includes a few characters from the first two who were missing from the ''Ultimate'' roster (namely Johnny Cage, Baraka and Raiden, plus Goro and Kintaro in the [=PS1=] version), in addition to alternate versions of other characters. Since Johnny Cage was killed off in ''Mortal Kombat 3'', they try to explain his presence in ''Trilogy'' by claiming that he was temporarily brought back to life so he could assist in the efforts against Shao Kahn.
* DummiedOut: Sheeva in the Super NES and Genesis versions of ''Ultimate'', because of memory constraints that came with the cast expansion. To compensate, they added Noob Saibot and Rain (the purple ninja who only appeared in the game's attract mode) as playable characters, and eliminated the need for Ultimate Kombat Kodes to play with Ermac, Mileena and Classic Sub-Zero. However, all of Sheeva's in-game data was kept (only her sprites were removed) and they're still accessible via hacking, allowing players to control an invisible Sheeva.
* FateWorseThanDeath: Babalities in general.
* [[FictionalCountry Fictional City]]: The unnamed Earthrealm City where the Bank, Streets, Rooftop, Subway, Waterfront, and Bridge stages are set seems to be none other than [[NewYorkCity the Big Apple itself]]. What appears to be the Chrysler Building can be clearly seen in the background of the Bank/Rooftop stage. The backstory of Stryker and his partner [[spoiler:Kabal]] in ''VideoGame/MortalKombat9'' confirms that this is indeed New York City.
** Though, in the original game's case, it could also have been Chicago, where Midway was based.
* GameBreaker: Kabal is extremely overpowered. A fairly easy combo takes away ''HALF'' of the opponent's health!
* GoryDiscretionShot: Scorpion and Classic Sub-Zero both have a fatality that cuts to black. Scorpion summons about 20 clones to brutally do god knows what to an opponent, while Sub-Zero's spine rip is not shown for a more practical reason; the game didn't have an existing spine rip animation in ''[=MK3=]'', so this was a way around it when it came to ''[=UMK3=]''.
* LaResistance: Liu Kang, Sub-Zero, Sonya, Nightwolf, Kabal, Jax, Kung Lao, and later [[spoiler: Kitana]] and possibly [[spoiler: Jade.]]
* LateArrivalSpoiler: In ''Ultimate'', a new stage set in a desert was added. Cyrax can be seen in the background, trapped in the sand; this is a reference to [[spoiler:his ending]].
* LighterAndSofter: Friendships and Babalities again.
* MercyRewarded: Show mercy on your opponent with a specific button combination and you can use an Animality on them instead.
* NoHoldsBarredBeatdown: The Brutalities, the new finishers in the 16-bit versions of ''Ultimate'' and in ''Trilogy'': they consist of the winner assaulting the loser with a 20-something hit combo before finishing with an uppercut that explodes the enemy into the trademark LudicrousGibs.
* TheOtherDarrin: Only half of the cast from the previous two games returned, namely Richard Divizio (Kano and Baraka), John Parrish (Jax), Tony Marquez (Kung Lao) and Brian Glynn (Shao Kahn), which led to the other returning characters being played by new actors. Ho Sung Pak (Liu Kang) and Elizabeth Malecki (Sonya Blade) were replaced by Eddie Wong and Kerri Hoskins respectively, while John Turk replaced both, Dan Pesina (as Sub-Zero) and Philip Ahn (as Shang Tsung).
** John Turk eventually got to play all the other masked ninjas in ''Ultimate'' (replacing Pesina ''again'') alongside Becky Gable, who replaced Katalin Zamiar as Kitana and the other female ninjas.
** Chris Alexander was brought in to replace Dan Pesina as Johnny Cage in ''Trilogy'', who was one of the few characters needed to fill the entire roster from the first three entries. Averted by Carlos Pesina, whose character Raiden was left out in ''[=MK3=]'' and ''Ultimate'', but brought back in ''Trilogy'' with the same sprite set used in ''[=MK2=]'' (except for the all-new running animation); same as Baraka, who had been played by Richard Divizio and, therefore, came back with his ''MKII'' sprites intact, plus a run animation and a new move.
*** This is also the reason why only four characters (the aforementioned Kano, Jax, Kung Lao and Raiden) have "past" versions of themselves available in the Playstation and Saturn versions.
* ThePowerOfFriendship: Lampshaded. In response to parents complaining about the grotesque violence of the Fatality finishing moves, the second and third installments added a finishing move called [[DefeatMeansFriendship Friendship]], which would allow you to win the match without killing the opponent, along with showing an animation of your character doing something sickeningly friendly. Although one has to consider that Scorpion, Classic Sub-Zero, Reptile's and Ermac's ''[=UMK3=]'' Friendships weren't very nice, since the opponent runs off scared by the jack-in-the-box and in Ermac's case, [[BalefulPolymorph turns the poor guy into a bunny wabbit]].
--> "Friendship! ...Friendship?! AGAIN?"
* [[ThisLoserIsYou You Suck]]: Shao Kahn's taunt [[BreakingTheFourthWall to the player]]. The iPhone version made this an achievement for losing to him 3 times in a row, as well as one called [[NoU "No, YOU Suck!"]] for beating him.
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