In the Spotlight: Scorpion

Ah, Mortal Kombat’s Scorpion — yellow-clad nutter or misunderstood anti-hero? That is the question. Regardless, our morally ambiguous, spear-shooting warrior of darkness has spawned one of the most iconic catchphrases in gaming history — his throaty “Get over here!” — and remains a firm fan favorite 19 years since his debut in the inaugural Mortal Kombat. With the franchise getting its much-anticipated, eponymous reboot this week, what better way to make the occasion than shining the spotlight on one of its most iconic fighters? As part of the bloody brawler’s ubiquitous ninja clan — which over the years has comprised of fellow combatants such as Sub-Zero, Rain, Smoke, and Reptile — the Scorpster distinguishes himself as more than just a palette swap thanks to an array of meaty maneuvers, including the aforementioned spear attack and teleport punch. These attacks form the meat and potatoes of Scorpion’s deadly repertoire, which has remained virtually untouched over the years in terms of trademark moves.

Latter installments would augment the former assassin with a couple of nasty axes, which he used to devastating effect in Ultimate Mortal Kombat III. Furthermore, his finishing moves are equally memorable, ranging from deep frying his victims alive, making them soil their pants with a jack-in-the-box, to, most bizarrely, transforming into a penguin before laying an explosive egg. Boom, limbs go flying. Voiced by series mastermind Ed Boon , Scorpion — real name Hanzo Hasashi — has popped up in virtually all major installments in the bloody beat ‘em up franchise, and has been portrayed by three actors over the years: Daniel Pesina (MK & MK II), John Turk (MK III & MK Trilogy) and Sal Divita (MK: SM). The ninja spectre’s appearances haven’t been just limited to video games, either. In addition to showing up in both film adaptations, Scorpion also popped up in comic books, TV series, and an animated cartoon series.

The Scorpster’s story is very much your bread-and-butter tale of revenge. In his human days, Hasashi-san was a member of the Shirai Ryu Ninja clan, much to his father’s chagrin. A proud dad himself, Scorpion brushed aside his pop’s pleas for him to adopt a more traditional lifestyle, feeling the way of the assassin would facilitate his desires of offering is family a cozy, carefree lifestyle. Unfortunately, Scorpion falls at the hands of ice-throwing ninja bloke Sub-Zero after both men find themselves tracking down a hidden map in a crumbling Shaolin Temple, sending the now-deceased Hasahi down into the depths of the NetherRealm. Necromancer Quan-Chi later has Hasahi-san’s entire family and clan brutally murdered as payment for Sub-Zero’s accomplishment. Now an undead warrior, Scorpion enters the inaugural Mortal Kombat tournament in hopes of eliminating his killer. He ultimately succeeds.

Sometime later, however, a bemused Scorpion hears down the grape vine that Sub-Zero is looking to participate in the second tournament, and enters to get the skinny on this apparently new contender. It later transpires that Sub-Zero #2 is actually the younger sibling of the man who snuffed out Scorpion’s life, and has entered the fray to silence soul-sucking sorcerer, Shang Tsung. Scorpion subsequently vows to protect the young Sub-Zero in atonement for bumping off his bro. Upon returning to the NetherRealm after the tournament, our spear-throwing supremo pops up again in the events of Ultimate Mortal Kombat III following Shao Kahn’s attempts to invade earth, and quickly finds himself aligned with the forces of good after he discovers Sub-Zero is one of the chosen warriors picked to defend the human realm. Earth ultimately triumphs against Kahn, with Scorpion once again retiring to the NetherRealm.

Mortal Kombat IV finds the undead masked man siding with chrome dome Quan Chi, who spins Scorpion a porky pie about the young Sub-Zero being personally responsible for the death of his family and old clan. Seeing red, Scorpion is once again inexorably drawn towards his former ‘ally’ and gives him a pasting, but not before Quan-Chi unveils the truth behind what really happen. Miffed that he’s been played like a puppet all this time, the yellow ninja punishes the dastardly sorcerer to the pits of the NetherRealm. Here, Quan-Chi is subjected to numerous torture sessions at the ninja spectre’s hands, until he is ultimately freed when demon duo Drahmin and Moloch invade the hellish dimension, sending the former assassin on a hunt for the sorcerer, events of which transpire during MK: Deadly Alliance. He’s later set upon once again by Drahmin and Moloch, but manages to escape and bumps into the Elder Gods, who send him on a new mission — seek out and eliminate the being known as Onaga.

Things take a drastic turn during MK: Armageddon, however, where the undead warrior is depicted as making a deal with the Elder Gods to serve them in exchange for the resurrection of his wife, son, and former clan members. Scorpion is later miffed to discover, however, that they’ve been given a new lease of ‘life’ as it were as the walking dead. Furious, the masked ninja seeks to nab Blaze’s power for himself in an effort to subvert the Gods’ chance of stopping Armageddon. If you’re going through the game as the Scorpster, then we later find out that his former clan were fully resurrected, though Scorpion’s son is abducted by Quan-Chi and taken to the hellish pits of the NetherRealm. Livid at the evil necromancer‘s actions, the yellow-clad ninja dispatches his clan to liberate the child and silence Quan-Chi once and for all.

With the franchise being rebooted in April 2011, Scorpion once again forms the nucleus of the core Mortal Kombat cast, and more than likely will once again find himself at logger heads with Sub-Zero. How will things pan out? We’ll just have to wait and see.