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Mortal Kombat character
Motaro MKT.png
Motaro character sketch for Mortal Kombat Trilogy (1996), by John Tobias
First gameMortal Kombat 3 (1995)
Created byJohn Tobias
Portrayed byStop-motion (MK3/UMK3/MKT)
Deron McBee (Annihilation)
Fighting stylesHorse (MKA)

Motaro is a fictional character in the Mortal Kombat fighting game series. He made his first appearance as a sub-boss character in Mortal Kombat 3, where he has the legs of a horse and the torso of a man. In Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, Motaro has become a bipedal humanoid. He has been a playable character since Mortal Kombat Trilogy.


In video games[edit]

Motaro is from a race the Centaurians (a race of centaur-like creatures with ram-like horns and a long metallic rat-like tail). Motaro's kind have come into conflict with the Shokan, a four-armeded race to which Goro, Kintaro and Sheeva belong, as Kahn favors the Centaurians and aids them in the defeat and subjugation of the Shokan race. As a Centaurian, Motaro possesses a great strength as well as a razor-sharp tail that fires energy blasts from its tip, and the power of teleportation. He also has an absolute immunity to projectile attacks, as Motaro's skin appears to have some sort of reflective surface that automatically repels long range attacks to the point of sending them right back at opponents.

In Mortal Kombat 3, Kahn appoints Motaro to head extermination squads dispatched to Earthrealm to vanquish Earth's chosen warriors. When Sonya Blade defeats Kano, throwing him from a skyscraper to the streets below, Motaro recovers the severely injured Kano and brings him back to Shao Kahn's fortress, where Kano is first revived and then imprisoned so he could later be punished by Kahn for failing to defeat Sonya. It is at this point that Motaro was assaulted and supposedly mortally wounded by Sheeva.

Motaro makes a cameo appearance in the "Konquest" mode of Mortal Kombat: Deception. He returns in Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, but since then the Centaurians have been put under a curse by the Shokan, turning him and the rest of his race into bipedal Minotaurs; the curse has also relieved him of his most powerful abilities, his skin no longer possessing reflective properties. Ultimately, as with nearly every character of the franchise, Motaro is killed at the end of Armageddon.

In the 2011 reboot, Motaro is killed during the invasion by Raiden, who foresaw Johnny Cage's death at Motaro's hands. Kahn then replaced him with Sindel.


Ed Boon called Motaro one of the "oddest shaped" Mortal Kombat characters.[1] John Tobias said that his creation of Motaro was inspired by a toy he had when he was a kid. The toy in question, the Micronauts antagonist Baron Karza, came with a horse named Andromeda that, when disassembled and combined with the figure, created a centaur-like creature.[2]

As described in his Armageddon bio card, the developers were faced with the decision (prompted by fan demand to include him),[3] of not including Motaro in the game or removing his hind legs due to the difficulty of compensating for his unique half-horse body shape. They decided to remove the hind legs with the explanation that a curse was placed on his race.[4] Reportedly, Motaro's centaur body structure was the main problem, as the MK team would need much more extensive programming and testing to successfully integrate Motaro's four-legged frame into interacting properly with knock-downs, throws, and Fatalities and Death Traps that required limbs to be torn or cut off or Motaro to be impaled. This was joked about in his ending, as a reference to the creators taking his hind legs away was made. Similar to Sheeva, Motaro bleeds green blood instead of red blood in the Mortal Kombat 3 and its updates (in Armageddon, his blood's color was changed to a common red).


As a sub-boss in Mortal Kombat 3, Motaro is invincible to projectiles, most of which bounce back at the player and often result in an accidental free hit. He also teleports frequently, often grabbing his opponents, whether from behind or after blocking their jump kicks. He can also shoot up to eight fireballs at a time. In Mortal Kombat Trilogy, his ability to reflect projectiles is greatly lessened, and would suffer damage if hit at point-blank range. In Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, he has lost his immunity altogether and can be attacked with projectiles like most other characters. To compensate for the change of his body structure, however, Motaro can assume an all-fours stance, which allows him to use certain moves such as his projectile, which is fired from his tail.

Both Motaro and Shao Kahn are playable in the SNES and Sega Genesis versions of Mortal Kombat 3 and Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 via a secret code menu, though they remain unselectable in single player mode. He is also playable in Mortal Kombat Trilogy. Motaro's single Fatality, only seen in the Nintendo 64 version of Mortal Kombat Trilogy, is simply his grabbing pose with the opponent's head being ripped off in the process. His sprite also fades to darkness with the background when this Fatality is performed, unlike other normal fighters who remain fully lit.

Motaro is unplayable in Mortal Kombat: Deception, only appearing in a non-fight encounter in the Konqest mode and on a background of one stage in Mortal Kombat: Unchained, a PSP port of Deception. In Mortal Kombat (2011), Motaro similarly only appears as a background character in some stages and in a few cutscenes in the game's Story Mode, being the only character introduced between the first game and Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 not to be selectable or fought in any form.

In other media[edit]

Motaro appears in the 1997 film Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, played by former American Gladiators star Deron McBee. His rivalry with Sheeva was briefly touched upon and he is defeated by Jax at the end of the film. There was also another fight scene featuring Motaro that was not included in the film.[5]

Motaro made appearances in the 1996 animated series Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm. He and his Centaurian warriors were present at the castle in which Rain held Kitana hostage, and was later seen in the series finale during Kitana's unsuccessful plot to overthrow Shao Kahn; after having been warned by Raiden, Motaro appears to fight the treacherous Shang Tsung and the Shokans led by Sheeva. His voice actor was uncredited.


The character has received a mixed critical reception. In 2011, ScrewAttack rated the bipedal version of Motaro from Armageddon as the worst-ever Mortal Kombat character,[6] That same year, he was ranked as the fifth-goofiest Mortal Kombat character by Topless Robot, who added that "his silliness is mostly to do with how ridiculously overpowered he is" in Mortal Kombat 3.[7] The Robot's Pajamas placed Motaro third on their top 10 lamest characters in the series. Motaro placed 31st in UGO's 2012 ranking of the top fifty Mortal Kombat characters, noting his being a tough sub-boss to beat.[8] In 2013, Complex ranked the fight against Motaro in Mortal Kombat 3 as the 31st-hardest boss battle in video games,[9] and Motaro himself as the tenth-most brutal fighter in the series.[10] Fans ranked him the 39th-best character in the series in a 2013 online poll hosted by Dorkly.[11] Den of Geek ranked Motaro 42nd in their 2015 rating of the franchise's 64 playable characters. ScrewAttack rated his "Head Yoink" Fatality from MK Trilogy as the third-worst in the series,[12] and Game Rant ranked it fifth out of the ten worst MK finishers in 2011.[13] WhatCulture, in 2015, ranked Motaro 20th in their selection of the series' twenty worst characters. "Motaro is rubbish for many reasons, but mostly because of his awful portrayal in Mortal Kombat: Annihilation."[14]


  1. ^ Mortal Kombat: Armageddon Xbox Gameplay - Ouch. IGN. 2006-07-27. Event occurs at 0:48. Retrieved 2010-04-04.
  2. ^ Official Mortal Kombat 3 Kollector's Book by EGM (1995)
  3. ^ "#MortalKombat presents: Fight Night 2006!". Retrieved 2013-06-28.
  4. ^ Motaro's Bio Card. Mortal Kombat: Armageddon Premium Edition Bonus Disc, Midway Games, 2006.
  5. ^ tabmok99, Q&A Session with the Cast of Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, retrieved 2018-12-23.
  6. ^ "ScrewAttack's Top Ten Video - Top 10: Worst Mortal Kombat Kharacters". ScrewAttack's Top 10. GameTrailers. 2011-04-30. Retrieved June 28, 2013.
  7. ^ "8 Mortal Kombat Characters That Are Goofy Even by Mortal Kombat Standards". Topless Robot. 2011-04-14. Retrieved 2012-01-07.
  8. ^ UGO Team (2012-02-28). "Motaro - Top 50 Mortal Kombat Characters". Archived from the original on 2014-04-22. Retrieved 2013-06-28.
  9. ^ Elijah Watson, The 50 Hardest Video Game Bosses (And How To Beat Them),, July 1, 2013.
  10. ^ Hanuman Welch, The Most Brutal Fighters In "Mortal Kombat",, July 21, 2013.
  11. ^ "The Greatest Mortal Kombat Character of All-Time". Dorkly. 2013. Retrieved April 20, 2014.
  12. ^ "Top 10 Worst Mortal Kombat Fatalities". ScrewAttack's Top 10. Archived from the original on February 22, 2014. Retrieved June 28, 2013.
  13. ^ Smillie, C.J. (April 19, 2011). "Top Ten Worst Mortal Kombat Fatalities". Game Rant. Retrieved April 20, 2014.
  14. ^ Pring, Joe (April 18, 2015). "The 20 Worst Mortal Kombat Characters of All Time". Retrieved April 29, 2015.