Li Mei was introduced
in Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance as a variant of a well-known archetype
in most fighting games: she is a young woman fighting against a supreme
crime organization or overlord who did her wrong and fights at impossible
odds. She is somewhat of a tragic hero.
Li Mei's village was
forced into slavery to help construct Shang
Tsung's palace around the Soulnado, which had been a long-time legend
of her people. In attacking Kano, however, she
gained the attention of Quan Chi,
who promised her freedom if she could win a tournament. Around this time
she befriended an old warrior among her enslaved villiagers; the supposed
"Champion of the Elder Gods" Shujinko, captured by Kano during his 40 year
quest for the Kamidogu. Shujinko
offered to train her even though he felt that her chances in the Deadly
Alliance's "tournament" were slim. She later journeyed to a nearby forest
were she was attacked by Moloch and Drahmin.
She escaped through the trees as Shang Tsung came and formed an alliance
with the Oni.
In Mortal Kombat:
Deception, Li Mei returned (most of the newly-introduced fighters did not).
Though her ending in Deadly Alliance depicted her winning Quan Chi's tournament,
and "winning" the right to be imprisoned forever in one of the Dragon King's
soldiers' bodies, Deception had Bo'
Rai Cho rescuing her from this fate. However, he was apparently only
partially successful, and Li Mei took on some of the aspects of one of
these ancient warriors. As such, she is far more battle-oriented in this
game, wearing armor, for example.
In Mortal Kombat:
Armageddon's Konquest mode, Li Mei is seen fighting Shinnok
in the Netherealm. She begins to gain the upper hand on him until Taven
(who is unaware that Shinnok turned evil) appears and demands that she
gets away from "Lord Shinnok". Li Mei attempts to attack Taven for interfering,
but is defeated and flees. Shinnok later reveals that this was all created
as a test for Taven, thus making it unclear if this was the real Li Mei.