- Acceptable Targets: Hsu Hao is considered this by many fans and especially so by the creators. While he isn't the only one to have done some reprehensible things, but he lacks any sort of good intentions (e.g. Scorpion, Reptile, Nitara, and Dark Raiden), visionary ideas (Shinnok and Onaga) nor charisma (Shao Kahn and Quan Chi) of any other villains to make up for it and thus whenever he meets an untimely demise his fate is given especial emphasis. And his design is ugly as sin.
- Base-Breaking Character:
- Frost. You like her for being a notable Evil Counterpart to Sub-Zero and an Ensemble Darkhorse in her own or hate her for being an unnecesary clone of him.
- Drahmin is either a character with a lot of potential in the story or an annoying addition to the cast (see The Scrappy below).
- Mavado has both fans and haters alike. Those who like him for being a Foil to Kano and being apparently the only decent Red Dragon of the cast (unlike his widely hated subordinate Hsu Hao) and those who hate him for apparently killing Kabal and stealing the latter's signature hookswords.
- Bo' Rai Cho, needless to say.
- Ethnic Scrappy: Hsu Hao is widely hated for being a bad Mongolian stereotype. See The Scrappy below.
- Ensemble Darkhorse: Kenshi. One of the few post MK3 characters to earn unanimous praise from the fanbase, to the point of being among the first◊ DLC reveals for the 2011 game.
- He also shows up in the second season of Mortal Kombat Legacy, again being the only character from anything beyond MK3 to make an appearance.
- To a lesser extent, Li Mei. Her Plucky Girl attitude also helps.
- Other popular debuting characters are Frost and Nitara.
- Blaze is a unique example in that he was already a One Background Wonder as an unnamed fire elemental in Mortal Kombat II's Pit II stage before he was formally introduced in this game as a playable character with an intriguing backstory that would elaborated on in Mortal Kombat Unchained and Armageddon.
- Game-Breaker: Certain characters had "impale" attacks with their weapons which would constantly sap life from the opponent until they keeled over. Granted, these attacks could be blocked, but there's a reason they never resurfaced in Deception and Armageddon.
- It Was His Sled: Liu Kang dies in this game.
- Replacement Scrappy: Mavado is hated mainly for replacing Kabal, and to add an insult to this injury, apparently killed the latter and then stole his trademark hookswords. It earned the ire of Kabal's fans.
- Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Frost was widely hated when she was announced, with claims that she would "ruin" Mortal Kombat forever. Come the game's release and she soon became a fan favorite by having a cool backstory, as well as her movelist being surprisingly different from Sub-Zero's.
- The Scrappy:
John Vogel: "We were fully prepared to say, 'Yes, [Jax killing him] really happened. He's dead. He's gone.' But Mortal Kombat: Armageddon is about bringing every character back to life, so Hsu Hao is back... much to my dismay."
- Hsu Hao. Even the developers hate him.
- Even years later, it seems that the team's dislike of Hsu Hao hasn't faded in the slightest. When Kano's design was revealed for MKX, a fan asked Ed Boon on Twitter if Hsu Hao would be "jealous of that chest piece." Ed's response?
Ed Boon: "Yes, and we don't care."
Scorpion: "GET OUT OF HERE!!"◊
- Furthermore, Hsu Hao actually appears in the MKX comic! Has he finally been redeemed in their eyes? Well, one page after he appears, Scorpion just impales him with his spear and kills him off. With this variation of his usual Catch-Phrase:
- Drahmin, although not to the extent of Hsu Hao, also earns a similar reaction from the fans. Ed Boon notes that he's one of his two least favorite characters (the other being Hsu Hao), and he's unpopular with fans due to how newcomer-unfriendly his playstyle is. The flies swarming him and constantly buzzing was a rather distracting nuisance.
- And then we have his buddy Moloch. The developers even lampshaded this in Mortal Kombat X by having Quan Chi carry around his head.
- Mokap is a character most players either completely ignore or absolutely refuse to acknowledge, due to his design being the most unimaginative concept ever seen in a fighting game. He ended up making the ScrewAttack "Top Ten Worst Fighting Game Characters" list for that reason.
- Self-Fanservice: Sub-Zero's design in this game has him looking much older than he actually is (approximately 42) due to the grey in his hair and the hardening of his features. Most fans tend to overlook this unexplained age-up (which Fanon attributes to his Dragon Medallion). That being said, Subby does appear to look more his actual age in Deception and Armageddon.
- Song Association: Adema's "Immortal."