You can exploit older fighting games to no end. Whether it was super cheap AI, a boss character with ridiculous abilities or a really good human opponent, everyone experienced some sort of frustration at the hand of cheap tactics. With Mortal Kombat it was the AI and cheap bosses, but the really good human players made you pull your hair out. We listed five of our top 20 cheapest characters in MK history, and now we continue with another five. Keep in mind, these aren’t necessarily the best characters, just the ones with really cheap tactics that may aggravate novices and experts alike.
Noob Saibot (Multiple)
Just about any time this mash-up of MK co-creators Ed Boon and John Tobias made an appearance, it was followed by mountains of frustration. He was a secret character in MK2 that could only be accessed after 50 wins against a human opponent, which meant you only saw him on Saturday nights when the arcade was packed. While Noob was basically only a Scorpion clone in that game, he quickly evolved. In later games he had an unblockable projectile attack, fought side-by-side with Smoke and even had ridiculous zoning in MK9. If that weren’t enough, he’s the original Sub-Zero. You know… that cheap character mentioned in part one of this feature.
In the original Mortal Kombat there weren’t any attacks with unblockable properties. Sure, there were a few setups here and there to make an attack unblockable, but you couldn’t simply perform the attack by itself without it being 100 percent blockable. That line of sensible thinking was thrown out the window when Mortal Kombat 2 came around.
Jax had a Ground Pound that was completely and totally unblockable. It even ducked under some projectile attacks and could be used to punish certain special moves. Add his Quadthrow, which inflicted tremendous damage, and then he had an air throw and Gotcha Grab that could be comboed into, and even a solid projectile to boot. Why does a government agent need all of that? We’ll tell you why… because he needed to be cheap, and that’s exactly what he was.
We only listed Kitana’s Mortal Kombat 9 incarnation, but let’s be serious here… she was pretty cheap in the earlier games as well. You’d get a Square Wave Punch to the face every time you tried to jump away, then you’d jump toward her and get Fan Lifted into a combo. Fast-forward to MK9 and Kitana is not only one of the most damaging characters in the game, but in addition to the Fan Lift and Square Wave Punch, she can combo her Air Fan almost any time an opponent is airborne. That’s a far cry from royal behavior.
Kung Lao (Multiple)
Wow, where do we start with this Shaolin Monk? Putting aside the fact that he has one of the coolest fatalities in Mortal Kombat history (splitting an opponent in half… vertically), this guy is a monster to fight against. He can teleport behind you with two different attacks or no attack at all. He can combo almost any jumping attack into his Dive Kick. He even has multiple projectile attacks, one of which he can aim up or down, meaning you can’t reliably crouch under or jump over it. In MK3 he even had one of the longest dial-a-combos, because his damage clearly wasn’t high enough already. In MK9 he has been nerfed multiple times because he’s just that good.
Human Smoke (UMK3)
Human Smoke in Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 was one of the best characters from a casual and competitive perspective. He was basically a better version of Scorpion, who was already pretty good (and cheap) in UMK3. In addition to a Teleport, Harpoon, Air Throw and the normal list of special moves, Human Smoke had one of the best running jabs in the game.
For those not familiar with a high-level player in UMK3, a running jab is one of the best (and what most casual players would consider cheap) methods to win. You use the Run button to move toward your opponent while canceling the run into a Low Punch jab. When performed correctly, it’s extremely difficult to get out of the block string. Like most other MK games, there was chip damage on all attacks in UMK3, which meant that every blocked Low Punch resulted in a small amount of damage. This added up considerably over time and basically made Human Smoke a huge pain to fight against.