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A Brief History Of Mortal Kombat’s Questionable Kharacter Designs
When you think fighting game rosters, you think awesome and spectacular character designs that stand out like Ryu, Chun-Li, Jedah, Morrigan, Iori Yagami, Ivy Valentine(?), and more.
Unfortunately, you don’t see the same kind of honour bestowed upon the Mortal Kombat franchise. True, we get the most iconic characters in the form of a yellow and a blue ninja, but everything about MK’s character design screams “90s” and “product of its time”.
Which is fine and all, since characters like Johnny Cage and Kano are meant to stand out. But if you want creative entries that beg to be taken seriously, well, look elsewhere.
I mean, look at the newest MK11 character Geras. He doesn’t particularly scream “inventive”. If you told me he was supposed to be a new hero in an upcoming He-Man live-action reboot, I’d believe you.
Still, props for the Baraka, Shao Kahn, Raiden redesign. All I’m saying is that the Mortal Kombat series has that cheese factor in its character design, and I bless them wholeheartedly for preserving it. From the awesomely bad to the hilariously awesome, here they are.
Never mind the fact that this cowpoke is quite a handful to deal with in a high-level tournament setting. This guy is basically a cowboy with a gimp mask and a sword. If that doesn’t scream “Masters of the Universe” design from a 6 year-old, I don’t know what does.
Oh wait, I know the answer to that…
Ed Boon proclaimed this MK: Deception hero as a “next-generation Liu Kang” after killing him off in MK: Deadly Alliance. I’d say he has as much charisma and staying power as a harem anime protagonist in the real world. And what does he do when he fights? He “shapeshifts” to any character you want, so he’s basically a good guy version of Shang Tsung.
At least Shang Tsung had a ton more aesthetic changes that matched his weasely sorceror look. Shujinko’s just a generic Asian filler character who grows old.
Yowza, it’s like the character designers here saw the past games and thought to themselves “let’s turn these designs into stripper outfit concepts”. And voila; sexy ninjas and spec ops units who don’t feel out of place in those special cosplay burlesque club that would headline Stella Chuu and Jessica Nigri.
I didn’t think Midway would go far as to create a Rule 63 Sub-Zero, yet here we are. At least the Rule 63 Ryu was a schoolgirl with a completely different personality and moveset. Frost just looks like a Sub-Zero groupie who came out from an Edenia rave.
Oh look, an oriental Masters of the Universe action figure. Don’t act too shocked if Midway based this off of an unreleased Mattel concept.
Something tells me the devs loved Blade and Blade II a lot when they designed this guy. At least Geras is a small step up from this generic black dude who looks like the missing member of the Furious Five.
Something tells me the devs loved Street Fighter 2’s Ken a lot when they designed this guy. Hey, if they’re going to make cheap knock-offs of characters, I’m allowed to re-use a previous sentence, alright?
You have a game that has a movie star, a thunder god, and a ninja from hell. You have a third game coming up; how will you top your previous designs? If you say “with a mall cop with toy guns”, then congratulations, you get a raise in Midway.
In every other video game company, you get s***canned. How this guy made it through playtesting and onto a roster filled with supernatural warriors is beyond me.
Yeah, this was at the point in the franchise where they ran out of ideas. If you thought mall cop was bad, we have a mo-cap actor as a fighter. Honestly, Midway made better jokes and easter eggs than….this.
Motaro in MK3 is a cool centaur boss who shoots lasers from his tail. Motaro in MK Armageddon is a lame-ass minotaur. WHY THE FLYING F*** WOULD YOU TAKE AWAY THE ONE COOL ASPECT OF YOUR BADASS MID-BOSS?!?
There you have it; the worst designs in Mortal Kombat history. There’s probably more we missed out, so let us know who should be on this list. In any case, we’re sure NetherRealms will come up with better character designs for MK11, slated for 23rd April on PS4, Xbox One, PC, and Switch.
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