Mortal Kombat has come a long way with not only introducing one of the most iconic gameplay features in a fighting game called “fatalities,” but the characters are what make the series stand out. Ninjas, sorcerers, martial artists, and more make up one of the most colorful character cast in any fighting game. One of them stands out for being one of the first playable gods in gaming, and that is Raiden.
The Thunder God plays an important part in being the protector of Earthrealm and a mentor to Liu Kang and Kung Lao. Along the way, he would team up with others like one of the game’s most popular characters Sub-Zero. The Lin Kuei assassin has always been a fan favorite due to his awesome abilities as a Cryomancer and his rivalry with Scorpion.
It’s hard to argue against the fact that Sub-Zero is definitely more popular than Raiden, but the latter has some tricks up his sleeve that make him stand out and be better in combat and approachable character than the cold ninja. While the rivalry with Scorpion will always remain the most iconic, it’s not surprising to see a matchup with the Thunder God and the Cryomancer.
Raiden might not be as loved as Sub-Zero, the former still has a strong fanbase that admire him and like his design, fighting moves, and his role in the Mortal Kombat franchise. How does Raiden fare compare to Sub-Zero?
Here are twenty things that Raiden can do that Sub-Zero can’t.
20 Thunder Takes Him
With Sub-Zero being able to control ice, Raiden has the ability to control thunder and lightning. The Thunder God can produce an infinite amount of electricity to shock his opponents in self-defense. Just make sure that you are nowhere near water if a fight occurs near an ocean or lake.
It’s funny how that despite being electrocuted, Raiden’s opponents are still able to keep fighting despite the intensity. Raiden can be very fearsome if the volts were insanely high. As the Thunder God, he does limit his power, but the day he unleashes it all will be the end of someone’s life for sure.
19 It's Electric!
Sub-Zero might have his own animality, being able to transform into a polar bear, but Raiden can turn into an electric eel. While a polar bear has the height, strength, and endurance compared to an electric eel, Sub-Zero is not able to use his cryomancy abilities.
Raiden is still able to in his eel form.
Both animals fit them perfectly, but Raiden’s is slightly more dangerous if you think about it. It is said that a fully grown electric eel can generate six hundred volts of electricity. Now put Raiden in the equation and he will be monstrous compared to regular eels.
18 He's In The Zone
It’s funny how while Sub-Zero has a bigger following, he does not have many cameos compared to the Thunder God. Raiden is a star in completely different video games, especially the ones that were made by Mortal Kombat’s former development team Midway Games. Raiden is quite the sports star, appearing in games such as NBA Jam Tournament Edition, NFL Blitz, and Unreal Championship 2: The Liandri Conflict.
The Thunder God would be the perfect fit for playing sports due to his height and physique. Sub-Zero probably could fare as well, but we believe that Raiden would be superior in sports than the Lin Kuei ninja.
17 Become The Star
Mortal Kombat would eventually get a reboot in 2011, and it received all the praise it deserves for returning to its roots of being a 2D era fighting game and featuring a lot of extra content. One of the surprising additions was a proper story mode. Both Sub-Zero and Raiden are playable in chapters eight and sixteen respectively.
However, Raiden is the true main character in the story due to the conflict of Earthrealm’s possible chance of being invaded by Outworld. He has appeared a lot and starts the story from his vision of Shao Kahn winning in Armageddon to defeating the Outworld ruler for good.
16 Despite The Odds
Injustice 2 is the perfect sequel to the first game, having a gripping story mode and provide unique ways to play with the amount of characters in the roster. The game managed to market the DLC extremely well, featuring characters who were highly requested such as Starfire and Red Hood. Sub-Zero appeared alongside them, which was no surprise.
However, Raiden would appear in the next pack with Black Manta and Hellboy.
Even though Sub-Zero was the first choice, having Raiden appear shows how popular he is, even if the former is requested more. If the popularity was the other way around, then it might not have been possible for Sub-Zero to be included as DLC.
15 Take Him On
If there is one thing we have to admire from Raiden, it’s the fact that he took on Shao Kahn despite almost completely conquering Earthrealm. Raiden was almost nearly defeated for the second time until the Elder Gods gave him the strength to fight against the emperor of Outworld.
Just like that, Raiden became the savior of Earthrealm.
Liu Kang might have defeated him first, but Shao Kahn got a huge buff and Raiden was already worked up from a tragic fight with the former. Sub-Zero probably wouldn’t stand a chance against this cheap character.
14 Having Sympathy
While Sub-Zero is shown to have emotions, his role as an assassin for the Lin Kuei makes him a less relatable character, even if he is very popular. Raiden, on the other hand, has shown endless amounts of kindness and patience for those around him. While he will not show mercy to his opponents, he does suppress himself if they are willing to listen to him.
Especially in Mortal Kombat (2011), we see Raiden mourn for those he has lost, especially his pupil who he sees as a son Liu Kang. He would do anything to bring him and the others back to the light.
13 Convincing The Elder Gods
The Elder Gods are imposing and have power in all of the realms and universe. Raiden is very loyal to them for the most part and will carry out his duties at the protector of Earthrealm. There was one instance in the reboot where Raiden pleas for Scorpion to spare Sub-Zero.
If he does, then Raiden would request the Elder Gods to bring Scorpion’s clan back into the world of the living. Due to his connection with the Elder Gods, it is possible that miracles can happen if there is a good reason, and Raiden has the lucky route.
12 Made His Way In
Mortal Kombat: Deception would have been a completely if Raiden had not appeared. The opening movie features him sacrificing himself to defeat the Dragon King Onaga. Fans were not pleased at the thought of Raiden not being included in the game.
Because of high popular demand, Raiden would be included in the game, and Fujin, who would have taken his place, made a cameo appearance in Konquest mode and the Prison stage. It goes to show that when fans don’t like something, we can rely on game developers to listen to the feedback with the utmost respect.
11 Foreseeing Events
The franchise’s reboot combined the events of the first, second, and third Mortal Kombat games. They crafted into an engaging and straight-to-the-point story. After the vision of the future of what would become Armageddon, Raiden from the past would later see more sights of what will happen.
He managed to prevent most of them.
While there were some events that screwed them over, such as the second Sub-Zero turning into a cybernetic ninja, the future at least became bright with a chance to bring Earthrealm to peace. If only there was a way to prevent the costs of the main roster’s lives.
10 Returning Senses
At the end of Mortal Kombat (2011), we see a lot of our favorite characters get shafted thanks to Sindel. Raiden would later find out that while trying to make an alliance with the Netherrealm, Quan Chi already resurrected the fallen warriors as revenants. Thankfully in Mortal Kombat X, a couple of them were brought back.
In Quan Chi’s fortress, Raiden was able to bring Sub-Zero, Scorpion, and Jax back to their normal selves, while also preventing Johnny Cage from becoming a revenant as well. But with the Netherrealm sorcerer eliminated, will there be a way to save the others?
9 Faster Travel
Want to make it to an event that you would have been late to? If Raiden were to exist, he can teleport at any location in a mere second. If he knows the location, then he can save the day in any situation. Can Sub-Zero do that?
Actually, he can.
From what we have seen in Mortal Kombat X and Injustice 2, Sub-Zero can create an iced clone of himself and surprise his enemies. However, it is possible that he can only do it from a few feet away from his exact location.
8 Inevitable Win
Who would win in a fight? Sub-Zero or Raiden? Judging by what both of them can do and what powers they have, it is an unfortunate loss for the Lin Kuei ninja. Sub-Zero might be able to freeze Raiden and stop him in his tracks, but taking the fact that Raiden can teleport behind Sub-Zero and dodge the freeze attack, the match is only one-sided.
It’s basically a god fighting against a human, and while there are some odds in each other’s favors, the winner would ultimately be Raiden due to his centuries of wisdom and combat.
7 Charge Up Whenever
At Raiden’s Sky Temple, he has a lot of ways to spend time, whether for leisure, training, or planning out what to do when Earthrealm is being threatened. In Mortal Kombat X, the Jinsei Chamber is an essential plot device that channels Earthrealm’s energy.
Conveniently, that is where Raiden charges up his strength.
Within the story, Shinnok would use his power to corrupt the Jinsei and it affected Raiden greatly. Not only did he have to cleanse the Jinsei while being injured, but the corruptness also turned him into Dark Raiden. It is possible that the Jinsei Chamber is restored, but for Raiden, that’s an indefinite answer.
6 Journey Through The Skies
While Sub-Zero can glide on the ground with ice, Raiden can actually fly anywhere. It is a convenient way to travel from country to country without having to worry about buying a plane ticket or travel by sea. Perhaps he could carry a lucky person and they can fly across the skies as a way of spending time with one another.
Even though he does not fly much, it is still a handy ability he has for being the Thunder God. Those who are afraid of heights will not want to ask Raiden for a lift.
5 Back To The Past
This might not be the first time we mentioned the amazing reboot, Mortal Kombat (2011) really shows the extent of Raiden’s power. His power to teleport, fly, use electricity, all of it is outstanding. While he might not be entirely capable for this power, time traveling really saved his life.
Raiden’s amulet helped him go back to the start of the Mortal Kombat tournament in Outworld. Thanks to his time traveling, Raiden would be able to prevent certain events from happening that would lead up to Armageddon. As of Mortal Kombat X, however, he is never seen being able to use any means of time travel.
4 Forever Alive
Another of the obvious, Raiden is immortal and no matter what injury he obtains, he will survive and regenerate. It is true that he can technically get offed by a fatality, but since he cannot be in the tournament unless someone challenges him, then he has the easy way out.
He has lived for many centuries that Raiden thinks of terms in eternity rather than human lifespans. It sounds cool to be able to live forever, but having to see many Eartherealmers go by must take a toll on Raiden. At the very least, he has his fellow god Fujin.
3 Survived Armageddon, Barely
The beginning of Mortal Kombat (2011) did not sugarcoat what the story would lead. Almost everyone were defeated in the most horrible way, but only two were still alive in the opening cutscene. Shao Kahn nearly won, but Raiden, despite his injuries, managed to come through.
That’s the Thunder God for you.
While it is heavily implied that in the original timeline, Raiden would perish alongside his comrades, but being able to somewhat travel back to the Outworld tournament would help him fix the wrongs. It was crushing to see Raiden look so defeated after working so hard to protect his realm.
2 Healing The Injured
Sub-Zero is a dangerous character, and his icy moves are no joke. What makes Raiden different from the Lin Kuei ninja is the fact that he can heal anyone. We see him in Mortal Kombat reboot healing Jax who had sustained injuries while he was captured by Shang Tsung.
As a god, it makes sense due to his abilities. Who would have thought that Raiden could use electricity to heal people? It sounds crazy, but you got to hand it to him for being able to take care of injuries. Then again, shock therapy is a way of helping people in dire situations.
1 Becoming An Elder God
In the first timeline, Raiden and his Earthrealmers were on the winning side, and while they lost their champion Liu Kang, there would still be a chance to defeat the Deadly Alliance consisting of Quan Chi and Shang Tsung. After defeating Shinnok, Raiden managed to ascend as an Elder God.
As much as it was an honor, he didn’t stay as one for long.
He couldn’t be Earthrealm’s protector, so he would later return as the Thunder God we know and love. Raiden would rather defend the people he holds dear than be cooped up with the other Elder Gods.