Scorpion (Mortal Kombat)
|Mortal Kombat character|
Scorpion in Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance (2002)
|First game||Mortal Kombat (1992)|
|Created by||Ed Boon and John Tobias|
|Designed by||John Tobias (early games)
Luis Mangubat (MK:DA, MK:D/MK:A)
Mark Lappin (MK:SM)
Cy Mandua (MKvDC)
Atomhawk Design (MK2011)
Jim Lee (Injustice)
Susan Mazer (The Journey Begins)
Ha Nguyen (first film)
Lynell Forestall (MK:DotR)
Jennifer L. Parsons (second film)
Beverly Safier (Konquest)
Christine Cover-Ferro (Rebirth)
Allisa Swanson (Legacy s.1)
Lisa Tomczeszyn (Legacy s.2)
|Voiced by||Ed Boon (games and films)
Robert Keting (MK:DA)
Patrick Seitz (MKvsDC, MK2011, Injustice)
|Motion capture||Daniel Pesina (MK, MKII)
John Turk (UMK3, MKT)
Sal Divita (MK:SM)
|Portrayed by||Chris Casamassa (first film, Konquest)
J.J. Perry (Annihilation)
Anthony Demarco (Live Tour)
Ian Anthony Dale (Rebirth, Legacy)
|Origin||Japan (Earthrealm); reborn in the Netherealm|
|Fighting styles||Hapkido (MK:DA, MK:D, MKA)
Pi Gua (MK:DA)
Moi Fah (MK:D)
|Weapon||Kunai (all MK media)
Axe (UMK3, MKT)
Ninjatō (MK:DA, MK:D, MK:U, MK:A)
Scorpion is a recurring player and occasional boss character from the Mortal Kombat fighting game franchise created by Ed Boon and John Tobias. Making his debut as one of the original seven playable characters in Mortal Kombat in 1992, he is an undead ninja specter seeking revenge for his own death at the hands of Sub-Zero, which has been his main role throughout the course of the series.
One of the series' signature characters, Scorpion has been playable in every Mortal Kombat game, the lone exception being the original version of Mortal Kombat 3 (1995), and was featured on the cover art for the 2011 Mortal Kombat reboot game alongside Sub-Zero, as well as the upcoming release Mortal Kombat X. He was among the characters representing the series in the 2008 crossover game Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe while having guest roles in other Midway games, and he has also appeared in a variety of official series merchandise and other alternate media. Scorpion is featured on the logo of NetherRealm Studios, the successor of Midway Games.
In Mortal Kombat games
"Scorpion" is the code name of Hanzo Hasashi, formerly one of the finest warriors of the Shirai Ryu, a Japanese ninja clan. After he was killed by Sub-Zero, a member of a rival clan of Chinese assassins known as the Lin Kuei, Scorpion became a hellspawned revenant residing in Hell (later the Netherealm) and seeking vengeance against those responsible for the destruction of his clan and the death of his family. Although essentially neutral in allegiance, Scorpion will join forces with anyone who can assist his plans of revenge. He was once manipulated by Quan Chi, whom he promised his life in exchange for his impressive combat abilities in order to defeat Sub-Zero.
In his initial backstory, displayed in the first game's attract mode, he is described only as having enmity towards Sub-Zero that was attributed to rivalries between opposing ninja clans. His ending revealed that he was actually an undead specter who had been killed by Sub-Zero and was survived by a wife and child. This was further explored in a tie-in comic book written and illustrated by MK co-creator John Tobias and published by Midway; in a one-page scene, set aboard a junk en route to tournament host Shang Tsung's private island, Scorpion shocks Sub-Zero with his unexpected return exactly two years after his death, declaring that his "demons" had allowed him to return and avenge his demise, while he would not kill Sub-Zero there on the spot and instead wait until the tournament because he was "not a murderer."
After Goro's defeat at the hands of eventual champion Liu Kang, all hell breaks loose on the island, and Scorpion, one of only seven tournament survivors, teams up with Sub-Zero and the thunder god Raiden in holding back Shang Tsung's army, then kills Sub-Zero and disappears. In Mortal Kombat II (1993), Scorpion learns that Sub-Zero has somehow returned, and plans to compete in the second tournament held in the otherworldly dimension of Outworld and hosted by the realm's emperor Shao Kahn. He tracks his nemesis down but notices, in the process, Sub-Zero sparing the life of an opponent in battle. Scorpion realizes that this is not the original Sub-Zero but instead his younger brother, who was sent to complete the elder Sub-Zero's failed mission of assassinating Shang Tsung. As a result, Scorpion vows to serve as the new Sub-Zero's guardian in atonement for killing his older brother.
In the 2005 beat 'em up spinoff Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks, set during the events of Mortal Kombat II, Scorpion is a boss character who attempts to kill the game's playable protagonists Liu Kang and Kung Lao. He appears in both masked and unmasked forms (the latter being named "Inferno Scorpion"). Mortal Kombat: Fire & Ice, which would have starred Scorpion and Sub-Zero in cooperative gameplay, was canceled when Paradox Development, the developers of Shaolin Monks, "couldn’t do it in time and under budget."
Scorpion, along with all of the game's palette-swapped human ninjas, was not playable in Mortal Kombat 3, but returned in the 1995 upgrade Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 when Shao Kahn tries to conquer the Netherealm after his invasion of Earth, and enlists the ninja in his forces. Scorpion's allegiance to Kahn quickly dissolves when he discovers, in a continuance of his MKII storyline, that Sub-Zero was one of Earth's chosen warriors, with whom he sided in their final showdown with Kahn.
Quan Chi is officially introduced into Scorpion's rivalry with Sub-Zero in the main MK storyline, starting with Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero (1997). Scorpion is featured therein as an unplayable boss character, appearing twice throughout the game. Despite playing a minor role, his background was also officially expanded in a feature on the game's official website, where his real name and that of his clan were revealed, while his yellow outfit was described as an apparent mockery of the Lin Kuei, after former Lin Kuei member Takeda developed ninjutsu before leaving the clan and forming the rival Shirai Ryu. He is enlisted by Quan Chi to find a map hidden in a Shaolin temple, a task the sorcerer also gives to Sub-Zero in order to engage the two rival ninjas in mortal combat. After Scorpion is killed by Sub-Zero, he appears as a specter in the Netherealm, where he attempts to kill Sub-Zero again but fails. In Mortal Kombat 4, also released in 1997, Quan Chi tricks Scorpion into believing that Sub-Zero was actually involved in the deaths of his family and clan, resulting in Scorpion allying with him. In Scorpion's ending, he emerges victorious over Sub-Zero, but Quan Chi then appears to reveal the truth about the death of Scorpion's family and clan. When Quan Chi then attempts to banish Scorpion back to the underworld, Scorpion grabs onto Quan Chi just as he is teleported, sending them both into the Netherealm. A variation of this ending was seen in Sub-Zero's conclusion, when Sub-Zero stands over a fallen Scorpion before being knocked down from behind by Quan Chi, who again reveals his scheme and claims that both ninjas were pawns for the fallen Elder God Shinnok, which results in Scorpion killing Quan Chi and finally declaring Sub-Zero free of his curse.
Scorpion's MK4 ending is carried over into Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance (2002), where he relentlessly hunts down Quan Chi but is attacked by the Oni Drahmin and Moloch, whom the sorcerer had hired as protection, and who later free him from the Netherealm. In his noncanonical ending, Scorpion is killed when Drahmin and Moloch hurl him into the Soulnado, a magical tornado consisting of tormented souls trapped between Earthrealm and Outworld, but in his biography in Mortal Kombat: Deception, he is depicted as having escaped. He then meets the Elder Gods, which, coupled with his witnessing Raiden's death and the emergence of Onaga, the Dragon King, causes him to accept a new role as the Elder Gods' servant while working to prevent Onaga's merging of the realms.
In the Konquest mode of Mortal Kombat: Armageddon (2006), Scorpion cuts a deal with the Elder Gods to serve them in exchange for the resurrection of the Shirai Ryu, along with the resurrection of his wife and son. However, the Elder Gods resurrect them as undead beings. Enraged, Scorpion seeks to destroy the Elder Gods' chance of preventing Armageddon by taking Blaze's power that was meant for Taven or Daegon, but Taven defeats him and Scorpion is later killed by Sub-Zero in the free-for-all battle among the series characters in the game's opening sequence.
In the 2011 Mortal Kombat reboot, an alternative-timeline retelling of the first three titles, Scorpion reprises his role from the first game in seeking vengeance against the elder Sub-Zero, the difference being that he serves Quan Chi from the start, unaware that Quan Chi is the mastermind behind the Lin Kuei clan's murder of his family and clan. Raiden, attempting to alter the timeline of the events of the first three tournaments in hopes of averting Armageddon, talks Scorpion into sparing Sub-Zero's life on the grounds that he would seek to revive the Shirai Ryu in exchange. Scorpion agrees, and indeed when he defeats Sub-Zero in the Netherealm, he refuses to kill him, but Quan Chi convinces Scorpion otherwise by replaying a graphic vision of the Lin Kuei's slaughter of the Shirai Ryu in addition to Scorpion's wife and child. Scorpion then reappears on the tournament grounds holding Sub-Zero's incinerated skull and spinal column aloft before letting it drop and shatter on the floor. Later in the game, the younger Sub-Zero (formerly Tundra) seeks revenge for his brother's death by demanding a fight with Scorpion in Shao Kahn's arena, and Quan Chi grants the request. Scorpion immediately recognizes that this is not the original Sub-Zero but his younger brother, who defeats Scorpion but is apprehended by his clan before he can finish Scorpion off, and Scorpion teleports away during the confusion. In his game ending, the Shirai Ryu appear before him as ghostly apparitions and reveal the truth. They aid him in Scorpion's killing Quan Chi for his deception. In Sub-Zero's ending, he learns the truth about his and Scorpion's families and offers Scorpion a chance to join him in his quest for vengeance, with Sub-Zero and Scorpion joining forces to form the new Deadly Alliance.
Conception and design
Scorpion appeared in the first MK game as one of two palette-swapped ninjas along with Sub-Zero. His early origins were revealed by original series character designer John Tobias in September 2011 when he posted several pages of old preproduction character sketches and notes on Twitter. Scorpion and Sub-Zero were simply described as "[a] palette swap for 2 ninjas—a hunter and the hunted," while Tobias also considered the concepts of either one of them fleeing their clan, or a "revenge story" involving the then-unnamed characters being part of rival clans. In regards to the game's strict memory limitations, co-creator and programmer Ed Boon explained in 2012: "A lot of attention went into the economics of it, and so we knew that if we could take a character and change their color and use basically the same memory to create two characters, we'd save a lot of money and we'd have two characters." Scorpion was given a yellow palette with the developers deciding that it would symbolize fire as the exact opposite to Sub-Zero's ice blue, which "prompted the story behind them being these opposing ninja-clan-type characters." A third ninja swap, Reptile, was added in the third revision as a hidden character who was outfitted in green and used Scorpion's spear (along with Sub-Zero's freeze) as part of his offensive arsenal; he was devised by Boon as "a cooler version of Scorpion." The original costume was created from a modified ninja-like outfit bought at a Chicago costume shop and was red for filming in the first game, but a different yellow one with a quilted vest and knee-high shin guards was utilized for MKII. This in turn made the other male ninjas therein—Sub-Zero, Reptile, and hidden characters Smoke and Noob Saibot—palette swaps of Scorpion, with the latter two also using Scorpion's spear when players fought them separately in secret battles. Scorpion and the ninja characters were played by Daniel Pesina, who was replaced by John Turk for Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 and the 1996 compilation Mortal Kombat Trilogy, while Sal Divita played the character in MK: Mythologies.
While his ninja-outfit template from the first generation of games has remained relatively unchanged over time, the software technology of the post-Mortal Kombat 4 three-dimensional releases have allowed more detailed costuming for the characters, and Scorpion's costumes were duly enhanced with objects such as two katanas strapped to his back and his spear attached to a rope tied to his belt in Deadly Alliance, and a set of ornate shoulder epaulets in Deception, in which his alternate costume was a throwback to the two-dimensional MK titles. Scorpion's MK2011 costume is his most detailed to date and inspired by his namesake, such as the character's abdomen-shaped shoulder pads, the two stinger-handled swords crisscrossed on his back, and the exoskeleton pattern on his hard-shell face mask. Scorpion was included with Sub-Zero, Reptile and Ermac in a bundle of classic costumes from the first Mortal Kombat that was released as downloadable content for the 2011 reboot. For Injustice: Gods Among Us, he received a new costume designed by comic artist Jim Lee. In the original Mortal Kombat 's fighter-selection screen, Scorpion had regular human eyes, as his identity as a resurrected specter was meant to be a mystery, but he was given solid yellow or white eyes for every release thereafter starting with MKII, while actors portraying Scorpion in live-action media such as the feature films and the Mortal Kombat: Legacy web series were outfitted with opaque contact lenses in order to achieve this effect.
Scorpion yells one of two taunts at his opponents when he hits them with his spear. They were voiced by Boon in the games (up until MK2011) and both feature films, but only one of them ("Come here!") was included in the home ports of MK and MKII due to memory constraints. According to Boon, the second of the character's phrases originated because he thought "it would be funny to have him yell out 'Get over here!' when he [threw the spear]," and he was thus encouraged to get behind the studio microphone and record the taunts. Twenty years after the first MK game's release, Boon included creating the spear move as well as the character itself among his personal high points of the franchise's history, adding: "I remember people sitting in my office all day just doing this uppercut [on a speared enemy] again and again, like 'Oh my God, that feels so good.' It just became the cornerstone of [the game]." MKII saw the debut of the popular phrase "Toasty!", which was voiced by series sound designer Dan Forden during a variation of Scorpion's "Flaming Skull" Fatality or at random when any of the game's characters landed an uppercut. According to Tobias, it first originated as "You're Toast!", which was a taunt bandied among the designers during game-testing sessions.
Scorpion's signature special move throughout his series appearances has seen him hurling a harpoon-like spear (described as a kunai) at his opponents, making him the only other character besides Kano to have a physical weapon in the original MK game. The spear, attached to a length of rope, impales his opponents through the chest and sets them up for a free hit as Scorpion then jerks on the rope to pull them in to close range. His other incumbent special throughout the series, save for Deadly Alliance, has been his Teleport Punch, where he flies offscreen during battle and then reappears to strike his opponent from behind. Scorpion additionally gained a new leg-takedown maneuver in MKII that was not well-received (Sega Saturn Magazine called it a "ridiculous" move that "no one ever used") and has since not appeared again in the series. He was considered a lower-tier character by GamePro in their 1993 MKII character rankings, rating him eighth out of the game's twelve playables and describing both him and Sub-Zero as "formerly a top-tier character [who] doesn’t have much of a chance in MKII since all of the male ninjas have some poor matchups," with Scorpion faring the worst against Jax and Mileena. Ed Lomas of Sega Saturn Magazine described the character as having "simple yet effective" special moves in UMK3 that "make him good for beginners, [which] doesn't stop him from being a useful character," while his "trusty" spear was "perfect for setting up combos." GameSpy, in their Deception walkthrough, described the character as "a well-rounded character that has strengths in combos as well as in special and normal moves." They additionally described the spear as "useful as ever" in Armageddon, adding, "Between [that and his] other special moves ... Scorpion pretty much has everything covered." Prima Games' MK2011 strategy guide considered Scorpion to be well-balanced with no distinct weaknesses or advantages, while winning more than half of his fights against the game's other characters. He is also a playable character for both the versus and story modes in Shaolin Monks, where his movesets in this game are largely identical to Liu Kang's with some original techniques.
Scorpion's signature finisher from the original game up until Mortal Kombat 4 was his "Fire Breath" Fatality, in which he removes his mask to reveal a skull right before immolating his opponent. A variation of this finisher was included in MKII: entering a different button/joystick combination added the spoken "Toasty!" phrase that simultaneously appeared on the screen. While the "Fire Breath" was brought back for Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe in 2008, his spear has otherwise served as his primary tool in his Fatalities in the three-dimensional games, from impaling his opponents through the head and then decapitating them in Deadly Alliance, using it to yank off their limbs in Deception, and plunging it into their chest before kicking them through a portal that left nothing but a skinned corpse hanging from the spear's chain in MK2011 ("Nether Gate"). His second Fatality in the reboot, "Split Decision," had Scorpion using one of his back-mounted swords to hack his opponent to pieces.
Scorpion would also indirectly play a role in the fabrication of nonexistent character Ermac when Electronic Gaming Monthly published a doctored screenshot of Scorpion from the original game in 1993. This subsequently spawned false player rumors of a glitch that would turn Scorpion's sprite red with the name "Error Macro" appearing in the energy bar. Ermac became playable in UMK3, in which he was a red palette swap of Scorpion who shared his Teleport Punch.
Scorpion appears in the 2008 crossover title Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, participating in the war between the two titular franchises. In his ending, the essence of Dark Kahn finds a host in Scorpion's body, making him the most powerful creature in the universe.
Scorpion joined the cast of 2013's Injustice: Gods Among Us as a downloadable character. In his single-player battle ending, Scorpion, wondering how he ended up in this world, confronts Trigon, who summoned him out of anger that Scorpion had left his demon army and robbed him the glory of defeating the One-Earth High Councilor (Superman). Scorpion fights and defeats Trigon, and afterwards takes command over his demonic forces, which he plans to use to rule the world.
Scorpion has also featured as a guest/cameo character in four non-fighting Midway Games titles: NBA Jam Tournament Edition (1995), The Grid (2000), MLB Slugfest: Loaded (2004), and Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy (2004).
In other media
In Jeff Rovin's 1995 non-canon novelization, set before the first game, Scorpion plays a minor role and his backstory deviates from the games, as he is something of a combination of a father and son instead of an individual ninja specter. The father, a former Lin Kuei member turned tolltaker named Yong Park, was killed by Sub-Zero in front of Park's family and his body dumped into a canal. Yong's spirit merges with his young son Tsui's body in order for the latter to seek revenge under the form of Scorpion, during which his costume and armor magically appear on his body. When Scorpion challenges Sub-Zero to battle in hopes of avenging his father's murder, they do nothing more than exchange words before Sub-Zero sets off a smoke bomb and escapes. Scorpion never uses his spear aside from a scene in which he shoots it at a tree as a test shortly after his transformation.
With the exception of the novel, Scorpion has been portrayed in alternate Mortal Kombat media as an antagonist, and his spear was never used in any sort of graphic nature as in the games. In the Mortal Kombat series produced by Malibu Comics, he is simply a specter consumed by revenge against Sub-Zero, and his spear was changed to a weapon resembling a spiked morning star that was attached to a whip-long length of either chain or rope. An altered version of his confrontation with Sub-Zero from the Midway comic was expanded in the first issue of the 1994 "Blood & Thunder" miniseries, by way of a one-page flashback of their fateful battle that ends with Scorpion being killed off-panel. Scorpion, along with the other series characters from the first game, seeks to solve all the riddles inside Shang Tsung's mystical tome, the Tao the Zhan, in order to gain absolute power (which no one accomplishes). In the third issue, the combatants are all imprisoned inside Shang Tsung's dungeon before Scorpion appears and frees them from their bonds, and in the fourth issue, when the fighters are stranded in Outworld after Raiden frees them from the dungeon, Scorpion kills Hydro, a Lin Kuei companion of Sub-Zero created exclusively for the series. Sub-Zero then destroys Scorpion's mortal form in a quick battle, and Scorpion (now an apparition) is then driven off by Raiden, who then declares that Sub-Zero was now under his protection. Scorpion was additionally featured in a special #0 issue as the centerpiece of a short story titled Kombatants, which was originally published prior to the miniseries and has him facing Sub-Zero once more as the other combatants sing his praises in the background. The first page of the third issue of Blood & Thunder, which showed Scorpion hurling his weapon at an off-panel Sub-Zero, was a near-exact duplicate of Kombatants ' title page. During the "Tournament Edition" double-issue conclusion of the miniseries, Scorpion loses a fight to Kitana, who had stopped him beforehand from killing an unconscious Sub-Zero. In the 1995 Battlewave miniseries, Outworld emperor Shao Kahn returns Scorpion to the living world using a mystical gem called the Deathstone, which also allows Kahn to resurrect an army of undead soldiers under his control with Scorpion as his general; his army replaces the mutants that engrossed his ranks. One of the warriors under Scorpion's command was the twin-fighting monk duo Siang, who had been killed by Goro in the Blood & Thunder miniseries and was resurrected but still maintained a mind of his own, and therefore wanted to escape Kahn's control; Scorpion therefore fatally stabs Siang through the heart in a mercy killing before destroying the Deathstone. In a 1995 one-shot featuring Baraka, titled "Babality," Scorpion still possesses the Deathstone and attempts to abduct an Outworld mutant baby who is under Baraka's protection, but he is thwarted by Noob Saibot before Baraka destroys the gem.
Scorpion was played by Chris Casamassa in the 1995 Mortal Kombat film. His rivalry with Sub-Zero is only mentioned in passing by Shang Tsung in the storyline, which instead had them both serving as his slaves under his command. Scorpion's spear was a living snake-like creature that shot from a slit in his palm and could fly to a limited extent. It is first seen when he engages in a standoff with Johnny Cage on Shang Tsung's ship, and later during his fight in the tournament against Cage that begins in a rubber tree forest, when the spear directly follows Cage until it goes completely taut with Cage just out of reach. Scorpion fires the creature a second time, but Cage dodges it and it fatally smashes into a tree. The fight continues in Scorpion's lair until Cage finally wounds Scorpion with several discarded weapons right after Scorpion performs his "Fire Breath" Fatality as an offensive move, causing Scorpion to burst into flames as he bleeds a glowing lava-like blood before exploding entirely. Scorpion's lair was constructed inside an airplane hangar and was not included in the script nor the movie novelization, in which Cage merely knocks Scorpion out in the forest with his Shadow Kick.
In the 1995 animated prequel Mortal Kombat: The Journey Begins, Scorpion was again depicted as a henchman to Shang Tsung opposite Sub-Zero. On the sorcerer's orders, the duo fight Liu Kang, Johnny Cage, and Sonya Blade and come close to defeating them until Raiden intervenes and puts the fight to a halt. The backstory relationship of Scorpion and Sub-Zero is explored during the course of the film in a computer-animated fight sequence. He was the only character in the film who had no dialogue.
Scorpion made one appearance in the 1996 animated series Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm in the second episode ("Sting of the Scorpion"). His rivalry with Sub-Zero is vaguely explored, as no explicit mention is ever made of Sub-Zero killing him. Scorpion instead serves as an independent entity of evil who is first seen in a flashback sequence being banished to "the realm of lost souls" (designed to resemble his "Lair" stage in UMK3) for having died with dishonor, and has now returned to the land of the living to resurrect the dishonored dead in all realms, especially Shang Tsung. When Sub-Zero and Scorpion finally meet, Sub-Zero threatens to make Scorpion pay for the death of his clan but is defeated by a single kick to the solar plexus. Liu Kang beats Scorpion in mortal combat in Sub-Zero's stead, and Raiden returns Scorpion back to the underworld as his undead army disappears. His spear was again a green snake-like head attached to a length of gold chain, which merely binds Liu Kang instead of impaling him before he breaks free. Scorpion was the lone ninja character in the show who never unmasked, and his voice actor was uncredited.
Scorpion briefly returned in the 1997 sequel film Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, where he again worked for a higher power, this time Shao Kahn. Following a failed assassination attempt on Liu Kang and Kitana by Smoke and one of Kahn's extermination squads due to the unexpected interference of the younger Sub-Zero, Scorpion confronts the would-be targets, but ends up dueling Sub-Zero instead. After incapacitating Sub-Zero, he kidnaps Kitana and escapes through a portal. He was played by J.J. Perry, who also played Cyrax.
Casamassa reprised his role from the first film in several episodes of the 1998-1999 TV series Mortal Kombat: Konquest with an origin different from that of the games. Scorpion commands his lover, Peron, to murder Sub-Zero's sister, and Sub-Zero kills Peron in retaliation, culminating in a duel which ends in a draw due to the arrival of Kung Lao, Siro, and Taja, who come to Sub-Zero's aid. Both Peron and Sub-Zero's sister were noncanonical characters created exclusively for the show.
In the 2010 live-action short film Mortal Kombat: Rebirth, directed by Kevin Tancharoen, Scorpion, addressed therein by his real name, is depicted as a voluntary prisoner being questioned by Deacon City police captain Jackson Briggs regarding an underground tournament hosted by Shang Tsung. Sonya Blade shows up late in the film with a confidential document stating that Scorpion had killed Sub-Zero's brother. Knowing that Sub-Zero will enter Shang Tsung's deadly tournament, Scorpion agrees to participate and leave no one alive. He was played by Ian Anthony Dale and appears as a normal human, though his eyes are completely white and his signature spear weapon also appears.
Dale reprised his role as Scorpion in both seasons of Tancharoen's Mortal Kombat: Legacy webseries. In a two-part episode in the 2011 first season, his story takes place in feudal Japan, when Hanzo Hasashi is the leader of the Shirai Ryu and a family man training his young son, Jubei, in combat, much to his wife's disapproval. Hanzo is later summoned to a meeting with the shogun, which turns out to be a ruse by Bi-Han (Sub-Zero) of the rival Lin Kuei clan in order to lure Hanzo away from his village and leave it open to attack, which Hanzo realizes after he finds the shogun murdered in the middle of an icy road. After subduing Sub-Zero in battle, he returns to his village to find his family slain before he himself is killed from behind by Sub-Zero. Shang Tsung appears with Sub-Zero, who reveals himself as Quan Chi. Quan Chi resurrects Scorpion as a specter and promises him revenge against Sub-Zero in exchange for his services. The dialogue of Scorpion, his family, and Sub-Zero were in Japanese with English subtitles, and the use of Scorpion's spear is faithful to the games for the first time in any alternate media in that it actually pierces Sub-Zero's chest before Scorpion reels him in for a hit, but no blood is shown.
In the 2013 second season, a flashback shows that Hanzo and Bi-Han were childhood friends but driven apart by the mutual disdain of their clans. Two decades later, the Shirai Ryu and Lin Kuei have made some effort towards reconciliation, but Hasashi, while with his wife and son, encounters Bi-Han's younger brother, Kuai Liang, who provokes a fight and is killed by Hanzo offscreen. Hanzo and Bi-Han later meet to discuss the incident, and both are shown to be honorable men committed to maintaining the truce between their clans. Bi-Han swears that there will be no repercussions against the Shirai Ryu for Kuai's death, but after the events of season one, the resurrected Hanzo (now Scorpion) is convinced of Bi-Han's culpability in his family's and clan's deaths, not knowing that Bi-Han is not responsible and is instead incensed about the attack that he believes was carried out by his own Lin Kuei warriors. In the present day, Bi-Han and Scorpion fight in the Mortal Kombat tournament, during which Scorpion stabs his spear into Bi-Han's ankle. Despite Bi-Han's pleas that he was not involved in the death of his clan and family, Scorpion rips out his spine. This storyline was played out over the seventh and eighth episodes and filmed entirely in English. Dale, who has a background in kung fu, said in a 2013 interview with Nerd Reactor that the series "challenge[s] the assumptions that [Scorpion and Sub-Zero] have always been sworn enemies—we have new layers in their story and rivalries." He said that after rehearsals, "my arms and shoulders felt like they had daggers in them," while the contacts he wore were "cumbersome" and that he was "seeing through a tiny pinhole, so your peripheral vision is completely taken away."
In promotion and merchandise
Along with the original series characters, Scorpion was highlighted on an individual track from The Immortals' 1994 album Mortal Kombat: The Album. Titled "Lost Soul Bent on Revenge," it features a solo male singer with a falsetto vocal style resembling that of Jimmy Somerville, and the lyrics consist only of the repetition of the song title and voice samples of both spear taunts from the first game.
The character has featured in various types of merchandise during his tenure in the MK series, mostly action figures and sculptures. Hasbro released the first Scorpion figures in 1994: a 3.75" version in which his mask was blue and he was packaged with a plastic scorpion accessory, then a twelve-inch figure whose design and packaged weaponry were more in line with the games. Toy Island distributed a Scorpion figure in 1996 as part of their MK Trilogy collection, which included a pair of hookswords, and Infinite Concepts put out a Scorpion figure in 1999. Jazwares released a 6" Deception figure in 2005, and a 2006 Shaolin Monks figure that was also included as part of a Hot Topic-exclusive two-pack with Sub-Zero, in addition to a collection of figures in 2011: a 4" figure from their MK2011 line, a "Klassic" four-incher, and a "Retro" figure that featured an interchangeable skull head and which was packaged with Sub-Zero, Reptile and Smoke in a box set. Syco Collectibles released a host of Scorpion merchandise in 2011-2012: 10" (with glow-in-the-dark eyes) and 18" polystone statues, along with two busts—a 1:2 scale with a 15" base and light-up eyes; and a smaller bust with an 11" base that featured a detachable head. Pop Culture Shock distributed a life-sized bust in 2011 that featured removable shoulder pads and light-up eyes, as well as a 19" statuette based on his UMK3 design as part of their "Mortal Kombat Klassics" collection. A 16.5" mixed-media statue was also released by the company in 2012, in which Scorpion was sculpted in a spear-throwing pose and was outfitted in all black.
Scorpion was one of thirteen MK2011 characters depicted on life-sized standing cardboard cutouts from Advanced Graphics. Funko released a Scorpion bobblehead in 2011, and he was also one of twenty characters featured on 2.5" x 3.5" collectible magnets by Ata-Boy Wholesale that year. He appeared along with Kabal, Quan Chi, and Shao Kahn in a collection of 2.5" super-deformed figures released by Jazwares in 2012.
The character has made several cameo appearances in television programs, including in the animated series Drawn Together (2005 episode "The One Wherein There Is a Big Twist: Part 2"), Robot Chicken (2005 episode "S&M Present"), and The Cleveland Show (2010 episode "Another Bad Thanksgiving"). Professional wrestler Cody Rhodes dressed up as Scorpion for Halloween in 2013. Scorpion was featured along with Raiden, Ermac, Jax, and Shang Tsung in Comedy Central's 2014 animated short film parodying Mortal Kombat, in which he was renamed "Iron Shogun" and was to compete in "Yao Zhang's" underground tournament before it is delayed due to all of the other contestants being no-shows. He is later declared the tournament victor after fatally spearing a pizza deliveryman who enters the arena.
Critical reception and popularity
Scorpion is often regarded as one of the most popular and iconic characters in the Mortal Kombat franchise, and in the fighting-game genre in general. Game Informer rated Scorpion the third-best fighting game character in 2009, while UGO Networks ranked Scorpion second only to the series' main protagonist Liu Kang in their 2012 list of the top fifty characters in the franchise. Scorpion was rated the third-best ninja character in video games by Cheat Code Central in 2011, and PLAY similarly ranked him fourth on their own list in 2013. Lucas Sullivan of GamesRadar ranked him as the seventh-best fighting game character in the genre's history, stating, "Scorpion has some tough competition in the MK franchise, but none come close to the sheer coolness of his 'undead antagonist' factor. Despite the fact that he started out as a mere palette swap, Scorpion’s appeal made him a frontrunner in every major MK game to date." Complex featured Scorpion in a host of best-of lists: he was ranked the fifth-most brutal fighter in the series and the fifteenth-best video game mascot. in addition to the fourth "most dominant" fighting game character, the 23rd "most badass" video game character of all time, and one of 25 video game characters who deserved their own spinoff title. "[W]hether you want to admit it or not, Scorpion runs the [MK] series more than Liu Kang ever has." In 2008, IGN wrote that although Scorpion was initially a palette-swapped character, he "is actually a lot more complicated than these initial appearances let on;" In 2013, he was named runner-up to Kratos as the "most bad-ass" video game character by The Ultimate Gamer. Scorpion was voted the series' greatest character in a 2013 fan poll hosted by Dorkly, and finished third behind Raiden and Smoke in the annual "Supreme Mortal Kombat Champion" fan polls hosted by Mortal Kombat Online in 2013 but was eliminated in the lower rounds in 2012 and 2014.
As Scorpion is regularly intertwined with Sub-Zero throughout the series, they have often been paired together in regards to critical reception. They tied for second on WatchMojo's 2012 list of the most iconic fighting game characters, placed fourth on their 2013 list of the top ten video-game ninjas, and shared the fifth spot on the top video-game ninja list by PC World in 2009. He tied with Sub-Zero at the top of Game Revolution's 2006 list of the top ten "old school" MK characters, and a 2011 GamesRadar article discussed their evolution across the Mortal Kombat series, citing them as its two most popular characters. GamePro ranked Scorpion, Sub-Zero, and the other ninjas from the series third in their 2009 list of the best palette-swapped video game characters, adding that Midway Games "has turned the art of making new characters from other, different-colored characters into a science." Robert Naytor of Hardcore Gaming 101 considered Ermac to be "a better fit" than Scorpion for appearing in Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy, "given how much telekinesis is used throughout the game."
Scorpion's catchphrase "Get over here!" was listed in PLAY 's joke list of ten best chat-up lines. According to PlayStation Universe in 2011, Scorpion "has spawned one of the most iconic catchphrases in gaming history" and "remains a firm fan favorite nineteen years since his debut." The phrase was a factor in ScrewAttack ranking Scorpion first on their list of the top series characters.
Special moves and Fatalities
In 2010, IGN listed Scorpion's "Flaming Skull" as the second-best MK Fatality without specifying any particular title in the series, due to how the player's perception of the character changes when he removes his mask. They called it an "enduring classic," noting that the finisher was notably unchanged in future games as a result of its connection with the character. His spear attack was ranked by IGN as the 76th-top video-game weapon in 2012, and ninth in GameSpot's 2002 list of the top ten fighting-game special moves of all time as the single most powerful yet balanced attack in the original game, as well as for its initial shock value, while deeming it "the definitive Mortal Kombat move." The "Nether Gate" from MK2011 was also included by FHM on their list of the game's nine most brutal Fatalities. His MKII Friendship, shared with Sub-Zero and Reptile, placed 47th on Prima Games' 2014 list of the series' top fifty Fatalities, in addition to the "Nether Gate" coming in at 45th, his stage Fatality from MK2011 39th, and the "Flaming Skull" from MK1 in fourteenth. We Got This Covered ranked the "Nether Gate" among the reboot's top finishers: "Sub-Zero does another spine rip in this game, but it’s not as repulsive as it was a decade ago. Scorpion, however, has found a new way to use his favorite weapon for maximum damage." Paste rated it the fourth-best Fatality from MK2011, in addition to rating the "Flaming Skull" as the third-best finisher from the first game. Kevin Wong of Complex ranked the "Flaming Skull" last in their list of the twenty best MK finishing moves, calling it "creepy to the max." However, his Animality from UMK3/Trilogy (a penguin that lays an exploding egg) tied with that of Rain as the eighth-worst finisher in the series from GamePro.
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