Liu Kang (劉鋼)[1] is a character in the Mortal Kombat fighting game series. He is one of the few original characters, debuting in the first Mortal Kombat arcade game. He serves as the protagonist of the first four games, the live-action films and the original comic book series. He became the Grand Champion of Mortal Kombat throughout the first four tournaments, a title that remained undisputed in the original timeline.

About Liu Kang Edit

Liu Kang is one of the most popular and accessible characters in the series. He is one of Earthrealm's greatest warriors, having defeated many to prove his valor. Throughout the series, he has been gradually portrayed as the main hero, becoming champion after the first Mortal Kombat tournament. Kang has found a nemesis in the traitorous Shang Tsung, a sorcerer who he has defeated on numerous occasions. He is often considered the greatest threat to the plans of Shang and his emperor, Shao Kahn. He is a member of the White Lotus Society and trains extensively at the Wu Shi Academy. It was at the Academy that he was murdered by a Deadly Alliance of Shang with Quan Chi.

In the first entry in the series, Liu Kang was shown to be non-violent, in that his finisher did not graphically kill the opponent. Starting with Mortal Kombat II, however, all of his Fatalities were more gruesome.

His body was resurrected without his spirit in Mortal Kombat: Deception. This physical half killed hundreds of innocent people, with the skills he refined to protect them while he was alive. Liu Kang retained his personality as a zombie, as he still had his trademark yells. A notable exception is the intro of Armageddon, where he groans like a recognizable zombie.

He is said to be one of the Great Kung Lao's last descendants through various media (a trading card, the first film, etc.) It is possible that Liu Kang and Kung Lao are cousins. He is referred to as the "Immortal Champion of Mortal Kombat" in later games, and his ending in Mortal Kombat: Deception has him again assuming the role upon his restoration to life.

Appearance Edit

At his debut, Liu Kang appeared to be among the dime a dozen Bruce Lee pastiches; an adult of Chinese origin with a bare chest, black pants and white sneakers. From MKII and onward, he is depicted with shaggy black hair (even though Shaolin monks are bald), a red headband, spiked gauntlets, red and black kung fu pants, and kung fu slippers; still keeping his upper body bare (except in Mortal Kombat 4 where he has a tank top). This design is one of the most consistent in the series.

He is depicted as a zombie in Mortal Kombat: Deception. He gains a ghastly grey tint on his decaying skin, showing the most damage on his peeling face. He retains his usual attire, but now wears a pair of Houan chains with hooks attached to his gauntlets given to him by Raiden when he became corrupted. In his ghost form, his attire is different than what his corpse wears, instead wearing mandarin boots and pants similar to his original with a new sash and chickenmark design on the sides. In MK (2011), Liu Kang has greater muscle mass than most characters in the roster and wears a champion belt. In MK vs DC, Kang's appears with a red sash brandishing the Elder Gods' symbol instead of the belt. His physical appearance is altered once more, with longer hair and a more well-rounded physique. Kang loses a lot of skin when taking damage due to his lack of armor or layered clothes.

Bios Edit

  • Mortal Kombat - "Orphaned at a very young age, Liu Kang was raised by Shaolin monks, who taught him the way of the spiritual warrior. They soon recognized his potential as a contender for the Mortal Kombat tournament and rigorously trained him for this task. Raiden, too, understood that Liu Kang was Earthrealm's best hope for freedom and introduced him to Master Bo' Rai Cho to further his development. Once fully trained, Liu Kang bested all challengers and earned the high honor of representing the Shaolin in the Mortal Kombat tournament. He and Raiden then embarked on their fateful journey to Shang Tsung's island to compete in this pivotal kontest."

Game information Edit

Liu Kang was the only Mortal Kombat character who had a Fatality in which the opponent was not explicitly murdered (save for the Pit Fatality). His finishing move was also the only one in the original MK game that was performed without the background dimming. This was because Kang was depicted as a Shaolin monk, and Shaolin monks in general have strict beliefs against committing murder. However, starting with Mortal Kombat II, he was given gory Fatalities as he was depicted as a renegade monk who had "strong Shaolin beliefs, but was no longer a part of the Shaolin monks." Kang has also appeared in nearly every Mortal Kombat fighting game, with the notable exception of Deadly Alliance, though he still appears in the game's intro.

A victorious round against Shao Kahn in Mortal Kombat II does not lead to Kahn's usual voice declaring that the player's character wins. If Liu Kang is the chosen fighter, he will utter a small war cry upon winning the round.

Liu Kang deals double damage upon Onaga in Mortal Kombat: Deception, a bonus granted by the developers for the difficulty of unlocking him. It's possible that Liu Kang retains this ability in Mortal Kombat: Armageddon against bigger opponents.

He is one of four Mortal Kombat characters to have a spinoff game based around them (Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks). He and Kung Lao are the game's two protagonists.

Even though Liu Kang appears in his spirit form for the events of Deception and Armageddon, his alternate costume in both games depicts his human form. This human form in Deception and Armageddon depicts Liu Kang prior to his death or if he was still human.He was never truly restored to life until MK vs DCU, which ignored the event of his death. In MK9, he is still zombified in the story mode intro that takes place at the aftermath of Armageddon until the new storyline begins, where he is once again human until his demise by the hands of Raiden.

The hooked chains that hang from the arms of Liu Kang's zombie form have garnered much demand from fans to be used as a weapon style in the series, especially after Kang himself uses them as such in Armageddon's intro movie (where he rolls the chains up his wrists to fight Shang Tsung, and later uses their hooked tips to stop the sorcerer from reaching for the top of the pyramid). So far, however, these demands seem to have fallen on deaf ears at Midway, and the chains remain a non-interactive costume accessory for the character. Because these chains seem to have appeared arbitrarily to give Zombie Kang a more 'dark' feel, many fans demanded a canonical explanation for why the character has them.

The origins of Liu Kang's shackles were finally revealed in Raiden's bio in the game Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, where he described the shackles as enchanted chains used by an ancient tribe to control the dead. These are known as Houan Chain Hooks. As such, he placed them on the corpse of Liu Kang, recited an ancient incantation, and revived the Shaolin monk as his personal enforcer.[2]

Kombat Characteristics Edit

Power and Abilities Edit

Liu Kang has proven himself to be one of the most powerful characters in the series' span, emerging victorious from every Mortal Kombat tournament he's been involved in. Liu Kang possesses incredible agility, acrobatic skill and martial arts, though the latter is more common. These skills were developed during his training with Bo' Rai Cho, who also taught Kang the Flying Kick technique. It is suggested that Kang meditates regularly in order to keep increasing strength as well as maintain it. Due to his recurring status as the Mortal Kombat champion, Liu Kang hardly seems to age.

Liu Kang is commonly associated with the element of fire, which comes in the form of shooting firebound projectiles. He appears to have some degree of control over it as the fireballs sometimes form dragon-like shapes, and has even used the element for finishers as well. Kang also appears to possess a degree of shapeshifting, able to transform himself into a Chinese dragon which includes a serpentine body with small arms. In Shaolin Monks, the form is also revealed to have fire-breathing capabilities, most likely associated with his ability to use fire.

Liu Kang is shown to be able to manipulate his Yin and Yang energies through the Dualist variation, firing searing hot blasts of light in his Yin state along with healing properties while firing dark energy blasts and strengthening himself through his Yang state. He is also shown firing between light and dark projectiles in Mortal Kombat Future.

Movelist Edit

Signature Moves Edit

  • Flying Kick: Liu Kang flies across the screen and connects with a kick to the opponent's torso. In MK 2011 this is called Flying Dragon Kick. This move was used to defeat Shang Tsung. In his Dragon's Fire variation, he does a double kick which is called Double Dragon Kick.
    • In MK:DA, the enhanced version is called Flame Dragon Kick. Liu Kang's leg becomes covered in fire, making him quicker and increases damage.
    • In MKF, the enhanced version has more range and does more damage, and Liu Kang is armored while performing it. In the Dragon's Fire variation, enhancing the Double Dragon Kick will turn it into a Bicycle Kick after the first kick is landed, which can once again be enhanced (see the enhanced version below for more information).
    • The Flying Kick can also be used by the player's created Kombatant in Armageddon.
  • Dragon Fire: Liu Kang sends a fiery flame in the shape of a dragon across the screen out of his hands at his opponent. He is also able to shoot it in the air, and kneel down to send it at his opponent's feet. In MKvsDCU, this is called High Fireball. In MKII, the Fireballs themselves, their names and the way Liu Kang fires them change according to the variation chosen. In the Flame Fist variation the move is called Fireball, while in Dragon's Fire it is called Dragon's Fire and can be charged or canceled.
    • In MK, the enhanced versions are called High Dragon Fire and Low Dragon Fire. The fireball takes the form of a flaming black dragon.
    • In MK:U, the enhanced versions are larger and do more damage in the Flame Fist variation. In the Dragon's Fire variation, the enhanced versions make Liu Kang fire two fireballs in a row. If enhanced once again, he will fire two additional ones, in a total of four.
  • Parry: Liu Kang gets in a parry stance with flames emitting from his hands. If his opponent attacks him while he's like this, he'll disappear in a burst of flames, reappear behind his opponent and deliver a swift surprise punch in the back. In his Flame Fist variation, it's known as Dragon Parry, where he counters the opponent knocking them down with a flaming kick then he stomps the opponent on the chest. If enhanced immediately after the stomp hits, he will do a second stomp, which is part of a Brutality requirement.
    • The enhanced version in MKII, is called Burning Parry. If Liu Kang is struck, he will connect with an uppercut.
  • Bicycle Kick: Liu Kang flies across the screen with a series of multiple kicks to the opponent's torso.
    • In MKF, the enhanced version is called Bicycle Steps. Liu Kang's feet become enshrouded by fire, speeding up his kicks and adding an extra 3 kicks.
    • In MKII, the enhanced version is called Bicycle Flurry. Liu Kang will add four additional hits for a little more damage and is armored while performing it. In the Dragon's Fire variation, the Bicycle Kick can also be enhanced at any point to interrupt the series of kicks and make Liu Kang stomp his opponent in the head, bouncing them on the ground and allowing for a juggle.
    • This ability can also be used by Shujinko and the player's created Kombatant.
  • Dragon's Tail: Liu Kang does a cartwheel kick on his opponent, similar to his first Mortal Kombat Fatality. Pressing another attack button will allow Liu Kang to follow up with another move that varies depending on the pressed button.

Dragon's Fire Edit

Gains Empowered Dragon Fireballs and Flying Kick. Black, distinctive face paint is added onto his face.

Flame Fist Edit

Gains Dragon Parry, Windmill Punch and Shaolin Flame. Forearm guards are red.

  • Parry: Liu Kang emits flames from his hands and when his opponent attacks the guarding Liu Kang, he disappears and reappears behind his opponent with a flaming punch.
    • The enhanced version in MKII is called Burning Parry. If Liu Kang is struck, he will connect with an uppercut.
  • Windmill Punches: Liu Kang delivers a series of quick punches to his opponent at the height of their chest.
    • The enhanced version knocks the enemy away with a Dragon's Roar at the end.
  • Shaolin Flame: Liu Kang claps his fists together, engulfing them in flames and increasing the damage of his punches and fireballs for some time.

Dualist Edit

Can switch between Light and Dark forms to heal or harm. Headband and belt are grey.

  • Light Metamorphosis: Liu Kang switches to the Light state, in which he gains new moves based on the element of Light.
    • Solar Flare: Liu Kang fires a burst of light at his opponent. This replaces his Fireballs in this state and variation, and so there are also Low Solar Flare and Air Solar Flare. The enhanced versions are larger light bursts that cause more damage and knock the enemy down.
    • Yin: Liu Kang heals himself by standing still and focusing his energy. This lasts as long as the button is held and leaves him vulnerable to enemy attacks because he's unable to block while performing it, but can also be canceled by a dash. However, if the button is simply released and the move is not dash canceled, Liu Kang has additional health replenished.
  • Dark Metamorphosis: Liu Kang switches to the Dark state, in which he gains new moves based on the element of Darkness.
    • Soul Sphere: Liu Kang fires a dark and reddish projectile at his opponent, which will not directly damage him/or her, but can be "frozen" in place at any time and position in the arena by performing Stop Sphere. It will explode some time after being stopped, damaging the opponent if him/her is nearby. This replaces his Fireballs in this state and variation, and so there are also Low Soul Sphere and Air Soul Sphere.
    • Yang: Liu Kang focuses dark energy into his fist, giving charge to the next Soul Sphere to be fired, which increases its damage and reduces the time it takes to explode. The longer the button is held, the more charge the Sphere will receive.

Other Moves Edit

  • Throw: Liu Kang grabs his opponent and delivers a few rapid punches to the chest and two more to the head, another to the chest then he kicks the opponent away.
  • Reverse Throw: Liu Kang grabs his opponent, punches them three times, then climbs on top of them and kicks them in the back of the head,

X-Ray Move Edit

  • Chin Up: Another move based on his first Mortal Kombat Fatality, Liu Kang performs a butterfly kick and uppercut, which damages his opponent's jaw and skull and causes them to fly in the air. As they come back down he kicks them in the face, causing another damaging blow to the jaw and skull.

Finishing Moves Edit

Fatalities Edit

  • Shaolin Soccer: Liu Kang uppercuts his opponent's head off, then does a backflip kick that sends the head flying towards the victim's body, making it explode.
  • Fire Combo: Liu Kang uppercuts the foe and then bicycle kicks him/her then slams down with a flaming fist to the torso.

Brutalities Edit

  • Hot Head: Liu Kang jumps and fires a fireball at the opponent's head, turning it into flaming bones.
  • Dragon's Den: Liu Kang rushes at his opponent and performs an elbow blow at the opponent, blasting their torso off.
  • Tread Lightly: Liu Kang performs a Bicycle Kick and then stomps them on the head, crushing it and sending blood and skull fragments flying. (Dragon's Fire Variation)
  • Kounter Top: Liu Kang parries his opponent and knocks them down, forwarding with three powerful stomps on their chest; the last one leaving a gaping hole in their body and popping their head off. (Flame Fist Variation)
  • Hot Mess: Liu Kang throws a large fireball that burns a gaping, charred hole through their abdomen. (Dualist Variation)
  • Deep Fried: Liu Kang throws his Low Fireball at the opponent, but it completely burns off the skin of their legs and lower torso. (Secret)

Sequences Edit

Battle Intro Edit

Liu Kang swirls his flaming hands around and blows fire. He then says, "Show me what you can do." (In his Zombie skin, Liu Kang's right hand pops out from the ground and so does his left hand and then he pops out fully from the ground. He lands to the floor and roars at his opponent)

Victory Pose Edit

Liu Kang turns into a fire dragon and breathes fire at the screen before turning back to normal. (in his Zombie skin, Liu Kang does the exact same victory pose, only he transforms into a more demonic-looking dragon that breathes green fire)

Endings Edit

  • Mortal Kombat - "Having defeated Shao Kahn, Liu Kang believed he was the only one capable of defending Earthrealm against outside threats. During the invasion Raiden had been more burden than ally. Brazenly he demanded the Elder Gods grant him the thunder god's status. In a one-match Mortal Kombat tournament, Liu Kang defeated his former friend and mentor, except Bo' Rai Cho, who brought hope to trainings. Liu Kang's request was granted. He was made a god, the new Protector of Earthrealm."

Trivia Edit

  • Liu Kang is the longest running protagonist in franchise history, playing the hero for an entire decade. However, in recent years, he has been written into increasingly-antagonistic roles, starting as a monstrous zombie beginning in Mortal Kombat Deception, resulting in his accidental death at Raiden's hands. Throughout Mortal Kombat Future, though he is an unwillingly evil revenant, his behavior portrays him as a self-centered, taunting and vengeful warrior, while his human form in the game's Arcade mode portrays him as jaded and self-aggrandizing. 
  • Liu Kang retains all of his special moves from Mortal Kombat into Mortal Kombat (2011).
  • Liu Kang is uniquely playable in all 5 Mortal Kombat Arcade games: MKMKIIMK3UMK3 & MK4.
  • Liu Kang is the default choice for player 1 in MKII and the default choice for player 2 in MK3. In both games, the opposing default character is a reptile-themed villain (Reptile and Shang Tsung respectively.)
  • The original Mortal Kombat was the only game that portrayed Liu Kang without his red bandana, arm gauntlets, or red & black pants.
  • Contrary to his ending in MK Armageddon, Liu Kang cannot relieve Raiden as Protector of Earthrealm in the original timeline as Fujin has held that position since the final moments of the Mortal Kombat 4/Gold storyline. The concept of Liu Kang ascending to godhood is perpetuated in Shang Tsung's ending, and his own, with varied results in MK 2011.
  • Liu Kang was originally going to be called Yoshitsune Minamoto, a historical character based on a famous Japanese clan but John Tobias stated that they could not deal with the name.
  • Ho Sung Pak, who played Liu Kang in the first two games, also portrayed Shang Tsung in the first game as well. He did not reprise his role in MK3 along with other actors from MK & MK II. He was replaced by Eddie Wong.
  • The wrestler Human Tornado uses a move he calls the Liu Kang Kick in homage to the character.
  • Liu Kang was intended to be a “surprise/secret” character during Mortal Kombat: Deception, being one of the most difficult to find/unlock during Konquest because the creators intended to cause a shock to the fans of the series by having their hero resurrected in such a corrupted way. This even lead them not to release an official high resolution render of the character (to avoid any leaks).
  • Liu Kang's MKII Dragon Bite Fatality resembled the Mortal Kombat dragon logo. It became his Animality in MK3UMK3, and MK Trilogy, then returned as a Fatality in MK4/MK Gold.
  • Liu Kang's ending in MK vs DCU showed him becoming a Mortal Kombat version of Captain Marvel. The words used to transform were screamed in the opening theme of the first live-action film - "MORTAL KOMBAT!".
  • Liu Kang is unique in that he has his own voice files in each game he has appeared in, which consist of 'kiai', a shouting technique that serves to maximize the force of the user's attacks.
  • Liu Kang's dialogue speaking voice was changed from a regular American voice in Shaolin Monks to a more East Asian inspired accent in MK vs DCU.
  • Liu Kang is in several "Top 10" lists hosted by His zombie form was placed at #9 of the worst characters in the Mortal Kombat series due to his late accessibility (needing to clear MK:D's Konquest Mode) as well as his zombie status; and both his Dragon Bite and Deadly Uppercut Fatalities were both placed at #2 of the best and worst Fatalities in the Mortal Kombat series respectively.