Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero is a game from the Mortal Kombat fighting game series. It is a platform game, first released in 1997, that came out for the PlayStation and Nintendo 64. It featured the original Sub-Zero in an adventure to defeat Quan Chi from retrieving an amulet that would free the fallen Elder God Shinnok.

Although released five years after the first Mortal Kombat game, the storyline in Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero dates back furthest chronologically, even before the first game. This was done to further expand and retcon elements on the existing storyline, especially concerning Quan Chi, Sub-Zero, Scorpion, Shinnok, and the Lin Kuei.

Storyline Edit

Thousands of years ago, Shinnok existed as an Elder God. The Elder Gods are the true rulers of all realms. They watch as worlds are created and destroyed and govern the realms with untold eons of wisdom. Shinnok, however, gave in to greed and illusions of absolute power through the new realm of Earth. If he could have that realm to himself, he would have power unmatched. To accomplish his goal, he first would have to face the god of thunder known as Raiden, who was appointed as Earth's guardian by the Elder Gods themselves. Their battle for the realm of Earth was fierce; causing the planet's near destruction and plunging it into centuries of darkness.

Raiden soon discovered that Shinnok had gained access the realm through the powers of a mystical amulet, which permitted the user to enter without challenge and keep the other Elder Gods from intervening. The amulet could only be created once, and Raiden relieved it from the fallen deity's possession. With the aid of the Elder Gods, he banished Shinnok into a dark place known as the Netherealm. The thunder god buried the amulet deep within the Himalayan Mountains of Nepal, and created a massive temple within the mountain to house the amulet, appointing four guardians as its protectors. Each guardian represented one of the four elements that made up the realm: wind, earth, water, and fire. As long as the amulet remained on Earth, Shinnok would be trapped and remain dormant for eternity.

Over the millennia, the Netherealm had many rulers. Most of them were forged within its fiery pits, eventually ripping their masters mercilessly from their thrones. One, however, came not from the bowels of the Netherealm, but from the heavens of reality. He was the fallen Elder God known as Shinnok. Upon entering the realm, Shinnok found himself immediately under attack by its soon-to-be dethroned ruler Lucifer. He would exist tortured and tormented for thousands of years, until he met Quan Chi.

Quan Chi is a free roaming sorcerer, having the ability to travel the various planes of reality without detection from their gods. It also meant that over the years, he had obtained great power. Aware of Shinnok's dilemma, Quan Chi traveled to the Netherealm and made the fallen god an offer. He would free him from his confines and assist him in defeating Lucifer and his minions, in exchange for power and the ability to rule at his side if and when he escaped the Netherealm entirely. Shinnok agreed, and the two waged a war in the Netherealm that lasted for centuries, but the ex-Elder God eventually won as he viciously slew his tormentor. Then he took his seat as the new ruler with supreme control of the dead realm. Shinnok, however, found he had nothing to rule. The realm was a desolate wasteland of fire and brimstone inhabited by grotesque demons. So, he decided to create a physical world, trying his best to emulate the realm he wanted so badly, Earth. He took the demons of his realm and transformed them into as human a form as possible. But unlike the Outworld, which became a wasteland after Shao Kahn sapped its energies, the Netherealm never was a living planet. It always had existed as a dead realm, infinite in size. Its true form would now be hidden by its ruler.

It was through the Mortal Kombat tournament that the Outworld's soul-stealing sorcerer Shang Tsung discovered the location of the sacred Map of Elements, which could bring him to the sacred amulet. After Goro, the reigning Outworld champion, defeated the first Kung Lao over 400 years ago, Shang Tsung stole the human's soul. He retained his thoughts and memories, thus discovering the secrets of the sacred map, which has been hidden within the Shaolin Temple for centuries. These events enabled Shang Tsung to strike a bargain with Quan Chi.

In exchange for Shinnok's assistance in a plot to reincarnate the Outworld Emperor Shao Kahn's dead queen, Sindel, Shang Tsung would reveal to Quan Chi the location of the map that would lead to Shinnok's sacred amulet. However, Shang Tsung failed to inform Quan Chi of the elemental guards that protect the amulet. Their mere existence made it impossible for Quan Chi to enter the temple where the amulet rested. But, if he could get a human to enter, the right human, one who could perhaps defeat the elements, then he could achieve his goal.

Search for Shinnok's amuletEdit

One of the most lasting rivalries in the Mortal Kombat series has existed between Sub-Zero and Scorpion. They were enemies in the first Mortal Kombat tournament in 1992, and Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero further explains the hatred between these two characters.

Quan Chi would need use a gifted human to find the amulet. That human was Lin Kuei warrior Sub-Zero, the eldest of two brothers, both of whom had the ability to freeze. Quan Chi hires Sub-Zero and the Lin Kuei, and Sub-Zero is sent to find the map leading to its location. He did not know that Quan Chi had hired a Japanese ninja from the rival Shirai Ryu clan, Hanzo Hasashi, code-named Scorpion, for the same task in case Sub-Zero failed. Hasashi and Sub-Zero encounter each other, and Sub-Zero kills him in cold blood. After Sub-Zero delivers the map, Quan Chi makes good on a promise to the Lin Kuei; the rival clan, the Shirai Ryu, was wiped out by Quan Chi himself; every remnant of the clan destroyed. This results in Scorpion's everlasting hatred of Sub-Zero, as later on, he would come to believe that Sub-Zero is directly responsible for the destruction of the Shirai Ryu, as well as his family.

After Sub-Zero retrieves the map, he is hired again for another mission. This time, he is to follow the directions on the map to a hidden Temple of the Elements, wherein an amulet is kept. Defeating the four elemental god-guardians in the temple, one of whom was Fujin, Sub-Zero finds the amulet. Quan Chi claims it, revealing that it is actually Shinnok's amulet, capable of freeing its former owner from the Netherealm and allowing him to take over all realms. Raiden, who had placed the amulet in the temple in the first place to protect it from the likes of Quan Chi, appears and tells Sub-Zero to rectify his mistake, and retrieve the amulet. Sub-Zero reluctantly agrees, and is transported to the Netherealm. There, he is captured by the Brothers of the Shadow and locked in the Prison of Souls, where he realises that he's not alone in his cell. He sees his rival Scorpion once more, who confronts him about destroying his clan and killing his family, and attempts to have his revenge. Though his attempt to kill Sub-Zero is unsuccessful, it sets up his return in the first Mortal Kombat game.

Sub-Zero escapes from the Prison of Souls, and crosses the Bridge of Immortality to reach Quan Chi's fortress, where he fights against Quan Chi's personal guards, Kia, Jataaka, and Sareena. Once he defeats them all, he tracks down Quan Chi, and, surprisingly, with the aid of Sareena, whose life he had spared, defeats him. She reveals that she wants to go to Earthrealm with him, but she is suddenly blasted by Shinnok himself, and her essence is sent back to the 5th plane of the Netherealm. Sub-Zero manages to steal the amulet back from Shinnok and then escapes to Earth via Raiden's portal. It is later revealed that Quan Chi had never given the amulet to Shinnok; instead, he had crafted a fake and kept the original for himself. This is crucial to the events of Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance in the years to come.

At one point Quan Chi tells Sub-Zero that only evil beings can enter the Netherealm, meaning Sub-Zero must be evil to even be there; Raiden confirms this, and says that only Sub-Zero himself can change this. This leads up to Sub-Zero's rebirth as Noob Saibot in the Netherealm upon his defeat in the Mortal Kombat tournament.


  • Sub-Zero
  • Scorpion
  • Raiden
  • Quan Chi
  • Shinnok
  • Wind God (Fujin)
  • Earth God
  • Water God
  • Fire God
  • Jataaka
  • Kia
  • Sareena


Although the game had a rather interesting notion and storyline, MKM: SZ was not well-received by both critics and gamers. The graphics, although fluid on their own right, were considered outdated; it was released only a few months before the polygon-filled Mortal Kombat 4 hit arcades. (The PlayStation version included a teaser trailer of MK4 as well.) The story was seen as very complicated and difficult to follow in comparison with the previous games, and also suffered from sluggish gameplay, inadequate for a platform game. It would be Midway's only attempt to create a Mortal Kombat platform game until Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks some eight years later. This game is generally regarded as one of the least favorite games in the series, though it was not as poorly received as Mortal Kombat: Special Forces.

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