When Earthrealm was
young, Raiden was its protector. He fought the rogue Elder God Shinnok,
who wished to overthrow his fellow gods, in a war that threatened to destroy
Earthrealm itself. One of the casualties of the war was the Saurian civilization
(of which Reptile was a member), forcing the remaining survivors to emigrate
to another world, which they named Zaterra.
With the aid of the
Elder gods, Raiden managed to defeat Shinnok
and banished him to the Netherealm and secured the amulet in a secret location -
a Temple of the Elements tucked away in the highest mountains of Nepal.
Raiden charged four gods with guarding the amulet - the gods of Wind (Fujin),
Fire, Earth and Water.
When the elder Sub-Zero
stole Shinnok's amulet from the temple for Quan
Chi millions of years later, Raiden appeared before the Lin Kuei warrior,
and instructed him to enter the Netherealm and steal it back, lest Shinnok
use it to free himself. Raiden could not himself enter as his powers would
dissipate in the Netherealm. Sub-Zero's mission
into the Netherealm was a success and Shinnok was, for the time, no longer
a threat. Though it was later revealed that the sorcerer Quan Chi had given
Shinnok a false amulet, Raiden never realized it, and Quan Chi would remain
in possession of the true amulet for the following years.
Some time later, Shang
Tsung invited many of the warriors of Earthrealm to participate in
Mortal Kombat on his island. Aware of the danger that Shang Tsung and his
tournament poised to the future of Earth, Raiden assumed mortal form and
fought in Mortal Kombat as well. He is also the only one to have witnessed
Sub-Zero's death at the hands of the hellspawn ninja spectre Scorpion.
One year later, after
Kang's triumph in the tournament, Raiden found that he had no choice
but to accept Shang Tsung's challenge of Mortal Kombat in Outworld. However,
again aided by Liu Kang and the warriors of Earthrealm, Raiden prevailed
over Shang Tsung's treachery and Shao Kahn's brutality.
Unknown to him, however,
was the fact the Outworld tournament was only a distraction from another
way to enter Earthrealm: resurrecting Shao Kahn's
queen, Sindel, in Earthrealm to allow him entrance
to the realm in order to reclaim his Queen, and start the invasion in the
Despite Shao Kahn
taking every soul on Earth as his own, Raiden was able to protect the soul
of Liu Kang and other warriors from Earth. At first unable to participate
due to the merger of both realms, after the Elder Gods refused to assist
him Raiden decides to sacrifice his own immortality, turning himself into
a mortal in order to help his chosen warriors against Shao Kahn. In the
end, Raiden and the warriors of Earthrealm were able to defeat Shao Kahn
and his minions in Mortal Kombat, repelling the invasion back into Outworld
and restoring Earth (and his status) to its rightful state.
Some time after the
invasion was driven back into Outworld, Shinnok, with the aid of the vile
sorcerer Quan Chi, again sought to rise from the Netherealm and conquer
the realms. However, this time the war would also be fought by mortals;
with Liu Kang uniting Earth's warriors at the side of the thunder-god,
Raiden's Forces of Light emerged successful. Now granted the status of
Elder God, he turned over his position as Earthrealm's protector to Fujin.
As an Elder God, Raiden
could not interfere when Shang Tsung and Quan Chi killed Liu Kang many
years later. Disgusted at his peers for their refusal to intervene, he
renounced his position as an Elder, gathering his warriors to stop the
Deadly Alliance. This time, disaster struck the heroes. The Earthrealm
warriors Sonya and Cage
were all slain in battle with the Tarkatan horde. Kitana
and Jax was slain by Quan Chi, and
Lao slain by Shang Tsung. In a desperate measure, he confronted Shang
Tsung and Quan Chi in front of the Soulnado. Raiden fought spectacularly,
almost winning. Shang Tsung cheated, however, and struck Raiden with a
soul from the Soulnado, allowing Quan Chi to attack. The two sorcerers
then proceeded to strike him down. Raiden was defeated...
He returned to his
feet when Onaga, the Dragon King,
entered the chamber, and put his differences aside with Tsung and Quan
Chi and helped them as they attacked Onaga. When he saw that their attacks
barely slowed Onaga down, Raiden released his godly essence, in an enormous
explosion. It obliterated the Dragon King's tomb, snuffed out the Soulnado,
and killed both members of the Deadly Alliance, but did little damage to
Onaga. After doing battle with the Deadly Alliance in the ether, Raiden's
essence soon gathered again in the Earthrealm, where he had now become
furious with the way Earthrealm's inhabitants had treated their own realm.
He became even more enraged when he learned that Shujinko
had foolishly unleashed the Dragon King by attaining the Kamidogu of various
realms for him. With that, his patience exhausted, Raiden decided he was
going to take matters into his own hands.
Removing Liu Kang's
body from its grave, Raiden took it to an underground temple that belonged
to an ancient sect of necromancers called the Houan, whom he had destroyed
centuries earlier. Binding Kang's body with enchanted shackles the Houan
had used to control their revived undead, Raiden spoke the enchantments
etched into the temple's walls that revived his former ally, infusing it
with a thunderclap of lightning. The corpse of Liu Kang was now the enforcer
of the Thunder God's will, and Raiden sent it on a mission to wreak havoc
on those he believed did harm to Earthrealm. This caught the attention
of Shinnok, and the former Elder God appeared before Raiden, offering him
an alliance. If Raiden were to assist him in whatever he wanted, Shinnok
would try to ensure the safety of Earthrealm. Raiden was well aware of
Shinnok's deceptive nature, but he accepted his alliance so he could discover
January 20th, 2013
He's everyone's favorite thunder god...
unless you're a big Thor fan, that is.
Raiden made a pretty big impact in MK1 & MK2, and MK3
& UMK3 just felt incomplete without him. I was glad to see him return
in MK: Deadly
Alliance... I thought his "samurai-esk" 2nd player outfit was a
pretty badass redesign of him.
Raiden is an original design in the fighting game world, even
though he's based off of a similar looking character in the film, Big
Trouble in Little China. In
my opinion, he's just a tiny bit overrated as a fighting game character, but he
one of the MK series' most iconic designs. Unlike most MK characters, he hasn't changed much
over the years, which is a good thing (considering what they did to some of the
other characters). Raiden's MK9 incarnation is very well done, and
suiting that the storyline pretty much revolves around him and his
"visions". Even so, his personality kinda bores me, but he's just that
type of character I guess.
Style / Moveset