Mortal Kombat II (1993)
Console of origin
Sub-Zero (絶対零度), also known as Kuai Liang (奎良), and formerly known as Tundra, is a Lin Kuei assassin in the Mortal Kombat fighting game series and one of the few original characters. He is the younger brother of Noob Saibot, who was the original Sub-Zero in the first Mortal Kombat game. The younger Sub-Zero made his debut in Mortal Kombat II.
Sub-Zero is one of the most popular characters in the Mortal Kombat series. In one form or another, Sub-Zero has appeared in every generation of Mortal Kombat games as a playable character.
Sub-Zero dresses in the familiar blue-garbed ninja-like uniform. Originally, Sub-Zero was depicted with Asian
facial features as revealed in the ending when unmasked, due to a Chinese-American heritage.
Around Mortal Kombat 3, Sub-Zero was given a scar over his right eye to help differentiate himself from his older brother. Sub-Zero was the first ninja-like character in the series to go on without a mask and wore a less-concealing version of his outfit. In MK4 he wore the traditional uniform his brother wore, but again wears an updated version of his MK3 outfit in Deadly Alliance featuring Chinese characters. His alternate costume from Deadly Alliance and beyond is more of a stream-lined version of his original costume featuring the Dragon Medallion on the right side of his chest. In Deception, Sub-Zero dons an ancient armor once worn by his Cryomancer ancestors.
Interestingly, Sub-Zero is one of the few characters in the series to show signs of natural aging. Around Deadly Alliance, he is depicted with slight wrinkles and graying hair, which has begun to bald around the time of Deception. His scar also changes blue, and eventually fades from his face entirely.
In sporadic appearances beginning with MK4, Sub-Zero bears a flexible ice sheet on his forearms, a sign of his growing power of cryomancy.
Sub-Zero is one of the most popular characters in the Mortal Kombat series along with his arch-nemesis, Scorpion. There are in fact two incarnations of Sub-Zero, and they are siblings: the older brother Bi-Han and younger brother Kuai Liang. Both are blue garbed warriors that have served the Lin Kuei. Both descended from Cryomancers, an Outworld race possessing the ability to generate and control the powers of ice. However, they were born in Earthrealm and only the younger Sub-Zero would discover his heritage. Kuai Liang bears a scar on his right eye which he received between the events of MK3. However, as seen in Deception, the scar has faded away. This may have been caused by the Dragon Medallion's power.
In their biography, both Sub-Zero brothers were sons of a Chinese Cryomancer father and a human mother. It is known that the father of both brothers was a secret operative for the Lin Kuei in the United States. He married an American woman and together they had two sons. Against the will of their mother, the father took the sons with him to move back to China, and as such both brothers were trained as Lin Kuei assassins. This was later retconned as both brothers being kidnapped by the Lin Kuei (this was revealed in Sub-Zero's trailer in Mortal Kombat 2011).
Bi-Han appeared as Sub-Zero in the first Mortal Kombat, while Kuai Liang went by the codename "Tundra". After Bi-Han was murdered by Scorpion during the tournament, Kuai Liang swore revenge. He mastered the art of Ice and Cold, and took his brother's former code name: Sub-Zero. Driven by anger, Kuai Liang entered The Mortal Kombat Tournament with one goal: To destroy his brother's killer, and anyone else that gets in the way.
Kuai Liang replaced him as Sub Zero for the rest of the games - Bi Han later was resurrected by Quan Chi and became the undead Netherrealm wraith Noob Saibot. The younger Sub-Zero clearly shares many traits with his older brother, and was perhaps too similar to his brother upon his introduction. Like the elder, the younger Sub-Zero gives the impression of being a stern, distant and cold man who goes about his business silently, without attracting unwanted attention. However, as time progressed, Sub-Zero evolved - from what fans labeled a "carbon copy" of his brother - into a man of great integrity and self-discipline. The disparities between the brothers, who were once neutral and almost indistinct from each other, have now grown so large that one could speak of the evil twin syndrome.
While the younger Sub-Zero was depicted as a young Lin Kuei warrior who was living in the shadow of his older brother, he has since changed and grown into a warrior who has progressed towards the more humane sides of moral issues. This change in characteristics has not only strengthened him as a man, but has also set him apart from his former Lin Kuei counterparts. This included leaving his clan in disgust and breaking the sacred codes of honor, joining the rebellion against Shao Kahn and assisting Raiden and Liu Kang (along with Earthrealm's other chosen warriors). More recently, he defeated the cyborg assassin known as Sektor after the events of Mortal Kombat Gold to gain the leadership of the Lin Kuei and become the Grandmaster, where he has grown even stronger and more powerful. He is a dependable ally of Earthrealm who is willing to assist when needed, especially when Raiden gives the call. He is without question one of the greatest and most powerful warriors that Earthrealm has to offer. He, like much of the MK cast, also follows a character archetype, in his case the enigmatic hero that shows up to aid the main hero(es) when needed.
Powers and abilities
Having descended from a race of Outworld inhabitants known as Cryomancers, Sub-Zero has the innate ability to control ice in many forms. Throughout the span of the series, Sub-Zero's powers have continued to evolve. Aside from flash-freezing opponents, Sub-Zero also has the ability to instantly conjure up an ice statue of himself to act as both a scapegoat and a 'landmine' of sorts as any who touch it instantly flash freeze. Since having taken possession of the Dragon Medallion, the scope of Sub-Zero's powers and abilities has increased significantly. As a member of the Lin Kuei, Sub-Zero has attained a great degree of skill in many forms of hand-to-hand combat. The Dragon Medallion and his ancestral armor increased and amplified his martial arts and ice-related abilities, as shown in his Deception Arcade ending. Throughout the Mortal Kombat series, Sub-Zero's abilities have grown more powerful; he can even transform his body into a liquefied state, solid state or transform his body into solid ice at will. Raiden has commented that Sub-Zero is more powerful than his brother.
- Ice Blast: Sub-Zero sends a blast of ice directly towards the opponent to temporarily freeze them in place for a free hit. He could also freeze opponents in midair, if timed correctly. In the earlier Mortal Kombat games, if Sub-Zero were to freeze the opponent twice, the second ice ball would defrost the opponent and freeze Sub-Zero, setting him up for a free hit. Like Scorpion's Spear, it has had different depictions. In MK, it is depicted as frozen liquid while in MKII to MKT, it is depicted a series of ice shards; From MK4 onward it is an energy blast of ice condensed into a spherical form, but in Armageddon, it is depicted as a strong beam of energy. In Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks, the Ice Freeze can also perform a small bit of damage, even to enemies who are immune to being frozen by the move. In MK 2011 this is called Iceball. (MKII, MK3, UMK3, MKT, MK4, MKG, MK:DA, MK:D, MK:U, MK:SM, MK:A, MKvsDCU, MK 2011)
- The enhanced version is called Ice Beam. Instead of a single ball of ice, Sub-Zero will shoot a beam of ice, making it easier to hit opponents in the air. The opponent is also frozen for a longer amount of time.
- Slide: Sub-Zero slides across the floor, knocking the opponent off their feet. It is assumed Sub-Zero slides by freezing the soles of his feet. This move was later given to Frost. In Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks, Sub-Zero can perform an uppercut or throw a snowball-like projectile after executing the Slide. In MK 2011, he leaves a trail of ice behind. (MKII, MK3, UMK3, MKT, MK4, MKG, MK:SM, MK:DA, MKvsDCU, MK 2011)
- The enhanced version is called Power Slide. After Sub-Zero hits the opponent, he will follow up with an additional attack (twin palms).
- Ground Ice: Sub-Zero freezes the floor and whoever steps on the circle of ice will temporarily slip all over the place, setting the opponent up for a free hit. Since it aims for the opponent's feet, it cannot be blocked. This move was also later adapted for Frost. In Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks, the Ground Ice maneuver can be upgraded to allow Sub-Zero to freeze the ground around him in a radius affecting multiple enemies or even create chunks of ice to pop opponents into the air. In MK (2011), the opponent is frozen to the ground, and the move is called Ice Puddle. (MKII, MK:SM, MK 2011)
- The enhanced version is called Ground Freeze and it freezes the entire arena floor that is in front of him.
- Ice Clone: Sub-Zero creates an ice clone of himself anywhere he chooses, and anyone who touches it will freeze. (MK3, UMK3, MKT, MK4, MKG, MK:D, MK:U, MK:A, MK 2011)
- The enhanced version is called Ice Statue. The clone will stay for a longer period of time.
- Ice Shaker: Sub-Zero emits a wave of cold air from his body freezing anyone or anything near him. (MK:DA)
- Ice Shower: Sub-Zero shoots ice straight overhead which falls back down atop his opponent. He can shoot it close, mid way, or far away to freeze the opponent. In Armageddon, it is known as Ice Pillar and instead of falling on the opponent, the ice comes up underneath them like a frozen geyser, freezing and suspending them in the air. (MK3, UMK3, MKT, MK:A)
- Cold Shoulder: Sub-Zero rushes the opponent with his shoulder, leaving a trail of ice behind him on the ground. This is the replacement of his Ice Slide in these games. (MK:DA, MK:D, MK:U, MK:A)
- Tombstone Teleport: Sub-Zero's body becomes ice, falls backward into the ground, and reappears behind his opponent. (MKvsDCU)
- Icy Counter: Sub-Zero quickly covers himself in a sheet of ice. If an opponent attacks him physically whilst in this state, they will automatically be flash-frozen as Sub-Zero disappears and reappears behind the opponent with his Kori Blade in hand to strike them down. A low or sweep attack from the opponent does not trigger this ability. (MKvsDCU)
- Ice Nugget: Sub-Zero makes a nugget out of ice above his opponent, which comes crashing down onto the opponent. It is unblockable. (MKvsDCU)
- X-Ray Move - Deep Freeze: Sub-Zero charges at the opponent with a cold shoulder then punches into the stomach, freezing the opponent's liver inside their abdomen and crushes it. He then headbutt his opponent, breaking their skull. This can be delayed. (MK 2011)
- Free-Fall Super Move: Sub-Zero freezes his opponent solid, before slamming them to the ground with a powerful axe-handle punch, shattering their icy restraint in the process. (MKvsDCU)
- Icy Skateboard: Sub-Zero freezes his opponent and skateboards with the frozen opponent's body. (MK:DA)
- Suplex Throw: Sub-Zero grabs his foe, proceeds to roll backwards, brings up a leg as in a monkey flip and launches the foe halfway across the area. He then does a kip-up. Almost all male ninjas share the Suplex Throw pre-MK4. (MKII)
- Snowball Grenade: Sub-Zero creates a small orb of ice and launches it at the opponent. It lodges within their chest and detonates, causing them to explode from within. In MK:SM, Sub-Zero freezes the opponent first, and then launches a snowball that causes the opponent to explode. (MKII, MK:SM)
- Ice Shatter: Sub-Zero deep-freezes his opponent, then uppercuts their upper body, shattering it in the process. (MKII, MK4, MKG, MK:SM)
- Overhead Ice Smash: Sub-Zero grabs the opponent and presses them over his head. After freezing the opponent, Sub-Zero breaks them into pieces with his own hands. In MKvsDCU, it is called Freeze Slam and Sub-Zero throws the opponent on the ground, shattering them. (MK3, UMK3, MKvsDCU)
- Frosty!: Sub-Zero breathes icy breath at his opponent, who falls back and shatters upon contact with the floor. (MK3, UMK3)
- Spine Rip: Sub-Zero grabs the opponent's neck, and tears out their spine and skull. This Fatality was taken directly from his older brother. This was later used as a finisher in Armageddon. (MK4, MKG, MK:SM, MK 2011)
- In MK (2011), this Fatality is unlocked via a DLC code. Sub-Zero can use this in any costume.
- Skeleton Rip: Sub-Zero rips the whole skeleton out of his opponent's body, pulling it from the spine. (MK:DA)
- Freeze and Throw: Sub-Zero does the first part of the Deep Freeze Uppercut, only now he rips the head off, slides away, then throws the head at the opponent, shattering the body and head. (MK:D)
- Below Freezing: Sub-Zero freezes the legs of his foe and shatters them, then stomps on his opponents body causing their head to explode. (MK:D)
- Freeze Kick: Sub-Zero freezes his opponent and kicks them. The opponent is smashed to pieces after the kick. (MKvsDCU)
- Have an Ice Day: Sub-Zero freezes his opponent from the feet up to the waist. He then rips the opponent's torso off. (MK 2011)
- Spinal Smash: Sub-Zero rips the opponent's spine and skull out through his/her chest. He then freezes the opponent's body and smashes it with the spine. (MK 2011)
- Friendship #1: Sub-Zero takes out a Sub-Zero doll and text appears onscreen saying "Buy a Sub-Zero Doll." (MKII)
- Friendship #2: Sub-Zero covers himself up with a snowman. (MK3, UMK3, MKT)
- Animality: Sub-Zero turns into a polar bear and mauls his opponent. (MK3, UMK3, MKT)
- Multality: Ice Stomp: Sub-Zero leaps up and comes back down, stomps on the ground and then freezes and shatters all opponents. (MK:SM)
- Brutality: Frostbite Rage: Sub-Zero covers himself up in ice, sliding toward the opponent, mercilessly pounding them until they shatter. (MK:SM)
- Hara-Kiri: Meltdown: Sub-Zero covers himself with ice, falls over and shatters, leaving him as a mess of ice and bones. (MK:D)
- Babality: Sub-Zero urinates on the floor and accidentally freezes it with his feet, making him slip and hit his head on the ground, causing him to cry. (MK 2011)