Nightwolf, an Apache warrior, was the first Native American character in Mortal Kombat and was introduced in Mortal Kombat 3. Although introduced as a historian and a shaman, he does not live in the past. He is a proud and fierce warrior dedicated to the cause of good, and is in contact with Raiden through visions. As such, he draws both on internal and external spiritual energy to enhance his strength in kombat. Although his patch of tribal land provided a vital shelter territory for the Earthrealm warriors at the time of Shao Kahn's invasion, it seems Nightwolf prefers solitary work to companionship.
He has variously been described as the "quintessential Native American icon" and "a very nontraditional Indian" by the series staff.
Nightwolf had been warned of the coming invasion of Earthrealm by a vision from Raiden. As such, he was fully aware and prepared for the events as they occurred, including the attacks of Kahn's extermination squads. His own homeland protected through shamanic magic, he would soon be joined by the other chosen warriors. Together, they then travelled back to the East Coast, prepared for battle against the Emperor and his minions, and won.
Nightwolf made his return during the events of Mortal Kombat: Deception. In the events leading to Deception, Nightwolf viewed images of the Dragon King and his resurrection in his dreams. These nightmares recurred constantly, and Nightwolf came to recognize them as a warning. He knew that a new evil threat was about to arise from the ashes, and in view of Reptile's transformation into Onaga, his predictions most assuredly came true.
The method that Nightwolf would use to destroy Onaga was one passed down to him by his forefathers. This method was that of the "Sin Eater", which involved absorbing the sins of his tribe. However there was a terrible consequence to be considered in taking on such a role. If he were to do this, he would be a danger to all that surrounded him, including his allies. Hence, he made the decision to destroy Onaga on his own, keeping his allies out of harm's way. His role as a Sin Eater would involve entering the Netherealm, drawing Onaga's soul to him, and releasing the absorbed sins of his ancestors, which would bind Onaga to the spot.
His method was successful and he managed to separate Reptile from Onaga, and bind the Dragon King to the Netherealm.
After completing his quest, he was guided back to Earthrealm by his spirit guides - a pack of wolves. Nightwolf began to receive visions of a battle, where an unknown power was forcing the participating warriors to fight each other. His visions started to become reality, when he spoke with Johnny Cage and their allies, and agreed to assist them in battle against Shinnok and his forces. Eventually, Nightwolf was met by Kitana and the spirit of Liu Kang. The bond that the two of them shared was enough for Kitana to keep Kang's spirit whole, until a way was found for him to rejoin with his body. Still drained after using his shamanic powers on Onaga, Nightwolf used what magic he could to relieve Kitana of her burden, and took on the responsibility of looking after Kang's spirit.
In his Armageddon ending, he defeats Blaze, allowing him to absorb his power. Nightwolf is catapulted into the spirit world, where he becomes the ultimate shaman, a living ghost. He finds Liu Kang's spirit and guides it back to the physical world. There, Liu Kang is able to reunite with his body, becoming human once more.
- Mortal Kombat 3: "Works as a historian and preserver of his people's culture. When Kahn's portal opens over North America, Nightwolf uses the magics of his shamen to protect the tribe's sacred land. This area becomes a vital threat to Kahn's occupation of the Earth."
- Deception: "As the shamen of my tribe, my connection with the supernatural has been interrupted by visions of a dark presence. To confront this foe, I have assumed the role of Sin-Eater to absorb the sins of my tribesmen. I must embrace this corruption, though I will eventually become a threat to those I care for. It is a neccesary evil if I am to save the realms. The Sin-Eater ritual has corrupted my soul and will therefore allow me to enter the Netherrealm. There I will implement my plans to defeat Onaga. The sins I have absorbed have poisoned my temperament, however, and I have forced myself into exile until my task is complete in the depths of Hell."
- Bio Kard: "Nightwolf has foreseen the coming of the Dragon King in his dreams. To defeat this new menace, he must corrupt his own soul and enter the Netherrealm. The process will alter his temperament and make him a danger to even his allies. He must travel alone if he is to succeed."
- Armageddon: " After imprisoning Onaga's corrupt soul, I was released from the Netherrealm. I passed through the spirit world before emerging in Earthrealm, surrounded by a pack of wolves, my spirit guides. I had only faint memories of that brief journey... or did it last an eternity? The Ancients spoke to me of a coming storm that would pit the warriors of the realms against each other in an epic battle. But most disturbing of all was a warning that a hidden evil was manipulating these warriors, forcing them to participate. My visions were seemingly made real when, at a gathering of the Forces of Light, Johnny Cage revealed that Shinnok had returned, and that the fallen Elder God was assembling the Forces of Darkness once more. I agreed to help Johnny Cage and join his fight. At the summit, Kitana approached me. I was amazed to find that she was accompanied by the spirit of Liu Kang. The bond between them was strong; thus she was able to keep his energies intact until a way to reunite his body and soul could be found. There was not much I could do to help until I achieved a much higher level of shamanic power. I transferred the bond from Kitana to myself and accepted my role as Liu Kang's new spiritual anchor. Perhaps this unknown power sought by the Forces of Darkness could be the key to helping Liu Kang find peace."
Being the shaman he is, Nightwolf is absolutely in tune with all things spiritual. He is able to manifest a bow and arrows created from spirit energy and wields tomahawks which he empowers with an ethereal green flame to take on his opponents at close range and is able to completely purify a being of their sins. Fitting for his name, Nightwolf also has a close relationship with wolves and is able to communicate with them. In Mortal Kombat Annihilation, he is able to assume the shape of a wolf.
In Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm, Nightwolf is shown to be rather quite tech-savvy, serving as the group's technician. He is accompanied by a pet female wolf named Kiva, whom he bonds with to transform into his familiar appearance and utilize his shaman powers.
In Mortal Kombat: Deception, it is mentioned that Nightwolf is a Sin Eater, able to completely absorb evil energies whilst retaining his psyche. Primarily, he utilizes the sins of his ancestors and for this purpose, can weigh down any being regardless of their powers, to bowels of the Netherrealm, which he uses to bind Onaga.
- Tomahawk Swing: Nightwolf uppercuts his opponent with a tomahawk. (MK3, UMK3, MKT)
- Reflector: Nightwolf glows green and redirects projectile moves back at his opponent. (MK3, UMK3, MKT, MK:D, MK:A)
- Spirit Arrow: Creating a mystical bow, Nightwolf shoots an arrow at his opponent. (MK3, UMK3, MKT, MK:D, MK:A)
- Rhino Charge: Nightwolf dashes forward and knocks his opponent backwards. (MK3, UMK3, MKT, MK:D, MK:A)
- Lightning From Above: Nightwolf raises his arm and summons a bolt of lightning that knocks his opponent back. (MKD, MKA)
- Spiritual Teleport: Nightwolf opens a portal on his opponent which teleports him/her away. (MK3, UMK3, MKT)
- Lightning Summon: Nightwolf summons lightning to his axe and electrocutes his opponent to death. (MK3, UMK3, MKT)
- Axe, Meet Head: Nightwolf throws a tomahawk at the opponent's face, killing him/her. (MK:D)
- Tomahawk Decap: Nightwolf decapitates his opponent using his tomahawk, sending the severed head in the air. Nightwolf then catches it and holds it up high. (MK:D)
- Friendship: Nightwolf transforms into Raiden and a Mortal Kombat arcade machine falls down next to him. A message appears that says "No, but I can do a Raiden transformation," or "I've never seen a Kano transformation." In the Nintendo 64 version of Trilogy, he instead juggles tomahawks. (MK3, UMK3, MKT)
- Animality: Nightwolf transforms into a wolf and bites his opponents several times. (MK3, UMK3, MKT)
- Hara-Kiri: Nightwolf throws a tomahawk into the air, which comes back down onto Nightwolf's heart. (MK:D)
- Mortal Kombat 3:(Non-Canonical) "Nightwolf helps the other Earth warriors escape to his sacred land. Once there, they regroup and form a plan of attack against Shao Kahn's invasion. Nightwolf has trained hard for this battle: Finally, he faces Shao Kahn and emerges victorious. When the Earth returns to its normal state, Nightwolf peacefully regains the land his Native American people lost over many years. They establish their own proud nation and soon become the great leaders of Earth."
- Deception: "Nightwolf had traversed realms and fought many demons to get to this place deep within the Netherrealm. Using knowledge passed to him from his forefathers, he drew a binding symbol on the ground and chanted the ancient words that would draw the spirit of the Dragon King to this wicked place. Nightwolf had carried the burden long enough. He released the sins of his people into the mystic symbol, and their weight bound Onaga to the Netherrealm. Free of the corruption he had harbored for so long, Nightwolf was expelled from the depths of the Netherrealm and into the unknown."
- Armageddon:(Non-Canonical) "The power Nightwolf received from Blaze carried him to the spirit world, an existence between realms from which shamanic power originates. He became a living ghost -- the ultimate shaman! Nightwolf found his ally Liu Kang lost in the spirit energy and guided him back to the physical world. Nightwolf then reunited Liu Kang with his body."
- Joined the earth to fight Shao Kahn and his minions.
- Had a vision of Onaga returning.
- Sent Onaga's soul to the Netherrealm after Deception.
- Aided Liu Kang and Kitana in restoring Liu Kang's body and soul.
- Joined the forces of light in the final battle in Armageddon.