Real Talk By: Cmack The Don
We did our Top 5 for characters that need to return. Here is the list of no-gos:
I am all for games and all entertainment having a sense of humor about themselves, we shouldn’t take this stuff too seriously, it’s all very out there concepts and ideas, and getting too wrapped up in it is what leads to overly passionate fans saying disrespectful things to each other in internet comment battles, and unfortunately sometimes in real life.
That said, I think the attempt MK made at comedy with Bo-Rai-Cho (a mutation of the Spanish word “Borracho”, relating to drunkeness) was poorly thought out and juvenile at best. In such a dark and dramatic story about the fate of the Earth being decided by an extremely violent hand-to-hand combat tournament, the bumbling and drunken (and puking) Bo-Rai-Cho just simply doesn’t fit.
I will admit to finding the flatulence and overall vulgar humour of Bo-Rai-Cho funny when I was a pre-teen, and I think that says something about what type of character he is, especially for a franchise whose fanbase is probably mostly a bit older now, considering the age of the series.
Age of fans notwithstanding, the MK series has grown into such a dramatic and well thought out story with the past 2 games really standing tall above the era Bo-Rai-Cho hails from, and the idea that the teacher of none other than Liu-Kang himself would be *such* a slob is silly. Liu-Kang is shown to be wise and uses fairly conventional fighting techniques, not the Drunken Boxing of his teacher. To me that makes zero sense, as Bo-Rai-Cho is pure comedic relief and silliness, and his style doesn’t resemble Liu-Kang’s in the slightest. Look at Gouken from Street Fighter and how he relates to Ryu, Ken, and Akuma respectively. He has parts of each and you can see how the style runs through all of them, but with each having things they specialzie in within that art, just like in real martial arts.
I’m not against the MK series having comedy in it, it always has, but a character that has Boogerman levels of gross out humor that was retro-fitted in to have been said to have trained the series main character is ridiculous and needs to be forgotten.
Havik is yet another character from the Deception and Deadly Alliance era I think many have probably forgotten about. Despite playing through those games, I myself had to look up who he was and what his role in the story was, as he is such a plain and forgettable character, with a part in a sub-plot involving Chaos and Orderrealm that never really panned out anyways.
I always found the idea of him being a “zombie” type character silly. Even though that idea could be re-worked to be cool and gory, fitting the tone of the series, that he broke his own neck in combat, and his knees bent the wrong way when firing projectiles, among other parts of his presentation made him really seem like a gimmicky gross out type character. There’s Little about havik that makes him unique and interesting on his own.
Although he could be salvaged like Hotaru or Dairou, I just don’t think there was enough there to work with to begin with. His design, his moves, or contribution never really appealed to me.
Kira is essentially an evil Sonya Blade, and while I know there are many mirror type characters of similar classes in Mortal Kombat, in many of those cases, most of them, that pair of characters each has their own specialty and identity. Scorpion and Sub-Zero are both ninjas, but since the first game til now, they each have their own play style and identity on their own.
Kira is apart of the Black Drgon Clan, which claims Kano as well as a few other MK villains, and again, I don’t have a problem with her intitial design and concept as a cold lady mercenary, but next to Mileena, D’Vorah, and some of the other femme fatales of the MK series, the idea of an evil Sonya just doesn’t stand out, and she never seemed to grow beyond that.
Kobra was linked to Kira in their storyline, and so it’s only fair that I would nominate Kobra as one of the forgotten MK characters that needs to stay left out of the series. A sort of evil Ken Masters, Kobra is a very boring, very plain design that doesn’t work for the MK series design aesthetic. Street Fighter made that design work for them and has many years of history and refinement behind it, where everything about Kobra comes across as a placeholder and generic villain.
In a series full of great gimmicks and special move ideas, a very plain martial artist character who looks like he was designed for a cell phone game just doesn’t work at all.
If he does make a return, it should be in a brief cameo with him getting quickly destroyed by a better heroic character, as Kobra isn’t even an interesting villain, with the most clever part about him being a reference to the evil Dojo in the “Karate Kid” franchise.
Jarek was a poor replacement to Kano in Mortal Kombat 4. Kano is a series original, a well crafted villanous character that people still enjoy playing as, with a lot of great and unique parts about him that have stood the test of time. You can take everything about Kano and reverse it, and you’ll be left with Jarek.
In a poll by the website Dorkly in 2013, Jarek was voted dead last among fans for greatest MK character, so that’s saying something about how fans who do remember him feel about him.
I understand the thought behind Jarek’s inclusion in MK 4, I think they were trying to do something like what Tekken 3 with “legacy” characters, letting the cast age and having characters that brought the same style and gameplay aspects to the next game in the series, with a few updates and changes, but Jarek is an example of how to do that exactly wrong.
I think Jarek is a character many people who haven’t gone back to re-watch his ending probably don’t even remember, and they are missing nothing, except some hilariously bad voice acting.
So there you have it folks, a list of my personal haves and have-nots of who in the massive cast of MK should and shouldn’t return. Honestly, outside the 5 that return, I’d like to see Mortal Kombat branch out and include more new characters, maybe more of the (good) legacy characters such as Takeda or Cassie Cage, and keep on coming up with great new ideas for a franchise that has certainly stood the test of time. If there is anything fighting games need constantly as a genre, especially long-lasting game series, it’s new and fresh ideas and characters, but done well.
Special Thanks To Mortal Kombat Wiki