Screenshot by Netherrealm Studios

Mortal Kombat 1: September 13 Kombat Kast Details Shang Tsung, Reiko

NetherRealm Studios provides more details on Shang Tsung and Reiko ahead of MK1's launch.

The Kombat Kast team went live on September 13 for their fourth official livestream, which will also be the last one before Mortal Kombat 1 goes live into Early Access. This Kast featured extended gameplay breakdowns for both Reiko and Shang Tsung, as well as a long look at the brand-new Invasion mode.

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Mortal Kombat 1 September 13 Kombat Kast Details Shang Tsung, Reiko

How Reiko Plays in MK1

Reiko is one of the more obscure returning characters for MK1. He originally appeared in 1997’s Mortal Kombat 4, where he had little story to speak of. Later games clarified that he was a warlord from Outworld who’d served both Shao Kahn and Shinnok. Reiko returned in the second timeline to be one of the antagonists in the Mortal Kombat X weekly digital comic.

Now, in MK1, he’s once again a high-ranking officer in Shao’s army. Reiko is one of the designated grapplers in the cast, with long-range normals, several command grabs, and his trademark MK4 throwing stars for a projectile.

In addition, Reiko has access to a parry, which lets him counter a ground attack with a facebuster throw. His Fatal Blow, which made its debut alongside Reiko himself in the MK1 launch trailer, is ordinarily a grab, but if you hold up along with its normal inputs, it turns into an air throw.

Related: MK1 Banished Trailer Reveals Havik, Ashrah, and Reptile

Image via Netherrealm Studios

How Shang Tsung Plays in MK1

As shown in the first few minutes of story mode, Shang Tsung is a very different character in the New Era. He’s still a sorcerer but now couples that with knowledge of poisons, potions, and alchemy. Shang comes equipped with a set of retractable claws, which provide his normal attacks with a bit of speed and range.

Shang’s defining mechanic in MK1 may be his ability to switch between his young and old variations, which also alters many of his combo strings and special attacks. Young Shang is faster and more physical, while Old Shang is more willing to let his potions do some of the work. Changing from one to the other is fast, can be done in the air or in mid-combo, and comes out too quickly to be punished.

For example, Shang can still throw up to three flaming skulls. When he’s young, the skulls fly horizontally as a classic projectile; when he’s old, the skulls appear directly beneath his opponent. Young Shang can create a bed of spikes as an anti-air attack, but when he’s old, the same input makes him pull out an injector full of poison and try to hit his opponent with it.

Naturally, Shang can still change into his opponent as he has since MK9, which lets him use his opponent’s entire list of moves for the next few seconds.

That’s what we know about Shang Tsung and Reiko from MK1’s last Kombat Kast before release. As we warm up for the game’s launch, stay tuned for more.

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Thomas Wilde
Survival horror enthusiast. Veteran of the print era. Comic book nerd.