Top 10 Worst Mortal Kombat Characters
Mortal Kombat has been on my brain lately, and I can’t shake it. There’s the new Mortal Kombat X that’s been eating up a lot of my gaming time, and it’s gotten me charged about any and all things MK. A few days ago I put together a list of Mortal Kombat NPCs that I’d like to see as playable characters, and that very quickly led to me thinking about the franchise’s worst offerings. (Don’t forget to also check out my list of 10 Things that MKX Did Right!)
This may not be the most analytical list ever, it’s just who comes to mind when I think of boring, pointless characters that would’ve been better off left on the drawing board. Oh and for the record, none of the new characters from MKX made it to the list…fortunately the Story Mode endeared me to all of them to an extent!
Ah, good ol’ Stryker. He’s been around so long that it seems almost pointless to hate him. But ever since his stout-ish figure with the goofy backwards cap came on the scene in MK3, he’s been a constant source of eye-rolling. MK3 debuted plenty of new characters, and Stryker couldn’t hold a candle to any of them, even if he did throw grenades.
Although his story is one of the more believable, that also makes it one of the more uninteresting. A SWAT officer caught up in the Outworld invasion of Earth, he ends up being one of Raiden’s chosen warriors. I guess the use of modern weapons was inevitable, but it still feels a little out of place…first one through the wall always gets a little bloody, right? In UMK3 he was given an actual gun as a projectile move, which I guess made him a little bit cooler…but he’s still Kurtis fucking Stryker.
Oddly enough, the MK team had been dreaming up Stryker since Day One and wanted to put a similar character in the first game. They went with Sonya instead. When MK2 came around, they again tossed around the idea of “K. Stryker” but went with Jax instead. Despite his “everyman” appearance, he’s supposed to be an extremely capable fighter in the right hands…but I’ll never buy the likes of a police officer going up against ninja robots, hellspawn, sorcerers, and extra-dimensional warlords.
Don’t feel too bad Kurtis, at least you’re only number 10! Oh, and despite the “sleeker” MKA redesign, you still look goofy as hell…maybe even more so.
9. Bo’ Rai Cho
You know, Bo’ Rai Cho didn’t have to be on this list. We made it over 10 years without toilet humor playing a role in Mortal Kombat, but I guess Boon and Co. couldn’t resist. Enter Bo’ Rai Cho, the master warrior who can’t make it through a match without belching, farting, or puking. Not only that, he’s a drunk. And not only that, he’s a fat guy. Why don’t we have a skinny guy puking up his guts? Doesn’t Liu Kang ever have a bout of flatulence, or is just cinnamon and fairies that come out of his ass?
Aside from all that bullshit, I think they had a pretty good idea with Bo’ Rai Cho. He’s an important teacher and an awesome warrior, and yet he can’t fight for Earth because he’s actually an Outworlder. It all fits in well enough, and it certainly isn’t the worst role they’ve thought up for a new character. But why oh why does he have to be a disgusting piece of shit? It’s impossible to take the guy seriously. I can’t even play as the guy because I can’t stand the thought of him actually propelling himself off the ground with an on-command burst of GREEN ASS GAS.
I know some people get a kick out of this shit, but seriously, would MK have lost anything by cutting this shit out? His Hara-Kiri involves holding a fart until he explodes. WHAT THE FUCK. Maybe next time he can choke on his own vomit. Or crap his pants for a health boost. Ugh.
Ok, so maybe this guy has a sort of cliched Ryu-meets-Ken appearance, but even if derivative, at least he doesn’t look like a total tool. It turns out he’s just a whiny street punk trying to prove himself to the Black Dragon. He doesn’t even do anything. Seriously. Why is he here? What is he supposed to do? Did the MK team need more generic white guys to fill in their roster of generic Asian guys?
That’s it. I wanted to fill this space with something profound or at least funny, but that’s it. There is literally nothing else to say about Kobra, and it’s already been a chore writing this much. There’s not even a real reason not to like him, he’s just so completely unremarkable that there’s nothing to like. 100% useless.
Fun Fact: In MKX, the fighters share a short character-dependent dialog before the start of each match. When playing as Erron Black, he makes a comment to Kano about killing a member of the Black Dragon…”I think his name was Kobra,” gloats Erron.
7. Hsu Hao
I may not have hated Hsu Hao as much as MK’s development team or other fans, but he was a pretty formless character. Mostly he served the role of being another member of the Red Dragon clan and never really gained much of a purpose. Part of this was due to the development team themselves. Since they had such disdain for Hsu Hao, they deliberately chose to make him uninteresting as well as a bit of a weakling when it came to plot points. In many ways, Hsu Hao sucked because the development team thought he sucked and so they made him suck.
He was also a bit of a dumb grunt, acting as little more than muscle for hire or your standard goon. He certainly didn’t seem like one of the greatest warriors that the realms had to offer, and his wanna-be Iron Man chest implant Kano ripoff didn’t help his individuality either.
Sometimes I totally forget about this dude. Oh right, one of those guys mixed up in the whole Orderrealm/Chaosrealm shit from Deception. Once again, I’m at a loss for words. Part of Darrius being one of the worst characters is having absolutely nothing to say about him, negative or positive. There are divisive characters and then there are those that are totally forgettable. Darrius remained pretty much unconnected to anyone except for other newcomers from Seido and Chaosrealm and had a basic, uninspiring appearance as well.
Once again, I’m speechless. Jax could totally take this guy. Anybody could take this guy.
Kira was introduced alongside Kobra as a way to beef up the Black Dragon’s presence in MK. Unfortunately for her, she’s even more irrelevant than Kobra. At least Kobra is/was a Ken rip off. Kira is just a bland mishmash of Kano and Sonya. Part of why she doesn’t work is because her story was intertwined with Kobra’s, and their whole little competition to be in the Black Dragon never really played out or had much of a purpose.
I know that Deception was an attempt to throw some new characters into the mix, but wanna-be thugs somehow don’t play into this ultimate battle in/for/through the realms of existence. I’m not totally against “everyman” characters, but I do think they need a hell of a backstory to cement their importance within the series and generate above average interest.
Oops! I did it again! Another member of the Black Dragon! Jarek has a fair bit of seniority over both Kobra and Kira, but I’m putting him lower on the list because he seems to have sparked this whole trend of insidious Black Dragon inclusions. MK4 was an experiment gone wrong in several ways, and I count Jarek as one of the most flagrant wastes of space.
The real issue with Jarek seems to be that the development team didn’t even try to do anything different or unique with him. Several of the new characters in MK4 were quasi-copies of existing characters, for instance Reiko borrowed heavily from Noob Saibot, Kai from Liu Kang, and Tanya from Kitana. It turns out that a lot of Kano’s moves had been programmed into the game already, and then the developers decided more new characters were in order, so they slapped Jarek in. The laziness is almost too much to bear – check out his “Cannonball” moves in MK4/MKG as well as his fatalities, the “Heart Rip” and the “Eye Laser.” Not many moments in Mortal Kombat have been as confusing as seeing Jarek randomly shoot lasers out of his eyes.
Remember that feeling of sitting down with MK Deception and being unable to resist the urge to play as Ashrah? Me either. In fact, I don’t think that feeling even exists. Ever since I was introduced to Ashrah, I’ve been immediately put off by her presence. Let me count the ways!
First of all, she looks fucking ridiculous. I don’t know what the hell her outfit is supposed to represent, but I hate it hate it hate it. On the one hand I can appreciate the team’s decision to include a female without all of her parts hanging out, but they didn’t have to make her look like this, did they?
Second, her character is a major outlier in the series. Deception tries to ingratiate her with us by giving her ties to Ermac and other beings of the Netherrealm, though she is very, very much on the outside of all the big stuff. I think trying to draw a bridge between her and Nitara/the vampire people/Vaeternus was a smart move, but like a lot of plot points, this never went anywhere amid the clusterfuck of Armageddon.
Finally, she was supposed to be something of a “former” demon or a demon with enough good deeds under her belt to give her the semblance of a human. Sounds cool enough right? Yet the development team didn’t ever choose to accentuate this fact when it came to her looks, attitude, special moves, or anything else.
Ashrah was so far removed from events like Shao Kahn’s rule and the MK Tournament that I have a hard time even considering her as a serious contender. Really amazing characters should be characters that one can visualize “winning”….but really, would Ashrah ever be written as a stronger fighter than Sub-Zero, or Sonya, or Shang Tsung, etc.? Of course not. We know she’s toast from the beginning.
Without a doubt the most forgettable character to ever hit the MK roster, I think it’s kind of funny that his story is wrapped up with Darrius. But hey, at least Darrius was “that black dude,” whereas Dairou fades almost instantly into the background without so much as a whimper.
The main problem here is that Dairou was swept up in this whole Orderrealm/Chaosrealm drama that never really went anywhere or seemed to have much of an impact on the series’ major events. I will admit that it made for some reasonably fun “adventures” in Deception’s Konquest Mode (then again I like Deception’s Konquest more than most), but it never really felt like these conflicts were fully integrated into the larger story. It’s also a bummer that Dairou shares major storyline elements with another boring-as-hell character. Darrius was an inhabitant of Orderrealm who suddenly went and followed the “ways of Chaos”….oh and Dairou was an Orderrealm-er who switched teams and started following “the ways of Chaos.”
Characters like Dairou with almost no defining visual traits are an easy target to dislike and it doesn’t help that they’re continually shoved to the sidelines. Had the MK team taken a different route with all this Order/Chaos shit and used it to anchor a separate game instead of haphazardly slinging it at us in Deception, then maybe we’d be more inclined to give a damn about these people.
Ah, Mokap. There’s really no good excuse for your existence, is there? Mokap began life as a secret character in Deadly Alliance, supposedly a tribute to Carlos Pesina who performed a substantial amount of motion capture work for the series back when the characters were digitized. Hey that’s cool, honor people however you like, but is a stupid ass character really any kind of honor at all?
Mokap never really has his own story, simply existing as some dude with an awesome knowledge of martial arts. I guess I could buy that, but why the fuck would he wear his motion capture gear out and about? Doesn’t he have any clue how ridiculous he looks walking around in a suit full of light bulbs? No, of course he doesn’t, because he’s a fucking joke. With his appearance in Deadly Alliance, he had no unique fighting styles, no weapon, and no finishing moves…and for good reason he didn’t pop up again until Armageddon, where attendance was mandatory.
I don’t know which is worse; for the developers to create joke characters, or for the developers to try and turn joke characters into “real” characters because of a very vocal set of fans who absolutely can’t wrap their heads around non-canon characters popping up in this world. I mean great, Mokap was back for MKA, now I can finally play out all those fights I never thought I’d be able to, like Mokap vs. Rain, Mokap vs. Goro, and best of all, Mokap vs. Meat….having every character is overrated. At least duds like Darrius, Dairou, Kobra, and Kira were intended to fit within the existing MK universe. Mokap is just an idiot. For all his martial arts knowledge, you think he’d be smart enough to change into something totally badass before linking up with the guys responsible for saving reality.
R.I.P. Mokap. Your greatest contribution? Yelling “OH! MY BALLS!” when attacked during Deception’s Konquest.
I know that Meat would be a virtual shoe-in for most fans’ list of worst MK characters, but I feel like I have a good reason for leaving him off. True, Meat had some sketchy origins. He essentially existed as an alternate costume for each and every character in MK4, and he’s never really presented as a “real character.” However, he pops up again in MKA as a hulking, skinless mass of blood and tissue with a quick blurb regarding Shang Tsung’s flesh pits. In my mind he’s one of the coolest looking new additions to MKA with his constant bleeding, bloody footprints, hanging eyeball, and zombie-like special moves including rolling his head at the opponent. Meat, and the development team, deserve a little credit for coming so far so fast. A good character? No. But at least his novelty was successfully transitioned into an oddity.
In a similar boat to that of Jarek, Tanya was a bit of a copycat character created for MK4. She came into her own a little more for MKA, and in her latest appearance during MKX, she shows some definite potential. Her confirmed appearance as a downloadable character leaves me even more hopeful regarding her redemption, so for the time being, she’s getting a pass in my book.
You know, I actually sort of liked Kai back in MK4. He seemed like a welcome mellower counterpart to similar characters like the headstrong Kung Lao and the honor-bound Liu Kang. He was fun to play as too. But alas, he was ignored until the series-wide roll call in MKA, where he was then turned into “Generic-Ass 5000” with a dull and drab appearance that was a little too similar to Jarek’s new look. Apparently, Boon intended to have Kai walk on his hands as a fighting style in MKA though this had to be scrapped due to programming concerns. That would’ve been pretty damn cool though, and a great step towards creating a memorable character. So, Kai, for what once was and what could’ve been, you’re not quite one of the worst.
I debated over Shujinko more than anyone, though if my list were longer than 10, I’m pretty sure I’d put him at number 11. Shujinko was created as purely a protagonist to run through Deception with, which wouldn’t have been so awful except that he fucked up basically everything he touched and was directly or indirectly responsible for a ton of bad shit. Ok, so maybe he was being manipulated, but he’s still a total tool. Raiden tried to correct his ass. Had Shujinko been more than just a catalyst for like, everything, I’m sure I wouldn’t come down so hard on him. But he was just a little too wrapped up in too many pivotal moments and in too many characters’ lives for me to really like.
Here stands the perfect example of a good idea gone horribly wrong. Drahmin was a great looking demon…and a shitty fighter. With no dial-up combos and slower movement than other characters, selecting Drahmin in Deadly Alliance always led to disappointment. I guess these were supposed to be balanced by his pop-up moves and high-damage club, which might be true, but only for the most experienced of players. Superficial as it may be, he stays off the list for looking cool.
I Blame Midway / Boon / Tobias / Netherrealm Studios / Whoever
This may seem like a bit of a tautology – after all, who else do we have to blame but the developers? What I mean though is that inside prejudice probably contributed more to the hatred of many of these characters rather fan reaction. It’s a given that some new characters will have an uphill battle against established favorites, but I don’t think the developers really gave some of these guys a chance – especially some of the ones I’ve mentioned as “forgettable.” Instead of taking a couple of games to get to know these new faces, Boon and Co. tucked tail and ran and went right back to leaning on sure-things like Scorpion, Sub-Zero, etc. Where’s our encouragement to get involved with newbies when we can go back and play as the same favorites we’ve had for 10+ years. Why do we care what happens to any of the new additions when their storylines are constantly brushed to the side.
Mortal Kombat X introduces a total of 4 new “almost everyman” characters in the form of Cassie, Jacqui, Kung Jin, and Takeda, yet they’re such an integral part of the story that they don’t feel pointless or out of place. Moreover, the story relies significantly on their actions and, for me anyway, I was instantly drawn to them. Previously, 4 characters like these would be exactly the type to fall into the same trappings of those on the list. Maybe the MK team has learned their lesson about introducing and then throwing away new fighters, and maybe we won’t see quite so many extraneous combatants in the future.
Well, I think that about wraps things up this time! Who is it from the Mortal Kombat games that you can’t stand? Who do you think are the most boring, pointless, weakest, or ridiculous characters to ever grace a “Select Screen?” Tell us what you think in the Comments area below!
Written by The Cubist
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