Posted by Lord Paragon on May 31st, 2007
For my first kolumn, I think I’ll start off with the one thing my mind seems to be set on for this. The state of the storyline for Mortal Kombat. I have been a fan of the game for a number of years, like everyone, I noticed the decline around the time of Mortal Kombat 4, to be honest, at the time, I liked the game and in a way, I still do. It was a paving stone for the way things are today. Sure, people will talk about its poor graphics, bad characters and mediocre storyline. But lets be honest, it wasn’t really that bad. Anyway, back to the point. Let’s take a look back at the history of the games and see how much things have changed. I will go through the story of the game and the characters involved before going on about what changes where made to the story.
First, there was the original, Mortal Kombat. There were 7 playable characters, 3 non-playable characters and the rumoured one. The storyline was basically an old sorcerer had taken over a shoalin tournament and was using it to unbalance the furies and take over Earthrealm if his champion won. We had Raiden, a god in a human form taking part angry at Shang Tsung and the way he was using the tournament. Liu Kang, the chosen sholain warrior who was to defeat Goro. Johnny Cage, an actor who wanted to prove he was legit. Sonya Blade, who was only there to capture Kano. Kano was there because he was trying to escape Sonya. Sub Zero was sent to assassinate Shang Tsung and Scorpion, who wanted Sub Zero dead for killing him. All basic storylines which paved the way for future storylines. We then had Shang Tsung, the head of the tournament, who was using it to take over Earthrealm. Goro, Shang Tsung’s champion, who had won nine times in a row and Reptile, who had no storyline.
That was what it used to be and that’s how it’s stayed really, other then some minor changes due to retcons. Shang Tsung works for Shao Kahn, Reptile is Shang Tsung’s bodyguard, under orders of Shao Kahn and Raiden didn’t actually take part in the tournament, more like he acted as a guide for the hero’s instead of the god which would hold another tournament with other gods and destroy the world. We all accepted those changes to the storyline because they made sense thanks to the storyline of Mortal Kombat 2. Ermac was rumoured, but in the end, the rumours proved false, but, those rumours made way to possibly one of the most popular Mortal Kombat characters, not to mention my personal favourite.
Mortal Kombat Two had twelve normal characters, two unplayable boss characters and three hidden characters. It left off where Mortal Kombat left off, Liu Kang won, defeating Goro and Shang Tsung, stopping the sorcerer from taking Earthrealm. Kahn was, understandably, pissed off. Shang Tsung came up with an idea for a tournament in Outworld which the Earthrealm contenders had to accept or forfeit. Raiden, as the guide led Liu Kang, the current champion of Mortal Kombat who along with his friend, Kung Lao, want revenge on Shao Kahn because his Tarkatan armies, led by Baraka killed their fellow monks. Johnny Cage came because he wanted to give a helping hand and because of cage’s information, Jax came in order to rescue the captured Sonya and arrest Kano, who was captured along with her. Sub Zero, the younger brother of the older one, killed by Scorpion in the first Mortal Kombat, was sent on the mission his brother was on, to assassinate Shang Tsung. Shao Kahn would have his own set of challengers to face these fighters. Shang Tsung, his head sorcerer leading with Reptile, who was given the story of being Shang Tsung’s bodyguard and now being a participant in the tournament instead of hiding in the shadows. Baraka, head of the Tarkatan army that attacked the temples in Earthrealm, then there was the sisters, Kitana and Mileena, two of Kahn’s deadliest assassins. There was also the wildcard, Scorpion, who learnt of Sub Zeros apparent return and came to finish the job. There was Kintaro, who was enraged by Goro’s death and wanted vengeance for the fallen prince of his race. Then, there was the big boss himself, the Emperor of Outworld, Shao Kahn, the main threat to Earthrealm. We then had Jade, Smoke and Noob Saibot, who did not have a story at the time either until long after the game had come out.
At first, the changes made to the story where minor. Goro had not died, but went into hiding in shame after being defeated. Noob Saibot was working for another boss and was to spy on the events of the tournament. Jade, like Kitana and Mileena, was another of Kahn’s assassins and Smoke was Sub Zero’s partner in the assassination of Shang Tsung. Again, these changes where accepted by the fans of the game. Now, here’s where people start to get either confused or angry over the retcons and there is one source to all of this: Mortal Kombat: Shoalin Monks. Kung Lao had followed Liu Kang to the island where the first tournament was held, because he wanted to be the one to enter, not Liu Kang and because of that, he resented his friend, which is a complete turn around from the usually non-aggressive peaceful Kung Lao everyone loved. Although the fact Goro had not died was accepted, the fact that he remained hidden was ignored and it had the two monks go after him and kill him. Also, there was Kitana being under a spell instead of knowing everything and waiting for the right time to rebel. Scorpion picking fights with anyone, which went against his character at the time, he only wanted Sub Zero dead, not anyone else. Shang Tsung tricking Liu Kang and Kung Lao into making him young instead of Kahn granting Shang his youth. The fact there wasn’t even a tournament, at all. Kano willingly going to Outworld and Sonya being captured after the tournament. Kung Lao being the one to give Sub Zero the scar, when the fans had believed it was given to him by Scorpion. Sub Zero knowing who Noob Saibot was, when no one was supposed to know at this point and even the fact Ermac made an appearance. The storyline for Mortal Kombat two, because of the Shaolin monks game, had been royally desecrated and I know that upset a lot of fans.
Next, is Mortal Kombat 3, but also including Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 and Mortal Kombat Trilogy. Liu Kang saved the realms again and Kahn got angry and decided to break the rules and revive Sindel in Earthrealm so he could go over and claim her and the realm himself. Liu Kang, Kung Lao, Sonya, Jax and Sub Zero banded together with newcomers Nightwolf, Kabal and Stryker in order to stop Kahn from taking over. Later, Raiden himself would take a human form and help along with the recently deceased Johnny Cage, who couldn’t ascend to the heavens due to Kahn’s portals. Kitana also joined them when she escaped Outworld. On Kahn’s side was Shang Tsung, Reptile, Jade, Kano, Baraka, the recently resurrected Mileena and Noob Saibot as well as the edenian Rain as a general, after Kintaro’s death, he enlisted Motaro, Sheeva was enlisted as Sindel’s protector and it was the first actual appearance of Ermac. Chameleon, I guess, counts too. There was also the wildcards, Scorpion, who had escaped the Netherealm when Kahn tired to take the souls of that realm. (Bet Shinnok wasn’t pleased with that). Also, there was the three cyborg ninja’s, Cyrax, Sektor and Smoke. Whose souls where ‘lost’ and could not be taken by Kahn’s magic, so they continued their mission to find Sub Zero. Then there was Khameleon, who was trying to get Reptile to abandon and turn on Kahn, who had killed off almost all of their race.
Not many retcons where done to this game. Only that the three cyborg’s did have their souls and they where just lost to them, rather then they had no souls. In one of the most absurd retcons, Johnny Cage did not die, but it was all due to his movie schedule. The retcon that Rain was edenian, rather then an ex-Lin Kuei, the bio that was then used for Tremor in Mortal Kombat: Special Forces. Because that one was done quickly, many forgot about this, some didn’t even know. Then there was the death of Kung Lao. This was meant to be his big exit from the series, until they brought him back for Mortal Kombat 4 (and I think we can all say that was a well made decision on Midways part). On the whole, this part of Mortal Kombat history remains true to what it once was, unlike the retcons from Mortal Kombat 2.
Next, is the story for Mortal Kombat 4 and Mortal Kombat Gold. Liu Kang killed Shao Kahn and ended his reign of terror, but, the nightmare wasn’t over, as the lord of the Underworld, Shinnok, decided now was his time to rise. With the unsuccessful game of Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub Zero released, we where given a back story for him. Quan Chi, Shinnok’s sorcerer, tricked the original Sub Zero into getting him Shinnok’s amulet, so that Shinnok could escape the Netherealm. Along with the two of them was Mileena, who had been serving Shao Kahn during the events of Mortal Kombat 3, under Shinnok’s orders when she died by Kitana’s hands in Mortal Kombat 2. Baraka, who had apparently bee killed by Kung Lao, had returned as an assassin for Quan Chi, not known to Shinnok. Noob Saibot, who had been working for Shinnok all along, Reptile, who was banished to the Netherealm for genocide (ironic that his race suffered that fate) and was given the chance to work for Shinnok in order to escape and revive his race. Scorpion, who Quan Chi had tricked into thinking Sub Zero was the one responsible for the death of his family and clan. And the newcomers Tanya, an edenian who helped Shinnok invade Edenia and Reiko, a mysterious general in Shinnok’s armies and the Brotherhood of Shadow. Standing in their way was Liu Kang, the champion of Mortal Kombat, Kitana, who had escaped the prisons of Edenia after the rest of the realm had apparently been killed. Kai, a friend of Liu Kang’s and fellow Shaolin monk. Sub Zero, who thanks to information from his dead brother, knew all about Shinnok and Quan Chi. Sonya and Jax also joined with the last Black Dragon member, Jarek when Earthrealm came under threat. Raiden and Fujin had also joined the forces of light in their fight against the fallen elder god along with Johnny Cage, who Raiden had brought from the heavens, knowing he would need all the help he could get. Because of Goro’s return, Kung Lao had come out of hiding after his defeat at the hands of Shao Kahn. Also, Cyrax and Sektor where sent once again to find Sub Zero. Cyrax however had been acting strange after his defeat by Sub Zero and being stranded in a desert. Sektor was to keep an eye on his ally and act accordingly should he continue acting odd.
There are a few retcons to this story thanks to later games. The people of Edenia had not been killed, this included Jade and Sindel. They where only imprisoned. Baraka had not been killed by Kung Lao, but was wondering Edenia after its detachment from Outworld in Mortal Kombat 3, when Quan Chi approached him. Reiko being a general in Shao Kahn’s armies instead of Shinnok’s. The reason why he was with Shinnok and the Brotherhood of Shadow was never explained either. Jarek not being the last member of the Black dragon, as Kano was alive and in Outworld serving the, still living, Shao Kahn and Kabal still around too, although I guess it was about this time Mavado got to him, so, it wasn’t known whether he was alive or not. There was the retcon to this storyline, like the last one, that Johnny Cage wasn’t dead. Cyrax was never found by the Lin Kuei or Sektor, but was instead found straight away by Sonya and Jax, instead of him going to them and asking for their help. Then, there was the big one, the one which no one has liked much. The change to Scorpion’s story relating to Sub Zero. He went from being an honourable warrior who said he would protect Sub Zero because he had killed his older brother and was no better then him, to only swearing not to harm him. Also that he went against that when he was told by Quan Chi that Sub Zero was the one who killed his family. This along with Scorpion turning into a revenge seeking maniac had made a lot of people dislike the ‘poster boy’ for the game.
After a decline in the game franchise, Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance came out, Mortal Kombat lived once again then there was Tournament Addition, which expanded on the story further. Shinnok had been defeated and earth had lived in peace for quite some time, however, things began to stir. Quan Chi had escaped the Netherealm and made an alliance with Shang Tsung. They then killed off the two people they feared could stop them, Shao Kahn and Liu Kang. Raiden gathered what hero’s he could, Kitana, Sonya, Jax, Johnny Cage, Kung Lao, Sub Zero and his pupil, Frost. All of them would march into Outworld and face off against the two sorcerers. Also tied into the story was Bo’ Rai Cho, who had trained Liu Kang and more recently, Kung Lao and Kitana. Li Mei, who was to be used by Shang Tsung and Quan Chi to be the last soul put into the soulless army of the Dragon King. Kenshi, a blind swordsman who learnt the art of Telekinesis from Ermac, who he had helped him out by cutting the bond between him and Shao Kahn. Kenshi was on a mission to find Cyrax, who had gone missing in Outworld thanks to an attack made by Reptile, unaware that he was being used by Nitara so that she could use Cyrax to free her realm. Kano, who had been leading the armies of Outworld against the edenian forces managed a stalemate, thanks to Noob Saibot killing Goro. Kano went to inform Shao Kahn when he walked in on Shang Tsung and Quan Chi killing Shao Kahn. Kano then offered his services to the two of them. Quan Chi had also enlisted the Red Dragon members Mavado and Hsu Hao. Hsu Hao had been ordered to blow up the Earthrealm portal device so that the forces of light couldn’t come to Outworld. Mavado was sent on a mission to kill Kenshi, a mission he was successful at, his prize was a one on one fight to the death with Kano, again, which was met with success. Shang Stung, not trusting his partner, had acquired the services of Moloch and Drahmin, two oni who where betrayed by Quan Chi when he promised to free them from the Netherealm, a promise he never fulfilled. It was these two who would defeat Scorpion, who had been tracking Quan Chi and toss him into the Soulnado. Although these have little to do with the overall plot of this story, Sareena had also escaped the Netherealm, after surviving the blast that had apparently killed her in MKM: SM, she was now in the Lin Kuei temple after Sub Zero took her in. Blaze was an elemental that had been captured by the dragon King’s priest’s and made to guard the egg that was prophesised to bring the return of the Dragon King. Sektor had been building his army of cyborg’s in Japan, the Tekunin and Mokap had done… nothing. He was a motion capture artist in Johnny Cage’s films.
There was little retcons done to this story, mainly due to the fact that there wasn’t much to change, Midway went from this game and built the other two on top of the story for this. Although, there was some minor changes made. Kenshi was not killed by Mavado although he was wounded badly. Blaze was not just any elemental, but was a creation of Delia, a sorceress from Edenia, wife to the protector of that realm, Argus. Shao Kahn was not killed, it was a clone he made with his magic in order for him to keep his enemies confused and so he could recover. He would then find Goro on the battle field where Noob had struck him down and brought him back to full health. Mavado never got to do anything about the Lin Kuei, when he was told about them by Quan Chi, as Kabal, who Mavado was supposed to have ‘killed’, returned the favour.
Mortal Kombat Deception and Unchained picked up where the previous titles left off. Onaga’s essence invaded Reptiles body when he went searching for Nitara and he became the Dragon King. After the intro sequence where Raiden, Quan Chi and Shang Tsung died, Onaga begun to form his own army, consisting of Baraka, Tanya, Mileena, who had been released from the Edenian dungeons to work with Baraka in order to keep the Edenian forces confused and Hotaru, a solider from the realm of order, who sided with Onaga because his reign would bring order and peace throughout the realms. Against him was Shujinko, an old man who Onaga had been tricking for many years, Scorpion, who had survived the Soulnado to end up in the Nexus with the elder gods, who turned him into their champion. Sindel and Jade, who had Bo’ Rai Cho and Li Mei with them, Nightwolf, who had received visions from Raiden prior to this happening, Sub Zero, who had just buried his pupil, Frost when she turned on him and had apparently died from overloading her powers with his medallion. He was the one who saved Kenshi from death, so Kenshi was accompanying him. Liu Kang’s spirit visited Ermac, and asked him to help in the fight against Onaga as well as free his revived and enslaved allies from Onaga’s control. Liu Kang’s body at the same time however had been revived and begun slaughtering many back in Earthrealm. Neutral to all of this, Darrius had begun a rebellion in Seidou in order to take over. Dairou, a former guard turned assassin was under orders from Darrius to kill Hotaru. Havik, the one who healed Kabal, was leading him and two new recruits, Kobra and Kira in order to cause chaos. Noob Saibot, now known to be the original Sub Zero, had acquired an ally in the form of his younger brothers best friend, Smoke, who had been captured by Kahn and kept as a trophy. Smoke was reprogrammed to serve Noob Saibot, although in the Netherealm, he began to short circuit. Noob was being tracked by Ashrah, who wished to kill him in order to ascend out of the Netherealm. Blaze, who was now free, continued on his mission to watch over the fighters and call for the ‘two brothers’ should they become too powerful. Frost had awoken and went back to Earthrealm and begun killing off Lin Kuei members, only to be stopped by Sub Zero when he returned and frozen. Goro and Shao Kahn, who where still alive also made their way to stop Onaga. Raiden had resurfaced in Earthrealm, although, he had now changed into a vengeful god.
Because Ed Boon decided that Mortal Kombat: Armageddon was to be ‘the last’ game of this generation of fighters, John Vogel basically had to salvage what he could from the Deception storyline for continuity. One thing that was left out, was the whole deal about the One Being, who was built up to be this huge influence of the story since the beginning. Ermac’s ending in Deception stated that the influence was everywhere and was influencing Onaga, he also felt that presence when he worked for Kahn. The only mention of the One Being in Armageddon was in Kai’s ending. I actually think most of what Vogel has done to salvage the story, he has done rather well. Because of the bio’s released so far, Johnny Cage now has a purpose, Liu Kang’s resurrection has been explained, Shujinko doesn’t come across as naive anymore, Mileena isn’t so one track minded anymore and Rain now has some importance and mystery to his story. Although one could argue that they have retconned him once again. Although it was never stated that the general who he once called father was his birth father. Anyway, they have also done some not so good bio’s to. The main one that comes to mind, is Jarek. The explanation for his lack of appearance, he was learning to perform fatalities after he survived his fall. They could have done much more with him. I mean, he was just a Kano copy in MK4, but, think about this: When Kano was faced with danger, he allied with the bad guys like a coward. Whilst Jarek teamed up with his worst enemies to save Earthrealm. That takes guts to do and that, in my mind that alone sets him apart from Kano. Although he had little hope of surviving into the next generation, they could have done something meaningful with him. It just showed laziness on Vogel’s part when it came to some of the characters. Because of the lack of information about the characters storylines in Mortal Kombat Armageddon, not much can be said about the retcons to the Deception storyline. Only time will tell what everyone had done within the time passed between the two games. What had happened and what had not.
Quite a large first kolumn, wouldn’t you think? I doubt many of them will be as large as this, but, hey, that all depends on the topic I’ll be discussing, won’t it? If any of you want to bring up something that can be written in the kolumn, then please, do contact me and I’ll see if I can put it in, weather it is related the Mortal Kombat or not.