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|“||This fight will be your last!||„|
|~ Sub-Zero's battle Cry in Mortal Kombat (2011).|
|“||My brother participated in this folly. I do so only to face his killer!||„|
|~ Sub-Zero, demanding to Shao Kahn that he will face Scorpion.|
|“||You stood together against formidable odds. Lesser warriors would not have fair so well.||„|
|~ Sub-Zero after saving Cassie, Jacqui, Kung Jin, and Takeda.|
|“||We share blood. We are not brothers.||„|
|~ Sub-Zero using Noob Saibot's own words against him after defeating him in Mortal Kombat 11.|
Kuai Liang, better known as Sub-Zero, is the current Grandmaster of the Lin Kuei and one of the main protagonists from the Mortal Kombat fighting game series.
Sub-Zero dresses in the familiar blue-garbed ninja-like uniform. Originally, Sub-Zero was depicted with Asian facial features as revealed in the ending when unmasked, due to a Chinese-American heritage.
Around Mortal Kombat 3, Sub-Zero was given a scar over his right eye to help differentiate himself from his older brother. Sub-Zero was the first ninja-like character in the series to go on without a mask and wore a less-concealing version of his outfit. In MK4, he wore the traditional uniform his brother wore, but again wears an updated version of his MK3 outfit in Deadly Alliance featuring Chinese characters. His alternate costume from Deadly Alliance and beyond is more of a stream-lined version of his original costume featuring the Dragon Medallion on the right side of his chest. In Deception, Sub-Zero dons an ancient armor once worn by his Cryomancer ancestors.
In Mortal Kombat X, Sub-Zero regained his human form and became a Revenant serving under Quan Chi. Like the others, his skin turned pale and his veins glowed yellow along with his eyes. His outfit was similar to his earlier appearance, but twisted by the sensibilities of the Netherrealm, which included a steel spine-like decoration on his back and a more armored vest. Unlike his previous appearance, he did not wear a hood but still retained his mask. Upon being freed from Quan Chi's control, he wears an outfit similar to his MK3 and MKDA appearances, but allowed his facial hair to grow out. His scar is still featured prominently, which is caused by Kano instead of original timeline's Lin Kuei.
Interestingly, Sub-Zero is one of the few characters in the series to show signs of natural aging (faster than anyone due to the Dragon Medallion). Around Deadly Alliance, he is depicted with slight wrinkles and graying hair, which has begun to bald around the time of Deception. His scar also changes blue, and eventually fades from his face entirely.
In sporadic appearances beginning with MK4, Sub-Zero bears a flexible ice sheet on his forearms, a sign of his growing power of cryomancy. This aesthetic choice was carried over into MKX with his Cryomancer variation.
Sub-Zero is extraordinarily resistant to fear which together with his ice powers have given him the artist name Sub-Zero. He had the guts to quit his ninja clan, which marked him for death, and has even gone public about his criminal past (no Dark Secret).
Apparently he is driven only by his own motivations with no fear of any outside interference. Being a ninja he is cautious, quiet, and sure not to draw too much attention on himself. While showing the world that he's one of the good guys he, at the same time, takes care not to make himself an easy target for his clan enemies. For other individuals he appears to be a person of great bravery and self-knowledge.
Being a former ninja he still does what he then did best; he kills his opponents having no qualms about it. Also being hunted constantly has put his senses into a state of constant alertness but being cool about it he wouldn't appear paranoid about it.
Powers and Abilities
Being the descendant of the cryomancers, Sub-Zero possesses power over ice and the ability to control it in many forms. He can flash-freeze people and create an ice statue of himself to act as a scapegoat that can flash-freeze opponents. With the Dragon Medallion, Sub-Zero can form a large sword made of ice called the Kori Blade, which he uses for his alternate weapon fighting style. He also has great martial arts skills thanks to his training with the Lin Kuei and these skills are increased by the Dragon Medallion and his ancestral armor. Sub-Zero can even freeze the moisture in the air into any form, including an icy mist, indicating that he can freeze molecules.
In his ending in Deception, his Cryomancer armor was shown to speak to him and guide him in battle. As Cyber Sub-Zero, his skills were greatly enhanced and is apparently the strongest of the Lin Kuei cyborgs, able to fight off both Goro and Kintaro, two of the strongest Shokan, at once. Cyber Sub-Zero retained his cryomancy powers and could form a large sword made of ice, drop ice bombs from his chest, and cover himself in a sheet of ice, causing anyone who hit him to freeze. He had a teleport move where he separated in a flash of light and reformed behind his opponent.
- In Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm, Sub-Zero was voiced by the late Luke Perry.
- In an Malcolm in the Middle episode, Resse mentioned that no one believed he beat the secret level of Mortal Kombat and Hal responded by saying, "No one beats Sub-Zero".
- Sub-Zero was inspired by Glacier, a professional wrestling character in World Championship Wrestling.
- The name of his weapon, the Kori Blade, comes from the Japanese word for ice.
- Sub-Zero has appeared in every Mortal Kombat fighting game to date in one incarnation or another, the same as his brother.
- His brother's name was originally going to be Tundra, which was given to him until his brother's death.
- Sub-Zero is the only character in Mortal Kombat's original timeline to show signs of natural aging unlike in the new timeline.
- His primary costume in Deception resembled Shredder from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
- In Mortal Kombat Shaolin Monks VS. Mode, when a player picks Sub-Zero's second costume, he resembles Noob Saibot, the undead corrupted form of his older brother and previous bearer of the Sub-Zero moniker Bi-Han.
- In the Mortal Kombat Conquest TV series, Sub-Zero had an sister named Lisa but this is the only universe where he had a sibling aside from Noob Saibot, though Noob's bio In Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero mentions he and Kuai Liang have a unnamed sister.
- In the intro to Mortal Kombat Armageddon, Sub-Zero is seen clashing blades with Scorpion then being blasted off the pyramid along with several other character by Shang Tsung's fireball attack.
- Sub-Zero was voted number 2 on Screwattack's list of Top 10 Mortal Kombat Kharacters, just losing the top spot to Scorpion.
- Before Midway went bankrupt back in 2010, Sub-Zero appeared as a guest character for NBA Jam: Tournament Edition in addition to The Grid (Midway's last arcade game).
- Cyber Sub-Zero was the result of Raiden seeing a glimpse of the future where Smoke became a cyborg as was part of the original time line. Because he saved Smoke, Sub-Zero was captured to become a cyborg instead.
- There is no actual dialogue in Cyber Sub-Zero's ending, only images with no narration.
- Cyber Sub-Zero has the lightest build of all the Lin Kuei cyborgs and also has a unique tint of blue for his blood. This may be some form of anti-coolant or antifreeze so his cyborg components can work with his freezing powers.
- The announcer does not say the "Cyber" part of Cyber Sub-Zero's name similar to how Smoke in Cyber form is still refer to as Smoke.
- In a dialogue between Sub-Zero and Noob Saibot in MK11, their grandfather is revealed to be the first Sub-Zero.
- According to a dialogue between him and Sindel, the ancestors of Sub-Zero came from a part of Edenia named Articka.