Reptile (Mortal Kombat)
|Mortal Kombat character|
Reptile in Mortal Kombat X (2015)
|First game||Mortal Kombat (1992)|
|Created by||Ed Boon|
|Designed by||John Tobias (early games)
Steve Beran (MK:D)
Mark Lappin (MK:SM, MK:A)
Atomhawk Design (MK2011)
Ha Nguyen (film)
Beverly Safier (Konquest)
Christine Cover-Ferro &
Christien Tinsley (Rebirth)
|Voiced by||Dan Forden (MK4-MKA)
Marz Timms (MK2011)
Steven Blum (MKX)
|Motion capture||Chris Mathews (MK2011)|
|Portrayed by||Daniel Pesina (MK, MKII)
John Turk (UMK3/MKT)
Keith Cooke (film)
Jon Valera (Konquest)
Richard Dorton (MK Rebirth)
|Fighting styles||Hung Gar, Crab (MK:DA)
Pào Chuí (MK:A)
Syzoth, more commonly referred to as Reptile, is a video game character from the Mortal Kombat fighting game franchise created for Midway Games by Ed Boon and John Tobias. He debuted in Mortal Kombat as a hidden boss and appeared in subsequent titles as a playable character, also appearing in the merchandise and other media related to the series.
Reptile is a Raptor, a nearly-extinct bipedal humanoid race of reptilian creatures and loyally serves the series' recurring villain Shao Kahn in hope that his race will be revived. Reptile has been featured in almost every title in the series under the same pretenses, and until the 2011 reboot, he had yet to be rewarded for his efforts. Critical reception to the character has been positive, with many print and online publications commenting on his evolution since his debut as a hidden character.
Conception and history
Included in the first game late in the development process, Reptile's character concept was conceived while Boon was driving back to work from lunch. Noting the success of utilizing a palette swap method for Scorpion and Sub-Zero's character sprites, he and Tobias decided to include a "super secret hidden feature" in Mortal Kombat, choosing Reptile's green color as a contrast to Scorpion's original yellow and Sub-Zero's blue colors. Developed with the premise of being "a cooler version of Scorpion", the character's concept was completed in a single evening. Reptile's inclusion was intended as a marketing tool for the arcade game: as extreme conditions must be met to encounter Reptile, the designers hoped to rely on word of mouth to spread rumors of the character's existence. However, the character was not included in the title until version 3.0 of the game.
Reptile's appearance caused fans to speculate that he could be unlocked and used as a controllable character. Boon noted in a later interview that due to the popularity of the rumors surrounding the character, they decided to include Reptile in subsequent installments of the series as a playable fighter.
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Reptile was originally depicted as a tall, muscular, light-skinned humanoid. Due to his origin as a palette swap of Scorpion and Sub-Zero, his attire was identical to theirs only colored in green. His clothing consists of pants and boots covering his lower body, along with a black sleeveless shirt and open hood. Green light armor covered his forearms and lower legs, while an open V-shaped green vest protected his torso, extending to a matching small fauld and loincloth. He wears a green facial mask as part of his ninja disguise to conceal his true reptilian nature, however he does remove the mask in-game for his Acid Spit attack or his tongue grab fatality. Reptile stands 6 feet (183 cm) tall, and speaks in a hissing tone.
In Mortal Kombat 4, Reptile's appearance became more reptilian, with his head completely uncovered. His hands became clawed, while his feet were now three-toed talons. By Deadly Alliance, Reptile had developed a full reptilian head and tail, with gold and black armor to cover his legs, elbows, shoulders, and belt. Bone spurs extended from the base of his skull down his spine, ending at the tip of his tail, while a similar spur extended from his heel on each foot. Ed Boon described the changes to Reptile's design over the course of the two games as hinting at him "evolving into a bigger character", and foreshadowing Onaga controlling his body in Deception.
Reptile's appearance in Shaolin Monks used an amalgam of his three previous designs, intended by character designer Mark Lappin to portray a classic yet fresh feel for the character. The design incorporated the appearance of his body from Mortal Kombat 4, his clothing from the original Mortal Kombat, and the look of his feet, hands, and armor from Deadly Alliance. In addition, black strips of cloth wrapped around his forearms, hands, and head, leaving his eyes and mouth exposed. The design was later reused as his primary outfit in Armageddon, with his appearance from Deadly Alliance serving as his secondary outfit.
In video games
In the original Mortal Kombat, Reptile is a mysterious hidden enemy character, unplayable and with no biography. Hints regarding the conditions of how to unlock the fight against him are conveyed by Reptile randomly appearing prior to other matches. Some of these hints include "Look to La Luna," "Perfection is the key," and "Alone is how to find me." To fight Reptile, the player must get a Double Flawless victory in single player mode on the Pit stage and finish the match off with a fatality. There must also be a silhouette flying past the moon, which will occur every sixth game.
In Mortal Kombat II, Reptile returns as a playable character and a member of a reptilian race called Raptors, who were pulled into Outworld and enslaved by Shao Kahn. Promised the revival of his people in turn for his loyalty, Reptile serves Kahn as Shang Tsung's bodyguard. He was chosen to assist Jade in order to kill Kitana during the events of Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, he is defeated and exiled, but reappears in Mortal Kombat 4 as Shinnok's minion. By Deadly Alliance, Reptile returns to Kahn's service. He overhears Shang Tsung plotting to kill Kahn, but en route to warn his master, he meets a female vampire who offers knowledge of his race. Reptile pledges his loyalties to her, though eventually realizes she is merely using him and sets out to kill her. Instead of the vampire he finds Onaga's dragon egg instead, which transforms Reptile into Onaga's avatar, leading to the events of Deception and ending with his defeat at the game's conclusion. Separated from Onaga as a result, Reptile returns in Mortal Kombat: Armageddon. In Konquest mode in Armageddon, he appears in the Red Dragon lair commanding Daegon's dragon Caro to close the portal but refused. Taven battles Reptile in combat and emerges victorious.
Reptile also appears in Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks, appearing in the game's opening sequence and later as a boss. During development, producer Shaun Himmerick noted that Reptile was included in the game because the character was one of Himmerick's favorite in the series. Originally included in NBA Jam Tournament Edition alongside other Mortal Kombat characters as an unlockable player, he was eventually removed from later versions of the game at the request of the NBA.
Reptile reappears in the 2011 Mortal Kombat video game, retelling his role from the first tournaments. Not only as a playable character, but also includes a recreation of the original hidden battle at the bottom of the pit, in his original green ninja alternate outfit. In addition to this, he is seen in cyborg version during a match in the new "Challenge Tower", as he puts on the cyborg costume of a "Unit 5".
In Mortal Kombat X (2015), Reptile follows Kotal Kahn and helps bring about Mileena's removal from the throne.
As a secret character in the first Mortal Kombat, Reptile features a hybrid of Sub-Zero's and Scorpion's attacks, such as the former's freezing projectile and the latter's harpoon. When made a playable character for later installments, his moves were changed completely. His "Forceball" attack creates an energy ball from his hands, while his "Acid Spit" attack produces a higher, faster projectile. Reptile can slide towards the opponent, or turn invisible for a brief period of time or until hit. Later titles in the series modify these moves, such as splitting the Forceball attack into slow and fast variants, or remove moves in favor of different attacks, only to return them in the next installment.
Reptile's Fatalities in Mortal Kombat II consist of revealing his reptilian face in order to devour the opponent's head, or turning invisible and severing the opponent's torso. Later finishing moves expand upon the concept, ranging from regurgitating acid upon the opponent to leaping upon their body and gnawing the flesh from their skulls. In a series retrospective, the Mortal Kombat development team named Reptile's finishers as some of their favorites from the series.
In other media
Reptile appears as a minor character in several of Malibu Comics' Mortal Kombat comic book series released in 1995, debuting in the Goro: Prince of Pain miniseries as a member of a team led by Kitana to find the missing Goro, later appearing in the Battlewave miniseries hypnotizing Sonya Blade into wanting to marry Shao Kahn, and in several one-shots, such as Kitana and Mileena. He also appears in comics published by Midway for Mortal Kombat II and Mortal Kombat 4, based on his role in each title. In the comics, Reptile speaks in the same hissing tone as he does in the games. A paperback novel written by C. Dean Anderson entitled Mortal Kombat: Reptile's World was released in 1996. Written for junior readers, the book described the past of Reptile's fictional race through the eyes of other series characters.
Reptile later appears in the 1995 film Mortal Kombat as a bipedal lizard, camouflaging himself until found by Liu Kang. After being thrown into a statue, Reptile transforms into a human-looking ninja and battles Liu Kang, but is defeated and then crushed after reverting to his original form. Reptile's lizard form was rendered with the use of computer-generated imagery, while the character's human form is portrayed by Keith Cooke, clothed similar to Scorpion and Sub-Zero in the film, but green and with a fanged open mouth imprinted on his face mask. Originally not included in the movie, Reptile was added in response to focus groups being unimpressed with the original fights in the film. Actor Robin Shou (Liu Kang) and director Paul Anderson noted that neither knew what Reptile's lizard form would look like until after filming, making the pre-fight sequence difficult to shoot.
The 1998 television series Mortal Kombat: Konquest features Reptile in his human form, portrayed by Jon Valera. Commander of Shao Kahn's Raptors, he betrays Kahn and forms an alliance with Kreeya to share dominion over Kahn's domain and serve as one of her mates, only to be killed later during an ambush by Shao Kahn's priests. A similar character named Komodai appears in the animated Mortal Kombat series' third episode, leading an attack with other Raptors. Voiced by Josh Blyden, he is defeated and sent back to Outworld.
Reptile featured in director Kevin Tancharoen's 2010 short film Mortal Kombat: Rebirth, a grittier, more realistic take on the MK canon. He was played by Richard Dorton and depicted therein as a cannibalistic criminal who eats his victims' heads after killing them. While not an inhuman ninja, the character suffers from a real-life disease known as Harlequin-type ichthyosis, giving him patchy scale-like skin and eyes that are grown inward. Reptile was the only character from the film who did not carry over into Tancharoen's Mortal Kombat: Legacy web series.
Merchandise and promotion
A Reptile action figure was released by Hasbro as part of a G.I. Joe line of toys, packaged with the series-themed vehicle for the toyline. The figure comes with a katana and grappling hook. Another action figure to promote Shaolin Monks was released in 2006 by Jazwares. Fully posable, it includes an alternate head, detachable tongue and a large-bladed scimitar. He was one of many MK characters depicted on 2.5" x 3.5" collectible magnets released by Ata-Boy Wholesale in 2011. Reptile also featured prominently in the introduction sequence of Mortal Kombat 4, portions of which were used in a television commercial to promote the game.
The character has been well received by critics. GameSpot said that Reptile gives the series "an air of mystery" due to the circumstances behind his first appearance, while CraveOnline listed the battle against him in Mortal Kombat as the fourth greatest event in video gaming. UGO.com ranked him eleventh in their list of top Mortal Kombat characters, stating that his exclusivity as a hidden character in the original game made him an "arcade legend" and set the tone for secrets in future titles in the series, and adding, "future games would feature even more hidden enemies and complicated ways of accessing them, but the first was still the best." He was also fifth in Game Revolution's list of top "old school" Mortal Kombat characters", praised for his introduction in Mortal Kombat and his changes in the sequel. IGN listed him as a character they would like to see as downloadable content for Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, noting "It's just not (a Mortal Kombat) game without a bevy of palette-swapped ninjas...and our vote goes to Reptile," adding that while the character would be a "pain in the ass to fight sometimes", his inclusion would be "a blessing to have on your side." He was also featured in the 2008 MSN article about the ten greatest Easter eggs in gaming. In 2010 UGO, included him on the list of the 25 coolest hidden characters in video gaming. ScrewAttack placed Reptile at ninth place on their list of top ten Mortal Kombat characters, commenting that anyone who got to fight him in the original Mortal Kombat became a local legend and getting to play as him and turn invisible in Mortal Kombat II was "icing on the cake". In UGO Networks' 2012 list of the top Mortal Kombat characters, Reptile placed as sixth, stating that he is the best hidden character in the series. Cheat Code Central included him in the 2012 list of top ten hidden characters in fighting games at number two.
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