When you think of Mortal Kombat, two names come up instantly: Scorpion and Sub-Zero. They’re indisputably the most popular characters from the video game franchise and pop-culture icons. Sub-Zero, though, has featured in different iterations – and isn’t quite the same guy who appeared in the first game back in 1992. Speaking at E3 in 2014, Mortal Kombat co-creator Ed Boon said, “The thing about Sub-Zero is that there have been many Sub-Zeroes over the years. So the Sub-Zero that you see can be anybody because the Lin Kuei has a sea of Sub-Zeroes.” In other words, Johnny Cage could be Sub-Zero, too, because Boon said so. Okay, maybe we’re getting a little dramatic here, but you get the point.
Truth be told, Sub-Zero is completely bonkers. Let’s not take away from his popularity, but Mr. Freeze’s brother from another mother isn’t exactly the sharpest Popsicle in the freezer. It might be ice to meet him (yes, that was completely intentional); however, we think there are far better defenders of the realm than this bozo with a lust for ice cream. Forget about the bros who select him for every MK battle, because we all know that Team Scorpion is where it’s at. So, let’s take a look at all the reasons that Sub-Zero is the worst of all the challengers. Also, before the screenshots get shared around Twitter with the hashtag #CBRisTrash and that we’re “Clickbait Resources,” take a deep breath and remember that this is all tongue-in-cheek fun.
20. HE’S LITERALLY A NOOB (SAIBOT)
If you’ve ever played an online game, you’re likely to have been called a noob by a 12-year-old child at some point. Well, the first Sub-Zero, Bi-Han, is literally a noob – Noob Saibot to be precise. The character is a black silhouette of the game’s male ninjas and his name is the surnames of Mortal Kombat creators Ed Boon and John Tobias spelled backwards.
It wasn’t until Mortal Kombat: Deception where we found out that he was the original Sub-Zero who was killed by Scorpion and then resurrected as a wraith. The bottom line is this, though, he’s still a noob.
19. SHANG TSUNG’S STOOGE
The thing about Sub-Zero is that we love him for being a rebel. He’s like Michael Dudikoff in American Ninja; he’s his own man, his own master, and does what he can, because he’s as cold as ice and willing to sacrifice.
In Paul W.S. Anderson’s Mortal Kombat film, he ended up as nothing more than Shang Tsung’s stooge. For real. He was pretty much that fella who fetches the printing paper for your boss and agrees to keep spreadsheets about what time everyone arrives and leaves from work. Well, at least his fighting style complemented the film’s incredible techno soundtrack and he looked cool.
18. HE THINKS HE’S BATMAN
As the dark and brooding do-gooder of his universe, it should come as no surprise that Sub-Zero has drawn many comparisons to Batman. Considering how they monopolize whichever medium they’re in as well, it’s a fair comment to make. In Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe‘s ending, Sub-Zero becomes Earthrealm’s version of Batman, wearing a cape, leaving the Lin Kuei, and posing on top of a gargoyle as he wonders what he’ll eat for supper.
17. SHAO KAHN POSSESSED CYBER SUB-ZERO
Mortal Kombat‘s canon is about as consistent as comic-book continuity. In other words, all it takes is a simple reboot to fix all the plot holes and continuity errors, and everything is forgiven. Mortal Kombat (2011) also created a bit of a conundrum due to Cyber Sub-Zero’s ending.
After defeating the final boss, Shao Kahn, you see the specter of the warlord inhibit Sub-Zero’s body and possess him like Casper the Friendly Ghost. Kahn upgrades the armor and goes on to become a menace once again in his afterlife. So, basically, Sub-Zero became the biggest villain in the MK universe, due to the ghost in his shell. Nice, eh?
16. FREEZING IS CHEATING
The worst part about Sub-Zero is all the people who select him at the arcade. Because of his freezing attacks, they can execute ridiculous combos without needing much skill. It’s all about freeze and attack, and there’s nothing you can do to stop it. It’s like those cheaters who’d use E. Honda’s Hundred Hand Slap in Street Fighter II and smile while they did it.
That’s what’s so frustrating about Sub-Zero. You don’t need to spend a lot of time getting to know his fighting style or moves. No, all you need to do is hit that stupid freeze sequence and then go mad. Quite frankly, it’s unfair.
15. HE FROZE HIS OWN CLAN
For someone who proclaims so much loyalty and love for his clan, Sub-Zero isn’t exactly a paragon of virtue. In fact, in the Malibu Comics series, he froze his clan after he affirmed that they were corrupt and not worthy of him.
Right. So when your family upsets you, do you take out a freeze-gun and zap them with it? Of course not. You do the right thing and chat through your problems and then behave like a proper adult and block them on Facebook. What Sub-Zero did to his clan was wrong. It shows that he’s extreme and selfish.
14. HIS SOUL WAS CORRUPTED
For those of you who think that Bi-Han was a good guy, remember this: the reason for him turning into Noob Saibot was because of his tainted soul. Due to years of violence, his soul was rotten to the core and he ended up in the Fifth Plane after Scorpion finished him. Then, Quan Chi resurrected him.
Now, let’s be honest here: No resurrection has ever ended up well. Just look at Pet Sematary as an example. We need to face the facts that Bi-Han was a nasty piece of work when he was alive and his zombie form is no better.
13. MORTAL KOMBAT MYTHOLOGIES: SUB-ZERO
Proving that Sub-Zero is one of the most popular characters in the Mortal Kombat universe, he received his own prequel game in the shape of Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero in 1997. On paper, the side-scrolling game sounds like a good idea and even featured Quan Chi and Scorpion in the storyline. The execution, though, left a lot to be desired.
The game received mostly negative reviews and the unresponsive and clunky controls drove gamers mad. How can you create a platformer where your main character can’t even jump or move properly?! Sadly, Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero has the distinction of being one of the worst titles released for PlayStation and Nintendo 64.
12. TOO OVERPOWERED
You know what’s the problem with creating a Superman video game? The Man of Steel is too powerful and it would take away the challenge of doing anything significant with him. The same can be said about Sub-Zero in Mortal Kombat. No matter which version of the character you play, he’s always more powerful than the others around him.
Whether it’s through his fatalities or special moves, you can’t help but get the feeling that you’ve got an advantage over other competitors when you’re playing as Sub-Zero. Sure, it’s fun to pummel your opponents, but when everyone stops coming over to play Mortal Kombat, it can get quite lonely taking on the computer all day.
11. THE GOD OF ICE
There was a time when the only god of ice was Vanilla Ice. Sadly, Sub-Zero likes to steal everyone’s thunder and became an ice god in Mortal Kombat: Armageddon. So, what are an ice god’s powers? Good at making ice cream and keeping your fridge at the right temperature, we guess?
Jokes aside, the ice god angle ties in with the OP point from above. Sub-Zero is far too powerful and just gets all the best storylines and outcomes. Why can’t his ending be of him chilling on the couch and watching Netflix with Mileena or something? This guy gets everything and it’s just not right.
10. HE TRIGGERED CONGRESS
When Mortal Kombat was first released in 1992, it upset a lot of people due to the graphic nature of violence – particularly the fatalities. It eventually resulted in the video game making its way to congress. During the U.S. congressional hearing on video game violence, Mortal Kombat clips were shown to make a point.
One clip shown was Sub-Zero’s spine-ripping fatality. Parents were shocked that their children were able to execute such vile moves in a video game. It backfired, though, as the chatter around the game only made it more popular. Once again, Sub-Zero just had to take center stage here.
9. HE INSPIRED WCW’S GLACIER
The greatest sin of Sub-Zero was that he served as the biggest inspiration for WCW wrestler Glacier. His vignettes were awful as was his hokey entrance and his whole shtick. In fact, you could argue that his run was even more painful to watch than David Arquette’s championship win… okay, we won’t go that far.
Wrestling has always been bonkers and stolen from popular culture, but Glacier was something else. If you look at Vampiro, who took influence from New Jersey horror-punks the Misfits, even his persona took a subtler approach. Glacier was so on the nose that we’re surprised Midway Games didn’t sue WCW back in the day.
8. NO IDEA WHY HE IS AT WAR
One constant in Mortal Kombat canon is the rivalry between Scorpion and Sub-Zero. These two are constantly at war and so are their two clans, the Shirai Ryu and Lin Kuei, respectively. The best part about it? They don’t actually know why they dislike each other.
In Mortal Kombat: Legacy, Bi-Han and Hanzo Hasashi (Scorpion) were friends and sparring partners. When their fathers discovered their friendship, they were split up because of the rivalry between the clans. Bi-Han asked his father why there’s a conflict between the Shirai Ryu and Lin Kuei. His father responded that he didn’t really know. In other words, they’re fighting over nothing. Lolwut?!
7. EXPECTS EVERYONE TO KNOW WHO HE IS
Look, no one wants to remember Mortal Kombat: Annihilation. Kids today complain about current video game movies, but they’re Oscar winners compared to the rubbish that the older generation had to endure in the ’90s. None, however, was more garbage than this one, by any measure.
After Liu Kang put Subby six feet under in the first MK film, he received the shock of his life when he saw the icy character return in Mortal Kombat: Annihilation. The new Subby casually revealed he was the younger brother and not the stooge from the first film. So what? Was Liu supposed to know who was actually under the mask? Talk about thinking so much about yourself…
6. HE DROVE A SNOWMOBILE
Motor Kombat was a fun minigame featured in Mortal Kombat: Armageddon. Look, it was silly but still a whole lot of fun as you were able to race against the other challengers. As expected, Sub-Zero was included as well. His vehicle? A snowmobile.
In all fairness, it’s understandable why this vehicle was chosen for the character, but we simply can’t take this seriously. For all intents and purposes, he should be the loser of every race with that pathetic excuse of a racer. However, the MK creators caved to fans’ whims, and made him faster than what he should be. Ugh!
5. HEAT WAS HIS ENEMY
We’ve already established that Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm ruined Sub-Zero by letting Luke Perry voice him, but the showrunners also did something else comical. They gave Sub-Zero a weakness: heat. Like Superman can’t be around kryptonite, Subby couldn’t be too close to a barbecue or he’d start to lose it.
If this is true, all that Scorpion has to do to defeat him is take him to Hawaii. Poor Sub-Zero would have hot flushes and collapse to the floor. This raises another question: Why does he wear clothes when he fights then? Surely, he could strip down and fight under more comfortable conditions.
4. LUKE PERRY VOICED HIM
When you imagine the voice of Sub-Zero, you think of a deep or bass-like voice – like James Earl Jones or Ron Perlman. In Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm, the lucky guy to provide the pipes for ol’ Subby was Luke Perry. Yes, that Luke Perry.
Before becoming Archie’s dad, Fred Andrews, in Riverdale, he was best known for his time as a heartthrob on Beverly Hills, 9020. Frankly, it’s insulting to think of Sub-Zero in the same thought as that ’90s teen drama – even if he did have his own set of dramas much like those young and pretty people on the show. But Luke Perry? C’mon!
3. HIS X-RAY ATTACK
When Mortal Kombat X was released a few years back, fans were ecstatic to try out the game and practice the X-Ray attacks that could do some serious damage to opponents. Many expected Sub-Zero’s attacks to have some chilling or bone-crushing effects, but we were left with limp limbs instead.
In the game, he is the only character whose X-Ray attack doesn’t break or damage any bones. Like, what the heck, man? You have a character with next-level martial arts skills and the ability to freeze things, but he doesn’t do any damage? Sigh. No wonder everyone prefers to play as Johnny Cage in Mortal Kombat X.
2. HE HATES BEING CALLED A NINJA
Err… has Sub-Zero looked in the mirror lately? If it clucks like chicken and flaps like a chicken, it’s a chicken. Same story with ninjas. Granted, it’s a term that isn’t always well-received by the general public. Still, guess what he wants to be known as? A warrior. You can stop sniggering now.
Now, if Sub-Zero was against offing his opponents, then it’s understandable he’d be apprehensive to be known as a ninja. This isn’t the case here, though. He doesn’t mind turning his adversaries into frozen vegetables and then smashing them to pieces. He shouldn’t be too fussy about being called a ninja then.
1. HE’S IN EVERY GAME
Why do most people dislike Justin Bieber? It isn’t because of his whiny voice or silly haircuts. No, it’s because he’s everywhere. You can’t even sit on your couch without the Biebs popping up on your TV screen. Sub-Zero is the same way in the sense that he’s overexposed.
The Mortal Kombat franchise tries to change it up once in a while and rotate the large roster of characters. Heck, we didn’t even get Johnny Cage in Mortal Kombat 3 or Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, and that was okay. But Sub-Zero is a constant; he’s in everything. Maybe we need a little break from him? It’s not us, Sub-Zero, it’s you.
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