In a more grounded universe, it would make more sense that so many colorful Mortal Kombat fighters seem to go missing so often. They do, after all, get their sinuses pulled out through their belly buttons on a concerningly regular basis. The majority of real-world professional athletes would describe that as a kareer-ending injury, the kind that sends guys scrambling to find themselves jobs as a Mortal Kommentator on basic kable.
But fighters who enter the arenas of Outworld are a different breed. They eat compound fractures for breakfast and wash them down with a cold glass of someone else’s spinal fluid. Getting punched so hard that your kidney winds up in your mouth? That’s just the 9-to-5 for them, and they’d better be ready to clock in early tomorrow to make up for it.
No, when a kombatant with a place in the MK canon disappears for a stretch, it usually has more to do with the production team not liking them than, for example, a rolled ankle. Here are a few of the born losers who took off a while ago and didn’t come back, even though we’d love to get them back in the fight.
One of the most important lessons that the makers of the Mortal Kombat franchise figured out early on was that making a new iconic character could be as easy as giving a ninja a different colored dickie.
And nobody’s dickie got palette swapped as much as Chameleon’s. In his debut appearance as a secret character in UMK3, he rocked a set of duds that hypnotically changed like someone was playing with the hue and saturation controls, along with ever-so-slightly see-through skin. He also has a history of aping other characters’ moves, making him a versatile addition to any experienced player’s roster.
Chameleon’s last appearance in the franchise was during a cameo on MK11, but he hasn’t been a playable character since the PS2 era’s Mortal Kombat: Armageddon. His habit of turning invisible and disappearing makes him a tough guy to get close to, but players miss not seeing him around.
The Mortal Kombat games have always had a better sense of humor than you usually see in stuff centered around what a ribcage looks like with a hole punched through it. Friendship finishers, surreal guest character cameos, and Scorpion’s Animality finisher have all been proof of that.
But not in quite the same way as Mokap, the fan-favorite secret fighter from Deadly Alliance that’s made a startling number of appearances in the series, considering how it’s a franchise about boiling hot death, and he’s a liberal arts movement major in a unitard.
Mokap is another character that we haven’t been able to play as since Mortal Kombat: Armageddon went all everything-and-the-sink on its roster. The real missed opportunity: He’s never been given a unique finisher. Imagine what NetherRealm could do with that these days. We could be watching him yanking off Andy Serkis’s arms and beating Johnny Cage to death with them in 4K HDR.
You like Oni? Of course you do, who doesn’t? The demons of the Netherrealm are big old nasties. They squish stuff. What’s not to like?
Unfortunately for Drahmin fans, the answer, at least to Mortal Kombat head Ed Boon, is “a lot.” He’s called the literally iron-fisted monstrosity one of his least favorite characters in the series. Also, the fans kind of hated him thanks to his doofy moveset.
Still, a character being a challenge to play doesn’t make them bad, it makes them Poison Ivy in Injustice 2. Time to give Drahmin a fair shake.
Another in a series of characters that we haven’t had a chance to play as since Mortal Kombat: Armageddon. Motaro’s only real crime was being a pretty bad character, and coming off as a real dork in Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (the above still is from a movie that came out the same year as Titanic), and also probably being crazy complicated to motion capture. It’s a lesson that all video game designers learn at some point: four legs is just too many legs to fit into a mocap onesie.
Video games get more and more complex all the time. It’s probably never been easier to incorporate a roided-out centaur into your fighting game. Besides, Motaro back in the Mortal Kombat games feels like the least the developers could do, seeing as how they keep refusing to include a Street Fighter-style minigame where players get to beat up a horse.
Another day, another Oni that we can’t use to beat in some bozo’s occipital lobe. Thanks a lot, Ed Boon.
Out of all the characters introduced in the Mortal Kombat franchise over the years, Moloch has a few important distinguishing features. First, and most importantly, he’s the only guy that looks like he started out as a piece of MonStar concept art in a darker first draft of Space Jam. Why sit on that, NetherRealm? Do you guys not realize that you’re part of the Warner Bros. family? Time to start acting like team players.
That version of Sub-Zero that turns into an anteater from MK3
It can be so easy to get the characters from Mortal Kombat confused. Like, one in five of them looks like Scorpion in a different shirt, and a fair few others just seem to be guys who got lost on their way to a World’s Biggest Hat convention. It’s wild to think that you can get two guys that rip people’s throats out mixed up, but that’s what Mortal Kombat does to you.
But there’s one thing you’ll never forget: What it looks like when a grown man transforms into an anteater and slurps another grown man into his specialized elongated mouth parts. If you’re not familiar, it’s pretty straightforward. See, back in MK3 when Sub-Zero was Noob Saibot, he developed the ability to transform into his spirit animal. Being a character defined almost entirely by either cold temperatures or ghost shenanigans, it only made sense that his spirit animal would be an anteater, in the same way that it only made sense that Sheeva’s animality was a scorpion, Scorpion’s animality was a penguin, and Rain’s animality was a very small elephant that would blow people’s skin off with its voice. Anyway, if Anteater Noob Saibot isn’t the main boss in Mortal Kombat 1, we riot.