The sheer lunacy of Mortal Kombat is part of its charm. All kinds of colorful fighters some good, some bad. All of them of just jockeying for positions and trying to save Earthrealm or help evil rulers of realms like Outworld take the planet over. Over the years, plenty of characters have become pop culture icons in their own right. Raiden, Liu Kang, dozens of ninjas, and Sonya Blade - all of these and more are known past the gaming community thanks to the power of the video game. That, and plenty of movies and cartoons.
Like any fighting game, players have their favorites; and some are universal, some aren’t. Vice-versa for the least. But while any player can win the game with any fighter, within the storyline context of the game, some are wildly weaker than others. Raiden’s a thunder god for crying out loud! How could we expect dozens of characters to defeat him?! Without the game. There are still come characters whose move sets are weaker than others. The 5 Most Powerful Characters In The Lore (& 5 Weakest).
10 Powerful - Shao Kahn
Easily the most popular villain in the series and an icon among gaming evil, Shao Kahn is an absolute monster that strikes fear in the hearts of any kombatant.
Not only is he a physical powerhouse capable of wielding his massive war hammer with easy, but his magical abilities allow him control over people's souls, of creating energy weapons and more. There's a reason why Shao Kahn ruled over Outworld for thousands of years.
9 Weakest- Kai
Liu Kang needed some more friends apparently. That’s why Kai was created; he trained with both Liu Kang and Kung Lao. Because gamers needed a third Shaolin Monk to add to the fray...one that had a combination of the prior and better two characters move sets.
The creative team tried to make him cool, even basing him on Kareem Abdul-Jabaar, who was one of Bruce Lee’s (re: the basis for Liu Kang) students. But in the end, we got one of the blandest and weakest characters in the franchise.
8 Powerful - Scorpion
One of the main icons of the entire series, an entire generation knows what a gravelly voice shouting “get over here” means. The former tormented specter has since regained his human form and now can walk between worlds.
His spear, teleport, uppercut combo was one of the original devastating series of moves in the original games. It’s still always cool to use the guy, and he's traditionally been able to keep up with the top fighters in the franchise.
7 Weakest- Stryker
When Mortal Kombat 3 came out, there was already a bunch of human “soldier” type of characters.
They decided to throw a guy with a gun into the game. Stryker having a gun isn’t what made him stink (although with all of the other mayhem flying around, his gun did seem trite), he just didn’t have anything to him. The backwards cap didn’t make him cool either. Nowadays, his original battle cry of “Police Brutality” doesn’t play well either.
6 Powerful - Liu Kang
As the original face of the series, Liu Kang was patterned after Bruce Lee. It doesn’t get much more powerful than that! If being patterned after Lee wasn't enough, Kang has defeated both Shang Tsung and Shao Kahn and in the most recent title, bested Kronika.
Always fun to use with moves like the bicycle kick and fatalities like dropping an arcade machine on his opponents, the powerful monk is even more so nowadays. To save his soul from permanently staying a zombie, Raiden merged with his pupil, making him a Fire/Thunder God.
5 Weakest- Kobra
The entire series has always made no bones about paying homage to martial arts franchises and movies of yesteryear. Liu Kang originally looked like Bruce Lee, the ninjas were of course...ninjas and ninjas are always cool. But then there’s a character like Kobra (as in Cobra Kai Dojo from The Karate Kid).
He looks like someone decided to riff on either Ken Masters (Street Fighter), Hworang (Tekken), or both. His moves are pretty much like Ken’s - a fireball and windmill (not hurricane) kick both being in his repertoire. There’s no way that Mortal Kombat was going to make their “Ken” a cool character. The guy gets stabbed in the back in his own ending!
4 Powerful - Sub-Zero
Whether it be the original Bi-Han or his younger brother, Kuai Lang, Sun-Zero has consistently been one of the best characters in the entire series. He’s got a multitude of moves to slip you up or literally freeze you in your tracks.
The Cryomancer has been a staunch defender of Earthrealm capable of handling whole armies by himself and capable of creating anything imaginable with his ice powers. Don't cross the Lin Kuei warrior.
3 Weakest- Mokap
The guy is named after Motion Capture, how much more ridiculous can you get? How about being a stunt double for Johnny Cage that just happens to get swept up into the whole Mortal Kombat tournament ordeal.
Sucked into the tournament, Mokap isn’t all that interested in putting his keister in the line. The guy doesn’t even have a fatality! He's a joke best left on a tarkatan meat hook.
2 Powerful - Raiden
The Thunder God has been a presence in the series since the very first game. He is the protector of Earthrealm, constantly giving a nudge to our heroes to help defend the realm or let it fall into darkness to the likes of Shinnok or Shao Khan.
He might be a mere mortal now, thanks to merging with Liu Kang, but he still wields the power of lightning, and the Electric Fly, making him one of the best characters in the series. He brings centuries of combat experience to the table and despite his constant bumbling throughout the series, Raiden is not an opponent to be taken lightly.
1 Weakest - Jarek
Because Kano was considered too much of a joke, the game’s designers decided on creating an even lamer character - Jarek. Not only is he a complete ripoff of Kano, but he. Is. A. Complete. Ripoff. Of. Kano! They took a character who wasn’t that popular to begin with and made another character just like him!
He’s also a poor copy of Kano at that. They’re both members of the Black Dragon, which explains why they’re so similar. But if the creators were just going to design a mostly carbon character for MK4, then why not just include the original?!