As a huge MK fan, there are a lot of articles I’m dying to write for Mortal Monday. That said, before I get to any of the other ideas rattling around in my head, I felt I had to finish my lore series. Obviously there are more Mortal Kombat games than just the “classic” trilogy, but recapping those games makes for a great primer for anyone interested in the MK universe. So, without further ado, the story of Mortal Kombat 3.
MK3 starts directly after the events of Mortal Kombat 2. At this point Shang Tsung has been defeated in the original MK tournament (MK 1), and Shao Kahn has been defeated in the second MK tournament (MK 2). At this point, Shao Kahn’s frustration has boiled over and he decides to enact his final plan for the domination of Earthrealm. At this point, some new details regarding the Mortal Kombat universe are revealed.
Sindel, the dead queen.
The character of Sindel, introduced in MK 3, is central to the game’s overall plot. It’s revealed that ten thousand years earlier Sindel was Shao Kahn’s queen, and that she died at a young age. Her soul was captured by Shao Kahn’s shadow priests to be used in her later resurrection. In MK3, Sindel’s soul is used for that resurrection…in Earthrealm. Sindel’s resurrection in Earthrealm allows Kahn the right to reclaim his queen and thus circumvent the laws previously preventing him from invading Earthrealm.
Once Kahn has the right to invade Earthrealm, he takes full advantage. His warriors ravage Earthrealm, and with each kill, another soul is delivered to Shao Kahn, further fueling his seemingly unstoppable war machine. The only souls protected from this fate are those deemed worthy of mortal kombat.
Nightwolf and the sacred ground.
Though the combatants chosen for mortal kombat may have their souls protected, their physical bodies are not. Posing the most immediate threat to Shao Kahn’s domination, they are ruthlessly hunted by his armies. Enter Nightwolf.
A shaman of his tribe, Nightwolf has trained and prepared for such a moment. With the help of his tribes other shaman, Nightwolf is able to sanctify the land his people occupy, creating a sanctuary for both his people and the other combatants.
The true ending?
The two events mentioned above happened in the MK universe, but a lot of other things are a bit sketchier. You see, MK3 was released as “Mortal Kombat 3”, then later as “Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3”, then later again as “Mortal Kombat Trilogy”. Each time the game was released, some details of the story were either added or changed. This fact makes it difficult to tell what is and isn’t canon.
The popular belief is that the events of “Mortal Kombat Trilogy” are considered canon, while other versions of the game are not. In addition, it is much less clear this time around which of the character’s ending is considered the canonical one.
The thing is, every ending in MK3 has two things in common; Shao Kahn is always defeated, and Earthrealm is always saved. No matter what plot details are revealed about any individual character, those two facts remain the same. So, while there may not be a widely accepted canonical ending to MK3, there are certainly some canonical events. Those events did happen, and they did affect the plot going forward.
As a final word on the original trilogy; if any of these articles interested you in the MK universe, I’d highly recommend playing the 2011 release of “Mortal Kombat”. Similar to the way that J.J. Abrams “rebooted” Star Trek with his film, the 2011 MK game reboots the series and follows the stories of the first three MK games, giving players a chance to revisit those plots in an updated and much more fleshed out manner.