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Raiden is a secondary protagonist and playable character from the video game franchise Mortal Kombat. Raiden made his debut as one of the few original characters in the first Mortal Kombat game. He holds the distinction along with Scorpion and Sub-Zero, in one form or another, of appearing in every generation of Mortal Kombat games as a playable character.
He is a central character throughout his appearances, often serving as the deuteragonist of the franchise behind Liu Kang. He was portrayed by Richard Epcar.
Why He’s The God of Thunder
- Raiden is a well-written portrayal of several Asian gods of thunder. He is seen as the video game equivalent of Marvel Comics’ Thor.
- Raiden is the eternal God of Thunder and protector of Earthrealm. Being a god, he possesses many supernatural abilities and an outlook on life radically different from that of mere mortals.
- Richard Epcar and Christopher Lambert did an excellent job portraying Raiden in the games and 1995 film, respectively. Lambert returned to voice him for a DLC skin in MK11.
- Raiden is a mentor figure for Liu Kang, Johnny Cage and Sonya Blade. He is considered to be a memorable video game mentor figure.
- Raiden had iconic quotes such as “Thunder take you!”, “I must consult with the Elder Gods” and his gibberish while doing the Electric Fly move.
- His fatalities and brutalities are disturbing yet impressive to look at.
- As the focal character for most games set in the rebooted timeline, Raiden gets arguably the most nuanced development out of all the classic characters. His outward demeanour as a wise, benevolent and invincible god is undermined by his critical moments of indecisiveness, intense regret over his failure to protect his allies, and his growing cynicism and resentment towards the Elder Gods whom he once obeyed unquestioningly.
- This proves that, beneath the surface, he is as flawed as any mortal. While he struggles with his faith, his staunch determination to find "he who must win" and prevent Armageddon is what allows him to save the world, albeit at great personal cost.
- He begins to see the Elder Gods with disgust after their refusal to intervene on behalf of Earthrealm to stop Shao Kahn's and Shinnok's invasions of Earthrealm.
- Even though he is the protector-god of Earthrealm and a father-figure for Liu Kang and Kung Lao, his desperate efforts to reboot the timeline leads to a chain of events that not only would lead to the deaths of many of his champions (especially Liu Kang) but culminates in his own Face–Heel Turn at the end of X.
- His guilt complex carries over to Mortal Kombat X, where he is still distraught over the loss of Liu Kang, and is unable to restore the remaining revenants because of Scopion. Ultimately it takes an emotional toll on him, where he has to deal with Shinnok's attempted invasion of Earthrealm. He finally snaps at the end when he decides that he will take a more aggressive approach to defending Earthrealm, becoming Dark Raiden in the process.
- In Mortal Kombat 9, his actions and attempts to change the future end up with very drastic consequences:
- He saves Smoke from being captured and cyberized by the Lin Kuei, which leads to the Lin Kuei capturing and cyberizing the second Sub-Zero instead, as well as the Lin Kuei swearing loyalty to Shao Kahn.
- Then, he encourages Kung Lao to fight Kintaro instead of Liu Kang. Immediately after Kung Lao wins, Shao Kahn snaps his neck from behind, killing him.
- Finally, he rams Motaro through a bridge to stop him from killing Johnny Cage, killing him. At this point, Shao Kahn stops fooling around and sacrifices Shang Tsung to empower Sindel, who kills nearly all of Raiden's warriors.
- His Dark Raiden form in Mortal Kombat 11 was a wasted potential due to being erased from history earlier on, but bringing a younger version of him from the past due to his being immortal. It doesn’t help that his form appeared in tons of advertising and misled people into thinking he’s the main antagonist but not Kronika.
- Some Injustice fans may not like him as a guest character in the second game because Sub-Zero was already a guest character in the same game. Luckily, he comes with a Black Lightning premier skin.
- “I must consult with the Elder Gods” became a meme among Mortal Kombat players.