The 15 Best Mortal Kombat Characters

Mortal Kombat started its journey in 1992 when the idea for a horror-fantasy gaming genre was pitched. Since then, the game has unfolded into one of the most successful fighting-based electronic games in history. One of its greatest appeals has been its characters.

While there are only a handful of mainstays that have been present throughout the game’s existence, the concept creators of the game have continued to supply an inexhaustible source of militant characters. While it can be difficult to successfully rank the best of the best Mortal Kombat rosters in its entire run, here are some of the more well-established fan-favorite fighters

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Updated on April 1st, 2021 by Scoot Allan: While fans have been playing as some of Mortal Kombat‘s unforgettable characters for almost thirty years now, there have only been a couple of live-action adaptations. The 2021 reboot of the live-action films has fans talking about the adaptation of the hit video game and its take on the series’ most popular characters, which previous movies failed to capture. While the upcoming movie has a limited cast of characters, we wanted to revisit some of our favorite video game characters to celebrate the live-action movie and look towards some possible inclusions in future installments that could explore more of the amazing characters from  Mortal Kombat.

15 Goro

Mortal Kombat Goro

The multi-armed character of Goro first appeared in 1992’s first Mortal Kombat game as one of the sub-bosses, though he quickly became the series most identifiable character due to his inhuman appearance and origins in Outworld.

As one of the series original and most popular characters, Goro made a live-action appearance in the first Mortal Kombat movie and has continued to feature heavily in subsequent games in the series. Goro will also appear in the Mortal Kombat reboot, further highlighting his importance to the franchise.

14 Erron Black

Erron Black from Mortal Kombat pointing his gun down

While he was born in Texas during the Old West, Erron Black found a new life as an Outworld mercenary who first appeared in Mortal Kombat comics before he made his official game debut in Mortal Kombat X.

Black extended his life using dark magic gained from Shang Tsung and he worked closely with the Black Dragon mercenary organization for years. Erron Black stands out amongst other Mortal Kombat characters as a western gunslinger in the Mortal Kombat fantasy world and has quickly become a fan-favorite since his debut in 2015.

13 Johnny Cage

Johnny Cage Shirtless in Mortal Kombat X

As one of Mortal Kombat‘s original characters, Johnny Cage has a deep and rich history in the franchise as one of the defenders of Earthrealm that has created a legacy which is carried on by his daughter Cassie (more on her later).

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The movie star martial artist was initially based on Jean-Claude Van Damme’s character in Bloodsport, though he has since evolved on his own and developed one of the most dynamic personalities in the Mortal Kombat franchise that has maintained the popularity of Johnny Cage for decades.

12 Ermac

Ermac in Mortal Kombat holding their green hand up and looking at it

The first Mortal Kombat arcade game included an interesting “ERMACS” glitch that seemingly referenced an unknown character, much like a similar reveal teased the appearance of the secret character Reptile.

After years of teases and speculation, Ermac was finally introduced in Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 as a red-palette swap for Scorpion, though the character evolved his own look and backstory as the collected souls that were killed during the wars of Outworld, which gave him incredibly powerful telekinetic and teleportation abilities.

11 Noob Saibot

Noob Saibot in both forms from Mortal Kombat

Bi-Han appeared as Sub-Zero in the very first Mortal Kombat as a powerful assassin and leader of the Lin Kuei clan before he was killed by Scorpion after the first game’s tournament, with his younger brother Kuai Liang taking over as the second Sub-Zero.

Bi-Han was reincarnated by the sorcerer Quan Chi and returned in Mortal Kombat II as Noob Saibot (a reversed homage of game creators Ed Boon and John Tobias), a black-clad ninja with devastating Fatalities and Brutalities that demonstrate the evil nature of his new form.

10 Kitana

Kitana from Mortal Kombat

This 10,000-year-old princess hails from Edenia. Her age is unencumbered by her looks, which reflect that of a young woman with a strong physique. Kitana is the stepdaughter of Shao Kahn, whom she eventually betrays. Alongside her romantic partner, Liu Kang, she became one of the leaders of the Netherrealm.

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Kitana’s attire consists of a royal blue one-piece, and she usually wears a matching face mask. She sometimes relies on her Steel Fans during battle to unarm her opponent or to help her levitate. Her main skills, however, fall under hand-to-hand combat.

9 Raiden

Raiden Mortal Kombat losing control Cropped

In his original timeline, Raiden was a mortal who resided in the Earthrealm. He typically wore white robes with a blue vest and a straw hat. His abilities have always consisted of electrical bolts and he is able to move as quickly as lightning. He can also teleport, shock, and can sometimes summon a lightning rod.

In current Mortal Kombat storylines, Raiden is the God of Thunder and Protector of Earthrealm. He eventually turns into Dark Raiden, where his glowing white eyes transform to red. In this form, he is heavily armored, though his signature straw hat is intact.

8 Liu Kang

Liu Kang in a fighting stance

In the earliest version of the fighting game, Liu Kang served as a traditional combat fighter, who was best known for his martial arts capabilities. He is a pastiche of Bruce Lee and generally serves as the protagonist in the game and other media works. His garb is made up of only black pants with red attributes added to his later renditions.

Liu Kang is one of the few original characters that remain in the game. His valor as a warrior makes him a great choice for gamers. His powers have progressed over the games’ series, giving him the ability to procure fireballs to throw at his opponents.

7 Cassie Cage

Cassie Cage from Mortal Kombat

Cassie Cage is the daughter of Johnny Cage and Sonya Blade, two of the characters who pioneered the initial Mortal Kombat game. Although Cassie is only human, she inherited her superhuman strength from her father. Her signature moves consist of the Glow Kick which facilitates aerial moves as her body glows green from the Shadow Energy.

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Her mother taught her combat skills including the infamous Nut Cracker which disables her male opponents quite effectively. Cassie has short blonde hair from her mother and showcases sass like her father. She heads a special forces task team in the Earthrealm and is constantly trying to live up to her parents’ legacy.

6 Reptile

Mortal Kombat 11 Reptile

Reptile’s initial veneer was just an exact replica of Sub-Zero and Scorpion’s costume, only in bright green. His current costume is markedly more fierce, with scale-like textures and an all-encompassing mask in the form of a reptilian creature. 

This redesign first appeared in Deadly Alliance when his backstory as a reptile-human hybrid became more defined. One of Reptile’s most powerful strategies falls under his ability to become invisible; a blending technique not unlike a chameleon. He has also been known to spit acid and extract forces of homing energy.

5 Frost

Frost from Mortal Kombat

Another Deadly Alliance addition came in the form of the female version of Sub-Zero: Frost. She served as an apprentice to the original Mortal Kombat character. She was an eager learner and fighter, having accomplished the skill of freezing her adversaries.

Once Sub-Zero made amends with his rival, Scorpion, Frost deemed him unfit to lead and tried to challenge him. Although she was defeated, Frost continued to make it her mission to dominate the Earthrealm. She was eventually cyberized by Kronika, changing her garb from a blue one-piece and face guard to a brilliantly armored uniform.

4 Shao Kahn

Shao Kahn from Mortal Kombat

Shao Kahn debuted in Mortal Kombat II in 1993. His outward gear only consists of spiked armor, a headpiece, and a dominating staff, with his chest left predominantly bare. His inner capabilities range from superhero strength to magical proficiency.

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This character has always been a massively strong and effective character throughout Mortal Kombat’s series. He harnesses the power of green energy and can even absorb the souls of his opponents. His Wrath Hammer is another one of his more elaborate props that work to disarm his attackers.

3 Mileena

Mortal Kombat 10 Mileena

Milena’s look most closely reflects Kitana, but with a purplish-pink facade. She is actually a clone of Kitana, though she feels a blazing hatred towards her predecessor and frequently tries to take her place as princess of Edenia. Millena is a ninja warrior and she makes extensive use of her acrobatic skills and agility.

Millena is equipped with Soaring Sais that is powered by purple energy. She also uses a unique technique, the Leaping Neckbite, where she attacks her opponent from above and works to claw and eat away at their face and neck.

2 Scorpion

Scorpion has served as a mascot to Mortal Kombat since its beginnings. This character is a human whose real name is Hanzo Hasashi. His family was killed, which led him into the life of an assassin. His skills are malevolent and gory, with ingenuity such as hellfire and teleportation serving as his culminating powers.

Scorpion wears a yellow costume, has glowing white eyes, and a signature protective mask. Unmasked Scorpion is known as Inferno Scorpion. Scorpion’s weapons of choice include the Kunai, Scorpion Sting, and Spear, among a long inventory of other powers.

1 Sub-Zero

Mortal Kombat Sub-Zero Icy Fist

Another leader in the Mortal Kombat series, Sub-Zero is on par with his rival, Scorpion. Their garments are distinctively similar, with Sub-Zero’s vestiges being blue instead of yellow. Sub-Zero is the master of ice manipulation and is known for freezing his opponents in order to attack. Kuai Liang is the current Sub-Zero and the younger brother to the original, who became Noob Saibot.

Sub-Zero’s ice projectile is said to be one of the most innovative mechanics to have been enlisted into a gaming character. Furthermore, his Spinal Rip Fatality move is noted as one of the most morbid character actions, which gave Sub-Zero his merciless disposition.

NEXT: Mortal Kombat (2021): 5 Characters That Look Game Accurate (& 5 That Are Different)

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