Yesterday we kicked off Mortal Kombat week here at Game Rant with our choices for the 10 Most Awesome Mortal Kombat Characters as well as published the first installment of our Mortal Kombat retrospective.
Later today we’ll publish our review of the latest Mortal Kombat title but, in the mean time, check out part 2 of our feature A History of Violence: A Look Back At The ‘Mortal Kombat’ Series for a look at Mortal Kombat 3 and Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero.
We’ll keep updating the stories with links to subsequent installments but, for now, here’s a guide to help you navigate to the other articles in the series.
- Mortal Kombat and Mortal Kombat II
- Mortal Kombat 3 and Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero (you are here)
- Mortal Kombat 4 and Mortal Kombat: Special Forces
- Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance, Mortal Kombat: Deception, and Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks
- Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, and Mortal Kombat 9
In 1995, the world was introduced to Mortal Kombat 3, which very quickly became a smash hit. It was the first to make significant changes to the established system. The title added a Run button, allowing players to move quickly across the screen and prevent their opponent from getting the advantage – which was considered a downside of the previous two games.
Also, instead of performing a special feat to meet up with the secret characters, the game introduced “Kombat Kodes.” On the versus screen, if someone rearranged the symbols at the bottom into the proper order, they could change and add various aspects of the match. Players could eliminate certain game mechanics, such as blocking or throwing, make the screen go dark, change the characters, or be able to go straight to the final boss after the victory. The feature also allowed players to fight either Noob Saibot – or a new version of Cyborg version of Smoke. The upcoming Challenge Tower feature is based on the concept.
In addition to the already established Fatalities, Friendships, and Babalities, a couple of new ideas were added. The first was a Mercy, which would give your opponent an extra bit of health after a defeat, so you could fight a bit longer.
Also, performing a Mercy was necessary in order to use the newest kind of “-ality,” the Animality. Once a player showed Mercy, and then defeated their opponent again, they could transform their character into a wild animal that would kill, maul, or devour the opposing fighter. The concept was actually based on a rumor going around during the previous game’s run, continuing Mortal Kombat‘s trend of making rumors a reality.
In terms of story in the prior installment, Liu Kang successfully won the tournament and defeated Shao Kahn – causing him to set-off a backup plan he started over 10,000 years ago. Shang Tsung and the rest of his sorcerer minions revived Sindel, the emperor’s dead queen, on Earth – causing Earth to merge with Outworld which allowed Shao Kahn to take over. Raiden managed to save a few souls (but the remainder of humanity was killed in the merger. Shao Kahn then sends out extermination forces, lead by the centaur Motaro, to kill off any survivor – meaning Raiden’s chosen warriors have to fend for their lives and defeat Shao Kahn again to set the realms right.
Liu Kang returns again, along with his fellow Shaolin monk Kung Lao, to defeat Shao Kahn once and for all. Sonya makes her return as a playable character and joins forces with Jax to track down Kano, who is also playable again and has sided with Shao Kahn’s extermination squad, along with Shang Tsung. Sub-Zero looks to aid the forces of good, but also has to contend with the Lin Kuei’s new habit of turning their fighters into robots.
The Lin Kuei already had three success stories on their hands – the yellow robot Cyrax and the red robot Sektor. The third was Sub-Zero’s former-friend Smoke, now a blue robot, and the very first unlockable character in an arcade fighting game. Once a player finished Arcade Mode, they were allowed the chance to input a 10-digit code – which, if entered correctly, permanently unlocked Smoke as a reward.
Other playable characters included the aforementioned Sindel, Shao Kahn’s former queen, and Kitana’s birth mother, who committed suicide years ago; Kurtis Stryker, an average New York cop who got caught up in the battle between Earth and Outworld; Nightwolf, a Native American shaman eager to help defeat Shao Kahn and simultaneously bring respect to his family; Sheeva, a member of Shao Kahn’s extermination forces and a Shokan warrior (the same race as Goro and Kintaro); Lastly, Kabal, a former member of the Black Dragon (the same mercenary group as Kano is affiliated with), now looking to redeem himself.
Mortal Kombat 3 had little to no problems from a technical standpoint, even when it was ported to the major home systems, which now included the Sony PlayStation. Instead, it had a few complaints from a more personal standpoint, mainly the character roster. While a number of familiar faces were in the game, a greater number of them were missing from the new title. Most notable of these was Scorpion, who had since become the most popular character in the franchise.
Even characters who were mentioned in the story of the game, such as Raiden, didn’t appear in the title at all. While their absence didn’t detract from the game at all, it did affect the Mortal Kombat 3‘s popularity. As result, the folks at Midway decided to make some improvements.