We’re getting to the end of my Mortal Kombat character list, and here I’ll cover all the characters I missed in previous installments! This one is kind of picture-heavy since I talk a bit more about visual choices, so keep that in mind when you click the link.
Ferra/Torr: Ferra/Torr is actually two characters treated like one character. Ferra is a little girl-like creature that sits on top of Torr, a large, smashy creature. Ferra is portrayed by Tara Strong and in one fight opening I witnessed called Kitana a “Girly Girl.” It’s adorable.
The combination of evil and cute is so particularly effective on me that I have a hard time actually playing as Ferra/Torr. I’m too busy screaming with delight at the little things they do. Like when Torr knocks someone down, then grabs Ferra by the hand to lead her back a few paces for the start of the next round. Or when Ferra/Torr wins a match, and Ferra grabs onto Torr’s head and shakes it like one would a loyal mutt, saying, “Good boy!” When I can stop squealing for five seconds they are a pretty effective character.
There are a few things I don’t like about Ferra/Torr, though. In particular, I wish the design had a little splash of color somewhere. Just looking at the sea of browny-gray-brown makes me realize how all the colors everywhere in this MK, with the exception of special effects and particles, are really muted.
I also don’t like that Ferra is so high-pitched that sometimes I can’t tell what she’s saying. I’m certain I want to hear it! It’s probably cute.
Very bittersweet Towers ending, if you get to it.
Sindel: I almost forgot to list this character, because she’s not playable in the game, but Sindel is a cool character. I want to see more of her and have her unlocked as playable in the game, so I can scream at people and hit them with prehensile amazing silver hair. I met a cool Sindel cosplayer at Magfest.
Shinnok: I appreciate Shinnok. For a while, with MK bosses, it was all about trying to make a bigger, larger, more muscular dude to replace the last dead dude. MK started out with an old man as the final boss, but that felt strange so they added a buffer guy and then an even buffer guy and then like freaking centaurs and so-on.
Then they added the Elder God of Evil Darkness, and it’s another skinny, semi-frail looking guy. And that’s the thing I appreciate! Shinnok is just the Loki of Mortal Kombat. And Loki is cool.
My favorite look for Shinnok is the Necromancer build with the freaky Mozenrath hands. (Sorry, I’m a 90s kid.)
D’Vorah: We’re getting to the part where I just count down The Best Characters! The Best Characters are majority women, because that’s how I roll I guess!
D’vorah is an insect woman who has a colony of bugs living inside her. She is new and totally awesome and rad and gross. Her story is apparently Outworld always had this race of bug-people, but they just lived on an island somewhere and we didn’t see them before. That’s fair enough! Outworld is a huge place full of wonder.
You’d think that a living colony of bugs would be all detached, but D’Vorah is not, and that’s what makes her interesting. Despite the fact that she refers to herself as “this one,” instead of by a regular pronoun, D’Vorah seems to have a clear sense of self. And she is, well, Sassy. Mostly in body posture and attitude rather than in the dialog in her case. She tells a lot visually. She’s disgusting and proud of it. Actually, I think her standards of disgusting are so different from our human standards of disgusting that she’s actually totally sexy, for a Kytinn. And since she believes that about herself, she will convince you to believe that, too.
I like that her blood is teal, because in a weird way it adds that splash of color that some other MKX designs are missing.
Mileena: Mileena is also sexy/disgusting. I guess she’s sort of the original sexy/disgusting character. Naturally, she makes a good rival for D’Vorah. The difference is that D’Vorah is at no point pretending to be something she isn’t. She’s just very confident that what she is is fine. Mileena on the other hand is wearing a mask, hiding her face in order to lure you in, until she reveals her horrible fangs and strikes. I like both approaches and how they contrast with each other! I’ve written before about the psychology of sexiness in fighting games, and Mileena features prominently in that analysis because she is a great example of a character that gets sex and violence all tangled up.
I could probably write about this for days but let’s talk about Mileena’s visual design. In MK9, Mileena was wearing… not much, even in her default outfit. In her alt outfit, she wears literally nothing…
I don’t think the bandaged look is sexy at all. What I hate about it is actually the prudishness of it. On the other hand, I love this next look and I’ll take just about any excuse to post this picture!
This picture just dispenses with all the pretense and has her topless. Her breasts are also hanging in a more natural less implant-like way which I appreciate. (I’m not diminishing anyone’s personal choice to get implants in reality. I just am glad to see natural-looking boobs in comic-book style art.) The crossed sais are a nice tease for a pin-up.
Honestly, I wish Mileena was just topless in one of the games. Not because I can’t see boobs any other way (I have some), but because Mortal Kombat otherwise has this very Conan the Barbarian sort of aesthetic a lot of the time and being sexual prudes comes across as backward and incongruous. I’m with Jon Stewart in that it’s pretty strange that a woman can get disemboweled from head to toe showing everything that might be inside her guts, yet not be able to show her nipples for fear of the dreaded AO. Of course other M rated games have shown breasts, so it’s clearly allowed. MK just doesn’t want to do it for some reason so instead we get Mileena wearing tiny band-aids that cover just her bikini bits and only just.
Or, as an alternative…
This is MKX. And this is all right! Sometimes more clothes is sexier than less clothes. I love the belt and I dig the leather bustier. I like the way it kind of echos fangs, hanging over her stomach. I do not really like her new mouth. But maybe that’s “I don’t like when things are different” and I’ll get used to it.
Kitana: But as cool as Mileena is, Kitana is cooler. Kitana is the best because she is a princess, and now I am 14 years old again. And I want to be a princess: a wise and beautiful 10,000 year old princess who never ages and who princes and heroes are all in love with. A princess who wears royal blue gowns and walks effortlessly on heels, then slashes people’s faces open with her feminine and regal bladed fans.
Mileena is also a princess, but she’s the false princess, the evil twin clone of the original princess. Now what happens in the story – and this is not really a spoiler – is that Kitana dies, so Mileena ends up being Empress of Outworld for a while. That’s still rad because Mileena is cool. It’s not as great that Kitana died, but being dead doesn’t seem to change her much at all. She’s just now the Princess of Darkness, which, okay that’s cool or possibly even cooler.
I love how elaborate and… princessy her costume is.
Her MK9 costume is fine too, and much easier to draw/cosplay/etc, but this new one is better. I think she looks younger in 9, and in X has more of an edge. Since she died and all, I can appreciate that character development.
To recap: Alive Scorpion not as good as Dead Scorpion, Dead Liu Kang not as good as Alive Liu Kang, but Kitana Dead or Alive I guess I’m good either way.
Kitana is also a solid zoning character and a counter to flowchart Scorpion, so I’m maining her. Usually in Assassin build, because I’m kind of a rush-down player, but maybe I’ll get the hang of Royal Storm. She has a power called Princess Parry, ya’ll. My love forever.
She would be the best character overall, if not for…
Quan Chi: Did you not see that coming? There was only one character left!
Quan Chi actually premiered in the Mortal Kombat animated series, in the same way that Boba Fett technically premiered in the Star Wars Holiday Special. Quan Chi then showed up in the Sub-Zero solo game as a the super-bad guy, and got added to the main franchise after.
Quan Chi’s backstory is that he used to be a demon, but he also wanted to become a sorcerer. Since certain classes of magic were not available to people who were already demons, he turned himself human, sort of. In other words he changed races so he could get more levels in a different class. Quan Chi is that asshole in your D&D game.
The reason Quan Chi is the best is because he is the garbage dump of Mortal Kombat. Did a bad thing happen? The story finds a way to retroactively blame that on Quan Chi. Do we need a plot device to bring a dead character back? Quan Chi, who took levels in Necromancer, is that plot device. He is such an irredeemable asshole that there is no act that cannot be pinned on him. He is here to no-sell your Sass.
He’s also another really interesting zoning character in X, though I haven’t played with him as much as Kitana. He seems to take a bit more finesse. But he owns a tremendous amount of screen space and has a lot of options.
Here’s his teaser trailer where he rides into battle on a Magical Hell Pony and does a little part of his Fatality.
Quan Chi would be the Best Character of All if not for…
Jason: In the real world, it’s perfectly reasonable and acceptable to give up on things that are not working out. But in fiction, one of the qualities I admire most in a hero is a never-say-die determination to stick with things and see them through, no matter the cost. It’s what I love about Portal’s heroine, Chell (as she’s written in the materials). It’s what I admired about Asuka from Neon Genesis Evangelion.
But no hero in fiction embodies this ruthless sticktoiveness more than Jason Vorhees, that famous movie monster who literally never says die. Really, he doesn’t say much of anything.
Jason is super-boring to actually play. He has no dialog, because he’s Jason. His powers revolve mostly around being immune to a lot of moves and not being done when he seems to be done. In spite of that, he’s good. Quan Chi requires lots of finesse and Jason requires none. I’m not sure yet, but I think Jason may even be kind of broken. I would say “you just Press X to Jason,” but I wouldn’t even be the first internet joker to say that. Basically Jason is so easy to play he even writes his own jokes.
The downside to Jason is that Jason cost me thirty bucks. He came with The Predator, and some other people I mentioned last entry. Predator has not unlocked yet, but no big. I kind of just paid thirty dollars for Jason. I didn’t have a problem with that, but I can understand where it wouldn’t at all be worth it for some.
And that’s all I have to say! I’d talk about some other characters that cameo, but I’m out of steam for a bit. Join me on Tap-Repeatedly later where I’ll be reviewing other stuff besides this. I’m just getting in to Axiom Verge! Later I’ll return to talk about some of the gameplay features of MKX or maybe a historical perspective on weird gameplay features in Mortal Kombat games in general.