10 Most Awesome Mortal Kombat Characters

Published 4 years ago by , Updated May 21st, 2011 at 11:07 pm,

10 Best Mortal Kombat Characters

As gamers prepare once again for Mortal Kombat, in the form of the upcoming back-to-basics title from NetherRealm Studios and Warner Bros. Interactive, we compiled a list of our favorite classic kombatants to make the character select screen a little less daunting when players finally get their hands on the new title.

We’re currently hard at work on our review of the latest Mortal Kombat (spoiler alert: it’s fun) but, since the Mortal Kombat 9 storyline itself centers on a reimagining of the events from Mortal Kombat, Mortal Kombat II, and Mortal Kombat 3, we thought it’d be fun to take a look back at some of the coolest characters to ever stand toe-to-toe in the original 2D tournament trilogy.

A few rules before we get started:

– Characters must be playable in the original three titles – i.e. none of the bosses from Mortal Kombat Trilogy or any new additions from the 3D model games (Mortal Kombat 4 and forward).

– Characters had to be intentional roster entries — i.e. no “glitch” characters such as the Lady in Red from Mortal Kombat II.

Honorable mentions:

Mortal Kombat Characters

At the point the franchise made the jump to 3D environments for Mortal Kombat 4, Ed Boon and Co. had already created over 25 playable characters in the series — very few of which were duds (we’re look at you Stryker). As a result, narrowing the list down to our ten favorite kombatants was not easy — meaning several fan-favorites failed to make the cut.

While we certainly appreciate series protagonist Liu Kang for his years of sticking it to Shang Tsung, the Shaolin Monk pales in comparison to some of the other more intriguing characters from the franchise. Outworld Princess Kitana shared a similar fate, aside from possessing one of the cooler weapons in the game (razor blade fans), she lacks the entertaining/alluring oddity of her Tarkatan clone, Mileena. Reptile hit his stride in Mortal Kombat II but, even though he was a cool entry, in a room full of over-the-top ninja assassins, the character wasn’t nearly as fun to play as his original mystique might have indicated. Lastly, there’s no doubt that Johnny Cage shadow-kicked (and split-punched) his way into our hearts but, aside from being the go-to character for nostalgic gamer girlfriends, with Outworld mutants and an Elder God to choose from, a shirtless Van Damme knock-off in track pants comes off a little too Jersey Shore to be in our top 10.

#10 – Jax:

Jax in Mortal Kombat
While the first iteration of Jax wasn’t especially exciting, since the character looked more like a third tier WWE star in tight Lycra pants than a capable kombatant ready to go toe-to-toe with mercenaries and sorcerers alike, The Major returned in MK3 sporting his now iconic bionic arms. Jax, out of all the characters in the series, is by far the most physical — and dangerous at close range with his signature “Gotcha” grab and backbreaker air-counter serving as two of the most satisfying moves from the original trilogy.

#9 – Kung Lao:

Kung Lao in Mortal Kombat

Kung Lao was first introduced in Mortal Kombat II and quickly proved to be more than just the hat-wearing Liu Kang clone some gamers might have pegged at first glance. Not only has Kung Lao continually played an integral part in the franchise’s rich fiction. He’s also been privy to a number of entertaining moves, not to mention iconic finishers — with his most recent fatality (featured in the Mortal Kombat trailer) prepared to set a new bar for cringe-inducing video game brutality.

#8 – Baraka:

Baraka in Mortal Kombat
Despite Outworld’s reputation as a realm full of danger and mysterious enemies, many of the characters from that side of the portal were disappointingly human-looking — Baraka put a non-human face (and bladed arms) to Outworld by introducing players to the indigenous Tarkatan race. Baraka was definitely the weirdest entry in the Mortal Kombat canon (at least up until the inclusion of cyber-ninjas in Mortal Kombat 3). However, what the mutant lacked in good looks, he easily made up for with satisfying moves (like the shredder and blade spark).

#7 – Sonya Blade:

Sonya Blade in Mortal Kombat
While not nearly as unique as some of the other kombatants on the list, Sonya Blade is integral to some of the more interesting story-threads in the Mortal Kombat universe — such as her pursuit of Kano, which led to her imprisonment in Outworld — and the subsequent introduction of Major Jackson “Jax” Briggs. The first female character to grace the Mortal Kombat game universe, Sonya had no trouble getting many adolescent boys hot under the collar – exemplified in her iconic Kiss of Death fatality.

#6 – Raiden:

Raiden in Mortal Kombat
Late-to-the-game fans of the Thunder God may not remember that in the original Mortal Kombat, Raiden was a self-centered jerk that, in his non-canon ending, invited other Gods to participate in the tournament — resulting in the end of the world. As Boon and Co. fleshed out the story for MK II, Raiden was rebranded as the protector of the Earth Realm — a role that has played a major part in the canon story going forward. The starring role, coupled with fun moves (the torpedo and shocker) as well as a set of shocking fatalities, solidified Raiden’s place as one of the most memorable kombatants in the series.

Continue reading our list of the 10 Most Awesome Mortal Kombat Characters for choices 5-1…

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TAGS: Mortal Kombat, NetherRealm Studios, Warner Bros. Interactive

  • joseph newcomer

    scorpion is easiy the best and has plenty of character depth. including the get over here move which is the most iconic move. scorpion is a badass. and when it comes down to scorpion and sub zero. scorpion whoops his ass to hell and back EVERY single time. sub zero is awesome but he has no real character background. if you can find it let me know because i am a HUGE fan of MK. Scorpion is after freezypop because quan chi disguised himself as freezypop and killed scorpions clan and family. and the whole thing about scorpions spear only working on newbs. its called linking combos together retard bucket. if you cant land a spear on someone that just makes you a newb yourself buddy.. its that simple lol. sub zero is under scorpion simply because hes less of a badass amd he cant beat scorpion i rest my case.

    • NoobSaibot

      Sub Zero Character Depth: Bi-han and Kuai Liang (Sub-Zero) were abducted at an early age by the lin Kuei. Quan chi asked both scorpion and sub-zero to retrieve an amulet from shonnok. They ended running into each other and Bi-Han killed scorpion. Raiden told Bi-Han to put the amulet back and they met again. Bi-han defeated scorpion again. When the tournament came around Sub-Zero’s (you know, Bi-Han) arrongance got him in trouble and scorpion defeated him for the first time. Quan Chi persuaded scorpion to finish him even though sub-zero didn’t kill his family. The hotter, younger sub-zero (kuai liang) assumed his identity as Sub-Zero and defeated scorpion in the tournament for vengeance. Scorpion swore to protect Kuai liang, but he doesn’t know. FIN.

  • Jack

    No Ermac??

  • Starbird

    Where’s Nightwolf on here?! (Not trying to be rude lol)

  • Snigdhonil Mukherjee

    I saw the list…and its kind of sad to me…because my favorite characters are Liu Kang and Kitana…Liu Kang is the most powerful hero and the protector of Earth realm….and i like his Fatality the most “THE BEAST WITHIN”…that is the Dragon fatality…and for Kitana she is an “ANGEL” in one word…and i think she is the most beautiful character in the game world…she got awesome powers too…SO I ALWAYS PLAY WITH THESE TWO AND THEY NEVER FAILS ME…

  • Snigdhonil Mukherjee

    There is another one… who is one of my favorite characters in game history…KRATOS but sadly he is not in MORTAL KOMBAT PC verion


    SABEN ALGO? YO SOY LA NÚMERO 1 LA VERDADERa princea¡sa y guerrera y con mi novio kenshi vamos a hacer invesibles

  • xParaDoX

    Ermac is the best for newbs to get used to juggling, but with her amazing 20% from button mashing and 48% from a good combo, Skarlet wins by a mile.

  • dude

    Duuuuude Reptile is Number 1!!!!

  • Chameleon

    I agree with this list. Sorta.

    Noob saibot or Original Sub Zero is my favorite character.

    Scorpion and Sub Zero get 1st prize definitely.
    Mileena / Kitana for 2nd
    I’d say Ermac / Rain / Reptile for third.
    Raiden / Shang Tsung next set.
    Sonya / Jax / Cage fifth.
    Cyrax / Sektor sixth.
    Baraka / Jade / Nightwolf / Sindel

    and people like Kano, Kabal, Stryker, Liu Kang and Kung Lao are somewhere at the bottom of the list :)

  • Lactation

    No shao khan?