Chameleon, the ever changing ninja of Mortal Kombat
Chameleon is a character from the Mortal Kombat series. Although quite obscure, he is well known as a hidden character in the PC, PlayStation and Sega Saturn Port of Mortal Kombat Trilogy. He was also playable in Mortal Kombat Armageddon. His name is mentioned in Mortal Kombat X and he makes a small cameo in Mortal Kombat 11.
He is one of the most obscure characters of Mortal Kombat as well as one who plays almost no role in its storyline. However, he gained a fan base and encouraged the developer to include him in Mortal Kombat Armageddon after a high quantity of requests. Since he is not in the early official render or trailer of the game, he was likely added late into the game development.
In Mortal Kombat Trilogy, he is a palette swap of the ninja. In this and Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, all male ninjas were the same base character performed by the same actor. The main different were their move and colour. This costume consists of ninja attire, black pants and a full mask.
In Chameleon’s case, he will change colour of his outfit depending on the character he mimics. He also has a permanent ghostly state.
In Mortal Kombat Armaggeddon, his design is changed. His outfit is very similar to the Mortal Kombat 2 ninja, but turquoise in its default colour. His Body is translucent and he has glowing turquoise eyes. He is depicted bald with a headband and although its height is unknown, he seems to be around the same height as most regular character. Lastly, he has gold armband.
He is decipted as a ghostly ninja that can mimic the male ninja’s move. He is known as one of Shao Khan’s deadliest warrior, a message that appears before you face him in Mortal Kombast Trilogy. This single sentence suggests that he is aligned with evil.
Many times in the storyline, he is hinted has being part of the Saurian Race, which is the same race as Reptile. One of those events take place if you do a Reptile mirror match in Mortal Kombat X. Player 1 Reptile will believe that the second one might be Chameleon.
In Mortal Kombat Trilogy, no other information beside being on Shao Khan’s side is given and when beating the game with him, no ending is shown.
In Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, his story states that he has been present at events of Mortal Kombat since Liu Kang victory in the first game. Since that time, he remained constantly hidden in the shadow, binding his time and waiting for the good time to strike. This vague storyline does fit well with his former position as a hidden and mysterious character. Unlike in Mortal Kombat Trilogy, his alignment is now neutral since he is observing the event, waiting for his moment and doing nothing for both parties.
Chameleon and Khameleon (the female counterpart that mimic the female ninja) have the same design in Mortal Kombat Armageddon, which hints that they are related by race. However, it is unknown if they actually know each other or have anything in common beside that.
The two only appear together in the Nintendo Wii version of the game, as Khameleon was not present in the PlayStation 2 or Xbox version.
His mimicking ability is left unexplained and it is also unclear if he has met or fight any character in the canon.
Chameleon is a continuation of what Reptile was in the original Mortal Kombat. Reptile could do both Scorpion and Sub-Zero’s move before having his own.
Chameleon extended this concept by having moved of every male ninja character.
Prior to his introduction in Mortal Kombat Trilogy, he was found in the code of the Super NES and Sega Genesis version of Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3. Unfortunately, he was not finished. He doesn’t have any special move or even his signature colour changing pattern. His name is only shown in the Genesis version.
He is not present in the Nintendo 64 or the Game.Com version of the game. In the former case, he is replaced by Khameleon, a female equivalent that mimic Kitana, Mileena and Jade instead.
In Mortal Kombat Trilogy, Chameleon change from one colour to another, giving access to a specific ninja’s move. He can access scorpion, Sub-Zero (in his classic form), Reptile, Noob Saibot, Human Smoke, Ermac and Rain. Technically, you become the character itself during a short period of time, so you can perform their respective combo and finishing move. It is also possible to perform combo in between form change, which allows him to perform a long and elaborate combo. Chameleon as himself doesn’t have any move though.
However, if , for example, he takes the form of Sub-Zero, he can’t perform the move of the other ninja until he changes colour to that character. You can’t control which character you will end up with either because it is determined at random.
In Mortal Kombat Armageddon ,is moving set has been compressed for balancing purpose. He has the following move from the other ninja character
- Green Wave from Ermac.
- Lizard Lighting from Rain
- Speedy Serpent (also known as the running elbow strike) from Reptile
- Vanishing Kick (kick equivalent of teleport punch) from Scorpion
- Freezing Charge from Sub-Zero
When performing the move, his costume quickly changes to that of the ninja, but his default colour is turquoise. During the course of the match, his outfit will slowly change colour, including black, despite not having any of Noob Saibot’s move. He also never turns gray, or brown, which are the colour of Human Smoke and Tremor.
His fighting style is Crane, the same one Shang Tsung used as his second move set in Mortal Kombat Deadly Alliance. His weapon is the Ninja Sword, the same as scorpion in that game as well.
As a secret character, Chameleon reminds me of MK1 Reptile and Shang Tsung. As a ninja, he can access every other male ninja move, but it would have been neat if he could be to perform all these move in the same move set. Unofficial hack like Ultimate Mortal Kombat Trilogy for the Sega Genesis or various Mortal Kombat themed MUGEN games allow you to play a version of him that can do that. Still, his mysterious gameplay, not knowing which ninja you will access the move from , is what makes this character stand out more than just a simple shapeshifter. I remember using the cheat on the PlayStation version of the game to fight him and being mesmerized by the “one of Shao Khan’s deadliest warrior” screen.
When I’ve bought the Xbox version of Armageddon, I was glad to see that he is playable. However, despite having a cool design, I was kind of deceived that he didn’t play like its first form and didn’T have access to all ninja moves.
Still, I often played with him, trying to different ninja’s special move in my combo and showing this proudness on Xbox Live.
Overall, Chameleon represents the mysterious and hidden powerful warrior that is mostly unseen in the Mortal Kombat Universe without trying to find him first. Despite being an obscure character, his fan base is in good shape and each a time a new Mortal Kombat game comes out, hopes are made to have Chameleon playable in it.