My review of the story in MK X (long and spoilery)- by a simple fan(atic)


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I'll try not to sound like a know-it-all, but I'm a real fan of Mortal Kombat and I just want to state my opinion about this game and what could/should have been done better.

The most important challenge they had was, in my opinion, to create a believable world. MK X would clearly contain scenes from the Netherrealm (known to us as Hell) and a war on this kind of scale (the Netherrealm is described as one of 2 infinite realms in the wiki of Mortal Kombat) would be the challenge of a lifetime. I've had worries ever since I saw Quan Chi's intro holding Moloch's head. I wasn't quite sure if the guys at NRS really understood that the oni in the Netherealm are practically dead and they can escape Hell only to get killed and end up there again, like Drahmin and Moloch did in Deception. So why did Quan Chi actually kill a dead demon? One particular death in MK X (Quan Chi) makes me wonder even more.

The writing team was renowned for making continuity mistakes and I won't get into detail about the number of times Cage dies or when Scorpion found out the truth in the original timeline, but the most blatant of all was in MK Deception when you play the story mode as Shujinko, travel to the Netherealm right before MK1 but end up there 8 years later, right after MK 4, when Scorpion torments Quan Chi in the 5th plane where sorcery doesn't work. And after that you go to Seido where you are imprisoned for decades and you get old, although you get out to finish the quest when Quan Chi and Shang Tsung are fighting Raiden, although between MK4 and MK Deadly Alliance could not have passed more than 2 years. Those were blatant in our faces mistakes!

But enough with the past! Did MK X manage to keep a logical chain of events and describe the Netherrealm accordingly from a story point of view? Yes...and no. They mostly failed. Did they succeed with other challenges like making awesome villain characters? (probably the worst thing about MK9 and what every fan would have told the NRS team to change was to give chapters to the bad guys, not just make them jobbers!) Did they do justice to the characters by adding to the roster the most loved ones by fans and the 3d characters with great potential? No.

Chapter 1
It starts with Johnny's words “millions of years ago”. Ok.... I know that Shinnok says he's been imprisoned for eons, but how can he not exaggerate? In the MK Armageddon intro we see that Shao Kahn was already attacking Edenia when Shinnok was still an Elder God. Shao Kahn can't have attacked Edenia for millions of years, so Shinnok's imprisonment issue should be addressed as no more than 10.000 years ago, around Edenia's fall and the “eons” should be explained as an exaggeration, how he sees his imprisonment.

“Shao Kahn's death...all part of Shinnok's plan”- this was never clarified. Why does Shao Kahn's defeat allow Shinnok to escape the Netherealm? And not right in that moment, but after 8 years in the original timeline and after 2 years from the Outworld invasion now. Would Shao Kahn have fought on behalf of the Elder Gods if Shinnok had attempted war against them?

The Special Forces are fighting Netherealm demons. We should have gotten a broader picture of the war. Maybe have scenes from London, Paris, Tokyo, all great cities of earth, even the countryside, the large ships on water, everything being under attack by demons. Shinnok's forces should totally outnumber the 7 billion people on Earth. So, the US government had time to prepare a defense with combat choppers being fast deployed and Cage, Sonya and Kenshi quickly rounded up! They're headed for the Dead Woods forest (stage) to go and help Raiden. How this makes sense I don't know cause if Raiden would have wanted them there, he could have just opened a portal to the Sky Temple for them, or at least to the entrance in the Dead Woods if the Temple cannot be reached by conventional means, as Kung Jin will later explain.

Also, why did Shinnok attack all of Earth instead of channeling a billion demons towards the Sky Temple? Johnny Cage and Sonya don't seem to be in a big hurry. More stupid jokes. Sonya even has time to shake her butt on cam and explain the situation to the soldiers. Kenshi says that “the world will have changed for the worse if they do not expel Shinnok from Raiden's temple”. Really Kenshi? There are demons flying around! This is the Apocalypse. There will be no world if you don't succeed. “Blind guys with magic swords” joke- they're doing their best so we don't feel tension in this scene. Meanwhile, Raiden or Fujin even had time to request help from Outworld in order to repel the invasion (when?). Mileena and her council discussed the potential help and decided against it. Then, Kotal, Dvorah and Reptile staged a coup helped by Ermac's militia (Dvorah flashback scene). Sure didn't seem like they were in a hurry. In fact, we don't know how long the Netherealm invasion took place but I assume a lot of the world's population bit the dust. The only logical assumption is that, eventually, Quan Chi finds out how to access the Sky Temple and that's the game's intro where we see Raiden and Fujin battling the demons.

Chopper fight- Scorpion hangs from the side for 30 seconds even though he can teleport at will!
The graphics look amazing. The image and the dialogue are infinitely better than in MK 2011. Women's faces are actually attractive (remember man-Sonya from 4 years ago? Oh, the nightmares...). Shinnok looks cool, he talks like a patient wise Elder God that he is. He isn't portrayed as an idiot like Shao Kahn and Shang Tsung were. Johnny Cage makes many jokes in the face of almost certain Apocalypse. True, it's fun for the public, but seriously, he IS mentally challenged. Matrix like scene- cool! Johnny Cage's “No...” when Shinnok attempts to kill Sonya is of reference for good voice acting.

“We can deal with Quan Chi later, we netted a bigger prize this day.”- ummm, what about the demon hordes that are still attacking people? Maybe this is where Kotal and the Outworld troops helped? Not sure how much a small Outworld army could help against millions of demons, it's basically Raiden's job of frying them all with lightning as they are not Earthrealmers. Sure would be nice to get an answer on what happened. And does this mean that all demons have been expelled from Earth or there might be some more hiding there?

Chapter 2
First of all, it was a mistake to bring in the 4 kids in this game. I can understand the move from a sales point of view and I understand that the decision was made at the highest level in NRS and the others just had to go along with the boss's idea, but out of 7 BILLION people on Earth, what are the chances that the next generation of best warriors will be the children/nephews/cousins of the previous one? The same with Shinnok's army. He was in Hell for milennia, are his generals are really the humans that died 2 years ago? There was no one else in Hell?

Course, this does go hand in hand with the Armageddon prophecy and game, where this group comprised the best warriors in the universe. But such a theory would only be possible in 2 ways: 1)if they are all reincarnations of past warriors who lived throughout history and in the present it's the first time that they walk the Earth together, leading to a power surge that triggers Armageddon or 2) they are the result of genetic experimenting started thousands of years ago and current generations have actually been bread for battle (?by the Elder Gods?). Fortunately, there actually is an in-game reference by Johnny Cage to the Mediterranean cult he belongs to.

Flash-forward 20 years. The “Reiko” accords!! Sounds like Reiko was a great threat in the comic that got solved. Hopefully NRS realizes his potential and brings him back, together with Fujin, who, surprise, never appears again in the story. Mark my words, Fujin is dead! Something happened during the Reiko conflict because otherwise, he would have definitely helped Raiden in the Sky Temple at the end of the story.

So, as Kotal and Kano bargain, Mileena and Rain are seen on the roofs. Really?? This is THE Emperor of Outworld. He's carried through the streets of his capital. That's his security?? How did the most notorious terrorist in that entire world get inside the capital and within meters of the Emperor? With an entire contingent of tarkatans, no less! Maybe the Amulet gave her the means to teleport her group or maybe Rain did it, as he can be seen teleporting up to 2 persons, but we don't get an explanation. Anyway, Kahn's security system should be on par with that of the Earthrealm Presidents, especially with generals like Ermac. Otherwise, I can totally see the Presidents of the USA and China having assassinated Kotal Kahn and having conquered Outworld long ago for its resources. Humans are tainted with evil and Raiden CAN'T interfere in their decisions. It would have actually been nice to see the evil side of politics in this game, with schemers like Daegon trying to bribe Presidents into attempting an Outworld invasion. But Outworld should not be portrayed like a little Kansas city. It's an entire realm for Christ's sake. That's why Mileena's ambush looks pretty stupid without an explanation of how they got there.

Tanya talks about a free Edenia. So, in the original timeline Edenia was freed after Shao Kahn was defeated in MK3. Now he's killed, not only defeated, but Edenia is still merged with Outworld? Would work only if Edenia is its own realm but Kotal's troops are still deployed there and refuse to allow it to govern itself (kind of like Russian troops in Ukraine), which would be a kind of cool explanation. I would have liked to see more of Kotal's local governors. I mean, who acts as Edenia's overseer?
Rain and Kotal's dialogue is awesome. The third son of Argus is done justice with his lines and how he calls Kotal “Buluc”, his name given by the mayans. His water teleportation and fighting move are flawless!

Chapter 3
Sub-Zero kicks ass. These kids are still just kids. NRS can't screw up making them the heroes of the story in the next hours, right?

Chapter 4
Outworlders came through a portal. A SF base is set up. How did Li Mei or someone else have the power to conjure a portal to Earthrealm? And why did Kano travel with them? It's kind of stupid that Li Mei, having been Bo'Rai'Cho's protegee and an important figure in Outworld didn't know who the man with a red eye was. After all, he had been smuggling weaponry there for decades. Was Li Mei not informed of this? Why not just say: “We followed Kano but we lost track. He has a cloaking device.”

Also, Cage makes a stupid remark again: “You Outworlders kind of live for battles.” Guess what: Johnny Cage has been training all his life and has been trying to prove that he's the best in fighting! So, that's hypocrite to say. But the diaogue in this chapter is just awful: Cage-”They risked a lot coming to Earthrealm”. The Outworlders risked what exactly? Prison in Norway? They're safer in Earthrealm than in any other realm. Should they have gone to Chaosrealm or Vaeternus?
Erron Black doesn't recognize the girls....Kung Jin makes a joke about Jacqui's revenant dad. Dear Kung Jin, Jax came back. Your cousin is still a devil! “Kotal Kahn- the fire that burns the sun...”- this was great.

Chapter 5
Flashback 20 years ago. A SF team lead by Sonya and Cage leads an offensive into the Netherealm. Can they somehow make us realize that this place is Hell? It looks more like a Chinese temple. Hell is supposed to be a scary place, with demons feasting upon the flesh of the damned. Show us that, show us at least naked people, men and women, running around chased by demons, if you don't dare to show actual raping. Think Dante Alighieri's 9 circles in La Divina Comedia. We should see the horrors!! You have Drahmin, use him. The scene in MKA, where Taven enters Hell and Drahmin “greets” him was much better. If NRS hates Drahmin, then use Jason. You have him as DLC. I don't normally agree with outsiders in the story, but a Drahmin or Jason were absolutely necessary in Hell.

Who were those soldiers that volunteered to go to the Netherealm in this offensive? Did Raiden just agree to sacrifice a bunch of GI Joe's or did he really think they could help Sonya and Cage in a way? Cause they don't do anything besides die!

And how did they know how to find Quan Chi's quarters? A line saying Sareena gave them the coordinates would have been nice. + even if his position will be compromised, we'll still find Quan Chi in that same study 20 years later? Quan Chi comes out of a portal, yet we'll find out later that he couldn't open portals anymore after Shinnok's imprisonment. Is his fortress the only place where he can access portals anymore? Why is the ruler of Hell protected only by 3 revenants in a realm of billions of evil dead souls? They should have explained that Sareena's info or Raiden's inter-realm sight allowed for this one-time chance.

Quan Chi emasculated by Sonya. They built up the greatest villain in the MK universe just to have him humiliated. Yeah, ok, Sonya has many fans and she used to be cool, but Quan Chi should have been a source of generating fear in this game.

I like that death still means something in the universe and not all revenants were saved. The saving of Sub-Zero, Scorpion and Jax was a one-time event. Jax comes back with metal arms! The US government is probably never informed of the 3 saved revenants and Raiden smuggles them out of Hell through a secret portal, because I doubt any Earthrealm government would have allowed freedom for the people who helped in the hellish invasion of Earth. Least of all, allow one of them to re-establish a fighting clan rivaling true militia (the Shirai-Ryu).

Chapter 6

Dvorah is the first villain to get a chapter in the last 2 games. Does this mean that she will somehow turn neutral? Awesome chapter! The best chapter yet! Dvorah's flashback is amazing. This is how Outworld should be presented: alliances, back-stabbings, game of thrones, politics. I wonder why Ermac betrayed Mileena, she could in fact be considered his daughter, or at least the daughter of one of the souls inside. Maybe he tried to make a better Mileena but couldn't and finally had to realize that this daughter was evil for Outworld. We should have seen more of this political Outworld. Dvorah and Cassie learn of Mileena's location from Kano?? This was a wasted opportunity for the Special Forces to use that state of the art, last generation equipment their factions intro mentions. How about a few military satellites sent through a portal in Outworld that would immediately rise into orbit and reveal Mileena's location with precision? The perimeter could be established just like in the real life cases of terrorist capturing.

Dvorah kicks ass and Mileena is captured. They decide to kill her. Remember, all the ones present are aware of the Netherealm and Quan Chi's revenants, yet none proposes that Mileena be kept alive instead of being offered on a plate to Quan Chi and sent to Hell.

Nice scene of Quan Chi and his most important revenants in Hell: Liu Kang and Kitana by his side, Kung Lao and Sindel to the sides. They make for his fortress. Makes me wonder, what were each and every one of them doing in Hell all these years? I don't think they need to eat, drink or sleep. They just ride horses, torture souls, train their armies, fornicate and pray to Shinnok? Nice to see that although Quan Chi is just a withered sorcerer, Liu Kang and Kitana haven't staged a coup and are still following him. They truly found solace in his and Shinnok's words and are ready to follow them to the war with the Elder Gods. Got to respect that.

Dvorah steals the Amulet. As someone else has noticed, why did Kotal Kahn entrust only her and 2 guards with transporting the most important artifact in the known world? Logically, Kotal wanted to hide it in a place where magic would prevent even sorcerers from entering, but he should have done so himself.
Quan Chi can't open a straight portal and bring Dvorah to him, but he can open a communication channel across realms. Pretty logical move from the NRS to try and prevent continuity issues, but then how come will Dvorah later appear through a portal in the SF camp, right next to Quan Chi?
Apparently Sareena sent info to Sonya that Quan Chi has resurfaced in the Netherealm just as the Amulet has fallen into Mileena's hands. He was headed for his fortress. Is that the only place where he can access a portal anymore? And, SERIOUSLY, Sareena is left by the SF and Raiden in literal HELL to act as an informant in case mmmm... something happens? Tough job for Sareena!

Chapter 7

The kids group escape their boat prison right next to the peer where Dvorah stole the Amulet and where Raiden and the shaolin monks fought the tarkatans in the flashback. Outworld has only one harbor!!
Scorpion's face with that mouth almost always opened is silly. He looked a millionth times better in the issue 1 of the comic.

The kids determine that Dvorah is headed for the Sea of Blood, where Jax says that she can access a portal to get to Quan Chi. That's why they set up a military perimeter next to his fortress. We're in Hell again but communications seem to be taking place just fine. Sure, this may be one of Raiden's gifts, but we should at least get a sense that the team is in Hell. Have them experience creepy visions or something, make their noses bleed, make them angry. The place looks just like the inside of a volcano, with lava everywhere. This shouldn't be just one other realm.

Chapter 8

Sareena explanation for why Quan Chi travels by conventional means. Finally, something logical. So, bullets are made to stop the undead! Stryker has an unlimited supply of bullets in his pistol chamber! Sindel steps on Jax's metal arm and it's painful for him ;))))

Jax defeats Liu Kang. Not ok!! We should have at least had a dialogue between Quan Chi and Liu Kang before Jax entered, with Quan Chi saying something like: “Go do what must be done.” The sorcerer allowed himself to be captured but Jax beating the 2 times champion of Mortal Kombat is not ok. Raiden beating him in Chapter 10 I can believe, but this makes him look weak.

So, the team retrieves Quan Chi and brings him to Earthrealm but what do they do with the revenants, especially Liu Kang? Do they tie him up?!
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Chapter 9

“I'm guessing it's not your first time in cuffs. What's your safeword?” is another bad joke by Johnny Cage. God, could they try to hype him more? Quan Chi is a thousands of years old sorcerer and he should have let this 50 something year old human have it: “Bondage is a beautiful thing Mr Cage. I've seen your dreams in your teenage years, you used to like touching yourself too.” I'm not homosexual or anything, but it's frustrating to see Cage being a smart-ass with people who have lived for a lot longer than him.

Scorpion and the Shirai-Ryu attack. How did they infiltrate a SF base??? How does Scorpion know about Quan Chi being captured? “Wound, but not kill!” Um, they're using sword. So, they can mutilate a person, cut off limbs, but it's ok if they don't kill? Of course, the SF who use bullets are no match for the Shirai-Ryu ;) The consensus in the MK boards is that Scorpion was a dick and he didn't want to help save the other revenants. I don't understand the character development here. Scorpion is saved from Hell and realizes his mistakes contemplating suicide, but Kenshi helps him overcome the fire inside him (guess he always had a Scorpion persona, Quan Chi had only released it, which does make him a special warrior with a backstory just like Sub-Zero has as a cryomancer). Then he is a Master and is wise even when Raiden becomes corrupted by a kamidogu. Does learning the truth from Sub-Zero make him a dick again?

They should have just inserted a line: “I know Quan Chi. I have lived in his service and I know how he thinks. If he is in your custody it's because he wants to be here. He must be killed at once.” He was probably right actually, as Quan Chi was in fact waiting for Dvorah to bring him the Amulet in Earthrealm. Shinnok will further explain that it's “behind their defenses”. Probably a defense against the Netherealm created by Raiden after the war.

But why does Dvorah's portal lead her directly into the SF base? Quan Chi dies. What does that mean? Is he back in the Netherealm? “A pity he did not live to see his work completed” states the released Shinnok. Ummm, can't you just open a portal to Hell and bring him? The revenants come through a portal. Did Quan Chi just create these portals while he was locked away?

Chapter 10

Fujin doesn't reappear, instead Bo'Rai'Cho does. Dvorah pulled a Quan Chi. She was always there.

Chapter 11

Jacqui and Takeda have time to flirt. Whaaaat? Shinnok has been released. This is the end of the world. Have them think about all they hold dear and cry, show me a little girl holding a teddy-bear and looking towards the sky as it turns red. The entire world will end, but no, Jacqui just says:”After we wrap this up, we should go for a walk.” Kotal is being a dick. I don't understand. The catalyst of Mileena's overthrow was her refusal to help in the Netherealm War. Now, Kotal gets on Shinnok's side? That's poor character development.
The graphics in this chapter are really bad. The stage is dark and I can't fully distinguish Jacqui with her gray outfit during the fights.

Chapter 12

Ok, let's tend to the wounded Jacqui and Takeda after Kitana stabs them. Sure, don't mind that Shinnok is poisoning the entire Earth. No need to hurry. They should have just showed the desperation in Takeda and Jacqui when they were left behind, maybe have us think that they'll be sacrificed. Would have been nice for one of the kids to die. It seemed like they were protected especially because they were kids and there was no tension. They held of 5 revenants even if they were injured. Come on..... Are these the same kids that Sub-Zero kicked 24 hours ago? 19 year old manly haircut Cassie Cage defeats millennia year old Elder God. Right..... Good writing by NRS?

“We must withdraw” says Liu Kang and they escape through the portal they came through, leading into the Dead Woods or the SF camp. How did they get back to the Netherealm? Did Liu Kang suddenly learn how to conjure inter-realm portals? And most importantly, why would they want to go back to Hell when they can roam the living realms like Drahmin and Moloch did in Deadly Alliance?
The ending was great, Dark Emperor Liu Kang and Dark Queen Kitana really stole the spotlight. That church is rightful for them. I wish I had seen more demons in the balconies, generals of Liu Kang and Kitana that they subdued.

Overall, it could have been a much better story, The NRS is trying here and there to prevent continuity issues, but they're not trying hard enough. I'll keep liking Mortal Kombat and support this franchise by buying the game, but I will also demand a story that makes sense.

What I wish for MK11? Rain gaining full godhood by defeating Blaze and a Deadly Alliance, this time of 7 warlords, established to take down the armies of Earth: Liu Kang, Kitana, Noob Saibot, Reiko, Havik, Rain and Nitara. They can summon among them the might of 5 armies and start war against Earth, Outworld, Edenia and Seido: Liu Kang, Kitana and Noob Saibot leading the Netherealm hordes, Reiko his Outworld loyalists, Havik the Chaosrealmers, Rain a part of the semi-immortal Edenians and Nitara I chose for her political ability to bring the Moroi army to the table.

Raiden goes rogue and mad, so the team in Earthrealm is assembled by Fujin. Taven is awoken and forced to collaborate with his Netherealm savvy brother Daegon to bring down their evil half-brother Rain in a sons of Argus showdown, while Sub-Zero attempts to save his brother's soul and General Jade leads the Edenian royalists in battle. Kotal Kahn marries and makes Cassie Queen of Outworld in an inter-realm alliance. Only 3-4 of the 7 members of the Deadly Alliance would be defeated.

What we'll probably get for MK11? Evil Raiden who must be stopped and Liu Kang, Kitana and Kung Lao reverted to their normal selves.
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Almost 2 years later, does anyone care to tell me I was wrong with this analysis now that we've all cooled off and can actually see the flaws in the story?

Black Shroud

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I think this was pretty spot-on analysis. I remember people used to make detailed analysis of MK9's "rebooted canon" as well. Tvtropes website used to have a list of these inconsistencies too, if I'm not wrong.