The evolution of Scorpion and Sub-Zero

Mortal Kombat: Deception (2004)

Finally, a new look! While Scorpion remained more or less exactly as he had been in Deadly Alliance (albeit with a metal breastplate in place of his more leathery costume), Sub-Zero returned for Deception with a suit of fur-trimmed armor, courtesy of his newly discovered Cryomancer ancestors.  And while he retained most of his moves from the last game, he at least got his old ice-clone maneuver back.

Meanwhile, Scorpion didn’t have any new moves to speak of this time around, although he did undergo a substantial shift in alignment. With his vendettas either dismissed or temporarily on hold, he became an agent of the Elder Gods, sent to save the various realms of existence by annihilating the newly introduced Dragon King, Onaga.

While the differences this time around were mostly cosmetic, however, that doesn’t make them any less interesting. Nor does it make Scorpion’s alternate costume (a return to his slick MK4 duds) any less cool, or Sub-Zero’s strangely monkish alternate outfit any less weird.

The redesigns didn’t stop there, either. If you took a look at Deception’s included “Puzzle Kombat” mode – essentially its own version of Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo – you already know that the two ninjas appeared as adorable, superdeformed versions of themselves…

… who, incidentally, were no less likely to kill each other, albeit in cuter ways.

Speaking of killing each other, Deception not only brought Fatalities back in force, but introduced suicidal new Hara Kiri moves meant to rob your opponent of the satisfaction of killing you. The number of -alities wasn’t quite up to the decadent-overkill standards of MK3, but they were nastier and more numerous than Deadly Alliances, and that was welcome – even if Scorpion did inexplicably rip off Sub-Zero’s signature kill this time around.

Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks (2005)

After the execrable horrors of Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub Zero and Mortal Kombat: Special Forces, Shaolin Monks was a shockingly non-shitty spinoff. Never mind that it single-handedly retconned huge chunks of Mortal Kombat’s storyline – as God of War-style beat ‘em-ups go, it was relentlessly entertaining. But it got really good if you could manage to unlock Scorpion and Sub-Zero as playable characters, thereby replacing silly Liu Kang and Kung Lao with their infinitely more awesome ninja counterparts.

For the first time, Shaolin Monks’ “ko-op” mode actually let the two rival ninjas work side-by-side, matching harpoon with ice blast to destroy the legions of Shao Kahn. Of course, if that’s not your thing (although we don’t know why it wouldn’t be), Shaolin Monks also featured a versus mode that turned the game into a Mortal Kombat-flavored take on Power Stone. Naturally, it also featured plenty of Fatalities for the unlocked characters – and while there were more to perform in the campaign, the ones on offer here were all that was needed for Scorpion and Sub-Zero to tear each other to ribbons once again.

Mortal Kombat: Armageddon (2006)

Call us suckers for anything old, but after seeing Sub-Zero and Scorpion go through so many changes in the last couple of 3D Mortal Kombats, it was actually kind of a relief to see them back in their more familiar costumes for the “final” MK. Moves-wise, Sub-Zero didn’t change too much for this iteration, although he did have a stunning close punch and a new, ass-chilling variation on the MK3 ice shower:

It was Scorpion who sported the most upgrades, however. Not only had his harpoon spear taken on a weird, clawlike appearance, but he could now knee-launch his opponents into the air and then yank them back to earth with it.

He also had a new variation on his old teleport punch, which came with a fake-out this time.

Perhaps best of all, the “new” Sub-Zero/Scorpion costumes were used to make giant-headed versions for Motor Kombat, Armageddon’s bizarre pack-in tribute to Mario Kart.

Above: Exciting!

Then, of course, there are the Fatalities. Here’s the thing about Fatalities in Armageddon: rather than come up with unique ones for every last one of the insane multitude of characters, the developers came up with the “Kreate-a-Fatality” feature, which essentially turned Fatalities into gory, timed combos that weren’t unique to any one character. We’re not saying they aren’t interesting – they just aren’t interesting in a piece about specific characters. That said, though, here’s a picture of Scorpion tearing Sub-Zero’s brain out, just because we’ve always sort of wanted to see him do that.




  • ulmxn - April 15, 2011 1:15 a.m.

    I loved the hell pit level in mk3, especially super uppercutting someone up into the level above. Let's hope the new MK will have all the greatest stages from the first 4 games.
  • ulmxn - April 15, 2011 1:12 a.m.

    Did everything need to blow up in MK2? By the way, I grew up (I'm 14) playing the originals! Nostalgia ftw!
  • fakesmilesofasadclown - April 14, 2011 5:51 p.m.

    Ok um just wondering, but why was scorpions animality a penguin?? surly it shold have been ohhhh i dunno a freaking scorpion?? lol
  • Synchronatic - April 14, 2011 7:26 a.m.

    I can't believe somebody actually went this in-depth in researching and documenting Scorpion and Sub-Zero. I salute you sir. It made for a fucking fantastic read. Kombat Week is knocking my socks off! I can't get enough.
  • FETALJUICE - April 14, 2011 3:40 a.m.

    I love the MK storyline and I can't wait to play MK next week!
  • ViolentLee - April 14, 2011 2:01 a.m.

    Come mention of the "white" Sub-Zero looking like Henry Rollins? It's a dead-on match!
  • SillyPigeon - April 13, 2011 10:25 p.m.

    Never been a MK fan but found this utterly fascinating and funny. Nice one Mikel!
  • MinxRiot - April 13, 2011 7:22 p.m.

    Anyone else notice that Cyber Sub-Zero looks kinda like Predator?
  • MechaGecko - April 13, 2011 7:20 p.m.

    Wow i just thought they were just polygons with some issues but this is a revelation. Thank you Mr.Reparaz
  • jackthemenace - April 13, 2011 6:53 p.m.

    OMG, it's out next week...!? I want it so badly, but i have NO CASH...
  • FauxFurry - April 13, 2011 6:53 p.m.

    I'VE NEVER SEEN A CYBER SUB-ZERO TRANSFORMATION. I expected Cyber-Zero to look a lot more like an ice-box, to be honest. Why no 'Thermometer' transformation for Scorpion? I've always wondered why there was no mystical love-hate child of these two, Steam, simply because the hate was so potent, at least early in their relationship. Then again, a name like that might fit a female ninja from the Mortal Kombat universe. Bone-Chiller sounds more appropriate for a guy fresh out of frozen Hell. Thinking of which, it is for the best that Sub-Zero started dressing more warmly again like a proper frigid ice que...King of Kold Kombat. He should leave that kind of get-up to the real hot-blooded flame flinging pros like Mai Shiranui before he hurts himself (or at least his ego, which is bound to be brittle, considering how cold his heart supposedly is, if that one song is to be trusted).
  • Wazzle - April 13, 2011 5:28 p.m.

    Scorpion turns into a egg bomb dropping penguin... OF COURSE!
  • md1292 - April 13, 2011 3:51 p.m.

    Amazing article. I've never owned a MK game, but it was cool to find out about arguably the two most iconic characters from the franchise. I might buy the new game because of this article.
  • CitizenWolfie - April 13, 2011 3:48 p.m.

    "GET OVER HERE!!!" That and "SHORYUKEN!" always bring me back to my childhood. Seeing the beat 'em up having such a great revival warms the cockles :) On topic, I can't believe Scorpion was missing from the original MK3. My mate had it and I hated the fact he wasn't in it. Both characters seemed to go off the rails (look wise) towards the later days, but good to see them back on track.
  • AntistasMetroid - April 13, 2011 2:33 p.m.

    Damn Wikiparaz! This must have taken some serious time to create! Awesome work on this feature. I didn't think all that goofy MK lore went so deep. Loving the MK week. Excellent feature. Very comprehensive.
  • Japanaman - April 13, 2011 2:18 p.m.

    I didn't understand Sub-Zero looking old one bit. I mean, how does the original Sub-Zero's YOUNGER brother who has black hair go to mostly black hair, to silver hair, to white hair in four games? No one else aged that much! It's like they want him to look like Cable or something.
  • philipshaw - April 13, 2011 2:07 p.m.

    I love when you do features like this Mikel,great stuff
  • Outlander - April 13, 2011 1:23 p.m.

    Great article! With MK being my second favorite franchise, I'm really enjoying this "Week of Mortal Kombat."
  • TheElephantManchurianCandidate - April 13, 2011 12:14 p.m.

    Loving MK week! brilliant article I can't wait for this game
  • NightCrawler_358 - April 13, 2011 11:56 a.m.

    Awesome article. I really want to get Mortal Kombat, but I want to get Portal 2 first so I get to try Steamworks, and get the PC version. (I'd buy P2 or MK on PS3)

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