The release of NetherRealm Studios’ next Mortal Kombat game is finally upon us, featuring 25 kombatants at launch and another 6 on the way as part of the season pass. We have gathered today to celebrate this franchise’s long and stupid cool history with 5 old characters we’d like to return in MK11. These have been pulled from the 70+ characters that the Mortal Kombat franchise has played host to, with an eye for those who would work well in the current rebooted timeline. With all that out of the way, get your eight rib cages in order, and prepare to fight!
First glimpsed as a hidden character all the way back in MK2, Smoke has been a long-time fan favourite in both his human and cyber forms. The Slavic Lin Kuei ninja has popped in and out of the series over the years, sometimes by himself and sometimes as Noob Saibot’s assistant. Sporting a variety of smoke-based mobility options, including ones that can make the opponent involuntarily teleport, Smoke has been a notable fun fighter since his introduction. His last playable appearance was as one of Triborg’s variations in MKXL, and I wouldn’t be particularly bothered if he came back like that. It would also be interesting to see what the resurrected smoke demon Enenra can do, but I’m not picky; I just want to play as my boy Smoke.
Next up, we have Havik!
…What, you haven’t heard of him? Whelp, pull up a chair. The Mortal Kombat universe is divided into many realms. The important ones are Earthrealm, Outworld (Shao Khan’s base of operations), Edenia (Kitana’s homeworld, usually merged with Outworld), and Netherrealm (the Underworld, and the developer). The PS2/Xbox MKs introduced Orderrealm and Chaosrealm, two opposing realms that do not matter aaaat aaaaaall. Orderrealm has three slightly cool representatives, while Chaosrealm has a paltry one.
That brings us to Havik, a Chaosrealmer cleric. His role in the MK story is that of a neutral party, striving to bring chaos and conflict to all realms. Onaga, the main villain of Havik’s introductory game Deception, intended to forcibly bring order to all the realms, so Havik was ideologically opposed to him (though still not on anyone’s team but his own). Havik’s devotion to chaos manifests in his fighting style, contorting his body in impossible ways and breaking and un-breaking his bones to restore health. His memorable moves contributed to him gaining a lot more fans than many of the other PS2-era characters, and we’d love to see more of him and his Chaosrealm brethren. There has to be more than him just… coming back as the main villain of the MKX comics?!
“Man, this is gonna’ suck! AAAAAAAGGGGGHHHHHH!”
3. Chameleon and Khameleon
Up next is another colour ninja, and his female ninja counterpart: Chameleon and Khameleon. Originating from the console versions of Mortal Kombat Trilogy as hidden characters (Chameleon was in the PC, PlayStation, and Sega Saturn versions, while Khameleon was in the Nintendo 64 port). These two exist as compilations of the other ninjas’ attacks and colours (minus Tremor, but he’s had a rocky history). This, combined with their scarcity (they were in Trilogy and Armageddon, but Khameleon was only in Armageddon’s Wii port!), has made them quite appealing to those who remember their existence. Khameleon in particular has story links to Reptile, another popular colour ninja (sure is a lot of those). With custom variations rising to prominence in MK11, it’s the perfect time to bring these two back and give players the design reins.
Bet you don’t know who Ashrah is either, huh? Well, let me just start by saying that in spite of her appearance, she has no relation to Raiden. In fact, she’s a demon, though not that kind of demon. Let me explain. Ashrah was once a member of Quan Chi’s Brotherhood of Darkness, but she escaped after refusing to carry out orders. She came across a sword called the Kriss that seemed to grant purification to whoever wielded it. Wanting to ascend, she began slaying her fellow Neatherrealm demons with the belief that her soul would be purified and granted escape from the Netherrealm. As it turned out, she was right! She took on a seemingly human appearance and got booted out.
It sounds like a heroic narrative, but since it’s Mortal Kombat, hers is a tale filled with excess bloodshed. She started enjoying killing demons a bit too much, and when her sword revealed it’s true intentions of committing genocide against a race of vampires, she was happy to go along with it. She’s still aiming to fully ascend, but she was last seen dead in the Armageddon timeline. I think Ashrah represents a neat little side-plot in the MK universe, and I believe there’s still some room to explore her character. She had a good design, and being the most conservatively dressed woman of the PS2 era helps her stand out. Hey, if Kenshi can make it big in the new timeline, I’m sure Ashrah can do it too.
Rounding out our list is another colour ninja! Shocker, I know. Rain was introduced in Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 as a… red herring for a character that didn’t exist. Ah, NetherRealm. He became a real boy in the console ports and Trilogy. Rain is an Edenian prince, and thus a half-god. He is able to manipulate water and lightning, and kick enemies off one side of the screen onto the other for some reason. He’s very fun to play. After dropping from the roster until Armageddon, Rain came back as DLC in MK9 and a non-playable story enemy in MKX. We’d like him to join the roster again, cuz’… well, he’s fun! He’s got a leg up on fashion compared to a lot of the other ninjas, which would play well with MK11’s gear, but, ultimately, we just want all of our ninja lads back. MK has good ninjas.
And that’s a list! Mortal Kombat has a long history filled with memorable stories, fun characters, whatever rad fever dream-realm Shaolin Monks popped out of (buy it if you see it, it’s a stylish action game), and the grey mass of Taven/Jarek-goo that plagued its PS2 era. It’s not even a pulsating mass. It’s just sitting there, spitefully. Anyhoo, I hope you enjoyed this trip down memory/willful amnesia lane. CGMagazine writer Cole Watson has given Mortal Kombat 11 his blessing, so we await with bated breath what further kombatants the future may hold.
I’m hoping for Spawn. Are you hoping for Spawn? I’m hoping for Spawn.