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YMMV / Mortal Kombat: Desperation

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  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Darrius is the biggest example of this, both In-Universe and to fans. He's very mysterious and stoic, so it's difficult to tell what he's thinking, yet he's excellent at strategy and making speeches to sway people to his side and earn Undying Loyalty from them. His methods are just as dark as Hotaru and Havik's though, mixing both chaos and order. The two largest examples are the riots he's always instigating and how he secretly arranged the murder of Dairou's family and framed another man for the crime who Dairou then killed. He certainly views himself as an Anti-Hero, but even from his POV it's difficult to establish his true personality. Havik even Lampshades it.
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  • Better Than Canon: Some readers have given this opinion. Mainly due to its treatment of the revenant, giving character who get little focus in the game proper characterization, etc. Many would have liked for this story to be the plot for Mortal Kombat 11.
  • Catharsis Factor: Raiden getting beaten up during the battle at the Sky Temple to distract him while Kira and Sonya rescue Cassie. It's not much, but it's still satisfying.
    • Sonya and Fujin sending Sindel to get Orin for help when Raiden attacks their base of operations. The dragon's arrival brings a huge advantage to the heroes' side and Raiden retreats after realizing he cannot win this battle. This marks their first major victory against and blow to the Thunder God and his forces.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: With the release of Mortal Kombat 11, a lot of elements of this story fall under this.
    • Frost is an unrepentant villain (again), having herself remade as a cyborg to increase her power and trying to become the Lin Kuei Grandmaster.
    • With Kano (both past and present) dead, Kevin (or whoever he was in canon) has now been erased from existence.
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    • In this story, Kano is revealed to have masterminded Kabal's maiming at Kintaro's hands. In MK11, an older Kano lies to a past version of Kabal by telling him that Sonya is the one that burned him.
    • Revenant Liu Kang, much like Frost, is a complete and utter dick, even trying to kill his alternate self for a chance to spite Raiden.
    • Kronika, the Big Bad of 11, fills Desperation!Raiden's role as a ruthless Jerkass God who gathers an army of villains and goes to extreme lengths to accomplish their goals.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Kotal Kahn. Sure he has a tragic background, but he's still deeply cares for his own champions and is willing to do what it takes to stop Raiden.
    • The revenants, led by Liu Kang. Pretty much all of them were brainwashed by Quan Chi and Forced into Evil, but still retain their old memories and Liu Kang still does care for them. Later on, they get revived by Jade and now have a big Heel Realization, and intend to atone for what they did as revenants.
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    • Scorpion, as he now had a Heel Realization and is now The Atoner by switching sides and pulling off a Heel–Face Turn.
    • Frost, for all her arrogance, is shown to genuinely regret her past and be loyal to the Lin Kuei. She even sheds a tear for two Lin Kuei (both of whom whom she was close to) that Tasia killed.
    • Nitara. At first, she can easily be considered a villain due to her alliance with Raiden, but one has to feel sorry for her when it's revealed that Raiden strong-armed her into serving him in order to protect her people.
    • Kira. Sure, she's a former Black Dragon member, but she's had a tough life, what with being sold into slavery by her own parents as a child and all. When Kano kidnaps and rapes Kabal's widow, Kira helps her escape out of empathy and respect for Kabal.
    • Rain. He may be a traitor, but he does have a sad past. Having been abandoned and rejected by his biological father, lost his mother as a baby, and lost his adoptive father as a child, he's understandably bitter. One can't help but pity him a little when it becomes clear that he's deeply in love with Kitana and is struggling to come to terms with his unrequited love for her.
    • Daegon. Yes, he's done a lot of horrible things, but when it's revealed what a jerk his father was to him in the past and that Raiden is currently manipulating him, he garners some sympathy.
    • Dairou. Despite being a mercenary only concerned about money, he lost his entire family and is justifiably cynical as a result. He does still have some honor within him, though, as shown when he tells Darrius off.
    • D'Vorah. She's very traitorous, cunning, deceptive, and power hungry, but her desire for power stems from a belief that power is the key to survival, which has been her ultimate motivation since Shao Kahn conquered her people. She understands why people think Fate Worse than Death exists, but she refuses to die and prefers to live no matter how bad the suffering gets.
    • Even Raiden counts as this. He didn't ask to be turned evil by purifying the Jinsei, and was merely being the selfless Thunder God he was before his corruption. Kung Jin even states that if this is what he got as a reward for being selfless, Raiden would have been better off dying from purifying the Jinsei.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Raiden torpedoes through the line when he electrocutes Sub-Zero and Frost (and the surviving Lin Kuei as many of them were killed off or injured by Raiden and his goons) to near-death for questioning his methods and not accepting his offer to destroy Outworld. Sub-Zero ended up in a comatose state while Frost and half the clan suffered serious injuries.
    • Hotaru crosses it when he's ordered by Raiden to destroy Li Mei's village in chapter 47. This could also count as another contender for Raiden crossing the line too, possibly outstripping what he did to Sub-Zero and the Lin Kuei.
    • Kano crossed the line when he not only masterminded Kabal's maiming at the hands of Kintaro, but also raped his widow, resulting in Kevin's conception.
  • Nightmare Fuel: In essence, Raiden is a walking Nightmare Fuel, and the Moral Event Horizon above shows why. Genocide, murder, terrorism, kidnapping, torture, strong-arming others into serving him - just how low would he go in committing such savagery while claiming to "protect" Earthrealm?
  • Inspiration for the Work: The author of Mortal Kombat Vs Marvel Universe credits this as his inspiration for his story.
  • Stoic Woobie: Kevin, as he gets abused by Kano, loses his mother to a drunk driver and yet still remains silent.
  • The Woobie:
    • Ferra/Torr. Just seeing how Ferra feels after Torr slips into a coma comes as a big Tear Jerker moment. Thankfully, Torr eventually reawakens from his comatose state.
    • Taven is awoken after thousands of years in a coma to discover that his parents were murdered by his brother, who is out to kill him as well and that his realm was conquered by Shao Kahn while he was asleep. He also comes to realize how poor a parent Argus was to his younger brothers Daegon and Rain and loses all respect for his father and the Elder Gods for their lack of intervention and partial responsibility for his current plight.
    • Delia. The poor woman was killed by her own son, whom she still loves despite everything he's done and blames herself for what he has become. One really has to feel sorry for her when she tries twice to convince Daegon not to support Raiden, and fails twice. The second time is especially heartbreaking since Raiden forces her to watch as he manipulates her son into staying on his side.
    • Jax. He was so overwhelmed by his guilt and trauma from his time as a revenant that he tried to commit suicide once and was stopped by Vera's arrival and revelation of her pregnancy with Jacqui.
    • Reptile. Believing himself to be the Last of His Kind for several years, he is relieved to discover that he is not the only living Saurian, but it's only sad to see him discovering that he is more loyal to Kotal than his own people.
    • Sareena. Quan Chi manipulated her into serving him in exchange for him using his Magik to hide her demon form beneath a beautiful human form. She served as his concubine and one of his elite lieutenants and also endured verbal abuse from her comrades Kia and Jataaka. When she turns against Quan Chi to help Bi-Han, she is robbed of her beauty and imprisoned in the fifth plane of the Netherrealm until Noob Saibot helps her escape. Even now, she is still haunted by her past.
    • Ashrah. Like Sareena, she is a demoness who served Quan Chi. Inspired by Sareena, she turned against the sorcerer, who sent her own sister to kill her. Ashrah ended up killing her sister in self-defense and is desperate to redeem herself for her past crimes.
    • Ruby. Like Kitana and Jade, she is an Edenian who was a mere infant at the time of her realm's fall and was thus unaware of her true heritage for several years. After her friends' death, she joined the Edenian Resistance to atone for her crimes under Shao Kahn and to honor her dead friends' memory. Although she is reunited with Jade and Kitana, she is saddened to discover that her father blamed her for her mother's death and hated her deeply.
    • Fujin also counts, considering that he now has to fight his fellow god and is concerned about the mental state of the Cage family.
    • Li Mei, after Raiden orders Hotaru to burn down her village. She's so consumed by revenge and grief that she refuses to listen to reason until Hotaru nearly kills her in the tournament and Erron Black helps her get onto the road to recovery.
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