Why do I like Mortal Kombat so much? Because there are just so many cool characters to choose from—or “kool kharacters,” as they would spell it. Selecting a favorite in a fighting game isn’t just about which moves feel the best, it’s also about the aesthetics and the feeling of the character. Here’s a kollection of kombatants who I think have the best back-stories, one-liners and attitudes.
1 of 25
25. Jax. Jax gets a bad rap for being boring, but he has cyborg arms. Do you need to worry about being interesting if you have cyborg arms? Also, his full name is Jackson, and replacing "K" with "X" in a universe where "K" is the most-used letter has got to be a form of rebellion.
2 of 25
24. Noob Saibot. The two co-creators of Mortal Kombat, Ed Boon and John Tobias, thought it would be cool to name a character after the reverse spelling of both their last names. This idea was so uncool that it cancelled out to become cool again.
3 of 25
23. Raiden. Raiden has turned into the Dumbledore of the Mortal Kombat universe. He's a lovable old OP dude who loves his surrogate magical kids yet keeps putting them in harm's way. However, the post-credits Raiden scene in Mortal Kombat X seems to suggest otherwise. Maybe Raiden can still surprise us.
4 of 25
22. Ermac. Missingno. Sheng Long. Ermac. Videogame glitches are creepy and inherently cool, and "Error Macro" is no exception—even though he began life as little more than a Scorpion palette swap. He's come so far!
5 of 25
21. Kenshi. So Kenshi basically has the same character schtick as Daredevil, but Kenshi has a little more going on than the classic "magical disabled person" trope. Kenshi was a trained fighter before losing his eyesight, at least. But he doesn't discover he's telekinetic until afterward. Oh, well.
6 of 25
20. Kano. At one point in the story mode of MKX, Kano makes a joke about Cassie Cage getting a visit from "Uncle Kano." Creepy? Adorable? Both??? I bet "Uncle Kano" shows up in a Santa outfit every December and the Cage family just rolls their eyes and locks the deadbolt.
7 of 25
19. Liu Kang. Liu Kang makes chicken noises every time he does any move, which I guess is cool if only because of the sheer audacity of it. No one would expect chicken noises.
8 of 25
18. Khameleon. Of all the inexplicable gender-swapped characters in Mortal Kombat (Frost, Sheeva, etc), Khameleon is my favorite. She's depicted as a better fighter than her male counterpart, plus she gets the best weapons (fans, sais, and the razorangs/staff combo). She's almost TOO cool—I guess that's why everybody forgot about her.
9 of 25
17. Ferra/Torr. We don't know much about Ferra, since she's only just made her debut in MKX and she does not feature prominently in the story. How old is she? Should I be creeped out that there is a literal child in a fighting game? Probably. But I can't deny that she's a bad-ass.
10 of 25
16. Johnny Cage. Johnny Cage irritates the hell out of me. That said, I have to give the man props for being so committed to the aesthetics of performative "coolness" that he has become immune to embarrassment. He's like a metaphor for Mortal Kombat as a franchise.