Let the haters say what they want. Mortal Kombat is one of the great fighting franchises ever created. People will nitpick about how Street Fighter is a more balanced game and that other games have a more intricate counter system, but Mortal Kombat is about fun. MK is about gore and fatalities and ridiculously imaginative characters (and others that aren't so imaginative). To honor MK's achievements in character creation, we're honoring the top ten Mortal Kombatants that we've adored for years.
Baraka did the whole "Barack" thing before it was even cool, and for that we've got to give him some props. When we were teens, Baraka seemed like the ultimate character for Shao Khan's armies. He's monstrous-looking, and the dude's got giant blades protruding from his forearms. I'm sorry, but there's just nothing not cool about that. Baraka was never utilized to his full potential, but this latest Mortal Kombat installment, combined with the awesome Mortal Kombat short film that leaked last year, shows that Baraka is finally getting the love he deserves.
This wasn't exactly a unique character for the Mortal Kombat series since there are a couple others that are nearly identical, but we love Cyrax the best. He first appeared in Mortal Kombat 3 and quickly became one of my personal favorite characters right away. He's just so versatile. Nets may not sound like a particularly menacing weapon, but they're just as nasty as Sub-Zero's freezing attacks. The dude's got bombs too. And, oh yeah, he can teleport. Nobody in the MK universe can match up to that list of awesome abilities. He may not have the notoriety of Scorpion or Sub-Zero, but he's no less capable.
When he first appeared in Mortal Kombat 2, Jax wasn't exactly anything special. He was basically just another special forces operative, not unlike Sonya. However, after he gets his arms fitted with bionics in Mortal Kombat 3, he becomes one of the most awesome characters in the MK roster. (In the new Mortal Kombat the story is different. Jax has his arms telekinetically ripped off by Ermac, and has them replaced with metal limbs.) He's a perfect illustration of the boundless imagination of the Mortal Kombat team. They don't just settle for a character with a different fighting style, they make completely unique fighters from the ground up.
Sonya was the embodiment of everything that made up 90s video gaming. At first she was the "ugh, we've got to make a female character" choice for Midway Games, but she soon grew into a full-fledged character. You can look at Sonya's design and see that the developers wanted her to be strong and yet feminine at the same time. Unfortunately, she ended up an enormous cliché, but we loved her anyway. The badass army chick was all the rage back in the 1990s, but now she's part of a dwindling number of female characters that really kick ass.
Reptile was another big step outside of the box for the Mortal Kombat designers. Though his character design sounds like something a twelve-year-old thinks up during a boring geography lecture. He's a humanoid of the "Raptor" race of reptilian creatures. He first appeared as a boss character in the first Mortal Kombat, but was often playable in many of the other games, and has since become a series staple. Reptile is the result of the intriguing thought-experiment: "What would happen if we combined our most popular character (Scorpion) with a dinosaur?". I'm absolutely positive that mild narcotics were involved.