One of the most polarising games in the entire pantheon of Mortal Kombat is 2005's Shaolin Monks.
Although much lauded for incredibly fun gameplay (which is among the best adventure/platformer games out there, fight me), excellent level design and absolutely gorgeous art design and vision of Outworld, standing as the apex of the 'Eastern mythology meets Enter the Dragon' vibe of MK1 and MK2, when it comes to writing, story and coherence within Mortal Kombat canon, it drops the ball so hard it actually registered on the Richter scale.
Impaled through the stomach, stabbed in the heart, stabbed in the head and flung around 20 feet through the air. Lying on the ground absolutely motionless. "Are you okay?"
From totally reworking the plot of Mortal Kombat 2 to a gigantic idiot plot, killing multiple characters who don't die in Mortal Kombat 2, making almost every character not named Shang Tsung a total dunce, giving Kabal an inexplicable Tennessee accent....I could go on. I really could.
It's also notable as the genesis of the alternative incarnation of Kung Lao. Originally in Mortal Kombat canon, Kung Lao was a peaceful pacifist and incredibly close friend of Liu Kang, but his reinvention as an impetuous, jelaous frenemy with no regard for authority and a thirst for violence going far beyond his dutiful need to avenge his ancestor's defeat to Goro took significant enough root in the fandom that the MK9 version of Kung Lao essentially combines both aspects.
Although originally designed as the ultimate expansion to the plot of Mortal Kombat 2, the colossal internal plot holes and contradictions with the actual long established canon of Mortal Kombat 2 saw the game immediately downgraded to "if it doesn't contradict MK2, it's canon" and then further to "totally non canon". Personally, I'm very partial to the explanation that it's the Johnny Cage movie version of Mortal Kombat 2.
With that said, it remains a beautiful game, incredibly fun and filled with some absolutely wonderful easter eggs. If you've gotten all nostalgic from this, or if you've never actually experienced Shaolin Monks yourself, you owe it to yourself to check out the amazing LP series done by pillars of the scene Ketchup and Mustard!
Check out the entire Let's Play here: https://www.twitch.tv/pndketchup/videos/all
Check out the PNDTwins Twitter accounts here: https://twitter.com/PNDKetchup and https://twitter.com/PNDMustard
Will we ever get another non fighing MK game? Will the break in the cycle lead us to the much vaunted Fire and Ice? Who knows. But as always, check back to TYM everyday for all the latest discussion on the NRS scene, both competitive and lore-based, and all the latest news on Injustice 2 and the Mortal Kombat series!
Ketchup and Mustard Play Shaolin Monks!