A fiery specter from the depths of the NetherRealm, a deadly ninja assassin with a killer kunai, a tortured soul fighting for vengeance against his blue-clad counterpart, no matter how you slice it, Scorpion's got a lot going on for your typical fighting-game ninja. With a flaming skull, fearsome fatality, and a desire for Sub-Zero's head on a spike, it's no wonder he's the Mortal Kombat series's golden boy. Since 1993, he's been kicking butt and splitting skulls with a laundry list of fallen foes and opponents. As incredible as that resume sounds, it's not all skulls and spearheads for this deadly dude. There's more than just mutilation and martial arts to the MK mainstay, and we're going to peek behind the mask.
How did the noble Hanzo Hasashi fall into the hands of the malevolent Quan Chi? Is he a warrior of darkness or a force for good? How did he go from a ninja warrior to an undead assassin? Why the never-ending feud with Sub-Zero? All these questions and more will be answered as we see the story behind the slayer. We're going to explore the further regions of the Mortal Kombat series to uncover the secrets of Scorpion. Ready your blades and prepare to feel the burn, here are our twenty hot tips about this fire-breathing ambassador of annihilation.
20 OH THE ZOOMANITY
Animalities, like Friendships and Babalities, were a novelty finisher move that one could use to eliminate their opponent by having their fighter turn into a wild beast and defeating them with savage fury. Whether it's Shang-Tsung turning into a giant cobra, Liu Kang into a dragon, or Kitana into Monty Python's death-rabbit, there's certainly satisfaction to be had. Unfortunately, not in scorpion's case.
Where some characters get incredible beast forms like sharks, eels, and lions for their Animalities, Scorpion gets to be a penguin who lays an explosive egg. You read that right. A ninja named Scorpion changes into a penguin. Though he was eventually given a scorpion form in MK4, this is a bit of a blunder in his career.
19 NETHERREALM'S MASCOT
NetherRealm Studios is the game studio responsible for many of our favorite titles including MK9, Injustice: Gods Amongst Us, and Batman: Arkham Origins. Headed by video game vet and Mortal Kombat co-creator Ed Boon, it's no surprise that they're responsible for the newer entries in the MK mythos. But that's not the only Netherworldly thing about them.
If one looks closely at their logo, the studio's mascot is a shadowy ninja grasping a chain whip and standing in front of the mouth of an inferno. Gosh, we wonder who that might be. An obvious nod to Boon's most famous project and most famous character, Scorpion takes the role of NetherRealm's logo and mascot. The marketing world could certainly use a few more ninjas.
18 TURN UP THE HEAT
Scorpion's signature move and most famous Fatality is the appropriately titled Toasty. For those unfamiliar with this singeing sequence, Scorpion finishes his opponent by removing his mask, revealing a skull, and spitting out a stream of flame, consuming his target in a fiery demise. It's scorching, sadistic, and so sweet to watch.
The Fatality has been featured in nearly every installment of the Mortal Kombat franchise, and it keeps getting better every single time we see it. There's some kind of unnamed satisfaction seeing Scorpion unmasked and his skeletal form revealed, and who doesn't like seeing their enemy go up in smoke? However you slice it, Scorpion knows how to work the heat of battle.
17 FACE OF THE FRANCHISE
To get an extremely basic idea of what a video game is all about, we need look no further than the cover art. On many a Mortal Kombat cover, one will certainly find Scorpion and his nemesis Sub-Zero engaged in a fight to the death. The game must be about one of these guys, right? Well, it's a bit more complicated than that.
Though Scorpion is considered the face of the series, he's not the main protagonist. If anything, he's usually an antagonistic force or a side character in the main plot. If anything, the protagonists would more than likely consist of Liu Kang, Johnny Cage, or Sonya Blade, but we don't think they'd send an appropriate message the way Scorpion would.
16 AN EXTENDED UNIVERSE
Injustice: Gods Amongst Us was one of the most bombastic fighting games ever to hit consoles with one of the most gripping stories in the realms of the superhero genre. It saw our favorite members of the DC universe go toe to toe with one another in a brawler only NetherRealm Studios could create. But it wasn't just the Justice League getting in on the action, the roster also featured a certain ninja from Outworld.
Since the studio was also responsible for the equally impressive MK9, they featured our favorite flame spewing warrior as a DLC character. He even got an original ending for the arcade mode. Scorpion joined the ranks of Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman, and no DC Universe crossover mess was required.
15 THE REAL SCORPION
In the early days of the franchise, sprites of the characters were created by using stop-motion-esque animation and uploading them into the game's code. That means Liu Kang, Cyrax, Shang-Tsung, and Scorpion were all portrayed by real actors at some point. Scorpion, along with other characters, was portrayed by stuntman Daniel Pesnia.
Pesnia performed the motion capture for Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Ermac, Reptile, Johnny Cage, Noob Saibot, and Smoke during his time in the franchise. He left the series after a disagreement over royalties and was replaced by John Turk until Ultimate MK3. Though he departed from the series, he left behind a selection of characters the gaming world would never forget.
14 A CREATIVE VOICE
Any gamer worth their salt is familiar with Scorpion's catchphrase "Get over here!" Accompanied by the swish of his chain spear, the phrase is as recognizable as "Hadouken" or "It's-a me, Mario!" Though the phrase is a piece of gaming history nowadays, some may not know who was responsible for Scorpion's battle cry.
It was series co-creator Ed Boon who was responsible for Scorpion's voice in the early days of the franchise. That included not only his catchphrase, but his grunts, shouts, and death-scream. So, in a sense, Boon both created and voice the face of his first successful video game.
13 BIG CHARACTER, BIGGER VOICE
Not that we're knocking Ed Boon's chops as the demon ninja from the NetherRealm, but there's one guy behind Scorpion that definitely needs to be mentioned. Before he was Hellboy, Ron Perlman provided the voice of Scorpion for the animated series Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm. It was a short, thirteen episode series that followed the Mortal Kombat feature films, but it's still worth noting for the saga.
Perlman wasn't the only big name in the show. The voice cast also featured John Rhys-Davies, Clancy Brown, and Kevin Michale Richardson as part of the Mortal Kombat roster. He's worth mentioning the most because he's arguably the biggest name in the cast, but a role like Scorpion surely deserves a performer of Perlman's caliber.
12 KUNAI OF MANY COLORS
Best way to fill a roster in the '90s, change the colors. As all fans of the series know, Scorpion was not the only ninja character featured in the roster. After Scorpion was his rival Sub-Zero, then came reptile, Ermac, Noob Saibot, Smoke, and Rain. Some may call this a cheap palate swap for new characters, but we call it a rainbow of colorful carnage.
As the series progressed, the palate swapped ninjas eventually gained their own fighting styles, personalities, and fatalities. Without Scorpion and Sub-Zero, we would never know the likes of Reptile or Ermac, and the Triborg characters may not even have made it into MK3. And to think it was all started by a costume color change.
11 SIDE BY SIDE
Just as the palate swapped ninjas wouldn't exist without Scorpion, Scorpion would not exist without his blue-clad counterpart Sub-Zero. Like Ken and Ryu, the two rivals are never seen without the other. The two foes have been featured in nearly every entry of the Mortal Kombat franchise since they first hit the arcades in '93.
Like so many fighting game rivals, the two are locked in a never-ending battle. Even with the fall of the first Sub-Zero, Scorpion still fans the flames against the Lin Kuei. Though not the central conflict in the battle for Earthrealm, seeing these two go head to head is always a fight for the ages.
10 COOKING WITH SCORPION
Move over, Gordon Ramsey, a certain ninja is about to give new meaning to the term Hell's Kitchen. Believe it or not, there was a time in the Mortal Kombat history where Scorpion was the star of a cooking show video series. It was a sort of joke easter-egg found in the Krypt in Mortal Kombat: Alliance, but it's still interesting to see Scorpion in a different light.
This little short demonstrates everything a ninja in the kitchen should know. Scorpion teaches culinary skills such as "chopping, tenderizing, chopping, cake decorating, and chopping." Yes, we know this isn't something permanently engraved in the MK mythos, but we still want to mention Scorpion's skills outside the arena.
9 HUMAN AGAIN
Mortal Kombat X, while a solid entry in the franchise, was a bit more heavy-handed on the story than it should have been. Not that we didn't enjoy seeing our favorite heroes clash with the sinister forces of Shinok, but the gritty drama sometimes got in the way of our head-smashing. That being said, it did give us a chance to play as Scorpion's full human form.
After learning the truth about the fate of his family and clan, Scorpion is able to conquer his inner demons and regain his humanity. He appears in the story campaign as Hanzo Hasashi and even leads the Shirai Ryu into battle. It's nice to see him regain his natural form, but it's still satisfying to see his skull shoot flames every now and again.
8 ON THE SAME SIDE
Let's get real, the film adaptation of Mortal Kombat isn't exactly asking for any Oscars. It's been dubbed one of those "so bad it's good" flicks, and we'd be lying if we said we didn't enjoy the cheesy effects and hokey acting. But the film takes one creative liberty too far in changing the dynamic of arguably the source material's most beloved characters.
In the film, Scorpion, Sub-Zero, and Reptile are all minor minions of Shang-Tsung. Though we see them all as Kombatants in the tournament, their characters feel incredibly watered down. We see Scorpion do his flaming skull motif and Sub-Zero work his icy magic, but it's still less than the characters deserve. It's flimsy and awkward seeing them on the same side, but it's also one of the few times they are.
7 TRUE NEUTRAL
The MK character roster features anything and everything from Elder Gods, demons, and Commandos to ninjas, monks, and cyborgs. There are they obvious forces for good, like the defenders of Earthrealm, and the hordes of evil, like the villains of Outworld. But where does our favorite ninja stand on this list?
Scorpion is actually one of the only truly neutral beings in the series, and maybe fighting games in general. He's considered the series most prominent antihero, but he's also been known to be under the thumb of Quan Chi. It can be said that Scorpion's allegiance is tied to whatever helps bring his soul to rest. Either way, we'll be rooting for him.
6 MISSING OUT ON MK3
When the third installment of the series was released in 1995, the fighting game mainstay took a sharp right turn in its themes, design, and most noticeably, its character roster. Mortal Kombat 3 was basically following the trend of other contenders in the genre like Street Fighter. It was simply trying to be more modern with its direction.
Scorpion and the rest of the ninjas, excluding a modernized Sub-Zero, were all cut from the game. The fans were greatly perturbed at the loss of so many series classics so much, the studio soon released Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 and invited everyone to the party. When your game is famous for including Elder Gods and ninjas, modernizing might not be the way to go.
5 BACK FROM THE DEAD
You just can't keep a good ninja down, can you? In the newer timeline in the Mortal Kombat mythos, Scorpion wreaks his vengeance on the original Sub-Zero, despite a plead from Raiden. He comes back from the underworld with his nemesis's skull in hand, but that's not where the story ends.
When Sub-Zero was destroyed, it allowed Quan Chi to resurrect his vengeful soul in the form of Noob Saibot. The cryomancer ninja known as Bi-Han was stripped of his humanity to become an insidious assassin for his Outworld master. Quan Chi brought Noob Saibot to life in a similar fashion as Scorpion, but could not have done it without the ninja's temper. Probably not the best time for Scorpion to fly off the handle.
4 SCORPION SHOWS MERCY
We've talked a lot about Scorpion's never-ending hatred towards his rival Sub-Zero. We've even discussed how his demise brought forth the shadowy Noob Saibot. But believe it or not, there was a time where Scorpion actually spared the person he believed responsible for his and his clan's murder.
In a comic series produced by then owner of the franchise, Midway Games, Scorpion finally confronts his foe but does the unthinkable: Declares that he will spare his life until the Mortal Kombat Tournament. As brief as this act of mercy is, it's quite surprising to see Scorpion take the high road on this one. Guess he was wanting to give his opponent a fighting chance?
3 SCORPION GET'S THE AX
Mortal Kombat 3 introduced a lot of twists and tricks to the fighting formula. From Animalities to Friendships, the game gave the series some much-needed improvements along with some bells and whistles as well. Scorpion also received these enhancements, but he also carries a sharper edge than some of his fellow Kombatants.
When Scorpion does a hard uppercut, he wields a small ax to deliver the blow. Though it doesn't do any more damage than the same move done by other characters, it is worth noting he carries a weapon other than his kunai into the fight. Some days it pays to pack a little something extra, and Scorpion's sporting a heck of a blade.
2 TIS BUT A SCRATCH
MKX is easily one of the most brutal entries in the series. There's lots of ultra-violent fun to be had in this installment, but there's one gritty addition to the game that is certainly worth noting. Brought back from the days of Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, Brutalities return to add another pound of flesh. They're even more grizzly than before, but Scorpion has one that looks incredibly familiar.
Dubbed "Just a Scratch," Scorpion hacks off both of his opponent's arms, leaving their body in the shape of a familiar Monty Python gag. Taking a page from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Scorpion performs more than just a flesh wound with this finisher.
1 FOREVER FANNING THE FLAMES
We've already talked a lot about the blood feud between Scorpion and Sub-Zero, but we've not gone into the background of it all. Through the illusions of Quan Chi, the Shirai Ryu, Scorpion's clan, are butchered by the Lin Kuei, led by Sub-Zero. In the guise of Sub-Zero, Quan Chi destroys Hanzo Hasashi and his family, causing his vengeful spirit to return as Scorpion.
Just the longevity of this point gives it enough credibility to earn our top spot on the list. This plot line has been a staple of the series for twenty-seven years, that's a long time to keep a grudge. Forever locked in combat with his rival, Scorpion has to keep bringing the heat time and time again.