The Mortal Kombat franchise is no stranger to weird species and unique characters, to say the least. From Outworld to the Netherrealm to Earth and everywhere in between, the team behind Mortal Kombat has a lot of wiggle room when it comes to the design and backstories of their characters.
For instance, Mortal Kombat 11 featured a hive-mind race of bee-like creatures that fit perfectly into the established Mortal Kombat universe, while Mortal Kombat 3 featured minotaur, gods, reptiles, and everything in between. Anything goes in this brutal series, and some species represented in the franchise are particularly out there.
Minotaurs in Mortal Kombat were created when the Centaurians were cursed by another race in Outworld. They lost their two hind legs iconic of centaurs in mythology but kept their horns and humanoid appearance.
The most well-known example of a minotaur in Mortal Kombat is Motaro, who was a sub-boss in Mortal Kombat 3 and a playable character in Mortal Kombat Armageddon.
That’s right – the most popular horror monster of all time even makes an appearance in Mortal Kombat, albeit only for one character in one game. Liu Kang is one of the most iconic human fighters in the franchise, and in Mortal Kombat Armageddon he is brought back to life by Raiden to defend Earthrealm.
Zombies in Mortal Kombat are not conscious, and their spirits are separated. Liu Kang in Armageddon could do nothing but sit by and watch his body do Raiden’s will, for better or worse.
Tarkatans are a very recognizable species for their unsettling mouth size and equally unsettling tooth size. They are almost like shark-people, with rows of sharp teeth, yellow eyes, and retractable claws that extend both out of their forearms and their elbows.
One example of a Tarkatan in the franchise is Baraka, a playable General in Shao Khan’s army. Mileena is technically half-Tarkatan and half-Edenian as the product of genetic experimentation.
Oni in real-world mythology are a type of Japanese spirit, but in Mortal Kombat the term is used to define a specific sub-genre of demons from the Netherrealm. They take many forms but are generally represented as hulking hideous creatures with otherworldly human features.
Oni in Mortal Kombat have been shown to be ape-like or human-like in appearance. Moloch is an example of a more horrendous Oni, while Quan Chi is an example of one who changed their form over time.
The Edenians are much like humans but possess super-human powers and an incredibly long lifespan. They are said to be descendants from the Gods, which gives them their unnaturally long life and combat prowess. Edenians vary a lot in their magical abilities too, with no two sharing the same magical affinity.
Edenians have been represented throughout the Mortal Kombat franchise since the beginning, in characters such as Kitana, Daegon, Taven, Jade, and Sindel the Queen of Edenia.
Elementals are technically their own species in Mortal Kombat, even though plenty of characters have control over the elements. Elementals are different in that they have mastered a specific element, and then take the form of that element in some capacity. Raiden, then, doesn’t count as a thunder elemental but a thunder god.
There have been two major elementals in the Mortal Kombat franchise: Blaze and Tremor. Blaze is shown as a fully-fledged fire elemental, while Tremor has the powers of an earth elemental without having changed much of his appearance.
Kytinns are a hive-mind race, like wasps or Star Trek‘s Borg, that operate as individual sentient beings connected to a larger consciousness. They appear humanoid but also feature stingers, hard carapace-like skin, and host thousands of smaller bugs inside their body to release at any time.
Not much is known about the Kytinn species – D’Vorah from Mortal Kombat X is the only one of her kind represented in the franchise.
Naknada are one of the newest races introduced to the Mortal Kombat series and are also one of the most enigmatic – they don’t even have individual names. The Naknada are Shao Kahn’s Outworld slaves who built his Coliseum who are goblin-like in appearance with multiple appendages.
The only known member of this species is The Kollector, from Mortal Kombat 11. Their name is an indicator of the job they do, but aside from this, the Naknada are utterly ambiguous.
Shokans are half-human half-dragon monstrosities with anywhere from two to six arms who exist within an Outworld realm called Kuatan. The Shokan are responsible for the Minotaur curse on the Centaurians, and are perhaps the most fearsome warriors in all of Outworld.
Shokans are instantly recognizable and some of the most iconic characters in Mortal Kombat. Prince Goro, Kintaro, and Sheeva are three of the most well-known Shokans in the franchise.
Mortal Kombat Armageddon featured not just Zombies, but also Vampires. There is only one Vampire shown in the franchise, Nitara from Mortal Kombat Deadly Alliance and Armageddon. Nitara has large bat-like wings and must feed on other beings to survive – while Shang Tsung needs souls to live, Nitara needs blood.
Vampires in Mortal Kombat are much the same as they are described in real-life myths. They suck blood from the neck, are morally ambiguous, and are self-serving. The Mortal Kombat team stated they would like to see more of Nitara’s kind represented in the game, just don’t get your hopes up for a Twilight crossover.