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Headscratchers: Mortal Kombat 9
  • Couldn't Raiden have gotten the Elder Gods on his side earlier? When Shang Tsung approaches Raiden after the first tournament to propose the second, he says "If Earthrrealm wins, Shao Kahn will renounce his claim to it forever." Raiden accepts these terms and it's implied the Elder Gods go with it. But then Earthrealm DOES win, and Shao Kahn invades, which pretty much means he's still holding a claim to it. Shang Tsung didn't mention that the deal only applied to merging the realms, so is it possible that Raiden could've prevented the massacre at the end if he had realized this?
    • Raiden did realize this but he was too late. He really had to wait for Shao Kahn to fully merge the realms before the elder gods finally decide to do something. The massacre happened when he and Liu Kang were out, so if they were there it would've changed things.
    • Technically, an invasion doesn't equal a claim on Earthrealm. Until he actually tries to take control he's just killing people, which is unfortunate but not against the set rules. Really, it was Sindel that protected Earthrealm for this long, not the Elder God's rules.
  • Why are Cyber Sub-Zero and Stryker dead? Sure, Shao Kahn empowered Sindel but I don't think that automatically turns every strike into a fatality.
    • There might be two explanations. One, they might have been in really bad shape after their fight with the Lin Kuei, allowing Sindel to finish them off fairly easy, or two, they just got knocked out by her initial attacks and actually died in the crossfire of her fight with Nightwolf.
      • If you look closely, Stryker's face caves in from Sindel's punch. Couldn't see what killed Sub-Zero, though
      • Sparks and electricity spewed out of Cyb-Zero's midsection, so maybe Sindel punched him hard enough to short-out his cybernetic parts and kill him? By logic this would dictate that Sonya, Cage, Nightwolf, and Kitana are seriously Made of Iron considering the onslaught they had to endure.
      • The game actually implies that Cyb-Zero's armor is pretty weak - in arcade mode, it only takes a few strikes for his brain to be revealed. Plus, Sindel's strikes focus entirely on his head. Given her power boost, that would be enough to cause a fatal malfunction.
      • As for Stryker he is the most normal of the cast without any superpowers so yeah.
      • Plus, if getting his face caved in didn't kill him immediately, then shock and blood loss would have taken care of that.
  • Quan Chi has Shinnok's amulet. While it is true that he possessed it since Mythologies, and gave a false one to Shinnok, why is he wearing it so openly? You'd think somebody might notice the amulet of a fallen Elder God on his belt.
    • This is made all the more headscratching since he's seen multiple times by two people who'd recognize what it is: Bi-Han (the original Sub-Zero) and Raiden.
      • Well, Raiden's mucking with the timeline caused many subtle changes around the time of the first game, such as a few characters appearing much earlier in-story. Maybe, just like there were slight changes to the first three games' story, there were also changes to the Mythologies story. Perhaps Raiden DID know, but his future visions implied Quan Chi had a role in stopping Armageddon(which he did, to some extent) so Raiden did not take action against him.
    • There's also the massive continuity problems with Quan Chi sporting the tattoos of Onaga's army when he didn't even know about Onaga until after Scorpion beat the tar out of him and chased him through the Netherrealm, causing Quan Chi to stumble upon the Dragon King's tomb (this was after 4presumably following some shared variation of Sub-Zero and Scorpion's endings—as detailed in Deadly Alliance's intro).
      • Perhaps Quan Chi managed to find a way to get a peek at Raiden's visions and took advantage of it.
      • Either that or Shinnok himself pulled a Raiden as well and gave his past self a heads up (Shinnok survived the events of Armageddon alongside Shao Kahn, Taven, and Liu Kang's spirit, as the Shinnok seen in Armageddon was a clone). It could explain why things went so wrong; two parties with innate knowledge of the future combating each other would be more likely to screw up the timestream.
      • This theory has a lot of validity, as the ending'd stinger implies Quan Chi and Shinnok had been manipulating the game's events from the beginning, which they never did to this extent in the original games. Raiden was also his Well-Intentioned Extremist self when he sent his messages to the past, so his lucidity was open to question and his messages to his past self were very vague, while Shinnok was probably in a much better position to send himself clear messages on what to do. Perhaps he recognized that Raiden was getting vague messages and he used Quan Chi to manipulate events in his favor while taking advantage of Raiden's desperation.
      • In regards to Quan Chi's tattoos. It should be noted that in Shaolin Monks Quan Chi appears after Shao Kahn is defeated with the red tattoos he has. As such, it's possible that the tattoos Quan Chi has may not actually be the Dragon King's tattoos.
      • Shaolin Monks is non-canon, though.
      • According to who? Contradicting one or more games isn't enough to make Shaolin Monks not canon seeing how many times the games have contradicted themselves. MK 9 itself contradicts past games in regards to backstories, what with how Mileena is now way younger than she was before the reboot and the Sub-Zeros were taken by a Lin Kuei member away from their parents in Asia with no sister in sight instead of the brothers being taken by their father from America to China away from their mother and sister.
  • Why is Noob Saibot so willing to work with Quan Chi? In this timeline, unlike the original, Scorpion hesitates against killing Sub-Zero until Quan Chi projects a false "reminder" image of his family/clan's destruction. Sub-Zero sees the image as well and protests his innocence before being slain. Given how he saw this accusation first-hand, why would he be willing to openly support the person who got him killed?
    • It's been implied before that Bi-Han as Sub-Zero and Bi-Han as Noob Saibot are distinct. In his Deception ending, it's mentioned that he would've been proud of his brother, but his descent to hell stripped away his compassion. In his Armageddon ending, after killing Blaze, Noob is confronted by Bi-Han, who wanted to "regain control of his divided soul". Noob Saibot is Sub-Zero minus any redeeming qualities; which he'd presumably would've regarded as weaknesses. So he probably wouldn't hold a grudge. Also, as Deception and his ending in this game show, Noob may be serving under Quan Chi, but he's got ulterior motives.
    • Noob is just a shadow of the former Bi-Han.
    • It's also pointed out that the two are separate entities when Noob tells Subby that even though they are related by blood, they aren't brothers.
      • That sounds more like a "I have no son!" moment than the literal meaning. Noob was mocking Kuai Liang's revenge motivations because he's so evil that he doesn't even appreciate that someone wanted to avenge his death. Put simply, you would be hard-pressed to find someone in Mortal Kombat with more evil in him than Noob Saibot. He is nothing but a being of hatred and villainy.
    • Or maybe he just doesn't remember that particular event as a result of the whole "brought back from hell deal"
    • Or, alternatively, Noob has realized that the easiest way to deal with both of the characters involved in his death is to act as their ally right up until the most convenient "do or die" situation.
  • Bi-Han and Hanzo are both assassins who died violent deaths. Both were sent to the Netherrealm before returning to earth. Hanzo came back as Scorpion and Bi-Han came back as Noob Saibot. So how come one of them looks like a regular guy (except when he takes off his mask) and the other is, er, whatever the hell Noob Saibot is?
    • Scorpion's a spectre, Noob is a wraith. There's no further explanation given than that, but the two seem to be different species of The Undead. Minus the whole "skull for a head under my mask thing" and his one-track mind on avenging his family, Scorpion more or less seems to be the same as he was in life. Noob, on the other hand, had his soul stripped of all compassion and moral restraint, leaving only a corrupt, prideful, vicious assassin. He's a Made of Evil Humanoid Abomination.
  • When Sub-Zero is awakened after having his systems knocked offline, it's mentioned in his boot-up interface that higher brain function has been restored, hinting that the Lin Kuei were hampering the brain functions of their cyborg members to prevent rebellion. Now, while it's likely that Cyrax got the same treatment, is it likely they did the same thing with Sektor, considering how eager he seemed to become a cyborg?
    • Yes. You can never be too careful.
    • Well, except that it seems that Sektor is sort of a Control Tower to the other cyborgs.
      • If you look at the cyborgs' battle damage, you can see their brains being exposed with wires placed in them. This is only really noticeable in the Klassic Cyrax and Sektor models however.
  • So wait. At the end of the story, are Johnny and Sonya the last humans left alive on Earth?
    • Of the heroes? Yes. Out of all the denizens of Earthrealm? It's questionable, but highly unlikely. Shao Kahn's invasion was stopped the same day it happened. As great as his forces were, I don't think they could have gotten to everyone in such a short amount of time, especially if his strongest enforcers were dealing with Raiden's chosen. If Stryker, Kabal, and some NYC S.W.A.T. officers could keep Shao Kahn's elite at bay, I'm hard pressed to believe that the rest of the world would have severe trouble with the bottom feeders.
    • Last we saw of Kano, he was okay.
  • Why didn't any of the Earthrealm warriors warn Kung Lao when the emperor got off his throne, walked over and snapped his neck? Unless he teleported, which he's never shown the ability to do, they should have seen it coming with enough time to save him.
    • They probably just didn't think he was going to kill him. After all, its supposed to be a fighting tournament; that was outright murder. If anything it serves as just another example of Elder Jerkass Gods; how the hell can he get away with something like that? Could he just massacre all of the other fighters and just beat the crap out of the weakest in a proper fight, and claim victory?
      • I got the impression that Kung Lao had already won the tournament by beating Kintaro. So outside the tournament he IS free to just murder them all, as we see during the invasion. And I'm not sure the Elder Gods are Jerkasses, they seem more simply very bound by the rules, if there is no real violation they can't act.
  • Why did Raiden attempt an alliance with Quan Chi to save Earthrealm? Quan Chi has been visiably aiding Outworld throughout the two tournaments and Seido or Chaos realms would have been better choices with less extreme payments. Chaos Realm might have even done it for free, they enjoy war and the chaos it brings.
    • He was deperate and, being in charge of defending Earth Realm has not cultivated contacts in those two realms. Simply put, he had no other option. Quan Chi was the only person he knew of who had the power to help him and who would accept what he was offering. Seido would just annex Earthrealm entirely if they decided it was worth the effort, and Chaos is, well, chaotic. They could just as easily fight alongside Outworld as fight against them. If they decided to do so, they might have thought getting involved after Raiden asked for help would be too much order for their liking.
  • In Stryker's chapter, how did Mileena recover so fast from her fight with Stryker? Reptile, Kintaro and Ermac didn't get right back up afterward, and two of them should significantly be more physically capable fo taking said beatings, so how did she do it? Hell, how did she get back up after Raiden blasted her? He's clearly willing to kill Outworld invaders, just look at what happened to Motaro in that same scene, so how did Mileena come out none the worse?
  • As per Raiden's desperate plan to ally himself with Quan Chi; not so much the plan itself, but what derails it. When he tries to offer the souls of Earthrealm's fallen in exchange for Quan Chi's help, Quan Chi refuses on merit of Shao Kahn has already made the exact same deal with him. So...how in Netherrealm's name does Shao Kahn have that kind of authority? Raiden is at least feasable, given as he's Earthrealm's guardian and all, but Shao Kahn? He's an invading conqueror whose "say" revolves around his wife being in the realm; HER soul could be said to be under his authority, and MAYBE Kitana's...but that's where it stops. Even if he doesn't technically try to merge the realms until the end, he's still not in any position to be bargaining with souls that aren't from his own realm. How is this allowed?
    • Shao Khan's MO is to steal the souls of the people of a realm, generally when they die, afterward they're his to do as he pleases.
      • And isn't anyone perplexed by what the dead and brainwashed Earthrealm and Edenian warriors are wearing? I mean, in the cutscene, Kung Lao and Stryker are in their alternate costumes and they switch to their primary costumes when fighting Raiden (though the former wore it prior to the Tarkartans attacking the Wu Shi Academy). Also, why does Kuai Liang stay a cyborg, shouldn't he be a zombie human too?
  • How does ANYONE with a tarkatan mouth speak perfect, unmangled English?
  • In the beginning, Johnny Cage seems to know nothing of the supernatural beings. How did he end up at the tournament in the first place? Also, how can a guy who can throw energy balls still have any skepticism left?
    • According to the movie, the best martial artists in the world are invited to the tournament, Cage being one of them, apparently. Or, perhaps he heard of the tournament and decided to attend to test his might against others. As for Cage's skepticism; his ancestry may have given him his Shadow abilities, but that doesn't mean he's spent his entire life around mutants, humanoid lizards, and gods. So, the skepticism makes sense.
    • Raiden seems to choose Earthrealm's champions and he seems to have already talked Cage up to Liu Kang by the time the tournament starts to it's likely Raiden chose who he wanted there and Shang Tsung made sure they got there. As for having skepticism while being able to shoot energy blasts keep in mind that the only character in the series established not to have some kind of power is Stryker so energy powers are likely common in this world.
    • Some martial artists in real life subscribe to the idea that they can focus their "chi" and use it to strike/knock down opponents without actually touching them. It's likely that in the Mortal Kombat universe, this is definitely real. Johnny Cage is aware of the technique and uses it in the form of his energy blasts; however, he probably shrugs it off as a discipline with a scientific explanation that he doesn't really care about and has no further knowledge or belief in the supernatural. As for his invitation, it was probably orchestrated by Raiden but as far as Cage is aware, it's just some exclusive martial arts tournament that he's been invited to take part in, being notably skilled and a high profile actor.
  • So it seems that Scorpion's clan and family were around back in the Sengoku era of Japan or thereabouts. But the tournament clearly takes place in modern times. I could accept Scorpion holding a grudge for 400-odd years, but unless Bi-han is immortal that can't be the same Sub-Zero.
    • Bi-Han is Sub-Zero V. If you consider that Cryomancers live longer lives than Earthrealmers on average, it could be well plausible for us to think that Scorpion thought Sub-Zero I (Bi-Han's ancestor) killed his family and clan. But of course he didn't, Quan Chi did under his guise. Even if you consider that Cryomancers don't live much longer lives than humans, there's a possibility that several of Sub-Zero I's descendants did not take the name Sub-Zero.
    • Or, Scorpion's clan just tends to do things old school. They're probably more "traditional" than the more modernized Lin Kuei, reflected by their housing and style of dress. Also, according to official sources, Bi-Han was 32 when he was killed by Scorpion.
      • They're also more Japanese than the modernized Lin Kuei, who are Chinese. But we know explicitly that Bi-Han killed Scorpion. Specifically, he killed Scorpion during the events of Mythologies; Scorpion, in the original timeline, was after Bi-Han as vengeance for his own murder, and it wasn't until MK 4 that Quan Chi duped him by accusing Kuai Liang of murdering Scorpion's family. Either Scorpion is at the tournament to kill Sub-Zero just for his own murder, and Quan Chi was forced to play the "He murdered your family" card earlier as a result of Raiden's meddling, or Scorpion was there to avenge his family and this is just another one of those mysterious changes that had nothing to do with Raiden.
    • If so, then Hanzo is actually a modern-generation member of the antiquated Shirai Ryu, just as Bi-Han is a modern-generation member of the modernized Lin Kuei.
  • Sooo...since all of the heroes aside from Johnny Cage and Sonya are dead, not to mention the fact that many fan-favorites were just killed off, how is the next game gonna work exactly?
    • Most of the characters that were killed died over the course of the next two games anyway. They'll just introduce the characters from four through whatever game the next one involves along with some new characters and carry on as normal. I suspect the goal is to give the newer characters more focus so the fanbase will actually start to like them instead of focussing on the older characters and bowing to fan demand. Just look at Stryker, he got some focus and now people like him quite a bit. Hell, I wouldn't be surprise if Lui Kang was treated as he was to make us more open to accepting Shujinko.
      • Or they could all be under Quan Chi's control, and fighting for Neatherrealm. And lets not forget the first law of ressurection.
      • I'm not quite sure what you're saying. The heroes killed by Sindel are under Quan Chi's control and will likely be used against Earthrealm, unless Raiden destroyed their souls while they battled him but even then at least three were left. Either way the story won't be able to focuss on them like it did in this game so the new heroes the next game brings in will get to step into the spotlight. And while ressurection is likely, especially if they reintroduce Onaga, it may not be for everyone, it seems even the developers are sick of some of the characters and only included them because they needed to. I wouldn't be surprised if Lui Kang stayed dead, same goes for Kabal and Kung Lao, characters who were introduced but never really did anything important, and with Edenia having not been freed there's really no real need for Sindel, Kitana and Jade to return as they merely divert focus from the plight of Earthrealm. The new timeline is sort of like a screening process, they can look back at the old timeline, expand on the good ideas and disgard the ones that didn't work out. A lot of characters were brought in sorely to introduce new characters with each game, forcing out ones that would have made logical sense (notice the near complete lack of Edenians involved in the story of MK 4 despite it being about Edenia being invaded, same in Armeggedon). Everyone was given their moment to shine, it's entirely possible that that's all they'll get this time around.
    • Sequels could simply take a Broad Strokes or Alternate Continuity approach if they want to bring back some (or all) of the characters that have been killed off. However, since it's been established that Raiden can send visions to his past self, he could presumably try to change the past again. By sending a message that's less ambiguous than "he must win", all the mistakes that were made during Story Mode could be avoided, essentially making MK 9 a Shaggy Dog Story as they Set Right What Once Went Wrong...again. That way they can pick up the story at the Sequel Hook but change a few details here and there.
  • At the end of one of Kung Lao's fatalities, he wipes his hat off with his hand, with a quick movement. How the heck does he do that without cutting his hand?
    • Years of practice.
  • What are the rules of Shang Tsung's tournament? It looked like any confrontation counted as an official fight, but sometimes people were disqualified and other times they were not.
    • It's a game of elimination between two teams, namely Earthrealm and Outworld representatives. When only one competitor remains undefeated, they are crowned the tournament champion and their side is considered the winner of the tournament. However, because Shang Tsung is presiding over the tournament and essentially invoking Screw the Rules, I Make Them!, any situation that could see Earthrealm lose one of its competitors and edge Outworld closer to victory is declared an official fight in the tournament.
    • It may also take into account which fighter makes the challenge.
  • How big is Shang Tsung's island?
    • Good question. It's hinted that the island doesn't even exist as far as Earthrealm's maps are concerned, from the conversation Sonya has with mission control when she calls for an evac ("There's nothing where you're at!"). It may even blink out if Shang Tsung is theoretically killed permanently. The best logical explanation could just be 'as big as Tsung designed it with his sorcery.'
  • If Quan Chi and Shinnok wanted Shao Kahn out of the way, why did Quan Chi resurrect Shao Kahn at the end of the second tournament?
    • It could be that the Elder God's eventual intervention put a more permanent end to Shao Kahn than Liu Kang's efforts, getting him out of the picture once and for all. If nothing else, helping him complete his plan - to a certain point, at any rate - wiped out most of Earthrealm's best warriors, leaving it vulnerable to an attack from the Netherrealm.
      • Right, in the original timeline, Liu Kang's "killing" of Shao Kahn in II and 3 didn't exactly seem to end his threat (he was still fighting Kitana and Goro's allied forces as of MKDA). Having the Elder Gods destroy him/send him to the phantom zone/whatever they did might be the only permanent way to get rid of him.
    • Quan Chi didn't actually resurrect Kahn, he just sped up his healing. So Kahn would have recovered anyway it just would have taken longer. So Quan Chi made the invasion happen faster and with Kahn grateful to Quan Chi, which devalued Shang Tsung, Quan Chi's only real rival.
  • How does Shao Kahn own the souls of Earth's warriors? Maybe they could have used the soulnado thing but unlike the original timeline Nightwolf obliterated it with Noob Saibot destroying it. Also you have to be evil to descend there. Raiden warned Bi Han he was screwed if he didn't shape up so why did people like Kung Lao and Jax go there?
    • Probably because of Shinnok. He manipulated everyone throughout the game thanks to time travel, and was able to work some things to get them into Hell, with him being ruler of it and all.
  • Why is Motaro only in a cutscene?
    • Mostly because programming him would be too much of a hassle with all four legs. It's practically the reason they did away with his back legs in Armageddon.
  • What was the point of the storyline, exactly? The characters are basically just as bad off as when the game started.
    • Armageddon has been averted, which was the entire point of sending the vision to the past. There are more heroes alive at the end (Raiden, Sonya and Johnny) than at the start (all three die during Armageddon). Plus it allows Neatherealm to ignore their old canon and move forward in a different direction.
  • What is the deal with all the Retcons that Raiden's changing the past shouldn't affect? How is it that Mileena being raised along with Kitana is suddenly changed to her just finished being created and Kitana just finding out about her?
    • Because Raiden isn't the only one who has been changing the past. Shinnok's scene at the end of the game and Quan Chi's presence is a good indication that both of them had information they shouldn't have had at the time, with Shinnok confirmed to have survived the Armageddon fight and in a better position to follow Raiden's lead and send messages to his past self. All of the changes can be chalked up to Quan Chi manipulating events to wind up more favourable to Netherrealm (such as telling Raiden exactly how to defeat Shao Kahn for good).
  • Is there any particular reason why post-MK9 Raiden can't send another message to his pre-MK1 self to explain what exactly he needs to do? Post-Armageddon Raiden didn't have much time to send anything more than "He must win," which caused MK9 Raiden to do some rather dumb things in response to that very ambiguous message. Post-MK9 Raiden, however, has some free time on his hands, which means he could send another, far more understandable message to his MK1 self (e.g. personally make sure Scorpion doesn't kill Sub-Zero by making him promise to keep the battle where he can see it, don't let the Lin Kuei capture Smoke or the other Sub-Zero, warn Kung Lao to keep his distance from Kahn when he wins the Outworld tournament, don't let your warriors die en masse, and let Shao Kahn come to Earthrealm and then have the Elder Gods take care of him). There doesn't seem to be a reason why he can't try that, and it would certainly screw over Shinnok and Quan Chi's plans if he did (even though he wouldn't know that they've been interfering so much, he could at least ensure that Quan Chi didn't claim the souls of the dead Earthrealm warriors by making sure that they don't die).
Mortal KombatHeadscratchers/GamesMOTHER 3

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