- "Thousands of years ago, the Earth was devastated by a battle between the gods. It was a war between good and evil. A war that would decide the fate of the world, and plunged it into centuries of darkness. Now the world is in danger of being fought once again. Only one mortal can stop it."— Opening Narration of the game."I am mortal.
I am a thief and assassin.
I am a Lin Kuei warrior.
I am Sub-Zero."
Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero is a Beat 'em Up Spinoff of the Mortal Kombat Fighting Game series, developed by Midway Games and released in 1997 for USA and in 1998 for Europe. Canonically, the events of this game are set before those of the first game (and, by proxy, Mortal Kombat 9).
As the name implies, it features Sub-Zero in his quest to stop Quan Chi, who wants to retrieve an amulet which would revive Shinnok. It also introduced (and retconned) several characters who would later appear in Fighting Game installments such as the aforementioned Sub-Zero, Quan Chi, and Shinnok as well as Sub-Zero's rival Scorpion, Sub-Zero's clan Lin Kuei, and the demonnesses Sareena, Kia and Jataaka. Other characters which are featured in the game are Physical Gods Raiden and Fujin.
This game explained a lot of the backstory in the Mortal Kombat universe, such as the Scorpion/Sub-Zero rivalry, the events which led to Mortal Kombat 4 onward, and how Sub-Zero started on the path to becoming Noob Saibot.
The game provides examples of:
- Aborted Arc: Quan Chi needs all the elementals to obtain Shinnok's amulet. The amulet is instead found inside the Fire temple for no apparent reason.
- Amazon Brigade: Quan Chi's bodyguard assassins.
- Ascended Extra: Sareena.
- Berserk Button: Sub-Zero does not take kindly to being called a ninja by Quan Chi. Scorpion, a ninja, is his mortal enemy.
- Captain Obvious: "Somehow you have retained your mortality, which would mean you are vulnerable to death!"
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Sub-Zero defeats not one but FOUR elemental gods in the Temple. Your fight with Shinnok counts as well, if you decide to stay after grabbing the amulet.
- Digitized Sprites: As with all early games in the series. Averted with a handful of enemies, however, such as the Rock Golem.
- Doomed by Canon: While the player can choose differently, Sareena's presence in future games and Scorpion becoming an undead revenant means that regardless of whatever happens, Sub-Zero canonically saves Sareena and kills Scorpion to preserve the timeline.
- Early-Bird Cameo: For all the Mortal Kombat 4 characters present in the game and Sareena.
- Easy-Mode Mockery: On Easy Mode, the game ends after Subbie completes the elemental temples.
- Everything Trying to Kill You
- False Innocence Trick: If Sub-Zero decides to spare Scorpion in the first level, while imprisoned in the Netherrealm, he will meet Shinnok in his prison cell, instead of Scorpion. He claims that he's an unjustly imprisoned soul like Sub-Zero and notes that he's playing Raiden's "game" for the time being. His manipulation of Sub-Zero indirectly helps his own escape from the Netherrealm several years later.
- Franchise Killer: The entire Mythologies series was shelved after the game sold poorly and was panned by critics.
- Full Motion Video: In the PS1 version, complete with Large Hams in every cutscene, as well as Hilarious Outtakes after the credits.
- Gaiden Game: Typical MK gameplay applied to a Beat 'em Up.
- Genre Mashup: It's a Sidescroller/RPG/Fighting game. Certainly a unique specimen.
- Giant Mook: Hulk Monks.
- Guide Dang It!:
- The battle against Fujin, which involves taking cover in a small place.
- The final battle with Shinnok is even worse, since it involves a combination that must be timed perfectly.
- Hell, every level, bar the first, is a damn warren that involves a ludicrous amount of backtracking
- Insistent Terminology: The Lin Kuei are not ninja. To explain, the ninja of Japan originated from an ex-Lin Kuei who defected and fled from China to Japan, taking their secrets with him and starting his own assassin clan, the Shirai Ryu. Needless to say the Lin Kuei despise being associated with what they consider to be a group of posers and thieves. Interestingly, Quan Chi plays this trope straight himself using the same example but in reverse: he repeatedly and insistently refers to Sub-Zero as "ninja" specifically to piss him off.
- One-Winged Angel: Shinnok after you take his amulet. Fighting this phase is optional, you can just scamper through the portal and end the game. Defeat him and you will be rewarded with a blooper reel.
- Nintendo Hard: Earth God and Prison Guard/Warden fight? Hope you can use Sub-Zero's Slide move. And then there's the Wind Temple.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Its because of Sub-Zero that Quan Chi gets the amulet and must be stopped.
- Redemption Equals Death: Sareena, except that was retconned into being a Disney Death.
- RPG Elements:
- Smashing Hallway Traps of Doom: And how!
- Super Drowning Skills: Sub-Zero can't swim, as the water temple shows. Rather ironic considering how Sub-Zero has the power of ice.
- Video Game Caring Potential: While most enemies just fall over and die (or explode) when defeated, you're given the option to either kill or spare two of them: Sareena and Scorpion. In both cases, choosing to show mercy has positive results later. Specifically, if you spare Sareena, she'll have a HeelFace Turn and help Sub-Zero in the battle with Quan Chi. If you spare Scorpion at the beginning of the game, you avoid having to fight him again as a wraith in the Netherrealm.
- Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: Huzzah! You've acquired the amulet! ...Only five levels in? Sorry guys, completion doesn't come that quickly.