Old Man Kung Lao shuffles his weary bones to the next Mortal Kombat tournament

And promptly rips out my spine for calling him an ‘old man’

Everyone’s favorite Odd Job-inspired warrior will be returning to the bloody fray in Mortal Kombat X. Kung Lao’s return was confirmed in the most recent issue of GamesMaster Magazine. And, as always, cutting-edge fashion will be very important to him. (I’ll show myself out.)

As with every other character in MK X, Lao will have three different fighting styles that will change the type of moves he has access to and the style of his headgear. The “Tempest” mode will focus on his whirlwind spinning moves and allow Lao to set his hat to circle around him like a protective shield. The “Buzzsaw” style equips his hat with a nasty sawtooth edge and allows him to control his tosses a bit more. While the “Hat-trick” style sounds like the most interesting (and complicated) of the bunch, allowing you to call and return his hat at anytime, setting up all kinds of boomerang-trap shenanigans.

Kung Lao isn’t the first returning character to be revealed for MK X, but he is the first “regular human” to appear. Quan Chi is a necromantic wizard, so he probably has a few tricks for keeping the wrinkles off, Scorpion is a ghost, Kano is a cyborg rude dude with a robot heart, and Raiden is a literal god, so all of them have aged relatively gracefully. Lao is the first kombatant to be showing his years, and I think it makes him all the more badass for it. I hope when I’m pushing 60 I still have the grit and wherewithal to throw my razor-blade hat at a four-armed tiger-man (the future is going to get real weird folks, buckle up).

Old man Lao’s appearance makes me intrigued for what else NetherRealm has planned for the rest of the cast. I’d love to see other classic warriors return noticeably changed by the events of the previous games and the years in between. Fighting games as a genre have a tendency to let their characters and storylines lapse into stagnation, it’s good to see MK X kicking against the trend.

Also, didn’t Kung Lao die in MK 9? What’s up with that?

Nic Rowen