The evolution of Shang Tsung and Reptile

Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe (2008)

Above: That’s not Reptile on the right, but he’s green, so eh 

When the Mortal Kombat characters teamed with DC’s stable of superheroes for a T-rated punchfest, it was Reptile’s turn to sit one out while his former master went toe-to-toe with the likes of Batman and Captain Marvel. With a new look that was sort of an amalgam of his MK3 and Deadly Alliance appearances, Shang Tsung turned out to be pretty well adapted to MKvsDCU’s more streamlined, combo-heavy action. He still couldn’t transform into other characters – not during regular combat, anyway – but he did return with a few new moves.

In addition to his old fireballs and the Soul Steal, he could now blast a jet of fire into the air…

… which would then come crashing down on his opponent’s head, sort of like Sub-Zero’s ice-geyser move from MK3.

Additionally, he packed a slide move that would enable him – once his opponent was knocked over – to launch them skyward with a well-placed kick.

In the interest of confusing opponents (or just dodging their attacks), he also had a long-overdue teleport move, which let him slip behind them with just enough time to punch the backs of their heads.

What’s a little strange, however, is that Tsung actually had two teleport moves. In addition to the aforementioned “Hot Escape,” he could switch bodies – or, more accurately, positions – with his opponent.

Above: Well, that accomplished a lot. It probably would have accomplished more if we’d actually had temporary control of Green Lantern when it was over 

Fatality-wise, Tsung’s status as a soul-stealing wizard gave the developers license to create some (relatively) kid-friendly Fatalities, like the one where he strangles the souls out of his opponent before stomping on his or her back…

Or, more interestingly, turns into his opponent before stealing their souls.

Above: Man, why couldn’t we have done this during the fight? 

Mortal Kombat (2011)

At last, we’re at the final entry – as well as full-circle back to the beginning. In rebooting the franchise, the new Mortal Kombat gives us two varieties of Shang Tsung – a slightly younger and more vital version of the old man from the first tournament, and a revamped younger version who’s similar to the one seen in Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe. He seems to have kept a lot of his moves from MK3, and while he can’t transform into every character again, his Soul Steal now allows him to temporarily take on the form of his opponent, which seems like an acceptable compromise.

Reptile, meanwhile, has gotten a complete redesign once again, this time taking into account both his reptilian species and his hidden-ninja origins. He’s smaller and faster than before, and carries himself like he did in his crouching, scuttling MK4 incarnation.

Also, in sharp contrast to his original appearance, there’s nothing particularly secretive about his participation in the first MK tournament this time around – in fact, he’s one of the first fighters called to face players at the beginning of the new MK’s story mode. As for how he and Shang Tsung will actually play, well, we’ll find out when the game ships next week.

Apr 14, 2011

The evolution of Scorpion and Sub-Zero
Two ninjas, 19 years of Mortal Kombat, and one shared destiny


The history of Mortal Kombat
Prepare yourself! We examine the original arcade hit that corrupted minds and led to the creation of the ESRB


The Top 7… Most absurd Mortal Kombat offshoots
MK’s gone in some strange directions once finishing the fight


  • EffinChrys - April 14, 2011 11:48 p.m.

    I kan't wait for the new MK!
  • wampastompa - April 15, 2011 12:02 a.m.

    The amount of work and research you guys have put into these articles is staggering. Bravo sirs
  • paganpoet - April 15, 2011 12:12 a.m.

    Hoping y'all do Kitana and Mileena tomorrow.
  • thedonut - April 15, 2011 12:38 a.m.

    I want to play as old guy Tsung from the first. He looks more awesome. :/
  • FETALJUICE - April 15, 2011 3 a.m.

    Reptile has always been a complete badass in my book.
  • Synchronatic - April 15, 2011 3:16 a.m.

    I've gotta say, I preferred Reptile when his reptilian nature was more hidden. The mysterious green ninja kicked ass! Anywho, great article! I can't wait to see more! Kombat Week!!!!!
  • TheWebSwinger - April 15, 2011 3:28 a.m.

    1st: These two characters are AWESOME for another "Evolution of" Feature. Especially reptile. 2nd: "Wizard and Lizard". Nice. 3rd: I much much preferred Reptile when he was just a pallette swapped Sub Zero. I hate the more lizard-y costumes.
  • XLGirthMan - April 15, 2011 3:58 a.m.

    I'm pretty excited because I preordered from Amazon, so I get Reptile's original appearance and fatality
  • MrSuitMan - April 15, 2011 4:29 a.m.

    Lovin these retrospective guys. Reptiles was always one of my favorite MK kharacters.
  • rottenpiggypie - April 15, 2011 4:30 a.m.

    I understand that Shang Tsung and Reptile have had a very strange history of evolution, but seriously GR....You couldn't have picked two more...uh...recognized characters for this subject matter??? *Cough-Scorpion & Sub-zero-Cough*
  • paganpoet - April 15, 2011 5:16 a.m.

    @rottenpiggypie, err, they did an article on Scorpion and Sub-Zero yesterday.
  • SilentTee - April 15, 2011 9:07 a.m.

    I'm loving all this Kombat week content! It's great! 1. I thought it was Henry Rollins not Hank... but I could be wrong. 2. Hoping for another one of these evolution features on maybe Johnny Cage or Kung Lao.
  • cyclone306 - April 15, 2011 9:25 a.m.

    so awesome! Fuck recaptcha.
  • jmcgrotty - April 15, 2011 9:29 a.m.

    "Sort of like Han from Enter the Dragon" Dumbasses! Han was in the Star Wars movies. (Relax, folks. I'm kidding.) Seeing all of these iterations of Reptile, I am torn. I like his original ninja appearance but absolutely hate when they acknowledged that he was a real reptile species by making him look like a reptile. I guess the latest version works for me, where it is apparent that he is still sort of a reptile (but not over the top), but that it's hidden behind significant ninja properties. I know I am in the minority with this, but I actually loved it when they kept adding more and more finishing moves. Except for babalities. Didn't like that one. Of course, Mortal Kombat doesn't hold a candle to Tattoo Assassins, which has 2,196 fatalities. Seriously. SilentTee: "I thought it was Henry Rollins not Hank... but I could be wrong". You're kinda both right and wrong. Most people call him Henry Rollins, but Hank is a shortened form of Henry. Isn't used often, though, and is more of a nickname. So, Henry Rollins = Hank Rollins. Much like how John F. Kennedy = Jack Kennedy.
  • NightCrawler_358 - April 15, 2011 12:18 p.m.

    Reptile looks cool in the new MK, but I liked Shang Tsung's PS2 era look. not the alternate outfit one though... Hope to see profiles for the rest of the characters. *cough*Baraka*cough*
  • philipshaw - April 15, 2011 2:18 p.m.

    Another great retrospective Mikel
  • GamesRadarMikelReparaz - April 15, 2011 11:40 p.m.

    @SilentTee: Cool, glad you're liking them so far. Kung Lao was one I strongly considered, along with Raiden, since they've been through a lot of changes as well. Unfortunately, there wasn't enough time this week to do a third evolution feature. Johnny Cage, though... apart from his moves and the actors playing him, I think that would just be me going, "Uh, in this one, he wore these pants and sunglasses... and in the next game, he had slightly DIFFERENT pants and sunglasses, and also bigger hair."
  • marioman50 - April 16, 2011 5:01 a.m.

    I'm really liking these "evolution" features, Mikel. I didn't even know about Reptile's secretive origins, or the boss battle with Shang Tsung in MK1, as I've honestly only played MK3 and Deadly Alliance.
  • SilentTee - April 16, 2011 11:52 a.m.

    @MikelReparaz I do hope you guys find the time to do more these. I think I would like it for any of the characters honestly.
  • TheElephantManchurianCandidate - April 16, 2011 2:32 p.m.

    Awesome article! For some reason these two have been my favorite characters for like ever. Can't wait to play them as a tag team together in the new MK

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