Tag Archives: quan chi

MKK: Hotaru & Dairou & Darrius & Ashrah

Konquest Mode of Mortal Kombat: Deception was obviously the driving force behind the creation of nearly all of the new fighters in MK: D. Shujinko had to find six mystic doodads from across the universe, so, naturally, there had to be six different realms to explore. Earth was a gimme. Hell/Netherrealm was another popular destination for Mortal Kombat warriors. Edenia and Outworld housed a number of relevant MK events and people, so that was another easy one. This left us two realms short. We already have an “evil” location with the Netherrealm, and there isn’t a single kombatant that is getting into “good” Heaven, so maybe we could use a different dichotomy. Order and Chaos? Hey, that works for Shin Megami Tensei, so let’s give it a shot!

Now, anyone can tell you that the concept of an “Order Realm” is inevitably going to be boring the moment you conceive of such a thing. Order sounds great in theory, but “Order” is practically the opposite of how stories work, so you’re stuck with a situation where, basically, everything has to fall apart. 90% of “Order Realm” stories are tales of perfect paradises where someone accidentally buggers up some random rule, and now we have to kill Wesley because he stepped on the flowers. Oh no! Conflict finally occurs, and we all come away with a lesson about, I don’t know, maybe following the rules was the real worst rule all along. This is just how these stupid stories work, and that kind of thing is certainly not going to be improved on in a videogame where the chief way people communicate is through decapitations.

Which is why we somehow wound up with three different Order Realm representatives in Mortal Kombat: Deception, and why we then never saw those dorks ever again.

Let’s just get these losers out of the way.

He kind of looks like Yoshimitsu

First up is Hotaru. He is supposed to be order personified, and, as these things usually go, he’s technically a bad guy. It’s his goal to see everyone wearing beige uniforms blinking simultaneously while watching The Big Bang Theory and perfectly chuckling along to the laugh track. He’s a monster. He seems to be the most orderly of Order Realm citizens, and he eventually teams up with Onaga The Dragon King because order loves fascists. He is tasked with killing Sub-Zero (it’s something for lesser bad guys to do), but fails. He also once aided Shujinko in battling Baraka’s hordes in Outworld, but later locked up Shujinko for literally years because he violated curfew. Lame. In both Shujinko and Sub-Zero related business, he was thwarted by Dairou.

Bonk

Dairou was an Order Guardsmen just like Hotaru, but was fired for the meager sin of murdering a dude. Why did he do such a thing? Well, it turns out that the murderee was the murderer of Dairou’s family, so Dairou saw it as a pretty fair trade. Unfortunately, his superiors didn’t interpret it that way, and tossed him in prison. Luckily, The Resistance started a prison/realm-wide riot, and Dairou escaped to become a mercenary. However, Dairou isn’t great at simply being a mercenary, so he mostly pals around with that Resistance that freed him. He did find time to free Shujinko from prison, though! Other than that, his goal in MK: D is to kill Hotaru, for no other reason than the resistance thinks that’s a good idea. Dairou is conflicted about this mission, as he and Hotaru used to be golfing buddies, but he’s coming around to following Resistance orders more and more. This is supposed to be tragic, as it was secretly the leader of the resistance that had his family murdered in the first place. That leader? Next up: Darrius.

Look out!

Darrius is Morpheus. Okay, he kind of looks like Marvel’s Blade, but he’s otherwise just Morpheus. He’s the leader of the Resistance in Order Realm, and it’s his job to fork over the red pills and tell everyone their life is a lie and did you know you can fly if you really, really believe? Yeah, that’s his whole deal. Considering he lives in a place called The Realm of Freaking Order, I don’t think he’s going to get too far with his whole chaotic rebellion, but, hey, what the hell do I know? I just have the ability to read the names of things. Whatever the end result, Darrius’s modus operandi is using “the law” against Order Realm denizens, and then recruiting those dudes when they’re inevitably laid low by the oppressive rules of the realm. Or he just wholesale murders entire families, and hopes it works out. Either way works. Whatever the case, he’s Dariou’s current employer and the guy that killed his family, and that would likely come to an interesting head if any of these kharacters existed beyond their initial introduction.

Hotaru gets the first kill in MK: Armageddon, but, other than that, Order Realm is quickly forgotten past its encore in Armageddon, and this trio is not seen again in the rebooted universe. That’s what happens when you’re only created for one sub-area of one game!

Huh. Three fighters, and they still don’t add up to what I feel is a complete post. Guess we have room for one more. Any other realms Shujinko can visit? How about Hell?

Netherrealm has been referenced a number of times already in the franchise, as it’s the home of the murder ghost Scorpion, the filthy wizard Quan Chi, the fallen elder god Shinnok, and the two onis Drahmin and Moloch. Considering the nicest alignment we could get out of this crowd would be the “neutral” Scorpion, it seems we were due for one good Netherrealm citizen. That’s the rule, right? There always has to be exactly one odd man out in every monolithic society? One good demon coming up! Here’s Ashrah.

Super white

Ashrah was a demon woman in the employ of Quan Chi. However, one day she began questioning her demonic orders, and she decided to escape the shackles of The Brotherhood of Shadow. This caused her to become an enemy of all netherkind, and she now fights for good across the realms.

And if that sounds familiar, congratulations, you’ve identified that Ashrah somehow has Sareena’s exact backstory. Give or take Sub-Zero’s involvement, Ashrah picked up the exact same dramatic beats as Sareena, supporting demon lady of Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero. Wait, no, there is a slight difference: Ashrah has a magic sword. There! See! Totally different kharacter.

Oddly enough, Ashrah’s magical sword winds up with more of a plot than Ashrah (and I will not be analyzing why this phallic object gets more attention than a woman at this time). Ashrah’s magic kriss is actually Datusha, a soulcalibur-esque blade that feeds on the souls of vampires. Datusha has some kind of sentience, and, in an effort to eat more vampires, it makes the user “feel good” when committing any kills in the name of future vampire-slaying. So when Ashrah first finds her sword, the blade rewards her for killing oni and other demons with false feelings of “purification” Ashrah thinks the sword is transforming her into a real girl, but it’s all a ruse to get her to go and murder some damn vampires (which, admittedly, do kinda look like demons). Ashrah spends Mortal Kombat: Deception trying to kill Noob Saibot (whom she believes is, basically, the top demon available), and then ascends to Vampire Town for Mortal Kombat: Armageddon. Datusha is freaking licking its lips at this point, and Ashrah is convinced she’s doing the right thing when she goes all Belmont on the locals. This draws the attention of noted MK vampire Nitara, and they do what people always do in the Mortal Kombat universe. By the end of the day, they’re both dead anyway, so it’s likely Datusha got one last meal before the end of the universe.

There's that Kriss

And that’s about it for this collection of Deception also-rans. The best these nerds can hope for is to copy Sareena again, and cameo as Kabal’s imaginary wife in a non-kanon ending. Sorry, Hotaru, that is the only position currently available. Please hold the puppy and look happy.

Next time: All chaos breaks loose.

MKK: Drahmin & Moloch & Mokap & Nitara

Look out!

Drahmin and Moloch are a couple. To be specific, they’re a couple of oni. Oni are a specific “breed” of demon in the Netherrealm (home to Scorpion, Quan Chi, and Adolf Hitler). They have a codependent, Jay and Sadistic Bob-esque relationship. Their place in the story was that they assisted Quan Chi in escaping the torture of Scorpion, but were left behind when Quan Chi actually made his way out of that literal hell. Shang Tsung, ever scheming to have a backup plan (because he fails so often), decided to keep the oni on speed dial, and turn their feelings of betrayal against Quan Chi should the need ever arise. Of course, Shang Tsung is an equally awful employer, so he just kept Drahmin and Moloch in the basement, waiting for a revenge that ultimately would never come. Sorry, guys. Other than tossing Scorpion into the Soulnado during their lunchbreak, Drahmin and Moloch didn’t do much for anybody, least of all themselves.

Drahmin is the more mundane of the two oni. Apparently he was born a human, but became the most hated of all creatures in this or any other realm: a landlord. He was damned to the Netherrealm for holding people’s homes as a commodity, and eventually mutated into an oni. He wears a magical mask that restores rational thought, but if he removes the mask, he becomes a mindless, vicious monster that posts on Reddit about the graphical fidelity of high-definition consoles well into the morning hours. He also has a spiked club permanently bonded to his right arm, and is constantly circled by a swarm of demonic flies. He has a tinder profile, but no one ever swipes right.

He's got a ball!

Moloch is the “monster” sub-boss of MK: Deadly Alliance. Like Goro, Kintaro, and Motaro before him, he is meant to be a brick wall before facing the real final boss(es) of the title. Moloch was born an oni (I have no idea how that works) and he has a gigantic stature, three eyes, blue skin, and a wrecking ball that he holds in the palm of his claw. As of this writing, he is the last “giant monster” sub boss that was introduced in the franchise, as future games either used gimmicky humans (like a team of Noob & Smoke), reused previous big bosses (say hello to Goro again forever), or saved their big guy for the real finale (behold the glory of Blaze).

Drahmin and Moloch both return for MK: Armageddon, but no one bothers to explain where they’ve been since MK: Deadly Alliance. I guess they just hung out in the basement when the temple exploded? Or they went back to Hell for some… Hell snacks? Whatever. The franchise doesn’t care, and neither do I. Drahmin and Moloch both seem to exist as an excuse to wedge some more visually interesting kharacters into the roster, but there isn’t much there beyond “Hell’s enforcers”.

He lost his ball!

Mortal Kombat 9 and onward seems to agree with me, too. Moloch and Drahmin are beheaded at Quan Chi’s behest in the MKX comics. This might be kanon, as Moloch’s severed head is tossed out as an opening taunt by Quan Chi during some Mortal Kombat X intros. But Moloch’s corpse also appears in Goro’s Lair in Mortal Kombat 11. And he’s got a head! This is so confusing! Maybe that’s just some other, somehow less interesting oni. Though I don’t see how any creature could be less interesting than Moloch…

Oh, wait, my bad. There is a kharacter less interesting than Moloch. Here’s Mokap.

Flawless

Mokap is a motion capture (get it?) actor that is inexplicably pulled into Mortal Kombat tournaments. He’s the super-secret kharacter of MK: Deadly Alliance, and he’s pretty much just there as a goof. Apparently he’s a tribute to Carlos Pesina, the motion capture actor for Raiden in the original MK Trilogy. This is kind of amusing, as Carlos is the brother of Daniel Pesina, the actor who played Johnny Cage (and Scorpion/Sub-Zero), who became such a persona non grata at Midway, the writers revenge-killed Johnny Cage like sixty times in two games. Oh, dang, I guess this trivia does make him more interesting than Moloch.

Regardless, Mokap is technically, kanonically present for two Mortal Kombat games (MK: Deadly Alliance and then MK: Armageddon), but he doesn’t actually impact anything. Given he doesn’t seem to be dead, he probably didn’t actually fight anybody, and just got the heck out of dodge once he saw a dude chuck a fireball across the arena. Smart guy.

Anybody left in Deadly Alliance? Hopefully somebody actually interesting? Oh! I remember now! The vampire lady!

ORB!

Now, this is entirely conjecture, but I’ve always had the floating theory that MK: Deadly Alliance was originally conceived as a Vs.-style tag-team fighting game. I’ve never seen any real evidence of this being the original intent, but it seems like nearly all of the fighters have thematic or general reasons to be paired up in duos across the roster. To wit:

· Shang Tsung and Quan Chi are the titular Deadly Alliance
· Kung Lao and Kitana are the “good” opposite numbers to the Deadly Alliance
· Johnny Cage and Raiden are the other obvious heroes in Liu Kang’s absence
· Sub-Zero and Frost are master and student
· Bo’ Rai Cho and Li Mei are Outworld buddies that wind up as master and student
· Sonya Blade and Jax are Special Forces comrades
· Mavado and Hsu Hao are the Red Dragons
· Kenshi and Kano are both being hunted by the Red Dragons
· Drahmin and Moloch are the oni duo
· Mokap and Blaze are the secret fighters
· And Reptile and Cyrax are the “masterless” wanderers that have teamed up at the behest of a vampire

These pairings account for the entire roster save two kharacters: Scorpion, the eternal loner (until he becomes un-undead later in the series), and Nitara, the vampiress that has successfully tricked Reptile and Cyrax into doing her dirty work. Do Scorpion and Nitara have anything to do with each other? Not in the least. Am I implying that there should have been some contrived reason for these two to team-up? Of course not. But what I am saying is that if Nitara did have a partner in some way, maybe she’d be part of the MK mythos for more than about thirty seconds.

ORB!

First of all, Nitara is definitely a vampire. It’s her race. She’s got wings, she drinks blood, and the Sun of Earthrealm will kill her. But she is allowed to wander around Outworld’s purple haze with impunity. Unfortunately, she’s pretty much stuck in Outworld, because her home realm, Vaeternus, was conquered some centuries ago. But there is a way out! Apparently some glowy orb hidden in lava is the only thing keeping Vampire World tethered to Outworld! If Nitara could find a way to shatter this orb, she’d be able to return to Castlevania with impunity. And Nitara had a plan for that! She just needed one robot, and a lizard man to help control the robot. Where was she going to find one of those…

Luck smiled on Nitara the day she found Reptile. She bribed the cold-blooded warrior with a sword of his ancestors (she actually found the thing in a Cracker Jack box, and Reptile knew this, but he was just happy to receive a gift from anybody), and demanded he incapacitate Cyrax, a robot man that had wandered into Outworld in pursuit of something to do. Reptile obeyed, and this left Cyrax damaged and without a way home, so Nitara made a deal with the cyborg: retrieve this orb dealy in a lake of lava, and I’ll send you home. Cyrax trusted Nitara completely (robots and vampires always get along [it’s in the Bible]), performed her task, and was sent home without so much as a kiss on the robo-cheek. Nitara destroyed the orb, her realm was instantly separated from Outworld, and she awoke back on the (presumably not at all sunny) shores of Vaeternus. Happy ending all around!

Nitara then found an excuse to return for Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, as she had to defeat Ashrah, a demon from Mortal Kombat: Deception that was making it her job to kill anything demonic or demon-adjacent. Apparently vampires qualified. Nitara set off to defeat Ashrah, but, like everybody else in MK:A, she died in the melee. And she didn’t even get to be revived in the new Mortal Kombat universe or comic book. Her last known whereabouts involve MK11 Erron Black casually noting that they used to date. Hey! There would be a good tag-team partner!

Oh, and that orb thingy? Turns out that was the incubation “egg” for the revival of the Dragon King. When Nitara broke it, she freed her realm, but she also released a spirit that possessed Reptile and transformed him into Onaga, the Once and Future King of Outworld. How did that work out? Well…

Next time: Onaga and his favorite idiot.

MKK: Fujin & Sareena

Mortal Kombat Mythologies splits Sub-Zero’s quest into two parts. First, Subs must venture through a temple of themed elements like some common Light Warrior, and defeat a quartet of elementally themed “guardians”. In the context of MKM, it appears these creatures are little more than themed boss fights, and not “for real” antagonists. They do not speak, they do not have personalities, and they’re simply a parade of stock fiends. Earth is represented by a golem of the Castlevania variety, Fire is a really obvious palette (body?) swap of Raiden (but on fire), Water is played by Tobias Fünke, and Air is just some dude in a cape that accidentally gets shredded by his own tornados. They’re more interesting bosses than the generic monks that comprise most of Sub-Zero’s opponents, but I don’t think anyone expected “wind guy” to ever make a comeback.

God of Farts
(not Thor)

So here’s Fujin, God of Wind, and Raiden’s secret best buddy.

Fujin wasn’t even named in Mortal Kombat Mythologies, but he popped back into the universe for Mortal Kombat 4. He’s also not just a “wind guardian” hanging out in some forgotten temple, he’s the God of Wind for the whole of Earth, and one of the last surviving gods after Shinnok decided to reinvade the planet. Sorry, rock guy, you didn’t make the cut. And, while it is nice to see another god participating in Mortal Kombat (is Raiden the only deity that finds to the time to work on his abs?), Fujin basically existed in the plot of MK4 to be Raiden’s sidekick. Fujin’s vaguely kanonical ending sees Raiden getting promoted to Elder God (which definitely happened), and Fujin moving up a rank to fill Raiden’s former position as Captain Planet.

God of Farts

And then Raiden returned to his old position a whole game later, so Fujin had to stand in the divine unemployment line. Don’t worry, man, you’ll be fine. You’re a wind god! And you have experience with Excel!

Fujin finally got his gusts together three games later in Mortal Kombat Armageddon. Here, Raiden was going through his goth phase, and hanging out with new friends like Zombie Liu Kang, so Fujin decided to step in and be the good god around town with his new buddy, Only Sort of a Zombie Kung Lao. The two technically didn’t do anything, but Raiden was back to good by the end of Mortal Kombat Armageddon, so maybe Fujin’s noble actually-doing-something-for-a-change turned Raiden’s frown upside down. And then everybody died.

Mortal Kombat 10 started with a retread of MK4, so Fujin at least got to cameo during the opening cinema scenes. Once again, he’s assisting Raiden as (unconfirmed) the last surviving god against Shinnok’s invading forces. He’s not seen in the “future” of MK10, but one would assume he’s blowing Quan Chi’s farts around just off camera. There’s no reason to believe he isn’t in good health.

God of Farts

… Oh, except Frost apparently iced Fujin off-screen sometime before Mortal Kombat 11. She won’t shut up about it. So, uh, sorry, Fooj. At least you had a better run than that fire guy.

The second half of Mortal Kombat Mytholgies sees Quan Chi run off to hell with an amulet that could destroy the universe. Sub-Zero is guilted into chasing after the sorcerer by Raiden’s incessant nagging, and the rest of the game is Sub-Zero’s Inferno. Here, Sub-Zero must battle Shinnok’s personal death cult, The Brotherhood of Shadow. And, because MK can’t name its organizations correctly (a bunch of white guys are the Black Dragons? Really?), the most prominent members of The Brotherhood of Shadows are… sisters.

I remember you

And it’s here that we meet Sareena, Mortal Kombat’s most forgotten female.

After stomping the elemental guardians, Sub-Zero needed some bosses to fight before making his way to Quan Chi and Shinnok. Thus, the mook sisters were dispatched by Quan Chi, presumably because Ed Boon wasn’t going to go to all the trouble of filming a live action movie if it didn’t include real women dressed up in skimpy leather. So Sub-Zero wound up pursued by Sareena, Regina, and Purina (uh… I think those are their names). Sub-Zero killed the two most forgettable sisters, but he also read the strategy guide for his own game beforehand, so he spared Sareena. This paid off just in time for the final boss fights, as Sareena teamed up with Sub-Zero to defeat her master, Quan Chi. Unfortunately, she was vaporized moments later by Shinnok. Wow, sorry Sareena, looks like you die even when Sub-Zero spares you. Guess you’re doomed to perish before the Mortal Kombat timeline technically starts just so our hero can have enough man pain to make it over the finish line. Sorry again.

But it turns out she was fine! Sareena is technically a demon (that is merely disguised as a sexy lady), and if you kill a demon in the Netherrealm, she’ll just respawn on some other level. Hooray! Sareena didn’t make it back in time for Mortal Kombat 4, but she did return for Mortal Kombat Deadly Alliance. Sorta.

Apparently the developers of Mortal Kombat Deadly Alliance put together a sort of “what if” mockup of Sareena, a fighter that had never actually been playable and only existed in Mortal Kombat Mythologies. The directors really liked what was produced… but MKDA was already practically out the door. These days, she’d likely wind up as a DLC choice, but that wasn’t so much a thing in 2002. The solution? She was the only completely original kharacter added to one portable version of MKDA (Sektor and Noob Saibot were also added, but they were palette swaps). The downside? This was still back when “portable version” meant “Gameboy Advance”.

I remember you

Her premiere was… not exactly inspiring.

Mortal Kombat: Tournament Edition saw a Sareena that had a whole two special moves. She could fire a skull (pretty typical demon fare) and do a cartwheel (because she’s a lady). She had one fatality that involved some random punching. Her fighting style was a grab bag from three other female fighters (Sonya, Frost, and Li Mei, three kharacters that were cut from this version of DA) She was not very memorable.

But she was there! And she wanted her revenge on Quan Chi! Which she didn’t get! Naturally!

A lot of fans speculated that now, with her model all existing an’ stuff, she’d be a shoo-in for the next Mortal Kombat title, MK: Deception. Unsurprisingly, she didn’t appear at all.

But she did return as a playable kharacter in Mortal Kombat: Armageddon! And she was, oddly enough, one of the best fighters in the game, as her projectiles (now back to throwing knives she showed off in her initial appearance) were the fastest in the game. Was this a way for the kreators of Mortal Kombat to apologize for the oft-neglected Sareena, or was it simply the result of Sareena being one of the few wholly original, not completely reused fighters on the roster, and thus was unbalanced as hell? Who knows!

I remember you

Whatever the case, most of her history and backstory is filled in during this featured adventure. She’s a big scary demon, but she needed Quan Chi to maintain human form, but then she got over that, and she joined the Lin Kuei (Sub-Zero’s clan) after MKA, but she got lost or something, and is now back to working for Quan Chi like her sisters, but she’s planning on betraying him at the earliest opportunity. Got all that? It’s pretty much exactly her MK:M story, except maybe this time she’ll survive. Which she doesn’t. But at least everybody else died, too!

Sareena hasn’t been a playable kharacter in the new MK universe, but she did pop up during the story mode of Mortal Kombat X. In this case, she was fighting some of the (formerly good) undead hordes of Quan Chi, and claiming that there was a better way, and they could escape his control like she did. For anyone that remembered her from MK:M, this was a pretty cool cameo. For the vast number of Mortal Kombat players that never heard of that game, however, she likely just came off as some kind of deranged, gothic Jehova’s Witness (Raiden’s Witness?). Other than that, we haven’t seen… Oh, wait a minute, apparently Sareena returns as part of Kabal’s ending in Mortal Kombat 11 as…

I remember you

Okay, she’s unnamed in the text, but apparently Kabal’s dream of a better life is not ever being scarred, owning a mansion with attack helicopters, and having 2.5 kids and a dog with a noted demon from Hell. This is an odd choice, but, hey, at least someone remembered Sareena existed.

Next time: It’s time for the original Mortal Kombat 4 fighters. Oh no!

MKK: Shinnok

You ever think back on old 80’s cartoons where there was some unstoppable evil force (think Cobra Commander, Megatron, Skeletor, or Ronald Reagan), but they got routinely trounced every week, so why were you afraid of them, again? Like Gargamel was a malevolent antagonist that was attempting genocide for monetary gain, but he was also routinely thwarted by a pack of brownies with names like “Happy Smurf”. Why was he at all threatening? He failed every single time! There was no stopping stopping him! He would always fail!

And here’s a villain cut from the same cloth.

BABY HANDS

Shinnok was an Elder God. The dedicated theology of Mortal Kombat is ever mutable and confusing on a good day, but we do have a general god hierarchy. There are gods of individual realms, and they seem to be based on elements and such. And then there are Elder Gods, who are gods that got promoted to the City Council of the Gods. However, what Elder Gods actually do is nebulous and unclear. We think they’re supposed to protect the realms? Probably? Well, whatever the case, Shinnok was a proud member of the God Squad, but then got demoted back in prehistory when he attempted to take the whole of Earthrealm (that’s our realm!) for himself. Raiden, (regular) god of Earth, led his own squad o’ gods against Shinnok, and eventually saved the day through a massive attack that unfortunately leveled nearly all life on Earth. In your primitive, human science, you refer to this event as the start of the Ice Age.

So, yes, it is Mortal Kombat kanon that a war between Shinnok and Raiden is what killed the dinosaurs. That’s f%#&ing metal.

Shinnok was punished for his transgression by being damned from the heavens to forever dwell in the Netherrealm, aka the Hell of the Mortal Kombat universe. Now, you might be thinking at this point that this whole mythology is kind of clever, and is arguably a retelling of the popular Christian interpretation of Lucifer/Satan, the fallen angel, waging war in Heaven and then being damned to Hell for his hubris. And that would be cool if not for the fact that “Lucifer” is already ruling in Hell. Yes, it is kanon that Shinnok was damned to Hell and then punished and tormented by the ruler of the Netherrealm, Lucifer. So, apparently, this kind of “fallen divine being” thing routinely happens in the Mortal Kombat universe.

BABY HANDS

Lucifer tortured Shinnok for a few thousand years, but eventually Shinnok made a pact with a demon-wizard, Quan Chi. Quan Chi would aid Shinnok in overthrowing Lucifer, but, in exchange, Shinnok would have to go out for ice cream with Quan Chi at least once every two weeks. Shinnok, ever the scheming god, managed to negotiate this down to once a month, but only because he convinced the vain Quan Chi that too many treats would make him “kinda paunchy”, which is not a good look for a bald guy. And so the two demon bros overthrew Lucifer, and Shinnok became the uncontested god of the underworld (and Quan Chi got Lucifer’s stash of black lipstick).

But Shinnok still wanted to rule Earthrealm, so he hatched a plan to eventually reclaim what he saw as his birthright. Back when Shinnok was still living it up as an Elder God, he transferred the bulk of his power to a magical amulet. Why did he do this? Why did he willingly concede his own power to a trinket that could be removed or stolen? Well, obviously, if we knew the answer to that, then we’d be as smart as Elder Gods, right? And do I see you ruling any mystical realms filled with multi-armed weirdos? No! So shut-up and just deal with the fact that there’s a magical amulet out there possessing all of Shinnok’s powers, and he managed to drop it on his way down to Hell. And Raiden nabbed this amulet, and, as one does, sealed its power in four elemental dungeons guarded by four elemental bosses. And, worst of all, Raiden didn’t tell Shinnok where any of those elemental temples were! Is the fire one in a volcano? But which one? Earth has so many! This left good ol’ Quan Chi to align himself with Shao Kahn and Shang Tsung, and set up a little tit-for-tat for the information Shang Tsung had gained from devouring a million or so souls over the years. Quan Chi discovered the location of the amulet, Shao Kahn gained the ability to revive his dead wife at the time and dimension of his choosing, and everybody was happy. Quan Chi eventually used this information to hire Sub-Zero, reclaim the amulet, and nearly free Shinnok from Hell… but Shinnok decided to chill and wait for a little bit when Sub-Zero fought back. Soon, my pet, soon we’ll have all the failure we can carry in our wee, skeletal baby hands…

BABY HANDS

Shinnok’s big day finally came after Mortal Kombat 3. Shao Kahn’s attempted merging of the realms was just enough to weaken everyone’s defenses, and Shinnok started his invasion with… Edenia, for some reason. In what must have been the first infernal invasion based on a Benny Hill sketch, Shinnok and his buddies disguised themselves as helpless refugees, snuck into Kitana’s home realm, and took over the place inside of an hour. Edenians are really good at being conquered. Then Shinnok turned his divine eyes on Earthrealm, and kicked off Mortal Kombat 4 with a fighting tournament (as this is how things are done). Unfortunately, things went south for Shinnok almost immediately. For one thing, Shinnok was only “empowered” during this time because of Quan Chi, who had stolen the real super amulet, and was kind of making a point of standing next to Shinnok at all times, letting the old god soak up ambient amulet rays, and hoping he wouldn’t notice the ruse. This plan fell apart when Scorpion dragged Quan Chi right back to Hell (which, come to think of it, wouldn’t it have been easier for Scorpion to get his revenge while everyone was already in Hell?), and Shinnok was left fairly defenseless against the combined might of the Earthrealm warriors. As ever, Liu Kang delivered the final jump kick to that dollar-store Shang Tsung, and Shinnok was sent right back down to where the goblins go.
BABY HANDS

Absolutely no one begged for the return of Shinnok, so he spent some quality time with his remaining infernal minions until Mortal Kombat: Armageddon. Shinnok was one of the many supporting villains in that tale, and he spent a little time allying himself with the protagonist of that adventure’s (literal) evil twin. But, in the end, Shao Kahn won that battle anyway, so Shinnok was left dead on the ground… which kind of shouldn’t be possible, but I’ll allow it, because it means there is one less Shinnok in the universe.

Take 2 on this story. When the Mortal Kombat kontinuity rebooted, it rebooted at the restore point of Mortal Kombat 1, so all of Shinnok’s complicated mythology remained firmly in place. However, this universe featured a Quan Chi that, thanks to a coin flip that went a different way, got two scoops of Scorpion Flamin’ Hot Crunch, and not Stryker’s Sundae Best. As a result, Quan Chi was in a much better mood in time for Mortal Kombat 4, and decided to give Shinnok the real amulet for this go round. Well, either that, or since Quan Chi had gained an entire army of superpowered undead karate wizards, he decided he didn’t need the stupid amulet anyway. Whatever the case, Shinnok kicked off nu-MK4 completely flush with power, and forsook his whole “Edenian refugees plan” for just flying in on an army of winged demons. Less evil masterminding, more shock and awe. But! Bad news for ol’ Shinnok again, just when the big bad was going to conquer the planet, Johnny Cage stepped up to the plate and magic-kicked Shinnok into next week. And next week is precisely when Raiden figured he could seal Shinnok within his own stupid amulet. So rebooted MK4 is over before it begins thanks to Raiden having not ever once played a JRPG featuring an ancient, evil god sealed into mystical jewelry (which, come to think of it, is every JRPG).

BABY HANDS

So the proper story of Mortal Kombat 10 is that, about twenty years after MK4*, most of the planet seems to be in a mad scramble to either release or permanently seal Shinnok from/to his amulet. As must inevitably happen in such a narrative, Shinnok escapes his bonds again, and… is immediately defeated by a teenage girl. Before Shinnok is Kim Possible’d into defeat, though, he does manage to obtain some kind of “devil form” by welding that amulet onto his tummy. Makes for a dude that at least looks like a decent final boss (finally!). But then Raiden chops off the former Elder God’s head. Shinnok is thus theoretically alive for the rest of eternity, but left as little more than a sputtering skull.

Shinnok isn’t technically consciously involved in Mortal Kombat 11 (some of his old zombie pals use his head as a mystical set of AAs), but his mom does show up, who turns out to be the Goddess/Titan of Time. And it’s revealed that Shinnok’s sister is also the Goddess of Good & Life, recontextualizing Shinnok as distinctly her opposite number, the God of Evil & Death. This really makes you wonder how Shinnok got a seat in the pantheon before his fall… but I guess it’s all about who you know, even when you’re a god of repeated failures.

NO MORE BABY HANDS

Next time: Some more gods and demons.