Even though NetherRealm Studios is hard at work on its DC Comics-based fighting game Injustice 2, the team got its reputation from its devotion to the Mortal Kombat franchise. Ever since the original game's release in the 90's, Ed Boon and company have been improving the series with each new release, reaching new heights with the return to old-school goodness in 2011 with the self-titled Mortal Kombat, before moving on to the star-studded Mortal Kombat X.
The series has seen its speed bumps, sure – let's just forget Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero ever exister – but the series has always been about kicking ass and taking names. And, for that matter, it introduced us to a series of memorable characters, some of which have excelled greatly over the years, with some of their prime work being featured in Mortal Kombat X.
So let's take a look back now at the top ten best combatants in the Mortal Kombat series. Your choices may vary – Quan Chili, er, Chi barely missed the list – but you'll find each of these characters to be absolutely superb when it comes to fighting superiority!
10. D’Vorah (Mortal Kombat X)
D'Vorah isn't really much of a babe – instead, she acts as a harbor for a colonial insect that lives inside of her, practically making her a "bug woman" of sorts. But her move list is something else, consisting of everything from a wasp grenade (not a bug bomb?) to a spawning puddle where she can easily get the jump on her opponent, as well as a "bug blast" where bugs fly out of her arm, shooting resin at her enemies. And her fatalities, as you might guess, certainly aren't for the squeamish. D'Vorah is a quality addition to the Mortal Kombat franchise, and we'd love to see her return.prevnext
9. Liu Kang (Mortal Kombat)
This martial arts champion has been involved with the series since the whole thing began, starting out as a traditional man of honor, but then mixing things up a bit after his sudden death midway through the series. He's now back to the land of the living – though there was nothing really wrong with his zombie form – and he's still delivering bicycle kicks and fireballs like the best of 'em. His key moment arrived in Mortal Kombat II, where he did away with his simple fatality in favor of transforming into a dragon and biting the upper half of his opponent off. Lunch time!prevnext
8. Erron Black (Mortal Kombat X)
Another great character that jumped into the fray around the later portion of the Mortal Kombat franchise, Erron Black is definitely a gunslinger that you shouldn't mess with. He wears the kind of stuff that would make Clint Eastwood proud, and delivers mostly a series of sand-based attacks to stop his opponents, including a sand grenade, a sand slide and a sand gust, which can throw them off quite a bit. As for his fatalities, they're great as well, especially when he sends sand pouring out of the orifice of his just-defeated opponent. And, yes, he can use his guns formidably as well.prevnext
7. Baraka (Mortal Kombat II)
We love this toothy little bladed guy, even though he didn't quite have the reputation he deserved in movies – mainly because he looked awful in Mortal Kombat: Annihilation. But in the games, he's always been represented well, using his twin blades to carve up enemies in a number of ways, whether it was sending off projectile-like sparks, or carving them up with a quick "barber" attack. And his fatalities definitely leave no limb attached, as he chops up his foes into sashimi. He may not be the best-looking Mortal Kombat-ant, but he's one of the most effective.prevnext
6. Kitana (Mortal Kombat II)
While Mileena no doubt has a more visceral approach to taking down her opponents, we've always seemed to like Kitana a little more. Never mind the beautiful looks – Kitana is downright dangerous both on the ground and in the air. Her traditional fan throw can be chained together in a number of combos, and her air lift and air punch make her a hard-hitter to any incoming foes. Plus, her kiss of death puts Sonya Blade's to shame, making an opponent explode from the pressure. Sheesh – guess we can forget asking about that night cap, huh? Don't underestimate this princess.prevnext
5. Bo’ Rai Cho (Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance)
Probably since the introduction of a drunken fighter in Virtua Fighter 2, we've come to appreciate the idea of an unpredictable, lovable drunk in a beat-em-up. And that's where Bo' Rai Cho comes in. Even if he's a bit on the obese side, he's highly effective when it comes to his wild move set, and he can actually pull off some great moves, including some seismic abilities that can literally shake things up. Plus, it's not every day that you can kill someone with a fatality that involves charging at them belly first, or using a flaming fart to do them in. "That's a stinky one!"prevnext
4. Scorpion (Mortal Kombat)
"Get over here!" With those three words, this demonesque ninja achieved immortality, with his trademark spear throw and his ability to teleport into a punch to throw an enemy off. For that matter, he's very swift in movement, and in later games, he's gotten some great new moves to make him even harder to go up against. But, of course, if we're going to talk about anything that stands out, it's his fatality, where he reveals that he doesn't even have a human face, and doesn't hold back when it comes to torching his opponent with a well-placed fireball. It's a hot time tonight!prevnext
3. Johnny Cage (Mortal Kombat)
This egotistical movie star may seem like a pompous ass – and you'd probably be right with your guess – but there's no question he has some of the coolest moves you'll find with a character in the Mortal Kombat series. His fireball throw and shadow kick are both highly effective, and his "nut punch" proves to be excellent, too – even against female warriors. Plus, a lot of his skills have passed on to the younger and more versatile Cassie Cage, so she's a favorite with his fans as well. And who can deny a powerful Friendship move, involving an autographed photo? "Friendship? Again?!"prevnext
2. Raiden (Mortal Kombat)
The thunder god appears to be headed to Injustice 2 practically any month now, with his silhouette hinting that he's set to make a debut. That said, if you don't feel like waiting for him, you can play him in practically any Mortal Kombat in existence. A man looking to keep the balance with Shang Tsung's Mortal Kombat tournaments, Raiden often struggles with his own rule set, as he beats down opponents in the name of keeping humanity safe. He's always been a great character, and his fatality, involving a head explosion with electricity, is still awesome.
And, hey, he's represented perfectly in the first Mortal Kombat movie by Christopher Lambert. "I don't think sooooo. Hehehe!" (Check out his highlight reel below!)prevnext
1. Sub-Zero (Mortal Kombat)
Coming up with a top choice for best Mortal Kombat characters was tough, just because a lot of them are so appealing. However, it all comes down to who's most effective – and you just can't go wrong with Sub-Zero. With a move set that practically leaves opponents frozen in their tracks, Sub-Zero works well both offensively and defensively, and just about on the right level. Plus, his original fatality is still iconic after all these years, where he rips the read off an opponent and shows them off like a trophy, with spine still attached. And, hey, there was a reason he was chosen to join the ranks of Injustice 2 next month, right?prev