Jade (Mortal Kombat)

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Jade
Mortal Kombat character
Jade (Mortal Kombat).png
First game Mortal Kombat II (1993)[1]
Created by John Tobias (character)
Katalin Zamiar (idea)
Designed by John Tobias (MKII, UMK3/MKT)
Jennifer L. Parsons (Annihilation)
Jennifer Hedrick (MK:D, MK:A)
Mark Lappin (MK:SM)
Atomhawk Design (MK2011)[2]
Voiced by Linda Lee (MK2011)[3]
Motion capture Brenda Barrie (MK2011)[4]
Portrayed by Katalin Zamiar (MKII)
Becky Gable (UMK3, MKT)[5]
Irina Pantaeva (Annihilation)
Evgeniya Rukavitsina (promotion)
Fictional profile
Origin Edenia
Fighting styles Fan Zi (MK:D, MK:A)
Kuo Shou (MK:D)
Weapon Fans (MKII)
Bo Staff and Boomerang (UMK3 / MKT, MKD, MKA, MK2011)

Jade is a fictional character from the Mortal Kombat fighting game series by Midway Games. Debuting in 1993's Mortal Kombat II as an unplayable secret character who was a green palette swap of Kitana, Jade made her first playable appearance in Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3. She has since become a regular supporting character in the franchise, appearing on series merchandise in addition to alternate Mortal Kombat media, such as comic books and the feature film Mortal Kombat: Annihilation.

In the games, Jade's initial background is that of an assassin in the service of evil Outworld emperor Shao Kahn, which was expanded in UMK3 and onwards to her being a friend and confidante of Princess Kitana, as well as a fellow patriot of their otherworldly home realm of Edenia that was enslaved by Kahn. In the series reboot, Jade is a central character in the game's story mode and additionally joins forces with the Earthrealm warriors in their attempt to defeat Kahn. She is often regarded as one of the best series characters in regards to gameplay, and the character has received mostly positive general and critical reception, though mainly due to her sex appeal.

Appearances[edit]

In video games[edit]

In Mortal Kombat II (1993), Jade was a hidden character who played no part in the game's storyline other than appearing at the start of random fights to drop cryptic clues on how to access her; players had to then meet particular requirements during gameplay in order to fight Jade in a secret battle in the "Goro's Lair" stage from the first game. She wore a green outfit similar to that of Kitana and Mileena, and fought with increased speed and Kitana's fans. Though she identifies herself in one of the clues, her energy bar was left blank in the arcade game but was included in the home versions. In Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks, the 2005 beat 'em up action-adventure spinoff that retold the events of MKII, she engages Liu Kang and Kung Lao in a fight alongside Mileena and a brainwashed Kitana. After Jade is defeated, she is then killed after Mileena stabs her sai into her eyes.

Jade made her official debut as a playable character in Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 (1995; an upgrade of Mortal Kombat 3), in which her backstory was expanded; she served as one of Outworld emperor Shao Kahn's elite assassins along with his adopted stepdaughter Kitana,[6] but after Kitana flees to Earthrealm after having been put on trial for killing Mileena, Jade is ordered by Kahn to bring Kitana back to him alive, resulting in Jade having to choose between disobeying her superior or betraying her close friend.[7] Kahn sends Reptile along with Jade as insurance, ordering him to stop Kitana by any means necessary.[5] Jade and Reptile locate Kitana, with Jade preventing an assassination attempt from Reptile on Kitana. Convinced of Reptile's actions and Kitana's words, Jade turns against Kahn and aids Kitana in freeing her resurrected mother, Queen Sindel, from Kahn's mental control. The three join with Kitana's Earthrealm allies to help defeat Shao Kahn, and after they liberate Edenia from Outworld, Jade serves Sindel and Kitana for years. Jade's UMK3 backstory (along with those of Kitana and Reptile) is unchanged in the 1996 compilation title Mortal Kombat Trilogy.

Jade returned as a playable in Mortal Kombat: Deception (2004) following an extended absence from the series. She witnesses the deaths of Kitana and Raiden's chosen fighters at the hands of the Deadly Alliance (Shang Tsung and Quan Chi) and their subsequent resurrection by the game's main boss character, the Dragon King Onaga. Jade is forced to imprison a brainwashed Kitana in the Edenian palace dungeon before freeing Sindel and escaping with her to Outworld, all while seeking revenge against traitorous fellow Edenian Tanya, who had allied herself with Onaga. In Sindel's ending, she and Jade locate Onaga's tomb when Onaga unleashes Kitana on them; Jade battles her friend before Sindel kills Onaga, breaking Kitana from Onaga's spell and returning peace to Edenia.[8] Jade's own noncanonical game ending makes no mention of Kitana or Sindel, and instead has her confronting Tanya, Baraka, and a group of Tarkatan warriors, during which she breaks a vial filled with Tarkatan essence on Tanya, causing Baraka and his soldiers to attack her in a frenzy.[9] In the game's Konquest mode, Jade orders Shujinko to apprehend another Edenian traitor, Rain, and bring him to her.

In Mortal Kombat, the 2011 reboot of the series, Jade was born into Edenian royalty that served Shao Kahn after he conquered the realm, and as a child she was given to him as a tribute. After years of rigorous training and service as an Outworld assassin, Jade earned a reputation as an agile and stealthy warrior. She was awarded the position of bodyguard to Princess Kitana and the two became close friends, but similar to her UMK3 storyline, Jade was under orders to kill Kitana should Kitana become disloyal to Kahn.[10] Jade features in a chapter in the game's story mode, in which her self-assured and sassy personality stands in contrast to Kitana, who struggles to fulfill Kahn's expectations and begins doubting her origins. They initially fight against the Earthrealm warriors, but Jade soon becomes suspicious of Kitana when Kitana attempts to discover her true heritage, which in turn leads to her capture when she confronts Kahn after coming across a grotesque clone of herself named Mileena. Jade switches her allegiance and helps the Earthrealm warriors to free Kitana from captivity. She later joins them as they prepare to fend off Kahn's invasion of Earthrealm but are soon massacred by Sindel, with Jade among the slain heroes resurrected and enslaved in the Netherealm by Quan Chi.[11]

Jade was officially omitted from the upcoming Mortal Kombat X in February 2015, with Ed Boon announcing it on Twitter and NetherRealm Studios during a live stream promoting the game.[12][13] Kitana was instead shown using Jade's weapons in one of her three gameplay variations.[14]

Design[edit]

Actress Becky Gable as Jade during production of Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 (1995), in which she also played Kitana and Mileena. According to MK co-creator Ed Boon, the characters' costumes worn for filming digitized game footage were red in order to stand out against the blue screen.[15]

Jade debuted in Mortal Kombat II as a green palette swap of Kitana with darker skin and gold-tinted duplicates of her steel fans, which reverted to their original color upon being thrown.[16] While the game was in development, the green color of the then-unnamed character was suggested by Katalin Zamiar, the actress for Kitana and Mileena, during a brainstorming session to include a new fighter.[17] (In the 1996 PC fighting game Catfight, Zamiar portrayed a ninja character named Chae Lee, whose outfit greatly resembled Jade's MKII costume.)[18] Zamiar's outfit used for filming the female ninja characters was blue,[19] and presented some challenges for the actress during filming, such as the bottoms of the leggings being a bit too slippery for moves such as jump kicks[20] and the tops having to be held up with rubber bands, while her mask was taped to her nose to keep it in place.[19] Zamiar did not return for Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 due to brewing legal issues with Midway,[21] and she was replaced by actress Becky Gable.[22] Like their male ninja counterparts in the Mortal Kombat games, Kitana, Mileena and Jade evolved considerably from their original palette swaps in the three-dimensional titles, receiving distinct new designs and other features.

Gameplay[edit]

In Mortal Kombat II, Jade (described therein as "an undiscovered warrior from Mortal Kombat One") used Kitana's "Fan Throw" but was extremely fast and immune to projectile attacks.[23][24] With her Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 debut, Jade's primary weapon became a magical steel staff (changed to a spear only for Deception and additionally telescopic in MK2011), which was also used in her Fatalities, mostly for impaling her opponents. Her projectile attack in the game was a three-pronged boomerang that players could shoot in three different forward directions through varying joystick and button combinations.[25] Jade's body-propel attack, a kick that sees her encased in a smoking green glow, is a variant of Johnny Cage's Shadow Kick.[26][27] Sega Saturn Magazine's guide to Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 described her specials as leading into "some devastating combo attacks," adding that she was especially hard to win against as the CPU-controlled opponent.[26]

Jade's moves, along with these of Mileena and Kitana, were used in Mortal Kombat Trilogy to create the hidden composite character Khameleon.[28] In their 1997 review of the game, GameSpot described both Jade and Noob Saibot in Trilogy as being "incredibly overpowered, with moves that run from rendering projectiles ineffective to making characters momentarily powerless."[29] According to Total 64, "with a wealth of special moves, some bloody death moves and some easy combos, Jade is the hardest bird on the block."[30] She was a non-playable boss character in Shaolin Monks, fighting alongside both Kitana and Mileena.[31] Prima Games rated Jade an overall score of seven out of ten, higher than Kitana and Mileena, for the 2006 compilation title Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, in which she was playable along with the entire Mortal Kombat roster.[32] For the 2011 reboot, they opined that her "speed, safe attacks, and savvy combo abilities put her near the top of the cast."[33]

For Mortal Kombat X, from which Jade was excluded, her special attacks were given to Kitana for her "Mournful" gameplay variation, described in the game as Kitana paying tribute to "her fallen best friend" by "employing the weapons of the deceased master assassin."[34]

In other media[edit]

Film[edit]

Irina Pantaeva as Jade in the film Mortal Kombat: Annihilation. She enthused in a 1997 interview with Femme Fatales magazine, "I loved my character so much that I [could] not get away from her."[35]

Jade was a supporting character in the 1997 film Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, and was portrayed by Siberian-born supermodel and actress Irina Pantaeva in the role of "a beautiful refugee from Outworld."[36] She first appears before Liu Kang wearing a fur cloak over a revealing cloth outfit, after he awakens from a dream state induced by Nightwolf, who had been training him earlier. In her only fight scene, she attacks Liu Kang when he rejects her advances, before which she magically changes to her familiar green costume. Her staff is instead a spear that she hurls at him and misses, and he finally subdues her after a quick hand-to-hand battle. Jade has no past relationship nor any interaction with Kitana in the film, and she secretly remains loyal to Shao Kahn while pretending to aid the Earthrealm warriors in her attempt to lead them into an ambush. When this fails, Shao Kahn has her devoured by a gargoyle in his palace. Pantaeva, making her English-language film debut while having no martial arts experience, underwent six months' training prior to shooting "so that my character would grow into a powerful and sexy warrior." The fight scene was shot in Thailand in a single take, and Pantaeva had enjoyed the experience to the extent that she successfully asked Annihilation director John R. Leonetti to do a second take.[35] The "absolutely, stunningly beautiful" Jade's role in Jerome Preisler's 1997 novelization of Mortal Kombat: Annihilation differs little from her onscreen role as she attempts to seduce Liu Kang and later lures the Earthrealm warriors into a trap, but was additionally revealed to be Kitana's former lover, during which she makes mention of her Edenian heritage. She is still put to death by the enraged Shao Kahn for her failure in ambushing the Earth warriors; Kahn first strangles her and then feeds her to a living stained glass window monster.[37]

In the second draft of the script for the 1995 live-action film Mortal Kombat, Jade appears in a fight scene with Sonya Blade that was never filmed. She is described therein as "a diminutive woman dressed in an ornate Kabuki kimono" who performs a ritualistic dance before attacking Sonya with a stiletto hidden in her hair bun, but loses after Sonya quickly disarms her.[38] She has an equally minor role in the movie novelization by Martin Delrio, in which she again duels Sonya in a bout that was omitted from the film. Jade's description as a long-haired Asian woman wearing a green silk dress was elaborated with her being covered in tattoos of tigers and dragons, and wielding two half-moon shaped daggers. Jade is killed with a single kick to the head by Sonya after being tricked into returning Sonya's bow of respect.[39]

Other media[edit]

In a 1995 noncanonical short-story prequel to Mortal Kombat 3, sponsored by CD Projekt and published by Polish magazine Secret Service, Jade is defeated after a hard fight with Sub-Zero, who then freezes and shatters her.[40] She was a recurring guest character in the Mortal Kombat series published by Malibu Comics, first in the 1995 miniseries Battlewave,[41] in which she was simply an evil assassin serving Shao Kahn and had no connection to Kitana, instead being paired regularly with fellow Mortal Kombat II hidden character Smoke. She was identical to Kitana only in that she was brunette with light skin, and employed a pair of steel fans, while her green palette was unchanged. Jade and Smoke unsuccessfully attempt to kill Jax and Johnny Cage aboard a plane headed to Outworld. In the finale of the 1995 three-issue miniseries Rayden and Kano, she and Smoke try to redeem themselves by killing Raiden, but again fail.

Jade was initially slated to make a single-episode appearance in the 1996 animated series Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm. Threshold Entertainment had published a guide for the show's writers that contained brief biographies of series characters shortlisted for inclusion in the show, and Jade's role in the guide was that of "a childhood friend of Kitana's but also works for [Shao] Kahn at times. She is alluring, mysterious and exotic, yet she cannot be trusted. She use[s] her beauty to lure her unsuspecting prey."[42] However, Jade was ultimately converted by Threshold into an original character renamed Ruby, who had Jade's dark skin tone but was given a red palette in order to connect her with Ermac, while her biography and gemstone namesake (jade to ruby) were kept intact. In the show's twelfth episode, Ruby works with Ermac and his forces in capturing and trapping the Earth defenders in Outworld after she seduces Jax, but she later turns against Kahn and enables the heroes to escape.[43]

Promotion and merchandise[edit]

A computer-generated Jade "hosted" G4's 2005 digital beauty pageant Girls Gone Wired,[44] in which she declared that she was superior to Pamela Anderson.[45] In 2011, a Jade costume download for the PlayStation 3 version of the 2011 Mortal Kombat reboot game was included in separate Blu-ray releases of the two feature films.[46] Jade and Kitana were the only characters in the reboot to have two "Klassic" costumes—their MKII (in which Jade has light skin and her staff) and UMK3 outfits—available for download.[47][48] Model and cosplayer[49] Evgeniya Rukavitsina dressed up as Jade in print advertising for the 2012 Russian release of the PlayStation Vita port of the reboot.[50]

Two different Jade action figures (basic and 10-inch models, each with different featured weapons) were released by Toy Island in 1996 as part of their Mortal Kombat Trilogy line.[51][52] A Jade figurine was included with a 1995 special issue of Argentinian magazine Top Kids that featured a cover story titled "Jade: mystery warrior."[53][54] She was included with the MKII cast in the 1994 Mortal Kombat Kard Game produced by BradyGames as a common character,[55] and in the 2004 Epic Battles card game, which featured the Mortal Kombat: Deception roster, as one of the "rare" characters.[56] A 1:6 scale limited-edition statue of Jade from MK2011 was released in the Mortal Kombat "Enchanted Warriors" line by Syco Collectibles in 2012,[57] and a "Klassic" UMK3 1:4 scale statue of Jade was released by Pop Culture Shock Collectibles in 2014.[58]

Reception[edit]

Jade [seems] to fetishize Eastern culture. Her skin tone is darker than similarly-dressed characters Kitana and Mileena, who are her aristocratic superiors. She is paradox: equal parts exotic slave girl and Asian princess, her most powerful weapon being her sexuality. She's the mystical, foreign black widow, a relic of postwar pulp novels.

—Chris Plante, UGO.com, 2010[59]

The character has received mostly positive critical reception. UGO ranked Jade 21st in their 2012 listing of the top fifty Mortal Kombat characters.[60] She topped the Mortal Kombat category of the "Miss of Video Games 2012" award by Polish console magazine PSX Extreme,[61] while placing thirteenth overall.[62] Kotaku's Mike Fahey professed to being a "big fan of Jade."[63] However, she was ranked 49th in Den of Geek's 2015 rating of the franchise's 64 player characters, due to what they perceived as her lack of depth. "Jade gets to show up in modern games because she was in Mortal Kombat II, but she doesn’t really bring anything to the table."[64] Fans voted her 23rd in a 2013 online poll hosted by Dorkly that ranked the entire series roster,[65] while she reached the quarterfinal of the 2014 edition of the annual "Supreme Mortal Kombat Champion" fan polls held by Mortal Kombat Online[66] after having been eliminated in the lower rounds in 2012 and 2013.[67][68]

Jade's "Head Gymnastics" Fatality from Mortal Kombat: Deception has been received positively: it placed 33rd in Prima Games' 2014 ranking of the series' top fifty Fatalities.[69] Adam Dodd of Cheat Code Central ranked it sixth in his list of the series' top ten finishers. "This fatality is brutal, stylish, and includes a little showmanship, and that's essentially everything a fatality needs to be."[70] Game Informer included it among their selection of the series' best finishers in 2010,[71] but that same year, Jade was also included by the site among the series' unwanted "palette swap characters," excluding Scorpion and Sub-Zero, for omission from future Mortal Kombat installments.[72]

In 2011, while comparing the Mortal Kombat characters to the seven deadly sins in Dante's Inferno, GamePro chose Jade to represent Lust.[73] GameFront's Phil Owen noted her popularity among the more attractive cosplayers,[74] as did the staffs of Heavy.com[75] and TF1.[76] Fitness model Alicia Marie dressed up as Jade for the 2013 Comic-Con alongside Adrianne Curry as Mileena.[77] GamerFitnation speculated on how Jade ("The Emerald Assassin") would fare in a matchup against UFC fighter Ronda Rousey in an article published on February 28, 2015,[78] the same day Rousey successfully defended her UFC Women's Bantamweight Championship title.[79]

Jade's appearance in Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, like many of the film's cast of characters, was not well-received. James Deaux of Earth-2. net said of her role, "[She] served only one purpose in this movie: to be the seductive harpy who pretends to assist Liu Kang but is really there to stall, confuse, grope and otherwise wound him."[80] Eva Vandergeld of Jabootu's Bad Movie Dimension described Jade in her pre-fight outfit as "an Asian Pocahontas-wannabe in a Victoria’s Secret catalogue."[81] Doug Skiles of Killer Movies said in his 1997 review of the film, "[W]ho honestly cares about the woman that shows up calling herself Jade?"[82]

Sex appeal[edit]

Jade placed third out of five in the "Sexiest Finish" category of G4TV's 2005 Video Game Vixens pageant.[83] She "just barely missed the cut into" GameDaily's 2008 list of the fifty "hottest game babes."[84] Complex ranked her as number one in their 2011 list of the "best looking sideline chicks in games," declaring a preference for her over Kitana, Mileena and Sonya. "No one should be so lethal with a stripper pole (okay, we meant staff), but she’s capable of doing amazing things with it."[85] The site also ranked her sixteenth on their 2012 list of the top 25 "Beach-Ready Bikini Babes" in video games.[86] Jade was ranked as the 30th-best looking game girl by GameHall's Portal PlayGame in 2014,[87] while her breasts were ranked as the third-finest in video games by GameFront's Ross Lincoln in 2011,[88] and seventh-best by Drea Avellan of Complex in 2012.[89] Jade, Mileena and Kitana were all included among the top 10 "Hottest Female Villains in Gaming" by Travis Huber of Cheat Code Central in 2014: "I am calling these characters the trifecta of terror. Or maybe the trifecta of T&A."[90] On the other hand, some criticized what they perceived as oversexualization of the character, with io9 including her costume among 2011's "sluttiest and weirdest" store-bought Halloween dress-ups.[91] She and Kitana represented the "women who fight" trope in Complex's 2012 list of the fifteen most stereotypical characters in video games, embodying "half-naked skanks who can fight, hurl lasers and perform aerobatic attacks while wearing thongs, high-heeled boots and keeping their giant breasts under scarves."[92]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  73. ^ Chris Holt, Scalia clearly doesn’t play Mortal Kombat, read Dante, GamePro, June 27, 2011.
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