MK1 - Alternate Costumes Picture

These are the Alt/Player 2 costumes for the original Mortal Kombat 1 cast.
(Click Here to see the Primary Costumes)



- There are a couple themes I like to stick to when it comes to alts. One is "origin story clothes", which you see with other characters, and another is "street clothes", which is where I went with Kano.

People often call the Black Dragon a "clan", but that's not accurate, the word "clan" implies secret ninja guilds and stuff like that. The Red Dragon would be a clan, sure, but the Black are a "syndicate", which means they're a gang, a mafia, an organized crime cartel.

So for his non-fighting duds, I wanted Kano to be dressed like a gangster, so I thought of things like Scarface and Miami Vice because it feels natural to me to think of throwbacks to the 80's when thinking of the mafia, and went with a leisure suit and big chain. But I gave him a red vest like he wore in the movie instead of a jacket, because I also like to sneak movie references in here and there when they don't intrude on or contradict anything.


LIU KANG - Liu's alt fits one of those two alt costume themes I like, the "origin story" one. It shows him in the orange robes that traditional Shaolin Monks wear in the real world. I experimented with having him bald in this costume to go with the outfit, but it turns out that Liu with no hair at all really doesn't look anything like Liu Kang to me, it just made him look like "generic monk", and I didn't want to lose any sense of the characters' identities in their costumes.


SCORPION - Like Liu, I went the "origin story" route with Scorpion, I wanted to make his body look like he's just been murdered by Sub-Zero. I simplified the armor, no gold trim or spikes, no skull kneepads, more like the DLC Retro outfits in MK9, to make his costume look even less like a spectre who can control his appearance and more like an un-fancy Shirai Ryu. He's got sleeves like a proper ninja, though they're ripped from battle, leading to them being removed completely when he transforms into his primary costume. I removed his head and replaced it with his Spectre flaming skull because Sub-Zero killed him by Spine Rip in Mythologies (Note that Sub-Zero's alt is even holding Scorpion's head/spine) and made his flesh a rotting, textured gray color with bloodstains around his decap'd neck and wedding ring hand.

Also note that this is the only costume where Scorpion's kunai has a rope tied to it. See, the whole reason he's named "Scorpion" is he's famous for using that weapon, which is like the stinger tail of a scorpion. Now, as a spectre, Scorpion can make the rope come out of his hand magically. When he was still human, though, he wouldn't have had that power, he'd have to carry around the rope.

I gave him a sword too because I thought that as a powerless human, he'd have more weaponry, but on a personal note, I don't like Scorpion using swords so much like he does now in the games, I don't think he needs them at all and should slash and stab with his kunai more and whip it around like a ropedart, since that is his trademark weapon. So if this were a game I was making, the sword would just be a decorative costume element. Note the tag on the sash that holds his scabbard on - you can't possibly make it out at this size, but it's supposed to be the Kanji for "Scorpion".

There's a rose tucked into his belt as a reference to the fact that, according to MK9, which was the first time we ever got to see what his wife looks like, she wears one in her hair.

I also wanted to make the costume differ more from his primary by giving it a different color scheme. A real ninja shouldn't wear bright yellow, he should have darker colors on, so I drew inspiration from the Vincent Proce fanart and went with a "black clothes splattered with something yellow" look. I also made his underclothes brown, since it would blend into the darkness or one's environment better than black does.

I will say though that in my version, unlike Proce's, the yellow isn't demon blood, it's perhaps just some sort of yellow dye the Shirai Ryu use for autumn camouflage, or patches of black soot or burnt cloth on a normally dark-yellow piece of clothing.


JOHNNY CAGE - Johnny's a street clothes kinda guy. I just pulled his suit straight out of the original MK1 comic because I thought "well he wears a black tux every damn game, let's do something slightly different from that." I like this one because I think the colors are tacky as hell and like to wonder what Tobias was thinking when he colored it that way, but was the early 90's. Pastels were in. And that's Johnny for ya. Like I said, he's all about style...but that doesn't mean his style is good, lol.

Also note how in his alt, one of Johnny's Shadow-Balls is red. The red one will be different and random whenever I draw an alt of him 'cause that's how his moves worked in the olden days.


SUB-ZERO - This was a tough concept to come up with, but what I eventually settled on was that I wanted some way to telegraph the Cyberninjas without using anything cyber. I wanted to show how the Lin Kuei is advancing in technology and takes a very modern approach to assassinations. So while Sub-Zero's primary is his "decorative" outfit, which he's wearing because he's at a tournament and it's good publicity for the Lin Kuei if a guy who looks obviously Lin Kuei goes in there and cleans house, this alt is what he might REALLY wear on stealth missions. It's very inspired by more "military" ninjas like Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow from G.I. Joe. It's darker, much less fancy or decorative, and has modern accoutrements like night vision goggles, utility belts, a smoke bomb, the hood covers his whole face like a ski mask, etc.

I also gave him a sword 'cause, like I said, I had Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow in mind. Plus, it juxtaposes him from Scorpion, their swords even have different styled hilts.


RAIDEN - This is pretty much the most radical idea I had for any of the character designs and the reason I reached it is this: like I said, I like to go either "origin story" or "street clothes" on most alts...well this one is, in a sense, Raiden's "origin" costume. Not literally, but in that I wanted something that would reflect what the Shinto religion says the "real" Raiden looks like since that's where the character's name comes from.

And Shinto says Raiden was a big ugly red demon who beats a drum to create thunder. So here's Raiden with red skin, a Japanese demon-esque face, and holding a big drumstick instead of his staff. I also changed his lightning effect from blue to yellow just to mix it up a bit.

For his clothes, I largely drew on his MKDA alt because I thought the giant samurai skirt-pants and long gloves went very well with the whole "Japanese demon" theme.

A couple of the elements, like samurai shoulder pads and the antler-crest on his hat, are designed to make him look slightly similar to Shao Kahn. Not noticeably so, but just to imply similarities between the characters because I think this demon-Raiden makes a good basis for where I'll take "Dark Raiden" from MKD in the future, and Dark Raiden was hinted as sort of "turning into the next Shao Kahn" in MKD.


SONYA BLADE - This one's mostly inspired by the first scene in the movie where Sonya busts into a club in combat gear and starts shotgunning guys. I just kept to that idea of "combat gear" with all the belts and pouches, kept the sheriff belt from her primary, gave her the MK4 hat and a ponytail (which is kept a bit tiny to match the shortness of her hair), and switched the two belts on the thigh for one big belt lined with shotgun shells, like she wore in MK4. I stuck to olive green for the clothes because that's Sonya's color and I'm a big believer in the importance of color scheme staying consistent.

One noteworthy detail is her little wristbands are the same ones she wears in Deadly Alliance. In future costumes, I'm sure I'll use a version of that shape as the basis for her smaller, more refined Sonic Rings wrist device.


ERMAC - Ermac's newer costumes in the games have had a sort of "Arabian" assassin flavor to them, so for his alt, I wanted to play that up a bit to make him more unique from the ninjas.

The main things that give it that flavor I think are the more of a turban look to his mask, with a loose veil, the long sash instead of a loincloth, and the baggy pants with cloth-wrapped feet. I think I was thinking of Assassin's Creed when I came up with that belted thing around his waist, but I'm not quite sure what it's meant to be other than cool looking, lol.

Also, I don't recall if I've said it yet, but I love logos. Maybe it stems from my superhero interests, but I like iconography that concisely and stylishly identifies a character or the group they belong to. Ermac got a logo in Deception, it was a symbol on his back and the red seams on the front of his outfit were in the same shape too. It's sort of "Two letter E's back to back and turned to point up and down like sais". Who knows what exactly it's supposed to mean other than maybe "E for Ermac", but I like it, so I wanted to use it. Hence the two disks on the belts down his chest.

As for the mossy stone covering his arms, that's a callback to the fact that Ermac disguised himself as a Warrior Shrine statue in Shaolin Monks. I figure he probably did the same in my version. It's a good hiding spot. I dunno how he got inside a statue...though I guess he could make all that stone cling to himself with Telekinesis.


GORO - The theme of Goro's alt is to show him as both a prince and as the General of Outworld's army.

So for the general side, I gave him armor based directly on Reiko's from Armageddon, since Reiko is the general in that game. I changed the logo on the chest from a plain skull to Kahn's helmet though, so as to not step on Scorpion's toes in the skull logos department.

And for the prince side, I gave him a crown with the Shokan Yin Yang on it, the Shokan flag as his loincloth, and a big red cape like the one he wore in the MK1 comic. Also, he has the other Shokan logo, a stick figure of a four armed man (which first debuted in Deadly Alliance), as his belt buckle since he already has the yin yang on his costume twice. (counting the Kahn skull, that makes four logos in a line down the center of the dude's body. Too much? Maybe, but I like it.)

Goro's status as Champion of Mortal Kombat is shown in this costume with the wrestling-style title belt in his hand (the one Liu wore in MK vs DC Universe). The fact that he's the champ is also hinted at by the red cloth he's using as a hairtie, though: I noticed that whenever they show the Great Kung Lao, he's wearing a headband just like Liu Kang's. So I decided they should be the same one. Goro took GKL's headband as a trophy when he killed him 500 years ago...and when Liu beats Goro at the end of MK1, he'll take the headband and start wearing it himself.


SHANG TSUNG - Shang's alt falls under the "origin story" category. It's what he used to wear when he was young and fought in the tournament, according to the Official MK1 comic. Specifically, I drew from the graphically updated version of that outfit that was his Deadly Alliance alt.

The shapes on his pantlegs are intended to be a stylized version of a cobra, because Shang's outfits often have a snake motif. Fellow artists take note, the two primary rules to Shang Tsung character designs are he loves gold and he loves snakes. (And I haven't drawn Quan Chi yet, but while we're on the subject of sorcerers and animals, his stuff sometimes has a spider motif.)

I also changed up the magic in Shang's hands for his alt. The primary has a flaming skull in one hand and green soul-energy in the other. The alt has a screaming stolen soul in one hand and in the other, multicolored energy that's meant to represent two things: Shang's ability to copy the moves of anyone else with his sorcery when he morphs into them, and Shang's MK2 Friendship where he made a rainbow, lol. I always liked that one.


REPTILE - Reptile's alt is designed to say "I am a monster who lives at the bottom of The Pit." He's showing his true colors, his clothes are made of rags scavenged from the dead bodies at the bottom of the pit (his bloody pants and karate belt belonged to Ryu from Street Fighter, lol), and he's got shoulder armor made from the skull of a Goro's Lair Oni, hence the little bits of rotting blue skin.

The red and white warpaint he's wearing in this outfit is intended to be a small reference to the movie version of Reptile. I hated that Reptile was a tiny creature who...merged with a magic statue or whatever that was supposed to be about, but I wanted to do something different with the character and I thought of those red and white stripes he had all over his body in the film and decided "that would work, but as warpaint" since he's not really striped.


NIMBUS TERRAFAUX - The main characters in MK1 were all based on stereotypes or characters from famous kung fu and 80's movies. Kano is the Terminator, Liu Kang is Bruce Lee, Johnny Cage is JCVD in Bloodsport, Raiden is Lightning from Big Trouble in Little China, Shang is a mix of Han from Enter the Dragon and Lo Pan from Big Trouble, et cetera.

So for Nimbus, I wanted an alt that would suggest the tradition kept going, and what I settled on, since he's a black boxer, was an homage to Apollo Creed from the Rocky movies. I just changed the color scheme from red, white, and blue to Nimbus's colors of black, white, and yellow.
Continue Reading: Pan