Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks (2005)

by Nish
6 minutes read


Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks: A Deeper Dive into the Martial Arts Masterpiece

Released in 2005, Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks is a 3D platforming adventure beat-em-up that takes players on a journey through the Mortal Kombat universe as two of its most iconic characters, Liu Kang and Kung Lao. The game combines the fast-paced combat and signature moves of the Mortal Kombat fighting games with the exploration and puzzle-solving of a 3D platformer.


Shaolin Monks introduces several new gameplay elements to the Mortal Kombat franchise, including:

  • Multi-Directional Kombat System: This system allows players to move and attack in any direction, giving them more freedom and flexibility in combat.
  • Multalities: These are special moves that allow players to kill multiple enemies with a single attack.
  • Brutalities: These are ultra-violent finishing moves that can only be performed when the player’s health is low.
  • Ko-op Team Attacks: Players can team up with a friend to perform special co-op attacks that deal devastating damage.
  • Character Progression: Players can earn experience points by defeating enemies, which can be used to upgrade their characters’ moves and abilities.

The game also features a variety of environmental hazards that players can use to their advantage, such as spikes, traps, and lava pits.


The story of Shaolin Monks takes place before the events of the first Mortal Kombat tournament. Liu Kang and Kung Lao, two young Shaolin monks, are tasked with investigating a series of attacks on their temple. Their investigation leads them to Shang Tsung’s island, where they must fight their way through hordes of enemies to confront the evil sorcerer.

Along the way, Liu Kang and Kung Lao learn more about their own powers and the history of Mortal Kombat. They also encounter a variety of allies and enemies, including Scorpion, Sub-Zero, and Kitana.


Shaolin Monks features a roster of playable characters, each with their own unique fighting styles and abilities:

  • Liu Kang: A Shaolin monk who is the reigning Mortal Kombat champion. He is skilled in a variety of martial arts, including karate, taekwondo, and wing chun.
  • Kung Lao: A Shaolin monk and Liu Kang’s best friend. He is a master of the razor-rimmed hat and is also skilled in a variety of martial arts.
  • Scorpion: A ninja who was once a member of the Shirai Ryu clan. He is now a vengeful spirit who seeks revenge against those who killed his family.
  • Sub-Zero: A ninja who is the leader of the Lin Kuei clan. He is a master of ice and cold-based attacks.
  • Kitana: A princess of Edenia who is the adopted daughter of Shao Kahn. She is a skilled fighter and is also proficient in the use of fans.


Shaolin Monks was developed by Midway Games, the same studio that created the Mortal Kombat fighting games. The game was directed by Ed Boon and John Tobias, who are also the creators of the Mortal Kombat franchise.

Shaolin Monks was a critical and commercial success, selling over 2 million copies worldwide. It was praised for its innovative gameplay, beautiful graphics, and engaging story.


Shaolin Monks is considered to be one of the best Mortal Kombat games ever made. It is also credited with helping to popularize the 3D beat-em-up genre. The game has been re-released on several platforms, including the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC.


Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks is a classic beat-em-up that combines the best of the Mortal Kombat franchise with the exploration and puzzle-solving of a 3D platformer. The game features fast-paced combat, a variety of playable characters, and an engaging story. Whether you’re a fan of Mortal Kombat or beat-em-ups in general, Shaolin Monks is a must-play.

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