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.




  • TastyCakesMcgee - April 13, 2011 12:48 a.m.

    cool, nice workN
  • everettmiller - April 13, 2011 12:54 a.m.

    what is "Guile’s infamous “handcuffs”? did a quick google search and didnt find any info.
  • taterboob - April 13, 2011 1:10 a.m.

    I'm just gonna say it...cyber Sub Zero looks like the Predator.
  • MitchyTdawg - April 13, 2011 1:13 a.m.

    He looks like the predator . . .
  • TheMonarch - April 13, 2011 1:35 a.m.

    @MitchyTdawg, he is the Predator! Where's Jesse Ventura when we need him!
  • xombiesarelove - April 13, 2011 1:39 a.m.

    In all fairness, Sektor/Cyrax/Smoke all looked like the Predator back in MK3. Just like Sub-zero looked like the Shredder for a while. Awesome article.
  • Zeokroe - April 13, 2011 1:41 a.m.

    Want new game. Good article guys!
  • Nonstop17 - April 13, 2011 1:43 a.m.

    i remember i used to have a sub zero action figure when MK was first out i wonder what happened to it?...
  • RebornKusabi - April 13, 2011 1:43 a.m.

    All of the cyborg ninja in the MK series are based off of Predator. Cyrax has a fatality that's clearly based around Predators self-destruct wrist-band thingy in the movies:
  • EvilChicken - April 13, 2011 1:48 a.m.

    So whats everyones favorite look of Scorpion and Sub-zero For me I have to say the new ones look the coolest for me
  • Sy87 - April 13, 2011 1:54 a.m.

    Ok That is some bull Sub-zero gets turn cyborg over smoke. Smoke rulz forget what the crappy movie did to him. Smoke always ruled as a cyborg I don't like the weird white wavy hair kinda looks (oh wait I can't say that word). But seriously the new smoke is lame Cyborg smoke rules come on he was always misting from his awesomeness.
  • manaconda - April 13, 2011 2:04 a.m.

    really cool article Mikel, more than i ever wanted to know about sub zero and scorpion, but a great, and entertaining read!
  • MightyMorphinPoltergeist - April 13, 2011 2:43 a.m.

    As someone that's always been more of an MK fan, it was nice to read a well written article about the series' two best characters from GR and to catch me up on somethings I had forgotten before MK9 ships.
  • AcidSpitter - April 13, 2011 2:48 a.m.

    @Sy87 How is new Smoke lame? For once they actually made him his own character and gave him unique moves. He's extremely bada** and even when he was a cyborg move-wise he's not like the others. He doesn't depend on weapons but his smoke abilities which is something that can be shared between his human and cyborg form. His cyborg form will make it in so just relax. Article was pretty good. Some minor nitpicks about it but still overall a good read and it's nice to finally see someone make an article about MK who knows what they're talking about
  • KaiokenKid - April 13, 2011 3:13 a.m.

    Wow, that's way more MK lore then I needed to know. Very well done mikel
  • bloodyshadow - April 13, 2011 3:55 a.m.

    FINALLY!!! Thank you Mikel for doing this and, more importantly, your research. It really shows and you wroe things I really didn't expect. I loved the whole thing... except the Spoiler part which I didn't read but you were great enough to put a tag for. Well done. VERY well done.
  • XLGirthMan - April 13, 2011 4:50 a.m.

    I've never played MK but I pre-ordered the new one already. Thanks to this article I'll actually be a bit educated about the characters and such. Great read
  • Fhiend - April 13, 2011 7:35 a.m.

    Guile's handcuff trick was a glitch in SF2 arcade in which one player would get stuck to Guile and be unable to move.
  • malakai - April 13, 2011 7:54 a.m.

    I hate australia, we dont get this cos of our dumbass government say OZZY OZZY OZZY OY OY OY if you agree they should be immolated by a skull faced demon ninja
  • TheWebSwinger - April 13, 2011 8:48 a.m.

    Awesome awesome awesome. Great article, I'm loving the MK week. Sub Zero > Scorpion. Inarguably.

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