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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. His name is also spelled "Rayden".

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 Liu 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 process.

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 Kung 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 Shinnok's plans.
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Mortal Kombat

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Mortal Kombat 2, Mortal Kombat 4, Mortal Kombat Gold, Mortal Kombat Trilogy, Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance, Mortal Kombat: Deception, Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, Mortal Kombat Vs. DC Universe, Mortal Kombat 9, Mortal Kombat X, Mortal Kombat 11, Mortal Kombat 1, Injustice 2


Page Updated:  May 19th, 2024

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. That said, MK3 & UMK3 felt incomplete without him. I s'pose that's why he had a starring role once again in MK4.  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 likely based off of a similar looking character in the film, Big Trouble in Little China. In my opinion, he's bit overrated as a fighting game character, but he is 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 and MKX incarnations were well done. Even so, his personality and moveset kinda bores me. You can only shoot so many lightning bolts and spam so many superman dives until Raiden gets a bit stale. But he's that type of character I guess, he stays true to his roots at least.

Fighting  Style  /  Moveset
Personality  /  Charisma
Outfit(s)  /  Appearance
Effectiveness  in  series
Overall Score


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