Famed for its brutality and gory finishing moves, Mortal Kombat has a wide cast of characters based on pop-culture and history alike. In the process of creating a fighting game such as Mortal Kombat, it can be easy to overuse a singular trope, such as the ninjas which have long populated Mortal Kombat‘s roster. When fans complained of the overabundance of ninjas in Mortal Kombat Trilogy, Ed Boon decided to shelve his newest ninja character in favor of something more unique. Reskinning a ninja character model without his mask and placing Boon’s face on the model, Reiko was born.
Reiko was a general in the armies of Shao Kahn in Outworld, placing him firmly in an antagonistic position in the Mortal Kombat series. However, he has only been playable in three MK games since his debut in Mortal Kombat 4, and he is not even directly present in the story of those games, in most cases. Being a character with a large amount of mystery and intrigue surrounding him during his debut and subsequent appearances, Mortal Kombat fans are often left wondering whatever happened to the Outworld general.
Beginning with the ending of his Mortal Kombat 4 arcade mode, fans have often wondered what was going on with Reiko. Originally, the ending was that he simply exited through a portal and disappeared. But when the game was ported to home systems, the developers expanded on this and added a scene in which he sat in Shao Kahn’s throne, and the helmet of the Outworld ruler was placed upon his head. This drove a rift between players who vehemently argued whether or not the character was simply Shao Kahn wearing a disguise, which Boon put down relatively quickly and confirmed the two were not the same in subsequent games.
His idolization and desire to succeed Shao Kahn’s throne became more prevalent in Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, where he donned a similar outfit and wielded a hammer designed after Shao Kahn’s own. His moveset was similar to the Outworld emperor’s, as well. Yet, after Armageddon, Reiko would not appear again as a playable character. His appearances in later games have been restricted to minor cameos in 2011’s Mortal Kombat and in Mortal Kombat 11. However, in the Mortal Kombat X comics, which take place prior to that game, Reiko bears a much more significant part in the story.
In the comic, his storyline begins when he seduces Mileena and becomes her top advisor, using the Outworld princess as a stepping stone to achieve his goal of ruling Outworld as a god. To achieve this goal, he employs the help of Havik – a similarly often forgotten character in Mortal Kombat – to become a Blood God and achieve power beyond measure. However, the Chaosrealm cleric betrays the former general just as he betrayed Mileena, killing Reiko in order to summon the Amulet of Shinnok for his own means. Reiko’s reign as the terrifying Blood God of Outworld was short and destructive, and the fearsome foe is unlikely to return to the Mortal Kombat series in a significant story role.
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