Raiden is the eternal God of Thunder and former protector of Earthrealm. After the second defeat of Shinnok, he ascended to the status of Elder God. Being a god, he possesses many supernatural abilities, such as the ability to teleport, control lightning and fly. As a god, he is used to thinking in terms of eternity rather than normal human lifespans, and as such he has a radically different outlook on life.
When Earthrealm was young, Raiden was its protector. He fought the rogue Elder God Shinnok, who wished to rule it, in a war that threatened to destroy Earthrealm itself. One of the casualties of the war was the Saurian civilization (of which Reptile was a member), forcing the remaining survivors to emigrate to another world, which they named Zaterra.
With the aid of the Elder Gods, Raiden managed to defeat Shinnok. Stripping him of his amulet (the source of his Elder God powers), he banished the evil Elder God to the Netherealm, and placed his powerful amulet in a secret location- a Temple of the Elements he constructed in the mountains of Nepal. He assigned four gods to guard the amulet — the gods of Wind (Fujin), Fire, Earth and Water.
When the elder Sub-Zero stole Shinnok's amulet for Quan Chi millions of years later, Raiden appeared before the Lin Kuei warrior, and told him to enter the Netherealm and steal it back, lest Shinnok use it to free himself. Raiden was unable to do it himself, as he would lose all of his powers in the Netherealm. Sub-Zero did as requested, for the time being, removing Shinnok as a threat.
Some time later, Shang Tsung invited Raiden to participate in Mortal Kombat. Aware of the threat posed by this tournament to the future of Earth, Raiden took the form of a human to compete.
One year later, Raiden found that he had no choice but to accept Shang Tsung's offer of Mortal Kombat in Outworld. Knowing full well the treachery of Shang Tsung and brutality of Shao Kahn, he warned the surviving members of the Shaolin tournament and disappeared alone to the Outworld.
After the Earthrealm warriors' victory, Raiden had to scramble to protect his warriors' souls when Shao Kahn reached across the realms and reclaimed his resurrected Queen Sindel. With the safety of his champions ensured, Raiden wished to fight alongside them, but was unable to due to the merger between Earth and Outworld. The Outworld menace now ruled the Earth, and Raiden had no choice but to give up his godhood in order to fight. Following Liu Kang's defeat of Shao Kahn, he reclaimed his status as both a god and Earth's protector.
Raiden and his warriors again entered battle when Shinnok escaped the Netherealm to once more wage war against the gods. Shinnok's attack caught the Elder Gods off-guard and killed many of the gods of Earth. However, this time the war would also be fought by mortals; with Liu Kang uniting Earth's warriors under the banner of the troubled Thunder god, Raiden's Forces of Light emerged successful. Now granted the status of Elder God, he turned over his position as Earthrealm's protector to Fujin.
As an Elder God, Raiden could not interfere when Shang Tsung and Quan Chi killed Liu Kang many years later. Disgusted at his peers for their refusal to intervene, he renounced his position as an Elder, gathering his warriors to stop the Deadly Alliance. This time, disaster struck the heroes. The Earthrealm warriors were all slain in battle with the Tarkatan horde and in a desperate measure, he confronted Shang Tsung and Quan Chi in front of the Soulnado, but was defeated.
He returned to his feet when Onaga, the Dragon King, entered the chamber, and stood beside Tsung and Quan Chi as they attacked Onaga. When he saw that their attacks barely slowed Onaga down, Raiden released his godly essence, the effect of which was a single, massive explosion. It obliterated the Dragon King's tomb, snuffed out the Soulnado, apparently destroyed the Deadly Alliance and Raiden himself, but did not harm Onaga. Raiden's essence soon gathered again in the Earthrealm, where, because his essence was corrupted because of Onaga, he had now became furious with the way Earthrealm's inhabitants had treated their own realm. He became even more enraged when he learned that Shujinko had foolishly unleashed the Dragon King by attaining the Kamidogu of various realms for him. With that, his patience exhausted, Raiden then decided he was going to punish those who placed Earthrealm in harm's way.
Raiden's shift in attitude comes to a head in his Deception game ending. He is seen brutally slaying Shujinko for his error.
Removing Liu Kang's body from its grave, Raiden took it to an underground temple that belonged to an ancient sect of necromancers called the Houan, whom he had destroyed centuries earlier. Binding Kang's body with enchanted shackles the Houan had used to control their revived undead, Raiden spoke the enchantments etched into the temple's walls that revived his former ally, infusing it with a thunderclap of lightning. The corpse of Liu Kang was now the enforcer of Raiden's will, and he sent it on a mission to wreak havoc on those he believed did harm to Earthrealm. This caught the attention of Shinnok, who appeared before Raiden and offered him an alliance. If Raiden were to assist him in whatever he wanted, Shinnok would try to ensure the safety of Earthrealm. Raiden was well aware of Shinnok's deceptive nature, but he accepted the offer in an attempt to secretly uncover Shinnok's plans.
His story is further expanded in the Konquest mode of Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, when Taven encounters him. He informs Taven that he had struck a deal with Shao Kahn, agreeing to let the Emperor of Outworld conquer and rule all other realms, so long as Earthrealm was left alone. In return, Raiden agreed to hunt and eliminate Taven for Kahn, so that he could claim Blaze's godlike power for himself. Raiden confronts Taven as Kahn, Onaga, Shang Tsung, and Quan Chi escape into a portal leading to Edenia. He is unsuccessful however, as he is defeated by Taven, and left unconscious on the ground. Taven, while still being in shock and disbelief at Raiden's actions, leaves and follows the villains through the portal.
According to Raiden's ending in Armageddon, he defeated Blaze and, in his need to protect Earthrealm, released his "fury" upon all of the realms. Raiden destroyed all of the realms so that none could threaten Earthrealm again.
In Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, Raiden serves as the sole leader of the of all combined forces of the kombatants and his rival is Superman. After the final battle, he is the one to send Darkseid to the depths of the Netherrealm. In his ending, exposure from Earth's sunlight drains his godly powers , rendering him as a weak human. He has only one chance to regain his powers and that is through a mysterious amulet (Kryptonite) possesed by Quan Chi. He must now choose to either live with mortality, or serve Quan Chi for eternity.
- Mortal Kombat: "The name Raiden is actually that of a deity know as the Thunder God. It is rumored he received a personal invitation by Shang Tsung himself and took the form of a human to compete in the Tournament."
- Mortal Kombat 2: "Watching events unfold from high above, the thunder god realizes the grim intentions of Shao Kahn. After warning the remaining members of the Shaolin Tournament, Raiden soon disappears. He is believed to have ventured into the Outworld alone."
- Mortal Kombat Trilogy: "As Earth's sworn protector, Raiden finds himself banished in the merger between Earth and Outworld. When the Elder Gods refuse to assist him in aiding the Earth, he is forced to take matters into his own hands. He transforms himself into a mortal warrior to fight alongside his human comrades - this time risking his place in the pantheon of gods and giving up his own immortality."
- Mortal Kombat 4: "The God of Thunder returns to Earth after the defeat of Shao Kahn, but finds a new threat when Shinnok's forces, led by Quan Chi attack the Elder Gods. With the heavens in disarray Raiden exists as one of the last Gods of Earth. He must come to the aid of his elders and put an end to his evil villainous reign of his ancient enemy."
- Deadly Alliance: "The Elder Gods were fully aware of the potential damage the alliance between Quan Chi and Shang Tsung posed to the stability of the realms. Yet even with this foresight they all stood firm on their decision not to interfere. All, that is, except for one - Raiden. The former Thunder God pleaded with his fellow Elder Gods to take action, but they refused. Disgusted, Raiden relinquished his Elder God status and returned to Earth realm to gather support against the coming storm. Raiden returned to Earthrealm to reunite with his comrades and inform them of the impending threat from the Deadly Alliance. Those that accepted his call to arms were instructed to meet him on Shang Tsung's old island fortress, located in the Lost Sea. Once there, Raiden explained in detail the dire situation that faced not only Outworld, but Earthrealm as well. He then Shang Tsung's Nethership from the ocean depths and with it transported them all to a celestial portal known only to sorcerers and deities. They emerged to Outworld ready for battle."
- Deception: "I was well aware of Onaga, the former ruler of Outworld. Shao Kahn had been his advisor until he poisoned the Dragon King and stole Outworld for himself. But Onaga had somehow returned, more powerful than before. His power seemed augmented by a force previously exhibited only by the Elder Gods. Even the might of the Deadly Alliance combined with my own could not defeat him. I did the only thing I could: I released my godlike essence in an attempt to destroy them all. By the time my energies reformed in Earthrealm, I was aware of all that had transpired. I became disgusted with the doings of mortals. It was Shujinko's vanity and desire for glory that had led to the return of the Dragon King. I will no longer allow the will of men to determine the fate of this realm. They will fight for it, or I will destroy them. All will fear the new God of Thunder."
- Bio Kard: "As a last resort against the Dragon King's advance, Raiden sacrificed himslef by releasing his godlike essence, thereby creating an intense etheral blast. The Dragon King was unaffected and continues to threaten the realms."
- Armageddon: "No longer will I entrust the safety of Earthrealm to the free will of mankind. The time has come to take matters into my own hands. Centuries ago I defeated an ancient sect of necromancers, the Houan. Though their members subsequently were scattered to the winds, their ancient underground temple still existed, abandoned and unused for ages. On the stone walls within were etched enchantments that would revive the dead. Strewn about were the enchanted chains of binding the Houan would use to control their undead. I laid the corpse of Liu Kang on a ceremonial altar and bound it with the shackles. Reciting the unholy enchantments, I brought to life the body of my former ally and infused it with a thunderclap of lightning. The corpse of Liu Kang would be no mere zombie; it would serve as my ultimate enforcer. Satisfied, I then set free this abomination to wreak havoc on those who have done harm to Earthrealm. Though I tried to conceal my activities, my use of the dark energies did not go unnoticed. Shinnok appeared before me and proposed an alliance. He would help secure the protection of Earthrealm in return for my aid in some undisclosed plot. I am no fool. I know well the treachery of this former Elder God. I accepted his offer and will complete this task, but only to discover his true objective. Until then, I will use Shinnok to serve my own ends."
- MK vs DCU: "Raiden: God of Thunder, Protector of Earthrealm. Ageless and wise beyond measure, he is the defender who rallies Earthrealm's mortals to fight against the forces of evil. When his brother, Shao Kahn, Emperor of Outworld, finally invaded Earthrealm, only Raiden and his Forces of Light stood between slavery and freedom. As Earthrealm merged with Outworld, Raiden held the line and fought back against the emperor, defeating him and freeing Earthrealm. It seemed that peace was finally achieved, but the battle for Earthrealm had only just begun."
Good, although recently, he has been depicted as an angry and vengeful god who, in his game ending, killed Shujinko for endangering Earthrealm (in others words he's tired of humans putting the world in frequent danger, and he wants Earthrealm to stay safe). Interestingly, his MK1 ending also humorously depicted him inviting other gods to compete in Mortal Kombat, and it resulted in the destruction of Earth (however, this was before his role as a mentor to the heroes had been established).
It's worth noting that in production art unlockable in the "Krypt" in Mortal Kombat: Deception, the new Raiden design used after the revival of Onaga (black and generally darker in appearance than in previous games) is described as belonging to "Dark Raiden." Additionally, during an encounter with Shujinko in Konquest mode, the new "dark" Raiden offers to train him and warns him that he's "not the Thunder God you once knew."
- His conical, straw Chinese coolie (harvester) hat, one of Raiden's most recognizable features.
- Has electricity running across his body in MK, MK4 / Gold, and MK: Deadly Alliance.
- He became notorious for yelling randomly while performing his Torpedo move in MKII. Fans originally believed that he was yelling Japanese phrases. Interestingly, others thought that he was actually speaking English, and thus Raiden's phrases were misinterpreted as "Get back in the car!", "Gimme ma money!", or even "Your mother's from L.A.!" Midway soon revealed that Raiden was merely speaking gibberish and not actual Japanese or English words. This was featured in the VH1 program I Love 1992, when one of the cast thought Raiden said "Santa Monica!" (Raiden was voiced by Midway employee Jon Hey in the first two games.)
- A saya (katana scabbard) appears on one of Raiden's secondary costumes. However, he is never seen using the sword.
- Glowing white, occasionally blue (now red) eyes. (In Mortal Kombat: Conquest he had deep blue eyes).
Powers and abilitiesEdit
Raiden is the god of thunder and lightning, and as such, he is immensely powerful and has complete control over electricity. He usually keeps behind the scenes in the games and rarely fights, although one notable exception was in Deception, where he fought both Quan Chi and Shang Tsung, and was able to hold his own for most of the fight. Using the element of lightning, Raiden can fire torrents of lightning or concentrated blasts. He also has the ability to fly, which he uses to fling himself at an opponent and shove them into a wall. He also has the ability to teleport to another destination by transforming his body into an ethereal state. Despite his godly status, he is not indestructible and has limits, though it is unlikely he can every truly be killed. Raiden, like any other god, will have his powers taken away should he enter a domain not native to him, with Outworld being the most prominent example of this. His powers can return to him once he returns however. It is also because of his godly status that he is forbidden to directly participate in any Mortal Kombat tournaments unless he takes on a mortal form.
- Teleport: At will Raiden would vanish and reappear behind his opponent. (MK, MKII, MKT, MK4, MKG, MK:D, MK:A, MKvs.DCU)
- Electricity: Raiden sends a bolt of lightning flying at his opponent. (MK, MKII, MKT, MK4, MKG, MK:DA, MK:D, MK:A, MKvs.DCU)
- Torpedo: Raiden flies at his opponent and pushes them against the wall. (MK, MKII, MKT, MK4, MKG, MK:D, MK:A, MKvs.DCU)
- Air Torpedo: Raiden could use his Torpedo while in the air too. (MKII, MKT, MK4, MKG, MK:D, MK:A)
- Shocker: Raiden grabs his opponent and electrocutes them. (MKII, MKT, MKvs.DCU)
- Reverse Electricity: Raiden sends a bolt of lightning in the other direction hitting an opponent from behind. (MKT)
- Electric Slide: Raiden slides across the floor and hits his opponent with his shoulder, electrocuting them in the process. (MK:DA)
- Shocking Touch: Raiden grabs his opponent and holds them in the air while electrocuting them, then punches them to the ground. (MK:DA, MK:D, MK:A)
- Electric Decapitation: Raiden sends a surge of electricity into his opponent's head and it explodes. In the Super Nintendo version of MK, the electricity reduces them to a pile of ash and a skull. (MK, MKT)
- Explosive Uppercut: Raiden crouches down and sends a vicious electrically-charged uppercut to his opponent blowing them into pieces. (MKII, MKT)
- Electrocution I: Raiden grabs his opponent, holds them a few feet off the ground, and sends electricity into their body which causes them to explode. (MKII, MKT)
- Electrocution II: Raiden lodges his hands into his opponent's chest, lifts them over his head, and sends surges of electricity into their body making them explode. (MK4, MK:DA)
- Electrocution III: Raiden charges electricity into his hand and grabs his opponent, sending it through their body. The electric shock burns off all the opponent's flesh, leaving behind their smoking skeleton. (MKvs.DCU)
- Staff Shock: Raiden calls for his staff, lodges the end into his opponent's chest, lifts them up and shocks them until they're dead. This was also Raiden's first in-game use of a staff (MK4).
- Godly Essence: Raiden charges up a ball of energy similar to the intro of Mortal Kombat: Deception. He then fires it at his opponent thus blowing him and his opponent into pieces. (MK:D)
- Lightning Strike: Raiden calls down lighting until it strikes his hand and he fires lighting out of his other, shocking his opponent until they blow up. (MK:D)
- Electric Slam: Raiden grabs the opponent, zaps them for a bit, then flies up in the air with them. A couple seconds later, the opponent falls back down and lands headfirst in the ground. (MKvs.DCU)
- Hidden Fatality:Raiden Uppercuts his opponent off the screen and teleports with him/her and then he slams him/her into the ground causing an explosion.
- Friendship: Raiden generates a miniature version of himself named Kidd Thunder. (MKII, MKT)
- Animality: Raiden turns into an electric eel and electrocutes his opponent until they explode. (MKT)
- Fergality: After inputing a code on the Sega Genesis version of MKII, Raiden would turn the enemy into a smoking version of one of the staff members who worked on that port. (MKII)
- Hara-Kiri: Raiden charges himself with electricity until he explodes. (MK:D)
- Mortal Kombat: "Raiden's victory comes as no surprise to him. He was never impressed by Shang Tsung's inferior sorcery, Goro's brute force, or the challenge of the other contestants. He quickly becomes bored with his mortal competition and soon invites other Gods to participate in the contest. The Ensuing battles rage on for years. And the wars result in our world's final destruction. Have a Nice Day."
- Mortal Kombat 2: "Familiar with Shang Tsung's lies and Shao Kahn's brutality-- Raiden accepts their challenge to compete in an Outworld tournament. He is well aware of their scheme to unbalance the furies and invade the Earth realm. Raiden vows to use all his might to end their treachery. Winning the tournament, Raiden destroys Shao Kahn and all his minions. He also destroys the dimensional gates which would have been their passageway to the Earth realm."
- Mortal Kombat Trilogy: "When Outworld and Earth merge, Rayden finds himself battling Shao Kahn without the assistance of the Elder Gods. The Thunder God must transform into a mortal in order to exist in the merged realms. When he does this, he puts his own immortality as risk. But Rayden has always found ways of fouling Kahn's plots. He guides the chosen Earth warriors into battle against the Outworld emperor's armies, then finally faces Kahn himself. The powerful beings fight until the very core of the Earth is shaken, and Rayden emerges victorious."
- Mortal Kombat 4: Raiden's victory over Shinnok has earned him a place among the Elder Gods. His ascension requires him to select a successor as the protector of Earthrealm as the next millennium approaches. Raiden chooses Fujin, and leaves Earth behind to assume his new position.
- Deadly Alliance: (Non-canonical) "Once again, the threat to Earthrealm has been vanquished. The Deadly Alliance is no more. What dangers lie in the future, I can no longer foresee. Perhaps the Dragon King will, in fact, return. Perhaps the depths of the Netherealm will spew forth a legion of Oni. Even the Vampire people pose a threat to peace now that Outworld is in chaos. But one thing is certain... Earthrealm must be protected. I have abandoned my status as Elder God to aid these mortals... an act defiant of the Heavens. I will instead remain here on Earth... as GOD OF THUNDER."
- Deception: "My patience for mortals has worn thin. If I am to protect Earthrealm, I must punish those who would threaten it. The fool Shujinko had let himself be deceived into believing that he worked for a greater good. He was in fact an unknowing tool of a greater evil - one that had almost caused the destruction of Earthrealm. That Shujinko undid his mistake and destroyed the Dragon King is of no importance. Those who place Earthrealm in harm's way will pay with their lives."
- Armageddon: "The thunder god, Raiden, overpowered Blaze and absorbed the energy intented to transform the sons of Argus. His strength enhanced beyond that of other gods, Raiden became a deity of unimaginable power. Releasing his fury upon the realms, he destroyed them all. None would threaten Earthrealm again."
- MK vs DCU: "As the inter-dimensional conflict ended, Raiden returned to Earthrealm, only to discover that exposure to his homeworld's sun weakened him greatly. The sorcerer Quan Chi offered Raiden a jade-colored stone that would replenish his power - in return for his sworn allegiance. Where Quan Chi acquired this stone is a mystery. Raiden must now decide between servitude to an evil sorcerer... or mortality."
- Mentor and ally of Liu Kang, Johnny Cage, Sonya, Sub-Zero, Jax, Kung Lao, and Kitana.
- Friend and ally of Fujin.
- Aided the earth warriors in MK1 through MK Deadly Alliance.
- Arch nemesis of Shinnok.
- Defeated by the Deadly Alliance.
- Sacrifised himself to destroy Onaga but failed.
- Revived Liu Kang's corpse.
- Joined the forces of light in the last battle in Armageddon.