With just over double the amount of votes as Raiden, Liu Kang easily takes the bronze… I mean 3rd place. Liu Kang desired to defeat Shang Tsung and bring the tournament back to its Shaolin owners. As he made his way to the tournament, he met and became friends with Johnny Cage and Sonya Blade. Liu Kang defeated Goro, only for Shang Tsung challenged him. Liu Kang then defeated Shang Tsung and crowned the new champion of Mortal Kombat. We didn’t see that coming… Coming home from Tsung’s Island, he found many of his Shaolin killed in a vicious attack by a Tarkatan horde. Enraged, Liu Kang decided to travel to Outworld with Kung Lao, Raiden and other allies. At the tournament, he and Kung Lao met Kitana, and Liu Kang began to fall in love with her. Liu Kang fought Shao Kahn, eventually overpowering the emperor. Kahn ordered his forces to destroy the earth fighters after his defeat, forcing Earth’s heroes to return home.
After returning to Earthrealm, Liu Kang, along with Kung Lao, began training a new generation of Shaolin Warriors, but was interrupted when Kahn invaded Earthrealm. As Kahn’s extermination squads were sent to kill Earth’s chosen warriors, Liu Kang found himself the primary target. Liu Kang challenged the Emperor to Mortal Kombat and defeated Shao Kahn again, causing him and his forces to retreat back to Outworld. The souls that Khan had trapped were set free and just before the portal closed, Liu Kang was thanked by Kitana for his part in saving both Earth and her realm from Shao Kahn. Liu Kang then traveled to America to look for a new generation of Shaolin warriors to train, While there, he met his old friend Kai. The two then traveled back to China, where Liu Kang trained Kai to be a Shaolin Warrior. However, the peace was not to last, as Shinnok had escaped from the Netherealm. Liu Kang began gathering Earth’s warriors to save Earth and assist his mentor, Raiden. Eventually, Liu Kang confronted the fallen Elder God Shinnok and once again emerged victorious. Kitana appeared through a portal from Edenia and thanked Liu Kang for all he had done. She offered him a chance to join her at the throne of Edenia. However, due to the responsibilities as a Mortal Kombat Champion, Liu Kang was forced to decline her offer.
For some years, Liu Kang went on to enjoy relative peace. However, the Deadly Alliance would make itself known on Earth by its successful assassination of Liu Kang… damn, maybe he should have taken up the offer to play hooky with Kitana… Liu Kang’s mutilated body was discovered by his friend Kung Lao, and he was laid to rest at the Wu Shi Academy, where a shrine was built to honor him. However, Raiden revived Liu Kang’s corpse to do his bidding, the reanimated Liu Kang then went and slaughtered many Shaolin monks. Liu Kang’s spirit decided to stay in Outworld to assist in the war against Onaga, but he soon discovered his body’s resurrection and was stricken by what he had done. Although Liu Kang wasn’t responsible, he couldn’t help but feel guilty for the actions committed by his corporeal form. He also learned about his comrades and how they had been enslaved by Onaga. From there, Liu Kang enlisted Ermac as an ally and had two missions to complete. The first was to try and save his friends from Onaga with Ermac, the second to defeat and stop his body from doing further harm. Thanks to Ermac, he accomplishes his first task in saving his friends but was unable to reunite his body and soul.
Liu Kang is one of those characters who is a bit ambiguous when it comes to his return. Although he does have many fans, he also has many who dislike him as well and unless they go with the obvious ‘reuniting of body and soul’ thing, Liu Kang will probably remain dead. Even if they do bring him back, he is going to need one hell of an overhaul in his story if he is going to get away from the staleness of his previous storylines.
The Chinese Shaolin fighting monk comes in at number 3. Throughout the series, he’s been portrayed as the main hero. Basically, he’s Mortal Kombat’s version of Luke Skywalker and for good measure. Unfortunately, he was brutally murdered by Shang Tsung in Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance which Luke Skywalker never had the chance to experience. But his zombie form returned in the following installments.
I’m a bit in-between with ol’ turkey gobbler. Sure he’s got the cred with a couple of Tournament wins, but for mine, he’s just a bit….boring. I mean, he’s remained largely the same. I think the designers realized this around Deadly Alliance and promptly killed him off. Gutsy move considering it was the first truly 3D MK. (And no, MK4 doesn’t really count.) But at the same time, why mess with a classic that works? High and Low Fireballs, a Bike Kick and the Tournament winning Flying Kick. Even after his death he didn’t gain any more moves, however his story obviously took on a new twist. In much the same way as Ryu is to Street Fighter, so is Liu Kang to MK – it just wouldn’t be the same without him.
Was anyone as sad as me when Liu was killed off from the series briefly in the opening of MK: Deadly Alliance? I gotta say, Liu Kang is by far one of the most fun characters to play as. As Boon once said, “he’s the kind of character even your mom could pick up the controller and play as”. Indeed that’s true as he was indented to be designed that way in the first place. I’m sure most of us can agree his first Fatality was rather weak and lame but I’ll never forget how bad ass his MKII Dragon Fatality was the first time I saw it! One of the best classic Fatalities of all time in my opinion.