If there’s one thing Mortal Kombat is known for, other than the brutal nature of the game, it’s the palette-swapped ninjas. Back in the early days of the series, the ninja characters all looked similar in an effort to conserve memory. It was an easy way to get more characters into the game when technology was more limited than it is now. That eventually led to ninja characters of all different colors.
Up until now, only Scorpion (the yellow ninja), Sub-Zero (the blue ninja) and Reptile (the green ninja) have been confirmed for Mortal Kombat X. Now fans of the red ninja, Ermac, can rest easy as his reveal trailer was featured during a Mortal Kombat X live stream courtesy of developer NetherRealm Studios. Ermac had already been teased via fan art from one of the NetherRealm artists, and Ed Boon (co-creator of the franchise) showing off a picture of the motion capture studio which featured an actor making a gesture very similar to one of Ermac’s attacks.
With the confirmation of Ermac comes a brief look at his move set as well. We also got a few clues toward the story (which will be revealed very soon) that indicate the soul of Shao Kahn may be inside of Ermac (a being that houses many souls of fallen warriors), and that Ermac has been working for Kotal Kahn who rules Outworld at some point during the MKX story mode. Let’s dig in and see what details were revealed about how the red ninja fights in the latest Mortal Kombat.
Ermac has three fighting variants just like every other character in Mortal Kombat X. His variants are: Master of Souls, Mystic and Spectral. In all three variants he has a hover ability, access to his trademark teleport punch, and a projectile of some sort.
Master of Souls allows Ermac to use the Hover technique as an attack. Ermac hovers for a short time, then he can simply drop back to the ground or initiate an attack similar to Jax’s Ground Pound from previous games. His Force Port (teleport) knocks down, which allows Ermac to follow with a crouching punch that leads into a juggle for additional damage. Ermac also uses a short-range Soul Burst projectile that can be angled up and used as an anti-air attack in some instances. His Force Lift (levitate) in the Master of Souls variant does not combo normally, but it will allow for a follow-up combo if you use the Enhanced (EX) version.
As Ermac battles in the Master of Souls variant, small orbs begin floating around him. When he has three orbs (the maximum), his normal Soul Ball projectile attack stuns an opponent, allowing for a combo follow-up. The souls then recharge over time until they reach three again.
Finally, Ermac has a Disappear ability that causes him to turn invisible (as if shifting into another dimension) and become invulnerable for a brief moment. This should be used to evade attacks and seems to be more useful in the air than on the ground. You can cancel the ability into an attack or another Disappear, but if you use back-to-back Disappear techniques there is a slight delay before the second, at which point Ermac can be hit.
In the Mystic fighting variant Ermac plays more like his Mortal Kombat 9 incarnation, with enhanced telekinetic powers. He has the same Force Push (grab and push away) attack from MK9 that can be used as an anti-air attack or just to catch an opponent who isn’t blocking at mid-screen. He can even remove one bar from the opponent’s meter with the Enhanced version of the attack. In addition, the Mystic variant changes his Force Lift so that it turns the opponent upside down and leaves them hanging in the air long enough to start a combo.
Ermac’s final variant is the Spectral variation, which replaces Ermac’s Hover ability with Soul Accession. This allows him to actually fly around for a moderate period of time. Ermac can’t block while flying, but he has very good movement options that should make it difficult for characters without good zoning tools to keep him out. This will likely be the riskiest of Ermac’s fighting variants, as you really need to be able to read the opponent and know when you can risk using Soul Accession and when it’s best to stay grounded so you can block.
Mortal Kombat X is due to hit the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PC on April 14. Stay tuned to Prima Games as we cover new aspects of the game, as well as Kitana and Reptile, over the next few weeks.