#5 – Shang Tsung:
Following the four-armed dragon hybrid Goro, Shang Tsung might have felt like an afterthought in Mortal Kombat — until he transformed into a previously defeated kombatant, stealing all of their signature moves. The choice to give players access to the character as well as his ability to transform in Mortal Kombat II was a bold move and, despite Shang Tsung’s limited arsenal of unique special attacks, the character still provides experienced players with a stylish way to dispatch opponents.
#4 – Mileena
Mileena and Kitana entered the tournament in Mortal Kombat II, doubling the amount of female fighters in the series (since Sonya was tied-up at the time). As mentioned earlier, Kitana’s fan attacks top Mileena’s reliance on the more traditional ninja-sais but what the purple-clad kombatant lacks in moves, she makes up for in disturbing style. Throughout the series, the developers have reveled in Mileena’s Tarkatan/Human pedigree — creating one of the most disgusting-yet alluring fighting-game characters ever created, as exemplified in her upcoming/creepy Mortal Kombat fatality.
#3 – Smoke:
Smoke debuted as a hidden fighter in Mortal Kombat II but it wasn’t until he returned as a Lin Kuei cyborg, not to mention the series’ first post-release unlockable fighter, that the character emerged as an iconic MK staple. Many players will easily recall the satisfaction, and ease, of pulling off the character’s teleport uppercut, harpoon, roundhouse combo in their local arcade. Smoke has gone through a number of questionable transformations in subsequent installments but, no matter what Boon and Co. do to the character, it’ll be hard to unseat Cyber Smoke as one of MK’s best.
#2 – Sub-Zero:
Despite the fact the original Sub-Zero was killed at the hands of Scorpion in the first Mortal Kombat game, his younger brother took up his mantle, aiding in establishing Sub-Zero as one of the most exciting characters in the franchise. Even though the character has undergone numerous physical transformations, he’s always been a consistent and worthy leading-man in the series — and utilizing his cryomancer abilities in kombat (most notably the ice freeze projectile) never gets old.
Not to mention, Sub-Zero remains an anti-censorship staple, with a near two-decade long legacy of not just facing off against Outworld threats, but outraged parent groups as well – as a result of the character’s infamous Spine Rip fatality.
#1 – Scorpion:
The Mortal Kombat franchise has never suffered from a shortage of ninja assassins. Throughout the years, the MK developers have done a good job of explaining the army of masked fighters in the MK universe by weaving an engaging tale of warring ninja clans. Subsequently, it’s easy to forget that originally Scorpion was nothing more than a color variant of Sub-Zero.
However, despite his humble beginnings, Scorpion has not only become the most recognizable character in the series — he also sports some of the most iconic attacks (such as his notorious harpoon/”Get over here” move) as well as fatalities (Toasty!). Throughout the nine Mortal Kombat installments (not to mention movies, comics, and now a webseries), the character has offered some of the most engaging story chapters in the overarching canon.
If you enjoyed our list, don’t miss our choices for the Top 10 Best Mortal Kombat Fatalities.