Mortal Kombat (series)

Mortal Kombat (series)

"Mortal Kombat" is a series of fighting games created by Ed Boon and John Tobias. "Mortal Kombat" began as a series of arcade games, which were picked up by Acclaim Entertainment for the home console versions. Now Midway Games exclusively creates home versions of "Mortal Kombat". It is especially noted for its digitized sprites (which differentiated it from its contemporaries' hand-drawn sprites), and its high levels of blood and gore, including, most notably, its graphic fatalities—finishing moves, requiring a sequence of buttons to perform, which, in part, led to the creation of the ESRB.

Overview

Brief history

The original "Mortal Kombat" was developed as a reaction to the popular Capcom fighting game "Street Fighter II", with digitized graphics of actors, as opposed to animated cartoon graphics. Critics said the game's graphic violence was only included in order to generate a public outcry and controversy that would gain publicity for the game (the level of violence in "Street Fighter" is considerably lower, getting an unrestricted "Teen" rating as opposed to a restricted "Mature" rating) . Although highly controversial, the mix of realism and violence propelled "Mortal Kombat" to widespread and historic renown.

Throughout the series, the game was known for its over-the-top violence which included fatalities, uppercuts that sprayed blood and launched players into the air, its theatrical special moves, as well as a tendency to replace instances of the hard c sound with the letter "K" in its written lexicon, including the title.

Legacy

Midway has created six sequels for the arcade and home systems. "Mortal Kombat 4" brought the series into 3D, replacing the digitized fighters of previous games with polygon models, while ' dropped the generic fighting style of previous games, in favor of giving each character a number of different fighting styles. This was the first "MK" game to include a "Konquest" mode, which would be developed for later titles into a story-based adventure minigame. "Deadly Alliance" was the first major installment of the fighting game series to skip arcades altogether and go directly to consoles, a symptom of the U.S. arcade market's dramatic decline. The following title in the series, ' (named "Mortal Kombat: Unchained" for the PSP) also featured several new gaming modes, such as a "Puzzle Fighter"-like puzzle game and an "Archon"-like chess game. The latest release of the series, "", attempted to wrap up the current story continuity, featured all of the characters that have appeared in the series so far, and included a new "Mario Kart"-like racing minigame called "Motor Kombat".

Finishing moves in later games included the Animality (turning into an animal to violently finish off the opponent), the Mercy (where the victor gives a little health to the opponent), the Brutality (decimating an opponent into pieces with a long combination of hits or "combo"), the Hara-Kiri (a move by the opponent to commit suicide, performed before the victor can execute a Fatality), the Friendship (offering one's opponent a token of friendship), and the Babality (transforming the opponent into a baby). The Babality and Friendship moves were created as a comical non-violent finishing move, a swipe at the U.S. Congressional Investigation for Violence in Videogames who came down harshly on the "Mortal Kombat" games. Purists, fonder of the earlier style, were upset by the introduction of such finishing moves, yet "Mortal Kombat"'s "purely explicit" and dark gameplay was once again implemented after the release of "Mortal Kombat 4".

"Mortal Kombat" also has always been a topic of controversy due to its depictions of graphic violence, and has been in the limelight in debates about the effects of video game violence.

Guinness World Records awarded the Mortal Kombat series with 7 world records in the Guinness World Records: Gamer's Edition 2008. These records include, "Most Successful Fighting Game Franchise", Biggest Fighting Game Series", and "Most Successful Video Game Spin-Off Soundtrack Album".

Palette swapping and character depth

More so than other fighting games at the time, "Mortal Kombat" was famous for re-coloring certain sprites to appear as different characters. This was most prominent with the series' various ninja/assassin characters. Many of the more popular characters were spawned from these palette swaps.

The palette-swapped characters consisted of eight male ninjas (Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Ermac, Smoke, Reptile, Noob Saibot, Rain, and Chameleon), four female ninjas (Kitana, Mileena, Jade, and Khameleon), and three cyberninjas (Sektor, Cyrax, and an automated version of Smoke), making a total of 15 repaints, or roughly one-quarter the series' total roster. However, when the series made the transition into 3D, all the ninjas were given more differentiated looks (especially Reptile, who took on a more reptilian form).

The "Mortal Kombat" characters played virtually identically to one another (with the exception of unplayable bosses and hidden characters). Whereas other fighting games had characters with considerable differences in speed, range, height, normal moves, strength of normal moves, walking speeds, jumping heights and distances, and so on; characters in "Mortal Kombat" differed mostly in their special moves and finishing moves. Essentially this led to increased importance placed on special moves, as they were the only unique part of most characters.

Compared to similar fighting games of its generation, "Mortal Kombat" had a wider variety of special moves. There were two schools of thought on this topic. Critics felt that the gameplay of "Mortal Kombat" was inferior due to having less complexity in the normal moves compared to "Street Fighter" and other series.Fact|date=July 2008 Supporters however felt that normal move complexity mostly added to the game's learning curve without adding real strategic depth, and that greater strategic depth and fun factor was created by having more radically different special moves, and thus believe that "Mortal Kombat" had better gameplay.Fact|date=July 2008 In any case, the games after "Mortal Kombat V" (aka Deadly Alliance) changed this by finally differentiating characters normal moves and even giving them multiple fighting styles. Most characters would have two unarmed fighting styles, and one weapons style. There are a few exceptions to this, such as monster-like characters like Onaga, who would have only one fighting style. Most of the fighting styles featured are based on real martial arts styles, though a few of them are not. Goro's fighting styles, for example, are designed to take advantage of the fact that he has four arms. For "Mortal Kombat: Armageddon", fighting styles were reduced to a maximum of two per character.

Easter eggs and secrets

"Mortal Kombat" included secret characters, secret games, and other Easter eggs. "Mortal Kombat 3", for example, included a hidden game of "Galaxian". Many extras in the series have only been accessible through very challenging, demanding, and sometimes coincidental requirements.

In the 1992 arcade original when fighting on The Pit stage (the bridge), the player could qualify to fight the hidden character Reptile, provided that he executed a Fatality, obtained a double flawless victory and never hit block during the winning round (due to Sonya's fatality combination including the block button, she was only allowed to face Reptile on the home ports) [ [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=loN73lqFJBk Youtube hosted video of unlocking Reptile] ] . This character was a merge between the Sub-Zero and Scorpion characters. In "Mortal Kombat II", Reptile would be developed into a full character with his own special moves and would be available from the outset. The Sega Genesis versions had some unique eggs: in "Mortal Kombat", a headshot of President of Probe Software Fergus McGovern flew in front of the moon in "Mortal Kombat"'s Pit stage, while in "Mortal Kombat II", Raiden could perform a "Fergality" by pressing Back, Back, Back, Block during a fatality on the Armory stage.

Some Easter eggs originated from private jokes between members of the "Mortal Kombat" development team. The best-known example is "Toasty", which found its way into the game in the form of a small image of sound designer Dan Forden, who would appear in the corner of the screen during gameplay (after performing an uppercut) and sing the word "Toasty!" (players could face Smoke, when this happened on the Portal stage and after pressing the joystick/directional button Down and the Start button simultaneously while the Toasty! image was on screen)." Later games included other jokes that originated in similar fashion; "Mortal Kombat 4" had characters quickly uttering unintelligible battle cries such as saying "ooh I'm gonna throw you over there" when a player performed a throw (in fact, are screams of silly words in Spanish like "play the piano") in a similar fashion to Raiden's utterances in the first two games e.g. when he did his flying lightning god he would scream "Buy yourself a Leg". Another note of interest in "Mortal Kombat 4", Forden would also appear at the bottom of the screen and sing "Toasty 3D!" referring to the fact the "Mortal Kombat 4" was the first 3D game in the series. "Toasty" is also found in "Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks" after pulling off a chain of hits and will appear randomly, but the picture of Forden will not appear. Pressing the start button during the "Toasty" will also result in the player receiving a 1000 experience points bonus. Another private joke was the hidden character Noob Saibot, who appeared in various versions of the game. The character's name derived from two of the game's creators, Ed Boon, and John Tobias.

Games in series

Main series

*"Mortal Kombat" (1992)
*"Mortal Kombat II" (1993)
*"Mortal Kombat 3" (1995)
**"Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3"
**"Mortal Kombat Advance"
**"Ultimate Mortal Kombat"
**"Mortal Kombat Trilogy"
*"Mortal Kombat 4" (1997)
**"Mortal Kombat Gold"
*"" (2002)
**""
*"" (2004)
**""
*"" (2006)
*"Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe" (2008)

Action games

*"": The first in a planned series of "MK" spinoff games featuring popular characters from the fighting games. "MKM:SZ", a platform game, focused on the original Sub-Zero and his missions just prior to the first "Mortal Kombat".
*"": An action game also set prior to the first "Mortal Kombat", featuring Jax's pursuit of Kano. Originally Sonya was to have starred as well, though she was cut after Tobias left Midway.
*"": An action game (with a versus-fighting mode as well), starring Liu Kang and Kung Lao, telling an alternate version of the events between the first and second "Mortal Kombat". Players could also control Scorpion and Sub-Zero as bonus content.

toryline

The One Being and The Elder Gods

At the beginning of time, there only existed two types of beings: The Elder Gods and the One Being. The One Being gained his power by draining that of the Elder Gods. Eventually the Elder Gods declared war on the One Being to save themselves. In the end, the Elder Gods created 6 weapons called the Kamidogu. When they used the Kamidogu,Clarifyme|date=March 2008 the One Being split into many pieces, although its consciousness survived. The Kamidogu became lost in 6 different pieces of the One Being. Eventually, these pieces became the realms, and life began to grow inside them. There were 6 main realms: Earthrealm, Netherrealm, Outworld, Orderrealm (Seido), Chaosrealm, and Edenia, each with a representative Kamidogu which held the essence of each realm. The question was then asked of how realms could be combined. The Elder Gods decreed that the denizens of one realm could only conquer another realm by defeating the defending realm's greatest warriors in ten consecutive Mortal Kombat tournaments.

The Throne of Outworld

At some unknown point in history an emperor called Onaga ruled the realm of Outworld. Onaga was the first Emperor of Outworld, uniting an otherwise divided realm. He began to conquer other realms, merging them to add that realm's power to Outworld and expand his ever-growing domain. Onaga's secret to victory was his undefeatable and seemingly invincible army. Onaga's heart gave him the ability to raise the dead, allowing him to revive his dead soldiers over and over. However, Onaga wished to live forever; using the last dragon egg, his followers formed a spell that would transfer his body into the tiny dragon inside and with it, be granted eternal life. It was at this point Shao Kahn, who had been a trusted advisor at Onaga's side, decided to strike. Onaga was poisoned, and with Onaga gone, Shao Kahn took control. However, unlike Onaga, Shao Kahn was not able to rule Outworld as a united realm.

Like Onaga before him, Kahn sought to expand his domain and his power through conquests of other realms. He attacked and conquered many smaller realms, slowly building up power over thousands of years. Eventually, he built up enough strength to take on another realm equal to Outworld's size, to gain even greater power, Edenia. To conquer Edenia, Kahn had to win the sacred tournament protecting the realm, and if he succeeded, it would allow him to merge the two realms. Despite the Edenian warriors' best efforts, Kahn eventually won and Edenia was conquered. The ruler of Edenia, King Jerrod, was murdered; Kahn took his wife Sindel as his queen and adopted their daughter Kitana as his own. However, Sindel could not bear the thought of being Kahn's queen and committed suicide.

The Armageddon Prophecy

Not long after the creation of the realms, the Edenian protector god, Argus, and his sorceress-wife, Delia, had two children: Taven and Daegon (Argus also had a third son, the half brother of Taven and Daegon, Rain). Delia frequently had visions and prophecies of the future. One of the events she predicted was the destruction of all the realms due to the warriors of Mortal Kombat growing too powerful and too numerous. The Elder Gods demanded that a safeguard be put in place in order to prevent Armageddon, and left the task to Argus and his wife. Delia predicted that the climax of battle would take place at a crater within the Edenian Ruins. For this reason, Argus had a pyramid constructed underground at this crater, while Delia created a Fire-Spawn known as Blaze. Blaze would contain the power needed to stop the Mortal Kombat warriors. While Argus wanted all of the warriors destroyed, Delia wished a more merciful approach; stripping the warriors of their powers. They decided that they would put their two children in competition, and whichever one defeated Blaze would be gifted with the power to become the new protector of Edenia. On their way to confronting Blaze, each brother would have to retrieve a sword from one of their father's temples in Earthrealm, and a suit of armor from one of their mother's temples, also in Earthrealm. One suit of armor would mean that all of the Mortal Kombat Warriors were destroyed, the other would mean that they were stripped of their power. In effect, this would be like a coin toss between Argus and Delia, to decide which outcome would be achieved. The two brothers were then asked to Argus' temple in Edenia, where they were ambushed and placed in stasis. They were both placed within mountains in Earthrealm, with a Dragon to watch over them. The Golden Dragon, Orin, watched over Taven, while the Red Dragon Caro watched over Daegon. When Blaze gave the signal, the Dragons would wake their protectee from stasis to begin the quest.

hinnok's War

The Elder Gods watched over the realms, and governed the realms with untold wisdom; but one such Elder God, known as Shinnok, gave in to greed and the illusion of false power and wanted the new realm of Earth for himself; however, the Elder Gods had appointed the young God of Thunder known as Raiden to protect Earth. The battle between Raiden and Shinnok was fierce, sending Earth to its near destruction and plunging it into centuries of darkness. Raiden discovered that Shinnok entered the realm through the power of a mystical amulet. It allowed Shinnok to weaken the borders of a realm and therefore enter the realm without challenge and keep the Elder Gods from interfering. Forced to choose between destroying the budding Saurian civilization or to give Earthrealm to Shinnok, Raiden chose the former and stripped the amulet of Shinnok's possession and with the aid of Elder Gods banished the fallen Elder God to the Netherrealm. Raiden buried the amulet deep with the mountains of Asia and created a massive temple to house the amulet and appointed four guardians to serve as the protectors of the amulet. These guardians represented an element that make up the realm: Wind (Fujin), Earth, Water, and Fire. As long as the amulet remained on Earth, Shinnok would remain trapped in the Netherrealm.

The Beginning of Mortal Kombat

A few millennia had passed, now with Edenia conquered and other realms added to Outworld, Shao Kahn turned his sights to the conquest of Earthrealm. Shao Kahn sent Shang Tsung to establish the sacred tournament as a competition between his armies and Earthrealm. Raiden rallied the best fighters of Earth into the White Lotus Society, a group established to discern a champion every 50 years to defend Earth in the tournament. The Great Kung Lao was one such warrior defeating Shang Tsung and becoming Grand Champion. Lao only kept the title for one generation before eventually falling to Shang Tsung's then-new secret weapon, a "Shokan" prince named Goro. Goro proceeded to win the following eight tournaments, giving the Outworld warriors 9 consecutive victories.

Before the events of the next Mortal Kombat tournament, Quan Chi had recruited Sub-Zero the Elder to help him retrieve the ancient amulet. Sub Zero proceeded to venture through Earthrealm, defeating the gods of Wind, Earth, Water, and Fire and obtained the amulet. Along the way, he brutally murdered a ninja by the name of Hanzo Hazashi, a man who would later be known as Scorpion. Sub-Zero then delivered the amulet to Quan Chi. Quan Chi later switched this amulet with a fake and presented it to Shinnok, keeping the real one for himself. Raiden then confronted the Lin Kuei ninja and revealed to him his mistake by giving Quan Chi the amulet. Reluctantly, Sub-Zero then proceeded to return to the Netherrealm and retrieve the (fake) amulet from Shinnok. Sub-Zero was successful and preserved the peace of all reality for the time being.

Two years later, Earth rallied some of its best fighters in order to win the tenth tournament and preserve Earthrealm's freedom. Among the established warriors were Liu Kang, Sonya Blade, and Johnny Cage. With the help of Raiden, the Earthrealm warriors were victorious and Liu Kang became the new champion of Mortal Kombat. Scorpion, who was a rival clansman of the Lin Kuei, and the same man Sub-Zero killed years before, fought Sub-Zero again. In the end, Scorpion slew Sub-Zero in retribution for the death of his family (later revealed to be at Quan Chi's hands) and his own murder.

Unable to deal with Shang Tsung's failure, Shao Kahn ordered the Tarkatan horde to raid the Wu Shi academy. The Tarkatan horde killed most of Liu Kang's fellow monks and enraged Liu Kang enough to follow them into Outworld. He was not alone; Kung Lao, Johnny Cage, and Major Jackson Briggs, who was in search of his missing subordinate Sonya Blade, accompanied him to Outworld. Though they were knowingly running into the Emperor's trap, they eventually thwarted Shao Kahn's sinister plan and rescued Sonya as well. Shao Kahn responded by resurrecting Queen Sindel on Earth and stepping across the realms to claim her, thus successfully merging it with Outworld. The Earthrealm warriors rallied once more, defeating Shao Kahn and ending his threat. He was severely wounded, but most importantly, when he was defeated, Edenia was freed from Outworld, and was returned to a whole realm.

The Deadly Alliance

Scorpion had found out of Quan Chi's involvement in the death of his family and began to pursue him throughout the Netherrealm. During his escape, Quan Chi entered a portal that sent him to ancient writings where he discovered the history of his amulet and about the Dragon King's invincible army. He managed to escape from the Netherrealm using a secret portal and approached Shang Tsung with an offer to join forces and rule the realms together. Quan Chi established a "Soulnado" in Shang Tsung's fortress with the agreement that Shang Tsung would use some of the souls to animate the army. Together, they approached Shao Kahn and attacked him, seemingly killing him in his weakened state. It was later revealed that they killed a clone, and that the real Shao Kahn had escaped. The Deadly Alliance then double-teamed and killed the only one who could possibly stop them, the Mortal Kombat Champion, Liu Kang.

Raiden once again rallied the Earthrealm soldiers to stop this impending threat. Also included in the battle were newcomers Li Mei and Nitara. Nitara's realm had been merged into Outworld against her will, whereas Li Mei was trying to free her land from The Deadly Alliance. Others joined the fight as well, including the newly reprogrammed Cyrax (now working for the U.S. Special Forces Unit with Jax and Sonya), as well as Kenshi, a warrior who had been blinded by Shang Tsung's treachery and who sought revenge, and Sub-Zero the younger brother of the original Sub-Zero and the new leader of the lin kuei. Unfortunately, these heroes were unable to stop the Deadly Alliance, as the two sorcerers overcame all foes, destroying the majority of the opposition.

The Return of the Dragon King

Imprisoned in death for centuries after his betrayal by Shao Kahn, the Dragon King secretly worked to revive his physical body. By transferring his essence into an apparition, he appeared to Shujinko, a very promising warrior who was set to be the chosen Earthrealm combatant in an upcoming Mortal Kombat tournament. Claiming to be an emissary of the Elder Gods named Damashi, he tricked Shujinko into collecting the Kamidogu from the various realms and placing them in the Nexus, a special location created between the realms to ease the travel of the Champion of the Elder Gods. After the Kamidogu had been collected, the egg he was imprisoned in hatched; the Dragon King resumed his physical form by merging with the ninja Reptile, and collected the Kamidogu from Shujinko, informing him that Shinnok's amulet (now in the hands of Quan Chi) was the key to the power of the Kamidogu.

Meanwhile, Raiden (with his allies laying defeated), faced the Deadly Alliance on his own. Despite managing to hold his own for a time, he was ultimately defeated by their combined power. With their victory in hand, Shang Tsung and Quan Chi quickly turned on each other, each looking to grab all the power for themselves. Quan Chi emerged victorious, but once again, the victory was short lived, as the Dragon King returned to Outworld. Quan Chi proceeded to try to stop him, and the quickly recovering Shang Tsung and Raiden formed an impromptu alliance against the greater threat. They were unable to defeat the Dragon King, however, as even Raiden releasing his essence and destroying everything around him had no effect on the revived former ruler of Outworld.

The Dragon King then proceeded to continue where he left off, seeking to control Outworld as well as all of the other realms. It is suggested that he is being manipulated by a power that even he doesn't understand, namely The One Being. A make shift team of heros to fight of the dragon king is formed, consisting of Sub-Zero, Kenshi, Ermac, Sindel, Jade, Bo-Ria-Cho, and Shujinku a warrior who was tricked into finding all of the Komidogue for Onaga. It's not known yet which one defeated Onaga, although it was hinted at the Fight Night interview with the MK Team in 2006 that Shujinko is the one who managed to defeat the former Outworld Emperor, yet Scorpion mentions during "Armageddon"'s Konquest mode that despite performing a task for the Elder Gods (presumably eliminating Onaga, as no other tasks from the Elder Gods were ever mentioned), their end of the deal was not fulfilled.

Armageddon

During the Dragon King's conquest, the beginning of Armageddon, previously predicted by Delia, began. Daegon however, had mistakenly been awakened centuries early, as Caro mistook the loss of Blaze's contact (possibly when he was kidnapped in order to watch over the Dragon King's eggs) as the signal to begin the race.

Daegon discovered what the aim of the quest was, and became obsessed with the power which would be granted to him. He set up the Red Dragon clan (to represent the Red Dragon that awoke him) and enslaved Caro in order to use him to create portals.

The Red Dragon's primary aim was to find Blaze and to assassinate Taven, although they were also a powerful crime organization. When Taven was finally awoken at the correct time, during Onaga's return, he was constantly attacked by Red Dragon warriors. Eventually, Taven made his way to his father's temple, only to find the weapon that was meant to be there had been stolen. As he finally made his way to his mother's temple, which was now occupied by the Lin Kuei, he managed to find the suit of armour that had been placed for him. During this time, Shinnok & Daegon had Quan Chi assemble other warlords of Darkness, including Shao Kahn, Onaga and Shang Tsung. Quan Chi had learned from Shinnok about the power that Blaze contained, and the power that would be passed as a gift to the one who defeated him and after learning this, had killed Orin, Taven's protector Dragon. The forces of evil united in order to claim this power, whilst the forces of good united in order to either stop evil, or claim the power for themselves for their own ends. Shinnok however sent a clone of himself to aid Daegon in defeating Blaze, so that once Blaze is defeated by Daegon, there would be no one to oppose his accession from the Netherrealm.

The battle came to a head in the crater within the Edenian ruins, just as Delia had predicted. As Taven made his way to these ruins, he encountered Blaze who revealed the true nature of this quest: to either use the power to destroy all of the Mortal Kombat warriors, or simply strip them of their power. Daegon revealed that it was he who had killed their parents, with the very weapons that they had intended be used to fight their way to Blaze (as it became apparent that Daegon was the one who had stolen Taven's sword). However, once defeating Blaze in Arcade mode with Daegon, it is shown that Argus and Delia had not been killed, and their "death" was simply a test, and Taven was to become protector of Edenia, and Daegon being punished. Taven and Daegon fought, with Taven emerging the victor. As this happened, the warriors clashing within the crater were suddenly stopped as the huge pyramid placed by Argus millennia earlier rose from the ground, with Blaze, now empowered and huge in size, waiting at the top. The warriors began to make their way to the top, fighting amongst themselves and turning on one another in order to claim this prize. With Daegon defeated, Taven took his sword and made his way into the crater himself, in order to defeat Blaze as he was destined to.

Tournament

Concept

The Mortal Kombat tournament was originally thought to be a solely human conception, until later retcons revealed it to be universal among the series' featured Realms, created by the Elder Gods as a way for other realms to defend themselves against Outworld after it grew too powerful.

A realm may declare Mortal Kombat on another realm if they wish to invade it and conquer it. Once one party declares Mortal Kombat, the other party may not refuse. A tournament ensues, where the combatants will be knocked out until the reigning champion does battle with the challenger. Once defeated, a single Tournament victory is added for the realm. Once that realm earns ten Tournament victories in a row, they earn the right to invade the losing realm. This is the only 'legal' way for a realm to invade another, and any violation of this rule is seen as treason against the Elder Gods. The reigning champion will have their aging suspended by the Elder Gods until the next tournament.

Notable tournaments

*1000-500 years before "Mortal Kombat": The first known Mortal Kombat tournament, created when sorcerer Shang Tsung, under orders by Outworld emperor Shao Kahn, took control of an Earthrealm Shaolin tournament in a bid to upset the furies and invade Earth. In the tenth tournament, Shang Tsung was defeated by Great Kung Lao.
*500-0 years before "Mortal Kombat": The Great Kung Lao held his position as Grand Champion for only one generation, after which his title - and his life - was taken by Shang Tsung's newest warrior, Goro, who held the title for another eight victories.
*"Mortal Kombat": Liu Kang, defeats Goro, thus breaking his winning streak and preventing Outworld's invasion of Earth. Shang Tsung challenges Liu Kang to a battle but is defeated while trying to salvage something from his champion's loss. As such, he is forced to relinquish his hold on the tournament and flee back to Outworld.
*"Mortal Kombat II": A false tournament proposed by Shang Tsung to Shao Kahn, to lure Earth's warriors to Outworld by kidnapping Sonya, where Kahn's forces would have a distinct advantage. It also posed as a distraction away from Kahn's revival of his wife, Queen Sindel on Earth, which would force a merger of the realms regardless of the false tournament's outcome. Liu Kang gains victory. After this, no official Mortal Kombat tournament is held, with all future storylines following all-out war between the realms.
*"": Although the main storyline doesn't involve a tournament for the main characters, at this time, there was a tournament going on; one set up by Shang Tsung and his partner, the necromancer Quan Chi to give the Outworld native Li Mei a chance to free her people, who were currently enslaved by the two sorcerers in order to build a temple over a Soulnado, a means of which they could achieve their goals of ultimate power and immortality. This tournament has not been expressly stated as a Mortal Kombat tournament, and it is highly debatable among fans whether or not it can be called such, but regardless, it was as fake as the one set up in MK2, with the sorcerers having no intention of keeping their word, regardless of the outcome.

Mortal Kombat in other media

Movies and television

"Mortal Kombat" was adapted into two major motion pictures, "Mortal Kombat" (1995), and ' (1997). Neither film was screened for critics prior to theatrical release, receiving poor critical receptions at the time they were released. However, the first movie was a financial success, eventually grossing $70 million in the U.S. (and over $125 million worldwide) while jumpstarting the Hollywood careers of Paul W. S. Anderson and Robin Shou, among others. That momentum did not carry over into "Annihilation", however, which received a colder reception from critics and fans alike, and took in only $30 million in the U.S. A third film, ', is currently in the development stage with a tentative release date of 2010.

The franchise also sparked two TV series, the 1996 animated series ' and the 1998-1999 live-action '. Neither series ran for more than one season (despite the popularity of "Conquest"). In 1995, an animated prequel to the first movie, titled "", was released straight to home video. Coinciding with the popularity of TV media, the was launched at the end of 1995. The tour expanded to 1996 featuring MK characters in a theatrical display on stage.

Other merchandise

There have been several graphic novels based on "Mortal Kombat". There were official "MK" and "MKII" comic books, the latter of which was written by Tobias. Both were advertised in the attract modes on early versions of the first two "MK" games. Meanwhile, in 1994, Malibu Comics launched an official "MK" comic book series, spawning two six-issue series ("Blood and Thunder" and "Battlewave"), along with several miniseries, and one-shot character issues, until production ended in August 1995.

Brady Games also produced a trading card game based on "Mortal Kombat" called "Mortal Kombat Kard Game" in 1996.

Jeff Rovin penned a non-canon "Mortal Kombat" novel, which was published in June 1995 in order to coincide with the release of the movie.

An official based on the first game was created by the Immortals in 1994. It featured two themes for the game, Techno Syndrome and Hypnotic House. Techno Syndrome was adapted for the 1995 movie soundtrack, and incorporated the familiar "Mortal Kombat" yell first shown in the MK1 commercial for home systems. [http://immortals.pragakhan.com/biography.html] Each movie to follow would also have their own soundtracks.

Contributing cultural material

The "Mortal Kombat" mythology borrows heavily from multiple sources, primarily Asian cultures, particularly Chinese and Japanese religions, languages and martial arts, while also bearing close resemblance to Norse myths.

Organizations

*The White Lotus Society to which Liu Kang belonged may have been named after the secret White Lotus Society which existed in China during the Yuan Dynasty and Ming Dynasty. A white lotus is traditionally symbolic of death as well as purity. This is also seen as a Buddhist society. Members include Liu Kang, Kung Lao, and Kai.
*The Lin Kuei assassins' clan that Sub-Zero hails from is based on the "Lin Kuei", a secretive Chinese cult that was known for its espionage, thievery, and living in the wildernesses of China. They were called "Lin Kuei" or "forest demons" because they lived in the forests and were known to terrorize nearby villages in order to steal goods and items for the benefits of their clan. It was said that they were one of the causes that helped develop the art of "Ninjutsu" in Japan. Some of the elements may have been used in Takeda's departure from the Lin Kuei to set up his own ninja clan in Japan, the Shirai Ryu. Also, The Lin Kuei are commonly thought as a ninja clan, something impossible, since the Lin Kuei are Chinese, as said on , by himself: "I am not a ninja. I am Lin Kuei! Scorpion was a ninja." Members include Tremor (former member currently aligned with Black Dragon), both Sub-Zeros, Smoke, Cyrax, Sektor, and (possibly at one time according to his UMK3 Bio) Rain.
*The Wu Shi Academy follows Theravada Buddhism.
*The Black Dragon clan may be based loosely on the historical Black Dragon Society. Members include Kano, Jarek, Kira, Kabal, Tremor, No Face, Tasia, and Kobra.
*The Red Dragon clan is very well known rivals with the Black Dragon. Members include Mavado, Hsu Hao, and Daegon.

Concepts

*The Elder Gods are taken from the concept of Buddhist Elder Gods headed by the Jade Emperor who watch over the Universe. Even the places attributed to the Elder Gods looks like those in Chinese Mythology.
*The Netherealm, which Shinnok (loosely based on Yan Wang) rules resembles Di Yu or the Chinese picture of Hell. The prison cells almost resemble Di Yu's level where the prisoners are shredded to pieces as the Chamber of Grinding. Such a stage can also be seen in The Slaughterhouse in "Mortal Kombat: Deception". Shinnok's Spire is somewhat like the chambers of Hell.
*The Orderrealm and Chaosrealm resemble the Yin and Yang of Taoism. The Orderrealm is similar to the Heavenly Courts in Chinese Mythology, responsible for enforcing order.
*The concept of the One Being comes from Pangu, one who the Elder Gods led by the Jade Emperor to form all of reality and form the seven artifacts of Buddhism.

"Mortal Kombat" crossovers

*The upcoming "Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe" will feature "Mortal Kombat" characters along with characters from the DC Comics universe. It is not considered canon.Fact|date=October 2008
*Raiden had a cameo appearance in a pinball machine, Midway's "World Cup Soccer", in a bonus round.
*Shooting the "Damsel Ramp" in Midway's "Medieval Madness" continuously will result in a random "Toasty" or "Finish Him!" quote.
*Winning the video mode in the Bally pinball "Creature from the Black Lagoon" results in a bloody animation and "Fatality".
*Raiden, Reptile, Scorpion and Sub-Zero appeared as playable characters in early versions of the arcade game "NBA Jam TE" and its Sega Saturn conversion. [http://www.vm68.com/mkromhacks/nba_mk.html]
*Raiden and Shinnok appeared as unlockable characters in the original "NFL Blitz" game.
*Raiden appeared as an unlockable character in "" (which coincidentally also included a fatality system similar to "MK"'s). Shao Kahn's voice is also an alternate to the default announcer.
*Sub-Zero and Scorpion both appear as secret characters in "MLB Slugfest 20-04".
*Scorpion can be unlocked as a skin for the main character of the Midway game "Psi Ops".
*Scorpion, Noob Saibot and Sub-Zero can be unlocked in the third-person arcade shooter "The Grid". [http://imdb.com/title/tt0443523/trivia]
*In "", in the Training Academy stage, characters such as Sub-Zero, Raiden and Liu Kang in the background watch streetball with the crowd.
*The "Mortal Kombat" characters are also featured in the trading card game "Epic Battles" which pits them against characters from other fighting game series.

In popular culture

*Scorpion made an appearance in the Comedy Central animated series "Drawn Together".
*The TV show "ReBoot" had a small parody of "Mortal Kombat", including dressing the character Enzo as Scorpion.
*Mortal Kombat characters have appeared in numerous episodes of television shows, including "Drawn Together", "ReBoot", "Robot Chicken", "South Park". Fact|date=July 2008
*In "", comedian Dane Cook referenced the game in a bit about a one night stand. He shouts, "Finish him! Scorpion wins!"
*In the video game "Peggle", executing a certain combonation causes Jimmy Lightning to appear from the side of the screen, proclaiming "toasty!"
*In the TV show "Robot Chicken"
*In Lil Wayne's "Show Me What You Got" Remix, a few characters, Sub-Zero, Liu Kang, and Scorpion, are mentioned

Inspiration from popular culture

In addition to being referenced in many forms of popular culture, Mortal Kombat itself derives inspiration from many elements of popular culture. Many of the sources of inspiration share a commonality, in that Arnold Schwarzenegger films, Jean-Claude Van Damme films and John Carpenter's 1986 cult film Big Trouble in Little China seem to have a tremendous bearing on the game's original inspiration. The following list is only a select few examples:

*The character name Sub-Zero was inspired in part by a character of the same name in 1987's The Running Man, a popular Arnold Schwarzenegger film. In the film, Sub-Zero was a "Stalker" that dwelled within an icy environment similar to a hockey rink, filled with deadly traps. The character himself was not garbed as a ninja, but was a rather portly fellow in hockey gear sporting a serrated blade-edge hockey stick. The character was played by Professor Toru Tanaka.

*The character Johnny Cage was inspired largely by Jean-Claude Van Damme's character in the film Bloodsport. He not only shared many of Frank Dux's martial arts techniques (including the "nut-punch"), he also wore almost identical clothing. The Mortal Kombat tournament itself is largely inspired by the Kumite, which was a secret tournament that only the greatest of martial artists were invited to.

*Ed Boon stated in a 1995 issue of popular video game magazine Gamepro that the visual design behind Mortal Kombat 3 newcomers Cyrax, Sektor and the robot form of Smoke were largely inspired by the Predator and Boba Fett. They even shared similar techniques, as Cyrax has a self-destruct Fatality which is activated by a wrist-computer like the Predator and Sektor had a wrist-mounted flamethrower like Boba Fett.

*Kabal is largely inspired by Star Wars character Darth Vader with his similar breathing apparatus keeping him alive and horrific facial disfigurements. He also shares similarities to Tusken Raiders in the design of his mask. Additionally, early concept art of Luke Skywalker featured the young Jedi in a mask that connects to belt-mounted cannisters used as a breathing apparatus via a tube, very similar to the design on Kabal's mask.

*Scorpion's fire-breathing fatality features the ninja removing his mask to reveal a skull underneath. The flaming skull concept is somewhat inspired by Marvel Comics character Ghost Rider.

*Shang Tsung's design in the first Mortal Kombat game was largely influenced by the character Lo Pan from the 1986 film Big Trouble in Little China. Lo Pan's mortal form was that of a decrepit old man who looked to be hundreds of years old. Shang Tsung bore a similar look due to his premature aging at the hands of Shao Kahn, a punishment for failing to conquer Earthrealm through the Mortal Kombat tournament. Subsequently, as Shang Tsung's youth was restored in later games he bore a distinct resemblance to the youthful ethereal form of Lo Pan.

*Characters Raiden and Fujin are actual gods in Japanese mythology. Much like Shang Tsung, their designs were based largely on characters featured in Big Trouble in Little China. Two of Lo Pan's deadly warriors were similar in look and/or powers, such as manipulation of lightning or moving like the wind.

*Kano's glowing red eye is a nod toward Arnold Schwarzenegger film The Terminator.

*Liu Kang is inspired by martial arts legend Bruce Lee in all aspects of his design, including his "whooping" sounds, his outfits and use of Jeet Kune Do, or as it was originaly called, Jun Fan (this was also Bruce Lee's birthname). In an interview published in the May 1994 issue of GamePro, John Tobias stated that Liu Kang was originally intended to be a traditional bald monk, and that he wished for Richard Divizio, the actor who played Kano in the series, to shave his head and portray Liu Kang. Later, Divizio did shave his head for the roles of Kano and Quan Chi.

*The implied friendly rivalry between Liu Kang and Johnny Cage may be an acknowledgement of the on-screen rivalry between Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris. The two had a legendary battle in the 1972 film "Meng Long Guo Jiang" or Return of the Dragon as it is known in the U.S.A.

ee also

*List of "Mortal Kombat" characters
*Minor "Mortal Kombat" characters

References

External links

* [http://www.midway.com/ Midway Games Inc.]
* [http://www.gamespot.com/gamespot/features/video/hist_mortalk/index.html GameSpot's History of Mortal Kombat]

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