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Mortal Kombat's original hidden characters like Reptile were such a secret not even John Tobias knew about them, who believes they were a prank on him

He'll never actually know if all of the secrets in the first games have actually been discovered or not

Posted by Dakota 'DarkHorse' Hills • May 2, 2021 at 8:19 p.m. PDT • Comments: 4

Back in the early '90s, chatter began to quickly spread around the arcades between Mortal Kombat fans about the existence of green and gray ninjas, which sparked a flood of rumors, half-truths and fabrications surrounding just how many secrets were hidden in the popular fighting game.

Many players probably believed Easter eggs like Reptile and other characters' appearances were planned out as neat secrets for them to discover by the development team as a whole, but apparently they were so confidential that not even one of the Mortal Kombat creators knew about most of them.

Series Co-creator John Tobias was recently asked by a fan on Twitter about who came up with the idea to have Smoke and Jade sometimes poke out of the Living Forest stage, which got the former MK boss to open up a ton on the topic of hidden fighters in general.

"Funny thing is, I just realized that Smoke/Jade as secret characters in [Mortal Kombat 2] may have been part of an elaborate joke on me by [Ed Boon]," responded Tobias in the first of a long series of tweets to follow.

Going all of the way back to the original Mortal Kombat's development, Reptile's inclusion as a secret fight in the arcade ladder came as even a surprise to Tobias, who claims he first found out about the green-tinted ninja after players discovered how to reach him.

This apparently led to Tobias confronting Boon on the matter to ask him not to put in any more big Easter eggs into the games without telling him first, but the other MK co-creator may have seen that as the perfect opportunity to mess with his friend even more.

When the sequel began its production, Tobias was actually involved with the creation of Smoke and Jade though once again he says he didn't know they were made playable fights again.

That was apparently just the tip of the iceberg, however, when rumors began circulating about a third secret character that no one had knowledge of except for Boon — Noob Saibot.

"Not only had Ed snuck a third secret character into MK2 behind our backs, it felt like he was poking fun at me by naming it Noob Saibot," wrote Tobias. "It was like... 'Hey John, I got your secret character right here.'"

He believes Jade and Smoke were only a ruse to the team so that Boon could slip in Noob under everyone's noses, and after he managed to pull that off, Tobias changed his tune a bit.

"I created backstories for the secret characters when we made them playable in later games," said the co-creator. "At some point I gave Ed a rainbow assortment of color palettes for him to go to town adding secret characters. I don’t know what he did w them and I didn’t want to know..."

On the question of whether or not he thinks all of the secrets in the early Mortal Kombat games have been found now, Tobias says his answer is a "semi-confidant 'yes?'" though only Boon may truly know about that.

The tradition of putting secrets beyond just Fatality codes into Mortal Kombat games would continue on to the modern day with MK11, which includes some classic-styled mysteries that took months for players to solve.

Perhaps one of the coolest of them all in the newest entry is the secret of the meteor in the Towers of Time mode that was eventually cracked by using an old cheat code from the original Mortal Kombat on the Sega Genesis.

Tobias didn't participate in the inclusion of later secrets and Easter eggs, as he and other developers left Midway in 1999 though apparently he didn't have too much to do with a lot of them anyway.

In the original MK title, Reptile could be battled by completing a Double Flawless Victory on the pit stage, finishing with a Fatality without ever blocking.

Smoke would similarly appear in Mortal Kombat 2 after a player successfully made game designer Dan Forden's head appear with the "Toasty" Easter egg on the portal stage by holding down and pressing start before he disappeared, so he was a bit harder to find.

Jade wasn't as difficult though considering she required someone to win one round using only low kicks without blocking before the "?" stage.

Getting the chance to fight Noob Saibot would take significantly more time to accomplish, as 50 consecutive wins need to be reached before he'd show up to take your quarters.

Learning about all of this now makes me wish that I was old enough at the time to participate in the searches for every finisher and hidden character, but it's still cool to learn more about as one of the most interesting eras in video games.

Tobias previously gave fans an explanation as to why Johnny Cage was originally killed off in Mortal Kombat 3 that doesn't have to do with the story or actor.

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