Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks
The battle raged at the end of the first tournament. The forces of Earthrealm were facing their greatest challenge...
is an action game released in 2005. Based on the events that occurred at the end of Mortal Kombat 1
leading into Mortal Kombat II
and its final confrontation with Shao Kahn, players take on the role of Liu Kang and Kung Lao as they fight to defend Earthrealm.
The story begins with Earthrealm's warriors battling for their lives against Outworld's forces on Shang Tsung's island fortress. Liu Kang eventually confronts the sorcerer and gains the upper hand against only for Goro to enter the fray. Distracted by the new threat Shang Tsung is able to open a portal to outworld and retreats with his evil allies as the fortress begins to crumble
around them. Escaping, Liu Kang and Kung Lao find the Wu Shu Academy under attack from Baraka and his Tarkatans. Defeating them the duo decide to meet the threat head on, despite the odds, and battle through Outworld itself to face Shao Kahn in person.
The game was welcomed by fans and critics alike for being an enjoyable fatality-filled action beat 'em up; no doubt in part to the last two Spinoff
and Special Forces
, being less than stellar.
Whilst the gameplay and bloodshed was greeted with joy, many story elements were not. Kung Lao's character was now arrogant, jealous of Liu Kang becoming champion and no longer the reluctant warrior of his original introduction. Many established canon story elements and characters were now changed or completely altered. Whether the game was intended as a Broad Strokes
approach to the story, a Retcon
, an Alternate Continuity
or simply a case of Midway
not knowing their own continuity is up for debate. Needless to say the fans have their own opinions on the matter.
Tropes found in this game:
- The Abridged Series: A 12-page webcomic version starting here.
- Bonus Boss: The player has the option of fighting Kano before leaving to fight Shao Kahn. Doing so results in Kano's death & Jax arriving to take Sonya back to Earthrealm; otherwise they remain in the background of the arena. Ermac can also be challenged in the Warrior Shrine, and a return trip to the Living Forest can get you a second fight with Mileena.
- Canon Discontinuity: Subverted. Mortal Kombat 9 doesn't make any direct references to Shaolin Monks in the story, aside of a small nod, and seems to use the "original" versions of MK1 and MK2's stories instead, but several of the Challenge Tower missions are directly based on parts of the game.
- The game also adopted Kung Lao's outfit here as his standard, and a minor plot point of him sneaking into the first tournament disguised as a guard.
- Dressing as the Enemy: Kung Lao and Shang Tsung in the opening.
- Eye Scream: After disabling Kitana with a punch to the face, Liu Kang kills Jade by stabbing her in the eyes with Mileena's sai. Yes, it was both completely unnecessary and completely hilarious.
- Fauxshadowing: Raiden's warning that "Outworld changes a person. The next time you see Sonya Blade, she may not be a friend"? Nothing comes of it. And this is despite the Let's You and Him Fight nature of fighting games. Possibly justified, as "Raiden" is actually Shang Tsung trying to sow seeds of distrust in the monks.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Ermac is crushed by the same boulder he planned to use to crush the heroes. In fact his psychic concentration is broken when another boulder he threw at them is kicked right back at him.
- Kill Steal: Johnny Cage interrupts Kung Lao to land the killing blow on Goro. This is followed by Cage raising his fist in celebration, and Kung Lao shrugging in confusion.
- Load-Bearing Boss: In the opening cutscene, Shang Tsung's defeat brings his entire fortress crumbling down around the Earthrealm warriors.
- Metroidvania: A hybrid of this, Beat-em-ups, and Mortal Kombat's over-the-top gore.
- Mythology Gag: In the fight between Liu Kang, Kung Lao, and Goro, Johnny intervenes and finishes off Goro. This is both a mirror of his rivalry with him, and a nod to the final scene of the Cage vs. Goro battle in the first movie.
- No Kill Like Overkill: This being Mortal Kombat, there are several candidates and all but Kintaro's death is gloriously over the top. All four arms torn off, then his head for good measure. You can then throw it at Shao Kahn afterwards when you fight him.
- Nostalgia Level: Many of the levels are based on the classic stages from the first two games.
- Justified since it's a retelling of MKII.
- Obvious Trap: Shang Tsung is blatantly trying to goad Liu Kang and his allies into entering Outworld, where they will be vulnerable and likely fail to save Sonya. So of course they take the bait and decide to fight against the odds.
- Shout-Out: This way.
- The Starscream: Shang Tsung disguised as Raiden manipulates Liu Kang and Kung Lao into going into Outworld and killing many so that he can take their souls, giving him enough power to betray Shao Kahn and become ruler of Outworld. Unfortunately for him, Shao Kahn is fully aware of Shang Tsung's attempt at treachery. However, the emperor lets the Sorcerer proceed with the plans anyway, then watches as the heroes defeat the sorcerer, ending his plans of betrayal. As Shao Kahn would say "All in this realm serve my will, even those who would betray me."
- X Meets Y: Mortal Kombat meets God of War, although they were developed at the same time and released a few months apart.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Kitana's reaction to Liu Kang killing Jade.
- When Trees Attack: The Living Forest is here, and this time, you actually can feed your enemies to the trees. It's actually required to do in order to progress,but you can do it as much as you like. However, if you run out of health in the area, YOU will be fed to the trees.