Many people know that Mortal Kombat was originally supposed to be a game based on Jean-Claude Van Damme - the character of Johnny Cage, the movie star desperate to prove his true martial arts prowess, is a holdover from that plan. But what a lot of people don't know is that the rest of the characters had similar origins. Sonya Blade was based on Cynthia Rothrock, Raiden was the guy from Big Trouble in Little China, Liu Kang was Bruce Lee, and so on. But despite all that early star power, the "hero" of the game, the guy whose story it is, was originally a nobody.
In fighting games, each playable character has their own ending - you beat the last baddie using Character X, you find out what happened to Character X after that. Use Character Y, see his (often contradictory) story, instead. Then, when the sequel rolls around, you find out which of the characters' ending was the true one. Since Mortal Kombat was based loosely on Enter the Dragon, MK2 went forward as if Liu Kang's story was the "right" one. But as more sequels were released, the focus switched to Sub-Zero.
As his name suggests, Sub-Zero has mastered the ability to generate ice, a power he uses to temporarily freeze opponents in their tracks... a chilling thought to even the bravest fighter! Little else is known about this mysterious ninja, except that he has entered the Mortal Kombat tournament to destroy Shang Tsung!
In the first MK, Scorpion's goal was to kill Sub-Zero. And he succeeded, which is why the guy's kid brother replaced him in the follow-up. Though no one knew it at the time, the guy shooting snowballs in MK2 was new. He's since gone on to be one of the more popular and pivotal characters in the series.
To debut their new Mortal Kombat: Deception line of figures, Jazwares created two exclusive offerings based on characters' special moves: Skull Head Scorpion and Cold Snap Sub-Zero.
Sub-Zero is in the same 6" scale as Jazwares' Street Fighter knockoffs and SOTA's figures, which means you can have an inter-company crossover on your shelf, if you don't mind the Kombatants looking a bit duller than the Fighters. Despite that, the figure is quite good and has some impressive detail in both sculpt and paint.
In the original game, Sub-Zero and Scorpion were identical ninjas, color-swapped to save memory, but they've really diversified since then, especially now that Sub-Zero has discovered some sort of ancestral armor. From elbows to knees, this figure has the same basic body as his twin/enemy, but then the details all change.
Sub-Zero's boots are folded over at the top, and the toes curl up slightly, making them look vaguely shirpa-ish. He's got a thick sash around his waist, and the wrap on his torso hangs down nearly to his knees. On each bicep is a plate of armor with an oni face on its surface, and there's a bit of fur across his shoulders. His mask has a criss-crossed pattern, and his helmet features a large, three-pronged crest.
While Scorpion's exclusive figure was based on his finishing move, Cold Snap Sub-Zero can be seen as a representation of his ice clone move: hit down, back and low punch, and Subby creates an icy copy of himself; if his opponent touches it, they're frozen in place, vulnerable to attack. This figure is cast from translucent blue plastic, giving him the same look.
Unlike the Ghost of Lobster Johnson, however, Cold Snap Sub-Zero has a paint app. It's just a simple speckling of white paint, but it covers the entire figure and really looks great. It gives what might otherwise be a flat figure some real sense of dimension.
Sub-Zero has three accessories. First is a translucent blue burst that fits over his fist, to duplicate his ice blast ability. The second is his Kori blade, the ice-formed sword which he wields in Mortal Kombat: Deception, as well as a variant hand to hold it. The final accessory is related to one of his updated finishing moves.
The original Sub-Zero finishing move was the famous one, the one that generated buzz and heated lawmakers' brew before anyone even heard of Hot Coffee - he'd rip off his foe's head, with their spine dangling below it. Violent fun! Then the sequel introduced the Ice Shatter, a two-parter (based on code written for the censored SNES version) in which SZ would freeze his opponent and uppercut them, shattering their upper body. Even better!
MK:D combined these two. Sub-Zero pulls off his enemy's head, then deep-freezes it and the body, at which point he throws the head at the body, shattering them both. Cold Snap Sub-Zero comes with a trans blue copy of Scorpion's head, complete with jagged icy edge where his neck should be. Very nice! Too bad there's no way for Sub-Zero to actually hold the darn thing.
Cold Snap Sub-Zero moves at the neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, waist, hips and knees, which is a bit light for a trained Lin Kuei ninja. Of course, it could be worse; though really, who'd be dumb enough to make statue-type figures of characters in a fighting game? Jazwares is really making some decent figures with this line, but they still have a long way to go before they challenge any of the bigger toy makers.
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