All Mortal Kombat Original Characters

Matt Kasper


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mortal kombat arcade

In the vast landscape of video games, few franchises have managed to leave an indelible mark on the industry quite like Mortal Kombat. With its bone-crushing combat, iconic characters, and a level of visceral intensity previously unseen, Mortal Kombat burst onto the scene like a lightning bolt, forever changing the gaming landscape. At the heart of this groundbreaking series lies the game that started it all – the legendary Mortal Kombat arcade game.

If you didn’t grow up during the nineties you might never understand the impact the original Mortal Combat Arcade had on a generation of teenage gamers. I’ll never forget during lunch breaks how we would all head to the local pizza place for lunch but not for the pizza slices. There you would find a huge crowd of kids all huddled around the Mortal Kombat game going absolutely nuts, much to the dismay of the pizza shop employees.

We had never seen such brutality in an arcade game before, it was wild. The blood, the gore, the sound effects it was all very groundbreaking. Everyone had their favorite fighter to use and when someone successfully pulled off a fatality move, the place went wild. The characters introduced in the original Mortal Kombat have become some of the most famous video game characters of all time and are still in rotation today. Here is every character that first appeared in Mortal Kombat 1 along with their move sets.

Johnny Cage

johnny cage mortal kombat

Johhny Cage’s character is a Hollywood movie star who was trained by great Masters from all over the world. He was originally modeled after real-life movie star Jean-Claude Van Damme.

Johhny Cage Special Moves

  • Fireball Throw – a green-flamed fireball that Cage throws
  • Shadow Kick – Cage moves in a matrix-like manner toward his opponent for a high kick
  • Nut Cracker – Cage drops a la Jean-Claude Van Damme into the splits and rocks his opponent in the nuts
johnny cage fireball
Green Fireball Punch
johnny cage shadow kick
Cage Shadow Kick
johnny cage nut cracker
Nut Cracker Punch

Johnny Cage Finishing Move

johnny cage finisher

Deadly Uppercut

Johnny Cage’s finishing move in the original Mortal Combat was the deadly uppercut. He would crouch down into a squat position and explode upwards knocking his opponent’s head clean off their shoulders. There was nothing too exciting about this move and I’d say it’s a boring finisher overall.


kano mortal kombat

Kano is described as a thug and extortionist. He is a lifelong criminal who belongs to a cut-throat gang called the Black Dragons. He has a half-metal face with a cyborg eye that glows red.

Kano Special Moves

  • Kanoball – Kano levitates above ground and throws himself at his opponent in a rolling ball motion
  • Knife Throw – Kano pulls a knife from his clothes and throws it forward towards his enemy, it has a blue streak as it spins forward
kano kanoball mortal kombat
kano knife throw mortal kombat
Blue Flame Knife Throw

Kano Finishing Move

kano heart rip mortal kombat

Heart Rip

Kano has one of the most gruesome fatalities in the original Mortal Kombat game. As his opponent staggers helplessly he reaches back and then lunges forward with his right hand into his opponent’s chest. He proceeds to rip out their heart and hold it proudly over his head. Blood splatters everywhere and the heart still beats in his hand.


raiden mortal kombat arcade

Raiden is the thunder god who may be a deity. The game says it is possible he took on a human form just so he could compete in the Mortal Kombat tournament. Since his debut in the original Mortal Kombat game, he has been one of the few characters to appear in every single video game that has followed.

Raiden Special Moves

  • Lightening Bolt – Raiden is able to generate electricity through his hands and fires a bolt forward
  • Torpedo – He launches himself forward like a launched missile or like Superman flying. When he hits his opponent he drives them back into the wall
  • Teleportation – Raiden possesses the ability to teleport himself behind his opponent for a sneak attack
raiden lightening bolt mortal kombat
Lightening Bolt
raiden torpedo mortal kombat
raiden teleport mortal kombat

Raiden Finishing Move

raiden finisher mortal kombat

Electric Decapitation

To finish his opponents in the arcade version of Mortal Kombat, Raiden fills his enemy with an electric charge of electricity. So much so that his opponent’s head burst into a bloody mess. The best part is Raiden’s famous screams while performing this fatality.

Liu Kang

liu kang mortal kombat bio

Liu Kang has become one of the most popular fighters in the franchise since his debut in the original Mortal Kombat arcade game. Liu Kang represents the Shaolin Temples and has great hate for Shang Tsung. His character is clearly inspired by the great Bruce Lee.

Liu Kang Special Moves

  • Dragon Fire – Kang channels a fireball through his hands and fires it forward toward his opponent’s head
  • Flying Dragon Kick – Liu Kang flies through the air with a jumping high kick
liu kang dragon fire
Dragon Fire
liu kang dragon kick
Flying Dragon Kick

Liu Kang Finishing Move

liu kang finisher mortal kombat

Butterfly Flip

Liu Kang is the only fighter in Mortal Kombat that doesn’t have an overly gruesome fatality move. He performs a flip while landing a kick on his opponent. He then performs a standard uppercut knocking his opponent way up in the air and having them fall way down off the screen to the bottom pits where spikes await them.


scorpion original mortal kombat

In the first Mortal Kombat Scorpion is a mystery whose name and origin are unknown. He appears to have a rivalry with Sub-Zero according to the in-game bio. He has appeared in every single version of the Mortal Kombat franchise since the original.

Scorpion Special Moves

  • Spear Throw – Scorpion has a spear that he throws into his opponent’s chest. Scorpion then pulls his opponent over to him in one of the coolest moves in the game
  • Teleport Punch – Scorpion disappears off one side of the screen only to appear on the other side flying at his opponent with a closed-fist punch
scorpion spear throw mortal kombat
Spear Throw
scorpion teleport punch
Teleport Punch

Scorpion Finishing Move

scorpion toastyl finisher


Scorpion’s fatality is wild and is maybe the most fun in the game. He removes his hood to reveal himself in a skeleton form. He then proceeds to breathe fire at his opponent’s feet burning them to a crisp.


sub zero mortal kombat arcade

Sub-Zero, like Scorpion, is a ninja warrior who wears a blue uniform believed to be belonging to Lin Kuei. This would make him part of a legendary Chinese clan according to his in-game bio.

Sub-Zero Special Moves

  • Ice Freeze – The ice freeze is one of the best moves in the game. He shoots an iceball out of his wrists which will leave his opponent frozen in time for a couple of seconds
  • Slide – Sub-Zero has the ability to slide across the screen, like on ice, and knock over his opponent with a sweep of his leg
sub zero freeze move
Ice Freeze
sub zero slide move
sub zero spine rip mortal kombat

Spine Rip

Sub-Zero’s fatality is at the top of the list for the most gruesome finisher in the first Mortal Kombat. What looks like a simple uppercut is much more fatal as he rips his opponent’s head and spinal cord clear out of his body.

Sonya Blade

sonya blade mortal kombat

Sonya Blade was the only female character in the original Mortal Kombat arcade game. She is billed as being a part of the top U.S. special forces unit.

Sonya Blade Special Moves

  • Energy Rings – Sonya is able to generate a circle of pink energy waves that she fires forward stunning her opponent
  • Leg Grab – Sonya shows off her flexibility by performing a handstand and grabbing her opponent with her legs and then proceeding to flip them up and over her
  • Square Wave Punch – in this move Sonya propels herself to the top of the screen and floats across the top nailing anyone in a jumping motion
sonya blade energy rings
Energy Rings
sonya blade leg throw
Leg Grab
sonya blade square punch
Wave Punch
sonya blade fire kiss

Fire Kiss

Sonya Blade’s finisher is rather boring, to say the least. She blows a kiss to her opponent revealing a floating fireball. The fireball falls at her opponent’s feet setting them on fire and burning them down to their skeleton.


reptile mortal kombat arcade

Reptile is a hidden ninja character that is not playable in the game. He is discovered after you have beaten all 6 fighters in the tournament in one-player mode. He holds the distinction of being the first-ever secret character in the Mortal Kombat Franchise.

He possesses all the same moves as both Scorpion and Sub-Zero. He has no special fatality move other than a standard uppercut punch.


goro mortal kombat original

Goro is the first Boss character you meet in the Mortal Kombat arcade game. He is the sub-boss to Shang Tsung and has become one of the most recognizable characters in the franchise. He was not a playable character in the original Mortal Kombat.

Goro Special Moves

  • Grab and Punch – Goro will grab you with his bottom two hands and lift you in the air. He will then proceed to pound his opponent with his upper fists
  • Skull Fireball – Goro has a green skull fireball that he fires out of his fist
goro mortal kombat arcade
Grab Punches
goro skull fireball
Skull Fireball

Shang Tsung

shang tsung mortal kombat

Shang Tsung is the final boss and the host of the Mortal Kombat tournament. He is a deadly sorcerer who has the ability to shape-shift into any fighter he wants. He was visioned after a traditional “Chinese Sorcerer” from martial arts movies of the past.

He has two notable special moves in the original Mortal Kombat game. The first is the skull fireball he shoots out of a fire orb he creates with his hands. The second is his ability to shape-shift; while you fight him. Shang will morph into multiple different fighters while you face him including Goro and will have all their moves at his disposal.

shang tsung fireball
Skull Fireball

The success of the original Mortal Kombat arcade game marked the beginning of a gaming revolution. It shattered the notion of what a fighting game could be, paving the way for a franchise that would continue to push boundaries and redefine the genre for decades to come. Mortal Kombat sparked an insatiable appetite for intense and visceral gaming experiences, forever leaving an indelible mark on the industry.

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