Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero

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Mortal Kombat Mythologies:
Mortal Kombat Mythologies.jpg
Cover artwork for the home versions
Developer(s)Midway Games (PS)
Avalanche Software (N64)
Publisher(s)Midway Games
Director(s)Dimitrios Tianis
Bill O'Neil
Producer(s)John Tobias
Dimitrios Tianis
Michael Gottlieb
Designer(s)John Tobias
Artist(s)John Tobias
Joshua Y. Tsui
Carlos Pesina
Composer(s)Dan Forden
SeriesMortal Kombat
Platform(s)PlayStation, Nintendo 64
  • NA: October 1, 1997
  • EU: December 2, 1997
Nintendo 64
  • NA: December 8, 1997
  • EU: February 12, 1998
Genre(s)Action-adventure, beat 'em up, platform

Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero (MKM:S-Z) is a 1997 action-adventure game of the fighting game series Mortal Kombat. It is the first Mortal Kombat game to feature side-scrolling gameplay. It was released for the PlayStation and Nintendo 64. Mythologies is a prequel set prior to the events of the tournament in the original Mortal Kombat. The storyline centers on the warrior, Sub-Zero. He is asked to find an amulet by the sorcerer Quan Chi. The player controls Sub-Zero in multiple stages as he faces multiple enemies trying to eliminate him.

The PlayStation version features live-action cutscenes; the Nintendo 64 version of the game replaced the live-action cutscenes with still images of such, due to limited storage space on the cartridge. Criticism toward the game are directed at the poor transition from fighting games to an action-adventure genre. Some labeled it as the second worst Mortal Kombat game next to Mortal Kombat: Special Forces.


Although Mythologies is classified as an action-adventure game, its play controls are very similar to the 2D Mortal Kombat fighting games. The player has four attack buttons, along with a block button and a run button like in Mortal Kombat 3. The player controls Sub-Zero as they would in a fighting game, including the use of command-based special moves, to fight enemies and venture through levels. A "turn" button is used to change the direction Sub-Zero is facing, while an "action" button is used to pick up or use items. The player also has access to a status screen which keeps tracks of the player's inventory, experience points, and special moves they gain during the game.

The player begins the game with a small health gauge and a limited number of extra lives. Over the course of the game's progression the player can gain experience points by performing combos against enemies, which are then used to increase their character's strength and gain access to special moves. An "ice meter" will appear after the player begins to acquire special moves. Special moves requires ice power in order to be performed. Health and ice power can be replenished by picking up items (although the ice meter will gradually replenish itself over time as well). The player will also need to retrieve key items. Passwords are used to keep track of the player's progress.


The story is set before the events that took place in the original Mortal Kombat and follows the Lin Kuei assassin and thief Sub-Zero hired by the sorcerer Quan Chi to steal a map of elements from a Shaolin temple. Battling through the Shaolin monks who guarded the map, Sub-Zero faces his rival, Scorpion from the Shirai Ryu clan who was also hired by Quan Chi. Sub-Zero kills Scorpion and retrieves the map. Back at the headquarters of the Lin Kuei, Sub-Zero delivers the map to Quan Chi, who repays the Lin Kuei by eliminating all the members of the Shirai Ryu, the Lin Kuei's rival clan. Retaining the Lin Kuei's services, Quan Chi has Sub-Zero follow the map to the Temple of Elements, where an amulet of "sentimental value" was resting.[1]

Sub-Zero reaches the temple and went through its many challenges and obstacles, eliminating the gods of Wind, Earth, Water, and Fire that protected the amulet. Just as Sub-Zero reaches out for it, Quan Chi takes the amulet, saying that it was actually the source of power for a fallen Elder God named Shinnok. Quan Chi disappears through a portal, and the thunder god Raiden accuses Sub-Zero, ordering him to go to the Netherealm to retrieve the amulet.[2]

Sub-Zero is sent to the Netherealm but is trapped in the Prison of Souls by Quan Chi's guards. There, he is met by the undead spectre of his archnemsis, Scorpion, who blames Sub-Zero for the destruction of his clan and family. Sub-Zero once again kills Scorpion and escapes. He then fights Quan Chi's underlings: Kia, Sareena, and Jataaka. Retrieving their transportation crystals, he is able to get to Quan Chi's fortress. Sub-Zero defeats the three of them and goes to Quan Chi's room. The fight against Quan Chi either ends with Sub-Zero's victory or Sareena finishing Quan Chi. As Sareena pleads to escape from the Netherealm, she is killed by Shinnok. Sub-Zero steals the amulet from Shinnok and escapes through a portal created by Raiden, and delivers the amulet to the god.[3] Returning to the Lin Kuei headquarters, Sub-Zero is once again hired by another sorcerer named Shang Tsung to compete in a tournament called Mortal Kombat.


  • Sub-Zero
  • Scorpion
  • Quan Chi
  • Shinnok
  • Fujin - Fujin represents Wind God in mythology of Mortal Kombat.
  • Earth God - In Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero, Earth God was assigned by Raiden as the second of the four guardians along with Wind God (Fujin), Water God and Fire God in order to protect Shinnok's amulet until he was eliminated by Sub-Zero. Due to his giant size towering over Sub-Zero, he has the ability to stomp the ground while stones of rocks fall from above.
  • Water God - Water God appeared in Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero as the third of the four guardians assigned by Raiden to protect Shinnok's amulet until he was beaten by Sub-Zero. His powers and abilities are mostly jets of water and waves.
  • Fire God: - Fire God appeared as the guardian of Shinnok's amulet in Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero. Raiden assign him as the last of the four guardians to protect the amulet until Sub-Zero defeat him in battle. His powers and abilities are mostly flames of fire because of this, Sub-Zero could not freeze him.
  • Sareena
  • Jataaka - Jataaka appeared in Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero as one of the sub-bosses in Shinnok's Fortress. Simultaneously, she is a member of the Brotherhood of Shadow and serves as one of three assassins to Quan Chi and Shinnok along with Sareena and Kia. In Mortal Kombat Mythologies:Sub-Zero, she is one of "three female guardians in order to get the crystals that power the teleporter and give access to Quan Chi's lair." Gameplay-wise, she is as fast as Kia but more powerful. Her attacks in Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero consist of launching laser bolts from her sword as well as a weapon she use to attack.[4] She reappears in Mortal Kombat: Armageddon's Konquest mode alongside Quan Chi, Sareena and Kia in the Red Dragon's caverns. Jataaka was played by Rachel Hebert and Erica Grace. She appeared in TV series Mortal Kombat: Konquest, but was renamed "Sora" and was played by Renee Tenison.
  • Kia - Kia is one of the sub-bosses in Shinnok's Fortress in Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero and also a member of the Brotherhood of Shadow. She is one of three assassins serving under Quan Chi and Shinnok. In Mortal Kombat: Mythologies: Sub-Zero, she (or Jataaka) is the first of the assassins to face before Sub-Zero can receive the three crystals that power the teleporter to Quan Chi's lair. Gameplay-wise she is the least powerful of the trio but equal in speed to Jataaka. Her only weapon of choice is the razor shape boomerang.[4] She, along with Sareena and Jataaka, reappears alongside Quan Chi in Mortal Kombat: Armageddon's Konquest mode inside the caverns of the Red Dragon clan. Kia was played by Kerri Hoskins. She appeared in TV series Mortal Kombat: Konquest, but was renamed "Mika" and was played by Jaime Pressly.


The making of Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero spanned about 14 months from start to finish, with news that the game was being worked on leaking to the press in the third quarter of 1996.[5] Designer and Sub-Zero co-creator John Tobias said he was intrigued by the character's back story and wanted to flesh it out.[6] The main design team was located at Midway's Chicago offices and consisted of five artists, two programmers and a sound designer.

The graphics in Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero were created using many different techniques. While Sub-Zero and many of the more humanoid characters were created using Mortal Kombat's trademark of digitizing live actors, many of the more ominous enemies as well as all of the backgrounds were done in real time 3D. This combination supposedly provides for a more realistic look than has ever been achieved in the previous Mortal Kombat games. Another addition to the Mortal Kombat universe was to use detailed cinematic sequences to help tell the story while the player progresses through the game. This was done by combining live actors with digital elements. The actors were taped in front of a green screen, and then they were digitally combined with 3D backdrops. The actual video shoot for these sequences took about a week to complete. The crew was kept to a minimum and the entire process from taping to post-production work took about a month.[7]


Review scores
Game Revolution0.5/5[8]N/A
GameFan70, 40, 40[14]N/A
Next GenerationN/A1/5 stars[15]
Game Play 6470%[16]N/A
Nintendo Accion77%[17]N/A
Super JuegosN/A90%[18]
Hobby ConsolasN/A82%[19]
PSX MagazineN/A7/10[20]
Ação Games9/10[22]9/10[22]
Game X31/40[23]31/40[23]

Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero received mixed reviews from game reviewers. IGN stated "it may have been a good idea on paper, but as a game it's terrible."[11] and Next Generation giving the PS1 version the abysmal 1 out of 5 stars.[15] GameSpot's Jeff Gerstmann, by contrast, gave the PS1 port praise, writing, "Mythologies is a pretty amazing meld of fighting and platform jumping and is sure to please fans of Mortal Kombat and platform games alike."[9] Gerstmann, however, gave the N64 version a 4.9/10 rating and wrote "This one is only for the hardcore MK fans who don't already own PlayStations."[10] GamePro, however, was complimentary to both ports as they gave the PS1 version 4 out of 5[12] and gave the N64 version a similar score.[13] GameFan gave the N64 version bizarre numbers where two reviewers both scored it 40 while one scored it 70.[14] French magazine Game Play 64 gave the N64 version a 70 with mixed opinions but believed that fans of the franchise should still find some enjoyment in it.[16] Spanish magazine Super Juegos gave the PS1 version 90.[18] Brazilian magazine Ação Games scored both the PS1 and N64 versions 9 out of 10.[22]

Retrospective reviews were more on the negative with some labeling the game as one of the worst Mortal Kombat games ever. Game Informer's feature "Replay" declared the game was "absolutely terrible" because all of its aspects.[24] In 2011, IGN's Daemon Hatfield listed it as one of the worst Mortal Kombat games of all time.[25] According to him, Midway had planned Mythologies as a series but the overwhelming negative reception resulted in its cancellation.[26] Its cutscenes have also been criticized in UGO Networks' article "The Worst Cutscenes In Gaming History" based on its unconvincing acting and special effects.[27] GamesRadar's Mikel Reparaz opined that while the concept of giving Sub-Zero his own game was interesting based on his popularity, the game "ended up a terrible mess of ugly sprites, cheap deaths and a button you had to hit just to change the direction you were facing, and the less that’s said about it, the better."[28]


  1. ^ Midway (1997). Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero. Midway. Sub-Zero: Fine... I get to the temple and then what? What's inside?/ Quan Chi: A small amulet... worthless to you, but... let's just say it has great sentimental value to me.
  2. ^ Midway (1997). Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero. Midway. Raiden: Do you realize what you've done?? / Sub-Zero: I was just earning my living. / Raiden: Your clan's ignorance and greed will cost this entire realm. You must now set things straight. / Sub-Zero: Quan Chi could simply be a lunatic sorcerer. I've never heard of an elder god named Shinnok or of a place called the Netherealm. / Raiden: Well, you'd better start believing in both, because you're going to the Netherealm and you've going to bring the amulet back. We must act quickly. I have no dominion in the Netherealm... You are reality's only hope. / Sub-Zero: I'll do it, Thunder God... but only because I have no choice.
  3. ^ Midway (1997). Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero. Midway. Sub-Zero: Here... the amulet. / Raiden: Impressive, Sub-Zero. Perhaps you will reconcile your reckless past after all.
  4. ^ a b Playstation Pocket Power Guide Unauthorized, 3, Prima, 1998, pp. 56, 57, ISBN 0-7615-1466-X
  5. ^ "Gaming Gossip". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 86. Ziff Davis. September 1996. p. 34.
  6. ^ Major Mike (August 1997). "Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero". GamePro. No. 107. IDG. pp. 32–34.
  7. ^ "Behind the scenes". Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero official website (archive). Archived from the original on 1998-12-01. Retrieved 2009-02-02.
  8. ^ "Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub Zero Review Review". Retrieved June 29, 2013.
  9. ^ a b Gerstmann, Jeff (October 1, 1997). "Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub Zero Review Review". Retrieved June 29, 2013.
  10. ^ a b Gerstmann, Jeff (February 3, 1998). "Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub Zero Review Review". Retrieved June 29, 2013.
  11. ^ a b "Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub Zero". 1 October 1997. Retrieved 25 September 2012.
  12. ^ a b "GamePro - Issue 111 Volume 09 Number 12 (1997-12)(IDG Publishing)(US)". 1 December 1997 – via Internet Archive.
  13. ^ a b "GamePro Issue 103 February 1998" – via Internet Archive.
  14. ^ a b "Gamefan Volume 6 Issue 02 February 1998". 1 February 1998 – via Internet Archive.
  15. ^ a b "Next Generation 38 Feb 1998". 1 February 1998 – via Internet Archive.
  16. ^ a b "Le site des anciennes revues informatiques -".
  17. ^ "Nintendo Accion 064" – via Internet Archive.
  18. ^ a b "Superjuegos 068 (faltan 2 hojas 0finales)" – via Internet Archive.
  19. ^ "Hobby Consolas 076". 1 January 1998 – via Internet Archive.
  20. ^ "PSX Magazine 14" – via Internet Archive.
  21. ^ "Le site des anciennes revues informatiques -".
  22. ^ a b c "File:AcaoGames BR 122.pdf - Retro CDN".
  23. ^ a b
  24. ^ "Replay – Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero".
  25. ^ Hatfield, Daemon (March 29, 2011). "The Best (And Worst) Mortal Kombat Games".
  26. ^ Hatfield, Daemon (May 5, 2011). "The History of Mortal Kombat".
  27. ^ Fahs, Travis (May 4, 2011). "The Worst Cutscenes In Gaming History". Archived from the original on 2011-05-09.
  28. ^ Reparaz, Mikel (April 13, 2011). "The evolution of Scorpion and Sub-Zero". GamesRadar.