Characters: Mortal Kombat 1
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Hanzo Hasashi (Scorpion)
Debut game: Mortal Kombat (Daniel Pesina/Ed Boon)
Other appearances: Mortal Kombat II (Daniel Pesina/Ed Boon), Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 (John Turk/Ed Boon), Mortal Kombat Mythologies Sub Zero (Sal Divita), Mortal Kombat 4 (Ed Boon), Mortal Kombat Deadly Alliance (Ed Boon), Mortal Kombat Deception (Ed Boon), Mortal Kombat: Armageddon (Ed Boon), Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks (Ed Boon), Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe (Patrick Seitz/Ed Boon), Mortal Kombat 9 (Patrick Seitz/Ed Boon), Injustice: Gods Among Us (Patrick Seitz/Ed Boon), Mortal Kombat X (Patrick Seitz/Ed Boon),
Non-game appearances: Mortal Kombat (Chris Casamassa/Ed Boon), Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (J.J. Perry/Ed Boon), Mortal Kombat: Conquest (Chris Casamassa/Ed Boon), Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm, Mortal Kombat: Rebirth/Mortal Kombat: Legacy (Ian Anthony Dale/Ed Boon)
Originally known as Hanzo Hasashi, he is the son of a former clansman who chose to live as an assassin, yet he is very devoted to his family and generally goes on and about the game, serving his own purposes and none other.
One of the most recognizable characters of the game, he starts off as your typical Antihero, looking for revenge on Sub-Zero for having killed him. In the first issues of the game, Scorpion is shown to fail and be sent to Netherealm. He has a Heel-Face Revolving Door relationship with the second Sub-Zero, his former nemesis' younger brother. In 4, he ends up entangled in the machinations of Quan-Chi, who turns him against the younger Sub-Zero again. From Deadly Alliance onwards, he strikes a deal with the elder gods to destroy Onaga in exchange for his clan's revival.
In Mortal Kombat 9, Scorpion pretty much keeps the same role as the previous games, with the notable difference of being more willing to be Quan Chi's soldier, as Quan Chi's treachery has so far not been detected by him.... until the timeskip in Mortal Kombat X, where, with the aid of Kenshi, he severs his ties to "the darkness" and is leading an effort to rescue and train orphans stranded by the Netherealm War, forming a new Shirai Ryu in the process. He eventually finds out through Kuai-Liang that Quan Chi was the true murderer of his family, not Bi-Han, as he previously thought. With this in mind, he murders Quan Chi and also becomes allies with Kuai-Liang.
Ascended to the TV Tropes Pantheon as the God of Spectres.
- Ain't Too Proud to Beg: After Bi-Han defeats him during the events of MK: Mythologies, he asks for mercy. The player is then given the (non-canon) option to grant it. It's worth noting that sparing Hanzo gets you out of fighting his spectre form in a later boss battle.
- An Arm and a Leg: Played literally straight in one of his Fatalities, and then followed by neck snapping in Deception.
- Animal Motifs: Scorpions, duh.
- The raised arm from his fighting pose in the first four games and the hilt of his swords (starting in Deception) evoke a scorpion's stinger, while the pauldrons on his shoulder for both costumes in 9 are also modeled after a scorpion.
- As a kind of apology for his Animality in 3 not being a scorpion, the MK team gave him a giant scorpion form as one of his Fatalities in 4/Gold.
- In MK vs. DC and MK9, it's also in the mask.
- His appearance in Injustice outright makes the motif the most prominent part of him, with his scorpion leg sword hilts to even his infamous spear in the shape of a stinger.
- Anti-Hero/Anti-Villain (The Noble Type): The best example in the entire series. Most characters in the series are either fully good or fully bad, but Scorpion is completely neutral, participating in the games' events for his own purposes. While he has exhibited a little bit of a conscience and his actions (unintentionally) help the good guys, he's when all's said and done in it for himself and no one else.
- The elder Sub-Zero (Bi-Han), for killing his family. In X, Hanzo realizes that he was sorely mistaken for murdering Bi-Han in anger due to the actions of the below party.
- Quan Chi, for manipulating Scorps into killing Bi-Han when Quan was the real person responsible for his family's death.
- Author Avatar: In a sense, he could be considered to be one for series' co-creator Ed Boon, who has gone on record several times noting that Scorpion is his favorite character and provides the voicework for Scorpion's "GET OVER HERE!"/"COME HERE!".
- Back from the Dead: After being killed by Bi-Han in Mythologies, Scorpion is back as a wraith at the start of MK1.
- Badass Baritone: Basically a higher pitched Garrosh Hellscream.
- Backto Back Badasses: Becomes one with Sub-Zero (Kuai Liang) of all people at the end of Sub-Zero's Arcade Ladder in MK9.
- Badass Beard: As Hanzo Hasashi.
- Berserk Button: Sub-Zero. Coming back from the dead just because you have beef with a guy obviously makes said guy cause a reaction when he is mentioned or shows up. It doesn't help that Scorpion at least once remarks that he might've been able to save his wife, son, and fellow Shirai Ryu if only he were still alive.
- Also, his encounter with Sub-Zero's younger brother and successor in 9:Scorpion: What is this? You are not Sub-Zero!
Sub-Zero: I am his family and clan. I fight for his honor.
Scorpion: [furiously] He had no honor! And you will die as he did!
- In Mortal Kombat X, after being freed of Quan Chi's control and regaining his humanity, Hanzo abandons the moniker of "Scorpion" and takes poorly to those who refer to him as such.
- Also, his encounter with Sub-Zero's younger brother and successor in 9:
- Big "NEVER!": When Quan Chi forcibly sends him back to the Netherrealm in 4. Scorpion manages to drag the sorcerer with him, eliciting a Big "NO!" from Quan Chi.
- The Cameo:
- He appears in an episode of Drawn Together (in his Deception attire), complete with Ed Boon providing his voice. Scorpion delivers his Head Rip Fatality on fellow video game character Xandir (a parody of Link) and when Xandir mentions his special move, Scorpion gives an exasperated "Oy vey."
- He, Sub-Zero, and Smoke all show up in a Robot Chicken skit (Enter the Fat One) to assist in training former *NSYNC member Joey Fatone.
- Canon Name: Scorpion's rope-and-kunai combo was often called the "Spear" in the move lists of earlier MK games.
- Catch Phrase:"Come here!"
"Get over here!"
- Code Name: Before becoming the hellspawn known as Scorpion, Hanzo was given the title of "Sasori" by the Shirai Ryu's Grandmaster. Sasori is the Japanese word for "Scorpion."
- A Day in the Limelight: Both times averting No Campaign for the Wicked, though he's more on the neutral side.
- Dem Bones: As revealed during his signature Fatality, under Scorpion's mask his head is actually a flaming skull.
- Apparently no longer the case; in MKX, he's seen unmasked after regaining his humanity, and has a face.
- Do Not Call Me Scorpion: When Quan Chi calls him Scorpion in his chapter in X, he earns a fist to the face before Scorpion delivers a pretty awesome My Name Is Inigo Montoya."My name is Hanzo Hasashi! You killed my wife! My son! And then you burrowed your way into my head. Misdirected my vengeance. Cost me my one chance to have them restored!"
- Downloadable Content:
- In 9, his MK1/2 and the PlayStation Vita exclusive MK3 Klassic skins and his classic "Toasty!" Fatality.
- And Your Reward Is Clothes: Before being part of the Klassic Pack, buying GameStop's regular edition of 9 gave you these items.
- He's one of the DLC characters in the original release of Injustice.
- Dual Wielding:
- Since Deadly Alliance he's always seen coming to a fight with a pair of swords on his back.
- One of his variations in X ("Ninjutsu") has this as the focus of his fighting style. In particular, his canon appearance in the X storyline tends toward this, as it is the variation he uses in the story exclusively after his resurrection, considering he wants to limit using Hellfire.
- As of X, he also has two Kunai.
- Everything's Better with Penguins: To make up for the Scorpion Animality already being taken by Sheeva, Scorpion's Animality from Ultimate is a penguin which lays explosive eggs.
- Exact Words: In Deception, the Elder Gods promised to bring back Scorpion's clan if he agreed to help them by slaying Onaga. Scorpion fulfills his part of the bargain, and the Elder Gods bring back Scorpion's clan... as undead abominations.
- The Faceless: Legacy aside, Scorpion's facial features as Hanzo have never been properly shown. He still has to show his true face sometime in the future.
- Finally subverted in MKX.
- Famous-Named Foreigner: They went right with "Hanzo" for a first name, but his surname, Hasashi, is not even a word.
- Good Is Not Nice: "Good" in the sense that he has taken in orphans stranded by the Netherrealm War. He is also training them as the new Shirai Ryu clan, and his training is pretty harsh.
- Good Parents: ... You probably weren't expecting this, if so, you weren't alone. Everything about Mortal Kombat X and Takeda's backstory seems to point to Scorpion being a pretty awesome adopted dad.
- Grappling-Hook Pistol: His "Kunai-rope" is a variant.
- Guest Fighter:
- Hazy Feel Turn: His arcade has him being Raiden's new right hand man. However Raiden has return to his dark persona once again making Scorpion's alignment unknown.
- Heel Face Door Slam:
- In 9, Raiden, having a premonition that Sub-Zero will become a greater force for evil if killed, tries to convince him to spare Bi-Han by offering to revive his family; and Scorpion agrees. Unfortunately, after defeating Sub-Zero and intending to spare him, Quan Chi goads Scorpion into killing him by showing him a vision of Sub-Zero murdering his wife and son. Sub-Zero becomes the wraith Noob Saibot, and Scorpion stays in Quan Chi's employ.
- His Arcade Ladder ending in 9 had him eventually find out the truth on his own, and then rather than tormenting Quan Chi in the Netherrealm, he flat out burns him to death..
- In the prequel comics to MKX in an apparent war between Earth and the Netherrealm, Kenshi somehow freed him "out of the Darkness"; he's still tapped into his Hellish powers, but is seen trying to aid those who lost families in the Netherrealm War by training them as a reformed Shirai Ryu.
- Later still in MKX he finds out the truth behind what really happened to his family and clan, resolving to make Quan Chi pay but he comes to blows with the other heroes.
- Highly Visible Ninja: Scorpion's bright yellow garb isn't exactly stealthy, which is ironic, considering that out of all the "ninjas" in the series, Scorpion is the only one who was once a ninja. The original manual tried to justify if by saying that he modeled his uniform after the Lin Kuei's and chose the yellow color as a Take That to the clan, calling them cowards. In Japan the color yellow symbolizes courage, which makes it better since Scorpion is Japanese while the Lin Kuei are Chinese.
- Iconic Item: His signature "rope with a tipped Kunai at the end."
- Slashed Throat: In 2, Scorpion uses it to slash the opponent's throat as part of a Fatality. Then he follows up by cutting the enemy in half.
- Your Head A Splode: As a way to finish off his opponents in Deadly Alliance, by means of violently pulling on the rope attached to the kunai that he just lodged in the enemy head.
- Variable-Length Chain: In 9, a chain replaces the rope of his rope-kunai combo weapon.
- His spear in Injustice is in the shape of a scorpion stinger.
- I Hate Past Me: In a mirror match in Mortal Kombat X, this is what the Scorpions discuss before fighting.
- I Shall Taunt You: His first appearance in MK: Mytholgies involves him smugly declaring you will fail before running off cackling like a madman. Needless to say, not many players were willing to let him off the hook after that. Though given what Mythologies was like, it was practically foreshadowing.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: His fate in the aftermath of the Battle of Armageddon (as seen in 9's intro).
- Kick the Dog:
- Challenge #20 in 9 has Scorpion beat up Mileena, because she made a teddy bear for him and HE HATES TEDDIES!
- The Vita-exclusive Bonus Challenge Tower mission "I STILL Hate Teddies!" has him pile more pain on Mileena by not only beating the crap out of her, but also choking the nonexistent life out of the teddy bear and subjecting it to the Subway's Stage Fatality!
- He is also the recurrent recipient of kicking; Scorpion has the nasty habit of repeatedly losing everyone he cares about, from his wife, son and clan to the second iteration of the Shirai Ryu he founded in the Mortal Kombat X prequel comic.
- Kunai Nut: In Legacy it is revealed that he got his codename because of his skills with the kunai.
- Large Ham: Prone to shouting. Besides "GET OVER HERE!"/"COME HERE!", Annihilation makes him yell "SUCKERS!" as he makes a getaway with Kitana in tow.
- Like a Badass out of Hell: Of the "Got A Job" variety in 9. He's a servant of Quan Chi, the Netherrealm's equivalent of Satan.
- Me's a Crowd: In one of his fatalities from UMK3, he drags his opponent into Hell, where several copies of Scorpion maul the enemy. Cue Black Screen of Death.
- The Minion Master: His Inferno Variation in X centers around him summoning a demon from hell similar to how Noob Saibot did in 9.
- Monochromatic Eyes: As a highlight of his undead condition. He loses this trait once he's Hanzo Hasashi again.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Has this reaction when he realizes that he killed the elder Sub-Zero unjustly. Hanzo's reaction is not only remorse for the pain he's caused Kuai-Liang in killing his older brother (the aforementioned elder Sub-Zero), but also because he threw away his one chance to restore his wife and son. The sheer amount of self-disgust in his voice is palpable.Scorpion: (Having witnessed evidence of Quan-Chi's guilt in exterminating the original Shirai-Ryu) Harumi... Satoshi...Sub-Zero: Had I known of my clan's complicity in the Shirai-Ryu's extinction, our history would be different.Scorpion: I killed your brother because I thought he....
- My Name is Hanzo Hasashi: Quoted in MKX before delivering a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown on Quan Chi.
- Neck Snap: His Hara-Kiri (and the final blow of one of his Fatalities) in Deception.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hanzo: Gets hit with this hard in Mortal Kombat X. He takes down Sonya, Kenshi, and Johnny Cage to free Quan Chi so that he can finally kill him. This not only results in the rest of the revenants staying as revenants but it also gets Shinnok freed and Johnny Cage (the guy who beat Shinnok in the first place) kidnapped. Even though it was all according to D'Vorah, Quan Chi, and Shinnok's plan, one must wonder how Hanzo's taking this.
- In his Arcade ending he contemplates suicide to atone for his rashness in Shinnok's revival. Raiden talks him out of it and enlists him and the Shirai Ryu in Earthrealm's defence. Too bad Raiden has turned dark again at that point.
- Nineties Anti-Hero: He fits the general criteria well. He was created in the 90's, is a mostly neutral anti-hero character, who has a cynic view of the world. He also has a code name that is very fitting of the stereotype and has a backstory that plays out much like a Super Hero Origin story. He looks like a cross between Spawn and Ghost Rider (which is one of his inspirations).
- Ninja: Of all the MK "ninjas", he's the only one who was from Japan. Sub-Zero directly says this to Quan Chi in Mythologies.
- Ninjatos Are Just Better:
- Starting with Deadly Alliance, he finally uses one.
- He also carries an additional one on his back, although he only starts using the second katana in 9.
- Two of them appears n his back in his Ninjutsu variation in X.
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Hounded Quan Chi throughout the Netherrealm after 4 and delivered many of these on the sorcerer (Scorpion drew on strength from the 5th plane of the Netherrealm, whereas Quan Chi's sorcery was weakened).
- Not Distracted by the Sexy: In MKX, Tanya outright tries hitting on him during one of their pre-fight intros (showing some leg, to boot). He responds by threatening her in Japanese.
- Now Buy The Merchandise: His Friendship in 2, in which he invites the player to "Buy a Scorpion doll!"
- Offscreen Teleportation: He would later adopt vanishing in a swirl of flame instead.
- Off with His Head!:
- In Deception, he borrows the original "Spine Rip" fatality from Bi-Han and rips the enemy's head off with the spine still attached.
- It's also present in his "Split Decision" Fatality in 9, to the point of even slicing the head in half.
- His Fatality from X has a "Off With His Face" variation.
- This is how he does Quan Chi in during the events of Mortal Kombat X.
- One-Winged Angel: Inferno Scorpion from Shaolin Monks, essentially Scorpion without his mask and damaged skin. He reappears in 9 on the 232nd floor of the Challenge Tower as an opponent for Kano.
- The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: To Bi-Han. Once he learns the truth of his family's deaths, he transfers this hatred to Quan Chi.
- Our Zombies Are Different: Scorpion is a classic vengeance-driven revenant. Some material lists him as a Specter.
- Palette Swap: Of Sub-Zero, originally. The same is true in reverse.
- Papa Wolf: He had a family as a human, but they were killed. And he believed their deaths caused by the Lin Kuei, hence his grudge against them. He goes back on his vow to protect the younger Sub-Zero after Quan-Chi implicates him in the murder of Scorpion's family. His son is later kidnapped by Quan-Chi immediately after being brought back to life in his Armageddon ending.
- Post Scorpion regaining his humanity after MK9, and his pseudo-adopting of Takeda, threatening said adoptee immediately brings out the raging hellspawn in Hanzo.
- To put this in perspective, he lost to both Raiden and arch-rival Sub-Zero in Mortal Kombat 9. But come the MKX comics, whenever Takeda appears to be in grave danger, Scorpion's rage powers him up so much that he manages to defeat Raiden by strangling him with his signature Kunai; then in another battle, overwhelms Kuai Liang with raw willpower and hellfire. It should be noted that both opponents were being empowered by a Kamidogu Dagger at the time. Although in Kuai Liang's case, Hanzo wouldn't claim it his victory since Sub-Zero was worn out by the time the Dagger's power ran out, thus Scorpion outlasting him as a result.
- Parental Substitute: When Kenshi was on the run from the Red Dragons following his wife's murder, he had Hanzo take in his son Takeda for protection. For the next ten years, the Shirai Ryu was Takeda's family, and Hanzo, his surrogate father.
- Pet the Dog: Aside from his love for his family, he discovered back in 2 that Sub-Zero was actually the younger brother of Bi-Han—the man he had killed in the last tournament—when he saw Kuai Liang sparing the life of his opponent. He decided to become the Lin Kuei's guardian from there on out of atonement.
- Post-MK9, he founded a new Shirai Ryu out of lost refugees with nowhere else to go, regained most of his humanity with Kenshi's guidance and pretty much adopted Takeda (Kenshi's estranged son). Then all of them are slaughtered by a blood demon, save Scorpion and Takeda.
- Playing with Fire: He started out with his Toasty Fatality, and gained more fire moves throughout the series.
- Kill It with Fire: Again, his Fatality, where he burns the enemy to the bone.
- Hellfire: One of his variations in X has this name and focuses on his powers using fire.
- Breath Weapon: His Fatality involves him taking off his mask and shooting fire from his mouth."TOASTY!"
- Stripped to the Bone: In MK vs. DC, Scorpion summons a pool of lava and drags the opponent in it. Moments later, the body is thrown back out of the pit, now reduced to a skeleton. This returns as his second Fatality in 9, with the addition of stabbing them with his kunai and wrapping it around their neck.
- Power Echoes: MK vs. DC and onward.
- Real Men Wear Pink: According to Deadly Alliance, Scorpion's true forte is... cooking. He's particularly good at chopping.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: He's the Blue Oni to his apprentice Takahashi Takeda, but he is summarily the Red Oni to quite literally everyone else, especially Kuai Liang.
- Revenge: Pretty much the only reason he walks among the living as Scorpion. As a corporeal spirit of vengeance and rage, his only mission is to right whatever believes wronged him by any means. Unfortunately this makes him susceptible to manipulation (as shown when Quan Chi dupes him into killing Sub-Zero, amidst the latter's protests).
- Revenge Before Reason:
- Double subverted in 9. Raiden tells him not to kill Bi-Han as Sub-Zero, so an even more evil being would show up. After defeating Sub-Zero, he actually spares him. Then Quan Chi shows Scorpion a vision of Sub-Zero killing his clan and family and... Sub-Zero is no more.
- He falls victim to it again in Mortal Kombat X when he fights Sonya and the others because they were in his way of killing Quan Chi. The end result is ultimately Shinnok being freed.
- The Rival: By the time of X, he is no longer an Arch-Enemy relationship with Kuai Liang, and instead is this, even to the point where they help one another.
- Screw Destiny: In 9, Raiden tried to talk his way out of him murdering Bi-Han, because an even more evil being might be spawned from Scorpion's actions. It doesn't work for the Thunder God.
- Series Mascot: Netherrealm Studios' logomark is suspiciously similar to Scorpion, even with a slightly different weapon than a Kunai, sickle in this case, fixed to the chain.
- Skull for a Head: Only shown in his Fatalities, in Shaolin Monks, by way of a glitch in 4 and his alternate costume in "Deadly Alliance". No longer the case as of X.
- Split Personality: The Mortal Kombat X comic implies that he had split his mind into two: "Hanzo" embodies his humanity and "Scorpion" his wrath.
- Superpowered Evil Side: the Scorpion persona is this, giving him access to hellfire and inhuman strength.
- Stance System:
- In Deadly Alliance, he has Hapkido and Pi Gua as unarmed styles, and Ninja Sword as weapon stance.
- In Deception, he replaces Pi Gua with Moi Fad, and Ninja Sword with Mugai Ryu.
- In Armageddon, he has Hapkido as unarmed style, and Mugai Ryu as weapon stance.
- In X, his variations are Ninjutsu, Hellfire and Inferno. Ninjitsu has him dual-wield ninjatos, Hellfire allows him to throw fireballs and coat himself in fire, and Inferno gives him the ability to summon beasts from the Netherrealm.
- Spam Attack
- In the GBA versions you can "GETOVERHERE" quit easily.
- Tear Off Your Face:
- His trademark Fatality has him doing it to himself.
- His Fatality in X ends this way towards his opponent.
- Teleport Spam: His "Teleport Punch" move.
- That Man Is Dead: In X, on account of being resurrected by Raiden and freed of the Scorpion wraith by Kenshi, he absolutely hates being called Scorpion, instead going by his given name of Hanzo Hasashi.
- Too Many Belts: His Mortal Kombat X costume, according to a promotional image.◊
- Took a Level in Kindness: He's far nicer as Hanzo than he ever was as Scorpion, though some lingering anger issues persist.
- In Mortal Kombat X this trope is demonstrated in his own chapter when he told his underlings specifically "strike to wound, not kill" when he tries exact his vengeance. His old persona would never make that attempt what so ever.
- Unfinished Business: He got to return from the Netherrealm as a spectre in order to kill Sub-Zero. He actually comes and goes depending on what's happened.
- Uniqueness Decay: He came back as revenant to get his revenge on Sub-Zero. In Mortal Kombat X Quan Chi brings back all the dead heroes of 9 as revenants. Curiously, none share Scorpion's hellfire powers and he keeps them when resurrected.
- This was explained in the comic book by his ability to control hellfire actually stemming from his sorrow over the deaths of his wife and child.
- Unstoppable Rage: When Scorpion is on the warpath, run.
- Vengeance Feels Empty: If the way he hung his head after killing Bi-Han was any indication. He didn't even feel that cathartic after killing Quan Chi, as his unthinking drive for revenge ended up nearly dooming Earthrealm. It got so bad that he contemplated suicide.
- Wild Card: Strides the limit between good and evil. His only consistent motivation is revenge.
- Wolverine Publicity: If a Mortal Kombat character makes a cameo in other media or franchises, it'll practically ALWAYS be Scorpion. He's pretty much the franchise's poster boy. Sub-Zero is too, but to a lesser extent than Scorpion. It's notable that the silhouette of the figure in the logo of Netherrealm Studios (the current developer of the Mortal Kombat series) is none other than Scorpion.
- The Worf Effect: In MK 9, Kuai-Liang tracks him down and basically uses him as a bar rag to clean the proverbial tavern floor that is Shao Kahn's arena. His every appearance in the story-mode from then on involves him getting beaten up by various characters, such as Raiden when he goes to the Netherrealm.
- You Will Not Evade Me: The reason for bringing his enemies closer with his Weapon of Choice.
Bi-Han (Sub-Zero V)
Debut game: Mortal Kombat (Daniel Pesina)
Other appearances as Sub-Zero V: Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 (John Turk), Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero (John Turk), Mortal Kombat 9 (Jamieson Price)
Non-game appearances: Mortal Kombat: The Movie (François Petit), Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (J.J. Perry), Mortal Kombat: Legacy (Kevan Ohtsji)
A professional assassin, originally named Bi-Han, of the legendary Lin Kuei clan. As his name implies, he has the ability to control ice. After succeeding in killing Scorpion, his rival, he is hired by Quan Chi to reclaim Shinnok's amulet. Along the way, he fights four of the Earthrealm gods (including Fujin), but before moving onward, he is confronted by Raiden, who reveals Quan Chi's true intentions. Furious at Quan Chi for duping him, he travels to the Netherealm to stop the evil plot, and on the way encounters Sareena, one of Quan Chi's Oni servants, and befriends her. He defeats Quan Chi, but this does not stop him from reviving Shinnok, and after retaking Shinnok's amulet in a surprise move, he escapes the Netherealm through a portal, leaving Shinnok trapped again.
Later he is hired by Shang Tsung to enter the Mortal Kombat tournament. He makes his way up the ladder until he faces a newly revived Scorpion, who exacts revenge by burning him alive.
Thus was the life of Sub-Zero.
NOTE: Tropes regarding the younger Sub-Zero and Noob Saibot should go into the Mortal Kombat II character sheet.
- An Ice Person: Chinese Ninja Warrior with your HEART SO COLD!
- An Ice Suit: His leather ninja gear wouldn't protect him from the cold, if he wasn't naturally immune to that.
- Badass: Better shown in Mythologies. He defeats Scorpion twice and four elemental gods!
- Badass Baritone: In MK 9. His MK: Mythologies voice was more akin to Guttural Growler.
- Black Screen of Death: His Spine Rip Fatality in UMK3, as none of the fighters had animations in place that would make it feasible to show.
- The Fatality was additionally censored so as to mock the controversy the move causes in the original game.
- Bullying a Dragon: In 9, after Scorpion defeats Cyrax and Sektor in the tournament. Granted, Sub-Zero did (canonically) defeat Scorpion twice in Mythologies, but it's not a good idea to piss off the one hellspawn who seriously wants you dead.
- But Not Too Foreign: He was originally the son of an American woman and a Chinese man. Said father was also descended from the Cryomancer race, thus making the Sub-Zero brothers not fully human. 9 retcons this by showing the parents of both of the brothers in a region that is pretty clearly in East Asia. It also explicitly states that both Bi-Han and Kuai-Liang were abducted as children which contradicts the earlier backstory of the brothers having been born to an American woman with a sister and then later on being taken by their father to China.
- Canon Name: Bi-Han.
- Death by Irony: Somewhat. Scorpion claims his spine as a trophy after defeating him in battle, similar to how he died by his hand, but the actual killing was seemingly done by Scorpion's breathing hellfire upon him.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: In Mythologies, he beats the tar out of all four of the elemental gods. Sub-Zero also has the chance to defeat Shinnok, which would put his total up to 5.
- Face Death with Dignity: In stark contrast to Scorpion, who essentially begged for his life before he killed him, Bi-Han was remarkably composed about meeting his death-by-hellfire at the former's hand. He only umbrage he seemed to take was when he found out that Scorpion was going to kill him for a crime he didn't commit, and pointed out this fact in vain before he was killed.
- Foreshadowing: Mythologies serves as one big build-up for his eventual fate as Noob Saibot.
- Harmless Freezing: His ice blasts don't actually hurt, but they do set enemies up for devastating further attacks.
- Heel Realization: Raiden's words that darkness existed in his soul deeply troubles Sub-Zero. Too bad he didn't do much to change anything.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: In the movie, he's pitted in a fight against Liu Kang. He seems to get the upper hand when he starts to freeze his surroundings and is rapidly cornering Liu Kang; unluckily for him, his chilling power backfires when Liu throws a bucket of water at him, which freezes, impales, and kills him.
- I Did What I Had to Do: His justification for killing Scorpion, and presumably, for every other murder he's likely had to commit. It is somewhat reasonable in Scorpion's case, as not killing him probably would have gotten Bi-Han killed by his own Grandmaster, given their clans' rivalry.Scorpion: You killed me in cold blood.Sub-Zero: I had no choice.Scorpion: You could have let me live!Sub-Zero: Then I would be the dead one.
- Insistent Terminology: Justified in that they're Chinese assassins, not ninjas, and he dislikes being called one."Let's get something straight here: I am not a ninja. I am Lin Kuei!"
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: More so around Sareena.
- Jerkass: From what we've seen of him in 9. Still, the above must hold true, given how much his younger brother idolizes him.
- Jobber: Has a tendency to repeatedly show up during 9's story mode to get beaten up.
- Also in most of the promo material for 9 and 10 that pits him against Scorpion, he always gets killed in brutal ways.
- Kill It with Ice: His preferred method of killing.
- Legacy Character: The codename "Sub-Zero" has been handed down from father to son (and from brother to brother) for years. He is the fifth to bear the name.
- Mis-blamed: An In-Universe example: he (and, by extension, the Lin Kuei) wasn't the one who killed Scorpion's clan. It was Quan Chi.
- Nominal Hero: Bi-Han's motivation in life is about self-preservation (hence why handing the amulet to Quan Chi didn't invoke any sensation of transgression on his part when Raiden admonished him for it). He'll do some heroic things (like sparing Sareena) but in the end he's not someone who acts because it is the "right thing to do" (his brother is more keen on being the heroic type).
- Off with His Head!: His infamous "Spine Rip" Fatality, which involved ripping out the opponent's head and spinal cord from their shoulders. Ironically, this is how he dies in the alternate timeline.
- Only in It for the Money:
"I was just earning my living."
- He entered the MK1 tournament just to assassinate Shang Tsung and collect the large bounty on his head.
- He also tells Raiden in Mythologies that he was just earning his living after Quan Chi escapes with Shinnok's amulet.
- Palette Swap: Of Scorpion. Interestingly, he is not a mere Palette Swap of his own character in Mortal Kombat 9. If you choose Sub-Zero's alternate outfit, he also gains the voice samples of Bi-Han instead of Kuai Liang, which means the alternate outfit is Bi-Han.
- Proud Warrior Clan Guy: Very devoted to the Lin Kuei.
- Retirony: In his MK1 ending, it's revealed that assassinating Shang Tsung would've been his last job for Lin Kuei and he would retire from his dangerous job afterwards. Unfortunately, by canon, Scorpion puts the trope in full effect, and possibly by Retcon, Bi-Han is shown to be so devoted to the Lin Kuei that he wouldn't even think about retiring.
- The Rival: Of Scorpion.
- Ship Tease: In Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero, there was a briefly hinted love interest between him and Sareena, which passed on to his brother in Mortal Kombat: Tournament Edition.
- Slide Attack: His "Slide" move.
- Tragic Hero: Though "hero" is a bit of a stretch, seeing as he was an unrelenting assassin in life, unlike his little brother who was more compassive.
- Trickster Archetype: In Mythologies, Sub-Zero is noted to be the most clever and most skilled of all the Lin Kuei.
- Unexpected Character: Treated in-universe as this in his UMK3 ending.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Raiden chews a large bite of Cyromancer pie out of Sub-Zero when it turns out that he's supplied Quan Chi with the means of freeing Shinnok from his imprisonment in the Netherrealm.
Debut game: Mortal Kombat (Richard Divizio)
Other appearances: Mortal Kombat II (cameo), Mortal Kombat 3 (Richard Divizio), Mortal Kombat: Special Forces (David Allen), Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance, Mortal Kombat: Deception (cameo), Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks, Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe (Michael McConnohie), Mortal Kombat 9 (Michael McConnohie), Mortal Kombat X (Michael McConnohie)
Non-game appearances: Mortal Kombat: The Movie (Trevor Goddard), Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm (Michael Des Barres), Mortal Kombat: Legacy (Darren Shahlavi), Wreck-It Ralph (Brian Kesinger)
Kano is the leader of the Black Dragon organization, a criminal empire of cut-throat madmen. A portion of Kano's face is covered with a metal plate as a result of wounds he sustained at the hands of Major Jackson Briggs prior to the events of the series, with the plated eye being a glowing red orb capable of emitting laser-like beams. He entered Shang Tsung's Mortal Kombat tournament after hearing rumors that Tsung's palace was filled with gold and other riches; after the final battle between Shang Tsung and Liu Kang, Kano teamed up with Sonya and Johnny Cage to fight Goro. During the battle, the island began to crumble because of Shang Tsung's defeat, and before they knew it, Kano and Sonya found themselves in a forest in Outworld. They were found and captured by Shang Tsung. Kano managed to save his own life by convincing Shao Kahn to accept him as a weapons instructor for his armies, and later, during the events of Mortal Kombat 3, Sonya tossed Kano to his surmised death from the roof of a high building, only for Kano to be healed back to life by Motaro.
Eventually, Kahn's forces were defeated. Earthrealm was free, and so was Edenia. Shao Kahn's act of promoting Kano, however, proved to be a lucky shot, as Kano was a very competent general. During the events of Deadly Alliance Kano declared his allegiance to the Sorcerers; however, he was attacked and apparently captured by Red Dragon member Mavado.
In Armageddon's Konquest mode, Kano is found by Taven to have been held prisoner by the Red Dragon Clan for quite some time. Before escaping their facilities, Kano explains to Taven that the Red Dragon Clan had been experimenting on him, in an effort to create Human-Dragon Hybrids, yet without apparent effects on Kano.
Kano is pretty much the same as in the previous games in Mortal Kombat 9, but is a more willing soldier to Outworld than before, even going so far as to sell the forces of Outworld Earthrealm weapons to help in Shao Kahn's invasion of Earth. Pretty much, he's a race-betraying prick (although he gets his comeuppance late in the game by being frozen by Cyber Sub-Zero). During the lead-up to Mortal Kombat X, Kano has been keeping on the down-low in Earthrealm following Shao Kahn's invasion and subsequent defeat but supplying various Outworld conflicts with weapons to keep himself in business. When Kotal Kahn overthrows Mileena as emperor of Outworld, he immediately offers to give Kotal Kahn consultation and weapon supply services to secure a place in the new regime. However one must never trust Kano too much as he also sells Mileena and her rebel armies his expertise as well, allowing him to supply both sides of the same conflict and reap the benefits all over.
Mileena pays Kano to assassinate Kotal Kahn but ends up losing to him in a duel. Afterwards he escapes to Earthrealm and winds up in an Outworld refugee camp where is discovered by Sonya. The two battle and Sonya nearly kills him until Johnny talks her down and instead he is arrested and leads the Earthrealm Special Forces to the whereabouts of Mileena's rebel encampment and Shinnok's amulet.
- Abusive Parents: His ending in MKX shows him scaring and beating the crap out of his son as part of the Black Dragon initiation.
- Irony: ... Yet he doesn't have any problems calling Kenshi a deadbeat dad.
- And Show It to You: His infamous "Heart Rip" Fatality. He holds the heart up for everyone to see, including the victim in several games.
- The Special Forces. He's quite... "invested" in his rivalry with Sonyanote , and Jax is responsible for the metal plate on his face.
- The Red Dragon clan. They're long time enemy of Kano's Black Dragon Clan.
- Arms Dealer: The primary market for the Black Dragon's operations are in weapons dealing. Kano is always looking for buyers for his wares, regardless of how they'll be used. He frequently deals with Outworld customers and sells weapons to any party in the realm, even if they're in conflict with one another or intend to use them against Earthrealm.
- Badass: He can hold his own in the MK world without supernatural powers.
- Badass Normal: Aside from a robotic eye, he's nothing more than a human being with "a knack for survival".
- Bad Boss: In Special Forces. The other Black Dragon clansmen (barring the possibility of Jarek) are unquestionably loyal to Kano, who exploits them as distractions for Jax to deal with (and unlike Jarek, they might all be dead by Jax's hands, too).
- Bald of Evil: His appearance in MK3.
- Beard of Evil: In most of his appearances. Started as a 5 o'clock shadow (shaven clean in MK3), and became a full beard since MKvsDCU.
- The Brute: Serves as this somewhat to Outworld, selling them weapons. He's a go-to-guy in terms of direct combat and weaponry.
- Bullying a Dragon: Sure, Kano. Go ahead and threaten Cassie in Sonya Blade's presence, while on her base and surrounded. That sounds like a great idea. It goes about as well as you'd expect. See Laser-Guided Karma below.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: He will take any offer that allows his own preservation.
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience: His different Variations in MKX give his bionic eye and heart different colors. Cybernetic gives him his classic red eye, his Commando variation colors it yellow, and his Cut-Throat variation colors it blue.
- Counter Attack: The main thrust of his "Commando" fighting style in X, which allows him to catch-and-return enemy attacks with a range of grapples.
- Cyborg: Only insomuch as needing a synthetic eye that has also been outfitted with a heat-emitting beam (justified as the surgeon who gave it to him has a high proficiency in areas of technology). The rest of him is human.
- In Mortal Kombat X, a lot more of his body has been cybernetically enhanced, in particular, his heart and right ear. His robotic eye is also different due to a bad altercation with Kuai Liang about a decade prior. "Cybernetic" is even the name of one of his three Combat Variations.
- Disney Villain Death: His fate in the Battle of Armageddon.
- Dual Wielding: His weapon style has him wielding a pair of Butterfly Knives.
- Electronic Eyes: His left eye was replaced with a cybernetic prosthetic following an unfortunate battle with Jax.
- Eye Beam: It took three games, but he finally showed he was capable of doing it, in Fatality form, and later as a special move from Deadly Alliance onwards.
- In the intro to Armageddon, he kills Stryker with one.
- Giant Spider: Kano's Animality in MK3.
- Handwraps of Awesome: He wears these.
- I Fight for the Strongest Side: Subverted. One of his dialogues with Mileena in X suggests that he likes to align himself with the party that has the most advantage regardless of who it puts him up against (which explains why he's so ready to jump over to whatever invading force is visiting Earthrealm) but the reality is he'll play for any team that can line his wallet (hence why he's actually been selling weapons and consultation services to both Kotal Kahn and Kahn's enemy, Mileena, as regardless who comes out on top he'll be the one who profits from it).
- Image Song: "Kano, Use Your Might" where the vocalist sings about how great Kano is, how she is on his side, and describes him as a fallen angel. Also doubles as The Villain Sucks Song.
- Jerkass: Big time.
- Kick the Dog: Taunts Johnny Cage and Sonya Blade about Cassie's possible trauma while she's kidnapped. Sonya actually has to hold Johnny Cage back from beating him up.
- Knife Nut: In particular, the "Cutthroat" variation in Mortal Kombat X is centered around Kano's knife fighting skills.
- Large Ham: Especially in the first movie.
- In the games, too. Rich Divizio has stated he played Kano as over-the-top as possible. Michael McConnohie doesn't do too bad in 9 either.
- Laser Blade: MK 3 turned his knives into laser blades.
- Laser-Guided Karma: X finally ends with him behind bars after he and the other rebels are apprehended by the OIA (and it's fully canon) giving Sonya's grudge against him some true closure.
- Neck Lift: His Chokehold move.
- Nuke 'em: He wiped out over half of Kintaro's besieging forces with a handheld device that launched a nuclear scaled blast.
- Older Than They Look: He's 60 come the events of MKX (as he was 35 during the first tournament).
- Only in It for the Money: His reason for joining Shang Tsung's tournament and for siding with Outworld and selling stuff for them.
- Pet the Dog: In 9, he's the one who saves Kabal (his former Black Dragon cohort) from dying and surgically implants him with his mask and breathing apparatus after Kintaro roasted him alive.
- Additionally, when he heard of Kabal's apparent demise at the hands of Mavado, it is said that he would have most likely hounded the Red Dragon leader and had his head if not for his post in Outworld as the leader of Shao Kahn's armies. Kabal had long since forsaken the ways of the Black Dragon at that point though.
- He reacts negatively to Erron Black telling Kano that he killed a fellow Black Dragon member, Kobra, to his face.
- Playing Both Sides: Combines with War for Fun and Profit. According to his Mortal Kombat X bio, Kano has taken the role of technical adviser and weapons supplier to Kotal Kahn after Mileena was deposed as Outworld empress but also gives Mileena's rebel armies the exact same support in their campaign to reclaim her throne. Prior to that he had also been involved in moving guns into Outworld to fuel regional conflicts around the realm.
- Psycho for Hire: He likes to get paid huge amounts of money, but also loves the killing.
- Professional Killer: He sees it as part of a job he likes.
- The Quisling: Basically, he's willing to sell out all of humanity.
- Race Lift: After Trevor Goddard's portrayal in the movie, he was changed from American-Japanese descent in the games to Australian.
- Rolling Attack: The Cannonball attack, in which he tosses himself at the opponent while keeping arms and legs folded into his body.
- Sigil Spam: In Deadly Alliance and Armageddon, the back of his vest sports the emblem of the Black Dragon clan.
- Stance System:
- Tattooed Crook: In MK vs. DC, he has a tattoo of the Black Dragon emblem on his left bicep; but the trope was employed in full force since 9, where he has both upper arms and chest tattooed.
- Took a Level in Badass: Ingame, he gets a huge one compared to his debut. In the first Mortal Kombat, he had two special moves (since everyone was almost the same in terms of normal attacks, it's the special moves that are the deciding factor), his iconic cannonball and knife toss attacks. And they both carried heavy drawbacks. The cannonball required a 360 motion with the joystick that was rather clumsy to do and doing the knife toss relied on a strange back and worth wiggle (improvements to this were made in the home versions). To top it off, his knives looked intimidating but did the least amount of damage for a normal projectile (Subzero and Scorpion's did less but more than made up for it with special properties. After being brought back in MK 3, Kano becomes a lot more versatile with his different cannonball attacks and melee moves. Plus his attacks became more damaging compared to most other Kombatants. Later games would give and take away his laser eye, but he's certainly much better than his first incarnation.
- Trademark Favorite Food: According to Richard Divizio (the actor who portrayed Kano in all of the titles using digitized actors), Kano enjoys White Castle hamburgers (it's probable that this is Divizio's favorite meal as well).
- Unwitting Pawn: Realizes this and more during his mirror match in X.
John "Johnny Cage" Carlton
Debut game: Mortal Kombat (Daniel Pesina)
Other appearances: Mortal Kombat II (Daniel Pesina), Mortal Kombat Trilogy (Chris Alexander), Mortal Kombat 4, Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance, Mortal Kombat: Deception (cameo), Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, Mortal Kombat 9 (Jeff Pilson), Mortal Kombat X (Andrew Bowen)
Non-game appearances: Mortal Kombat: The Movie (Linden Ashby), Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (Chris Conrad), Mortal Kombat: Rebirth/Mortal Kombat: Legacy (Matt Mullins)
Johnny Cage, born John Carlton, is a Hollywood movie star. Originally entering the Mortal Kombat tournament to display his fighting skills and prove himself to skeptical movie critics and the movie-viewing public, Cage becomes one of the brave and loyal warriors for Earthrealm.
In Mortal Kombat, When Shang Tsung's island fortress began to crumble because of his defeat to Liu Kang, Raiden saved Johnny and dropped him off at a boat that belonged to the Special Forces Agency near the island. Not long after that, Cage traveled into Outworld to join the other Earthrealm warriors in MK2. Defeated, Kahn ordered his forces to hunt down the surviving warriors when he steals the souls of Earth's populace in Mortal Kombat 3. Though his comrades managed to make it out alive, Johnny was not so lucky and was killed by Motaro. During the events of Trilogy, he was brought back due to his soul being blocked from going to the afterlife, and fought alongside Earth's warriors until they won, upon which he ascended to Heaven. Raiden brought him back permanently during the events of MK4. However, Johnny was killed once again during the final assault on the Deadly Alliance's Tarkatan warriors.
Later, he is, as well as many other warriors, restored to life one more time by Onaga and made into his slave. Some time later, he was freed from this state by Ermac and the spirit of Liu Kang, in time to join the battle of Armageddon.
Mortal Kombat 9 sees Cage have a much more... err... outgoing personality, but it also makes him much more heroic, being a genuine part of the heroes' team. He also serves as a sort of Audience Surrogate, as he's one of the few normal humans amidst the Fantasy Kitchen Sink cast. In Mortal Kombat X it's revealed that he and Sonya have a daughter, Cassie Cage.
- Action Dad: He's the father of Cassie Cage, one of the new characters in X.
- And You Thought It Was a Game: He starts Mortal Kombat 9 thinking the whole tournament is just elaborate role-play.
- Amicable Exes: With Sonya. It appears that it's only on his part and only whenever Cassie is concerned.
- Becomes this for real at the end of X, with Sonya actually warming up to him.
- Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: He is a very skilled martial artist, but he thinks very high of himself.
- Ascended Extra: Years before MK X, if you told MK fans that Johnny Cage would be the new champion of Earthlrealm, you would be call a liar. Yet here we are. Even if Johnny was a part of the original MK, he was always portrayed as the buttmonkey to one of Earthrealm's finest warriors. While the new timeline has been very generous to him, unfortunately most of his friends got killed as a result.
- Ascended Glitch: In the first game, a glitch allowed Johnny to perform his decapitation fatality uppercut multiple times, knocking off at least 2 heads of his opponent. It was kept (and the ante upped by guaranteeing three heads were sent flying) for 2 and Trilogy, but dropped ever since.
- Back from the Dead: Constantly in the original timeline. Lampshaded when, prior to joining the battle against the Deadly Alliance, he was (unwillingly) starting to film Mortal Kombat: The Death of Johnny Cage, in which he was repeatedly killed and brought back to life.
- Finally subverted in 9, as he manages to survive a plot where most of the major characters die. Play straight when he is almost close to death in a previous timeline of X
- Badass: Oh yeah. Especially in X, when he beats up Sub Zero and Scorpion at the same time. And then there's his fight with Shinnok
Johnny Cage: Fans think my moves are all wire work and special effects. Truth is... I am the special effects.
- Badass Boast: From the story mode of 9:
- Badass in a Nice Suit:
- Prior to the events in Deadly Alliance, he arrives on Shang Tsung's Island dressed in a tux via parachute.
- In 9, he comes to the first tournament wearing a tuxedo with a loosened bow tie.
- Badass in Distress: Towards the end of Mortal Kombat X, he's captured by Shinnok and D'Vorah, and spends the rest of the game in a cocoon with maggots slowly eating his face. It takes Cassie beating them both down to save him.
- Berserk Button: In the first movie. Goro should not have crushed those $500 pair of shades. That, and killing off Johnny's friend.
- And in MKX, threatening his family is an easy way make him go medieval on your ass.
- Beware the Nice Ones/Beware the Silly Ones: Sure, Cage may seem like a wisecracking goofball, but disregard him at your own peril. And mellowed out he may be in X, but threaten his loved ones and he'll gain a new Super Mode and No Sell an Elder God's attacks and then wipe the floor with him!
- Big Damn Hero: The first chapter of MKX has him not only beat up Sub-Zero and Scorpion, but he also manages to not only No Sell Shinnok's amulet and save Sonya, but also beat up said fallen Elder God and help Raiden seal him away in his own amulet! And people wonder how he's the new Champion of Earthrealm...
- Born Lucky:
- While other combatants can justify their special powers with reasons going from Training from Hell or being Physical Gods, sorcerers or Ninjas/McNinjas; Johnny Cage has no background for how he got his energy blasts, he's simply naturally gifted.
- In 9, it's revealed that he is descended from a Mediterranean warrior cult who bred fighters for the gods. Yet, despite that, it is made even more obvious how his powers are so natural; Johnny initially is in disbelief about the whole Mortal Kombat and other realms thing, and yet he doesn't mention or see his powers as being equally unbelievable. Also, the whole reason he's there is because of people calling him out and saying he's all flash with no substance. He insists that his energy powers are legit and will prove it at the Mortal Kombat tournament... yet thinks nothing of them in spite of that.
- Brainwashed: To serve Onaga in Deception.
- Butt Monkey: Rendered as such after II, likely as punishment for his actor (Daniel Pesina) advertising a rival game, Blood Storm, while in full costume. Even the dev team doesn't take him seriously.
- Finally seems to be outgrowing this as of X.
- Calling The Ex-Wife Out: Blames Sonya's job for their divorce.
- Captain Ersatz: Started as one of Jean-Claude Van Damme in the first game, being directly modelled on his appearance in Bloodsport, complete with the Split Punch. This has largely disappeared in subsequent games.
- Casting a Shadow: Johnny's Stunt Double variation has him able to use some of his moves in a safe distance, and keeping him away from trouble. However, the shadow "stunt doubles" or "mimics" as the game refers to them are yellow instead of his usual green.
- Casanova Wannabe: Towards Sonya in the first chapter of 9:"I'm taking you down, I'm taking you down, I'm taking you out, I'm taking you out, and [approaches Sonya] I'm taking you out... for dinner."
- Chivalrous Pervert: And yet, he doesn't stand for Kano attacking Sonya while she's hurt. And after he saves her from Shinnok in X, the pleased smile he has just because she "called him Johnny" cements him as this.
- The Champion: In the comics, Kotal Kahn refers to him as Raiden's, effectively replacing the late Liu Kang.
- Character Development/Hidden Depths: He's introduced in 9 as an insufferable, showboating and self-aggrandizing movie star, and over the course of the game, turns out to be a surprisingly loyal friend, and the conscience of the team. The sequel takes it up a notch and reveals him to be a doting and loving father, a supportive mentor to an entire generation of heroes, and a visibly more mature guy overall, a very far cry from the shallow Hollywood caricature of the old games.
- The Charmer/The Face: Mediates successfully with Kotal Kahn to defuse a tense standoff in the comics.
- Chronically Killed Actor: In the most literal ways possible.
- Cool Old Guy: He's 54 in Mortal Kombat X (as he was 29 for the first tournament), so this qualifies. He's pretty easygoing and always ready with the witty repartee, and a supportive mentor to the next generation.
- Cool Shades: While they were always part of his character, with official art always depicting him wearing shades, he only started wearing them during fights from Trilogy onwards.
- In the first movie, he values them more than any worldly possession. Then Goro broke them, and the rest is history:"Those were five-hundred-dollar sunglasses, asshole!"
- In his 9 victory pose, his shades break in half. No problem: he just takes out a brand new pair and puts them on!
- Sunglasses at Night: Even at night, he doesn't fight without his glasses.
- In the first movie, he values them more than any worldly possession. Then Goro broke them, and the rest is history:
- Cool Teacher: Helps in training Cassie, Jacqui, Takeda and Kung Jin in MKX.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Looks every bit of a muggle, and acts like a jerkass, but he can hold his own against all kinds of enemies, including Tarkatans, cyborgs, physical gods, sorcerers, etc.
- A Day in the Limelight: In the rebooted timeline, he's the focus of the first chapter of both games.
- Deadpan Snarker: Seems to be this at first, in tone with his movie self, as seen in MK9.
- And 25 years later, he still got it.
- Did You Just Punch Out an Elder God?: In arguably his finest hour, Johnny Cage defeated Shinnok. Repeat: Johnny Cage beat up a fallen Elder God.
- Does Not Know His Own Strength: The first chapter in X hints at this as he takes an intented killshot from Shinnok to protect Sonya and comes out unscathed, all while glowing his usual green. His immediate reaction quickly tells that he was clearly not expecting to come away standing.
- Establishing Character Moment: In 9, he spends his first few fights goofing off, preening and grandstanding, hitting on Sonya, and generally making an ass of himself... but is horrified when Shang Tsung demands he "finish" a fallen opponent.
- Fake Ultimate Hero: Much to his fans' chagrin.
- Armageddon tries to take the "fake" part out, by having him being the first of the heroes to see Shinnok back into the scene, and then rallying the band of heroes for the final battle. His (non-canonical) ending states that he gained superior strength and dexterity, but more important, a new insight into his existence. With the help of Shaolin masters, he renounced his superficial former life and became enlightened.
- Subverted in the alternate timeline. The first time is in MKX's Story mode, where he defeated Shinnok by sending his amulet to Raiden so he can have the fallen Elder God sealed in and the second time in the MKX prequel comics, where he succesfully defuses a tense standoff with Kotal Kahn, with the latter even respectfully calling him 'champion'.
- Armageddon tries to take the "fake" part out, by having him being the first of the heroes to see Shinnok back into the scene, and then rallying the band of heroes for the final battle. His (non-canonical) ending states that he gained superior strength and dexterity, but more important, a new insight into his existence. With the help of Shaolin masters, he renounced his superficial former life and became enlightened.
- The Fighting Narcissist: An rare heroic example. In brief, he's full of himself, cocky and arrogant, but he really is THAT good a fighter, and he's possibly the game's most moral, selfless hero. And he is undoubtedly one of the good guys.
- Fighting with Chucks: In Deadly Alliance, Deception and Armageddon.
- The Friend Nobody Likes: He tends to get a lot of flak in Mortal Kombat 9 and Mortal Kombat X for his boisterous personality and penchant for lame jokes and puns. This is particularly prevalent in MKX.Sub-Zero: At times, I regret our alliance.
- Full-Name Basis: He screams "JOHNNY CAGE!" after winning a round or winning a Test Your Might/Strike/Sight minigame.
- Gallows Humor: After being stabbed by the revenant Jax as he lies bleeding out when Sonya tells him he'll be ok.Johnny: I don't know. I think blood is supposed to be on the inside.
- Good Parents: Given that Cassie is very much a Daddy's Girl, MKX implies this is the case.
- Groin Attack: The God of this. His "Split Punch" signature attack, a special move where he does the splits and plants his fist directly into his opponent's crotch. It wouldn't work on Sonya in the first game or on Kitana, Jade and Mileena in the second game, probably because of the common misconception that women somehow wouldn't be harmed by it.
- Half the Man He Used to Be: His Torso Rip fatality.
- In Shaolin Monks, he has a fatality where he will punch the opponent in the groin several times, mugs for the camera, punches the groin for a bit like a speed bag, and then does one final monster punch that pulverises the entire pelvic region, effectively cutting the unlucky victim in half.
- His Stunt Double variation in X has a Brutality that does the same with the Shadow Kick.
- The Heart: Believe it or not. Cage may be a pompous ass, but he's genuinely a nice guy underneath, and of all the heroes he's the one that fights for the good guys just because it's the right thing to do. He also may love to kick ass, but he's horrified when asked to kill his defeated opponent by Shang Tsung. During the course of the Story Mode in MK9, he pretty much becomes the team's moral center.
- Becomes even more notable in MKX when paired with the stricter Sonya, keeping her from giving into her desire to kill Kano so that they can get info out of him and getting her to talk to Cassie less as a commander and more like a mother in spite of them having already split up on bad terms.
- The Hero: Takes up the position in the flashbacks of Mortal Kombat X to the point where he's single handedly responsible for Shinnok's defeat.
- Heroic Willpower: Even more than Sonya; this guy spent half of X wrapped up in a cocoon with maggots trying to eat him alive and his sanity was still intact after all of it. Seriously.
- Hot Dad/Silver Fox: Jacqui seems to think so, much to Cassie's chagrin.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold/Took a Level in Jerkass: Zig-Zagged, especially come MK9.
- His bloated ego reaches Joke Character proportions in MK9.
- During Jax's chapter in 9, Johnny, Raiden, and Jax find themselves stuck at the Kombat Armory, when he probes Jax's relationship with Sonya.note Johnny, being himself, makes his intentions with Sonya a little less than subtle. This prompts Jax to challenge Johnny to a fight right there and then. However, afterwards, he brushes it off later and even good-naturedly jokes about it after they find Sonya.
- He's actually one of the nicer guys in X, given his relaxed relationship with his proteges.
- Johnny McCoolname: His real name is John Carlton.
- I'll Take That as a Compliment/Insult Backfire: This exchange between Johnny and Sonya in the first film:Sonya: [after Johnny tells her that he is facing Goro] Oh, I can't believe this! You are the most egotistical, self-deluded person I have ever met!
Johnny: Yeah, well you forgot good-looking.
- Kangaroos Represent Australia: He turns into one to kick his opponent off screen as an Animality in MK Trilogy.
- Kill Steal: Interrupts Kung Lao before he can finish off Goro in Shaolin Monks, then he throws his fist in the air in celebration.
- Large Ham: Expected from an actor, of action movies no less.
- The Lancer of the Five-Man Band
- Legacy Character/Spin-Offspring: He's the father of Cassie Cage.
- Los Angeles: Born and raised in Venice Beach. The MKX comic shows that he still lives there.
- Meaningful Name: It's probably more than coincidence that Kage in japanese means shadow and Johnny Cage is the master of many "shadow" techniques himself.
- Mr. Fanservice: He's always been either shirtless or dressed in a snazzy suit
- Averted in X, where he spends the game dressed either in a military uniform or pants and a hoodie and has his face chewed up by D'Vorah's maggots.
- However, this is again played straight as his bare-chested primary costume from 9 is an unlockable.
- He answers the door for Sonya in the MKX comics in nothing but a towel. Enough said.
- The Nicknamer: Constantly in the pre-battle dialogues in Mortal Kombat X, usually via an insulting movie reference. He clearly knows everyone's names, and will sometimes even address them properly, he just enjoys being a comical ass at the expense of his opponent—in other words, it's completely in character.
- Official Couple Ordeal Syndrome: Despite being put through the wringer during the events of Mortal Kombat 9, Johnny does eventually hook up with Sonya, as evidenced by their daughter Cassie Cage appearing in Mortal Kombat X. They were married for a while, but divorced some time before that game began due to Sonya being Married to the Job.
- Off with His Head!:
- His classic Fatality, in which Cage delivers a savage uppercut that tears his opponent's head off.
- The intro of MK9 inverts this: he's shown decapitated.
- Oh, Crap: When against Jason. and with good reason.Ohh... freak.
- Papa Wolf: Joins Sonya in Outworld to rescue Cassie in the MKX comics and has to be restrained by Sonya from throttling Kano after he makes a snide jab about her fate.
- Person as Verb: Tried this with himself in Shaolin Monks and MK9. "You just got Caged!"
- Pop-Cultured Badass: Comes out full force with Mortal Kombat X. It's only natural for an actor with superpowers. Of note is his first Fataility, where he reenacts Jack Torrance's break in with his enemy's chest and his bare hands. "Heeeeeeere's Johnny!"
- Power Incontinence: His ending in 9. His body begins to emit large, destructive bursts of energy in uncontrollable spasms, and neither Raiden nor Nightwolf are able to soothe them. Eventually, Raiden takes Johnny Cage to Seido to control his powers, which will result in him becoming more powerful than humanly imaginable.
- This could count as forshadowing as to how powerful Johnny really is, as he manifested a "Shadow Aura" when fighting Shinnok in MK X but doesn't seem to have to master it after the fight.
- The Power of Love: In Mortal Kombat X it's theorized that his Super Mode is powered by the desire to protect a loved one, hence why he can't use it on command.
- Pungeon Master: In the Movie, he is particularly prone to Incredibly Lame Puns, to the point that he's basically the comic relief of the film. Possibly referenced with his intros in Mortal Kombat X, with some of them involving puns.
- Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: His squad in MKX consists of two Special Forces operatives (one of them being his daughter), a Shirai Ryu ninja and a Shaolin archer. He has his work cut out for him.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: That said, he's quite laidback and approachable with them, contrasting Sonya's more hardline approach.
- Red Herring Shirt: Johnny Cage survives the events of Mortal Kombat 9. Keep in mind that in every form of media he's been in (the films, the games and even In-Universe in a role he refused to take part in), he dies in some form or fashion.
- In MKX, he comes close to dying in the finale, but ultimately pulls through.
- The Rival: Of Goro. Becomes canon after the movie.
- Sharp-Dressed Man: His alts. in 4, Deadly Alliance, Armageddon, and 9.
- Ship Tease: Especially in the first movie, towards Sonya. In MK9, he tries to conquer her. As Mortal Kombat X shows, he succeeded in wooing Sonya, as their daughter is a playable character.
- Shotoclone: He has it all: a projectile (Plasmic Bolt), an anti-air uppercut (Green Shadow Uppercut) and a straight attack (His Shadow Kicks).
- Shout-Out: His MKX fatality has him pulling the "Heeeeeeeere's JOHNNY!" line from The Shining, except instead of through a busted door it's through the torso of someone he is in the middle of splitting in two vertically!
- Shut Up, Hannibal!: In an intro against Shinnok, Johnny cuts him off and tells him to shut up when Shinnok is asserting a threat at him.
- Situational Damage Attack: All the way through the series, Johnny Cage can use his notorious Nut Punch. Until MK9, this attack had no effect on female fighters, possibly due to the erroneous assumption that groin attacks aren't painful to women.
- Spam Attack: In his "Fisticuffs" variation in X, he can infinitely perform his variation's unique string ("The One-Two") by continuing the string input (b+1, 2, 1, 2...).
- Spanner in the Works: Shinnok's plans in X didn't take him into consideration. When Shinnok escapes his prison, he's much more savvy and takes Johnny with him to suffer some Cold-Blooded Torture.
- Speed Echoes: Several of his Shadow moves have this effect.
- Stance System:
- Tall, Dark and Handsome
- They Killed Kenny Again: Johnny dies in Mortal Kombat 3, temporarily resurrected in Trilogy (meaning that he's dead again at the end), resurrected in Mortal Kombat 4, Mortal Kombat Deception reveals that he doesn't survive the events of Mortal Kombat Deadly Alliance and the aftermath of Mortal Kombat Armageddon, dies in the second Mortal Kombat movie, and even rejects a role in the movie "The Death of Johnny Cage" in Deadly Alliance (even lampshading that he was tired of starring in roles where he died and came back to life again). Surprisingly, given his track record, he survives the events of Mortal Kombat 9 and Mortal Kombat X!
- Thou Shalt Not Kill: In 9, he's shown to be against killing his enemies, refusing to kill Baraka after defeating him in the tournament. He even lampshades one of the most well-known concepts of this game - Fatalities - in that scene; when Shang Tsung tells him to "Finish him" after winning, he says, "Finish him? Heh. Yeah right." (Of course, this happens in the Story Mode, and you can't even use Fatalities there; the only way a character can die is if the plot demands it.)
- Traumatic Superpower Awakening: Gains a Super Mode when he saves Sonya from Shinok which results in him glowing with shadow energy, allowing him to No Sell Shinonk's Attacks!
- Took a Level in Badass: Good Lord, did he ever. See Did You Just Punch Out an Elder God?
- Took a Level in Kindness: Apart from the occasional quip, he seems to have mellowed out significantly by the time of X, and while he still has a bit of an ego, it's not as big as it was in previous games.
- Turns Red: Literally in MKX. Going into critical health turns all his shadow moves red and gives them a damage boost. Doubles as a Desperation Attack.
- Unfazed Everyman: During his chapter in 9's story mode. Also doubles as the Audience Surrogate for those new to the series, as he's just as out-of-the-loop as newcomers probably will be.
- Walking Shirtless Scene: His default outfit. Though he starts 9 with a tuxedo, he quickly goes shirtless, and remains like this through the rest of the game.
- Will They or Won't They?: In regards to Sonya, he does. Too bad it didn't last.
- Working with the Ex: He divorced from Sonya at some point. Doesn't stop him from stepping up with her in Earthrealm's defense.
- You Called Me X, It Must Be Serious/Terms Of Endearment: He's pleased as punch any time that Sonya calls him by his first name as it means that she still clearly cares a lot about him. His reaction each time only makes him that much more endearing.
Debut game: Mortal Kombat (Elizabeth Malecki)
Other appearances: Mortal Kombat II (cameo), Mortal Kombat 3 (Kerri Hoskins), Mortal Kombat 4 (Kerri Hoskins), Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance, Mortal Kombat: Deception, Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks, Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe (Dana Lyn Baron), Mortal Kombat 9 (Dana Lyn Baron), Mortal Kombat X (Tricia Helfer)
Non-game appearances: Mortal Kombat: The Movie (Bridgette Wilson), Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (Sandra Hess), Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm (Olivia d'Abo), Mortal Kombat: Rebirth/Mortal Kombat: Legacy (Jeri Ryan)
Mortal Kombat's Smurfette, at least at first. A member of a top United States Special Forces unit known as Outer World Investigation Agency (OIA), Lt. Sonya Blade is a beautiful, stern, tough-as-nails Earthrealm warrior. Her impulsiveness is catalyzed by her superior and good friend Major Jackson "Jax" Briggs. Sonya represents a very emancipated and headstrong woman, but for all her stubbornness and pride, she deeply cares about the lives of her friends and comrades.
Sonya and her team were in hot pursuit of Kano at the time of the original game; after following him to a remote island they were ambushed by Tsung's personal guard. To keep her team safe, she agreed to compete in the Mortal Kombat tournament. Shang Tsung, however, had no intention of fulfilling his end of the bargain and had her unit killed. After Tsung's defeat, she and Kano were taken prisoner to Outworld to appease the emperor, Shao Kahn, only to be later rescued by her comrade Jax. The two privates were among the few chosen warriors left to oppose the invasion of Earthrealm in MK3. Sonya meet her old nemesis Kano on top of a skyscraper during the invasion; in the fight that ensued she managed to hurl Kano off the roof to his apparent death.
In Mortal Kombat 4, Sonya and Jax, having formed the Outworld Investigation Agency, team up with Raiden and Liu Kang to free Edenia from the Fallen Elder God Shinnok's grasp and prevent him from coming to Earth, as well as to capture the last known member of the Black Dragon Clan, Jarek, who apparently dies in his attempt to kill Sonya.
Years later, Sonya would once again heed Raiden's call, this time to travel back to Outworld — for Sonya, this coincided with her search for two missing OIA operatives, Cyrax and Kenshi. She is killed in a fight with the Deadly Alliance and its minions, only to be resurrected and enslaved by Onaga, along her fallen comrades. She would eventually be freed from Onaga's control by Ermac and Liu Kang, in time to participate in the events of Armageddon.
Mortal Kombat 9 sees Sonya being pretty much the same tough lady she's always been, although her pursuit of Kano is massively derailed by the events of the game, making her take a much more active role in the defense of Earthrealm. Sometime after the events of 9 (which saw her remain as one of the only surviving Earthrrealm warriors from Shao Kahn's invasion), she and Johnny settled down and had a daughter named "Cassie" but divorced prior to the events of Mortal Kombat X.
- Absolute Cleavage: Her default attire in 9 manages to pull this off with a bulletproof vest.
- Action Mom: In Mortal Kombat X, one of the newly revealed characters is Cassie Cage, Sonya and Johnny Cage's daughter, so that automatically makes Sonya this trope.
- Even moreso with the Cage Family trailer confirming Sonya herself for the game.
- Action Girl: The first one in the series and consistently a tough fighter. She actually manages to make it through the events of 9 alive.
- Arch-Enemy: To Kano, since he killed one of Sonya's partners before the series started.
- Asskicking Equals Authority: She's promoted to Major and given field command of the Special Forces after Jax's death in MK 9. In MKX, she is a General and she still can throw down with the best of them.
- Badass: She kicks some good ass in 9. She also manages to survive the events of the game.
- Badass in Distress: Spending the Outworld tournament chained up did nothing to reduce her badassitude.
- Bare Your Midriff: The only consistent form of Stripperiffic her costume has.
- Berserk Button:
- She may not be 'Mom of the Year' in regards to Cassie, but threatening and/or kidnapping her daughter will make Sonya go Bryan Mills on your ass.
- It goes both ways with her ex. On one end, Johnny pisses her off to no end, but at the same time, she is just as protective of him as she is with Cassie whenever their daughter or Earthrealm is threatened.
- Big Damn Heroes: shares this with Raiden in saving Johnny's life from Quan Chi.
- Biker Babe: In her Arcade Ladder ending from 9.
- Brainwashed: To serve Onaga in Deception.
- In Malibu Comics' non-canon Mortal Kombat series, Sonya was kidnapped and hypnotized by Reptile into marrying Shao Kahn.
- Colonel Badass: In the MKX comics.
- Combat Stilettos: One alternate outfit in Deadly Alliance deatures this.
- Counter Attack: Her "Covert Ops" variation in Mortal Kombat X has a lot of parry moves that let her intercept opponent attacks. As an interesting twist, the parries have different attacks that can be branched out of them once you catch an opponent's attack, giving you varied responses once you've intercepted their offense.
- A Day in the Limelight:
- Da Chief: She commands the Special Forces' Earthrrealm Strategic Defense.
- Disappeared Dad: According to 9, she's been searching for her MIA father, although she fears that he might already be dead. In her Arcade Ladder ending, she encounters a ghost claiming to be that of her father, but it's unknown if the apparition is real or if it's an aftereffect of her PTSD in the aftermath of the battle with Shao Kahn.
- Despair Event Horizon: In her Arcade Ladder Ending in 9 she almost falls into this after the deaths of her friends and companions. Fortunately, an apparition claiming to be her father helped pull her out of it and encourage her not to give up. (This is later proven non-cannon, given the events of X.)
- Drill Sergeant Nasty: As her intro dialogues shows to her (ironically) sergeant:Sonya Blade: Sergeant...
Cassie Cage: Damn it, Mom! I'm Cassie!
Sonya Blade: Right now, you're just a disrespectful soldier.
- Dual Wielding: In Deadly Alliance and Armageddon, she could use a pair of kali sticks in battle.
- Death Glare: Whenever Johnny is in the room, she directs them at him.
- Everyone Loves Blondes: At least Johnny would like to think so.
- Family Versus Career: In MKX. Career won, which is the cause of much of the familial strife with her ex husband and daughter.
- Fanservice: Her shirt and pants tearing in exactly the right places.
- Fanservice Pack: She actually had a head start on the other gals in 3, but still managed to remain relatively modest. This trope is more prevalent in 9, though.
- In the early games, too. In the original, she was played by a dancer. In 3, she was played by a Playboy model.
- First Name Basis: Hardly anyone refers to her using her last name.
- Four-Star Badass/Frontline General/General Ripper: Her overall rank as of MKX. Shame that it cost her her marriage to Johnny.Johnny: There was a time when you cared more about your family than your job...General.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Not drastic as most examples, but Sonya is very much aware that Cassie prefers to be with Johnny than her. This may be the source of her animosity towards Johnny during the MK X storyline.
- Green Thumb: In her friendship in Ultimate MK3, Sonya would salute and flowers would grow all over the floor.
- Groin Attack: Sonya gets in on the act by stepping on Quan Chi's Netherrealm nethers in her chapter of the Mortal Kombat X story to detain him while Raiden undoes the revenant spell.
- Half The Woman She Used To Be: Her fate in the Battle of Armageddon. (It is not known who did it to her.)
- Heroic Willpower: Here's the situation: You're tied up, hanging by a hook over The Dead Pool, with Sheeva watching you, and her boss has signed your death warrant, so it's clear what's likely going to happen here soon... And you still haven't lost your Deadpan Snarker attitude. ("What is it with you Shokan and underground cesspools?") Yeah, I'd say she qualifies for this.
- Hotter and Sexier: She has a much more revealing outfit in MK9 than in previous games. It's still modest compared to the other females, though.
- Ink Suit Actress: Like Kano, Sonya's model in the 3D games resemble her actresses in the movies. From Deadly Alliance to Armageddon, she takes after Sandra Hess, whereas in Mortal Kombat 9, she takes a lot after Bridgette Wilson-Sampras.
- Irony: She's the Jerkass of the heroes in MKX, taking over for Johnny who was the biggest example of this (especially in MK9).
- Amicable Exes: she finally warms up to Johnny after Cassie kicks Shinnok's ass in MKX.
- Kiss of Death:
- Her main fatality; it comes in fiery, crushing, poisonous, and slicing varieties. In a variant on the trope, she blows her kisses at her foes.
- From Mortal Kombat Deadly Alliance to Mortal Kombat 9, she was given a short-ranged stun move where she blows pink dust into the opponent's face the same way.
- Legacy Character/Spin-Offspring: She's the mother of Cassie Cage, who will appear in Mortal Kombat X.
- Lonely at the Top: By the time she's a Colonel, she and Johnny are divorced and her relationship with Cassie is strained.
- Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Her energy rings could either supernatural (one of the MK 3 guidebooks states it's her focused chi) or it could be one of her weapons (MK 9 had her melt the lock on Jax prison with an energy beam fired from her wrist band).
- Majorly Awesome: Her rank during Shinnok's invasion of Earthrealm.
- Mama Bear:
- In issue 9 of Mortal Kombat X, she leads an expedition into Outworld to rescue Cassie.
- Kano threatens to harm Cassie if Sonya does not negotiate with him. Sonya ends up almost strangling him to death, before Johnny steps in and tells her not to go through with it.
- Married to the Job/Maternally Challenged: What cost her her marriage to Johnny and earned Cassie's resentnent. One particular example is seen in the MKX comics, in which she chose to rescue Kenshi rather than attend Cassie's birthday party.
- Missing Mom: Becomes this to Cassie due to her job. Johnny calls her out on this.
- Murderous Thighs: One of her fatalities was a leg scissor hold that literally cut the opponent in half.
- Ms. Fanservice: Most of her outfits reveal or accentuate her body. In 9, her outfit is more modest than the ones of other females, yet, it still accentuates her ample breasts.
- Neck Snap: A move from 4. She also uses a variant with her legs to break Kano's neck in the first movie.
- Nice Hat: Usually present in her military-themed outfits.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The comics reveal that the only reason Kotal Khan is allied with the Black Dragon at all is because of Sonya's refusal to help when he asked for Earthrealm's assistance. It's also becoming apparent that her hard-headedness is what ruined her and Johnny's marriage, as hinted by her rudely telling the latter to "Fuck off," when he was trying to comfort her. She also came extremely close to killing Kano out of rage and hatred while Johnny tries to talk her out of it since Kano knows where Shinnok's amulet is.
- No Flow in CGI: Her ponytail in Mortal Kombat 4.
- Official Couple Ordeal Syndrome: Despite being put through the wringer during the events of 9, she does eventually get together with Johnny Cage, as evidenced by their daughter Cassie Cage appearing in Mortal Kombat X.
- Older Than They Look: She's 51 in MKX (as she was 26 during the first tournament), but you really can't tell.
- Painted-On Pants: Her earlier appearances.
- Rank Up: Several are mentioned in the various pieces of Mortal Kombat X. First, in the time of the Netherrealm War (before the prequel comics and the main story of the game), she's Majorly Awesome. Second, after the war but before the main story of the game, she's a Colonel Badass. Third, by the time of the main story of the game proper, she's a Four-Star Badass who is also a Frontline General.
- Red Oni: She's the red To Jax's blue in general and the blue to Johnny's red in MK9. In MKX however, the red and blue between her and Johnny Cage switches.
- Relative Button: We get this gem between Sonya and Jax:Sonya: Mr. Briggs.Jax: Mrs. Cage.Sonya: You're gonna pay for that.
- The Rival: With Frost, although neither of them has ever given a reason.
Sonya: Why no female Lin-Kuei?Sub-Zero: There are, Frost chief among them.Sonya: I'll kick her ass next.
- The rivalry is given a small nod in MKX in her pre-battle dialogue with Sub-Zero
- Sadistic Choice: She is given one in her X arcade ending where, in a dream, Kano gives her the choice between Cassie or Jax. She chooses the former and wakes up to Johnny Cage, who tells her that Jax was killed by an assassin's bullet. (Exactly how canon this ending is has not yet been revealed.)
- She-Fu: Her signature move starts with her doing a backflip, grabbing the opponent between her legs, and throwing them.
- In both 4 and 9 she has a fatality where she does a handstand and tears the opponent in half with her legs.
- She's Got Legs: As we can see in the first movie, and in her alternate outfit in 9.
- Ship Tease:
- The Smurfette Principle: She was the only female character in the original game. She is also the only remaining female at the end of the story mode in MK9.
- Spam Attack: Her Bicycle Kick move.
- Stance System:
- Statuesque Stunner: Her official bio has her at 5'10".
- Stripperiffic: Averted; her costumes are way more modest than the other females. Played Straight in 9. A bulletproof vest is probably not supposed to have Absolute Cleavage.
- Super-Cute Super-Powers: She has a Kiss of Death fatality where she blows a kiss at her opponent. Sometimes the kiss takes the form of a floating fireball, but other games has it be a little pink heart that flitters towards the opponent, and once it hits, the enemy explodes bloodily.
- Tank-Top Tomboy: She wears some variation on a tank top, muscle shirt, or some kind of vest similar to either in each game.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: With her ex. With a healthy dose of Belligerent Sexual Tension and hints of lingering affection
- Thicker Than Water: Sonya is named after one of Ed Boon's sisters, as he confirms in a video interview in the special edition of Deception.
- Throw Down the Bomblet: Her "Demolition" variation in X is focused around grenades. She can toss frag or stun grenades and when she runs out, she can summon a drone who is able to supply her with more. The drone itself is also able to toss grenades (with the Enhanced version) and she has a back roll that lets her drop grenades on wakeup.
- Tomboy: The way she dresses seem to suggest this.
- Tomboyish Ponytail: More often than not since 3.
- Took a Level in Badass: Happens gamewise, when she first debuted she may be the worst character in gameplay and certainly the worst to use against Goro. The only move she had that really worked on him was her energy rings and that move was clumsy to do in the arcade (you had to hold punch and then make your joystick motion). After being brought back for MK 3 and the games after, she gained a number of special moves that eliminated the previous gaps in her gameplay and her character was generally made faster.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: Dear God, with the way she treats both Johnny and Cassie in MKX, it appears she took several. You'd think she was an understudy for General Ross or Colonel Moore with her degree of jerkass-ness.Sonya: (upon finding out that Kano is hiding in the camp) Kenshi, continue with Li Mei. I'm going to the refugee camp. Gotta get to him before he finds a way out.Johnny: I'll come with.Sonya: Go get an update on camp security from Colonel Flagg.Johnny: Why?Sonya: Because then you won't be here.
- Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Her concern comes to the fore whenever Johnny or Cassie's life is at stake.
- Tsundere: In her interactions with Johnny, as part of the Ship Tease. Better seen in the movie, where she mostly acts annoyed at him, but Everyone Can See It.
- Unlimited Wardrobe: She's had some quite different outfits from time to time.
- Violently Protective Girlfriend: When Johnny gets stabbed and is on the brink of death, her reaction and subsequent beatdown of Quan Chi speaks volumes.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: Sonya can morph into an hawk to finish her opponents as her Animality in MK3.
- Will They or Won't They?: In regards to her hooking up with Johnny, she does. And they get divorced down the line.
- Working with the Ex: She divorced from Johnny at some point. As much as he pisses her off (A LOT), it doesn't stop her from stepping up with him in Earthrealm's defense.
- Wounded Gazelle Gambit: During her rooftop battle with Kano in 3, Sonya feigned defeat in order to lure him to the edge of the building and throw him off of it.
Debut game: Mortal Kombat (Ho Sung Pak)
Other appearances: Mortal Kombat II (Ho Sung Pak), Mortal Kombat 3 (Eddie Wong), Mortal Kombat 4 (Joshua Y. Tsui), Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance (cameo), Mortal Kombat: Deception, Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks, Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe (Tom Choi), Mortal Kombat 9 (Tom Choi), Mortal Kombat X (Tom Choi)
Non-game appearances: Mortal Kombat: The Movie/Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (Robin Shou), Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm (Brian Tochi), Mortal Kombat Legacy (Brian Tee)
Known as "The Immortal Champion of Mortal Kombat," Liu Kang is one of the best warriors of Earthrealm, and has beaten many powerful foes to prove his valor. Throughout the years, Liu Kang has been portrayed as the main hero of the series, becoming champion after the events of the first game.
Coming home from Tsung's Island after defeating both Goro and the sorcerer, he found many of his fellow Shaolin monks killed in a vicious attack by a Tarkatan horde. Enraged, Liu Kang decided to travel to Outworld alongside Raiden and the other Earthrealm warriors. At the Outworld tournament he met Kitana, and began to fall in love with her. Liu eventually fought Shao Kahn, overpowering the emperor. Shortly after, during the events of Mortal Kombat 3, he found himself the primary target of Kahn's extermination squads. Kung Lao, who went against Shao Kahn, was nearly killed by an powerful spell. An enraged Liu Kang challenged the Emperor, and after the final battle, he defeated Shao Kahn again, forcing him and his forces to retreat back to Outworld.
Years later, upon learning that Kitana's home realm of Edenia had been captured by the fallen Elder God Shinnok, he set out on his own to save her, but he was unsuccessful. Liu Kang returned to Earth, where he began gathering Earth's warriors to save the realm and assist his mentor, Raiden. Eventually, Liu Kang confronted Shinnok and emerged victorious, effectively ending his occupation of Edenia. Liu Kang returned to the Shaolin Temples, believing he has lost Kitana forever. However, the Edenian Princess appeared through a portal from Edenia and thanked Liu Kang for all he had done. She offered him a chance to join her at the throne of Edenia. However, due to the responsibilities as a Mortal Kombat Champion, Liu Kang was forced to decline her offer.
Liu Kang went on to enjoy relative peace for many years afterward. However, the Deadly Alliance would make itself known on Earth by its successful assassination of Liu Kang. His mutilated body was discovered by Kung Lao, and he was laid to rest at the Wu Shi Academy, where a shrine was built to honor the former Champion.
His rest was short however, as a corrupted Raiden restored the monk as a living corpse, which went on a rampage and proceded to slaughter many of Liu Kang's fellow Shaolin monks. Liu Kang's spirit wasn't technically responsible, but he couldn't help but feel responsibile for the actions perpetrated by his corpse. Eventually, he defeated his body, stopping it from doing further harm.
In Mortal Kombat 9, Liu Kang once again is Raiden's chosen champion to participate in the Mortal Kombat tournament. However Raiden's visions slowly begin to send Liu Kang down a much different path as the game progresses, culminating in his death, which sticks. During Mortal Kombat X, he serves Quan Chi as a revenant but is not displeased with the arrangement, unlike some of his other cohorts. By the end of the story, has not recovered from his revenant form and has become emperor of the Netherrealm in the absence of Quan Chi and Shinnok, alongside Kitana.
Tropes related to Liu Kang (Human/Spirit)
- A Day in the Limelight:
- The Ageless: As the Eternal Champion of Mortal Kombat. Since the tournament is apparently defunct in Mortal Kombat X, he is now seemingly mortal and aging non-canonically; his revenant form shows no signs of age.
- A God Am I: In his ending in 9, he demands to take Raiden's place as the new thunder god and defender of Earthrealm.
- Amazon Chaser: Liu certainly seems to think so of Kitana, given his impressed reaction to her fighting skills in 9.
- Animal Motifs: Dragons, befitting his Bruce Lee resemblance as well as his transformations.
- Anvil on Head: In one of his fatalities in MK3 and the DC crossover, a Mortal Kombat arcade cabinet drops and crushes his opponent.
- Arch-Enemy: Shang Tsung.
- Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: Certainly gives off shades of this in Mortal Kombat X, if his interaction dialog is anything to go by.
- The Artifact:To an extent. He was originally designed as the hero of the series and the Champion of Mortal Kombat. With the tournament having less relevance in the series, his role has been diminished in favor of other characters.
- As Long as It Sounds Foreign: "Liu" is a common Chinese surname and is typically not used as a given name. The order of Liu Kang's name would seem to follow Eastern naming convention, in which the family name comes before the given name, but all characters address Liu Kang as "Liu," treating "Liu" as his first name; even his own brother Chan does so in the movie.
- If Word Of God actually did follow Eastern naming convention, Liu Kang's brother would have been named Liu Chow (comics) or Liu Chan (movie), instead of Chow Kang or Chan Kang. Word Of God either did not do the homework or They Just Didn't Care, figuring that their target audience didn't, either.
- Badass: Since he won the first four MK games, having defeated the likes of Shang Tsung and Shao Kahn, there's no way he couldn't be this.
- Badass Grandpa: Non-canonically, he eventually ages into this by the end of MKX.
- Back from the Dead: Subverted. By the end of X, Liu Kang remains dead.
- Bare-Fisted Monk: For the most part.
- Battle Couple: With Kitana. As the new rulers of the Netherrealm.
- Broken Ace: Becomes more prominent as the series goes on. He may be the Mortal Kombat Champion and protector of Earthrealm, but this also means putting the greater good before his own desires (notably, rejecting Kitana's offer to rule Edenia). Getting murdered by Shang Tsung causes his vengeful zombie to kill many of his own allies, an act he still feels responsible for. By MK9, he he loses most of his friends and allies over the course of the game including Kitana, loses faith in his mentor, and in his mind essentially leaves Earthrealm defenseless. In Legacy, he also becomes so disillusioned that he ends up working for Shang Tsung. And by the end of X, he's now in charge of the Netherrealm, though it's unclear if he and Kitana have lost their sense of morality now that they're free of Quan Chi's influence.
- Liu Kang's new character arc seems to focus on the humanity aspect of his life instead of portraying him as the do-gooder shaolin monk of the original timeline. Prior to the reboots, it seemed that we knew nothing much of Liu Kang outside of him being a master martial artist. The reboots desire to examine how much of a toll it's taken on him to constantly sacrifice his personal desires to do the right thing in a world bigger and crueler than the shaolin temples. Shades of him embracing more human desires/vices such as a relationship in Mortal Kombat Legacy; crueler ambitions such as personal conquest (MK 9) and domination (MKX) are now coming out more and more now that he's no longer interested in doing the purely just ideals. While the relationship and possible crimes in Legacy are embracing human desires, his cruel ambitions and mean streak are also indicative of a man who has completely lost his faith. Who knows now if he's going to get it back or if he's not going to embrace a new faith. Losing a lot of said faith in Raiden hasn't helped matters much.
- Brought Down to Normal: In his non-canon human form, Liu Kang is no longer The Ageless in MKX, due to both the title of Eternal Champion of Mortal Kombat and the tournament itself being defunct.
- Bruce Lee Clone: He even had his own in-games vocals when the other men all had the same. It's most prominent in the first game, with Lee's tradmark bare-chestedness and black pants.
- Catch Phrase: "Face me in Mortal Kombat!" Lampshaded by Kung Jin and Shinnok in their interaction dialogues.
- Celibate Hero: He passed up on Kitana's offer of ruling Edenia with her after Mortal Kombat 4, because of his status as the Champion of Earthrealm. Being a Shaolin monk might have also had something to do with it.
- The Champion: For Raiden. Probably doesn't consider it so much of an honor anymore after the events of 9. He is eventually replaced by Johnny Cage of all people.
- Despair Event Horizon/Trauma Conga Line: All of his friends save for Cage and Sonya die, he finds his faith in Raiden completely shattered, and dies a horrible death when he attacks the latter out of rage. Eventually he gets somewhat better after Shinnok's second defeat in the end of Mortal Kombat X when Dark Raiden tosses the evil god's head to him and Kitana.
- The Dragon: To Quan Chi in [MKX, as he's shown reporting directly to him among the revenants.
- Dragons Up the Yin Yang: One of his fatalities in MKII, in which he turns into a Chinese Dragon and consumes the upper body of his opponent. This fatality was turned into an Animality in MK3 and back into a normal fatality in MK4.
- Drunk with Power: In Shang Tsung's Arcade Ending in 9, he becomes this after successfully taking Raiden's place as a god and Protector of Earthrealm, and turning into a power-mad tyrant.
- The Emperor: His apparently-semi-canon Arcade ending in MKX. He's no sorcerer or Elder God, but his masterful combat skills are more than enough to establish him as the new ruler of the Netherrealm following Shinnok's defeat, with an eye towards expanding his new domain. And the ending of Story Mode sees Liu and Kitana ruling the hell-plane side-by-side.
- Everything's Funkier with Disco: In his Friendship in MKII, a disco ball comes down from the top of the screen as he starts to dance.
- Evil Feels Good: Unlike some of the other revenants, Liu Kang is pretty content with his current existence because of how angry and betrayed he feels by Raiden. This eventually manifests itself as his willing ascension to Netherrealm emperor during the Evil Power Vacuum that ensues following Quan Chi and Shinnok's defeats.
- Face-Heel Turn: As an undead renevant, he's one of the few heroes who is willingly become evil, more or less thanks to his hatred towards Raiden. By the end of Story mode he is installed as the emperor of the Netherrealm, meaning he is now a direct foe of Earthrealm. Most Arcade Endings usually have him becoming evil at the end.
- Fallen Hero: Liu must have taken notes from Jin Kazama, as he is this in Legacy and possibly also in X.
- Faith Heel Turn: He does this in 9, when he starts to believe that Raiden's visions are turning him insane. This culminates with Liu Kang completely turning against him and the Elder Gods, when Raiden tells Liu Kang that the Big Bad must be allowed to win.
- In Arcade Mode, he does this again in a much more substantial fashion, upending Raiden as the protector of Earthrealm, and becoming a Drunk with Power tyrant.
- Famous Ancestor: Like his friend Kung Lao, Liu Kang is also descended from The Great Kung Lao.
- Which technically makes them distant cousins.
- Friendly Rivalry: It's more visible in X, but he seems to have one with Kung Lao. It helps that the latter is portrayed sometimes as being jealous of Liu's skills.
- Funny Bruce Lee Noises: More subdued in recent games, but it is a quite infamous trait of his.
- Go and Sin No More: After defeating Kitana in Chapter 5 of 9, he spares her life and convinces her subtly to change her ways.
- Killed Off for Real: At the beginning of Deadly Alliance in the original timeline, and at the end of Mortal Kombat 9, as well.
- The Hero: He's the main hero of the series. However, with the exception of Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks and the movies, he's not the main focus. He has won each tournament in the first four games, cementing his status as Champion. Until...
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Kung Lao.
- Impossible Shadow Puppets: His MK3's Friendship has Liu Kang using his fingers to make a shadow puppet of the MK dragon.
- Invincible Hero: He's the least complicated character in the franchise storywise, and he was the in-story winner of the first four games. And then BRUTALLY averted in both Deadly Alliance and 9.
- In Spite of a Nail: In both timelines he becomes an undead warrior. A zombie in the original and a revenant in the current one.
- Irony: Refused Kitana's offer to rule Edenia by her side in the original timeline. In MKX, both he and Kitana rule the Netherrealm.
- Jack of All Stats: He has a decent mix of fast projectiles and kicks. Naturally, he's designed as the most accessible character.
- Lightning Bruiser: In 9, he's the second-fastest character in the game behind Kabal.
- Kiai: The God of the Trope.
- Late-Arrival Spoiler: If you plan to play Deception or Armageddon (or even 9, considering what the intro shows), bear in mind that he got killed at the beginning of Deadly Alliance and Came Back Wrong as a zombie.
- Long-Haired Pretty Boy: MK3 and on.
- Martial Arts Headband: Liu Kang wore a red one starting from MKII on.
- Martial Pacifist: Before MKII. He's brutal (his punches still produce blood like any other character), but his Fatality in the first game did not explicitly kill his opponent.
- Mr. Fanservice: Most of his outfits are shirtless. And also he wears a very tight tank top in 4.
- My Kung-Fu Is Stronger Than Yours: One of his pre-match dialogues against Kung Lao in MKX.Liu Kang: "Shaolin Wushu has no equal!"
Kung Lao: "Kung Lun Chuang is far superior!"
Liu Kang: "Your arrogance is matched only by your ignorance!"
- Older Than They Look: In MKX, 25 years after Shinnok's defeat, aside his graying hair, he still looks quite young. That said, his human depiction in the game is non-canon, for Liu Kang remains a revenant at this point.
- Playing with Fire: His dragon-shaped fiery projectiles attacks.
- The Protagonist: In the first four games, as he's the character most invested in actually winning the tournament and dealing with Shang Tsung among other enemies (in the first game, this was to return honor to the Shaolin tournament after the death of his ancestor, though other games retcon the purpose of the tournament).
- Rage Against the Mentor: In 9, Raiden's constantly screw ups which led to the deaths of his friends take their toll on his patience. He loses all faith in his mentor and is determined to do things on his own. Even in his dying breaths, he curses Raiden for all that's happened to them.
- Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs: In his "Fire Fists" variation in Mortal Kombat X, his staple Bicycle Kick is swapped out for a series of rapid-fire body blows called Windmill Punches.
- It's also one of his Brutalities, in which he delivers them all to the opponent's face. Ouch.
- Red Baron: As stated above, he is known as "The Immortal Champion of Mortal Kombat."
- Red Is Heroic: He is the main hero of the series, and always has a red color motif in his outfits.
- Red and Black and Evil All Over: As Quan Chi's revenant, and later, as ruler of the Netherrealm.
- Ret Canon: The affection between him and Kitana was inserted into the games after the success of the first film:
- In his ending in 4, Kitana offers him the chance to rule by her side in Edenia and presumably other rewards. He politely declines, choosing to respect his duties as Earthrealm's champion. Then Liu Kang gets killed at the beginning of Deadly Alliance.
- In MK9, he spares Kitana's life after he defeats her in their first battle. This plays a part of Kitana's High Heel-Face Turn, and there's an affection growing on both of them to the other. Unfortunately, after the group's battle with Sindel, Kitana is mortally wounded and passes away in Liu Kang's arms.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Goes on one of these in II after his Shaolin temple is massacred by Baraka and his warriors.
- Likewise, this is the result of Kung Lao's "death" at the hands of Shao Kahn in MK3. When it happens for real in MK9, Liu punches a hole straight through Kahn's stomach, seemingly felling him.
- Screaming Warrior: Hardly attacks without screaming his kiais.
- Series Mascot: While not as iconic as Scorpion or Sub-Zero, he's still The Hero of the series, with a dragon motif to evoke the iconic logo.
- She Is Not My Girlfriend: Constantly has to bicker with Kung Lao about this regarding Kitana in Shaolin Monks. Gets a brief nod in 9.
- In X, a pre-match intro against Mileena has her refer to Liu as "Sister's boyfriend!" He brushes off her claims with a half-annoyed, half-amused "Insane as always..." Of course, this is the game where Liu and Kitana are actually shown to be a Ruling Couple, so...
- Spam Attack: His Flying Bicycle Kick.
- Spirit Advisor: Serves as this to Ermac in Deception. After Ermac helps free his friends, he tags along with Kitana for a bit (as their strong connection keeps him tethered to life) before Nightwolf volunteers to be his spiritual anchor in Armageddon. In an example of role reversal, he also serves as this to his former master Bo' Rai Cho in his Deception ending, complete with a Rousing Speech.
- Spirited Competitor: Has a bit of this in MK9. He shows some admiration of Kitana's fighting abilities when they first meet, and his battle cry ("Show me what you can do!") seems to showcase some his more competitive traits.
- Stance System: In X, his variations are Dragon's Fire, Flame Fist and Dualist. Furthermore, his "Dualist" variation allows him to swap between a light and dark chi, changing the properties of his projectiles.
- Stunned Silence: In the stinger for Mortal Kombat X, Liu Kang and Kitana do this in response to Dark Raiden's Badass Boast.
- Tall, Dark and Handsome: Only the "tall" part might be an exception, as there are many others taller than him.
- Thou Shalt Not Kill: Sort of. Despite still being labeled a Fatality, his butterfly kick/uppercut finishing move in MK1 didn't show the screen darkening like the other characters' finishing moves did, inferring that it was nonlethal in comparison as an example of his Shaolin beliefs. This was changed in MKII's variation of this particular Fatality, and he's been just as graphic as other competitors since.
- Token Good Teammate: Mainly in the first game. While most of the characters had either evil or selfish motivations, Liu Kang's goal was specifically to end Shang Tsung's rule of the tournament. The subsequent retcons placed him within a larger group of heroes with Raiden as the mentor, though he's still the main hero.
- Unstoppable Rage: A trait of his channeled in some of his endings. Notably, his rage at the destruction of his temple "unleashes a fury that doesn't stop until the defeat of Shao Kahn." A similar rage comes up when Kung Lao "dies" in MK3 and dies for real in MK9.
- Walking Shirtless Scene: He has been shirtless for almost all of the series, the only exceptions being MK4, parts of MK9, and MKX.
- Warrior Monk: A Shaolin Monk. He mostly peaceful and kind, but a very skilled warrior.
- The Worf Effect: Deadly Alliance is used to show just how dangerous the titular duo are by murdering Liu Kang. He put up a good showing, but then Quan Chi blindsided him.
- Liu Kang may be the best Earthrealm combatant but as a god Raiden still outstrips him in terms of power. In [[MK 9=]], He even accidentally kills him in an attempt to subdue him.
- World's Best Warrior: As the Mortal Kombat Champion, Liu Kang is considered to be the best combatant Earthrealm has to offer.
Tropes related to Liu Kang (Zombie)
- Amazing Technicolor Population: He displays an unhealty skin color combination of green and gray.
- Back from the Dead: His soul is in Outworld, but his body just kept on fighting without him.
- Came Back Wrong: His corpse, revived by Raiden. Subverted with his soul, which retains his true essence.
- Best Served Cold: Shows up in the Armageddon intro to confront Shang Tsung, his neck still snapped from when Shang killed him. After snapping his neck back, it's on. If 9 is any indication, Zombie Liu Kang managed to kill Shang Tsung and prevent him from reaching the top of Argus' Pyramid.
- Chained by Fashion: By learning the secrets of an ancient cult known as the Houan sect, Raiden was able to use necromancy and his lightning powers to reanimate Liu Kang's body with the help of bloody ceremonial chains. Unfortunately, these chains are not used as weapons in gameplay (they're only seen being wielded by Liu Kang in the intro to Armageddon).
- Chinese Vampire: Being a Chinese zombie monk who knows kung-fu makes him this.
- Demonic Possession: Used as a fatality in Deception. He transforms his body into a spiritual state and enters the victim's body, possessing it. A second later, the victim rips their own head off to reveal his head replacing it before bowing down.
- Everything's Deader with Zombies: Instead of leaving him dead, they got to bring him back as a zombie. Though zombies don't actually look too out of place in the MK verse.
- Monster from Beyond the Veil: It's Liu Kang coming back from the dead...as a zombie.
- Our Zombies Are Different: Despite actually having the appearance of a typical zombie, he is still as fast in combat as he was when he was alive.
- Stance System:
- In Deception, he has Jun Fan and Pao Chui as unarmed styles, and Nunchaku as weapon style.
- In Armageddon, he drops Pao Chui.
- The Undead: His body just keeps on fighting with no life. His soul lies in Outworld.
Debut game: Mortal Kombat (Carlos Pesina)
Other appearances: Mortal Kombat II (Carlos Pesina), Mortal Kombat Trilogy (Carlos Pesina), Mortal Kombat 4, Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance (Carlos Pesina), Mortal Kombat: Deception, Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks, Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero (Michael Garvey), Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, (Richard Epcar), Mortal Kombat 9 (Richard Epcar), Mortal Kombat X (Richard Epcar)
Non-game appearances: Mortal Kombat: The Movie (Christopher Lambert), Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (James Remar), Mortal Kombat: Conquest (Jeffrey Meek), Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm (Clancy Brown), Mortal Kombat: Legacy (Ryan Robbins)
Raiden is the eternal God of Thunder and former protector of Earthrealm. Being a god, he possesses many supernatural abilities and a radically different outlook on life than a mere mortal.
When Earthrealm was young, Raiden was its protector. With the aid of the Elder Gods, Raiden managed to defeat Shinnok, a rogue Elder God who wished to rule it, and managed to banish him in the Netherealm. Some time later, Shang Tsung invited Raiden to participate in Mortal Kombat. Aware of the threat posed by this tournament to the future of Earthrealm, Raiden took human form to compete. One year later, the Thunder God found that he had no choice but to accept Shang Tsung's offer of Mortal Kombat in Outworld. When Shao Kahn reached the Earthrealm by merging it with the Outworld, Raiden was able to protect the souls of his Choosen Warriors, but couldn't join the fight himself. Following Liu Kang's defeat of Shao Kahn, Raiden and his warriors again entered battle when Shinnok escaped the Netherealm to once more wage war against the Gods; when the Forces of Light emerged successful, he was granted the status of Elder God and turned over his position as Earthrealm's protector to Fujin.
As an Elder God, Raiden could not interfere when Shang Tsung and Quan Chi killed Liu Kang many years later. Disgusted at his peers for their refusal to intervene, he renounced his position as an Elder, gathering his warriors to stop the Deadly Alliance. This time, disaster struck the heroes. Raiden confronted the two sorcerers in front of the Soulnado chamber, but was defeated by the Alliance as Onaga, the Dragon King, entered the scene. In a desperate measure, Raiden released his godly essence, the effect of which was a single, massive explosion that apparently killed him but did not harm Onaga. While Raiden's essence soon gathered again in the Earthrealm, since his essence was corrupted because of Onaga, he had now became furious with the way Earthrealm's inhabitants had treated their own realm. He started by punishing Shujinko for his unwilling role in the Dragon King's return.
His doings in Deception caught the attention of the Forces of Light; Raiden joined their ranks during the Battle of Armageddon in an attempt to secretly uncover and prevent any plans that could harm Earthrealm.
Raiden is the linchpin of the entire plot of Mortal Kombat 9. Having received visions of his future self's death at the hands of the Outworld emperor, he believes it is his duty to avert the terrible fate that awaits the realms at the end of the timeline. However the visions are unclear and do not specifically indicate what must be changed, leaving Raiden to interpret them of his own...
Tropes related to normal Raiden
- All Asians Wear Conical Straw Hats: His iconic hat has been present in all of his outfits.
- All Myths Are True: Seems to be the case if his relationship with Nightwolf is any indication.
- All of Them: Raiden is a master of all 750 variants of Jujitsu.
- And Your Reward Is Clothes: His unlockable second costume in 9 is Raiden (post-Deadly Alliance as Dark Raiden).
- Badass: Made clear in the more recent games. Deception had take on Quan Chi and Shang Tsung as the same time and did better against them the rest of the heroes did collectively, though he still lost. Mortal Kombat 9 has Quan Chi sick undead versions of the warriors killed by Sindel and beats them, and later, he kills Liu Kang, which occurred when he was trying to avoid killing him.
- Battle Aura: In the first game, 4, and Deadly Alliance, his body constantly generates lightning bolts.
- Big Good: He is one of the only gods who actively help the Earthrealm warriors and guides them as their mentor. Made more visible in 9, where he tells the characters to act according to his visions. This doesn't end well, however.
- In fact, by the time 9 rolls around he could quite easily be read as a deconstruction. God or no, Raiden is exactly as fallible as every other character on the roster, and it costs Earthrealm dearly.
- Complete Immortality: Raiden has lived for millions of years. At the end of Deadly Alliance to try and stop Onaga he self-destructed by releasing his godly essence only to reform later.
- A Day in the Limelight:
- The Cameo: He appears as an unlockable character in Unreal Championship 2: The Liandri Conflict (with Shao Kahn serving as the announcer), NFL Blitz, and NBA Jam: Tournament Edition (alongside Shinnok), as well as making a bonus round cameo in a pinball machine, Bally's 1994 World Cup Championship.
- Deadpan Snarker: Mostly in the movies, but it pops up a bit in the games.
- Raiden does this quite a bit more in pre-fight banter in Mortal Kombat X, especially if he's facing a comedic character.
- Dreaming of Things to Come: In MK9, Raiden has visions of future events As seen by his past/future self. Trying to take advantage or ignore these visions causes much of the strife of the game's story mode. Raiden either still contemplates or is still receiving visions in MKX, which causes him to send Cassie Cage to kill Shujinko before he can release Onaga and start the path to Armageddon.
- Eleventh Hour Superpower: In the middle of a Book Ends moment in 9, he's re-empowered by the Elder Gods, and he manages to put the Big Bad in his place. Sadly, this doesn't do anything gameplay-wise, aside from making his voice distorted.
- Enemy Mine: In the intro for Deception, he briefly joins Shang Tsung and Quan Chi when attempting to stop the Dragon King. He considered doing it again with Quan Chi in 9, to save Earthrealm from Shao Kahn's invasion.
- Everything's Better with Samurai: The motif behind his alt. in Deadly Alliance (which would be passed on to his darker persona in Deception). Among other things, his pants are replaced by hakama and a katana is fashioned to his waist. The costume also reveals Raiden to have long hair (it's somewhat noticeable in his default costume, but you have to squint).
- Fallen Hero: Liu Kang sees him as this in 9. He actually becomes it at the end of X.
- God in Human Form: He has an ethereal true form, but takes the appearance of a human to fight in the series.
- God Is Flawed: In spite of his godly power, he has some trouble interpreting correctly his visions in 9. It screws up things badly for the heroes' side, leaving only Johnny Cage and Sonya as the survivors among his champions.
- God of Good: One of the few gods of the series who actively helps the heroes.
- Guilt Complex: Gets one in 9. He constantly misinterprets the message his future-self sent and doesn't realize what it really meant until the final chapter. By then, his attempts to change the original timeline resulted in terrible repercussions for many characters. He realises this is all his fault.
- Hammerspace: He pulls his staff out of nowhere.
- Heroic BSOD/Despair Event Horizon: Seems to have crossed this threshold in 9 with the deaths of most his allies (including Liu Kang, whom he accidentally killed himself), the futility of his actions to prevent Armageddon (including getting called out by Liu Kang), and the Elder Gods turning their backs on him due to technicalities. He was about to strike up an alliance with Quan Chi, for Fujin's sake!
- He Who Fights Monsters: Suggested to start becoming this in Mortal Kombat X. In the same game, Kotal Kahn's ending sees Raiden take Shao Kahn's place as an aggressor who attempts to conquer Outworld, with Kotal taking Raiden's old place and invoking the laws of Mortal Kombat to give Outworld a fighting chance.
- Hot God: He takes the form of a handsome man in blue and white and wearing a hat. In his alternate outfits for Deadly Alliance to Armageddon, he goes shirtless with a great mane of white hair.
- Hurting Hero: It's hard not to feel sorry for Raiden during the events of Mortal Kombat 9. His actions slowly keep making things worse for Earthrealm, the heroes die one by one under his watch, and the Elder Gods seem to be pulling a major The Gods Must Be Lazy trip. By the end of the game, his actions narrowly prevented Armageddon from happening, but at the cost of practically all of Earthrealm's champions. Even Liu Kang, Raiden's favored champion, is dead (although unintentionally) by his own hand at the end, after having first turned on him for the tragedies he so far caused. He carries the guilt of his actions throughout the entire game and you can tell it takes its toll. By the game's ending, he's emotionally exhausted. And The Stinger at the end just makes it even worse. Seriously, the guy probably needs a hug badly when all's said and done.
- This gets even worse in X. It seems that at least some of the villains (Kano for sure, possibly others) are only too eager to remind him it was his fault. The guy just can't catch a break.
- Idiot Ball: A glaring one in Mortal Kombat 9 has Raiden standing back and doing nothing as Lin Kuei cyber-ninjas attack Sub-Zero and take him away, even going as far as to stop Smoke from helping out. This is despite the fact that, in a nearly identical situation involving Smoke, Raiden didn't hesitate to blast all of the cyber-ninjas with lightning, taking them out and saving Smoke. He stated that if he got involved that it would make the situation worse, but even then that was a weak excuse... especially considering his attempts to not intervene in the game's events were only making things worse.
- In-Series Nickname: In 9, Nightwolf (one of the few spiritually aware Earthrealm dwellers; he's apparently communed with Raiden a few times in the past) occasionally refers to him as Haokah, the spirit of thunder and lightning in Lakota mythology.
- In Spite of a Nail: He transforms into Dark Raiden following the events of MKX. This time, instead of being corrupted by Onaga's energies, it's implied the negative essence of Shinnok that Raiden exposed himself to in order to cleanse the Jinsei is what did the thunder god in.
- It Is Pronounced Tro PAY: Even in modern games, his name is still pronounced "Ray-din" instead of the more accurate "Rye-den." This may have to do with the situation in the Spell My Name with an "S" example.
- Large Ham: Especially in the first movie.
- Large And In Charge: Second-heaviest of the kombatants at 350 pounds. Goro has him beat by 200 pounds. He is also 7 feet tall according to canon (although, like most heights in this series, it's not accurately conveyed in most cases).
- Late-Arrival Spoiler: Same warning as with Liu Kang. If you plan to play Armageddon, remember that Raiden became Darker and Edgier.
- Like a Son to Me: In X, he mournfully expresses this sentiment towards Liu Kang and Kung Lao.
- Meaningful Name: Raiden is Japanese for "thunder and lightning."
- Megaton Punch: One of his fatalities is an explosive uppercut that literally blows his enemies into pieces.
- Mentor: To Liu Kang. Perhaps most evident in the movie, the DC crossover, and 9.
- Mr. Fanservice: In his alternate outfits from Deadly Alliance to Armageddon.
- Myself, What Have I Done?: After he accidentally fries Liu Kang in self defense in 9.
- Nice Guy: Very much so.
- Nice Hat: An iconic feature of the character.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: His role in 9 ultimately falls into this. Most of the casualties on the heroes' side can be traced to his doings. He deeply regrets this.
- The Obi-Wan: Mostly to Liu Kang. He drives the warriors of Earthrealm to save their land through his visions in 9.
- One-Man Army: Is able to take on the entirety of the army of fallen heroes that Quan Chi had resurrected to serve him. This is while away from Earthrealm, where Raiden's powers are at their strongest.
- Out-Gambitted: The ending of 9 shows that Shinnok had been manipulating the events of the story the whole time, and it is strongly implied that he, too, messed with the timeline just as Raiden did (for example, Quan Chi, his servant, was not present in the original events, but features heavily here). So really, Raiden didn't actually make things worse at all, since Future Raiden could not account for the Elder Gods and in retrospect Raiden made barely any significant changes, and his role in the new timeline is actually roughly the same it was in the first.
- Related in the Adaptation: In Annihilation, Raiden is Shao Kahn's brother and son of Shinnok.
- Retcon: Raiden's story in the first title was much more self-serving, as he had been invited by Shang Tsung to compete and does so in order to prove mortals are puny when matched with a god. His ending from that game has him overthrow the tournament and turn it into a showcase of the gods (that eventually destroy the world). Later games throw this characterization out the window and instead portray him as a concerned protector who feels he must participate in order to avert disaster (as this happens after the first movie also changed the entire story of the first game).
- Physical God: Its been stated his true form is ethereal, but he has to take a physical form to participate in mortal events.
- Pint-Sized Powerhouse: His friendship from MKII has him summoning a miniature version of himself called "Kidd Thunder!"
- Senseless Sacrifice: He sacrifices himself and releases his godly essence into a massive explosion in order to kill Onaga, but despite this, the Dragon King is unharmed.
- His final actions at the end of Armageddon, which set up the events of 9, could also be seen as this, since his past self really does make things MUCH worse before they get any better.
- Shock and Awe: He is the God of Thunder, after all. He controls lightning in many different ways.
- Ludicrous Gibs: A side effect of many of his electric fatalities.
- Psycho Electric Eel: His Animality from Trilogy.
- Ride The Lightning: Whenever he teleports, there's a bolt of lighting that strikes his position.
- Stripped to the Bone: In one of his DC crossover fatalities, he uses his electric powers to burn off all the opponent's flesh, leaving behind their smoking skeleton.
- Your Head A Splode: As a Fatality. And yes, it's related to electricity.
- Silence, You Fool!: In the first movie. And he's a GOOD guy.
- Spanner in the Works: In 9. Despite being out-gambitted by Shinnok and Quan Chi, Raiden is poised to be this to them because he managed to survive everything. Quan Chi didn't expect that, though Shinnok believes it won't make any difference.
- Spell My Name with an "S": Depending on the game continuity or the platform in which he appears, Raiden is sometimes called Rayden, because of copyright issues as a Shoot 'em Up was also named Raiden, or possibly to keep from confusing him with Raiden from the Fatal Fury series. Curiously, sketches from Deadly Alliance also use the Rayden spelling.
- Supporting Protagonist: Becomes this during the events of Mortal Kombat 9, with most of the plot revolving around his attempt to Set Right What Once Went Wrong.
- Stance System:
- Stealth Pun: One of his Fatalities involves using a staff while electrocuting the opponent. Basically, he's using a lightning rod.
- Teleport Spam: He's always had a teleport but it becomes the focus of his "Displacer" variation in MKX, which allows him to zip back and forth mid-combo in order to attack his enemy from both sides (he can also do a delayed teleport in this mode, allowing him to phase out briefly then phase back in once his opponent is confused where he'll reappear).
- Time Abyss: Millions of years old if not older.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: In 9 he rams Motaro through a bridge to save Cage, killing Motaro. Unfortunately, this action causes Shao Kahn to take off his kiddie gloves and empower Sindel with Shang Tsung's soul (and all of the souls Shang absorbed by proxy), leading to her bloody No-Holds-Barred Beatdown of the heroes and their subsequent resurrection and enslavement at the hands of Quan Chi.
Tropes related to Dark Raiden
- Amazing Technicolor Population: His skin is grey.
- Battle Trophy: He is seen wearing Shinnok's amulet in The Stinger of MKX.
- Badass Boast: More like an ultimatum/warning to the new rulers of the Netherrealm Liu Kang and Kitana:Dark Raiden: "Time and again, we've defeated our enemies. But we've exacted no retribution. Demanded no remuneration. What have we gained for our mercy? More intrigue. More senseless violence. As the new rulers of the Netherrealm, heed me. No longer will I simply defend Earthrealm. I will seek out and destroy all who threaten it. No mercy will be shown. No quarter given." (brings out and tosses Shinnok's head to the floor) "Shinnok was an Elder God. Impossible to kill. There are fates worse than death."
- Badass Cape: Tattered and torn in Deception, Armageddon, and 9.
- Came Back Wrong: A less extreme example than most, but according to Fujin, he should have been resurrected as a blank slate. Instead, he comes back Darker and Edgier.
- Continuity Rebooter: In 9, he sends a message to his past self on the brink of destruction at Shao Kahn's hands, which starts the entire alternate timeline of the series.
- Dark Messiah: After his attempt to destroy Onaga failed, he reconstituted darker, and became disgusted with the humans' doings. Shujinko's screw-up souring him only made things worse. It's unknown how he becomes Dark Raiden again in MKX (likely by absorbing the corruption of the Jinsei Chamber) but he exhibits very much of the same behavior.
- In his non-canon Deception ending, he still kills Shujinko, despite the fact that he managed to save the Earthrealm.
- Evil Costume Switch/Paint It Black: Both his main and alternate outfits are more or less unchanged from Deadly Alliance, but the color schemes are now primarily darker colors, mostly black. He functions as this for normal Raiden in 9 and X; an alternate costume/cutscene cameo in the former, and an alternate costume/resurrection in the latter.
- Evil Sounds Deep: Or at least, Darker and Edgier Sounds Deeper. His narration in Deception (in his ending, where he kills Shujinko) is a fair bit deeper than that of his narration from Deadly Alliance.
- Face-Heel Turn: After his resurrection, he becomes disillusioned with the way of humans and tried to destroy anything that could possibly harm Earthrealm.
- Heel Realization: Quite possibly the entire reason he attempts to change history in 9, coupled with Shao Kahn's victory. His revival of Liu Kang is one of the key events shown in the flashback message he sends to his past self.
- Death Equals Redemption/Redemption Equals Death: Implied, though the short window of opportunity he has to act upon makes it hard to tell which case it is. Right as Shao Kahn is about to drop the hammer, Dark Raiden's eyes return to their original blue coloration as the beaten and bloodied thunder god utters "He must win" with his final breaths.
- Heel Realization: Quite possibly the entire reason he attempts to change history in 9, coupled with Shao Kahn's victory. His revival of Liu Kang is one of the key events shown in the flashback message he sends to his past self.
- Fling a Light into the Past: Pretty much what he does in MK9. After the events of Armageddon, he sends a message across time and space to his younger self of the first game's timeframe, in order to prevent the repeating of events. He believes that, with proper warning, his past self will not make the same mistakes that brought the fate of the timeline which ends with Armageddon.
- Glowing Eyes of Doom: During Deception and onward, combined with Red Eyes, Take Warning (Supernatural Gold Eyes in MKX).
- Good Is Not Nice: He's an Omnicidal Neutral if anything. He will not hesitate in outright killing anybody who so much as threatens Earthrealm, or giving them a Cruel and Unusual Death while he is at it. Worse if you are immortal, as Dark Raiden's grand reappearance in The Stinger of X is presenting what he had done with Shinnok to Liu Kang and Kitana.Dark Raiden: "There are fates worse than death."
- Heel-Face Turn: Implied in the last few seconds of his life in the original timeline. As he sends his message, his glowing red eyes slowly turn blue again.
- Idiot Ball: If he would have been more specific with his message, the amount of casualties suffered on the heroes' side would have most likely been avoided.
- Put on a Bus: He is absent from the series following Armageddon and only shows up in cutscenes from that era, given that he was essentially erased from history. It doesn't stick.
- Stance System:
- In Deception he has Nan Chuan and Jujutsu as unarmed styles, and Staff as weapon style.
- In Armageddon he drops Jujutsu.
- Taking You with Me: In Deception, he tries to pull this off against Onaga, but in vain. It actually works straight when used as a Fatality in that same game.
- Trailers Always Lie: All promotional art of Raiden in Deception as well as his appearances throughout most of that game's Konquest Mode use his depiction from Deadly Alliance, perhaps as to not spoil the transformation he had undergone there.
- A similar thing occurs in X, where the trailers showed Raiden delivering his "fates worse than death" line but looking completely normal when it was definitely Dark Raiden who said it.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Saving the Earth first by resurrecting Liu Kang and making him into a killer zombie, and then by destroying all the other realms, even those that were harmless to the Earth itself... yeah.
Debut game: Mortal Kombat (Daniel Pesina)
Other appearances: Mortal Kombat II (Daniel Pesina), Mortal Kombat 3 (John Turk), Mortal Kombat 4, Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance, Mortal Kombat: Deception (cameo), Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks, Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, Mortal Kombat 9,Mortal Kombat X (Steve Blum)
Non-game appearances: Mortal Kombat: The Movie (Keith Cooke), Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (Mark Caso/Sultan Uddin), Mortal Kombat: Conquest (Jon Valera), Mortal Kombat: Rebirth (Richard Dorton)
A green-garbed, human-like reptilian creature. Reptile is said to be physically hideous and repulsive, but he is renowned for his great stealth, impressive fighting skills and unquestioning loyalty. Reptile has an obsession about finding the last remaining member of his race, the Saurians, and freeing his homeworld Zaterra from Outworld's grasp; While well-meaning and sincere, this obsession is so important to him that it causes him temporary fits of insanity.
After acting as a stealthy bodyguard to Shang Tsung during the first Mortal Kombat, he returned to his master, Shao Kahn, in order to aid him in the Outworld tournament, under the promise that Kahn would release the remaining members of Reptile's race from slavery if he would unquestioningly do his bidding. Such an opportunity arose During the Earthrealm invasion: he and Jade were to recapture an escaped Kitana, killing her if necessary. He did not succeed, as Jade betrayed him to help Kitana. After the war he was bought to Edenia as prisoner, and subsequently exiled to the Netherealm. Reptile grasped the opportunity to join Shinnok's army, hoping for the rogue Elder God to revive his race. Alas, when he found himself on the losing side once more, he decided to resume his service to Shao Kahn.
Because of his state of separation from the other members of his race, especially his matriarch, Reptile had begun to show signs of devolution, becoming progressively more insane and saurian-like. When Reptile wasn't able to protect his master from the recently formed Deadly Alliance, he went into an even greater madness. Desperately looking for a new master, he eventually came across the vampire Nitara, who shared with him artifacts and knowledges of his lost people, the Zaterran. This was enough to gain Reptile's trust; she send him to fight Cyrax in order to advance her own agenda. Afterward, when Reptile realized that she was going to leave him behind, he tracked her down to an ancient incubating chamber, but she was already gone. All that remained was the almost fully incubated egg of Onaga the Dragon King. The egg hatched, a beam of light struck Reptile as the Saurian's body became the vessel for the reincarnated Onaga.
After the fall of the Dragon King at the hand of the Forces of Light, Reptile found himself free from the villain's possession. At the time of the Armageddon, he seems to be part of the Red Dragon clan's human-reptilian hybrids experimentations. It's not clear if he's willing, but this might have been another way, in his eyes, to get his Saurian race to be restored.
Reptile is pretty much the same he's ever been in Mortal Kombat 9: an assassin for Shang Tsung and foot soldier for Outworld. As a minor modification to his role, he no longer hides in the shadows of the Mortal Kombat tournament but is instead an official participant, fighting on behalf of Outworld. He is quickly eliminated but continues to offer his services to Shang Tsung in other areas as the tournament progresses. In Mortal Kombat X, Reptile's real name of Syzoth is revealed and when Outworld plunges into a civil war, he's among the first to join up with the newly-appointed emperor, Kotal Kahn.
- Alien Blood: It's green.
- Anti-Villain (The Woobie Type): Even though he sides with the likes of Shao Kahn and Shinnok, all he wants is to revive his extinct reptilian race. Later games suggest that over the centuries since his race's destruction, he's been ever so slowly going mad, and attaches himself to whatever authority figure he can. After Shao Kahn's apparent death, he almost immediately enters Nitara's servitude.
- MKX has a new leader of Outworld; Kotal Kahn. Reptile is under his command as well, though Kotal has earned Reptile's respect instead of pressing him into service.
- The Artifact: He was originally conceived as a composite version of Sub-Zero and Scorpion and wore a green ninja garb to reflect this. From Mortal Kombat II and onward, he gained his own moveset and backstory, and was no longer tied to Scorpion and Sub-Zero (he wasn't even a member of the Shirai Ryu nor the Lin Kuei). Despite this, he was still depicted as a palette swap of Scorpion and Sub-Zero until the switch to 3D with Mortal Kombat 4, where he was given a more reptilian appearance better suited for his namesake.
- Bonus Boss: The very first.
- Butt Monkey: With the exceptions of MKII (as it's his first time), Armageddon, 9 and MKX, pretty much every other ending of his can be boiled down to "His employers screwed him over":
- In Ultimate 3, he gets a promise from Shao Kahn to revive his race if he kills Kitana. He does it, but Shao Kahn breaks his part of the deal. Reptile kills him, but this denies him the chance to know what his true race is.
- In 4, he gets a denial, again, but this time from Shinnok. He succeeded during his fight against Earthrealm's warriors, so he talks to Quan Chi so that he may convince Shinnok to send Reptile back in time to his homeworld before it was destroyed. After a useless plea, Shinnok appears, does a Neck Lift on him, and Reptile's head explodes.
- And, in (surprisingly) the only canonical ending of Deadly Alliance, he finds Cyrax and Nitara's essence, but not any of them. Later, he's caught by an energy cascade around what was a dragon embryo, his body providing a host for Onaga, the Dragon King.
- In Mortal Kombat 9's story mode, despite that he survived the events of the game, he seems to exist solely to get his ass repeatedly kicked by the heroes. Although in the non-canon Arcade Mode, he DOES gets what he wants when he forced Shang Tsung to recreate his race, and then (presumably) kills him before he gets screwed again. And the rest of the existing races in Outworld before they can screw him.
- MKX, however, is better for Reptile. His boss and personal friend, Kotal Kahn, actually respects him, and in his ending he finds a hidden enclave of Raptors hidden beneath Earthrealm, along with a new queen to serve.
- Composite Character: In the 1992 original, where he was essentially Scorpion and Sub-Zero combined into one fighter, which is reflected by his color scheme (blue and yellow makes green).
- Divergent Character Evolution: From Mortal Kombat II, he gained his own moveset and a unique backstory.
- Downloadable Content: In 9, his classic skin from MK1/2/3 and his classic "Tasty Meal" fatality.
- Everything's Better with Monkeys: His Chimp Animality from UMK3.
- Everyone Calls Him Reptile: Besides, who, other than Raiden, even knows that Reptile's real name is Syzoth?
- Flash Step: His Running Serpent. Also pronounced in his Nimble variation in X.
- Green And Mean: He is a reptilian warrior clad in green clothing who fights for Outworld.
- Hollywood Acid: His vomit is strong enough to melt someone down into a skeleton in under a minute.
- His fatality in UMK3 has him vomit a gallon of "acid" on his opponent, melting their flesh clear off their skeleton.
- His fatality in 4 and Deadly Alliance has him reducing the enemy's head to a mere skull via acid. In the latter, he eats it.
- His fatalities in X employ his acid spit: one to melt the flesh off of his opponent's skull before splitting it like a watermelon, and another to reduce his opponent's body to a single hand (and making a snack of his victim's head before it can be melted away).
- Imagine Spot: Due to his waning lucidity, Deadly Alliance's Konquest Mode notes that Reptile's imagination tends to get out of hand frequently, causing him to daydream about hypothetical battles (such as he thwarting the Deadly Alliance's assassination attempt on Shao Kahn).
- I'm a Humanitarian: He can swallow an entire human head in one bite, and some of his fatalities has him ripping and eating the opponent's head, chameleon-style.
- Invisibility: He can turn invisible in nearly every game where he's playable. The MKX comics show him capable of applying it to an area of effect.
- I Owe You My Life: After his failure in the Mortal Kombat tournament against Johnny Cage in the beginning of MK 9, Reptile fell out of favor with Shao Kahn, and was ordered executed by Kotal's hand. The Osh-Tekk saw purpose in Reptile however, and recruited him to his personal unit, figuring Reptile's skills would be of far more use there than as a footsoldier. For this, and the personal friendship between the two, Kotal has earned Reptile's undying loyalty.
- It Was a Gift: The Kirehashi blade that he uses in Deadly Alliance and Armageddon is an ancient Raptor weapon offered to him as a sign of peace by Nitara. While this was mostly done to get Reptile's guard down and gain his trust so that Nitara could lure him over to her side, this also suggests that there is some sort of shared history between the people of Zaterra and Vaeternus (the Vampire race is said to be a record keeper of the history of other races, but it's unknown how deep their connection with other species were).
- Jobber: Has a tendency to repeatedly show up during 9's story mode to get beaten up.
- Ki Attack: His Force Ball, a projectile sphere attack that is mainly used to set up the enemy for a juggle.
- Last of His Kind: Well, he and Khameleon. Other Saurians do appear in the MKX mobile game, but it's canonicity is debatable.
- Neck Snap: He has a non-lethal version of this.
- No Respect Guy: Nobody ever gives him respect, until X, and even then the good guys still enjoy taking potshots at him.
- Now Buy The Merchandise: His Friendship in 2, in which he invites the player to "Buy a Reptile doll!"
- Overly Long Tongue: His Tasty Meal Fatality, and a few moves in MKX, like his grabs and Heart Attack Brutality.
- Pet the Dog: After decades of abuse, Reptile finally gets a good petting in MKX; His new master Kotal Kahn is not only the first master to not turn on him, but the first to treat Reptile as a valued member of his honor guard rather than a lackey.
- Rolling Attack: In some games, Reptile could curl himself up into a ball and roll forward, knocking the enemy down.
- Sanity Slippage: Starting with Deadly Alliance, its been shown that Reptile is mentally unstable due to his separation from his race, and his mental state has continued to deteriorate. In Konquest he's having full-blown battles with hallucinatory opponents, even once mistaking his then-master, Nitara, as one of the sorcerors. At the end, he "fights" the enemy he thinks has been the source of all his failures to the death. It was himself.
- 9 also brings up his insanity. In his arcade ending, he finally snaps and becomes an Omnicidal Maniac.
- Secret Character: The first secret character in the series. Later became a regular character.
- Guide Dang It: MK1 required sheer perfection and luck on one specific fight in order to obtain him. Every so often, the game would have him pop out and drop a hint on this. And if you want to know, you are required to be on The Pit stage ("Tip eht fo mottob"), win with a double Flawless Victory ("Perfection is the key") and finish the opponent with your character's fatality ("Fatality is the key") and NOT Block ("Blocking will get you nowhere"). The worst part of that was, Sonya couldn't fight him at all, because she had to Block in order to use her Fatality.
- Luck-Based Mission: Even after all that, a shadow has to fly past the moon for it to work ("Look to la luna"), which only occurs ONCE IN EVERY 6 CONSECUTIVE GAMES! (unless you're cheating on a console version, in whose case you don't get the bonus points).
- The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: The only time you're allowed to touch the block button is when inputting Sonya's fatality, the only one in the game that requires block.
- As part of MKX's homage MK 1 Tower, Reptile is once again a hidden fighter for that one. What you have to do is Achieve a flawless victory in the winning round of fight 6, and perform a Fatality or Brutality.
- Shapeshifter Default Form: Inverted. Reptile prefers to take on a more human form, with his resemblance to a human or humanoid lizard varying from game to game. Yet, members of his race can lose their humanoid appearance when separated for long periods of time from their monarchal leader, with hints that Reptile's temporary insanity is what caused his more bestial appearance in Deadly Alliance.
- Skeletons in the Coat Closet: His Alternate in MKDA is a caveman-inspired look, with an animal skull as a chestpiece. In X, he is wearing what looks to be splint mail made from bone and teeth.
- The Dog Bites Back: In MKX, as he defects to Kotal Kahn's side, Reptile lets it slip that Mileena is not really Shao Kahn's daughter, but was a clone made by Shang Tsung, further weakening her image in the eyes of Outworld.
- The Speechless: In 9, he has no spoken dialogue during the story mode, though he "converses" with Shang Tsung using growls at one point. He does have a few text-based lines in the Challenge Tower.
- Suddenly Voiced: In X he starts exchanging "pleasantries" with other kombatants.
- Sssssnaketalk: He had it in the comics, and it was carried over to 4 and X. For some reason however, he does not have it in Armageddon.
- Stance System:
- Throw the Dog a Bone: MKX seems to be one for Reptile. Unlike Shao Kahn, Shang Tsung, Quan Chi and Shinnok, Kotal Kahn seems to genuiely care for Reptile, sharing the bond of being the Last of Their Kinds, and sparing and recruiting him during the events of MK 9. In turn, Reptile serves him with undying loyalty and much stabler than normal.
- Undying Loyalty: Mostly due to his status as an Extreme Doormat and his misguided hopes that he'll eventually be rewarded with the revival of his race, but once Reptile enters the service of most his masters, he is violently determined to protect and serve them. Even more pitiable is the fact that what Reptile perceives as failure starts weighing heavily on his conscience. When he's unable to defeat Cyrax at Nitara's command and flees, Reptile (in an odd villainous variation of Heroic Self-Deprecation) starts beating himself up for being unable to carry out the wishes of another master.
- Useless Useful Spell: Invisibility sounds cool, but it's a fairly difficult move, and the the AI is unaffected, since all it does is turn off the model display. Not so much when you want to ambush some Red Dragon mooks alongside D'Vorah, Ferra and Torr.
- Walking Shirtless Scene: In 4, Deadly Alliance, and Armageddon.
Debut game: Mortal Kombat
Other appearances: Mortal Kombat Trilogy, Mortal Kombat Gold, Mortal Kombat: Deception, Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks, Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, Mortal Kombat 9 (Ken Lally), Mortal Kombat X (Vic Chao)
Non-game appearances: Mortal Kombat: The Movie (Kevin Michael Richardson)
Proud member of the half-dragon race, the Shokans, son of the Shokan King Gorbak and the Shokan Queen Mai, Prince Goro was the undefeated Champion of Mortal Kombat, being able to win nine consecutive tournaments over a span of 500 years. He helped Shang Tsung grow ever closer to achieving Shao Kahn's goal of domination over Earthrealm.
In his tenth title defense, however, he faced and lost to Liu Kang. In the tournament's aftermath he went missing after a battle where he fought Kano, Johnny Cage and Sonya Blade, and was believed to be dead. He would later resurface after Shao Kahn's defeat to lead his fellow Shokans in a war against the Centaurians. Kitana intervened and negotiated both races an uneasy truce and peace accord. When Shinnok and his legion were defeated and Edenia was once again free, Goro and the Shokan race decided to ally with the Edenians.
Years later, during the time of the Deadly Alliance, the united Edenians and Shokans marched on Shao Kahn's weakened army. Goro was exhausted from battle and was struck from behind by Noob Saibot. He was mortally wounded, apparently dying from the injury. So, Princess Kitana held a royal funeral for her former ally. However, Goro was able to survive, being saved from death by Shao Kahn himself, with the promise to return the Shokans to their former glory and the banishment of the Centaurians in exchange for his allegiance. Agreeing to these terms, Goro resumed his place at Shao Kahn's side and helped him to become once again the Emperor of the Outworld during the time of the Armageddon.
Goro has a similar role in Mortal Kombat 9, although he is much less important in the story and sticks around after his initial defeat to get beaten again and again, culminating in him losing his four arms by Kotal Kahn's hand in the Outworld civil war, where the Shokan fought for Mileena in exchange for returning his race to it's past glory.
- The Ageless: Before the games, since being the Mortal Kombat champion meant that his already-slow Shokan aging came to an outright halt.
- Anti-Villain: Ultimately just trying to protect his people.
- An Arm and a Leg: He lost ALL FOUR ARMS when fighting Kotal Kahn. And to rub salt on the wound? Kintaro told him that the loss of his arms now disqualify any claim he has to the Shokan throne after his father, Gorbak, fell against Kotal Kahn.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: Prince of the Shokan race and also their strongest warrior.
- Badass: 9 time champion of Mortal Kombat and commander of Outworld's armies.
- Blade Below the Shoulder: The Dragon Fangs, which he's used in Deception, Armageddon, and X as a variation.
- The Champion: Of Outworld.
- Defeating the Undefeatable: Was Champion of Mortal Kombat for 500 years prior to the first game.
- The Dragon: To Shao Kahn and to his father King Gorbak. He's literally a dragon-human hybrid, somehow...
- Co-Dragons: Goro and Shang Tsung served as Co Dragons under Shao Kahn.
- Noble Top Enforcer: Goro only serves under Shao Kahn for the good of the Shokan race. Unlike most of the bloodthirsty or sinister warriors in Kahn's army, Goro is an honorable warrior despite his monstrous appearance. When Kung Lao wanted to avenge his ancestor the Great Kung Lao's death at the hands of Goro, He made peace with Kung Lao noting that his ancestor was a great man and a noble warrior. He also joined the side of good after MK4 and waged war on Shao Kahn alongside Kitana.
- Enemy Civil War: The prequel comics have revealed he's involved in Outworld's civil war and is allied with Mileena; in return for seeing the Shokan race restored to glory, he has vowed to kill Kotal Kahn.
- Flung Clothing: Goro arrives to battle in X wearing a cape, which he discards before the fight begins during his intro sequence.
- Goomba Stomp: His Leaping Stomp, an attack which is shared with the other four-armed characters of the series.
- Half-Human Hybrid: The other half being dragon.
- Half the Man He Used to Be: His intro in MKX has him rip a random person in half. While conversing with someone.
- Heel-Face Revolving Door: The only constant in his motive is his desire to do right by the Shokan race, and he will ally himself with whoever can provide them the best status. To wit: started out as Evil in the first Mortal Kombat, then was more Neutral in MK4, then turned Good at the end of MK4 and Deadly Alliance (to the point of even making peace with Kung Lao over Goro's rivalry with Lao's ancestor; he's then killed by Noob Saibot) then back to Evil in Deception by teaming up with Shao Kahn.
- Hulk Speak: Averted, though when he refers to the humans he says "puny humans."
- Implacable Man
- The Juggernaut: He plows through all of the main heroes in the MKSM opening and the only people who aren't defeated with ease are those who dodge out of his path.
- Large And In Charge: Official canon has Goro at an imposing 8'2" and 550 pounds but he still answers to Shao Kahn and his father the Shokan King Gorbak.
- Large Ham: Especially in the first movie. Also this in the Malibu comics. Mortal Kombat X as well.
- Mighty Glacier: In the later games.
- Lightning Bruiser: His original appearance.
- Monster Modesty: Subverted with his alt. in Deception and Armageddon, which decks Goro out in armor and a shirt that covers most of his chest.
- Multi-Armed and Dangerous
- Odd Friendship: With Kitana. If Deadly Alliance is indication, the two are old friends, to the point that she attended his funeral at Kuatan Palace after he was slain by Noob Saibot sometime between 4 and DA.
- Our Giants Are Bigger: There are others who embody this as well (such as his fellow Shokan, Moloch, and Onaga), but Goro is probably the most well-known example within MK.
- Evil Is Bigger: When allied with Shao Kahn and the like.
- Pre-Order Bonus: Pre-Ordering Mortal Kombat X unlocks him from the start.
- Playing with Fire: He can throw fireballs either from his hands, up to four in a row in some games, or from his mouth. MKX gives him the "Tigrar Fury" Variation which especially focuses on this.
- Pointy Ears
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: A member of the Shokan race.
- Punch Clock Villain: Really doesn't have that much interest in Outworld politics beyond how it pertains to the Shokan race. He's only as involved with the conquest of Earth as he is because Shao Kahn needed a ringer to win the tournament.
- Really Gets Around: In his profile on the official comic and instruction manual for the first game, he is stated to be a polygamist, having seven wives. Fans often assume that Sheeva was one of them, but this has not been proven.
- Really 700 Years Old: At the time of the first Mortal Kombat, he has already lived something like 2000 years.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning
- Red Herring: The line that Goro could "eat you alive" from the Sega Genesis instruction manual had many believing the Goro could perform a fatality in the first game. However, he gets fatalities of his own in the GameCube version of Deception and Mortal Kombat 9.
- Reliable Traitor: In the MKX comics; Reiko predicts that should Goro kill Kotal Kahn, he'll turn on Mileena as well. After the fall of Shao Kahn, he is shown to resent being ordered around by the two other sides attempting to rule Outworld.
- The Rival: To Kung Lao and Liu Kang, since he was the one who killed their ancestor. He manages to make peace with Kung Lao in the end though.
- To Johnny Cage, mainly in the movie
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: He is the son of the Shokan King Gorbak and was commander of Outworld's armies and also won 9 Mortal Kombat Tournaments for Outworld.
- Slipknot Ponytail
- Sore Loser: Moderate example. His pre-fight dialogue with Liu Kang in X shows he really doesn't like being reminded of their first fight.
- SNK Boss: In the early games, Goro was far from balanced. All of his moves did way more damage than all of the other characters and certain special moves like Johnny Cage's Shadow Kick or Kano's Cannonball would only stumble him a little rather than knock him down, and because of that he was notoriously difficult to defeat in the first game.
- Stance System:
- The Starscream: Well, maybe. In the comic book adaptation of X, he originally served Kotal Kahn, betrayed him for Mileena, and Reiko speculates that he intends to backstab her to bring Outworld under Shokan rule. He may be the biggest Wild Card right now.
- Stop Motion: In his very first incarnation he was animated this way. This set the precedent for Kintaro, Sheeva, and Motaro.
- Third-Person Person: In the Malibu Comics, Goro refers to himself by name.Goro: [as he prepares to "discipline" the staff] You do not deserve to be guards for Shang Tsung. All you deserve is death. Death at the hands of Goro.
- Warrior Prince: His official title is Prince Goro. You know what he's the prince of? Kicking your ass. In the Malibu Comics, Goro is known as the 'Prince of Pain.' How appropriate.
- Worthy Opponent: According to pre-fight dialogue, he views Ferra/Torr as this.
Debut game: Mortal Kombat (Ho Sung Pak)
Other appearances: Mortal Kombat II (Phillip Ahn, M.D.), Mortal Kombat 3 (John Turk), Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero (Richard Divizio), Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance, Mortal Kombat: Deception (cameo), Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks, Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe (James Kyson-Lee), Mortal Kombat 9 (Andrew Kishino)
Non-game appearances: Mortal Kombat: The Movie (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa), Mortal Kombat: Conquest (Bruce Locke), Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm (Neil Ross), Mortal Kombat: Rebirth (James Lew), Mortal Kombat: Legacy (Johnson Phan)
A powerful and deadly sorcerer and a primary villain in the Mortal Kombat series, Shang Tsung is a demonic shapeshifter who needs to consume souls in order to sustain his health and life. Throughout his unnatural lifespan, he has achieved an intellectual and mental sophistication far greater than that of any other baddie of the series.
Several centuries before the start of the series, a young and promising Tsung was taken to Outworld and trained by the Emperor in the Black Arts. For a time, Shang Tsung would be the Grand Champion of Mortal Kombat himself, but when he lost his title to the legendary Shaolin warrior, the Great Kung Lao, he had to wait several years for his greatest student, the Shokan prince Goro, to restore once more Outworld's domination of the Mortal Kombat Tournament. This time Tsung, now aged and weakened, secured his domain on the Tournament, by becoming its sole Grandmaster and holding future competitions on his private island, a zone in between Earth and the Outworld.
During the tenth Mortal Kombat tournament, the final victory that would enable Shao Kahn to conquer Earth, Liu Kang, a Shaolin Monk, defeated Goro, breaking the streak. Liu Kang then challenged Shang Tsung in Kombat to restore the honour of the once-sacred tournament; Liu Kang prevailed, and Shang Tsung fled to Outworld. He confronted an enraged Shao Kahn and convinced him that, if they challenged Earthrealm to Mortal Kombat in Outworld, they would have to accept or forfeit. Kahn agreed to this plan, and restored Tsung's youth. Despite this, in the Tournament the sorcerer lost again to Liu Kang, who also defeated Kahn. Shortly after, with the aid of his cult of Shadow Priests, Shang Tsung managed to revive Shao Kahn's former queen, Sindel, on Earth, giving Kahn and his forces a way to invade the Realm. Tsung was granted more power than ever before, but during the invasion that followed he lost to Liu Kang once more.
Some time after the merge of the two Realms failed, the fellow sorcerer Quan Chi come to Shang Tsung with an offer: if Tsung helped him revive the lost army of the Dragon King by means of his ability to transplant souls, he would open a "Soulnado" to the Heavens, giving him an endless supply of souls. Tsung accepted, and they formed the Deadly Alliance. Together, the sorcerers not only managed to assassinate both Liu Kang and Shao Kahn, but eventually the duo defeated Earthrealm's champions and triumphed over Raiden himself in a final battle. Their victory, however, would not be savored. Shang Tsung's lust for power and Quan Chi's suspicion finally came to light. The two fought, with Quan Chi emerging the victor, and immediately after that, Shang Tsung had to confront a revived Dragon King alongside the two enemies; in the battle that ensued, Tsung was killed by Raiden's self-sacrificial blast.
His soul, still bound to Kahn, reached the not-so-dead Emperor. Kahn provided Tsung with a host body and then allied with him and Goro in taking his kingdom back. Some time later, during the Armageddon, the sorcerer formed an alliance with Onaga, Shao Kahn, and Quan Chi so that the group may prevent the Forces of Light from obtaining the power that Blaze possessed.
The events of Mortal Kombat 9 happen pretty much the same for Shang Tsung as in the previous games, with an exception: nearing the end of the events of Mortal Kombat 3, Outworld's general, Motaro, has been slain and Shao Kahn is running out of options. In a last-ditch effort to weaken Earthrealm's forces, he siphons Shang Tsung's life energy into Sindel and sends Sindel and a squad of Lin Kuei cyber-warriors to the Earthrealm base.
- Ambiguously Human: We don't really know where Tsung came from initially, but it's repeatedly implied to be Earthrealm.
- Implied nothing. His biography in Mortal Kombat 9 confirms he is from Earthrealm.
- His Mortal Kombat: Tournament Edition bio states his origin as "Earthrealm/Outworld."
- Amplifier Artifact: Somewhat. He wears a runestone around his neck that houses all of the souls he's absorbed over the ages and is able to replenish his strength.
- Arch-Enemy: He's this to Liu Kang and to a lesser degree to Kung Lao in Deadly Alliance; the one who corrupted the tournament in the first place, absorbed the soul of the Great Kung Lao, and is one of the most prominent enemies of Earthrealm. This intensifies when he ends up killing Liu Kang, causing his zombie to become vengeful.
- Badass Grandpa
- Badass Longcoat: In the movie.
- Beard of Evil: White in the first game, black in the other ones.
- Big Bad: In the first game.
- Cast from Hit Points: According to the official comic, Shang's signature Flaming Skulls are in fact the lifeforce of deceased souls.
- Cursed with Awesome: When Shang Tsung committed the atrocity of taking a soul, he was cursed by the Elder Gods not only to kill his enemies, but to take their souls as well. Only in this way would he hold off his grim fate: to age rapidly and die prematurely. However, as a side effect of his consuming the souls of others, Tsung was able to access their memories and knowledge, a happenstance which would greatly benefit him in the future.
- A Day in the Limelight: In MK vs. DCU, he's the focus of the MK side's Chapter 6.
- Demonic Possession: In MKII, he enters his opponent's body, which violently shakes until it explodes as Shang appears in the opponent's place. It inspires one of Liu Kang's Deception Fatalities, and in MK9 it comes full-circle with it being based on Liu Kang's version instead of his own from MKII.
- The Dragon: To Shao Kahn.
- Dressing as the Enemy: Inverted. He disguised himself as Kung Lao in order to get the drop on Liu Kang in Deadly Alliance.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him
- Energy Absorption: In later games, he can absorb part of his opponent's soul during a fight to restore his health.
- Everything's Better with Rainbows: His Friendship in MKII.
- Evil Genius: Of the MK3 Five-Bad Band.
- Evil Mentor: To Goro, the Shokan prince.
- Evil Sorcerer: One of the classic modern examples.
- Fantasy Gun Control: Subverted. In 9, he was very interested in modern weaponry, and bought rocket launchers and shotguns from Kano."Well done. You might tell your fellow Black Dragon that I'm very interested in your merchandise."
- Flaming Skulls: He uses them as projectiles in some games.
- Foil: As Liu Kang's nemesis, they naturally mirror each other in a few ways. Tsung himself used to be Mortal Kombat Champion before the Great Kung Lao defeated him, and operates as Shao Kahn's champion compared to Liu Kang who is Raiden's.
- Shang Tsung is doomed to prolong his life through souls, compared to Liu Kang's agelessness as Mortal Kombat Champion
- Glowing Eyes of Doom: In some of his incarnations.
- Half the Man He Used to Be: One of his fatalities from 2, in which he morphs into Kintaro and punches the upper half of the opponent's body clear across the stage.
- Hazy Feel Turn: The most likely interpretation of his Ladder ending in 9, in which Bo' Rai Cho trains him to help defeat a power-mad and newly-deified Liu Kang.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice:
- In MK3, Tsung can summon a bed of nails onto which he slams his dazed opponent as a finisher.
- He meets his demise this way in the movie.
- I Was Quite The Looker: Compare his elder form◊ to when his youth is restored.◊
- Killed Off for Real: "Volunteered" his essence in 9's story to Sindel by way of Shao Kahn to give the former a power boost. Ended up working pretty well since she went on a Curb-Stomp Battle all over the Earthrealm heroes, though Shang Tsung does seem to be toast.
- Ermac's Arcade Tower ending in X features him cheating death once again, and absorbing Ermac's collection of souls. It's unclear if this will be considered canon going forward, but several other Arcade endings at least imply at his return (Johnny Cage, Cassie Cage, Erron Black, Mileena), so it's certainly up there.
- Kung-Fu Wizard: While a sorcerer, he does plenty of fighting with his bare hands as well.
- Large Ham: Especially in the first movie.(to Goro, after he gets punched in the goolies by Johnny Cage) "You IMBECILE! Follow him! FINISH HIM!"
- There's also his behavior in MK9's story mode, especially after he has his youth restored.
- Monster Clown: One of his Mortal Kombat 9 Fatalities, which doubles as a Take That to MK vs. DCU's censors.
- Neck Snap: In Deadly Alliance, he delivers one to Liu Kang, killing him for good. This comes back in the Battle of Armageddon, where Undead!Liu Kang necksnaps him.
- Non-Action Big Bad: A relative example. While he is capable of fighting, he's more reliant on his souls and manipulation when dealing with others. In the movie, he even consciously avoids fighting Liu Kang until the last possible moment. Compared to his battle with Reptile, Liu Kang quickly shows that he is Shang Tsung's superior in combat.
- Only Sane Man: In the DC crossover, he has apparently the strongest self-control of all characters from both worlds, as he never gives up to the rage until Dark Khan reveals himself and makes rage take everybody. But even after that, he managed to bring himself back to normal, while Raiden was still under Dark Kahn's influence.
- Playing with Fire: Summons skulls on fire as projectiles.
- Power Floats: He's floating off the floor of Goro's Lair in the fight against him in the original game, making him impervious to sweeping attacks until he shapeshifts. He also uses this in Mortal Kombat 9, but not in battle.
- The Punishment: This is what the Elder Gods call his soul-sucking ability. Admittedly it's required to keep him sustained, though he can do much more with it than that and he's definitely not objecting.
- Scaled Up: He could turn into a cobra to finish his opponents as an Animality in MK3.
- Shape Shifter: He's the God of this.
- Shipper on Deck: According to Kano's mirror match intro, Shang Tsung is this to Kano and Mileena, if making multiple Kanos can translate to anything.
- A Sinister Clue: Given his weapon style in later games, Shang would appear to be a lefty.
- Stance System:
- In Deadly Alliance, he has Snake and Crane as unarmed styles, and Straight Sword as weapon style.
- In Deception, he swaps Crane with Mantis.
- In Armageddon, he has Snake as unarmed style, while keeping the weapon stance.
- Tall, Dark and Handsome: In his younger form.
- Tournament Arc: He really likes these, to the point that, in MKvDCU, when he encounters Captain Marvel in the Netherrealm, he has his allies face off against Marvel one at a time, announcing results between rounds as if it were Arcade Mode ("Captain Marvel wins!").
- Unlimited Wardrobe: There's no better example in this franchise. Shang Tsung's "main" appearance has changed considerably from game to game, except in Armageddon, which reutilized his Deadly Alliance model.
- Walking Shirtless Scene: After his rejuvenation.
- What the Hell, Elder Gods?: For the atrocity of stealing a soul, Shang Tsung was condemned to... do it over and over again, with the punishment of aging and dying prematurely if he relents. Just to twist the knife, Shang doesn't give a crap about the souls he takes and it actually makes him more and more powerful. It's like condemning a murderer to a life as a Serial Killer, while the murderer enjoys killing and giving him no incentive (or ability) to repent of his crimes.
- Yellow Peril: In the original game, though it's balanced by the fact that the protagonist is also Chinese.
- Younger Than They Look: According to Word Of God, he was biologically nineteen years old in MKII. He doesn't exactly look like it.◊
- Your Soul Is Mine: The Trope Namer, his iconic Fatality, and God of the Trope in addition to his Shapeshifter title.
- Also happens in 9 to him. After Motaro's death, Shao Kahn chooses to use Shang Tsung to empower Sindel, fueling the massacre of the heroes.