They can’t all be winners.
Mortal Kombat has been around for 27 years at this point and it’s created some unforgettable characters like Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Liu Kang, Sonya Blade, Johnny Cage. The list goes on and on.
Actually, that list does eventually stop and if you keep going down the list of characters, you’ll eventually hit these guys and girls. These are the 11 worst characters in Mortal Kombat.
A big problem with some of the characters introduced in Mortal Kombat 4 was that instead of feeling wholly original, like Shinnok, Quan Chi, and Fujin, they felt like weaker versions of already existing characters. Kai, for instance, is a Shaolin Monk in a game where two of the most iconic characters, Liu Kang and Kung Lao, are also Shaolin Monks. Beyond that, Kai dressed in red, wore a red bandana, used fireballs, had a flying punch instead of a flying kick, and just overall felt like a watered down version of Liu Kang.
Moloch looks like a monster plucked from the background of a dark fantasy story, given a giant steel ball to hold on to, and told that he was now one of the big bosses of Mortal Kombat. His design is extremely plain and he has very little in the way of an interesting story beyond being a companion of another Mortal Komat character.
Mortal Kombat’s hidden characters are usually great, and characters like Jade, Reptile, Noob, and Smoke have all gone on to be beloved by fans. Then there’s Meat, who like his backstory suggests, is something of a mistake. He’s an experiment created by Shang Tsung that managed to escape before he was actually completed, leaving him a walking, talking, pile of meat, with a gross eye hanging out.
8. Bo Rai Cho
Bo Rai Cho feels like a mess of ideas all sloppily thrown together to create a character of contradictions. He’s a drunken martial arts master meant to be taken seriously as a skilled fighter, but his most iconic move involves puking on the ground and making the opponent slip. He’s supposed to be Liu Kang and Kung Lao’s martial arts teacher, but while those two fight with fireballs, bladed hats, and flying kicks, Bo Rai Cho fights with farts and belly flops.
There’s nothing exceptionally bad about Taven. He’s just painfully boring. Everything from his dialogue, to his moveset and overall character design is as plain as can be. Taven does have potential to be a great character; his backstory as the son of the Edenian protector god could definitely be explored more thoroughly, but he needs a dramatic overhaul on his personality and overall character design.
5 and 6. Chameleon and Khameleon
Yes, there are actually two different Chameleons in Mortal Kombat, and both are equally weak. The “C” version of Chameleon was actually planned to be a character in Mortal Kombat 3, but at some point he was removed from the roster and made accessible only through the use of a gameshark or a game genie cheat device. Both were hidden characters in Mortal Kombat Trilogy, with Khameleon appearing in the N64 version, and Chameleon being in every other version.
Unlike all of the other ninja palette swaps that eventually gained their own identity and playstyle, both Chameleons use the moves and abilities of the other ninjas, making them feel more like gimmicks than anything.
If you just look at Mokap, he’s the immediate choice to top a list of the worst Mortal Kombat characters. However, he isn’t as bad as some of the others on this list, mainly because he’s a tribute to Raiden’s original actor, Carlos Pesina, which is kind of interesting. That being said, he’s still just a dude in a motion capture suit with balls on his body.
Kobra feels like a fish out of water among the Mortal Kombat roster, likely because he looks like look like a Street Fighter character mixed with Johnny Laurence from the Karate Kid. He doesn’t mesh well with the rest of the roster, and while this could also be said of Stryker, at least Stryker has that “everyman” appeal, whereas Kobra is an actual trained martial artist who feels like he’s out of his league.
Jarek is a poor man’s Kano. Simple as that. Kano was absent from Mortal Kombat 4, and so in his place Midway copied and pasted Kano’s entire moveset onto a guy who was decidedly less cool than Kano. It wouldn’t have been that bad if Jarek had some characteristics of his own that would let him stand out, but unfortunately, his most memorable moment in the series was when he was dropped off a cliff by Jax in the ending of MK4.
1. Hsu Hao
Originally designed as the “anti-Jax,” the Mongolian warlord Hsu Hao is one of the most universally disliked Mortal Kombat characters of all time. Even the developers at Netherrealm dislike him. John Vogel, a game designer at Netherealm, stated in a marketing video for Mortal Kombat Armageddon that Hsu Hao was being brought back in Armageddon “Much to his dismay”. It’s easy to see why. His moveset was uninspired, his one unique fatality was just a chest laser that could’ve easily been used for Kano, his backstory was boring, and he quite simply did not have the look of a Mortal Kombat character.
And that’s our list of the 11 worst Mortal Kombat characters. If you want more Mortal Kombat, make sure to check out our video summarizing the events of the entire Mortal Kombat storyline in just 7 minutes above.
Mitchell Saltzman is a gameplay producer at IGN and resident Mortal Kombat nut. Follow him on Twitter at @JurassicRabbit