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Tundra/Sub-Zero (Kuai Liang)
Other appearances: Mortal Kombat 3 (John Turk), Mortal Kombat 4 (John Turk), Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance, Mortal Kombat: Deception, Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks, Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe (Jim Miller), Mortal Kombat 9 (Jim Miller), Mortal Kombat X (Steve Blum, English; Sebastián Llapur, Latin American Spanish)
Non-game appearances: Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (Keith Cooke), Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm (Luke Perry), Mortal Kombat Legacy (Harry Shum Jr.)
The sixth member of his family to bear the mantle of Sub-Zero, the warrior has become an active defender of Earthrealm from the forces of Outworld. A powerful Cryomancer able to create and manipulate ice at will, Sub-Zero became the Grandmaster of the Lin Kuei, aiming to rebuild it as a force for good in the world. His real name is Kuai Liang.
Taking the name Sub-Zero after the death of his elder brother Bi-Han, the Lin Kuei sent him and fellow warrior Smoke into to Outworld during the second tournament. Their mission was the same as his fallen elder brother's, to assassinate Shang Tsung. He soon learned of Scorpion's grudge against the recently "revived" Sub-Zero. But when he showed mercy to a defeated foe, Scorpion eventually realized he was in fact his younger brother and spared him his elder's fate. Unable to kill their target but aiding the Earthrealm warriors against Shao Kahn, the duo returned home empty handed.
Unfortunately, the Lin Kuei had acquired technology to enhance their warriors and desired Sub-Zero and Smoke to become cyborg assassins. The two refused and fled for their lives. Sub-Zero managed to escape, but Smoke was captured. He was marked for death whilst his friend was turned into a machine against his will. Smoke, Cyrax and Sektor were sent to eliminate him. When Shao Kahn suddenly invaded Earthrealm and claimed the souls of countless millions, as a chosen warrior he found himself one of the lucky few spared and joined Earthrealm's defense against Kahn. Convincing Smoke he had retained his soul and restoring his humanity the two defeated Cyrax and Sektor. Sub-Zero reprogrammed Cyrax to assassinate Kahn (a task he failed in) but Smoke was captured shortly before Outworld's defeat.
Convincing an enraged Scorpion during Shinnok's war that he had no role in the murder of his clan or family and with Quan Chi revealed as the true culprit the Lin Kuei was finally freed from the specter's vengeance. In the events prior to Deadly Alliance Sub-Zero returned to the Lin Kuei and defeated Sektor for the leadership of the clan, claiming the power-enhancing "Dragon Medallion" in the process. Vowing to reform the group into a force for good. When the "Deadly Alliance" struck he saw it as an opportunity to show the clan in a new light. Taking his new apprentice Frost with him, he aimed to aid Raiden's forces against the new threat. However, Frost's ambitions caused her to betray Sub-Zero, attempting to steal the Dragon Medallion from her master. Unable to handle its raw power, Frost was consumed by ice, with Sub-Zero blaming her failings on himself.
In Deception within a tomb in Outworld, he discovered his origins were that of a forgotten race known as Cryomancers. Laying Frost's body to rest and forgiving her treachery he donned an ancient suit of armor within the ruin and headed for an Earthrealm portal. He offered asylum to Sareena for aiding his brother in the past. Sub-Zero then found himself in direct conflict with his fallen sibling Noob Saibot and a reprogrammed Smoke during the events of Armageddon.
In Mortal Kombat 9, the younger Sub-Zero is actively seeking Scorpion for his brother's death, and so heads to Outworld with Smoke to seek him. He is also on the run with Smoke from the Lin Kuei, as they were trying to avoid being turned into cyborg ninja like Cyrax and Sektor before them.
For tropes related to Cyber Sub-Zero, check the Mortal Kombat 9 character sheet
He is later returned to his human form in Mortal Kombat X, due to being under Quan Chi's influence before being brought Back from the Dead.
- The Ace: Generally presented as ludicrously competent in whatever he does.
- His X chapter is basically "hey, look how awesome Sub-Zero is!".
- Asskicking Equals Authority: How he becomes leader of the Lin Kuei in the original continuity, as of MKX eventually becomes the leader in the current continuity too, when freed.
- Amazing Technicolor Population: In Deception and Armageddon, his skin exhibits a gray shade while wearing his Cryomancer armor.
- Amplifier Artifact: The Dragon Medallion increases Sub-Zero's freezing powers. It's also the symbol of his status as the new Lin Kuei Grandmaster, and may have been responsible for his apparent age jump in Deadly Alliance. His ancestral Cryomancer armor further boosts his powers.
- And This Is For...: The aftermath of his battle with Scorpion in 9's Story Mode."For my brother!"
- Back-to-Back Badasses: In his MK9 Arcade ending, Raiden tells him the truth about what happened to his and Scorpion's families due to the Lin Kuei. He manages to convince Scorpion of this and they go forth to take on entire armies for vengeance.
- Badass Baritone: As of MKX, his voice register is deep enough to have its own echo. His MK9 voice is higher, but it makes sense—nearly 30 years have passed in the intervening time.
- Badass Beard: Sports a rocking one in MKX, in his MK3-inspired unmasked form. His is actually the fullest in the game, too.
- Badass Boast: Picked up some downright sinister ones for MKX."I will freeze your very soul.""I destroy whom I please!""You will know the sting of winter.
Smoke: Be as stealthful as the night...Sub-Zero: And as deadly as the dawn.
- And of course, who could forget the Lin Kuei's badass creed?
- Badass Grandpa: Looked like one in the original continuity after getting the Dragon Medallion, despite being in his late 30s at most. Played straight in the new continuity, as at the time of MKX Sub-Zero's most likely to be 57 or over.note Except nowadays he doesn't even look anywhere near close to being a "grandpa".
- Badass In Charge: Of the Lin Kuei. Doubly so as the lore states that only the best of the best are allowed to join that organisation.
- Badass Teacher: In MKX he essentially serves in this role to the Kombat Kids. His position as Grandmaster of the Lin Kuei could also make him this for the order as a whole.
- Hilariously, much of his combat banter involves him offering pearls of wisdom and constructive criticism to his opponent. Yes, even when he's killing someone he still takes the time to teach them. Taken to absolutely ridiculous levels when these people can include Shinnok.
- Back from the Dead: As of Mortal Kombat X, he's alive and organic once again.
- Bald of Awesome: His alt. in Deception. Though he does have a Cossack-style topknot.
- Bears are Bad News: His Animality.
- BFS: The Kori Blade, his weapon style in Deadly Alliance, Deception, and Armageddon, is a large sword made of ice. In the reboot, he occasionally pulls out an ice sword for combos, but it's much smaller and less intricate.
- Big Damn Heroes: He and his Lin Kuei arrive just in time to save Cassie's group and repel Kotal Kahn's forces back to Outworld while they make it to the Sky Temple.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: If he wins a match in 9 without performing a Fatality, he shoots ice towards the players, freezing the screen.
- Breakout Character
- But Not Too Foreign: Like his brother, American on his mother's side, Chinese-Cryomancer on his father's.
- Mortal Kombat 9 has retconned this, since Sub-Zero's trailer shows both Kuai Liang and Bi-Han being abducted as children in what is clearly East Asia, contradicting the the backstory of the brothers being born to an American and later taken by their father to China.
- Butt Monkey: Because of Ed Boon's favoritism to Scorpion, fans have kind of joked that Sub-Zero's role in trailers is always "to get his ass kicked by Scorpion." 9's title screen always had Scorpion uppercut Sub-Zero, in Scorpion's intro in Injustice: Gods Among Us he's about to pull a Fatality on Sub-Zero, and in X's trailer, Scorpion pulled a Fatality on him.
- Astoundingly, this was actually inverted during the 3D era games, where if Scorpion and Sub-Zero were ever in a fight, the former would inevitably be humiliated by some incarnation of the latter. For instance, in the Shaolin Monks intro the Elder Sub-Zero thrashes Scorpion about before finally knocking him out-cold with a torn-out spine. In the Armageddon intro, Kuai-Liang and Scorpion got into a sword-fight where he more or less smacked Scorpion off-screen.
- When all is said and done, Sub-Zero will always have the last laugh over Scorpion due to having finally killed him mano-y-mano in the original timeline. The fact that Sub-Zero was later killed by Baraka of all people only makes his triumph all the more complete.
- A third point, while Sub-Zero often defeated Scorpion in trailers for games set in the original time-line, he was almost always canonically defeated by Scorpion in those games' storylines. In the new timeline he actually defeats Scorpion fairly conclusively in the storymode for MK9, and got the upper-hand over him in the comic books. Maybe getting beaten up in trailers by him is just Scorpion's consolation for that fact.
- Cain and Abel: Upon discovering Noob Saibot's identity as his elder brother reincarnated, Noob has been trying to kill him.
- Carpet of Virility: In MKX he exhibits quite a bit of chest hair in his alternate costume. Seeing where he lives, it's pretty much justified.
- Character Development: He started out as a silent assassin in II/9, but when the Lin Kuei becomes interested in cybernetics in 3/9, he splits because he disagrees with the methodology. From 4/X his character evolves greatly and becomes one of the most morally aware characters of the series, even taking over his former clan to lead them in a more righteous direction.
- Cool Mask: In II, 4, Deadly Alliance (as an alt.), and 9. In Deception, he upgrades to a Cool Helmet as part of the armor of a long-lost Cryomancer. Very literal in X, where his Unbreakable variation gives him a battle mask reminiscent of his previous armored masks in the series, albeit conspicuously made of ice.
- Cool Sword: His Kori Blade from Deadly Alliance onward is literally this; it's a sword made out of ice. Kori is even the Japanese word for ice. Even though he's Chinese-American.
- A Day in the Limelight:
- Defector from Decadence: When the cyber-initiative goes down, he gets the Netherealm out of there.
- Downloadable Content: In 9, his Klassic skin from MK1/2, his maskless costume from 3, and his classic "Spine Rip" Fatality.
- Dragon Rider: In his MKX ending, he essentially becomes the Father of (Frost) Dragons.
- Drop the Hammer: In MKX. His swords got a little smaller in the new timeline, but he made up for it by crushing his enemies with massive hammers that would make Shao Kahn shed a manly tear of pride.
- Famed In-Story: Sub-Zero seems to have become something of a legend in X, with many of the next generation of fighters remarking on his reputation as a fearsome warrior.Kung Jin: They say Sub-Zero's tough.Sub-Zero: They say correctly.
- Good Is Not Soft: He's more heroic than his elder brother, but is pragmatic and not afraid to get his hands a little dirty if it means protecting Earthrealm or the Lin Kuei.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars/Scars Are Forever: Oddly enough, it seems to have a bit faded and change colors in Deception and Armageddon. And it doesn't appear in 9 until he retain it again in X, but caused by Kano, due to history being changed.
- Every Scar Has a Story: Averted in the original timeline. While it's presumably gained during his escape from the Lin Kuei prior to 3, it's never been officially explained and apparently fades after donning the Cryomancer armor. However, Shaolin Monks instead shows Sub-Zero being mistaken for his brother and attacked by Kung Lao (miraculously keeping his eye in the process), but this is most likely non-canon. The MKX comics had it caused by Kano scarring him with a Kamidogu, which are now daggers in the alternate continuity.
- Grievous Harm with a Body: His Grandmaster variation in X lets him throw his ice clones around as projectiles and use them as shields.
- Grim Up North: The Lin Kuei are said to be based in the "northernmost parts of Asia". Of course, it's never really specified where exactly. Some sources put that as being in China, but China isn't the northernmost country in Asia by a long shot (those would be Kazakhstan, Mongolia and, depending on how you define "Asia", Siberia). Wherever they are based, it does certainly match up to the description of this trope, though.
- Guest Fighter: See Scorpion's entry.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Smoke. It should be noted that it was Sub-Zero's actions that helped his buddy regain his humanity after undergoing cyborgification.
- According to his plot progression in DA and Deception, his short-term alliance with Kenshi quickly escalated into this.
- Hunk: John Turk really solidified this in MK 3.
- An Ice Person: He's even seen in a few costumes with malleable sheets of ice on his forearms (and sometimes his legs). In 4 and Deadly Alliance, his body additionally emanates an icy mist.
- Cryonics Failure: Starting in II, he almost always has a Fatality where he at least partially freezes the opponent, leading to the below. Used on himself as a Hara-Kiri in Deception.
- Kill It with Ice: His preferred method of killing, natch.
- Literally Shattered Lives: Some of his Fatalities, such as his Ice Shatter, Snowball Grenade and Frosty!.
- Spontaneous Weapon Creation: His aforementioned Kori Blade is created by flash-freezing moisture in the air. He learns to make more improvised weaponry in the WB Games canon, such as smaller swords in 9 and hammers in X.
- Ice Breaker: This is a MASSIVE component of his fighting style.
- An Ice Suit: Same deal as his brother.
- Icy Blue Eyes: A literal sense as his are often a glowing shade of blue. Played straight in MKvs.DCU, Mortal Kombat 9 and Mortal Kombar X, where his eyes are seemingly a natural shade of blue.
- Identical Grandson: According to John Vogel, the Sub-Zero who teaches Shujinko in Deception's Konquest Mode is neither Bi-Han nor Kuai Liang, but their ancestor (most likely their father or grandfather given the chronology).
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Kills Scorpion in this manner during Armageddon, as seen in the intro of 9 via Freeze-Frame Bonus. He gets the same fate at the hands of Baraka.
- Irony: One of the promos for Deception shows Sub-Zero killing Baraka. In the aftermath of Armageddon Baraka is the one who kills him.
Scorpion: You are not Sub-Zero...Sub-Zero: I am his family and clan! I fight for his honour!
- In another way, he was essentially to Scorpion in MK9 as Scorpion was to Bi-Han — a vengeance driven warrior brimming with Unstoppable Rage. His first words to Scorpion when Shao Kahn brought him forth to face him were basically a retooled version of Scorpion's usual "I must avenge the deaths of my family and clan!"
- Legacy Character: The heroic Sub-Zero that has been around for the majority of the series is actually him, the younger brother of the Sub-Zero from MK1, and Sub-Zero has been the family codename in the Lin Kuei since their great-great grandfather.
- Redeeming Replacement: At his best, Bi-Han was a dark Anti-Hero, with interpretation of his various deeds arguably placing him as worse. Kuai Liang, on the other hand, is a compassionate (if not realistically pragmatic) hero who spends a great deal of his early appearances trying to prove that he is not his brother.
- Locked into Strangeness: After gaining the Dragon Medallion, Subby's eyes turn occult blue, as well as his scar. Once he dons the ancient Cyromancer armor, his scar fades, but his skin becomes incredibly pale and his eyes instead turn milky white. If his alt. in Deception is any indication, his hair also goes completely white, as opposed to just graying in DA and is reduced to a ponytail at the back of his head.
- Master Swordsman: He can perform some rather impressive flourishes with his kori-blades, and can pull off some improbably complicated techniques flawlessly. Best exhibited in his sword-fight with Scorpion in the Armageddon opening cinematic, where he manages to parry Scorpion's sword-blow from behind, across his back, and then drive Scorpion back, gaining the upper hand. He definitely gives Mr. Blind Swordsman Kenshi a run for his money.Kenshi: "Care to test me?"Sub-Zero: "I, too, wield a sword."
- Meaningful Name: His real name, Kuai Liang, can translate into "fast ice," or more prosaically, "quick freeze." Considering his abilities and the fact that he's a Chinese Cryomancer, this is likely intentional even in-universe.
- Morality Pet: For Sareena, if her Armageddon bio is anything to go by. Not only did she tail Sub-Zero to protect him from harm while he was following Noob and Smoke, but her feelings for him were so strong that even when driven mad and forced to revert back to her demon form did Sareena flee rather than fight him.
- Mukokuseki: A Western example. In his ending in the second game,◊ he indeed looks Chinese. In 3, however...
- This was likely due to limitations in finding an actor, since in his downloadable unmasked costume in 9, he can be seen to properly have a mix of Caucasian and Asian facial features. That being said, what sort of Chinese person has blue eyes? note
- In MKX, between the pale colour of his skin and facial features in his unmasked alt he practically looks like he's from Northern Europe.
- My Greatest Failure: Frost fills this role. He blames himself for her arrogance and betrayal.
- Averted in the new timeline. Sub-Zero sees Frost as a talented student with great potential. However, he does acknowledge her anger issues this time.
- Mighty Glacier: Borderline example. He's not exactly ponderously slow, but he's not quite as quick as say, Scorpion or Reptile, but makes up for it by generally dealing a lot more damage with his dial-up and enhanced combos.
- Oblivious Younger Sibling: Kuai Liang is a noticeably more morally-grounded character than his brother and frequently has to reiterate this to those who knew Bi-Han, but he seems to idolize his elder sibling a bit too much (which is more evident in 9) in spite of a tie-in comic for 4 revealing that Bi-Han, at some point in the past, told him about his adventures during Mythologies, a retelling that likely included his unwarranted killing of Hanzo when the ninja was defenseless and had surrendered, begging for his life. Family Honor and the simple fact that he lost his only known relative play a part, but Kuai, who has an adversity to lethal force unless absolutely necessary, was one untimely intervention by the Cyber Lin Kuei away from ending Scorpion's (un)life in 9, knowing full well that'd only perpetuate the Vicious Cycle built up to that point. Bi-Han, now Noob Saibot, disowning and attempting to kill him caused Kuai to ultimately shake off this rosy image. On the other hand, the comic implies that Sub-Zero still resents Scorpion on a certain level for murdering his brother.
- Oh, Crap!: He gets this reaction (one of his least stoic expressions) when he sees the corrupted Jinsei spreading throughout Earthrealm.
- Older and Wiser: Most notable in Deadly Alliance (and to a lesser extent, in 4). Mortal Kombat X also goes this route without having to make him look too old.
- One-Man Army: His Deception ending in the original timeline basically had him taking on a horde of Tarkatans and winning.
- Potty Failure: His Babality in Mortal Kombat 9.
- Pretty in Mink: His Cryomancer armor comes complete with fur ruffles around the collar.
- Prophet Eyes: Sports a very light blue variation of these in MKX, and for a time when he was under Quan Chi's control in the same sense as Scorpion he had a fiery-colored variant.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: Unlike his brother and Sektor, however, Kuai Liang knew where to draw the line. However, since having restored the clan's honour in both continuities, his devotion to the Lin Kuei seems stronger than ever.Sub-Zero: For the Lin Kuei!Scorpion: For the Shirai-Ryu!Sub-Zero: To the death!
- Pun: His first Fatality in 9 is called "Have an Ice Day."
- Punched Across the Room: He's had a variant of this as a move since Deadly Alliance. His throw attacks in Armageddon and X puts his own particular spin on it by freezing the opponent first before he punches them. Many of his combos in 9 and X also tend to cap off with a massive punch and tend to be quite damaging as a result. Of course, they also have the added utility of putting some distance between him and his opponent, thus setting them up for an ice blast.
- Raised by Orcs: The Lin Kuei kidnapped him and his brother during childhood and then raised them to be cold-hearted assassins. Sub-Zero still eventually shows his conscience, compassion and didn't let his upbringing dictate his life direction, eventually becoming a bonafide good guy.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: As the Grandmaster of the Lin Kuei. Particularly, in Mortal Kombat X, he assists the new Special Forces in a training exercise. He also extends an olive branch to his long-time nemesis Scorpion after having learned of how Quan Chi manipulated the Lin Kuei into killing him and wiping out the Shirai Ryu, even after Scorpion loses his cool following a sneak attack from an upstart Lin Kuei named Frost.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: He's the blue to virtually everyone else he encounters (especially Scorpion), fitting given that he's a Cryomancer. This is easily apparent when he invites Hanzo (his brother's murderer) over to his temple to make peace with the former wraith and start off fresh with the Shirai Ryu. He retained his cool throughout the entire ordeal even when Frost nearly ruins things and when Hanzo almost killed him.
- The Rival: Was this on-again, off-again for a while to Scorpion in the original timeline, depending on who was saying what about him to Scorpion. In 4, they make peace, and future duels are usually just Rule of Cool. It's implied they still don't like each other, though. This is no longer the case anymore when Kuai Liang reveals the truth behind the first Shirai Ryu's demise in X.
- Ship Tease: With Sareena, particularly in Armageddon, though the teasing was directed at his elder brother. She may not know that Bi-Han is dead.
- Interspecies Romance: He's mostly human, she's a demon in human guise.
- Sins of Our Fathers: Scorpion seems to have shifted the blame he originally placed on Bi-Han for his supposed murder of the Shirai-Ryu onto him, much to Kuai-Liang's annoyance. It doesn't really help matters that Scorpion was essentially wrong to blame him or his brother in the first place.Scorpion: Murderer.Sub-Zero: I grow tired of maintaining our innocence.
- Snark to Snark Kombat: He get's this gem of a conversation with Kung Jin in X.Kung Jin: (after getting knocked down by Sub-Zero) A feint. Bravo.Sub-Zero: You should rally your companions rather than mock your superiors.Kung Jin: I'll keep that in mind if I ever meet 'em.
- Sixth Ranger: He is one of the last warriors to join Raiden's forces.
- Slide Attack: Simply named "Slide", this is one attack he's always had.
- Stance System: Shotokan Karate and Dragon-style Kung Fu for both Deadly Alliance and Deception. Keeps the former for the final battle, while Jarek inherits the Dragon style.
- In X his variations are Cryomancer, Unbreakable and Grandmaster.
- Cryomancer gives Sub-Zero the (Air) Frost Hammer/Crushing Hammer -– allowing him to bash his opponents over the head, and combo strings unavailable in his other variations –- which extends his attacking range and gives him more damage. The visual indicator is the thin aura of ice that decorates his arms and face (more noticeable around the arms a la 4, DA, A, and vs. DCU) and a crossed sword-and-hammer icon.
- Unbreakable gives Sub-Zero the Barrier of Frost/Barrier of Ice -– which stops all attacks cold in their tracks (including freezing opponents directly striking the barrier), and the Frozen Aura/Ice Aura -– which outright eliminates chip damage. The visual indicator is the mask of ice over his face (reminiscent of the DA, A, vs. DCU, and 9 mask) and a shield icon.
- Grandmaster gives Sub-Zero his iconic Ice Klone/Ice Statue –- which he can place in any location he desires, and the Klone Toss — which lets him toss the sculpture across the screen dealing direct damage. The visual indicator is the glowing light blue medallion placed over his right breast (most likely the newest iteration of the Dragon Medallion) and a snowflake icon.
- In X his variations are Cryomancer, Unbreakable and Grandmaster.
- Status Quo Is God: Quan Chi restores his human body when he raises him as a revenant in the MKX prequel comics, which he retains when he is freed from Quan Chi's control and returned to life in MKX.
- The Stoic: Easily the least vocal and most ruthless of the main heroes.
- Stone Wall: Doesn't fully conform to this template, but this is a viable applicable of his freezing powers (especially his Ice Clones). The only time Subby has strictly adhered to this was in 4, where most of his other tactics were nerfed, but his turtling game was not. His Unbreakable variation in X also counts.
- Super Strength: Possibly the single most physically strong character in the franchise, barring the outright monstrous ones like Shao Kahn, Goro, Onaga, Torr, etc. How else do you describe someone who can rip out spines? Something even machines have difficulty doing.
- Whether or not the likes of Goro or Torr are stronger than him's also debatable, given that his Spine Rip Fatality in MKX can involve him lifting either of these two behemoths up into the air, then tearing them apart with his bare hands.
- The Lin Kuei were said to renowned for their physical strength in Mortal Kombat: Deception. All that time in wintry mountains must put hairs on your chest.
- Tall, Dark and Handsome: As one can see from his unmasked appearances, and canonically 6'2" tall.
- Technical Pacifist/Reluctant Warrior: Pinballs between the two, but usually stays rooted in the former. He has an aversion to killing, as seen by his story in II (this is also how Scorpion was able to piece together that he was not the same Sub-Zero he killed in the previous tournament, thus beginning his vow to protect the younger Sub-Zero). He even made peace with Scorpion (his brother's killer), froze Frost out of mercy instead of outright killing her, and is currently trying to purify his brother's soul. All bets are off if you're a irredeemable villain, though.
- Unstoppable Rage: Unleashed some on Scorpion during his chapter in MK9.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: For every action. There is a reaction. See Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!.
- Walking Shirtless Scene: In his non-ninja outfit.
- Weapon of Choice: An Ice Scepter in 4, and the aforementioned Kori Blade in Deadly Alliance through Armageddon.
- Worf Had the Flu: He lost to Scorpion in the MK X comic, but Hanzo openly admitted the only reason he won was because Sub-Zero was weakened by the kamidogu. Also, he more or less initially dominated their fight until the demon possessing decided to expend his powers to stop Takeda from running away.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: We know that the Sub-Zero bros. were kidnapped by their father and taken to China, leaving behind their mother and a younger sister in America. However, no mention of their family was ever made afterward (aside from a cameo in Kuai Liang's vignette for 9, which detailed said abduction), and their current status (such as whether or not they survived Shao Kahn's invasion) remains unknown. It was widely believed that Frost was this long-lost sister of his, but this was Jossed.
- Younger Than They Look: The whitening of his hair and hardening of his features in Deadly Alliance made him look older, but he's in his early 40s at most (he was 32 in II).
Other appearances: Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 (Becky Gable), Mortal Kombat Gold, Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance, Mortal Kombat: Unchained, Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks (Lita Lopez), Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe (S.G. Willie), Mortal Kombat 9 (Karen Strassman), Mortal Kombat X (Karen Strassman, English; Mireya Mendoza, Latin American Spanish)
Non-game appearances: Mortal Kombat (Talisa Soto), Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (Talisa Soto), Mortal Kombat: Conquest (Audie England), Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm (Cree Summer), Mortal Kombat Legacy (Sam Tjhia)
Princess of the Realm of Edenia, Kitana has been Shao Kahn's step-daughter and personal assassin, and later an important member of the Forces of Light. Her most memorable trait is her ability to wield a pair of steel fans in battle.
Kitana was adopted by Kahn, as an infant, to strengthen his claims to the Edenian throne after he killed its king, Jerrod, and married Jerrod's wife, Queen Sindel, who were Kitana's parents. Kitana grew up dutifully loyal to Shao Kahn, whom she believed was her real father. She grew up to be one of Shao Kahn's personal assassins, alongside her good friend Jade and her evil "sister" Mileena. At some point in Kitana's life, she finally discovered the truth about her real father, Mileena's origins, and how Shao Kahn had conquered her realm. Devastated that her whole life had been a lie, Kitana vowed to overthrow the Emperor and restore Edenia to its former beauty. Kitana's chance finally came during Mortal Kombat II, when Shao Kahn and Shang Tsung lured Earth's heroes into Outworld. Kitana entered the tournament and secretly contacted Earthrealm's heroes, but Mileena discovered her efforts and she was forced to kill her in self defense. Kitana was imprisoned and sentenced to death for killing Mileena, but managed to escape and rejoin her friends from Earth. Kahn sent Jade and Reptile after her, but rather than kill her childhood friend, Jade helped the Princess to defeat and capture Reptile. Then she converted her recently resurrected mother, Sindel, to her cause, and when Liu Kang managed to defeat Kahn had his invasion forces, Kitana and Sindel freed Edenia as well. But there was little time to celebrate, as a new threat presented itself in the form of Shinnok and his grand vizier Quan Chi. They invaded Edenia and imprisoned its legitimate rulers, then Raiden and his comrades come and saved the day. Kitana Offered Liu Kang to rule Edenia by her side, but the monk reluctantly rejected to keep his role as Champion of Earth.
Kitana would later negotiate an uneasy truce between the Centaurians and the Shokans, gaining Goro's trust. The combined armies of Edenians and Shokans, led by Prince Goro and Kitana herself, marched against Outworld's armies a few years later, with much success at first. However, in the decisive moments, Goro was mortally wounded, and the battle ended with a draw. Shortly thereafter, Kitana learned about the demise of both Shao Kahn and Liu Kang at the hands of the Deadly Alliance, and their plan to resurrect the Undead Army of the legendary Dragon King. Unfortunately, the Forces of Light and the princess were killed along the other heroes, only to be revived by Onaga into his mindless slaves.
After the fall of the revived Dragon King, Kitana would gather her Edenian forces once more and prepare to face the Armageddon.
In Mortal Kombat 9, Kitana actually gets involved with the story at an earlier time than the previous games' canon, actually meeting Liu Kang during the events of the first game, resulting in her and Liu Kang becoming much closer than in the previous games. Kitana is present at the Mortal Kombat tournament, assigned as an assassin to secretly weaken Earthrealm. However her target, Liu Kang, subdues her in combat and she fails but he denies to kill her as a warrior, which starts to sow seeds of doubt in her purpose. The doubt continues to build through the Outworld tournament as she encounters other Earthrealmers who start to lead her away from Shao Kahn. Finally, Kitana embraces her doubt and investigates Shang Tsung's flesh pits, a place she had been forbidden to visit. There she learns that Shang Tsung had been committing vile experiments that resulted in the merging of her genetic code with that of a Tarkatan to create a monstrosity. Thinking Shang Tsung had been trying to subvert the emperor, she brings him before Shao Kahn for punishment. However Kahn had in fact authorized Shang Tsung's experiments, which finally causes Kitana to feel fully betrayed and she defects to Earthrealm, along with her friend Jade. The pair serve as defenders of Earthrealm until they run across Sindel. Sindel violently attacks the Earthrealm's base and kills almost everyone inside. Kitana survives the initial onslaught but dies once Liu Kang returns to find his comrades all laying dead. Her soul, like the souls of all the other Earthrealm warriors felled in the conflict, is turned over to Quan Chi for the Netherrealm but due to the Netherrealm war. As of Mortal Kombat X, she is still an undead revenant and remains that way throughout the story, ultimately ending up ruling the Netherrealm alongside Liu Kang.
Tropes related with Kitana (normal)
- Action Girl: She, Mileena and Jade were the second ones in the series. Given her early status an assassin for Shao Kahn, this was undoubtedly the case.
- Ass Kicks You: Her Square Boost in 9. While she's had the attack in her movelist numerous times before (as the Square Wave Punch), here she propels herself through the air rear end-first with a hip drop.
- Comes back for Mortal Kombat X and it's also a Brutality.
- Awful Truth: Shang Tsung, under the orders of Shao Kahn, created clones of her. And then, the latter tells her the whole truth.
- Back from the Dead: Subverted. She stays as a revenant throughout MKX
- Badass Princess: She's the princess of Edenia and one of the key fighters of the MK verse.
- The badass factor is much emphasized in her chapter in MK 9 when she defeats both Johnny and Smoke one-on-two, and is later forced to fight her best friend (Jade) who is also formidable fighter in her own fight. Later, she defeats Mileena and then Shang Tsung before literally dragging her to Shao Khan by the collar.
- Bare Your Midriff: In 9 and X.
- Battle Couple: With Liu Kang. This becomes prominent after they become the new rulers of the Netherrealm.
- Because You Were Nice to Me: In 9, Kitana elects herself to assassinate Liu Kang to prevent him from progressing any further in Shang Tsung's tournament. Falling to the monk in battle, Kitana requests that he kill her as punishment for her failure to Shao Kahn, but Liu refuses, telling Kitana it was as if they never met and hoping that they could meet again under different circumstances. A shocked Kitana remains seated, deep in contemplation. This marks the start of their attraction (and Kitana's Conflicting Loyalty to the Outworld forces), indicated by their Held Gaze before Kitana returns to Outworld upon Shang's defeat.
- Blow You Away: Appears to have some wind-based attacks as of Mortal Kombat X.
- Braids of Action: In the original timeline, by the time of DA, Kitana's hair had grown out to become so long that she tied and braided it up into a lengthy ponytail.
- Breakout Character: Although she started off as a loyal stepdaughter and assassin for Shao Kahn in MKII, she transforms into a troubled, kindhearted princess of Edenia and one of Earthrealm's courageous heroes to being a ruthless Queen of the Netherrealm and wants to lash out those who tricked, manipulated, or betrayed her.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Her win pose in MK9 (if she does not perform a Fatality), where she laughs and winks at the player.
- Cain and Abel: The Abel to Mileena's Cain.
- Combat Hand Fan: Her Weapon of Choice is a pair of folding fans with blades in them.
- Combat Stilettos: She's had these in her outfits from Deadly Alliance to X.
- Damsel in Distress
- A Day in the Limelight: In Mortal Kombat 9, she's the focus of Chapter 9.
- Designated Girl Fight: With Mileena. Justified since, between the two, It's Personal.
- Deadpan Snarker: Kitana does this quite a bit more in pre-fight banter in Mortal Kombat X, especially if she's facing a comedic character.
- Died in Your Arms Tonight: In 9, she passes away in Liu Kang's arms after a heartwrenching speech to her lover moments after Sindel kills most of Raiden's warriors.
- Downloadable Content: In 9, Klassic Kitana from MKII.
- Everything's Better with Princesses: It seemed unlikely, but she is a princess in a series of brutal and bloody fighting games, where she is just as violent as everyone else.
- Fanservice Pack: Starting in Deadly Alliance (for example, both of her outfits have plunging necklines), but it's taken up a few notches in 9, where Kitana sports her most revealing outfit to date.
- Subverted in X, but her Revenant and Dark Empress costumes show some fanservice.
- Foot Popping: When delivering her Kiss of Death.
- Hair Decorations: Usually adorns her hair with ribbons or hairbands, depending on the game.
- He's Not My Boyfriend: About Liu Kang towards Tanya and herself in one of her intros in X.Tanya: "So, you and Liu Kang..."Kitana: "None of your business."Tanya: "I'll take that as a yes."
- Heartbroken Badass: In regards to Liu Kang in the original timeline.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Jade. The two have been childhood friends for nearly 10,000 years.
- High-Heel–Face Turn: In 9, her attraction to Liu Kang plays a big factor in her defection from Shao Kahn's forces.
- Hitman with a Heart: An assassin by trade, and has never denied it. Given her advanced age, she likely has a higher kill-count than any of the hero characters.
- "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: She has a brief crack at this to Sindel in 9. It didn't work.
- I Was Told There Would Be Cake: She delivers one to her defeated opponents as a Friendship in MKII.
- Interspecies Romance: With Liu Kang. She's Edenian, he's an Earthrealm human.
- Mayfly-December Romance: As noted below, even if they did tie the knot, she'd most likely outlive him several times over. But given that both of them are now undead...
- Though due to Liu Kang being the Champion of Mortal Kombat (Until his death at the hands of Raiden, though he still doesn't age as one of Quan Chi's revenants), he doesn't age like other humans.
- Johnny Cage's MKX ending showed The long lifespans of Edenians may actually be a form of applied science, and therefore accessible to humans to extend their lifespans. Had she and Liu Kang survived and he agreed to be her consort, she likely would have shared that secret.
- Killer Rabbit: A literal one. When performing an Animality in Ultimate MK3, she turns into a white rabbit and then attacks the enemy in some savage manner.
- Kiss of Death: Which inflates the victims 'til they explode.
- Lady of War: One of the most graceful female fighters, yet no less violent than the others.
- Leotard of Power: Her early outfits, such as her ones from II, 3 and 4.
- Long Hair Is Feminine: Bet seen in her ending screen in II, yet also in 9.
- Ms. Fanservice: Especially in 9.
- Mysterious Veil: Almost always appears with the lower face variant of this.
- Noble Fugitive: She becomes one in both timelines, after being sentenced to death by Shao Khan; she escapes on her own in the original, and is rescued from a public execution in the timeline of 9 by Liu Kang, both versions causing her to join the side of Earthrealm.
- Noble Top Enforcer: Becomes this in both timelines, and defects to the side of Earthrealm.
- Off with His Head!: One of her Fatalities.
- Paper Fan of Doom: Her Weapon of Choice and Iconic Item. They appeared to just be paper fans in MKII, but in more recent versions they strongly resemble Japanese war fans, most likely tessen.
- Mind over Matter: She sometimes wields these weapons via telekinesis.
- Prim and Proper Bun: Her hairstyle (shared with every other female ninja who existed as of MK3) in MK3/4. Her revenant form in X, whose costume is overall inspired by Kitana's attire in those games, also wears her hair up in this fashion.
- Rapunzel Hair: Since Deadly Alliance.
- Really Ten Thousand Years Old: She may look like a young woman, but she has lived for ten thousand years. Even if she were to have a relationship with Liu Kang, she'd outlive him several times over. Or, as far as the new timeline was concerned, she would have, but both are now reigning over the Netherrealm post-mortem.
- Though due to Liu kang being the Champion of the Mortal Kombat tournament (At least, until he dies at Raiden's hands, though he's still not aging as one of Quan Chi's revenants), he can't die from age.
- Rebellious Princess: After she learned the truth behind king Jerrod and Sindel, she rebelled against Shao Kahn's rule, while still remaining the rightful princess of Edenia.
- Also becomes this in the new timeline, where she sides with Earthrealm after learning about Mileena and how Shao Kahn used her as a tool.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: When Kitana sharpens her fans for a damage boost in X, her eyes glow red.
- Requisite Royal Regalia: Her design in 9 gives her a tiara in place of her headband from II.
- Reverse Mole: In II and X.
- Simple Staff: Present in X in her "Mournful" variation. It's from her friend Jade.
- Sensual Spandex: Her alt. in Deadly Alliance (which became her main outfit in Unchained and Armageddon). The ad for the Edenia Golf Outfitters◊ from DA shows a closeup of her luscious backside.
- She's Got Legs: Her outfits strongly accentuate her shapely legs.
- Stance System: Has Ba Gua in her appearances in the 3D games. Also had Eagle Claw-style Kung Fu in Deadly Alliance and Unchained, which becomes Khameleon's style in Armageddon.
- Star-Crossed Lovers: With Liu Kang in both timelines.
- Statuesque Stunner: 5'9".
- Stripperiffic: Her outfit in 9 might be her most revealing one yet.
- That Thing Is Not My Sibling: This is often her reaction to her "sister," Mileena.
- Token Good Teammate: She and Jade are basically the only members of Outworld's forces to not be a total monster.
- Tragic Keepsake: Her glaive and staff in her "Mournful" variation in X are Jade's.
- True Blue Femininity: One of her most famous traits in her association with the color blue. All of her outfits have blue as their primary color.
- Weapon of Choice: Her bladed fans.
Tropes related with Kitana (Revenant)
- Arch-Enemy: Both she and Liu Kang are this to Raiden, who himself has gone rogue after his corruption at the end of MKX.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: She and Liu Kang become the Netherrealm's new rulers.
- The Baroness: Sexpot variety.
- Battle Couple: With Liu Kang, as both of them now run the Netherrealm.
- Being Good Sucks: Feels much better as a revenant, as it allows her to be the perpetrator.
- Brainwashed: As a revenant serving Quan Chi.
- Came Back Wrong: Like Liu Kang, Kung Lao, Jax and the younger Sub-Zero, she is revived as a revenant by Quan Chi.
- Combat Stilettos: Has these in her Revenant and Dark Empress costumes.
- Corrupt the Cutie: Kitana becomes increasingly cynical after she Came Back Wrong as a revenant.
- Character Development: Goes from a fiercely loyal assassin under Shao Kahn's orders to being a kind-hearted princess of Edenia to a vindictive and devious queen of the Netherealm.
- Co-Dragons: She and Liu Kang seem to be this to Quan Chi and Shinnok.
- Dark Action Girl: Starts to appreciate her form as a revenant, and willfully becomes the empress of the Netherrealm at the end of Mortal Kombat X.
- Darker and Edgier: See the Disproportionate Retribution trope below.
- Dark Chick: Serves as this after her Face–Heel Turn.
- The Dark Side Will Make You Forget: As is with Liu Kang, she becomes a revenant willfully following the fallen Elder God Shinnok, and the ending cutscene in X shows her and Liu Kang running the Netherrealm after Shinnok's downfall.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: In Kitana's MKX Arcade Ladder ending, her revenant self is shown a vision of the original, unaltered timeline by the mysterious female entity that possessed Jade in her MK9 Arcade Ladder ending. In it, Kitana miraculously managed to survive Armageddon and defeat Shao Kahn, the victor of the conflict who had absorbed the god-like power held within Blaze, becoming Edenia's next queen in the process. Learning of what could have been, Kitana is understandably dismayed by the revelation and her current predicament.
- Disproportionate Retribution: In her Arcade Ladder Mode in X, she's willing to start a battle to the death with another warrior because they're is in her way (the reason she gives Jax, Kenshi, Raiden and D'Vorah), they're wasting her time (what she tells to Bo' Rai Cho}, or because she wants a challenge (what she tells Kung Lao and Jacqui Briggs, although she also says neither fits the bill) or that she simply wants to fight, which she tells everyone else she doesn't have some in-universe grudge against. Of course, she's in very bad mood this time around, for many reasons given on this page.
- Dragon Ascendant: She and Liu Kang become the Netherrealm's new rulers following the defeat of Shinnok at the end of X.
- The Empress: She becomes the empress of the Netherrealm, ruling jointly with Liu Kang after Shinnok's defeat at the end of Mortal Kombat X.
- Evil Feels Good: Similar to Liu Kang, Kitana actually feels better as a revenant as it allows her to be the perpetrator.
- However, her ladder ending suggests that she remembers and much prefers her old life as a princess of Edenia and doesn't like being a Revenant as much as she claims.
- Evil Costume Switch: As a revenant under Quan Chi's service. She later adopts a Catwoman-like eviler costume as empress of the Netherrealm, has Femme Fatalons like corrupted Raiden and revenant Kung Lao, shows some cleavage and is blackish-blue.
- Evil Former Friend: To any of the heroes that are alive (Johnny Cage, Sonya, Kenshi, Fujin, etc.), have switched to the side of good (Sareena) or have been restored to life (Sub-Zero, Scorpion, Jax).
- Evil Wears Black: See the Evil Costume Switch trope above.
- Face–Heel Turn: As an undead renevant, she's one of the few heroes who has willingly become evil, more or less thanks to her hatred towards Raiden - the same goes to Liu Kang. While fighting Jax, she actually mentions to him that she enjoys being a revenant. By the end of MKX's Story mode, she is installed as the empress of the Netherrealm, meaning she is now a direct foe of Earthrealm alongside Liu Kang.
- Fallen Hero: Becomes one in the process, as she begins to enjoy her new status as a revenant in Mortal Kombat X.
- Fanservice Pack: Her Revenant and Dark Empress costumes show some fanservice.
- Femme Fatalons: Kitana gains these in her Dark Empress costume in X. They are white, unlike the ones on Dark Raiden or Revenant Kung Lao, who have black ones.
- Femme Fatale: Becomes this as a revenant.
- Forced into Evil: Kitana's soul is resurrected as a revenant under Quan Chi's service, and remains trapped as a revenant after the necromancer is killed off by Scorpion.
- Form-Fitting Wardrobe: As a revenant, and later on, as empress of the Netherrealm.
- Glowing Eyes of Doom: As with all revenants and with Dark Raiden, her eyes turn golden-red in MKX.
- Good Girl Gone Bad: Becomes this after her she Came Back Wrong as a revenant, and actually appreciates this new form.
- Hell-Bent for Leather: When she becomes the empress of the Netherrealm.
- Hell Has New Management: Is co-ruling the Netherrealm alongside Liu Kang at the end of MKX.
- Irony: Jax finds it ironic that Kitana is enjoying her new status as a revenant because it allows her to be the perpetrator and that she felt she was being manipulated by Raiden. Ironically, she and the other revenants were brainwashed by Quan Chi, and if they (along with the other revenants who are doomed to stay as revenants because of Scorpion's Revenge Before Reason) were to be restored to life, they would have a big Heel Realization.
- Impossibly-Low Neckline: Her Dark Empress costume has a Cleavage Window.
- It Gets Easier: Starts to appreciate her new form as a revenant.
- Jerkass Woobie
- Kick the Dog: Like Liu Kang, she appreciates her new form as a revenant.Kitana: It suits me. I am a victim no longer.
- Light is Not Good: Wears darker and skimpier outfits after her Face–Heel Turn.
- Meet the New Boss: The Stinger at the end of X shows that she and Liu Kang have become the new rulers of the Netherrealm.
- More Than Mind Control: Like Liu Kang, she starts to appreciate her new form as a revenant, as it allows her to be the perpetrator as since she tends to get tricked or manipulated by other villains, and felt Raiden was manipulating her.
- O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Her and Liu Kang's Stunned Silence and perplexed looks in response to Dark Raiden's Badass Boast at the end of Mortal Kombat X.
- Paint It Black: Her Dark Empress costume fits this to a T. She may have pulled a page out of Raiden's Evil Costume Switch.
- Prim and Proper Bun: Her revenant form in X, whose costume is overall inspired by Kitana's attire in MK 3 and MK 4, also wears her hair up in this fashion.
- Protagonist Journey to Villain: Starts off as a loyal stepdaughter and assassin for Shao Kahn in MK 9, she transforms into a troubled, kindhearted princess of Edenia and one of Earthrealm's courageous heroes to a vengeful revenant for the Netherrealm who wants to lash out those who tricked, manipulated, or betrayed her, and later becoming its co-ruler alongside Liu Kang at the end of X.
- Reforged into a Minion: Brainwashed to become a revenant under Shinnok and Quan Chi at the end of 9.
- Sensible Heroes, Skimpy Villains: Her Dark Empress costume has a Cleavage Window, looks leathery, and is reminiscent of Catwoman's costume.
- Sour Outside, Sad Inside: A lot of her aggression comes from the pain and misery that her Face–Heel Turn brought her in the first place.
- Spikes of Villainy: Her Dark Empress costume has these.
- Spy Catsuit: Her Dark Empress costume fits this to a T.
- Stripperiffic: See the Sensible Heroes, Skimpy Villains trope below.
- Stunned Silence: In the stinger for Mortal Kombat X, in response to Dark Raiden's Badass Boast.
- Took a Level in Jerkass and Cynicism: In X. Her pre-battle intros with most characters are... less than pleasant, to the point where you'd expect Mileena to say the things she does. This might be explained by several other characters during pre-battle intros that she is upset with Raiden from his actions in 9. More accurately, the fact that she's canonically a revenant may account for some of this.Takeda: "I never considered you an enemy!"Kitana: "I never considered you at all."Takeda: "...now that's just hurtful."
- Together in Undeath: Whereas personal obligations kept them apart in the first timeline, Mortal Kombat X sees Liu Kang and Kitana finally together in an official relationship. All it took was their deaths, "revival" as revenants thanks to Quan Chi's magic, and a vacancy in the Netherrealm power vacuum with the death of Quan Chi and defeat of Shinnok.
- The Unfettered: Starts to appreciate her new form as a revenant. Jax and Sareena even lament how Quan Chi's magic has turned the remaining revenants into killing machines.
- Unholy Matrimony: She becomes the empress of the Netherrealm, ruling jointly with Liu Kang at the end of Mortal Kombat X.
- Will Not Be A Victim: A dark variation. She likes being a revenant as it allows her to to be the perpetrator rather than a victim as she felt she was under Raiden's guidance.Kitana: It suits me. I am a victim no longer.
- Wolverine Claws: In her Revenant skin.
Other appearances: Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 (Becky Gable), Mortal Kombat Gold, Mortal Kombat: Deception, Mortal Kombat: Armageddon (Johanna Anonuevo), Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks (Lita Lopez), Mortal Kombat 9 (Karen Strassman), Mortal Kombat X (Karen Strassman, English; Mireya Mendoza, Latin American Spanish)
Non-game appearances: Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (Dana Hee), Mortal Kombat: Conquest (Megan Brown), Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm (Cree Summer), Mortal Kombat Legacy (Jolene Tran in the first season, Michelle Lee in the second)
Mileena is a clone of Kitana, created by Shang Tsung's sorcery for Shao Kahn, using Tarkatan physiology. Vicious and evil, she despises Kitana, and feels that it is her own right to rule Edenia as Princess in her place.
The Emperor feared if Kitana should ever discover the truth about her past, she'd turn against him. Kahn then ordered his sorcerer Shang Tsung to create an evil, vicious, and loyal clone of Kitana who would take her place. Tsung combined Kitana's essence with a Tarkatan's to achieve this purpose. However, something went wrong and the clone's face deformed into a hideous Tarkatan's mouth. Rather than disposing of her, she was given the name Mileena and introduced as Kitana's twin sister. During Mortal Kombat II, Shao Kahn began to grow suspicious of Kitana and Mileena was ordered to watch over her sister. After finding out that Kitana was indeed conspiring with the Earthrealm warriors, Mileena attacked the princess, but Kitana proved to be the superior fighter and killed her. Damned to the Netherealm, Mileena found herself recruited by the fallen Elder God Shinnok. She served the rogue deity as a spy during Mortal Kombat Trilogy, and then assisted in Shinnok's invasion of Edenia during Mortal Kombat Gold. After Shinnok's defeat, she was again bested by Kitana and secretly locked away in an Edenian prison, perhaps in the hope that she would one day reform.
When the Dragon King, Onaga, returned during Mortal Kombat: Deception and began his own invasion of Edenia, Mileena was freed from her prison by former ally (and possible lover) Baraka. She joined Onaga, and was ordered to pose as Kitana in order to mislead the princess' armies. However, as Mileena began her deception, she also began to consider taking control of the armies for herself. After the fall of Onaga, she used those armies to take over Shao Kahn's fortress during the period before Armageddon, only to surrender it back to Kahn when the former Emperor returned and faced her.
Mileena has a slight upgrade to her story in Mortal Kombat 9 as, rather than a clone raised alongside Kitana since childhood, she is a fully-grown woman who was cloned shortly before the events of the story and gains consciousness during the events of the Outworld tournament. The discovery of this information plays a very large role in Kitana's decision to defect from Outworld while Mileena continues to faithfully serve the emperor as a personal assassin. However, it's the aftermath of said storyline that sees huge changes in her character's direction: With Shao Kahn gone, she becomes the Empress of Outworld. Until Kotal Kahn drives her and her forces underground, that is. She then embarks in a civil war against him, with its toll being taken on Outworld's stability. Ultimately, the coup fails and she is killed by D'Vorah.
- 0% Approval Rating: A lot of pre-match dialogue in MKX has opposing fighters bringing up Outworld's general opposition to her rule. With the exception of Raiden, regarding he wants to rid Earthrealm of Outworld, and Tanya, who wants to help reclaim her throne (though it may be for selfish gain).
- Abhorrent Admirer: Her pre-fight dialogue with Liu Kang in Mortal Kombat X suggests she's got a thing for him.Liu Kang: "You stay away from Kitana."
Mileena: "I'll make you forget all about her~." / ""Yes, let's keep this between us~."
- She also gets flirty with Kung Lao in MKX. (Maybe it's a Shaolin monk thing?) He is... quite disgusted.
- Adaptational Attractiveness: Combined with You Don't Look Like You. Her MKX redesign has come with some pretty significant changes to her facial structure compared to Mortal Kombat 9, so she now looks less like Baraka with hair and more like a distinct fusion between the two races. She has humanoid lips in basically the same place that a regular person's would be, but her cheeks are split into a Glasgow Grin nearly reaching her ears and are lined with teeth that look more like large canines rather than the needle straight teeth that the Tarkatans have.
- Almost Kiss: Part of her first MK9 Fatality, Be Mine.
- Ambiguously Bi: In MK9 she seems to derive sexual pleasure from finishing off her opponent regardless of gender.
- X gives Mileena a slew of incredibly suspect dialogue toward fighters of both sexes, Kitana included (though to be fair, Mileena was kind of gushing over her sister's beauty when they first met in the last game). In a bit of irony, Mileena meets her end at the hands—well, lips—of another Ambiguously Bi kombatant: D'Vorah.
- And exhibit B, her intro dialogue with Tanya.
- Ax-Crazy: Like Baraka, she is as insane as she is violent, yet she can appear composed.
- And Your Reward Is Clothes: For completing the Challenge tower, you earn a third alt. costume for her, wearing nothing but bandages covering the naughty parts and nothing else.note It is perhaps worth telling that Ed Boon apparently considers this the "substantial reward" for beating all the difficult challenges.
- Always Someone Better: While not this to her sister, Kitana; Mileena trumps her one of sister's Brutalities in X with one of her own. It's Mileena mimicing Kano's Ballin Brutality, but she goes crotch first, compared to her sister's Back that Up Brutality, which uses the Square Wave, butt first.
- Back from the Dead: During II, she fought Kitana and lost, badly. Shinnok resurrected her in Ultimate 3.
- Badass Boast:
- Mileena: You don't impress me for a minute.Cassie: I'll have you carpet bombed in five.Mileena: You will be dead by then.
- Bad Boss: She tests D'Vorah's loyalty by demanding the Kytinn kiss her boot, then kicks her square in the face as she complies. When D'Vorah doesn't strike back, Mileena declares her to be the perfect servant.
- Bare Your Midriff: Since Deception.
- The Baroness: Of the Sexpot variety.
- Big Eater: Used for her infamous "Man Eater" Fatality; she literally inhales her victim whole and then barfs up either bones or a gush of gore depending on the gamenote .
- Bilingual Bonus: "Kahnum" isn't some gibberish devised in a few seconds by her diseased mind, it is in fact the correct feminine form of her father's title of Khan, or "Kahn" as the case might be. Unfortunately, she mangles the pronunciation of the word so badly that it ends up being gibberish anywaynote .
- Bed Trick: In Mortal Kombat: Conquest, her MO is to combine this with Black Widow, disguising herself as Kitana to get close to Lui Kang and stick a knife in him. (Naturally, her attempt is foiled by the real Kitana.)
- Bonus Boss: While present as a normal boss in Shaolin Monks, you can fight her again after beating the game by accessing a secret area accessible in the Living Forest.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Her win pose in MK9, where she leaps at the screen. Even if she's fighting on The Pit.
- Breath Weapon: One of her Fatalities. Think of Bullet Seed, only with nails...
- Butter Face: She's got Kitana's body... and the jawline of Baraka. 'Nuff said.Johnny Cage: "How ya doin', butter face?"Mileena: "That had better be a compliment!"
- The Caligula: She becomes ruler of Outworld in the MKX comics, and she proves to be an even worse ruler than Shao Kahn, even as far as being dubbed "The Mad Empress" by the Outworld inhabitants.
- Cast from Hit Points: Mileena makes frequent use of Shinnok's amulet in her campaign to oust Kotal Kahn but the side effect of this is her life force is growing ever-weaker with each use. Rain knew this when he suggested she steal the amulet and is using that fact to his advantage by keeping the knowledge to himself, desiring to let Mileena abuse the amulet's power to fight the war until she's no longer able, which he will use to seize her position.
- Character Development / Took a Level in Badass: In X she isn't a Perky Female Minion to anyone anymore, having matured to the point that she's an adult physically and mentally, enough to lead an army against Kotal Kahn for Outworld's domination.
- Cloning Blues: She was created originally to replace Kitana, but instead was made to be her watchdog.
- Her Arcade Mode ending in MKX reveals that Shang Tsung made at least several other working copies. This can also be seen in Shang Tsung's Flesh Pits in the previous game with one near-finished Mileena held in a stasis tube.
- Combat Stilettos: Same deal as Kitana.
- Cruel Mercy: What she does to Kitana in her Armageddon ending is both incredibly creative and incredibly evil. Blaze's power makes them become one for an instant, and then switches their faces, making Mileena beautiful while giving Kitana her own demonic face. Mileena is thus able to assume the throne of Edenia while imprisoning Kitana, who goes insane as a result.
- Cute and Psycho: Her personality is a weird mix of childish and nubile, with a helping of insanity to go with it. If you can get over her Butter Face, she has an odd allure that endears you to her strange behavior. It helps that in X she acts more mature (being capable enough to lead a rebellion and focus on her goal of overthrowing Kotal Kahn).
- Cute Monster Girl: In general, thanks to her Butter Face attributes being an inhuman array of teeth in an otherwise perfectly normal and voluptuous female form, but it's strongest in MKX, via Adaptational Attractiveness.
- Daddy's Little Villain: All of her actions are done to appease her beloved "father," Shao Kahn.
- Dark Action Girl: Unlike Kitana and Jade, she allies herself with the forces of Outworld.
- Dark Chick: She seems to have this role to the villains in 9.
- Depending on the Writer: Mileena looks hideous without her veil, but just how hideous depends on the game. In 2 and 3 she isn't all-too scary by today's standards, she never even removes the veil at all in Gold, 9 is pretty nightmarish, and in X her face may well be more "normal" than most Outlanders. Deception, however, is the creepiest of all; her jaw seemingly can't close, and you can just barely see that horrific smile through her translucent veil. It's rather unsettling.
- Death of a Thousand Cuts: In one of her Fatalities, Mileena pulls her sais out and stabs repeatedly her opponent to death. In another, she swallows a bunch of nails, which she then spits at her opponent.
- Designated Girl Fight: With Kitana. Justified, see above.
- Distaff Counterpart: Conceptually speaking, she and Kitana where introduced into the games as the female equivalents of Scorpion and Sub-Zero.
- Downloadable Content: In 9, Klassic Mileena from MKII, with a change in one of her moves.
- Dragon Ascendant: In the Mortal Kombat X comic, she takes this role as she takes over Outworld after Shao Kahn's death, but she was an awful ruler and pushed it to the brink of ruin. Kotal Kahn unseats her and now she's out to get her throne back by the time of X.
- Easily Forgiven: As hard as it is to believe, this happens in Kitana's non-canon Arcade Ladder ending from MK9; she and Jade actually forgive Mileena and Kitana accepts her as family, the three eventually ruling Edenia as a benign aristocracy.
- Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Not that pale, but she has the creepy factor down pat.
- Enemy Civil War: With Kotal Kahn for Outworld's throne in MKX.
- Energy Weapon: She can use energy-imbued sais as a projectile attack.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Implied in 9, or rather, even evil can love. She really does care for her 'daddy' Shao Khan, immediately butchering Shang Tsung when manipulated against the former. And incredibly, it shows that if Kitana were to accept her as a sister, she would definitely have a Heel–Face Turn.
- Everyone Has Standards: She tells the Predator that his "face is too repulsive to eat".
- Evil Counterpart: To Kitana.
- Evil Is Sexy: Invoked Trope. She uses this to her advantage. She dresses, and acts, far more provocatively than her sister. But she is pure evil.
- Evil Knockoff: She was created from Kitana's essence but also mixed with some Tarkatan genes. The result is a more monstrous version of Kitana with a child's mind.
- Evil Twin: She serves as this to Kitana. Considering the details of her creation, though, she would actually be a daughter to her, rather than a sister.
- Evil Versus Evil: In the comic tie in, she's the leader of one of two factions fighting for domination of Outworld, Kotal Kahn being the other. Outworld warriors loyal to her are Reiko, Rain, and maybe Goro, but it is hinted he might double cross her eventually.
- Fan Disservice: In a hilarious example. Hot as hell until you see her lower face.
- In MK9, the big reward for completing the 300 challenges is a "naked with bandages in strategic places" costume for her, which is the same costume she's wearing when she fights Kitana in Kitana's chapter. Oh, and said "strategic places" don't include her face.
- Averted in MKX. See Adaptational Attractiveness.
- Fanservice Pack: Starting in Deception. If skin is to be barred, Mileena will most likely be the front-runner in the pushing the envelope race.
- Foil: To Kotal Kahn. One became ruler of Outworld by being the emperor's heir, the other by kicking enormous amounts of ass and showing he could actually lead armies and rule.
- The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: If she does not successfully perform a Fatality in 9 after winning, she rips her mask off, leaps towards the camera (even if that's impossible given the arena she's in, like The Pit) and then makes a hideous laugh in the player's face, causing blood to appear on the screen. (This isn't the only example in the game, but it's arguably the most frightening.)
- Flanderization: Zig-zagged. The developers took the aspect of her character having half-Tarkatan teeth and sex appeal and really played it up in MK9 and toned it back down in X.
- General Failure: Kotal Kahn emphasizes that he overthrew her because she was supposedly this. Justified if true, since MK9 shows that she had the mentality of a twelve year old around the time she would have ascended to the throne.
- Genki Girl: Mileena is this, especially in MK9. Though toned down a bit in X, she's still this.
- Girls Love Stuffed Animals: She has such strong feelings over her beloved teddy bear that she fights Scorpion over it.
- Glasgow Grin: Her being half-Tarkatan gives her a permanent grin filled with razor-sharp teeth. Mortal Kombat X plays this straighter, giving her human lips with Tarkatan teeth running from the corners of those lips up her cheeks.
- God Save Us from the Queen!: Becomes Outworld's Empress after Shao Kahn's death, and according to Kotal Kahn, caused a lot of devastation in Outworld as a result. She is later dethroned by Kotal Kahn, but she then starts a civil war, further plunging the realm into chaos.
- God Was My Copilot: Raiden of all people supports her rule because she is the only just claimant to Outworld's throne, regardless of her leadership capabilities. Although according to multiplayer conversations, her stubbornness is really getting in the way of his efforts to help her.
- It should be said that Raiden may very well be Playing Both Sides to Earthrealm's advantage, as he only asserts Mileena's legitimacy when facing Kotal. Against Mileena herself, Raiden either refuses to be entangled in the current Outworld situation or forgoes neutrality to tell Mileena that her rebellion must end.
- Green Thumb: As a Friendship in MKII, Mileena plants a seed that turns into a flower.
- Hammerspace: It's hard to imagine any other place for her to store her two sai in 9, especially in Kitana's Story Mode chapter where she's barely wearing anything.
- In X this is averted; the two sai are visibly strapped to her back when not in use.
- Has Two Daddies: In a sense. Shang Tsung may have created her under Shao Kahn's orders, but Mileena is undoubtedly devoted to Kahn instead.
- Heel–Face Turn: In Kitana's Arcade Ladder ending in 9.
- Hellish Pupils: In 9, perhaps to better show off her Tarkatan features. Combined with gold eyes normally, and red eyes in her alt.
- Hive Mind: Her X Tower ending has all of the Mileena clones waking up with one of these.
- I Just Want to Be Beautiful and Have Friends: Most characters think she's a crazed freak of nature, so she's a little sensitive about her looks. She gets very attached to those who treat her well, as Reiko proved when he charmed his way into her army. Even enemies aren't exempt:Sonya: They were wrong to depose you.Mileena: You wish to be friends?Sonya: ...wouldn't go THAT far.
- I Just Want to Be You: Has a case of this towards Kitana, at the very least desiring her beauty and at most wanting her entire life. Nearly all of Mileena's arcade endings before the reboot have her assuming Kitana's identity and seizing Edenia for herself.
- I'm a Humanitarian: Mileena's more than happy to put her carnivore teeth to use on sapient prey. In X, one of her intro taunts when fighting Reptile is her mocking that the jungle's lizards are "too small to eat". Several of her Fatalities involve her partially or wholely consuming her opponent, as well.
- Informed Flaw: Her inability to lead. The only thing Mileena is seen leading in the game itself is a fairly successful rebellion that only ends due to a series of unlucky occurences. It should also be noted that the primary source of this information is Kotal Kahn, who is not exactly the most unbiased reporter.
- Insult Backfire: Being called the Mad Empress repeatedly makes her admit that she's mad enough to let Kotal Kahn live when they are facing and about to fight a Blood Magik-powered Reiko.
- Killed Off for Real: In X by D'Vorah's Kiss of Death.
- Which still might prove only temporary, based on the revelation that there are additional copies of Mileena being grown.
- Kiss-Kiss-Slap: With Baraka. It is apparently a relationship she doesn't want word of getting out, judging by one pre-match exchange with Johnny in X.Mileena: "Repulsive human!"Johnny Cage: "Sleeping with Baraka's repulsive."Mileena: "Who told you this?!"
- Let's Dance: Her opening line in Mortal Kombat 9. She also uses a variation when confronting Taven in Armageddon's Konquest Mode:"Care to dance?"
- Laughing Mad: Occasionally she will let out a chipmunk-esque cackle after performing a combo in X.
- Lightning Bruiser: Mileena's strength is her incredible agility, being the fastest character in II. Her attacks are usually speedy rolls or teleport kicks that keep her opponent guessing where she's going to be coming from next.
- Literal Maneater: She acts flirty and seductive, but she's got no problem eating her bedmates either before or after they succumb to her charms.
- Long Hair Is Feminine: At least in II. In most subsequent appearances, Mileena wears her hair shorter (about shoulder length).
- Lovable Sex Maniac/Sex Is Violence: "Lovable" might be stretching it, but MKX definitely ramps up her maniacal urges to go along with the violence. Just listen to her pre-fight quips against half the male kombatants. As this little gem with Sub-Zero can attest:Sub-Zero: "You will know the sting of winter."Mileena: "Come, let me warm you..."
- She gets flirty with at least a quarter of the cast; Sub-Zero, Takeda, Kenshi, Liu Kang, Kung Lao, Jacqui Briggs, Kitana, Tanya, and Kung Jin all included.
- Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter: Well, sort of...
- Man Bites Man: Used in a wide array of special moves and Fatalities; she has multiple attacks based on biting her enemy, and her Fatalities ranging from inhaling her victim whole and then puking up their bones to ripping their throat out with her teeth to tearing off their head and gnawing on it before hurling it aside. Her Ravenous Variation in X gives her plenty of combos (and a Brutality) for her to work with by using her sharp fangs. One early design for X would have her able to unhinge her jaw like a snake does, but it didn't make the final cut.
- Me's a Crowd: Her MKX Ladder ending has her find an entire army of clones made by Shang Tsung that she can control telepathically. She uses them to reclaim Outworld.
- Mind Screw: Mileena's Ethereal variation has her do Mind Games on her opponent by setting a point where she can teleport at, even behind the opponent.
- Mirror-Cracking Ugly: Her Friendship in Ultimate.
- More Teeth than the Osmond Family: Due to her status as half-Tarkatan. Lessened to some degree in X.
- Ms. Fanservice: To the point of posing topless◊ (in her Deception alt., one of her skimpiest outfits to date; her nipples were tastefully covered by her sais) for Playboy. See Stripperiffic below.
- Mysterious Veil: Part of her costume and helps her look like Kitana, plus it covers her teeth.
- Nightmare Fetishist: In MK9, she appears to get aroused whenever she pulls off a Fatality.
- Perky Female Minion: One who has no qualms about killing, but still, Mortal Kombat 9 has made her pretty genki. Her pre-match quote and some other lines display a childlike enthusiasm for violence, and she seems genuinely excited on fighting for her "father", the Obviously Evil Shao Kahn. She sheds this off upon Mortal Kombat X, where she is the leader of a resistance.
- Prim and Proper Bun: Her hairstyle (shared with every other female ninja who existed as of MK3) in MK3/4.
- Princesses Prefer Pink: Well, she posed as Kitana between Deception and Armageddon, and at least wears pink.
- Progressively Prettier: Her teeth were resized considerably in Deception and Armageddon. They still look grotesque, though, just not as extremely as her original design. Unlike most versions of this these changes had little to do with making her more attractive and more trying to balance her obvious Tarkatan features with the fact that it was established she could flawlessly pass as Kitana. They decided to take the opposite approach in the new timeline.
- Her design in MKX has human lips, in contrast to past appearances.
- Psychopathic Manchild: Gender flipped, obviously. Her bio in Mortal Kombat 9 states that she's this. She even tells Stryker in an exchange (during Shao Kahn's invasion of Earthrealm) that she's looking for a new playmate. One of the challenge tower missions involves her attempts to force Scorpion to accept a teddy bear that she made for him (as far as actual age goes, she is a child, having been just "born" in the midst of the Story Mode). Mortal Kombat X also shows, through some her pre-fight dialogue, that she's terribly insecure about her appearance and has a strong desire to be viewed as physically attractive (which probably explains her constant [but also indirect] sexual advances towards her opponents— see Evil Is Sexy above).
- Retcon: The earlier games suggested Mileena was raised alongside Kitana, while 9 involves her being created during the events of Mortal Kombat II.
- Related in the Adaptation: Mortal Kombat: Conquest inverts this; she's not related to Kitana at all in the story, instead being another servant of Shao Kahn disguised as Kitana via magic. While her overall personality is the same, it works against her, with such aggression causing her disguise to slip and reveal her true demonic face.
- Rolling Attack: Like Kano and Reptile, she's able to curl up into a ball and launch herself at foes.
- Sai Gal: Easily an iconic trait of the character.
- Sai Nut: She makes good use of it in some of her moves and Fatalities. Her Piercing Variation has her go to town with huge Sai combos, and even her fatality from 2 as a Brutality.
- Sequel Hook: Her Arcade Ending in MKX, which has her wake up in the body of another copy of her made by Shang Tsung.
- She's Got Legs: Even more than Kitana! Her outfits sure accentuate it.
- Smelly Skunk: She could turn into one as her Animality in Ultimate MK3. Cue lethally poisonous fart.
- The Sociopath: Obviously, she's an Ax-Crazy Psychopathic Womanchild. In the MKX comics, she proves to be an even worse ruler than Shao Kahn, even as far as being dubbed "The Mad Empress" by the Outworld inhabitants.
- Stance System:
- The Starscream: Her ending in MKII shows her taking over, to start with.
- During Deception and before Armageddon, she also uses Kitana and Shao Kahn's deaths to her advantage and starts plotting to take over the realms.
- Becomes on the receiving end of this five years before the events of Mortal Kombat X. As it turns out, due to her relative naivety and dubious claim to the throne, nearly every single person under her (barring Baraka) past and present are this to her, all of them wanting to use her instead to further their own ambitions. Even the ones supposedly aiding her rebellion are plotting to off her right afterwards, and she's the only one unable to see it.
- Statuesque Stunner: Could probably be seen as a Double Subversion, seeing as Mileena provides both fanservice and fan disservice.
- Strange Minds Think Alike: Mileena's fighting style, regardless of variation, is based from Kano's Commando variant, seeing as both of them grapple like there's no tomorrow.
- Stripperiffic: In a series of mostly Stripperiffic characters, her costumes stand out the most—to the point that she actually appeared in a special edition of Playboy featuring video game characters, donning her alt. Deception outfit.◊ Luckily, her veil was still on. When you think of it though, she has quite a Freudian Excuse to do so: she's likely to wear more revealing and provocative clothing than her "sister" Kitana as a form of compensation for her very, very horrifying lower face.
- That being said, Mortal Kombat X tones this way down in comparison to her previous outfits (and arguably the excuse as well). She still has the most revealing outfit though.
- Teleport Spam: She started out with her Kick From Above. She has an enchanced version called Tricky Teleport, where she teleports again and hits her opponent with a second kick from the other side. Her X-Ray in X adds a third kick, and she has a brutality where said kick destroys the opponent's face.
- Took a Level in Badass: Becomes Outworld's Empress after Shao Kahn's death, and according to Kotal Kahn, caused a lot of devastation in Outworld as a result due to her incompetence. She is later dethroned by Kotal Kahn, but she then starts a civil war, further plunging the realm into chaos.
- Underboobs: In Deception and Armageddon. She was a wardrobe malfunction just waiting to happen.
- Underwear of Power: As an alt. costume.
- The Vamp: One of the more fanservice-y characters, and fight for the bad guys.
- She seems to be turning this up for X, when she enlists Reiko and Goro.
- Villainesses Want Heroes: Her pre-match quotes against Liu Kang in X implies they were lovers at some point. (Or she wants them to be.) Perhaps she did it to spite Kitana?Mileena: So, you and I...
- Weapon of Choice: Her sai. Strangely has a long sword as a weapon in Gold.
- "Well Done, Daughter!" Girl
- What Happened to the Mouse?: She mysteriously disappears during MK9's Story Mode. She comes back later, leading a rebellion.
- Yandere: Is this towards Liu Kang.
- Younger Than They Look/Jail Bait: Technically in MK9's timeline as she is fully formed right out of the lab. This also explains her Psychopathic Manchild tendencies, as she pretty much is a child raised by mass murderers.
- Your Soul Is Mine: Type II in her Arcade Ladder ending in 9.
Major Jackson "Jax" Briggs
Debut game: Mortal Kombat II (John Parrish)
Other appearances: Mortal Kombat 3 (John Parrish), Mortal Kombat 4 (John Parrish), Mortal Kombat: Special Forces (Craig J. Harris), Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance (Craig J. Harris), Mortal Kombat: Unchained, Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks, Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe (Dan Washington), Mortal Kombat 9 (Gerald C. Rivers), Mortal Kombat X (Greg Eagles and Carl Weathers, English; Gerardo Vásquez, Latin American Spanish)
Non-game appearances: Mortal Kombat (Gregory McKinney), Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (Lynn "Red" Williams), Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm (Dorian Harewood), Mortal Kombat Rebirth / Mortal Kombat Legacy (Michael Jai White)
Major Jackson "Jax" Briggs was the first African-American character in the Mortal Kombat series and an archetypal American hero. Leader of the Outer World Investigation Agency (OIA), he is an extremely capable fighter when it comes to protecting Earthrealm. His most prominent traits are his cybernetically-enhanced arms.
Prior the start of the series, Jax was a member of the Special Forces and was dedicated to the dismantling of the Black Dragon Clan. He almost succeeded: after disposing of the rest of their members, Jax faced the clan's leader Kano and beat him in combat. Kano was captured, but the criminal escaped at a later date. Following the events of Mortal Kombat, Briggs went in search of both the escaped Kano and Lt. Sonya Blade. He confronted Johnny Cage about the tournament, but at first didn't believe Cage's claims. However, after receiving a video signal from Sonya herself, he visited Johnny at a commercial shoot with the intent to apologize to Cage for not believing him. Jax found the actor fighting a horde of Tarkatans led by Kintaro; he helped fight off the intruders until the other Earthrealm warriors showed up to help. Afterwards Jax traveled into Outworld to compete in the next tournament along with the Earthrealm warriors in hopes of finding Sonya and Kano. Here, Jax soon came to learn of the Emperor Shao Kahn's plans for Earthrealm. He was successful in freeing Sonya, but not only did Kano escape once more, the Earth government did not believe the Major's warnings. Jax began to prepare for the imminent conflict, and donned himself bionic implants. When Kahn come to Earth, Jackson Briggs was ready for it.
After Shao Kahn's attempt at claiming Earthrealm failed, Jax became the commanding officer of the Outer World Investigation Agency; the OIA was not only assigned to explore and map other realms, but were also committed to the destruction of portals that could lead to Earth. After briefly assisting Raiden in the defeat of Shinnok in Edenia, Jax and Sonya found the Lin Kuei cyborg Cyrax, malfunctioning and trapped in a desert. Returning with him to their home base, they restored his humanity and gained a new ally. Years later, trouble would occur again, as not only were agents Kenshi and Cyrax lost in Outworld, but the OIA underground facility was nuked into oblivion by the traitor Hsu Hao. Jax tracked him in Outworld and killed the Red Dragon member. Afterward, he was among the group of warriors who made a final stand against the Deadly Alliance of Shang Tsung and Quan Chi, but was unfortunately killed in the ensuing fight along with the rest of his allies. He, like his friends, was eventually found by Onaga and revived as a mindless drone.
Jax is pretty much the same hardass as always in Mortal Kombat 9, but with a few changes to his story. At the outset of the story, he is held captive on Shang Tsung's island and Sonya becomes involved in the tournament with the goal of extracting him. He enters the Outworld tournament on a rescue mission when Sonya is captured during an Outworld invasion of the Shaolin temple. Unlike the original timeline, Jax did not voluntarily change his arms to mechanical arms, but had his arms destroyed by Ermac during the Outworld tournament — the mechanical arms he has are prosthetic. He aids the Earthrealm warriors until Sindel and the cybernetic Lin Kuei attack their base of operations, where he is slain. His soul is resurrected by Quan Chi in the Netherrealm but Mortal Kombat X shows how he escaped enslavement. He has an adult daughter by the time of Mortal Kombat X named "Jacqueline" (who goes by "Jacqui").
- All American Face: He even pulls out the American flag and wraps it around him in his MK9 win pose!
- Angry Black Man: Before his arm transplant, his only power was being a big black man. That and firing energy blasts.
- Artificial Limbs: Since 3. It was not explained if they were mere upgrades or actual replacements. 9 went with the replacement route, as he had his arms ripped off by Ermac.
- Bald of Awesome: In his appearance in MK vs. DC.
- Bald of Evil: During his unwitting tenure in Quan Chi's Netherrealm army as a revenant.
- The Big Guy of the Five-Man Band: Of the group of heroes, he's one of the most combat-oriented, and also noticably has the largest physique among the good guys in X.
- Big "OMG!": Knock him off of the Sky Temple in Armageddon and he'll utter one of these before screaming that he can't believe this is happening to him right before he hits the ground.
- Blue Oni: To Sonya.
- Call to Agriculture: Becomes a farmer after being restored to life and retiring from the army in MKX. However, he's still willing to go out and fight alongside the Special Forces to protect Jacqui if needed.
- Catch Phrase: "Gotcha!" Later installments also add "Oh yeah!" or "Aww yeah!"
- Cigar Chomper: MK9 and X have given him a fine appreciation of cigars, especially following his resurrection. He even uses it to add insult to injury during a fatality.
- Cool Guns: Gets a pretty sweet assault rifle/machine gun from the time of Deadly Alliance to vs. DCU, which is strapped to his back. Appropriately, his main costume in DA and Armageddon comes complete with a Badass Bandolier. MKX gives him the Heavy Weapons variation, which arms him with a rocket launcher and an SMG.
- Cool Old Guy: Given the 25-year Time Skip in X, he's at least in his fifties then, so he qualifies.
- Cyborg: From Mortal Kombat 3 onward.
- Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: What happens to him in his endings in Armageddon and DC Universe.
- Da Chief: To Sonya.
- A Day in the Limelight:
- Depending on the Writer: Jax is supposed to be Sonya's level-headed CO and a typical American hero, but this characterization doesn't always stick from game to game. Special Forces and Deadly Alliance made Jax akin to that of a Blaxploitation character. Shaolin Monks and especially vs. DCU show him as very cool-headed and sagely, putting him more in line with his intended personality. On top of that vs. DCU gives him shades of being a Spirited Competitor as well. 9 strays closer to the original trilogy, but also depicts Jax as brash, gung-ho, and gives him a bit of a nasty temper. X continues on from this portrayal with an Older and Wiser Jax, though he's now a overprotective father and initially shell-shocked due to serving Quan Chi against his will for years.
- Dual Tonfas: Wielded them as a weapon style starting in Deadly Alliance.
- Genius Bruiser: A tech wiz. His expertise with computers is almost singlehandedly responsible for the respective Heel-Face Turns of Cyrax in 4/Gold and Cyber Sub-Zero in 9.Jax: "Heard you're a tech geek."
Takeda: I've got some toys you'll like."
Jax: "Well, who do you think designed them?"
- Giant Foot of Stomping: One of his past Fatalities.
- He's Back: His chapter in MKX is all about him getting his confidence back and showing he can still fight with the best of them, in a battle through the Netherrealm to capture Quan Chi, no less.
- Honorary Uncle: To Cassie Cage in Mortal Kombat X.
- Hunk: With or without cybernetic arms.
- In Spite of a Nail: In the original timeline, he voluntarily changed his arms to cybernetic ones in order to be able to better combat the Outworld forces. In the MK9 timeline, Ermac destroyed his human arms, and they had to be replaced with cybernetic ones.
- King of Beasts: Jax can turn into a Lion as his Animality in MK3.
- Lightning Bruiser: In 3 and UMK3.
- Megaton Punch: As a special move.
- Mighty Glacier: In 9.
- Neck Lift: One of his special moves, that follows with him punching the enemy multiple times.
- Nice Hat: Both his regular and alternate outfits from Deadly Alliance and Armageddon sport one.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: In his MK9 ending, he uses a new cyber scanner to track down the Big Bad's remaining forces. While in the virtual reality interface, he ends up connecting to the cybernetics in Kano's eye. Jax beats up Kano in cyberspace and traps his consciousness inside the Special Forces mainframe, supposedly trapping him forever. In Kano's ending, it's revealed that after this, he manages to break free as he gains control over all of the Special Forces weapons systems, basically becoming SkyNet.
- Non-Dubbed Grunts: His "Gotcha!" soundbyte in X is actually from 9.
- Overprotective Dad: Toward Jacqui Briggs, whom he loves more than life itself. Jax was strongly against her joining the Special Forces, especially in the aftermath of the Netherrealm War, when the military began to tackle threats from supernatural dimensions on top of standard threats. Understandably so, given Jax spent years as a revenant in Quan Chi's service. According to a memory she and Cassie share in one chapter, when Johnny broke the news to Jax he came home with a broken jaw. It also is Played for Laughs in one pre-fight dialogue bit.Takeda: "Is this because I'm dating Jacqui?"
Jax: "You're dating Jacqui?"
Takeda: "Real smooth, Takeda..."
- Papa Wolf: Do not screw with Jacqui.
- Pure Energy: He can throw purple energy waves as projectiles in some games.
- Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs: His Piston Punch.
- Retired Badass: Following his resurrection, Jax retired from active service. Sonya and Johnny manage to convince him to come back, though not necessarily on the frontlines. That he does on his own.
- Rocket Punch: In MK vs. DC, he could shoot missiles out of his bionic arms.
- Scary Black Man: Largely averted. He's actually level-headed and easily approachable. Piss him off, however, and the trope is then played painfully straight.
- She Is Not My Girlfriend: Tells Cage this about his relationship with Sonya; it's apparently a strictly professional one, with Jax only acting as her CO. He had a... quibble with Cage for that.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: In MKX, after he is resurrected, Jax is too traumatized by the ordeal to work for the army and retires. When he does go back into action after a visit form Sonya, it's glorious.
- Shockwave Stomp: Jax can punch the ground hard enough to shake the whole area, damaging his opponent. This could also be used for a unique type of combo in the 2D Mortal Kombat games.
- Sickening "Crunch!": Landing his backbreaker in MKII produces a meaty "SNAP!" soundbite.
- Smoking Is Cool: In X, after being restored to humanity, he has taken to smoking cigars in and out of battle.
- Spikes of Villainy: In X, Jax sports these on the shoulders of his cybernetic arms in his revenant form.
- Stance System: Keeps Muay Thai through Deadly Alliance to Armageddon. Also has Judo in DA and Unchained, a style which Smoke would go on to use as secondary.
- Taking the Bullet: His MKX Ladder ending has him stopping Erron Black's ambush on Takeda, Jin, Cassie, and Jacqui by jumping in front and using his metal arms to block the bullets. Unfortunately, he goes into shock shortly after as one bullet hit his chest.
- Tall, Dark and Handsome: Height unknown.
- Walking Shirtless Scene: Except in X.
- Weapon of Choice: Has a spiked club in 4, which is replaced by tonfa in Deadly Alliance to Armageddon, along with his various guns.
- Wrestler in All of Us: Shades of it, including a backbreaker during his X-Ray in 9. And in X his X-Ray is a powerbomb chained into an inverted wheelbarrow suplex. One of his variations in X is even called "Wrestler."
- Your Head Asplode: He does this in his early Fatalities.
Debut game: Mortal Kombat II (Richard Divizio)
Other appearances: Mortal Kombat Trilogy (Richard Divizio), Mortal Kombat Gold, Mortal Kombat: Deception, Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks, Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe (Dan Washington), Mortal Kombat 9 (Bob Carter), Mortal Kombat X (cameo) (Greg Eagles, English; Gerardo Vásquez, Latin American Spanish)
Non-game appearances: Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (Dennis Keiffer), Mortal Kombat Rebirth (Lateef Crowder)
A mean, unforgiving, and unpredictable warrior, Baraka belongs to a race of nomadic beings called Tarkata, whose realm was conquered ages ago by Shao Kahn, causing him to swear loyalty as a result. Baraka, like most other members of his race, possesses long blades extending from his forearms that he uses to nasty effect in battle.
In the events leading up to Mortal Kombat II, Baraka led the attack on the Shaolin Temple in Earthrealm, which spurred Liu Kang to seek vengeance in Outworld as predicted by his master, Shao Kahn. During the ensuing tournament, Baraka partnered with Mileena, herself part-Tarkata, to overthrow the Emperor and rule together, but Mileena was murdered and Baraka fleed to the lowlands of Outworld. In the time prior to the events of Mortal Kombat Gold, Baraka encountered the necromancer Quan Chi while wandering through Edenia. Quan Chi offered Baraka a chance to rule the realm at his side if he agreed to join the army of Shinnok. Eager for battle, he readily accepted. Once again Baraka planned to betray his new masters, but after Shinnok was defeated by Liu Kang, his opportunity was lost once again.
After the Deadly Alliance was defeated by the risen Onaga, Baraka and his Tarkata horde joined the Dragon King. After freeing Mileena from her prison, Baraka recruited her to Onaga's ranks. Posing as her sister Kitana, she misdirect the Edenian forces into combat against Baraka's Tarkatan raiding parties, thus giving time to Onaga for him to complete his schemes. However, Mileena gave command of Kitana's army to Bo' Rai Cho, and under his command a lot of Tarkatans warriors where killed, angering Baraka. In the end, Onaga was defeated, Baraka finding himself once more allied with the losing faction.
Baraka is basically unchanged during the events of Mortal Kombat 9. He makes a couple of cameos in Mortal Kombat X, where he is killed by D'Vorah once Kotal Kahn makes his move to overthrow Mileena.
- Always Chaotic Evil: His species, the Tarkatans, are said to be like this.
- An Arm and a Leg:
- In one of his Fatalities from Deception, Baraka uses his blades to slices the arms, legs, and neck of his victim. He then stabs the torso and rips it out...
- If the opening of MK9 depicting Armageddon's aftermath is any indication, he lost his left arm before being sliced in half by Kung Lao, having it lodged in Sub-Zero's back.
- Arch-Enemy: Seems to be this to Kung Lao, judging by Shaolin Monks and Armageddon's intro cinematics. In fact, it is Kung Lao who manages to kill him in the end, judging by the intro to 9.
- Art Evolution: Has undergone several redesigns over the course of his appearances across the series. In Mortal Kombat Gold, he has several large staples across his body and a more humanoid shaped head, alluding to Kung Lao supposedly bisecting him during the events of the third game. In Deception, he loses the staples and has a more monstrous appearance, complete with rows of spikes down his back. Come the reboot, he returns to a more humanoid design, although he is given cheek spikes and a unique arm build to separate him from the other Tarkata in Mortal Kombat X.
- Audible Sharpness: His Tarkata blades. Think of them like Wolverine's claws.
- Ax-Crazy: Perhaps less so than his fellow Tarkata (who are pretty over the edge as a race). He's skilled enough to be their field general and is pretty good about following orders. Shao Kahn in particular considers him a valuable ally to a degree. However in combat he's always in a bloodthirsty frenzy.
- Back-to-Back Badasses: Some levels in the challenge tower in 9 are a "hold-the-line" type, where you have to spam a certain move as a character to prevent zombies/Tarkatans from reaching your end of the screen. Baraka stars in one, but back-to-back with Mileena, whom you have to control at the same time.
- Bald of Evil: Another trait that seem to be part of his species.
- The Berserker: Several of his moves involve violently attacking the opponent with his blades and Baraka himself is quite eager to kill people.
- Blade Below the Shoulder: Like all Tarkatans, Baraka sports twin razor-sharp blades in his arms, along with several sharp growths.
- Butter Face: A male example. Has a muscular, saliently sculpted body... but the face is anything but attractive...
- Butt Monkey: In Mortal Kombat X, Baraka seems to exist to be humiliated. Not only is he beaten up twice in Story Mode, but Alien's (non-canon) storyline sees him as the victim of a chestburster. To add even more insult to injury, one player who experimented with a modded copy of the game discovered that Baraka was severely nerfed from his Mortal Kombat 9 incarnation.
- Cannibal Clan: According to Jade's ending in Deception, Tarkatans will viciously attack and devour any Tarkatan from foreign tribes. Tanya, being smeared with Tarkatan essence by Jade while standing with Baraka and his horde, learns this the hard way. It's also heavily hinted through the series that Tarkatans aren't afraid of eating regular people as well.
- Speaking of which, a flashback in the MKX comics reveals that Tarkatans aren't themselves above being eaten by regular people. Just ask Kotal Kahn, Ferra and Torr.
- Even Evil Has Standards: His MK Gold ending sees he and the now god Quan Chi conquer Edenia. Baraka is fine and happy, until Quan Chi then murders everybody. Baraka finds this completely insane and calls Quan Chi a madman. Unsurprisingly, Baraka doesn't live long after that.
- Eye Scream: His X-Ray move in MK9 has him impale his foe on one blade and use the other to stab their throat, and finally their eye.
- Flat Character: Doesn't have much to his character other than being a brute
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Nearly every one of his endings suggests this.
- Half the Man He Used to Be: Courtesy of Kung Lao at the end of 3. In Gold, he's held together with large metal staples. By Deception, he's back to normal.
- This is true for his head at least, in the aftermath of Armageddon. Again, courtesy of Kung Lao.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice:
- In MKII, Baraka could finish his opponents by lifting them with and letting them slide down his blades, while the victim screams and flails about helplessly before expiring. Several of his other fatalities and moves have a tendency to impale the opponent as well.
- He inflicts this upon Kuai Liang during Armageddon in the original timeline and can be killed this way in the new timeline.
- Jobber: Has a tendency to repeatedly show up during 9's story mode to get beaten up.
- Kiss-Kiss-Slap: With Mileena. This being Mortal Kombat, and with both of them being Always Chaotic Evil, the "Kisses" are plots to rule Outworld together as king and queen, and the "Slaps" are betrayal and brutal attempts at murder.
- Killed Off for Real: In Mortal Kombat X. Depending on how the quick time event in question is handled, he either succumbs to his wounds from his fight with D'Vorah or she impales him through his heart and brain with her insect appendages, ripping them both out of his body and crushing them with her hands (Which she has as a fatality in-game). The Season 2 Kombat Pack trailer plays with this by not having D'Vorah kill him, but having a Xenomorph burst out of his chest.
- Looks Like Orlok: Has the pointy ears and and sharp teeth to resemble Orlok, which is a result of his original costume using an Orlok mask as its base.
- More Teeth than the Osmond Family: Has a rather large amount of teeth larger than any normal human's.
- Nightmare Face: Oooh boy... Tarkatans are all about this trope.
- The Nose Knows: According to his endings in Deception and 9, all Tarkatans have a really keen sense of smell.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: He's a vicious, animalistic monster... and still Shao Kahn's most trusted general. In particular, this is shown well in his MK9 ladder ending. It's revealed that the Shao Kahn he killed was Shang Tsung, who had transformed into the emperor. It seemingly fooled everybody except him. The Tarkatans became Shao Kahn's favored race thanks to his loyalty!
- Off with His Head!: A classic Fatality for him is to use one of his blades to cut his opponent's head off in one clean slice. Even his own head, as an Hara-kiri in Deception.
- Pointy Ears: Comes as a result of his original costume being made from a Nosferatu mask.
- Posthumous Character: Died some time before the events of X at D'Vorah's hands. It gets played on for the Season 2 Kombat Pack, where his chest explodes, revealing a Xenomorph sprouting out.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: If Mortal Kombat X is any indication, he serves Shao Kahn out of admiration for his fighting skill due to him having conquered his realm.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: In all games barring Mortal Kombat X.
- Retcon: Originally, it was stated that the Tarkata were a cross between Outworld humans and demons from the Netherrealm. However, this seems to have been dropped come the reboot, as Baraka claims in the tenth game that Shao Kahn conquered his realm.
- Sinister Scythe: His weapon unique to Gold.
- Spin Attack: In certain games, Baraka has a special move that allows him to spin around like a top with his blades extended. In MKT he could spin indefinitely.
- Spikes of Villainy: Not only is he a bad guy, Baraka also has plenty of bony stubs on his arms to go with his arm blades and alignment. The DA-D-A trilogy gave him spikes on his back while MKX added someon his cheeks.
- Spot the Imposter: In his ending to 9, the Shao Kahn he kills is actually Shang Tsung in disguise, who was plotting to overthrow the real one; only Baraka recognized him. His loyalty is rewarded with leadership of the Shokkan and Centaur armies, along with the Tarkatans, and he's able to unite them into one Badass Army.
- Stalker with a Crush: To Mileena.
- Stance System: He has Silat and Hung Gar for Deception and Unchained. He only keeps the former for Armageddon, with Drahmin taking up the latter.
- Sword Drag: His "between rounds" victory animation in MK9 is him dragging an arm blade on the ground and snarling.
- Undying Loyalty: To Shao Kahn and Mileena in the rebooted timeline.
- Villainous Cheekbones: In MKX, Baraka has tiny spikes growing out of his cheeks.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: His Animality turns him into a vulture.
- Weapon of Choice: A razor cane in Gold. He uses his Tarkatan blades more predominantly throughout the series.
Debut game: Mortal Kombat II (Tony Marquez)
Other appearances: Mortal Kombat 3 (Tony Marquez), Mortal Kombat Gold (Joshua Y. Tsui), Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance, Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks, Mortal Kombat 9 (Jin Hyong), Mortal Kombat X (Will Yun Lee, English; Eduardo Garza, Latin American Spanish)
Non-game appearances: Mortal Kombat Legacy (Mark Dacascos)
A member of the same Shaolin order as Liu Kang, Kung Lao is the descendant of the Great Kung Lao who defeated Shang Tsung many generations before. His trademark feature is his razor-brimmed hat, which he can throw as a weapon.
Kung Lao is a quiet man who does not advocate violence or conflict. As such, he decided to omit himself from the Mortal Kombat tournament that Liu Kang attended and subsequently won (though this is retconned in 9). Later on, the Shaolin temple was attacked by Outworld monsters and Kung Lao decided that now was the time to act and stepped through the portal to Outworld to fight off the evil alongside Liu Kang. Upon returning from their success in Outworld, Kung Lao attempted to reunite the White Lotus Society, but was derailed when Shao Kahn invaded Earthrealm. Chosen as one of Raiden's protected warriors, he once again left his life of peace to defend Earthrealm from Outworld.
After driving back Shao Kahn's invasion, Kung Lao decided to retire to a solitary existence and led his companions to believe he perished from injury. When word of Shinnok's ambition reaches him along with rumors that Goro, the man who had killed his namesake ancestor, is still living he returns to battle. He encounters Goro but rather than come to blows, the two warriors come to peace and end generations of bitterness. Kung Lao was the first to discover Liu Kang's body following Shang Tsung and Quan Chi's ambush and swears vengeance. He trains himself under the same master as Liu Kang with the hopes that his newfound skill would bring justice. Unfortunately, this was not the case and he would find himself unable to stand against Tsung and was vanquished. He was revived to serve Onaga's goals during Deception but frees his spirit in time to climb the pyramid in Armageddon.
Kung Lao's story changes quite dramatically in Mortal Kombat 9. For starters, he is present at the original tournament, unlike the first canon (though it does take after the events of Shaolin Monks where he dresses up as a guard), having snuck into the tournament out of jealousy towards Liu Kang. Raiden exposes him and has him fight Scorpion so he can be eliminated and not affect the course of events. Later on he participates in the Outworld tournament and this time Raiden allows him to face Outworld's champion, Kintaro, instead of Liu Kang. Unfortunately this has the negative effect of Shao Kahn simply snapping his neck from behind and killing him instantly after he wins, leaving Liu Kang to avenge his death and events mostly play out as they did in Mortal Kombat II as a result. His soul resurrected as a Netherrealm slave by Quan Chi, and he does not escape from his captor come the events of Mortal Kombat X.
- Always Someone Better:
- Towards Liu Kang in Armageddon and 9 a little bit. Extremely blatant in Shaolin Monks.
- A favorite insult against him amongst the X roster is to unfavorably compare him to Liu Kang.
- A Day in the Limelight: In Mortal Kombat 9, he's the focus of Chapter 11.
- A Death in the Limelight: At the end of the chapter, his neck is snapped by Shao Kahn.
- Anti-Villain: As a reverent, he's considerably less evil than the others. He doesn't think that Evil Feels Good compared to Liu Kang, he wishes to return to normal, and was willing to spare Jax at first for trespassing when he stepped foot in the Netherrealm.
- Awesome, but Impractical: It's not shown as such, but really, just think about it. Using one's own hat as a bladed, long-range weapon is about as unfeasible as it gets. Hats are not conducive to being thrown accurately.
- Back from the Dead: Subverted in Mortal Kombat X. His regular appearance belongs to the mutiplayer Alternate Universe; he's still a revenant by the end of the story mode.
- Badass Grandpa: Again, unfortunately only in the multiplayer Alternate Universe.
- Bald of Evil: Interesting variation. While as a revenant under the service of Quan Chi (and bound to his will), he's completely bald. Other revenants like Stryker or Liu Kang have full heads of hair.
- Being Evil Sucks: His MKX arcade ending seems to indicate that he wants to get out of the Netherrealm. Kung Jin, who has not given up any hope on Lao, aids him to redeem his soul and return him to the side of good.
- Berserk Button: If his interactions with Johnny Cage in X are anything to go by, don't mock his hat.Kung Lao: Why are you here, Cage?
Johnny Cage: "To tell you Zorro's mom wants her hat back.
Kung Lao: Any hope for mercy is lost.
Kung Lao: The lesser Cage.
- His interactions with Bo' Rai Cho, Cassie Cage and Kitana show he's also not very happy with the idea of being compared to Liu Kang.
Cassie Cage: Liu Kang lite.
Kung Lao: A mouth in search of a fist.
- Cain and Abel: Being revived as a revenant, his cousin becomes one of Earthrealm's heroes, Lao becomes Cain to Jin's Abel.
- Celibate Hero: As a Shaolin, this is almost a requirement.
- Dressing as the Enemy: According to both Shaolin Monks and 9, Kung Lao disguised himself as one of Shang Tsung's bodyguards to infiltrate the first game's tournament. In the latter, one of Raiden's "hot flashes" tips him off to this, causing the thunder god to berate the monk and force him into battle against Scorpion so that he'd lose and be disqualified.
- Deadpan Snarker: Kung Lao does this quite a bit more in pre-fight banter in Mortal Kombat X, especially if he's facing a comedic character.
- Defector from Decadence: His ending in X shows that he wants to find a way out of the Netherrealm. Kung Jin, who has not given up any hope on Lao, aids him to redeem his soul and return him to the side of good.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: His MKX Arcade ending has Kung Jin coming to his aid to help redeem his soul and return him to life. While it's unclear if the possibility itself is even canon, if so then it raises rather pleasant implications about the possible future of the rest of the revenants.
- Everyone Has Standards: While 9 as a whole is Bloodier and Gorier than the rest of the franchise, Ed Boon himself has admitted that his "Jewel Cut" Fatality is brutal even for this game, saying that it was "probably the most painful-looking Fatality ever made." This sentiment is shared by many critics, including Cheat Code Central's Shelby Reiches, who included it among the four worst cinematic scenes in games, commenting: "Every time he does this to a male fighter, I can hardly watch. I try not to fight against Kung Lao anymore."
- Face–Heel Turn: Averted. Unlike Liu Kang and Kitana, Kung Lao is absolutely miserable as a revenant and desires nothing more than to get out of the Netherrealm and return to the side of good. His ending shows that he spends all of his time searching for an unguarded way out of the Netherrealm, and his cousin Kung Jin aids him in returning to the side of good.
- Faking the Dead: He was apparently killed by Shao Kahn during Trilogy. He survived, but for a time allowed his allies to believe him dead.
- Killed Off for Real: Thanks to Shao Kahn in the end of his chapter in 9.
- Famous Ancestor/Named After Somebody Famous: The descendant of the Great Kung Lao, the Champion of Mortal Kombat who prevented Shang Tsung's tenth victory ages ago and was eventually killed by Goro. This Kung Lao is Kung Lao X.
- In his arcade ending in 9, it turns out he's actually the Great Kung Lao reincarnate.
- Fatal Flaw: In 9, Pride. It gets him into a fight he can't win in the first tournament, and he gets a nice Neck Snap while he's grandstanding after a victory.
- Femme Fatalons: As a revenant, disturbingly enough.
- Heel–Face Turn: With Kung Jin's aid he is able to pull one in his Arcade mode ending.
- Heroic Neutral: While a key player in the battle against evil, at his core, he is a man of peace and would prefer to live a life of solitude and tranquility.
- Heroic Willpower: In his (and Kung Jin's) Mortal Kombat X Arcade Ladder endings with Jin's help he's able to fight the corruption in his soul and fight for good.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Liu Kang. Shaolin Monks goes the Vitriolic Best Buds route (moreso from Kung Lao's side), whereas 9 tries to strike a fine balance.
- Killer Rabbit: Literally! Two of his Vs. Fatalities in Shaolin Monks involve him pulling a rabbit out of his hat; the first has him beat them to death with it, the second has the rabbit viciously maul them until they're dead.
- The Lancer to Liu Kang
- Long-Haired Pretty Boy: As seen in 4 and Deadly Alliance.
- Martial Pacifist
- Nice Hat: It also doubles as a weapon! In 2012, IGN ranked his hat as 79th top weapon in video game history.
- "No. Just... No" Reaction: When Mileena flirts with him. "Do not even THINK of it!" indeed.
- Panthera Awesome: He turns into a cheetah for his Animality.
- Offscreen Teleportation
- Overshadowed by Awesome: This is increasingly the case with him when it comes to Liu Kang, in spite of the former being a decent warrior and being more well-received in his debut by the fandom than the latter. This is most glaring in 9, while Liu Kang was (once again) the hero and involved with and included in many of the storylines, his time on-screen alive didn't even span 15 minutes.
- Refusal of the Call: Original canon only; in both Shaolin Monks and 9, he decides to disguise himself as a bodyguard and head to the MK tournament anyway (however, the latter gives him a justifiable reason, by having Kung Lao wanting to defeat Goro to avenge his ancestor).
- Reincarnation: His MK9 arcade ending reveals that he is The Great Kung Lao reborn in the modern day, which also means he got the chance to redeem his loss against Goro from 500 years ago.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: He's the first to discover Liu Kang's corpse when Shang Tsung and Quan Chi kill Liu Kang in Deadly Alliance. He doesn't take it well, and trains with Bo' Rai Cho to learn some new tricks to defeat the two. It... doesn't quite work out the way Kung Lao intended.
- Sour Outside, Sad Inside: In his and Kung Jin's MKX arcade endings, Kung Lao seems to dislike his current status as a revenant, and wants to get out of the Netherrealm. Kung Jin, who didn't give up any hope on him, comes to his aid and redeems his soul to the side of good.
- Stance System: Mantis Kung Fu and Shaolin Fist in Deadly Alliance, and just Shaolin Fist in Armageddon, as Shujinko becomes the Mantis practitioner.
- There Is Another: He is Earth's backup champion in case Liu Kang fails or is killed somehow. He knows this and isn't all that pleased about it.
- The Rival: To Liu Kang as of Shaolin Monks.
- The Smart Guy of the Five-Man Band
- Spin Attack: Almost every special attack he has involves spinning either himself or his hat.
- Tall, Dark and Handsome: Height unknown
- Warrior Monk
- Weapon of Choice: In addition to his hat, he also had a battle axe in Gold and a broadsword in Deadly Alliance and Armageddon.
Other appearances: Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 (Becky Gable), Mortal Kombat: Deception, Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks, Mortal Kombat 9 (Linda Lee)
Non-game appearances: Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (Irina Pantaeva)
Jade is Kitana's best friend and bodyguard. Although loyal to Shao Kahn at first, she later joins Earthrealm's champions when Kitana defects.
She pretty much has the same storyline in Mortal Kombat 9, initially serving Shao Kahn but leaves Outworld and joins Earthrealm when Kitana does. However, she is killed during Outworld's invasion, unlike the original canon, when Queen Sindel attacks the Earthrealm base of operations. Her soul is given over to Quan Chi, who enslaves her as a soldier of the Netherrealm. During Mortal Kombat X, Kitana modifies her fighting style to include some of Jade's tools in honor of her fallen friend.
- Action Girl: A formidable kombatant in her own fight: in MK 9, on her way to break out Kitana from prison, she defeats both Baraka and Sheeva. Upon fleeing at Kitana's command, she encounters Mileena, and defeats her before facing and defeating Smoke as well.
- Ambiguously Brown: Averted, since she is not from Earthrealm. She's Edenian.
- Arch-Enemy: Jade does not take betrayal well. Tanya needs to sleep with one eye open, because Jade is having none of that crap.
- Bare Your Midriff: Ever since Deception, she's bound to have one outfit like this.
- Battle Boomerang: Well, more like "razorang," but close enough.
- Bodyguard Babe: Personally serves as Kitana's.
- Bonus Boss: She was one in her debut in the second game. Also, Klassic Jade in "Goro's Lair" in 9.
- Braids of Action: Her alternate in 9. Coupled with the bikini she dons, she's a dead ringer for a darker-skinned Princess Leia in Return of the Jedi. Her alt. in Deception also sported these in the form of Girlish Pigtails.
- But Not Too Black: While not ethnically stated as black (given that like fellow Edenians Kitana and Sindel, she is not from this world), her skin tone has always been brown. However, in some of the official art and renders for Mortal Kombat 9, she's barely tan. Her MK3 retro skin also qualifies, but this is due to Lazy Artist since that skin is also applied to Mileena, except the clothes are purple. Also in the movie adaption she appears in, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation she has Asian-like features that vastly differ to her portrayal in-game.
- Cats Are Mean: Her Animality turns her into a cat that attacks the opponent in a vicious clawing flurry.
- Combat Stilettos
- A Day in the Limelight: In Mortal Kombat 9, she's the focus of Chapter 10.
- Demonic Possession: Possibly. Her ending in 9 implies that a nameless woman's spirit took over her body. Kitana's ending in MKX states that she's still in Jade's body, despite Jade being seen among Quan Chi's revenants in the previous game.
- Designated Girl Fight: A Designated Black Girl Fight with Tanya. That is, we think a Designated Black Girl Fight.
- Distaff Counterpart: If Kitana and Mileena are conceptually counterparts to Sub-Zero and Scorpion, then Jade has got to be one to Reptile.
- Downloadable Content: Klassic Jade from MKII/3.
- Gainax Ending: In her ending in 9, after defeating Shao Kahn, she collapses from exhaustion, and has a vision of a mysterious woman. This character, who is not named, has never appeared in any other place in the franchise, and thus far, her identity can only be guessed. The strange woman also appears in Kitana's Arcade Ladder ending to X (where Jade makes a cameo) so it's possible this storyline will be explored further.
- Girlish Pigtails: Her alternate costume in Deception. Braided, too.
- Groin Attack: The first part of her X-Ray in 9, delivered with her staff from behind.
- Fanservice Pack: In Deception. Like the others, it continues on to Armageddon and 9. On top of this, her victory pose in 9 (should the player choose to not perform a Fatality) has Jade doing a pole dance with her staff for everyone's viewing pleasure.
- Hammerspace: Jade's staff is bigger than her.
- Averted in MK9, where Jade holds the staff in her hand at all times. It's shown to extend and shrink in a manner similar to Goku's Power Pole.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Kitana (see above). This is perhaps driven home by her post-battle exchange with Mileena in 9's Story Mode ("I am more of a sister to Kitana than you"). Fans, whether jokingly or not, like to think that it's something a bit deeper than that (which it actually was in the novelization for Annihilation, though the two had broken up).
- Hitman with a Heart: Same deal as Kitana, and likely her partner for many victims.
- Leotard of Power
- Long Hair Is Feminine: Albeit usually tied up in some fashion.
- Meaningful Name: Not only does Jade favor green as the primary coloration of her attire, she also sports a rather striking pair of green eyes.
- Missed the Call: Jade wanted to aid Kitana and the others during Deadly Alliance, but was a bit late in joining up with them. This actually saved Jade's life in a Slept Through the Apocalypse-esque manner, as she was not slain by the Tarkatan horde and subsequently revived to do Onaga's bidding.
- Ms. Fanservice: Largely evident in MK 9.
- No Sell: In MKII, Jade had complete immunity to projectiles: they simply go right through her. From Ultimate 3 onward, she has a special that allows projectiles to phase through her. Klassic Jade in 9 retains the full invulnerability she possessed back in II.
- Non-Indicative Name: Why is the Jade's Desert arena named after her? No explanation has ever been given.
- Patriotic Fervor: Heavily implied, at the very least. She's the general of both the Edenian Resistance and the Edenian Freedom Fighters and the bracelets she wears are a symbol of her unshakable loyalty to Edenia. While normally warm and friendly to her allies and loved ones, she most definitely doesn't take kindly to traitors to her homeland, as seen with Rain and (most prominently) Tanya.
- Prim and Proper Bun: Her hairstyle (shared with every other female ninja who existed as of MK3) in MK3.
- Race Lift: Jade started out as a clearly darker-skinned palette swap of Kitana, then looked Asian in the movie, before finally settling on the brown-skinned tone we see above.
- Especially in pretty much every version of the second game developed by Probe. While a few, like the DOS and 32X versions, did darken her skin slightly, the most any of them got right was her green attire, and none of them came close to the right skin tone at all for her.
- Rapunzel Hair: She's got a long head of hair. Check out her MK 9 portrait.
- Really 700 Years Old: Same deal as Kitana.
- Secret Character: She demanded that you win the fight before the ? in one player mode using only low kicks.
- She's Got Legs
- Spinning out of Here: In Deception, she gains a move called Vanishing Winds where she spins around a cloud of green smoke and reappears behind her opponent. Kitana and Khameleon would borrow this move in Armageddon.
- Spoof Aesop: Well, we can only hope she's kidding when she gives this advice. (Of course, as stated below, the source probably shouldn't be considered canon.)
- Simple Staff: Usually.
- Blade on a Stick: In Deception.
- Stance System: Fan Zi and Kuo Shou. She only keeps Fan Zi for MKA, where none other than Shinnok's clone starts using Kuo Shou.
- Statuesque Stunner
- Stripperific: Not only her costume and such; her non-Fatality win animation in MK9 features her planting her staff upright in the ground and twirling around it like a stripper pole.
- Take Up My Staff and Glaive: Her arsenal is now in Kitana's hands and if the Mournful variation is chosen, she will use them.
- They Killed Kenny Again: If Johnny wasn't the poster boy for this trope already, Jade would run a close second, especially in media outside of the main games' continuity. To list them off, she gets offed by Liu Kang in Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks, eaten by a demon in Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, killed in Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, does not survive the events of Mortal Kombat 9, and, if Mortal Kombat X's Continuity Snarl is to be taken into account, dies as a revenant sometime before the events of that game. Her only presence in the storyline at all is during Kitana's ending, as a wandering spirit.
- Third-Person Seductress: This speaks volumes. Apparently, Jade was kind enough to let us know that her BWH measurements are 36-24-36 and that her astrological sign is Scorpio. (This is something of an example of Informed Attractiveness; Video Game Vixens probably shouldn't be counted as canon and while Jade is indeed a curvy beauty, she's neither wasp-waisted nor more buxom than the other females as they all pretty much have the same perfect figure. And as for being a Scorpio, being ten-thousand years old, she was born long before the Western Zodiac system — or the calendar it is based on, for that matter — was established.)
- Underwear of Power: As her primary costume in Deception.
- Undying Loyalty: To Edenia, but Kitana most of all. When Kitana is imprisoned by Shao Kahn after learning of Mileena's creation and the death of her real father at Kahn's hands, Jade immediately sets off to rescue her best friend and then seeks out Raiden's help, effectively pulling a High-Heel–Face Turn on Kitana's behalf.
- Weapon of Choice: Her bo. Becomes a Blade on a Stick for her Deception-Armageddon incarnation.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: While she's clearly shown to have been raised as one of Quan Chi's revenants◊ after her death in 9, Jade is curiously absent from X except for Kitana's ending, where she cameos as a spirit reaching out to her emotionally tormented revenant friend.
Smoke (Tomas Vrbada)
Other appearances: Mortal Kombat 3 (Sal Divita, cyborg), Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 (John Turk, human), Mortal Kombat: Deception, Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks, Mortal Kombat 9 (Ken Lally), Mortal Kombat X (cameo) (Andrew Bowen, English; Carlo Vázquez, Latin American Spanish)
Non-game appearances: Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (Ridley Tsui), Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm (Jeremy Ratchford)
Formerly a deadly Lin Kuei assassin from Prague named Tomas Vrbada, Smoke was forced against his will to become a cyborg assassin. However unlike other warriors converted into killing machines he retained his soul which constantly battles against his programming to assert Smoke's free will.
During the second tournament in Outworld, Smoke was assigned to aid the sixth Sub-Zero in his assassination of Shang Tsung. The mission was unsuccessful but the two did aid the Earthrealm warriors against Shao Khan. Returning home to find the Lin Kuei planned to convert their members into cyborgs, Smoke and Sub-Zero fled to avoid being turned into machines. Unfortunately Smoke was captured and then forcibly made into a cyborg assassin. Sent after his former friend Sub-Zero, he eventually realised he still had a soul and overcame his programming. Despite aiding his ally in Cyrax and Sektor's defeat, Smoke was captured by Shao Kahn's forces.
Taken as a trophy to Outworld, he rotted in Kahn's dungeon deactivated until revived by the evil Noob Saibot to be his ally against his will. Noob intends to use Smoke as a template for a cyber-demonic army. But there have been signs that his true nature remains.
Smoke's story is probably the one which most dramatically changed in Mortal Kombat 9 when compared to his previous incarnation. He does NOT get automatized in lieu of Kuai Liang getting captured, aids the defenders of Earthrealm against Shao Kahn's invasion, dies against Sindel and gets bound to Quan Chi's service in the Netherrealm. In MKX, he is one of the many fallen warriors that Shinnok and Quan Chi use in their plan to conquer Earthrealm. In his words: "Smoke is dead. I am Enenra!"
Tropes related with Smoke (human) (MKII/UMK3/MKT/MK9)
- Anime Hair: His MK9 design.
- Back from the Dead: Subverted in the main story of MKX. Played straight in the multiplayer AU, in which he also rejoined the Lin Kuei.
- Battle Aura: His body emits a constant fume of smoke. His cyborg form does the same, but this is by artificial means.
- Bonus Boss: He was one in his debut in the second game. Also, Klassic Smoke in "The Living Forest" in 9.
- Canon Name: Tomas Vrbada.
- A Day in the Limelight: In Mortal Kombat 9, he's the focus of Chapter 7.
- Downloadable Content: In 9, Klassic Smoke from II.
- Fanservice Pack: His redesign in 9 shows off a lot more arm and gives him long hair, making much more ample eye candy than the other ninjas.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With the younger Sub-Zero. Smoke considers Sub-Zero to be like a brother to him.
- Hotter and Sexier: In 9, as noted above.
- Infant Immortality: As noted below, averted with a vengeance. Again, Smoke was the Human Sacrifice offered to a demon as a baby.
- Invisibility: Can disappear into a cloud of smoke and use it to turn invisible.
- Leeroy Jenkins: Shows some shades of this in 9. When his friend is captured by the Lin Kuei to be automated, he almost blows his cover, risking his own capture. Later, after Jade defeats Mileena and attempts to contact Raiden, Smoke believes that Jade just knocked out Kitana and challenges her to a battle, despite Jade and Raiden telling him otherwise (given his words, it's likely that he perceived Jade's relationship with Kitana to mirror that of his own with his friend).
- Meaningful Name: Uses smoke as a means of stealth and attack.
- McNinja: 9 reveals he's actually Czech.
- Mysterious Past: According to his bio in 9, Smoke has no memory of his childhood and hopes that his time with the Lin Kuei will help him uncover his past and the origin of his powers. In his Arcade Ladder ending in 9, he remembers this: as a child, he was sacrificed to a demon by an unknown cult, returning to life as an Enenra, a creature made of smoke and vapor, and slaughtering the ones who killed him.
- Mystical White Hair: As seen in 9, which finally provides a look at Smoke's backstory and gives an explanation for his unnatural abilities.
- Potty Failure: His Babality in Mortal Kombat 9.
- Prickly Porcupine: His Animality turns him into a porcupine that shoots its quills at the opponent
- Pun: His pre-battle quote in 9, reproduced above.
- Secret Character: In MKII, he required you be at the Portal. Whenever you uppercut, sometimes sound designer Dan Forden appears in the corner saying "Toasty!" If you're on the portal, hit Down and Start at the same time.
- Sensual Slavs: As of 9.
- Shown Their Work: His intro quote "Where there is smoke there is fire!" sounds a lot less corny once you realize that it is actually a fairly subtle allusion; traditionally, Enenras primarily manifest through open flame.
- Suddenly Ethnicity: According to 9, Smoke was born in the Czech Republic. That's right, a Slavic McNinja.
- Super Smoke
- Smoke Out: Inverted in 9, where he throws a wispy projectile at the ground. If it connects with his opponent, they are forcibly transported into the air.
- This is also the name of one of his fatalities.
- Super Speed: In his MKII appearance, he was a Scorpion clone who had three distinguishing features: the smoke coming from his body, his throwing, and his insane speed.
- Teleport Spam: His quick teleports and teleport attack ensure a player will be aiming for this.
- That Man Is Dead: "Smoke is dead! I am Enenra!" A Justified Trope, as Smoke is literally dead, with the Enenra within him being instead a Revenant Zombie.
- Throw the Dog a Bone: In 9, he gets:
1. To escape his fate from the original canon and stay human.
2. More unique specials.
3. His own chapter in Story Mode.
- Yank the Dog's Chain: Too bad that...
4. He's brutally offed by Sindel.
5. He's resurrected by Quan Chi to serve him in the Netherrealm. Oh, and he never gets resurrected after Shinnok's war..
6. It's also implied that whatever demon he was sacrificed to is what is in control of him now. That or Smoke has willingly embraced his demonic nature due to his turn to the dark side.
- Yank the Dog's Chain: Too bad that...
- The Worf Effect: A less severe case. In his chapter of Story Mode, he faces off against Kitana and Sektor and triumphs without much difficulty. When they meet again (Kitana and Nightwolf's chapters, respectively), Kitana beats him alongside Cage, and Sektor treats Smoke like a rag doll, with Smoke being unable to successfully land a blow before Sektor gets him into a chokehold and Nightwolf has to intervene.
- Wrestler in All of Us: In 9, the first part of him X-Ray move has him German suplexing his opponent. He then turns around and kicks them hard in the face while telling them to "Stay down."
Tropes related with Smoke (every other game, also UMK3/MKT)
- A Load of Bull: His Animality.
- Assimilation Plot: His ending in Armageddon.
- Assist Character: Becomes one to Noob Saibot in Deception.
- Bare-Fisted Monk: In Deception and Armageddon, he has no weapon. In Deception, this was because he was a tag team with Noob, but in Armageddon, he doesn't pick up a weapon after Sub-Zero frees him from Noob's control. Instead, he has two unarmed fighting styles, Mi Tzu and Judo.
- Canon Immigrant: As part of Triborg, since Smoke was never turned into a cyborg in the new timeline.
- Cool Mask: His alt. in Deception (later his default costume in Armageddon).
- Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: He's the most obvious subversion in the series. His personality and identity are suppressed, but his soul is still intact. However, while Cyrax and Sektor could not be detected by Shao Kahn for their lack of souls, Smoke did, though his couldn't be stolen as he was one of Raiden's chosen warriors, but it went From Bad to Worse for him: even his later reprogramming by Noob Saibot is implied to not be sticking.
- Dead Guy on Display: After Mortal Kombat 3, Shao Kahn kept his deactivated body as a trophy.
- Eat the Bomb: One of his Fatalities in MK3.
- Earth-Shattering Kaboom Used as an (obviously non-canon) Fatality.
- Fighting from the Inside: Deception hints that Smoke's good nature has not been entirely suppressed by Noob's programming. In Ashrah's ending, he starts to short-circuit in the Netherrealm, as only demons and truly evil people can remain there unharmed. In Konquest mode, Smoke passes along several messages and plans for Sub-Zero through Shujinko, suggesting that he's acting as a Reverse Mole.
- Grey Goo: His nanomachines become this in his Armageddon ending. The realms are, simply put, screwed.
- Heel–Face Revolving Door: Good by default, but unwillingly turned evil in 3 and Deception. By Armageddon (or specifically, Konquest mode of that game), he's back on the side of Good, seen with the Forces of Light during the Battle of Armageddon.
- I Am Legion: His ending in Armageddon.
- Nanomachines: Noob attempts to harness them in his conquest of the realms. They're responsible for repairing Smoke's robotic body, explaining his new appearance in Deception.
- Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: From what info has been given between the two continuities, he's a Slavic human-turned Enenra-turned human again-turned cyborg.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: In Deception/Armageddon, he sports these as he partners with Noob Saibot. He also sports red eyes as Triborg, who is also evil.
- Stance System: Had Mi Tzu during his tag-team with Noob. In Armageddon he was also given Judo, since he was one of the two non-boss characters to not be given a weapon (the other being Mokap).
- Taking You with Me: His MK3 World End Fatality is an example of this and There Is No Kill Like Over Kill. Not only did he take you with him, HE TOOK THE ENTIRE WORLD WITH HIM.
- There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Again, his World End Fatality, which blew up both you, him and the entire planet to boot.
- Unwilling Roboticisation
- Vapor Wear
Noob Saibot (Bi-Han)
Other appearances as Noob Saibot: Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 (John Turk), Mortal Kombat 4 (John Turk, home versions only), Mortal Kombat: Tournament Edition, Mortal Kombat: Deception, Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, Mortal Kombat 9 (Jamieson Price)
Non-game appearances: Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (J.J. Perry), Mortal Kombat: Conquest (Sultan Uddin)
Upon dying, Sub-Zero V's soul was corrupted and he became a wraith named Noob Saibot. He lost his ice abilities but gained a new power: the ability to control darkness. Under his new identity, he served Shinnok as the head of the Brotherhood of Shadows for a time. He mainly played the role of observer until Shinnok's apparent demise in 4, which caused the Brotherhood to disband. He made a triumphant return when he nearly killed Goro under the servitude of Shao Kahn during Deadly Alliance, but after Shao Kahn (apparently) died, his role shifted to observer again until Deception, where he finds Smoke in one of Kahn's old prisons. He reactivates Smoke and reprograms him into servitude. He now aspires to enslave the Netherrealm under his iron rule by assembling a new Brotherhood of Shadows.
Noob's storyline in Mortal Kombat 9 is pretty much the same. He serves Quan Chi more readily than in the previous games, but he also hasn't lived the events post-Deadly Alliance, so it remains to be seen if he'll eventually strike out on his own. Near the end of the game, he is sucked into a soulnado, which is destroyed by his demonic essence, and his corporeal form disappears. He makes no appearance in Mortal Kombat X, but he's apparently still under the Netherrealm's control, as Quan Chi states in pre-fight dialogue that he has his soul.
- Back-to-Back Badasses: As a win pose in MK9, he does this with a clone he can summon during the fight.
- Back from the Dead
- Came Back Wrong: As Raiden foretold in Mythologies, the darkness in Sub-Zero's soul corrupted him upon entering the Netherrealm, stripping Sub-Zero of all compassion and moral restraint, turning him into this Humanoid Abomination. This is also what Raiden tries to avoid to happen to him in MK9. Unfortunately, Quan Chi had different ideas.
- Drunk on the Dark Side: Mostly because he now lacks any positive qualities he had in life, but Noob most certainly does not lament this change. He instead revels in it, going as far to state in 9 that his new form and allegiance to Quan Chi suits his purpose.
- The Undead
- Bonus Boss: He was one in his debut in the second game. Also, Klassic Noob in "The Cathedral" in 9.
- Broken Pedestal: Becomes this for his younger brother in the second timeline. Whereas Sub-Zero was still trying to find a way to restore Noob back to the man he once was right up until the Battle of Armageddon in the unaltered course of history, he ultimately agrees with Noob's assertion that they are brothers no longer after defeating him in 9.
- Cain and Abel: He's the Cain to Kuai Liang's (the younger Sub-Zero) Abel.
- In Deception he attempts to kill his younger brother.
- In Armageddon he storms the Lin Kuei temple.
- In 9 he tries to kill Cyber Sub-Zero as Quan Chi prepares the Soulnado.
- Casting a Shadow
- Charlie Brown from Outta Town: His first appearance in Mortal Kombat 9 has him wearing his alt. costume, which is exactly the same as Sub-Zero's alt. (i.e. the same one shown during the island tournament), only black. How Kung Lao, who was present at said tournament, is unable to recognize him is unknown (although he does remark that Noob seems familiar somehow).
- Cycle of Revenge: He still holds a grudge against Scorpion.
- At the end of Armageddon (as recounted in 9's intro), he's killed by Scorpion. Noob's dead body is seen near Reptile's on the path to the Pyramid of Argus, with Scorpion's katana sticking out of him.
- Dark is Evil
- Death Is Cheap
- Discard and Draw: Upon his revival, Bi-Han lost his cryomancy in favor of shadow and darkness-aligned powers.
- Doppelgänger Attack: In 9, Noob gains an ink-like shadow clone of himself who sends out to attack his foes.
- Living Shadow: If you look closely, Noob's real shadow doesn't return until his ink clone finishes its attacks.
- Downloadable Content: In 9, Klassic Noob Saibot from II.
- The Dragon: Apparently, plays this to Quan Chi (ironically, Scorpion—in his less rational moments—could also be seen in this light), although various bios throughout the series state that he's simply biding his time before carrying out his own agenda.
- Evil Counterpart: To Kuai Liang. Perhaps driven home in 9, where Cyber Sub-Zero notes that they are both corrupted versions of their former selves.
- Can also considered to be one to Scorpion. A spectre of a ninja? Check. Killed by his arch-nemesis? Check. Gets resurrected in the Netherrealm? Check. His death and resurrection are result of Quan Chi's manipulations? Check.
- Evil Sounds Deep: Subverted in that his voice was already that deep when he was human, perhaps serving as a clue to his character progression.
- Fallen Hero: Well "hero" is a stretch. As an Earthrrealm dweller Bi-Han wasn't particularly "nice" or even "good", just a man "earning his living", by his words. We'll say being turned into Noob Saibot made him a lot nastier than he already was.
- Flechette Storm: Used as a Fatality in both 4 and Deception (in the former, it was directly lifted from Reiko) and as a special in both Deception and Armageddon, both via shuriken (the Weapon of Choice for members of the Brotherhood of Shadows).
- Foreshadowing: Aside from the hints given in Mythologies, in MK4 he's given his brother's Ice Shatter Fatality, perhaps hinting to The Reveal in Deception. It's also possible the developers were simply reusing assets to cut down on development time.
- Half the Man He Used to Be: Both of his Fatalities in 9 involve severing the opponent in two — one horizontally, the other vertically. Additionally, his Deception ending has him and Smoke killing Sub-Zero in a manner not unlike that of his "Make a Wish" Fatality from 9.
- Hell Has New Management: Takes over the Netherrealm with help from Havik in his Arcade Ladder ending from 9.
- In the Hood: In his MK9 incarnation. Also used as an alt. in 4.
- Invisibility: Had this ability as a special in Deception and Armageddon.
- Irony: He ends up serving the very same forces he fought adamantly against in his past life.
- Jobber: Has a tendency to repeatedly show up during 9's Story Mode to get beaten up.
- Kick the Dog: You could say that he does this to all of his former allies, but Smoke and his little brother (who once adored him and originally sought to avenge him) get the short end of the stick. He even tells Cyber Sub-Zero this in 9:"We share blood. We are not brothers."
- Killed Off for Real: In 9. Considering that he has not reappeared in X and that Quan Chi, who restored him and only he can bring his servants back to normal, got killed in X, this is highly likely. That said, several characters imply he still exists in their pre-match dialogue with Sub-Zero.
- Literal Split Personality: Possibly. In 9, Noob gains an ink-like shadow clone of himself; according to developer notes, this entity is Saibot, while Bi-Han is Noob, the main body and controller of said shadow creature (see Living Shadow above).
- Made of Evil: Having been stripped of his humanity, Noob Saibot might just be the most malicious character in the series. At least the other villains choose to be evil; Noob simply is.
- Meaningful Name: His name is both "Boon" and "Tobias" spelt backwards, after developers Ed Boon and John Tobias. Note that Tobias leaving Midway has nothing to do with "Saibot" being removed in gameplay for Deception and Armageddon.
- Monochromatic Eyes
- Paint It Black: His body, skin and outfit alike, is pitch black (excluding Deception, where his default costume gives him normal-colored pigmentation; his regular and alt. outfits would be swapped around in Armageddon). Played straighter with his alt. in 9, which is the same as Sub-Zero's alt. in that game (supposed to represent Noob himself while he was still human), only black.
- Power Echoes: In 9.
- Power Nullifier: His Disabler/Ghostball technique temporarily prevents enemies from using their specials.
- Portal Cut: His second Fatality in 9.
- The Reveal: Deception (specifically Noob-Smoke's ending) confirmed that Noob Saibot is Sub-Zero from the first Mortal Kombat game revived as a wraith after his death at Scorpion's hands.
- Ascended Fanon: This transformation was the result of Dan Forden fielding a suggestion from a fan, and said suggestion being approved and enshrined in Deception.
- Secret Character: In II. He asked for 50 wins in a row.
- Sinister Scythe: In Mortal Kombat 4.
- Stance System: He had the Monkey fighting style persist for both Deception and Armageddon.
- Those Two Bad Guys: With Smoke in Deception.
- Vomit Indiscretion Shot: His X-Ray move in MK9 results in this from his opponent.
- Weapon of Choice: The aforementioned scythe for 4. He was also given a Troll Hammer in Armageddon. There's a Stealth Pun lying there somewhere.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: It's actually not clear on what exactly happened to Noob at the end of 9, whether he was Killed Off for Real or he managed to Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence or what. In one of his brother's intro dialogues, he states that Noob's whereabouts are unknown, which might suggest that he wasn't killed when he was tossed in the Soulnado, though reverent Kung Lao in the same intro states that Bi-Han is calling to Kuai Liang from the other side, but this might just be a taunt.
Debut game: Mortal Kombat II
Other appearances: Mortal Kombat Trilogy, Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks, Mortal Kombat 9 (Rhassan Orange)
Stronger and more agile than his predecessor, he is enraged by Goro's defeat. Kintaro vows to take revenge on the earth warriors responsible.
In the second tournament, after learning of Goro's apparent death at the hands of a mere mortal, Kintaro vowed to avenge him and destroy Liu Kang in Mortal Kombat. After a restored Shang Tsung was defeated again yet by Liu Kang, Kintaro then challenged Liu Kang to Mortal Kombat. He ultimately lost just as Goro did.
Kintaro is basically the same in Mortal Kombat 9. However, he was strong-armed into the Outworld civil war when King Gorbak found out that Goro lost his arms. He has been ordered to lead the Shokan in attacking Kotal Kahn's capital while the opposing Emperor's strength is compromised. He is then killed by a brainwashed Sonya Blade in the Tie-in Comics leading to Mortal Kombat X.
- Back from the Dead: Raiden vaporized him in II, but like so many others, he came back for Armageddon with no explanation.
- Killed Off for Real: by a brainwashed Sonya in the comics.
- Beast Man: According to his bio in 9, Kintaro hails from a lower lineage of Shokan known as the Tigrar (as opposed to Goro and Sheeva hailing from the more noble and aristocratic Draco lineage).
- Been There, Shaped History: In 9, it's revealed he's the one who nearly killed Kabal during the events of Mortal Kombat 3.
- Breath Weapon: By MK9, has breathing a stream of fire as a move.
- The Brute: He has more use as muscle for Outworld than Goro.
- The Dragon: To Shao Kahn in MKII.
- Fantastic Racism: He seems to have a big distaste for humans.Kintaro: "Humans, less ugly when they burn!"
- In-Name-Only: He's named after a Japanese folk hero, but has nothing to do with him at all. The original Kintaro was more of a Japanese version of Tarzan.
- The Juggernaut: He is not so stunned from getting hit, and can sometimes counter attack you when he's blocking.
- The Worf Effect: Gets his ass handed to him in every battle he's in 9's Story Mode, even though his bio states he became Shao Kahn's bodyguard by slaughtering several Centaurs single-handedly out of sheer grandstanding.
- Kick Them While They Are Down: Losing a match to this guy is going to be humiliating even if he doesn't kill you; his non-Fatality winning pose in 9 consists of knocking his opponent into the air, catching him or her by the leg, and then holding the victim aloft by the heel, upside-down.
- Kill It with Fire: What he delivers to Kabal via Breath Weapon in 9, minus the killing part.
- Lions and Tigers and Humans... Oh, My!: Originally designed as a tiger/human hybrid,◊ this look was ultimately scrapped due to it not being feasible to construct at the time and replaced with the "Shokan plus tiger stripes" look he sports in MKII. For his return in Armageddon he was given more tiger-like characteristics, an aspect carried over to MK9.
- During an interview Gamepro did with John Tobias, John stated "Even in Mortal Kombat II, we still didn't have all the time to do everything we wanted", citing Kintaro. He says, "I based him on Goro's species, adding different markings, but I was never fully satisfied with the Kintaro character."
- Cute Kitten: What happens to him during his MK9 Babality transformation.
- Loincloth: Same deal as Goro.
- Monster Modesty
- Multi-Armed and Dangerous: Like his cousin Goro, he sports four arms.
- No True Scotsman: For him, true Outworlders do not ask for aid from Earthrealm (with Mileena enlisting the Red Dragon and Kotal Kahn being backed by the Special Forces until being relieved by the Black Dragon). No wonder the Shokan remained neutral, even at the price of becoming outcasts.
- Off with His Head!: By Sonya.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: He comes from the Tigrar lineage of Shokan, which are as proud as the Draco one.
- The Siege: What Kotal Kahn thought he would be doing to his capital. Until the Oni warlords show up...
- SNK Boss: All the stuff that made Goro hard applies to him, plus he has a really damaging air throw.
- Stance System: Has a style called Tiger Fist in Armageddon.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: To Goro, status-wise as a Shokan sub-boss.
- Super Drowning Skills: The MKX comics have revealed he can't swim, and he thus finds himself in trouble when Havik blasts a ship he's on with Shinnok's Amulet, causing it to explode. Fortunately,Sheeva has no such issues.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Despite his status as a furry, no one seems to notice or care.
- Walking Shirtless Scene: Par the course for the four armed characters in the series.
- Weapon of Choice: Saber Teeth in Armageddon.
Debut game: Mortal Kombat II (Brian Glynn/Steve Ritchie)
Other appearances: Mortal Kombat 3 (Brian Glynn/Steve Ritchie), Mortal Kombat: Deception (Wii version only), Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks, Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe (Patrick Seitz), Mortal Kombat 9 (Bob Carter)
Non-game appearances: Mortal Kombat (Frank Welker, cameo), Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (Brian Thompson), Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm (John Vernon, and later Michael des Barres), Mortal Kombat: Conquest (Jeffrey Meek), ''Mortal Kombat Legacy' (Aleks Paunovic)
The supreme ruler of Outworld and one of the biggest threats facing Earthrealm, Shao Kahn is one of the most powerful forces in all the realms. The emperor has long been obsessed with the conquest of earth.
Shao Kahn was once The Dragon King Onaga's advisor. Before the Dragon King could obtain immortality, Kahn poisoned him and took his former master's throne. Eventualy going on to conquer countless lesser realms through brute force and Mortal Kombat, he consumed untold souls in his neverending quest for power.
When he took Edenia, a milestone in his campaign, he murdered King Jerrod in battle and took his wife Sindel as his bride. He then raised Jerrod's daughter Kitana as his own and trained her to be his personal bodyguard. Sindel eventually killed herself rather than be his slave but even death would not free her of Shao Kahn; he trapped her soul in Outworld denying her the afterlife. His next target was Earthrealm. He sent Shang Tsung and then Goro to gain enough victories in Mortal Kombat to allow him to freely invade. Despite a 500 year winning streak, Goro was denied the vital tenth victory by Liu Kang, a descendant of the very man who had put an end to Shang Tsung's dominance of the tournament centuries ago. Enraged, Kahn brought Tsung before him to punish him personally. However the sorcerer begged him for another chance, one that the emperor believed might hold the key to undoing five centuries of wasted plans. The plan was to draw Liu Kang and his allies into an Outworld tournament where they would surely die. However, the champion of Mortal Kombat proved too great even for the emperor himself, defeating him personally. Unwilling to accept this, Kahn ordered his forces to kill the Earthrealm force but they managed to escape.
Shao Kahn had one last plan up his sleeve however. Ordering Shang Tsung to complete a plan 10,000 years in the making, his long dead wife Sindel was resurrected, not on Outworld but on Earthrealm. This allowed Kahn to step through the realms to claim her and undermine the safeguards of Mortal Kombat, where he then launched a full invasion of Earth. Consuming countless millions of souls upon entering the realm he sent extermination squads to destroy those possessing souls he could not steal. The chosen few eventually defeated Outworld's forces, with the emperor falling once again to the might of Liu Kang. Shao Kahn was greatly weakened by this defeat and Earthrealm was restored. Many of his so-called loyal soldiers had abandoned him, and Kitana had turned Sindel to her side, restoring Edenia as an independent realm. To make matters worse for Kahn, the Shokan had joined them. When Shang Tsung and Quan Chi came before him to pledge allegiance, it soon became an assassination attempt and seemingly his reign had finally come to a violent end. However Deception revealed the emperor had planted a clone in his stead and restored the mortally wounded Goro with his remaining power regaining the Shokans as allies.
In in the events of Armageddon he would go on to form an uneasy alliance with Quan Chi, Shang Tsung, and Onaga in the hopes of preventing the forces of good from defeating Blaze and then seizing his own opportunity to strike when it came. He eventually succeeds and take's Blaze's power, pretty much killing Raiden.
Avoiding Shao Kahn's causing of Armageddon is the basis of the entire storyline of Mortal Kombat 9, in which the original canon's Shao Kahn is about to kill Raiden and overthrow all the realms. Kahn's role in 9 is mostly reflective of the role he played in the original canon, being the main threat to Earthrealm in the eyes of Raiden. Things proceed mostly the same for Kahn with some minor exceptions (such as the murder of Kung Lao, who had won the Outworld tournament instead of Liu Kang) until near the end, where Raiden's communication from the future finally becomes clear: since Kahn's invasion is considered an unlawful breach of the rules of Mortal Kombat, he must be allowed to overthrow Earthrealm so the Elder Gods can punish him. In doing so, Shao Kahn is finally defeated once and for all.
- Actually a Doombot: Remember him getting killed by Shang Tsung and Quan Chi in the beginning of Deadly Alliance? Yeah, neither does he.
- Adaptational Attractiveness: Normally, he looks like a monster under his helmet (see Butter Face below). In Annihilation he looks like a regular human being. In Legacy, he's even got a good head of hair!
- The Ageless: At least, though it's not clear how he differs from the millions of others in Outworld or Edenia (or, basically, anywhere but Earth). Raiden explicitly refers to him as an immortal in the first film, and the games are somewhat vague on the matter. Several characters do try to kill him but actually doing it seems to be a bitch. However, Raiden, with the help of the Elder Gods may have actually succeeded in killing him at the end of MK9.
- He does seem to be the oldest of Outworld's denizens (who seem to be pushing tens of thousands of years), and when he offed Onaga he seemed to shelve the latter's plans of gaining eternal life, suggesting he already had it. His origins have never been explored but it's generally implied that he is not an ordinary citizen of Outworld. The most plausible explanation seems to be that he is a god, or at least some kind of demigod.
- In Deception's Konquest mode, Damashi who is the spirtual avatar of Onaga states to Shujinko that Shao Kahn was to Outworld is what Raiden is to Earth. So, he seems to be a god, or was one at any rate.
- He does seem to be the oldest of Outworld's denizens (who seem to be pushing tens of thousands of years), and when he offed Onaga he seemed to shelve the latter's plans of gaining eternal life, suggesting he already had it. His origins have never been explored but it's generally implied that he is not an ordinary citizen of Outworld. The most plausible explanation seems to be that he is a god, or at least some kind of demigod.
- A God Am I: Worshipped as such in Outworld and other realms, or expects his subjects to anyway. He is Raiden's opposite number too, which implies he might be the genuine article. Definitely one in Annihilation (and vs. DC Universe), but the less said about that, the better.
- In 9, at the end, when he's staring down an Elder God-empowered Raiden, Kahn casually laughs at the deities arrayed against him and announces that he will become the Elder God.
- One of the backwards dialogues in Deception's Konquest Mode says that Shao Kahn is part of the same race of beings as Lucifer and Raiden.
- Ambition Is Evil: His whole motivation for merging all of the all the realms with Outworld and ruling over everything is based solely on ego and a lust for conquest and power.
- The Announcer: In MKII and MK3, to the point that if he wins a round in the latter, he says, "I win."
- Attack Reflector: From Deception to vs. DCU, Shao Kahn can erect an energy barrier that reflects projectiles. Contact with it can also harm his opponent.
- Ax-Crazy: He acts more composed than other characters, but you'll never know when he will drop his hammer to kill you.
- Badass Boast: Delivers a truly amazing one at the begining and at the end of MK9. Evil Is Hammy at its best.Shao Kahn: "Where are the Elder Gods, Raiden? Their pathetic Mortal Kombat shackles me no longer. They masquerade as dragons, but are mere toothless worms. My venom spreads. It's the end of all things. Armageddon. It is done. Your time has passed. Ages wasted in foolish resistance. Now is the dawn of my rule. Yes. Pray to the worms, Raiden. As your world ends."
- Badass Cape: Often shown with one in other media, but it wasn't until recently when he started wearing one in the games themselves.
- In MK9, his younger self doesn't wear it, but the one from the original timeline does.
- The Bad Guy Wins: He ultimately wins after the events of Armageddon; surviving the ascent up the pyramid and follows that by attempting to kill Raiden. This prompts the thunder god to invoke the Timey-Wimey Ball and telepathically send a message to his younger self from the time of Mortal Kombat, warning him of the events to come, before Kahn can strike the killing blow.
- Subverted in 9, where this trope actually proves to be the key to Shao Kahn's defeat and the prevention of Armageddon. Raiden's words to his past self ("He must win") actually refer to Shao Kahn; Earthrealm must let Shao Kahn win and merge Outworld with Earthrealm so that the Elder Gods will then punish the emperor for his treachery.
- Bald of Evil: Under the helmet.
- Big Bad: Of the first three games, after which his position was usurped by other villains. Returns as this in MK9.
- Big "NO!": His reaction upon being defeated as the final boss.
- Black Magic: He isn't only a melee fighter. He is also a very skilled sorcerer, perhaps even more talented than Shang Tsung, whose restored youth was Kahn's doing.
- Blood Knight: It is clear that he loves to fight and kill. In his Armageddon ending, he went mad because there were no more realms to conquer.
- Brought Down to Normal: In Shang Tsung's arcade ending in Armageddon, Shao Khan is reduced to a Centaur slave by Shang, who used Blazes's power to alter Khan's form and seize Outworld for himself
- Butter Face: Below the neck: musclebound shirtless hunk. Above the neck: what looks like a cross between◊ Darth Maul and an orc. Thank goodness for the helmet.
- The Caligula: He didn't manage to make things any better for Outworld than Onaga. He is, at the end, a bloodthirsty warlord who doesn't care for the well being of his subjects.
- Card-Carrying Villain: He doesn't hide it anymore in MK9. During his Badass Boast to Raiden, he states that his "venom" is spreading and bringing the Armageddon. That makes his intentions all clearer now.
- Cool Helmet: And as seen in MK9, it got cooler as time went on.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Delivers a vicious one to Raiden at the beginning of 9. Both were the last kombatants to reach the top of the pyramid, yet Raiden was visibly bruised and barely able to stand on his feet, while Shao Kahn didn't have one scratch and tossed him around like a ragdoll.
- Defeat Equals Explosion: Whenever he's the final boss, he explodes upon defeat.
- Drop the Hammer: It was his most feared special in MK3 and later became his weapon style in the GameCube version of Deception. Raiden had one too (a War Hammer) for MK4, before it was placed on the top of the Sky Temple. (His favoured weapon's a Staff, which he uses in Deadly Alliance onward even though he supposedly gave it to Kai, canonically.)
- Dynamic Akimbo: Usually his Victory Pose, but he also takes this pose even during battles, where he taunts you and laughs.
- The Emperor: As noted many times in the series, he is the Emperor of Outworld.
- Evil Counterpart: To Raiden.
- Evil Is Hammy: Probably the hammiest MK villain, which is saying something."Is that your best?"
"You're still trying to win?"
"You will never win!"
- Evil Laugh: He's always had some epic ones.
- Evil Overlord: He's one of the key villains of the series, and he is the only one who rules over some territory, which is Outworld in his case.
- Evil Sorceror: He uses his magic to restore Shang Tsung's youth, hold Sindel's soul in Outworld so she wouldn't find peace in the afterlife, among others.
- Eye Beams: A move of his in 3 and its revisions, where he shoots a sphere of energy from his eyes.
- Final Boss: Shao Kahn is the last enemy faced in several games starting with Mortal Kombat II.
- Giving Someone the Pointer Finger: When he taunts his victim, he will happily point at them too. Especially if they're lying on the ground.
- Go-Go Enslavement: His victory pose in Mortal Kombat 9 features such a slave crawling up to and embracing his leg.
- In fact, he seems to be big on this. The female characters who are seen chained in the Kahn's Coliseum arena are wearing barely-there bikinis, and given how female Edenian warriors (even ones who are loyal to him) tend to dress, this sort of thing may well be a law he is enforcing. (In fact, when Kitana is officially working on the heroes' side, her outfit is a lot more modest.)
- Graceful Loser: It seems that way for 9, seeing as he's the Interactive Narrator, and continues to narrate the characters' endings, no matter whose ending it is (even if the outcome was bad for him).
- Hammerspace: Literally in his case. Look closely at the sprites for his hammer attack in MK3 and the move in MK9 and it appears to materialize out of thin air.
- Hero Killer: What he's meant to be seen as, although he only successfully kills Kung Lao in the style of one (in 9). He does sic Sindel on the heroes' hideout, though, and that proves very effective (although that really makes her the Hero Killer).
- I Am Not Your Father: He eventually reveals to Kitana that he is not her father, and that he murdered her true father, king Jerrod, long ago.
- I Shall Taunt You: Subverted. He just taunts you because you fight against him in Outworld and you were supposedly stupid enough to want a fight with the big cheese around here. So he assumes that some casual gloating here and there won't hurt since, in his mind, he could swat you away with his index finger. However, in reality, there's nothing calculated behind these taunts and in doing so, he's unable to move or react so he's completely vulnerable to a big combo (this is a major part of beating him in II and 9).
- Interactive Narrator: Of the entire franchise. In MK3, he even says "I win!" if he wins a round.
- It's Personal: Maybe. From their unending shit-talk to the sheer catharsis Kahn gets from finally laying on the beatdown, it's abundantly clear that the Emperor and Raiden have a very lively history. Aside from a non-canon mention of their being brothers in the second movie, however, it's never really been expanded on.
- Joker Immunity: Despite II and 3 ending with his apparent death, he survived and even after supposedly being Killed Off for Real in Deadly Alliance he returned. This is somewhat lampshaded in 9 where Raiden states Kahn always survives and it will take more than simply defeating him during his invasion he stop him for good.
- Killed Off for Real: Hard to tell, but he appears to have met this at the hands of Raiden and the Elder Gods. However, rather than go to the Netherrealm, he's sealed inside of Ermac... who is rotting away according to Word of God.
- Klingon Promotion: He obtained the throne of Outworld by killing the previous Emperor Onaga by poisoning him.
- Kneel Before Zod: One of his taunts.Shao Kahn:b "Bow to me!"
- Large and in Charge: Is depicted as being around the size of Goro and Kintaro; only Onaga is bigger than him.
- Large Ham: The all-time king in MK. In some games, he takes time during the fight to personally insult you, spouting such nonsense:"I AM SHAO KAHN... BOW TO ME!"
"You weak, pathetic FOOL!"
"FEEL THE POWER OF SHAO KAHN!"
"It's official... YOU SUCK!"
- In the second film, he borders on Ham and Cheese.
- Leg Cling: His victory pose in 9 has one female slave doing this to him.
- Lightning Bruiser: Despite his height, he has some lightning fast attacks who still deals a lot of damage. It's the main reason for his SNK Boss status.
- Loincloth: His main outfit features one.
- The Man Behind the Man: To Shang Tsung.
- Mr. Fanservice: The main reason of his armor seems to accentuate his physique. Delves into Fan Disservice when you unmask him, though.
- Multiversal Conqueror: Conquering Outworld wasn't enough for him. He's out for Earthrealm as well, and has taken Edenia during his campaigns. His Armageddon ending has him succeeding in taking over all realms... and going mad for having nothing else to conquer.
- Near Villain Victory: He practically won in Armageddon and was on the verge of killing Raiden. It's only thanks to him gloating that it gives Raiden time to send a message back to himself in the first game and hitting the Reset Button that costs him his victory. Then again he came close once more in the new timeline but this time there was no Armageddon for the Elder Gods to be concerned over to stabilize the realms this time. And by finally entering the Earthrealm, the Elder God finally realize his threat and take action leading to his death.
- Neck Snap: Delivers one to Kung Lao in 9 to show that Anyone Can Die. Liu Kang was most displeased.
- Obviously Evil: Back in the intro of II, you first see him as a tall silhouette pointing down at Shang Tsung and stated to have Tsung executed for his failure at the tournament. Then, the next scene is a glorious picture of him standing confident with his arms on his waist, red eyes, skull helmet and spiked shoulders on a red background, with a text stating that the kombatants can meet certain death at his hands. Of course he's a good guy.
- Painting the Medium: When he defeats you in II, he doesn't announce victory. Also, he says "I win!" if he wins a match in 3.
- Prepare to Die: He says this verbatim as one of his taunts.
- Pyrrhic Villainy/Meaningless Villain Victory: This is what happens to him at the end of Armageddon. He ultimately wins after the events of Armageddon; surviving the ascent up the pyramid and follows that by killing Raiden, but loses his own sanity for having nothing else to conquer.
- Really 700 Years Old: Given that he's been around since the time of Sindel (if not longer), his age is easily in quintuple digits.
- Taven in Armageddon notes that Shao Kahn was infamous before he was sealed in stone. Considering that the demigod was sealed several thousand years ago...
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: In most of his appearances, he has been depicted with red eyes, which only furthers his Obviously Evil appearance.
- Related in the Adaptation: He is depicted as Raiden's brother and Shinnok's son in Annihilation.
- Rouge Angles of Satin: We dare you to type his name on Google and take a drink every time it's misspelled as "Khan." Your liver will fail and you will die, mortal.
- Sanity Slippage: In his Armageddon ending, he succeeds in taking over all realms, but goes mad for having nothing else to conquer.
- Skeletons in the Coat Closet: Mostly noticeable with his skull helmet.
- SNK Boss: Shao Kahn in MK3 and its updates (Trilogy included). While his moveset is exactly the same as in MKII (even his sprites were mostly unchanged, aside from the addition of some new moves, such as his infamous hammer), he is way more Hammer Crazy than in his previous appearance.
- Back with a vengeance in MK9, thanks to the ability to negate hit-stun with most of his moves (some of which are unblockable AND stagger), boosted attack and defense power, and inhumanly fast counterattack reactions. True to form of the title of SNK Boss, he is very susceptible to a simplistic attack pattern (he's aggressive to a fault, attacking as much as possible and leaving himself open to being jumped over).
- The Sociopath: Can be mostly seem with his treatment of Sindel and Kitana, who have been but tools to him so far.
- Sophisticated as Hell: One of his taunts' is "You suck." There's also an even MORE faux-sophisticated, almost memetic version: "It's official. You suck!"
- Sorcerous Overlord: It can be assumed that his sorcerous powers played a big part in his realm conquests.
- Sore Loser: VERY sore. He tries to hold a tournament in Outworld where the stake were, if he win he gets Earthrealm. If not, he leaves the realm alone. Even though he loses, he pretty much says "Screw it, I'll take the realm by force," leading to an all out invasion.
- Stance System: Tai Tzu and Lui He. He keeps the former for Armageddon while Fujin picks up the latter.
- The Starscream: Towards Onaga.
- Stripperiffic: A very rare male version of this. Just look at his costume! Likely enforced down the ranks as well, judging by how all his minions dress.
- Downplayed in his alts in Deception and Armageddon, which give him pants.
- Take Over the Multiverse: His goal in life. See Multiversal Conqueror above
- Taken for Granite: When defeated in II, he somehow is petrified. Then he explodes.
- Trying to Catch Me Fighting Dirty: He tries to bum rush you even before the announcer reaches the "Fight" signal when you face him. Course considering he is the announcer.
- Third-Person Person: He refers to himself in third person in some of his taunts.Shao Kahn: "Feel the wrath of Shao Kahn!"Shao Kahn: "Feel the power of Shao Kahn!"
- Unholy Matrimony: Took Sindel as his wife after killing King Jerrod and usurping the throne, although Sindel was soon Driven to Suicide afterward. This is more noticeable in 9, when he enthralls the revived, yet brainwashed Sindel to his side, effectively making her his new Dragon. Sindel seemed pretty eager to serve as his right-hand woman. An almost exactly similar situation between the two also played out in Annihilation.
- In Mortal Kombat Legacy, it's stated that he actually fell in love with Sindel himself. However, the series is non-canon.
- Victory Is Boring: If he takes over all the realms in Armageddon, this is his ending. Almost became canon, if it wasn't for Raiden rebooting the franchise before this could happen in MK9.
- Given the fact that what happens in 9 is an alternate course of history, it is canon, we just don't see the fallout from what happens when he does.
- Villainous Breakdown: Whenever defeated, he would scream a Big "NO!" as he exploded.
- Villainous Valor: In MK9. Even when the Elder Gods (through Raiden) are telling him quite clearly how he's going to pay for breaking their rules, Kahn just scoffs at them and declares he'll be THE Elder God.
- Walking Shirtless Scene: He's had some pants in alternate outfits, but never a shirt.
- Weapon of Choice: His infamous hammer.
- Whole Costume Reference: To Lord Humongous.
- Yellow Eyes of Sneakiness: In 9, he has now these kind of eyes, instead of his previous red eyes.
- You Have Failed Me: He would have Shang Tsung executed in II for failing at the tournament. He almost did it again to him in 9.