Friends, back in the days when I was writing for the Retroist I was quick to express my love for the Mortal Kombat series of fighting games – and equally quick to point out as well that I have no skills at the game – just a fan of the lore and characters. I admit I was drawn to the game the first time I saw I it at the local University back in ’92, thanks to what I would later learn were digitized actors. Well, if I am being totally honest here – I was also drawn to Mortal Kombat because the character of Raiden totally reminded me of Lightning (James Pax) from the 1986 action/comedy Big Trouble in Little China.
My real love for Mortal Kombat actually came with the sequel in ’93, which I found at the arcade at the mall – a place called Over the Rainbow – which had been in operation since the late ’70s. Where it was Raiden who I was originally drawn to play in the first game – it was ‘love at first sight’ when I saw the character of Kung Lao, the Shaolin Monk and ally of Liu Kang. Perhaps it had something to do with my fondness for hats but after plunking in my tokens and playing one round of Mortal Kombat II – the razor-rimmed hat wearing former member of the White Lotus Society became my favorite… and still is 27 years later.
Through comic books, a music album, novels, an action figure line from Hasbro, a wonderful animated series, and at least one enjoyable live action film and TV series – I have faithfully followed Mortal Kombat over the years. I have some fond memories of watching that 1995 film with one of my best friends – I’ll share that one of these days on either the Diary of An Arcade Employee or Pop Culture Retrorama podcasts.
The lore for Mortal Kombat has expanded in leaps and bounds from the arcade games – with 24 games in total if you count the myriad sequels for home consoles, re-releases and the spin-off titles. That expansion on lore also included a staggering number of characters over the years – resulting in a reboot of the franchise in 2011. Something that I will admit needed to be done but that doesn’t mean that the game designers haven’t had fun in branching off into entirely different areas with the lore – in this case ‘Guest characters’ from other media such as Jason Voorhees, the Predator, Leatherface, a Xenomorph from the Alien franchise, the Joker, and even Todd McFarlane’s Spawn.
Yesterday though the trailer for the upcoming Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath expansion dropped and it really blew my mind, for one thing it will continue the story from Mortal Kombat 11, but also one of the new playable characters happens to be RoboCop. It gets better though because this is most assuredly the RoboCop from the 1987 film by Paul Verhoeven – and Peter Weller DID provide the voice work for this new Kombatant!