Mortal Kombat 1 is filled with easter eggs and references to the old MK games and different movies that Johnny Cage has seen. However, these small details are very easy to miss and you might not notice them in your first playthrough. That’s why we’ve gathered a list of the 10 best Mortal Kombat 1 easter eggs and references that you’ve probably missed in Liu Kang’s new era.
MK11 Johnny Cage is Still Around
Johnny Cage is one of the returning characters in Mortal Kombat, but this version is not the one we knew from MK11. The story of Mortal Kombat 1 revolves around the new era that Fire God Liu Kang created at the end of MK11. And that means all the new characters have different paths, and individuals like Johnny Cage and Raiden are different people now. However, MK1‘s Johnny somehow still has a picture of the MK11 version of himself on his phone!
In the first acts of Mortal Kombat 1‘s story Kampaign, there’s a scene where Johnny Cage, Kenshi Takahashi, Kung Lao, and Raiden are invited to train at Wu Shi Shaolin Academy. During these events, Johnny Cage has his phone with him all the time, capturing whatever new magic he sees. Now while he’s recording, you can spot the MK11 Johnny Cage’s image in his gallery.
This is a direct reference to MK11 as Mortal Kombat 1 easter egg. However, it’s presumably not canon to the whole story because Johnny has no information about the MK11 timeline. Nonetheless, another similar Mortal Kombat 1 easter egg can be spotted in Madam Bo’s bar, where you can spot old and young Kano’s pictures from MK11.
Good Old Fatalities
Mortal Kombat 1 is a reference machine when it comes to callbacks to the old MK titles. For instance, you can see that nearly every Kameo fighter in this game has the look of the MK Trilogy era. Sektor and Cyrax are the greatest examples, but did you know that their fatalities are also the same as they were in the old games?
The best example for this one is Cyrax’s fatality that blows up the entire planet. This move was first seen in MK3, performed by Cyber Smoke at that time. Then in the Mortal Kombat 4, Cyrax had the same fatality with better visuals. Do you want the famous Cyrax fatality in 4K graphics now? It’s right there in Mortal Kombat 1!
The Predator was already featured in Mortal Kombat X as a guest warrior, and now he’s referenced in Mortal Kombat 1 as an easter egg. The Predator is referenced in one of the dialogue interactions between Johnny Cage and Reptile while choosing characters.
One of the abilities of the Predator is invisibility, which Reptile possesses as well. And when we see him do this in front of Johnny, he references the movie instantly, and may even show it to Reptile! That’s why in one of the conflict dialogues between Johnny Cage and Reptile, we see that Reptile complains about being shown that movie.
Toasty is Back!
If you’re also a 90s kid who had played the 2D Mortal Kombat games, then you probably know the Toasty MK joke. This was actually the voice of sound designer of MK Trilogy, Dan Forden. If you performed an uppercut in MK2 and MK3, he would show up on the bottom right of the screen, saying “Toasty”, which was a fun addition to the game. However, he didn’t show up in later Mortal Kombat titles, but we can hear his voice in Mortal Kombat 1 as an easter egg and a nod to this old MK joke.
When performing Johnny Cage’s main fatality in Mortal Kombat 1, you can hear “Toasty” in the background. The exact timing is when your opponent is stuck in Johnny’s million-dollar car, ready to be dragged away by his very own living organs.
Mortal Kombat Onslaught is Directed By Johnny Cage
Mortal Kombat Onslaught is a mobile role-playing game, developed by NetherRealm Studios. The game’s events are not canon to the main MK timeline, but it’s important to know that there’s a reference to this title in MK1. In fact, it seems like Johnny Cage has created this game, and Lord Liu Kang has accepted this idea.
In Johnny Cage’s ending in Mortal Kombat 1, a cutscene is played, showing how Cage is trying to show the truth about the Outworld and other realms to normal people. He does it through directing games and movies, and a copy version of Mortal Kombat Onslaught is seen in Kenshi’s hand. There are even the design pieces of the MK games shown to Liu Kang, which makes us wonder, does Johnny Cage create all of these stories and games after all?
Hanzo Hasashi in Mortal Kombat 1
Speaking of endings, Smoke’s ending in Mortal Kombat 1 has one of the best easter eggs and references. Ever wondered where Hanzo Hasashi is in this new timeline? In Smoke’s ending, we see that after the story events of Mortal Kombat 1, Kuai Liang and Tomas are creating the Shirai Ryu clan. However, one day they find a thief who fights very fiercely, while not even knowing how to do attacks properly.
This person is Hanzo Hashasi, an angry kid whom Kuai Liang accepts to be a member of Shyrai Ryu. They teach him how to fight, and in some dialogue between Liu Kang and the new Shyrai Ryu clan members, we hear the Fire God say “Hanzo must control his anger.”
The 3D era of the Mortal Kombat games was a golden age that many players have fond memories of. In fact, the development of different MK game modes like Motor Kombat and Chess came from this era’s games. Besides, we saw the introduction of new characters like Havik, Movado, and many more in this era. Ashrah, being one of these characters, is one of those returning fighters from the Midway Games’ Mortal Kombat: Deception and Armageddon. But she looks very different in Mortal Kombat 1; or does she?
In one of the main story chapters of Mortal Kombat 1, Johnny Cage, Kenshi Takahashi, Reptile, Kung Lao, and Ashrah are trying to escape from Outworld. But if they get detected, they’ll be killed off by General Shao’s army. That’s why Johnny brings blending outfits for them, and the hat he gives to Ashrah looks very similar to the one she had in Mortal Kombat: Deception and Armageddon.
Kotal and Jade in Mortal Kombat 1
Kotal Kahn was first introduced as the new ruler of Outworld in Mortal Kombat 1. He was missing from the older Mortal Kombat games, but it turns out that he was not a notable warrior in some previous timelines. The same goes for his current status in Liu Kang’s new era, as Kotal is only mentioned and not seen in Mortal Kombat 1‘s story mode.
When Raiden is fighting Outworld’s champions to represent Earthrealm, Queen Sindel mentions that he has won against Kotal and Jade. This fight event happened off camera, where we as the audience and players didn’t see it. However, the existence of Kotal and Jade is now confirmed, and that means they might play bigger roles in Mortal Kombat 2 or maybe 3.
2 Different Types of Enemies in Armageddon
The most epic part of the Mortal Kombat 1‘s story is the finale. In the end, Shang Tsung from MK11‘s timeline gathers the forces of evil to fight Liu Kang’s allies. This goes beyond and takes the form of the battle of Armageddon; where fighters do their best to reach the top of a pyramid and kill Shang Tsung.
Now during the time you’re trying to reach the top, various fighters attempt to stop you from getting there. These kombatants are mixtures of different characters; like the combination of Nitara and Frost, which is named Frostbite. However, the remarkable part about this finale is that if you try to finish the game for the second time, you’ll face different types of enemies in Armageddon.
For example, the first time you play, you’ll face Shock Priestess. And then, the next time you try to finish the game, there’ll be Cyber Smoke from MK3 that you have to finish. This is one of the best Mortal Kombat 1 easter eggs and details that show the fusion of different characters.
Altered Armageddon Scene
At the end of Armageddon, the game ends with the killing off of both Quan Chi and Shang Tsung. However, there are two cutscenes that you can watch before you’re back to the main menu. The first cutscene is nothing but seeing the Earthrealm champions having a meal at Madam Bo’s. But the second one is a reference to the 2004 Mortal Kombat: Armageddon opening scene.
At the beginning of the secret ending, you can see many kombatants are dead as a result of Armageddon. However, the way that the camera shows the scene, and the overall view is a direct nod to Mortal Kombat: Armageddon and how it ended the Midway Games MK era.
Mortal Kombat 1 is currently available to play on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC.