In the annals of Mortal Kombat history, Stryker stands out not for his prominence but for his successive series of blunders and near-misses. Easily one of the least esteemed characters, he ranks alongside the likes of Darrius, Jarek, Reiko, and Mokap.
While other fighters dazzle with fireballs, fantastical weapons, or magic, Stryker’s pedestrian choices – a gun for his neutral special and a police baton – diminish his appeal. Questions arise: why, in a realm of otherworldly powers, does a simple cop choose to wield grenades? Such disparities surely played a role in his lacklustre reception in Mortal Kombat 3.
Yet, an intriguing fact remains: Stryker was originally slated for the inaugural Mortal Kombat game. Developers, realizing the all-male roster lacked balance, chose to introduce a female character, echoing Street Fighter 2’s success with Chun-Li. Thus, Stryker was shelved in favour of Sonya Blade. It seems intuitive, as omitting an original god character or the Bruce Lee-esque fighter would be blasphemous. Given Sonya’s subsequent success, it was a prudent decision.
But the tale doesn’t end there. Mortal Kombat 2 saw Stryker, intended as Sonia’s superior officer, replaced by Jax. This substitution worked in the game’s favour, with Jax’s grabs and impressive moveset outshining what could’ve been a mundane gun-centric character.
Fast-forward to Mortal Kombat 3, Stryker’s appearance was anticipated. However, his introduction fell flat. His atypical cop attire, perhaps an attempt at modern chic, failed to resonate. Although some fans appreciated Stryker, a significant portion derided or completely ignored him. This animosity saw him absent from several MK sequels, until his inclusion in Armageddon – a game that featured every character from the series. Despite developers’ attempts to rebrand him with a futuristic look, his popularity remained static.
In NetherRealm’s renditions, efforts to make Stryker more likeable were evident. His voice actor’s commendable performance, coupled with a blend of seriousness and goofiness, brought him back into favour during Mortal Kombat 9. Sadly, his trajectory once again plummeted. He met his demise, and despite fan approval, disappeared from subsequent titles.
To add insult to injury, Stryker’s misfortunes extended to the animated realm of Mortal Kombat, too. In Battle of the Realms, he faced a gruesome end, a departure from his non-participation in Mortal Kombat 2. It’s perplexing why he was permitted in a tournament, ill-equipped and manifestly outmatched.
In summary, Stryker’s journey in Mortal Kombat is a tapestry of replacements, disdain, brief revivals, and cruel conclusions. Twice supplanted, once loathed, forgotten, killed, and then met with cinematic death, his saga is indeed unparalleled.
Tell us, what do you think of Mortal Kombat‘s Stryker?