Mortal Monday #3: The Ongoing Story of MKII

A couple weeks ago, when we began doing Mortal Monday I started by covering the lore of the original game.  I’m going to continue that trend today, getting more in-depth with the ongoing saga of the Mortal Kombat universe.  MKI was a huge commercial success so it seemed like a no-brainer that there would be a sequel.  Mortal Kombat II, released roughly two years later, furthered the story of Outworld and Earthrealm.

Before jumping into the plot and lore of the game, it has to be mentioned that MKII faced an interesting problem during its creation…  Mortal Kombat I had seven playable characters, and each could win the tournament resulting in a different ending to the game.  With MKII being a direct sequel, who’s ending was the real one?  It was decided that Liu Kang’s ending in Mortal Kombat I would be considered the canonical ending, and that the plot would progress from there.  That said, certain side events from Mortal Kombat I appear as part of canonic lore as well.  For instance, even though Liu Kang’s is the canonical ending to MKI, Scorpion still kills Sub-Zero, and this event plays heavily into the Scorpion / Sub-Zero storyline in MKII.

At the end of MKI, Liu Kang defeats Shang Tsung, wins the tournament, and saves Earthrealm.  Shang Tsung, knowing that his defeat in this tournament most likely spells his doom, concocts a plan to save his skin and possibly win back favor with his emperor, Shao Kahn.  Tsung is able to convince Shao Kahn to host a mortal kombat tournament of his own…in Outworld.  The rules prohibit Earthrealm from declining an invitation, so the Outworld tournament begins.

Everyone from Mortal Kombat I is back in some form or another.  Sonya and Kano — previously playable characters — make an appearance, but are not playable this time around.  Instead, they’re being held as hostages by Shao Kahn.  Shang Tsung and Reptile, who appear in MKI, are back and now palyable.  Sub-Zero also returns but technically this character is the younger brother of the original Sub-Zero.

There are some cool new additions to the MK universe in MKII as well.  With Sonya and Kano being held hostage, Sonya’s partner Jax joins the tournament to find his friend and apprehend his nemesis.  Kitana and Mileena, the twin daughters of Shao Kahn, join the tournament as well, each for their own reasons.  Kung Lao accompanies Liu Kang as a new playable Shaolin monk.  Finally, there’s Baraka, the Tarkatan warlord.  One of Shao Kahn’s enforcers, Baraka’s only aim seems to be to protect his master and inflict pain.

Like MKI, there are endings for each playable character, but only one is considered the canonical ending.  This time around, Liu Kang once again wins the tournament, only this time he defeats the emperor of Outworld himself, Shao Kahn.  This enrages Shao Kahn and sets in motion the events of MKIII (but we’ll talk about that later).

I’ve always categorized Mortal Kombat into the “old school” games, consisting of the original trilogy, and the new school games.  Of the first three games, MKII is probably my favorite.  The story is much richer, the graphics are greatly improved, and there is just so much more going on.  I remember the day I went to the arcade to find that there was a new Mortal Kombat game.  My jaw dropped, my heart skipped a beat, and I thought I had died and gone to gamer heaven.  As awesome as MKI was, MKII took the series to a whole new level.  That wasn’t the end of the MK saga though…not by a long shot.

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