Shao Kahn

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Shao Kahn originally served as an advisor to Onaga when the latter ruled Outworld as the Dragon King. Onaga's Empire had become the most powerful in the realms and so he began searching for a way to become immortal. Before his goal could be realized, Shao Kahn made his move by poisoning Onaga and taking his kingdom. Leading whatever troops that remained loyal to the Dragon King, Kahn continued many of the former emperor's plans. He continued to add lesser realms to Outworld, either through direct conquest or through Mortal Kombat.

A milestone in his military victories was the merging of Edenia with Outworld. After his warriors had won in Mortal Kombat, Kahn invaded the realm. On the battlefield, Kahn killed King Jerrod, and took Queen Sindel as his wife, raising her daughter, Princess Kitana, as his own. He had the young princess trained as his personal guard and as an assassin. Sindel took her own life in an attempt to escape subservience to the Emperor. Unwilling to be denied, Kahn held her soul in Outworld, stopping her transition to the afterlife.

Many years later, Kahn chose Earthrealm as his next conquest. He sent Shang Tsung and eventually Goro to Earthrealm to prepare it for an invasion in the event of Goro maintaining his position of champion. A turning point came when Prince Goro defeated the Great Kung Lao and started a winning streak that would last for 500 years. Shang Tsung, a shapeshifter, supervised the tournament. The tenth Mortal Kombat however, saw the defeat of both Goro and Shang Tsung by a Shaolin monk, Liu Kang, ruining five hundred years of Tsung's investment. Shang Tsung begged Shao Kahn for his life, and came up with a plan to lure Earth's chosen warriors to Outworld for a second tournament. Shao Kahn spared Tsung's life and restored his youth. If Earthrealm's champions could be killed, they would not be able to cause further damage to Kahn's plans. With the captured Kano and Sonya Blade as bait, and enraging Liu Kang by sending Baraka and his troops to destroy the Shaolin temples, they confidently waited for the Earth warriors to fall into the trap. Despite Kahn's vast power, Liu Kang's determination saw him through, and he defeated the despot. Unwilling to accept defeat, Kahn called his armies to destroy the Earthrealm warriors. They fled back to Earthrealm, out of Kahn's clutches.

By this time, Shang Tsung was able to resurrect Queen Sindel in Earthrealm, and Kahn would be able to cross the border to claim her. Kahn had Tsung proceed, and once he invaded Earthrealm, he began to merge it with his own realm of Outworld. Nearly every living being in Earthrealm had their souls ripped from their bodies by Kahn, claiming them as his own. Kahn's day finally seemed to have come. Kahn sent extermination squads to hunt them down and kill the remaining survivors, but Lord Raiden had protected the souls of a handful of warriors. It would be their task to try to stop Kahn, and return Earthrealm to its normal state. In the ensuing fights, Kahn was confronted by Kung Lao, another Shaolin monk and descendant of the warrior Goro defeated to become champion of Mortal Kombat, but Kahn crushed him. It was Liu Kang who again managed to defeat Kahn. Worn down from the battle, Kahn recalled his squads and retreated back to Outworld. This stopped the merger with Outworld, and restored Earthrealm to its original status. To make matters worse for Kahn, many of his loyal soldiers had abandoned him, and Kitana had succeeded in turning Sindel to her side, restoring Edenia as an independent realm.

The emperor was now greatly weakened, and would remain so for a period of several years, remaining inactive during Shinnok's war against the gods. The Edenians had in the meantime made peace and military treaties with the Shokan, on whom Kahn had always heavily relied, and were ready to attack Outworld a few years later. It was only through his new commander Kano's ingenuity, and the stealth of his unreliable assassin Noob Saibot (who critically wounded Goro) was Kahn able to save the day (in a manner of speaking) and force the Edenian army into a draw. Soon afterwards, the sorcerers Quan Chi and Shang Tsung entered his throne room, and swore false allegiance to the emperor. Quan Chi and Shang Tsung caught Shao Kahn off guard and seemingly killed him. This would appear to be the demise of the mighty Kahn. In the GameCube version of Mortal Kombat: Deception it is revealed that Kahn did not die, and that it was a clone that Quan Chi and Shang Tsung killed. The real Kahn appeared to the wounded Goro and, using what little power he had left, revived him, thus gaining Goro and the Shokan as allies once again.

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Mortal Kombat 2

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Mortal Kombat 3, Mortal Kombat 3 Ultimate, Mortal Kombat Trilogy, Mortal Kombat: Deception (Gamecube), Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, Mortal Kombat Vs. DC Universe, Mortal Kombat 9, Mortal Kombat 11

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Page Updated:  July 24th, 2023

Shao Kahn was a very convincing villain & boss in MK2 ( and after). In those early games, he was a really difficult boss to beat... as any proper fighting game boss should be. ;) Kahn is reminiscent of a barbarian as far as appearance goes, and his armor & helmet design was always solid and memorable. After his reign in MK3, surprisingly he was absent from the series for quite a while and didn't make a proper return until MK: Armageddon (or MK: Deception on Gamecube). Unfortunately, his rendering in those games 3D games was terrible and didn't do justice for his big return. 

Thankfully, the MK team eventually hired some better artists (with that Warner Bros money) and Shao Kahn's return in MK9 as the final boss faired much better. The fact that his original taunts and mannerisms are still intact is pretty awesome. That said, Shao Kahn's badass MK11 rendition is even better and easily his best appearance to date.

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