Ninjas have been a mainstay of the Mortal Kombat universe ever since the introduction of iconic characters Sub-Zero and Scorpion in the first game in the series. From these humble beginnings, the number of ostensibly stealthy – yet inexplicably brightly-attired – warriors taking part in the franchise’s various tournaments has ballooned dramatically.
At first, the rationale for the rapid increase in ninjas featured in Mortal Kombat was purely a technical concern. Thanks to the limited amount of memory space available on video game cartridges (remember those?), the easiest way to add more fighters was to swap the colour palette of a masked character.
But even as technological advancements rendered storage space effectively a non-issue, the ninja aesthetic had become so ingrained in the Mortal Kombat mythology that more continued to be added. After all, who doesn’t love ninjas?
As you’d expect with this many shadowy assassins all populating the same fictional world, some stand out more than others – and the cream of the Mortal Kombat ninja crop all boast the best fighting moves, most gruesome finishing moves, coolest visuals and deepest backstories.
In a tip of the hat to Mortal Kombat‘s spirit of (brutal) competition, here’s Every Mortal Kombat ninja ranked from best to worst.