Mortal Kombat has led the gaming industry’s fighting genre for more than three decades with its extreme violence and diverse character roster. The original Mortal Kombat only had seven playable characters, with only one of them being a female fighter. A lot has changed since ’92, and over the course of more than a dozen mainline games, there have been over 75 fighters with a growing roster of wonderful women warriors.
These dozens of female fighters have progressively shown that they’re just as capable as any male Mortal Kombat combatant, but they still don’t always get their due. In honor of Mortal Kombat 1‘s bold and creative franchise reboot, it’s now the perfect time to analyze Mortal Kombat‘s best female characters.
10 Cassie Cage
Mortal Kombat X embraces the franchise’s extensive history and decides to introduce the children of some of its classic characters, such as Cassie Cage and Jacqui Briggs. Cassie Cage is the daughter of Sonya Blade and Johnny Cage, two original fighters, and she expertly reflects both of their extreme personalities.
Cassie Cage possesses her mom’s tactical skills and weapons training while she exudes her father’s inappropriate gallows humor, which frequently comes to the forefront during her darkly comic Fatalities. Cassie Cage is one of the better offspring of legacy characters, but her skills also help her hold her own against Shinnok while others fall.
Mortal Kombat has established some mighty bosses throughout its run, whether they’re Shang Tsung, Shao Kahn, or Shinnok. The franchise continues to go to bigger places in this department, and Mortal Kombat 11‘s greatest threat is Kronika, the first female end boss who is ostensibly responsible for the creation of time and all existence.
Mortal Kombat puts a lot of weight on its Elder Gods, but Kronika puts them all to shame as a Titaness who’s the mother of Shinnok and Cetrion. Kronika isn’t necessarily evil, but the unfathomable power that she holds over life and death means that she’s one of Mortal Kombat‘s most dangerous figures, female or otherwise.
Mortal Kombat‘s Lin Kuei crew represents a crucial part of the franchise’s lore, and Frost stands out as their first female warrior. Frost makes her debut in Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance as Sub-Zero’s apprentice, only for her to slowly gain prominence in Mortal Kombat: Armageddon and beyond.
Frost steps out of Sub-Zero’s shadow and learns how to do the Lin Kuei proud. In the grander scheme, Frost and Sub-Zero serve the same purpose and utilize comparable move sets. Frost may rank below Sub-Zero, but she’s still an exceptional female assassin whose freezing abilities make for a creative combatant.
Sheeva is a highly memorable Mortal Kombat character who first appears in Mortal Kombat 3, and her biggest selling point is that she’s essentially a playable female version of the first Mortal Kombat‘s Goro. Sheeva is also a member of the Shokan race, and her four arms and brute strength give her an enormous advantage and a difficult move set to counter.
Sheeva’s gone through a lengthy absence in the franchise until her proper return in Mortal Kombat: Armageddon as both a boss and a playable character. Sheeva is one of the most popular DLC additions in Mortal Kombat 11, and it should be interesting to see how she’s used moving forward in Mortal Kombat 1‘s new timeline.
Some of the more recent Mortal Kombat additions are easy to forget, and they’ve struggled to leave their mark on the franchise. D’Vorah has only been in a few games and first appears in Mortal Kombat X, yet she feels like a franchise staple. It’s a bit of a shock that it took Mortal Kombat this long to incorporate an evil insect woman into the mix.
D’Vorah really leans into the horror aspect, and she is responsible for some of the series’ most brutal Fatalities, including “New Species” from Mortal Kombat 11. D’Vorah’s insect control and cutthroat nature are highly memorable, but she’s also played a grander role in the story through her executions of Baraka and Mileena.
Some of Mortal Kombat‘s greatest fighters were originally introduced as unplayable secret characters, which would fuel the fandom with rumors and theories until they’re properly worked into the real roster. Jade can be battled in Mortal Kombat II, but Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 marks her playable debut.
Jade is a female assassin who uses a bo staff and glaive as her signature weapons, and her first appearance gives her a unique immunity to all projectile attacks. Jade is a dutiful soldier in Kitana’s army, which reflects a level of loyalty that’s rare in Mortal Kombat. However, her deadly combat skills and speed also make her a great character who can deliver cumbersome combos.
Sindel is one of the many new female fighters who gets introduced in Mortal Kombat 3, but considering her significant role in the series’ lore, it’s actually surprising that it takes three games for her introduction. Sindel has a lot going for her between her supersonic scream, prehensile tail, and powerful Edenian bloodline.
Beyond physical strength, Sindel has gone through tremendous trauma after Shao Kahn brainwashes her to be his queen and how she later executes the majority of the core cast before their revenant resurrections. Mortal Kombat: Deception really builds upon Sindel’s character in surprising ways that the franchise continues to develop.
3 Sonya Blade
Sonya Blade plays an indispensable role in the larger Mortal Kombat canon, and she’s still regarded as one of the fighting genre’s most inspirational female characters. Sonya Blade enters Mortal Kombat as a powerful human who lacks the fantastical elements of most of the cast, yet she’s continually proven herself over time and even led spinoff games.
It would be easy for Sonya Blade to have disappeared in Mortal Kombat II and never return. However, the fact that she’s found her way back into the series, stronger than ever, is a testament to her popularity and the impact that she’s left on the fighting series.
Mortal Kombat II really makes a statement as a sequel, and one of its biggest innovations is more female characters on the roster. Kitana gets introduced alongside Mileena, but the former is the “original” of the two and subjected to a much more tragic backstory that’s fueled her character to great success.
Kitana recognizes Mileena as her sister and Shao Kahn as her father, but over time, she learns that these are lies that are designed to cover up Kahn’s crimes and his manipulation of this formidable fighter. Many Mortal Kombat characters have unique weapons that help them stand out, and Kitana’s bladed fans are both dangerous and distinct.
Mortal Kombat‘s sole female fighter is Sonya Blade, but she’s conspicuously absent in its sequel (other than a background cameo in Shao Kahn’s stage), with Mileena and Kitana acting as her replacements. Mileena is introduced as Kitana’s villainous clone who ferociously fights with her sai.
However, Mileena has gradually become an independent figure who’s even followed in her father’s footsteps to rule Outworld. Mileena is such an effective character because she may look “normal” at first glance, but her Fatalities reveal the true monster beneath, and anyone who’s seen her unmasked won’t soon forget the chilling sight.
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