In 1992, the original Mortal Kombat game hit Arcades and it’s characters were unlike anything fans had seen before. Real life fighters dropping buckets of blood when hit with an uppercut, and the ability to finish off your opponents at the end of the match, in ways mimicking the ultra violence of 80’s Horror B-movies.
Scorpion and Sub-Zero became mainstream video game icons, the voice of “Get over here!” is recognizable by anyone that played games in the 90s, and who can forget when the undead yellow ninja appeared on the show “Drawn Together” and performed a Fatality on Xandir?
With a cast of popular fighters, lots of gaming sequels (including a couple of reboots), animated cartoons, live action films and series, comics, and even a game where MK characters fight a roster of DC Super Heroes, the franchise is coming full circle with the release of Mortal Kombat 1.
So now is a great time to go back to the early 1990s and see the original characters chosen to defend the Earthrealm from the Outworld (and their enemies), here they are
Table of Contents
All Characters in the Original Mortal Kombat (1992)
He’s the main character of the series and the hero of the first games. A Shaolin monk and members of the White Lotus Society, protectors of the Earthrealm. He enters the tournament to defeat the current champion “Goro”, a 4-armed creature from another dimension who is the current Mortal Kombat Champion.
His fighting style is based on Jeet Kun Do, and is very acrobatic, with lots of jumping kicks. He also has the ability to create fireballs.
Trivia: his martial art is called “Jun Fan”, and is a wordplay on Bruce Lee’s real name, Lee Jun-fan.
Jonathan Carlton is a famous Hollywood action movie star, who has trained in many different fighting styles with masters all over the world.
He enters the MK Tournament to prove that he has actual martial arts skills and it is not just the camera that makes him look good.
He is a cocky fighter and fond of making jokes. He is actually a descendant of a cult that bred warriors for the gods and was trained by great masters, thus he has special abilities such as the “Shadow Kick” that propels him forward while leaving green shadows behind.
He allies with Liu Kang and Sonya to protect the Earthrealm.
Trivia: His appearance is based on Jean Claude Van Damme’s look in the movie Bloodsport. The Belgian actor was supposed to digitize himself to play Cage in the game, but he couldn’t because of his filming schedule.
The only female character in the game, Sonya is a member of a U.S. Special Forces unit, she uses acrobatics in her fighting moves and military technology to shoot pink projectiles from her wrists.
Her target is Kano, the leader of a group of mercenaries called the Black Dragon.
She unwillingly enters the Mortal Kombat tournament after following Kano to the island where it takes place, and fights to protect her unit which is being held hostage by the tournament organizer, the dark sorcerer Shang Tsung.
Trivia: She is based on Martial Artist and actress Cynthia Rothrock, who was inducted into the Black Belt Magazine Hall of Fame in 1983.
A dangerous criminal that goes to the island where the MK tournament is being held, after hearing rumors that Shang Tsung’s palace is filled with treasure. Sonya is on his trail for his criminal activity, and he killed one of her partners in a previous mission to capture him.
Kano is a dirty fighter and relies on weapons such as knives to get the upper hand. He was disfigured in his right eye in a fight with Jax (who debuted in MKII), so now he has a metal plate with a cybernetic red eye.
Trivia: His red eye was based on The Terminator, in the scene where the T-800 removes the damaged organic tissue over his robotic eye.
The God of Thunder and protector of the Earthrealm. He created the White Lotus Society and chose Liu Kang as his champion to enter the MK tournament. He takes on a human form to participate as well, after receiving a personal invitation from Shang Tsung.
This Deity has the power to summon electricity at will, and uses it to throw lightning at his opponents. The Thunder God is also capable of flying and able to teleport.
Trivia: Raiden is based on the character “Lighting” from the movie Big Trouble in Little China (1986).
Hanzo Hasashi was a ninja from the Shirai Ryu clan, that was killed by Sub-Zero and resurrected as a hellspawn. Now he can summon hellfire and is very skilled at using a kunai on a rope to cut into opponents and pull them close to him.
He vowed to kill his murderer and enters the MK tournament to exact revenge.
Trivia: His real name is based on Hattori Hanzo, a legendary real-life Ninja from the 16th century, who was also killed by a member of a rival clan.
Bi-Han is a warrior from the Lin Kuei clan of assassins. He has ice powers and can freeze opponents by shooting ice balls from his hands. Before the events of the Mortal Kombat tournament, he killed Scorpion who is now tracking him down looking for vengeance.
His clan has a contract to eliminate Shang Tsung, and after receiving a personal tournament invitation from him, he decides to enter in order to get his head, unaware that Scorpion has been resurrected.
Trivia: His original name was going to be “Tundra”, which was later used for his younger brother in Mortal Kombat (2011) instead.
Goro (Sub Boss)
He’s the prince of the Shokan race, half-man half-dragon creatures, and the current champion of Mortal Kombat. He is super strong and can throw fireballs with his 4 hands.
He is the commander of an army of the Outworld and has won the MK tournament 9 times. If he were to win it for a 10th, the time would come to conquer the Earthrealm and enslave all humanity.
Although champion, Goro is only a sub-boss in this game with the real fight yet to come.
Trivia: Unlike all the other actors for the characters, Goro is a clay doll added to the game using stop-motion animation techniques. He is based on monsters from classic fantasy live actions films that were inserted into the movies with similar techniques.
Secret Character: Reptile
Syzoth is a reptilian of a race called “Saurian”, which evolved from dinosaurs on Earth, and later moved to another realm called “Zaterra”. He is not a playable character and doesn’t officially participate in the tournament but instead watches over his master Shang Tsung.
Players can fight against him if certain conditions are met.
He has the power to turn himself invisible and shapeshift into a human form. His saliva is acid and can even dissolve metal. He looks like a green color swap of Scorpion and Sub-Zero and uses their same moves (getting his own moves in the sequel).
Trivia: Reptile is the 1st Secret Character to ever appear in a versus fighting game.
Shang Tsung (Final Boss)
He is an evil sorcerer that consumes souls and can shapeshift, turning into other characters from the game. He is the servant of the emperor of the Outworld, Shao Kahn, and oversees the Mortal Kombat Tournament.
If Goro manages to win 10 tournaments in a row, this will create a dimensional imbalance that would allow an army from the Outworld to invade the Earthrealm, and Shang Tsung is responsible to see this happen.
He is depicted as an old Asian man, but gets a young look in the sequels.
Trivia: Like Raiden, he is based on a character from the movie Big Trouble in Little China, in his case Lo Pan.