Real Talk By: Cmack The Don
As a long time lover of fighting games and a gamer of age when the very first Mortal Kombat was making headlines and controversy in the early 90’s. I’ve loved the Mortal Kombat series throughout its many sequels and ups and downs, and in my opinion the series is now riding a steady up as we’re seeing the pair of recent MK games expand the story, rework the weaker parts of it. Revamp the fighting system, and just overall improve everything about it as opposed to what I believe is the darker years of the franchise that started after MK 3, which I talked about in my retro-review of that title (which ya need to git on over and check out if ya haven’t already).
In the lifespan of the series, we’ve seen many different characters come and go, and in this piece I plan on talking about who, in my opinion, needs to make a return. Next time i will list characters that need to stay away.
Reiko was a villain in MK4 that has never really seen significant entry in the series since then. I know a lot of people might roll their eyes at this one, as MK 4 as a whole in my opinion, is about the most mediocre and plain the series ever got. Not as bad as the post Deadly Alliance era, but I think that 4 had some good concepts and ideas that weren’t expanded upon, and held back by a rushed game. The inclusion of Tanya in MK X shows that there are definitely fans that don’t mind the idea of characters from 4 making a return, and some, such as Quan Chi and Shinnok became series regulars.
Reiko has been accused of being a bland and underdeveloped character, and while that may be true to an extent, his role in the story poses interesting possibilities. Reiko has been a general in the armies of Shao Kahn, Quan Chi, and the Brotherhood of Shadow. And in the current MK X comic books, he’s an advisor to Mileena while secretly deceiving her and trying for a chance at the throne of Shao Kahn himself. I think if his gameplay and specials were fleshed out, and he was developed a bit more in that area, he’d make a good return to the game for his potential for story and character development as well. Underhanded, seedy and manipulative villains are always a great way to add intrigue and twists, and Reiko represents untapped potential, something you’ll see a lot of in the characters of this side of the top 5.
Dairou has a great design and could definitely benefit from the current fighting system of this generation of MK games, where each character’s individual aspects shine, and they aren’t a victim of the very uniform design that was clear in the Deception and Deadly Alliance era that he premiered in.
Dariou has an interesting characterization in that he’s a free agent, like a Ronin samurai, willing to take jobs for top dollar, like another character in the current roster, Erron Black. Having two bounty hunters duel or possibly work together (then betray each other) could serve to be an interesting dynamic.
Dariou had some cool potential with his sword based style and his character’s history as a former noble guardsman, not to mention a pretty brutal rib-bone to the eyes fatality. If he was polished up, I could see him being a great addition to the current roster.
Hotaru is a character who is so devoted to his version of what he believes is right that he’s willing to do whatever it takes to enforce that view, even if it means aligning with characters we generally think of as traditionally evil. I think that characters like this that have their own idea of what they believe is the right thing adds layers to a story’s idea of what right and wrong really is, and that motivation is enough for me to want to see Hotaru return to the cast of MK.
Another thing I liked that I don’t feel they explored enough, was his traditional Samurai style armor and appearance. Suitable as he was a general from Seido, The Realm of Order, it would be interesting to see him have a Yojimbo-style kimono type costume as an alternate, something that would make him a good counterpart to the more traditionally righteous swordsman style character we see with Kenshi.
Mortal Kombat has many characters, and there is a great core cast of characters, however in my mind, only Liu Kang and Kung Lao really represent what a true martial artist in reality should aspire to. The other heroes are great and are needed to have a balanced cast with many personalities, however I feel that if they choose to let Liu-Kang or Kung-Lao go, or perhaps have another more traditional martial arts hero in the cast, Kai would be the one to include.
I always thought that Kai’s design in MK 4 was cool, and his ending in MK 4 actually makes it official that he’s a member of the Shaolin order, like Liu Kang and Kung Lao also, showing that ancestry doesn’t matter when becoming a Shaolin, but dedication.
Again, his design in the updated graphics, and a slick alternate costume would be cool, but also bear in mind that his ending, whether this is within story canon, shows that he receives Raiden’s lightning staff, capable of blasts and of course greater range in melee. I think having him make a return and giving him an extra layer and new dimension with the optional use of Raiden’s staff similar to how Kenshi can incorporate his sword or use hand-to-hand would be an awesome use of the character, and it would be neat to have another humble, hard-working, down to earth hero character for people to identify with.
I am well aware that Fujin is in cutscenes for MK X, and has been teased, but Raiden’s brother needs to be brought into the cast in full, I think it would be awesome to have 2 gods in the cast, similar to how there are two ninjas, two cyborgs, two special forces members, two monks and so and so on. You could argue that Kotal Kahn or other powerful characters in the playable cast are like Raiden, but Kotal rose to power, and isn’t one of the Elder Gods in the same way Raiden, or Fujin is.
I always thought Fujin’s powers were cool as well as his design, and wind is an element that would be better represented in its power and ferocity on a system with improved graphics, as wind is more insubstantial and less visible than something like lightning or fire. I can only imagine how his wind sweeps and vacuum like attacks would like with the engines of today, as well opportunity for some pretty vicious fatalities.
Fujin plays an important role in the story and would serve as a great counterpart to Raiden, the Kung Lao of Raiden’s Liu Kang, and I’d be stoked to see him return to the playable cast.
Special Thanks To Mortal Kombat Wikia