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"In each of us there burns a soul of a warrior. In every generation a few are chosen to prove it. Centuries ago, in a time of darkness and fury, that fate befell three strangers. A monk, Kung Lao; an exiled guard, Siro; and a thief, Taja, who have to defend our realm from the forces of Outworld. By fighting for their lives, by fighting for their honor and by fighting for their realm...in a tournament called Mortal Kombat."
— Opening Narration
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Mortal Kombat: Conquest was a live-action TV series based off the highly successful Mortal Kombat video games, airing from 1998 to 99 first in syndication and then on TNT.

The series revolved around the winner of the previous Mortal Kombat, Kung Lao and his allies Shiro and Taja versus various individuals who threaten Earthrealm. The series is a Prequel to the events of the video games, despite the appearance of numerous characters who would not canonically show up until centuries later. The series is considered to be Broad Strokes canon to the main timeline.

It was finally released on DVD in the US in March 2015 after originally being released elsewhere.


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This series contains examples of:

  • Acting for Two: Jeffrey Meek plays both Shao Kahn and Raiden. He does a surprisingly good job differentiating both characters and due to the former's mask, most viewers never realized this.
  • Aborted Arc: In the premier, Shang Tsung vows to free the warriors imprisoned in Shao Kahn's mines so that he can raise up an army and overthrow him. This plot point is never ever mentioned again.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Mileena. Inverted when she first appears; she's uglier than her game counterpart, since her ugliness isn't limited to her lower face. Played straight after she partly loses her Kitana disguise; she still looks beautiful, save for some long teeth, which aren't so prominent as in the game.
  • Amazon Brigade: Kreeya's army.
  • Badass Normal: Our main three. Played with as Kung Lao is able to No-Sell certain magics and has visions of impending doom.
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  • The Bad Guy Wins: The show ends with Shao Kahn killing everyone and gloating over a beaten, imprisoned Raiden, the only survivor.
  • Barehanded Blade Block: Raiden catches Shao Kahn's sword this way in the finale, then uses lightning to throw him off-balance.
  • Big-Bad Ensemble: Shang Tsung plots Kung Lao's demise from the Cobalt Mines, while Shao Kahn plots taking Earthrealm from his palace.
  • Brought Down to Normal: In the finale, Shao Kahn bides his time and transports everyone to Outworld, causing Raiden to lose his powers and making him easy prey.
  • Canon Foreigner: Taja, Siro, Vorpax and a number of others.
  • Celibate Hero: Averted. As a monk Kung Lao should have been but he still flirted with lots of women and got some action with Mileena. Kung Lao was also engaged at the start of the series to a woman named Jen but she, sadly, becomes a Disposable Fiancé.
  • Chickification: An overall trend for Taja throughout the series.
  • City of Adventure: The series is based inside the trade city of Zhu-Zin. This is apparently somewhere in China but is full of mixed races, peoples, and groups that form an Anachronism Stew. Raiden made this a Justified Trope since it is apparently on a border between dimensions and is a Weirdness Magnet.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Shao Kahn doesn't hesitate to kick Raiden while he's down and punch him while he's already choking him.
  • Composite Character: Qali combines elements of the two game characters, Jade and Tanya both of whom are Edenian. Like Jade, Qali is an Edenia who is the Black Best Friend to Kitana and has known her since childhood. However, she ultimately shows Tanya's penchant for betraying people, even her friends, for survival. Unlike Tanya however, Qali is shown to regret her duplicity.
  • Conspicuous CG: The teleportation effects and transformations are very conspicuous CG.
  • Cool Old Guy: Raiden
  • Deadpan Snarker: Raiden. In one example...
    Kung Lao: I have no friends!
    Raiden: Maybe that's because you're trying to kill them all.
  • Doomed by Canon: Even if we ignore the Kill ’Em All Downer Ending, we cannot forget that Kung Lao's fate is to be defeated by Goro.
  • Downer Ending: The show ends with Shao Kahn killing everyone.
  • Everybody Has Lots of Sex: Most dialogue between men and women tends to suggest they want only one thing. Even Kung Lao is implied to have lost an old relic in a woman's house, and the woman is very happy to see him again. Exceptions are Kitana (though even she has Ship Tease with Kung Lao), Sub-Zero, and Scorpion (though Scorpion could be implied to have a healthy sex life since he has a girlfriend, until Sub-Zero kills her).
  • Expy: If you look at it in one way, the main trio are similar to the main trio of the Mortal Kombat games. Kung Lao has Liu Kang's The Hero mentality, Siro has Johnny Cage's cocky attitude, and Taja is similar to Sonya Blade in terms of Action Girl.
    • The one-shot character Tomas is pretty much a bland version of Johnny Cage, at least in appearance. He even uses his Nutcracker move at one point.
  • Fanservice Extra: Numerous extras wear revealing outfits. Kreeya's army are all wearing Chainmail Bikini.
  • Financial Test of Friendship: A rare example of this trope being used as backstory rather than as a Status Quo Is God situation is when The Baron dies, Siro effectively loses his job as the Baron's bodyguard. Kung Lao lets Siro stay at the Trading Post to run the Trading Post with him and Taja, since the three of them became friends during the events of the first episode.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Unintentionally averted by being Cut Short. In the finale, the theoretically bullet-proof Contractual Immortality of a number of characters, including Shang Tsung, Kitana, and even protagonist Kung Lao (who should have been killed by Goro, or at least lived long enough to father a child) is violated.
  • An Ice Person: Sub-Zero.
  • Kick Them While They Are Down: Shao Kahn does this to Raiden in the series finale.
  • Kill ’Em All: Shao Kahn literally kills every major character at the end of the season. Season 2 would have had the Elder Gods intervening and hitting the Reset Button, but the show was cancelled, so Shao Kahn pretty much wins.
  • Lighter and Softer: Than the games. Then horrifyingly averted in the finale.
  • More Than Mind Control: In one episode a spell was cast to bring out all of the main three's worst traits.
  • Mr. Fanservice: All of the men on the show are exceptionally handsome and show nearly as much skin as the women. This includes Shang Tsung who is still young and good looking.
  • Neck Snap: A common way for kombatants to put down their opponents. Note that we mean put down as in "naptime," since it never seems to stop anyone from coming back later.
  • Obvious Stunt Double: A few examples, but the biggest is the stunt double they hired for Jaime Pressly as Mika. In addition to the obvious wig she's wearing, her face is even shown a few times.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: After Scorpion's girlfriend kills Sub-Zero's little sister, he freezes her to death.
  • Pervert Dad: In Episode 5: "The Essence," Kitana has to repeatedly remind Shao Kahn that she is his daughter, even if adopted against her will. She goes as far as to suggest he... "admire" the picture of her in her mother's room. His implications are explicit enough that it crosses into Villainous Incest. It does explain, however, why over the course of over 11 games Shao Kahn never has a "no daughter of mine is gonna dress like that" reaction to Kitana's Stripperiffic clothing.
    • Interestingly enough, Kitana then downplays their relationship in Episode 12, emphasizing that she's his stepdaughter and thus owes him no loyalty or obedience. Shao Kahn's intentions are even more explicit in that episode, with extra Squick coming from his reaction to Mileena's offer to do "anything" if he lets her keep Kitana's beautiful face, and from his interaction with Kitana at the beginning it almost seems like Shao Kahn ordered Kung Lao killed out of jealousy that Kitana favored Kung Lao over him.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: From Shao Kahn to Raiden in the final episode's end:
    Shao Kahn: Let's see what gifts we have for our guests. a traitor...dead. Two sorcerers ...dead. A queen...dead. A daughter...dead. A bodyguard...dead. A thief...dead. A champion...dead. You... will... bow! To... Me.
  • Race Lift: Chinese Shaolin monk Kung Lao is portrayed by Filipino-American Paolo Montalban.
  • Recycled: The Series: Sorta; the show appears to be set in the same continuity as Mortal Kombat: The Movie.
  • Ship Tease: Taja and Siro had quite a few little moments where it seemed they might not be platonic.
    • Kung Lao and Kitana were teased as well during her appearances on the show, particularly Episode 12 when Kung Lao sleeps with Mileena under the impression that she's Kitana.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Kali was a female assassin who was a childhood friend of Kitana, much like Jade. In fact, she may have actually been Jade, using her real name. (Reptile had one too, so it's not a stretch to believe that had the series continued, Kali might have simply taken the name "Jade" as a nom de plume.)
  • Shirtless Scene: Although it doesn't go near to balance out the amount of female characters in bikinis, there's still a fair few of these.
  • Stripperiffic: Every. Single. Female. Character.
  • Trickster Mentor: Raiden could tell the gang the answers but doesn't feel like it most of the time.
  • The Vamp: Vorpax.
  • Villain Episode: Shang Tsung gets one.
  • Villain of the Week: There's a lot of ninjas, sorcerers, and bandits around Zhu-Zin.
  • Wire Fu: Many of the fight scenes had this, along with slow motion.
  • You Have Failed Me: When a pair of ninjas from the Lin Kuei attempt to attack the heroes, they fail. To their credit, the ninjas return to their master, knowing the penalty for such failure is to be frozen solid by Sub-Zero. This is done before the others of the clan so they know the stakes.

Alternative Title(s): Mortal Kombat

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