Sub-Zero (Mortal Kombat)

Sub-Zero (Mortal Kombat)

:"Sub-Zero is the name of two characters from the "Mortal Kombat" series. This article covers the younger character. For the older character, see Noob Saibot."General CVG character
name= Sub-Zero

Img_capt= Sub-Zero as seen in Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe
series="Mortal Kombat" series
firstgame="Mortal Kombat II" (1993)
voiceactor = Luke Perry ("")
liveactor=Daniel Pesina ("MKII")
John Turk ("MK3", "UMK3", "MKT")
François Petit (first film) Keith Cooke (second film)
Ryan Watson (')
J.J. Perry (

inuniverse=Mortal Kombat character
origin = Earthrealm
race = Cryomancer-Human Hybrid
weapons = Ice Scepter ("MK4", "MKG")
Kori Blade ("MK:DA", "MK:D", "MK:A")
fighting-styles = Shotokan ("MK:DA", "MK:D", "MK:A")
Dragon ("MK:DA", "MK:D")
alignment = Good

Sub-Zero is a fictional character in the "Mortal Kombat" fighting game series.

About Sub-Zero

There are two Sub-Zeros, both of whom are blue-garbed Earthrealm-born warriors that descended from Cryomancers, an Outworld race possessing the ability to control the powers of ice. The elder Sub-Zero appeared in the first "Mortal Kombat"; after being killed by Scorpion, his younger brother replaced him for the rest of the series. The elder later became the undead Netherealm wraith, Noob Saibot.

While the younger Sub-Zero was depicted as a young Lin Kuei warrior who was living in the shadow of his older brother, he has since changed and grown into a warrior who has progressed towards the more humane sides of moral issues. This change in characteristics set him apart from his former Lin Kuei counterparts, which resulted in his departing the clan in disgust ( thus breaking the sacred codes of honor) and joining his fellow Earthrealm warriors in the rebellion against Shao Kahn. He defeated the cyborg assassin Sektor to become Grandmaster of the Lin Kuei, where he has grown even stronger and more powerful.


Pre-"Mortal Kombat"

The two Sub-Zeros are sons of an American mother and a Chinese father; the latter was a secret operative for the Lin Kuei in the United States. Against the will of their mother, he moved back to China with his sons at a certain time, and as such both brothers followed in their father's footsteps and joined the clan. His wife and daughter remained in the U.S.

"Mortal Kombat II"

Following his brother's failure to assassinate Shang Tsung during the first tournament (and his eventual death therein at the hands of Scorpion), the younger Sub-Zero was sent to Outworld to complete the assignment after "Mortal Kombat II" was announced. Sub-Zero soon discovered Scorpion's foul vendetta against his brother; Scorpion, aghast upon learning of Sub-Zero's apparent survival, continued to hold a grudge against the new Sub-Zero, as he believed him to be the same man who had killed him years ago. However, his belief was dispelled when he witnessed Sub-Zero spare the life of a defeated opponent during the tournament. Scorpion then came to the realization that this new Sub-Zero was the younger brother of his murderer, and, unbeknownst to Sub-Zero, swore not to harm him. Though his own attempt to dispatch Shang Tsung was fruitless, he successfully assisted Liu Kang, Raiden, and their allies in Liu Kang's battle with Kahn.

"Mortal Kombat 3"

In the events leading up to "Mortal Kombat 3", the Lin Kuei obtained technology that could vastly improve the effectiveness of their warriors, and they chose four of their number to undergo the procedure that would turn them into cyborg assassins: Sub-Zero, Smoke, Cyrax, and Sektor. Sub-Zero and Smoke refused to participate, and fled the clan, who declared them anathema. While Sub-Zero successfully managed to escape, Smoke was captured and subsequently turned into a cyborg. In leaving the clan, Sub-Zero had broken the Lin Kuei codes of honor. After Smoke's automation, the Lin Kuei programmed the three cyborg assassins to hunt and terminate Sub-Zero, who by this time had received a vision from Raiden and agreed to join the rebellion against a new threat.

The armies of Shao Kahn attacked Earthrealm, and Sub-Zero was among the few mortals whose souls were spared so they could fight Kahn and his extermination squads in "Mortal Kombat 3". These events also signaled the beginning of Sub-Zero's transition to a greater moral consciousness. Sub-Zero eventually encountered Smoke and convinced him that he still had a soul, which then overrode Smoke's Lin Kuei programming. With his new ally, Sub-Zero battled and defeated both Sektor and Cyrax. However, instead of destroying Cyrax's CPU, he reprogrammed the cyborg to hunt and terminate Shao Khan (at which Cyrax failed — he would wander in Jade's desert and become trapped there). Smoke was less fortunate: he was captured by Shao Kahn's troops and transported to Outworld as a curiosium. Eventually, the Earthrealm warriors were victorious and Earth was restored to its normal state.

"Mortal Kombat 4"

When the banished Elder God Shinnok threatened Earthrealm in "Mortal Kombat 4", Raiden once again summoned Sub-Zero to assist in the defense of Earth. In homage to his older brother, Sub-Zero donned his sibling's uniform, and brought to the battle information passed to him which could prove essential to Raiden in his mission to stop Shinnok. In the meantime, Quan Chi had convinced Scorpion that Sub-Zero still retained some culpability for the destruction of the Shirai Ryu, turning the specter's hostile attentions to him once more. Sub-Zero met Scorpion in Goro's Lair and the two fought, with Scorpion gaining the upper hand. When it seemed that Scorpion was going to kill Sub-Zero, the Lin Kuei revealed that he had no role in the murder of Scorpion's clan. Quan Chi, convinced that Sub-Zero was about to die nonetheless, readily admitted his guilt to Scorpion, who then turned on Quan Chi and transported the sorcerer into the Netherrealm, where Scorpion hunted Quan Chi unceasingly. This was to be the last time Scorpion and Sub-Zero were to actively oppose each other.

Some time afterward, the defeated cyborg Sektor assassinated the Grandmaster of the Lin Kuei and challenged Sub-Zero to a fight for the leadership of the Lin Kuei Clan. Realizing how great an opportunity this was, as well as recognizing Sektor as a threat, Sub-Zero accepted the cyborg's challenge and defeated him, gaining the position. Sub-Zero also came into possession of the Dragon Medallion, which enhanced his freezing powers to levels he had never thought possible (as a side effect, it appears, it also changed his appearance). Great changes were made to the Lin Kuei after Sub-Zero's victory. He moved the Lin Kuei to a remote area in the arctic where they would not be disrupted and began training them as a force for good, teaching his students not only formidable fighting skills, but the value of life as well, turning them into wizened warriors rather than mindless assassins.

"Deadly Alliance"

Sub-Zero held a tournament at the Lin Kuei headquarters in order to recruit strong warriors, and a female who surprisingly harnessed the same freezing powers as Sub-Zero emerged as the winner. Impressed by her exceptional skill, Sub-Zero made Frost his apprentice, breaking Lin Kuei tradition. While she was a superb fighter, Frost did not agree with Sub-Zero's philosophies and appeared arrogant and aloof, which would generate some friction between her and Sub-Zero's allies, specifically Sonya.

After Liu Kang's murder at the hands of the newly formed Deadly Alliance, Raiden asked Sub-Zero to join him to fight for Earthrealm's survival. Surprised at the tragic news, Sub-Zero agreed, but mainly for personal reasons — he wanted to gain the respect of his fellow Lin Kuei and prove his worth once again to his clan and to most importantly, himself.

When Sub-Zero and Frost were separated from the other Earthrealm warriors on Outworld, Frost attempted to steal the Dragon Medallion. Unable to control the medallion's powerful energies, she was consumed by her own freezing abilities and seemingly died. Sub-Zero placed the blame squarely on his own shoulders for her death, feeling he had failed to dampen her pride and teach her the same philosophies of life he had.

As he searched for a place to bury Frost, he encountered the ruins of an Outworld civilization capable of manipulating cold. After careful study and examination of this race, the Cryomancers, he came to the realization that he and Frost were descendants of this race. Burying her and forgiving her for her rashness, Sub-Zero donned an ancient suit of armor found in the ruins and headed for the Earthrealm portal, to rendezvous with Raiden and the Earthrealm forces.


Sub-Zero's Deception ending portrays him being ambushed by Tarkatans in the living forest. Unlike the other characters, whose true fate in Deception is unknown, it seems this ending almost certainly occurred, since Hotaru's bio states he began tracking Sub-Zero after he had "slain many Tarkata" while Baraka's ending states that he learned of Sub-Zero passing nearby, and left his armies to deal with the Lin Kuei while Baraka confronted Mileena. This conclusion is also echoed in Kenshi's bio, whom Sub-Zero meets on his journey to the rendezvous point.

As Shujinko rallied Earth's remaining warriors to defeat the new threat in Onaga, Sub-Zero once again ventured back into the Outworld where he soon ran into Sareena. Since she helped free his brother from his confines of the Netherrealm and also helped defeat Quan Chi with him so many years ago, Sub-Zero offered her asylum within the Lin Kuei. Sub-Zero gave Sareena a small metallic object that would guide her and grant her access to the hidden Lin Kuei temple. The two then spotted two dark figures leaving Shao Kahn’s fortress. It was Sub-Zero’s brother, Noob Saibot, and his ally Smoke. The two disappeared into the Netherealm. Sub-Zero ordered Sareena to wait for him at the Lin Kuei Temple as he ventured after the two. However, Noob and Smoke knew they were being followed and attacked Sub-Zero in the Netherealm. It appeared the Grandmaster was overpowered and doomed until Sareena jumped in, fending off Sub-Zero’s would-be assassins but not before Sub-Zero was left unconscious, but upon waking, Sareena had reverted back to her demonic form. Dazed and still very confused, Sub-Zero attacked and Sareena fled to the depths of the Netherealm.

"" also revealed that upon returning to the Lin Kuei temple in Earthrealm, Sub-Zero discovers many of his fellow Lin Kuei slain by Frost. She had come to the temple with the intention of killing only Sub-Zero, but she had become delusional to the point of seeing Sub-Zero everywhere. Sub-Zero then froze the highly unstable Frost in a solid block of ice and placed her frozen body in a shrine deep in the temple, with the knowledge that she will one day recover, and on that day will have to answer for her crimes against the Lin Kuei.


Sub-Zero appears in ""'s Konquest mode, challenging Taven to a fight, after the latter invades the Lin Kuei Palace. Before the outcome of the battle could be decided, Sub-Zero takes notice of the dragon tattoo he had on his face, commenting that it was similar to the one on the vault door containing the armor Taven's mother left for him. Taven acquires the armor and the Lin Kuei Palace is invaded once again, this time by Noob Saibot and Smoke who turn the Lin Kuei warriors into cyborg demons. Sub-Zero asks Taven to choose sides and Taven helps defeat the demons. Taven then defeats Smoke and eventually, Noob Saibot, who had attacked Sub-Zero. Sub-Zero shows his thanks by revealing to him the location of the stronghold to the Red Dragon Clan. Sub-Zero then attempts to cleanse his brother's soul. It is unknown as to whether he is successful.

In Sub-Zero's "Armageddon" ending, after the defeat of Blaze, he attains godlike power. Combined with his power from the Dragon Medallion, Sub-Zero became so all powerful that he became an Ice God. This however, was without the consent of the Elder Gods, who responded by sending their champions to destroy him. It is unknown as to whether they were successful or not in killing Sub-Zero. [ Sub-Zero's "Armageddon" info] at [ Mortal Kombat Warehouse] ]

Combat characteristics

ignature moves

* Iceball: Sub-Zero sends a ball of ice horizontally towards the opponent to temporarily freeze them in place for a free hit. ("MK1", "MK2", "MK3", "MKT", "MKG", "MK:DA", "MK:D", "MK:U", " MK:SM", "MK:A")
* Slide: Sub-Zero slides across the floor, knocking the opponent off their feet. It is assumed Sub-Zero slides by freezing the soles of his feet. This move was later given to Frost. ("MKII", "MK3", "UMK3", "MKT", "MK4", "MKG", "MK:SM")
* Ground Ice: Sub-Zero freezes the floor and whoever steps on the circle of ice will temporarily slip all over the place, setting the opponent for a free hit. This move was also later adapted for Frost. ("MKII", "MK:SM")
* Ice Clone: Sub-Zero jumps backward creating an ice statue of himself. If the enemy touches it, they will be frozen for a free hit. The Ice Clone can also be used to dodge an enemy attack, by putting space between Sub-Zero and the opponent.("MK3", "UMK3", "MKT", "MK4", "MKG", "MK:D", "MK:U", "MK:A")
* Ice Shower/Pillar: Sub-Zero shoots ice straight overhead which falls back down atop his opponent. He can shoot it close, mid way, or far away to freeze the opponent. In "Armageddon", instead of falling on the opponent, the ice comes up under them, freezing and suspending them in the air. ("MK3", "UMK3", "MKT", "MK:A")
* Cold Shoulder: Sub-Zero slides forward on a sheet of ice, knocking the opponent down with a low shoulder strike. ("MK:DA", "MK:D", "MK:U", "MK:A")


* Spine Rip: Sub-Zero punches into an opponent's neck, and tears out their spine and skull. In "Deadly Alliance", Sub-Zero rips the whole skeleton out of his opponent's body, pulling it from the spine. In "Shaolin Monks," he grabs his opponent in a choke hold, freezes them and rips it out. ("MK4", "MKG", "MK:DA", "MK:SM")
* Deep Freeze Uppercut: Sub-Zero deep-freezes his opponent, then uppercuts their upper body, shattering it in the process. There are two different input sequences of the fatality that had to be performed sequentially in order to achieve it; failing the second sequence would result in a frozen opponent, but no fatality. A form of this fatality actually first appeared in the censored Super NES version of the first "Mortal Kombat" game, replacing the Head Rip. In the SNES version, Sub-Zero hits his frozen opponent with a backfist instead of an uppercut. This was also incorporated as a standard special attack in "Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero". ("MKII", "MK4", "MKG")
* Snowball: Sub-Zero forms a kamikaze snowball and throws it to the opponent, exploding his enemy from within. In "Shaolin Monks" he freezes his opponent first. This was also used as an attack in "Shaolin Monks" as an upgrade to his Slide special move. Instead of exploding the enemy, it just knocked them back a fair distance. ("MKII", "MK:SM")

In other media


Sub-Zero briefly appeared in "", and was portrayed by Keith Cooke, who had played Reptile in the first movie. After rescuing Liu Kang and Kitana from Smoke, Sub-Zero has an inconclusive fight with Scorpion, who kidnaps Kitana and escapes.


Sub-Zero was one of the leading characters in the 1996 animated series "", and was voiced by Luke Perry.

An ancestor of Sub-Zero featured in several episodes of "", and was played by J.J. Perry. He was a Lin Kuei assassin hired by Shang Tsung to defeat Kung Lao and retrieve a magic crystal from his home, which had the ability to transport its keeper to other dimensions. Sub-Zero's rivalry with Scorpion was also featured, in which Scorpion murdered Sub-Zero's sister and Sub-Zero killed Scorpion's lover in retaliation. The two fought to a draw and Scorpion escaped when Kung Lao and his friends came to Sub-Zero's aid. Sub-Zero was subsequently berated by the Lin Kuei for his weakness, resulting in him killing the Grandmaster.

Comic books

The "MK3" version of Sub-Zero made a cameo appearance in the epilogue of Malibu Comics' "Battlewave" miniseries, in which he froze a group of Lin Kuei while proclaiming the clan is corrupted and no longer worthy of his services. This subplot was never developed as the "MK" comic series folded shortly thereafter.

Character development

The original name for Sub-Zero was Tundra prior to production of the original "MK". [ [ The Mortal Kombat Plot Canon Guide by Gavok ] ]

Although Scorpion was intended to become the protector of the younger Sub-Zero in atonement for murdering his older brother at the end of "MKII", and the plot is mentioned in "UMK3", this was revised in "Deadly Alliance", which specifies that Scorpion vowed only not to harm the Lin Kuei warrior in the game's Konquest Mode.

Since "Deadly Alliance", Sub-Zero has appeared far older, while few, if any characters show signs of dramatic aging. This is possibly due to the amplifications his powers have undergone during the time, as in "MK:DA", his arms became frozen over, and his scar turned blue as well as his hair graying. In "Deception", Sub-Zero, now wearing the armor of his ancestors in addition to the Dragon Medallion from "MK:DA", his skin has become far more pale than a normal human's.

Game information

The unmasked Sub-Zero was played by an uncredited Asian actor in his ending in "Mortal Kombat II" (rather than Daniel Pesina, who played the masked character in the game). In contrast to "Mortal Kombat 3", where the unmasked Sub-Zero is played by the caucasian John Turk. [ MK Characters Unmasked - Sub-Zero] at [ The Kombat Pavilion] ] His Western look for a Chinese ninja was later explained by giving him a Caucasian mother. According to this new backstory, his father had a wife, two sons and a daughter while he lived in America to hide his personal role as an assassin for the Lin Kuei, which explains Sub Zero's rather Occidental appearance. Even though Sub-Zero is meant to be Chinese, his weapon is called the "Kōri"-Blade". "Kōri" (or "hyō") is Japanese for "ice" (Chinese "bīng"), "hyōten" ("bīngdiǎn") is "freezing point", and "hyōtenka" ("bīngdiǎnxià") is "below freezing" - or, "sub-zero". When filming "Mortal Kombat 3", the costume wore by John Turk for the unmasked Sub-Zero was red, to be changed later via computer enhancement.As shown in the "Mortal Kombat" history section featured in "".]

Since "Mortal Kombat 3", Sub-Zero has had a scar running from his forehead across his right eye. The scar was first featured to be red, only to later change blue as a result of Sub-Zero's enhanced powers. In ', his scar seems to have faded to the point where it can no longer be seen. In "Mortal Kombat Armageddon", Sub-Zero's ninja outfit retains the scar, while his alternate costume, his" Deception" armor, does not. In ', the player witnesses Kung Lao vertically slashing Sub-Zero's face with his hat, resulting in bloodshed and ultimately a scar.

Although Sub-Zero originally had blue eyes, they turned white after obtaining the Dragon Medallion. Renders from "Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks" also give him white eyes. Official renders from "Deadly Alliance" also depict him having ice-blue eyes, demonstrating his power. In the Nintendo 64 version of "Mortal Kombat Trilogy", the unmasked Sub-Zero from the original "Mortal Kombat 3" was removed for the character roster and all of his special moves and fatalities were given to the masked version of the character from "Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3". The PlayStation, PC and Sega Saturn versions of "MK Trilogy", retains both characters.

Sub-Zero was the selected character to appear in the special Premium Pack Edition for PlayStation 2 of the game "Mortal Kombat: Deception" (the special game for Xbox included other character covers). He was featured as the only cover character of that game and the Premium Pack included a metallic card of his character. Oddly, there were a few text and story mistakes in his box art and metallic card.

In "Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks", if both players select Sub-Zero in Versus mode, the second player to have chosen him will play as a variation of Sub-Zero's elder brother, Noob Saibot (Saibot retains all of Sub-Zero's moves, Fatalities, etc. Also his forearms will be frozen like Sub-Zero's).

In MK:A's Motor Kombat Sub-Zero drives a blue snowmobile with spiked tires, and his special is to send a freeze ball at an opponent.

Sub-Zero, in one incarnation or another, is the only character to have been playable in all "Mortal Kombat" games, with the exception of "". He was also the first "Mortal Kombat" character to have his own game.

Popular culture

* In an episode of "Malcolm in the Middle", Reese mentions that nobody believes that he beat the secret level of "Mortal Kombat", to which Hal responds, "Because that's just ridiculous; no one beats Sub-Zero."
* Sub-Zero inspired the character known as Glacier in World Championship Wrestling. Ray Lloyd, a regional martial arts champion, has played the role for over a decade in various wrestling organizations. [ WCW Glacier teaser trailer, 1996 (] ]


External links

* [ Sub-Zero's official MySpace profile]

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