|Weapons||Ninja Sword (MK:A)|
|Fighting Styles||Crane (MK:A)|
|Portrayers||John Turk (MKT)|
—Chameleon's Ending from Mortal Kombat: Armageddon
Chameleon is a ninja who utilizes camouflage during fights in the Mortal Kombat fighting game series. He made his debut in the Sega Genesis version of Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 (through a Game Genie). He also appeared as a hidden character in the PC, PlayStation, and Sega Saturn versions of Mortal Kombat Trilogy and as a playable character in MK: Armageddon.
Chameleon first debuted in the PlayStation, Sega Saturn, and PC versions of Mortal Kombat Trilogy as a male ninja with partial transparency that changed color. In the Nintendo 64 version, he was replaced by Khameleon, a female counterpart who is actually an entirely separate character. There was initially little information about Chameleon as he had no storyline or game ending. All that was known about him is garnered from the hidden option to fight him (available upon beating the game), in which he is referred to as "one of Shao Kahn's deadliest warriors". He later returned in Mortal Kombat: Armageddon with a completely new design and a backstory.
Chameleon is most likely a part of the Saurian race, of which Reptile and Khameleon are members. This has never been conclusively stated in any of the games and is purely speculation on the part of the fans at this point due to his reptilian name, green blood, and the reptilian titles of his special moves in Armageddon. He has even shared similar features with Khameleon in both of their appearances, furthering the speculation.
If he IS a Saurian, that would mean that Reptile is not the last living male of his species, which had been previously stated in Khameleon's biography screen. However, the release of Armageddon did not address this issue.
In Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, he is finally given a rather vague backstory, stating that he had been present at events dating all the way back to Liu Kang's victory in the first Mortal Kombat tournament, constantly remaining hidden in the shadows and biding his time while watching the events unfold. He's not seen participating in the final Battle of Armageddon, so his fate is unsure, but he's supposed to be dead like all other kombatants except Shao Kahn, Raiden, Shinnok, Taven and Liu Kang (spirit).
At his debut, Chameleon was depicted as a very adept and formidable fighter, possessing all of the abilities of every single male ninja to appear up to Trilogy. His body was transparent and would often fade into black before coming back into focus with new colors to signify the powers of whichever ninja he is currently mimicking. Unlike the other secret ninja characters before him, Chameleon moves at the same speed as every other character.
In Armageddon, his mimicking abilities are compressed into a single set instead to give him access to moves all at once, though he has none of the 'stun' moves his fellow ninja had. He is also depicted with nigh-invisible skin, only noticeable by faint outlines.
- Ninjas' Moves: In MKT Chameleon constantly morphed into Ermac, Scorpion, Reptile, Classic Sub-Zero, Rain, Noob Saibot, and Human Smoke, using all their moves. (MKT)
- Green Wave: Chameleon fires a green fireball at his opponent. This move is taken from Ermac. (MK:A)
- Lizard Lightning: Chameleon raises his arms and summons a blue lightning bolt on his opponent, sending them into the air for a combo while they fall. This move is taken from Rain. (MK:A)
- Speedy Serpent: Chameleon dashes behind his opponent and delivers a successful elbow into their back. This move is taken from Reptile. (MK:A)
- Vanishing Kick: Chameleon disappears in a ball of fire and hits his opponent with a kick as he reappears from behind. This move is taken from Scorpion. (MK:A)
- Freezing Charge: Chameleon rushes the opponent with his shoulder, leaving a trail of ice on the ground behind him. This move is taken from Sub-Zero.(MK:A)
- Armageddon: (Non-Canonical) "As the battle raged, Chameleon camouflaged himself and raced to the top of the pyramid unseen. There he defeated Blaze and the ethereal power overtook him. Immortality was now his! Though he had been ever-present throughout the crises of the realms, from Liu Kang's first victory to the return of the Dragon King, he had remained hidden from sight, waiting for his moment to come. That moment had arrived. From this day forth, the realms will know Chameleon as the true champion of Mortal Kombat!"
In his first appearance in Mortal Kombat Trilogy, Chameleon had the appearance of a male ninja with partial transparency which changes colors during gameplay. In his later return in Armageddon, Chameleon's skin was changed to a clear white skin in promotional renders, although his body is fully transparent during gameplay. Also notable is his hands closely resemble that of an actual chameleon; this is most visible in the Versus pose render, as shown above. He now has emerald, glowing eyes without eye pupils. He still wears a similar garment that changes colors at random during gameplay (usually shown to be turquoise in promotional art). Upon using a special move, his costume changes to the color of whatever ninja the move belongs to.
It was discovered that Chameleon was playable in the Sega Genesis port of Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 with the use of a Game Genie cheat device, suggesting that he had been planned for the series prior to his official introduction in Mortal Kombat Trilogy. He was an unfinished character as he only used Scorpion's sprites (his sprite would change to Rain's when a decapitation fatality was performed on him). He has no combos, special moves, or fatalities. His versus screen picture was that of the typical male ninja made up of multiple glitched colors. Curiously, his picture on the "Choose Your Destiny" screen was that of Kano's.
Chameleon is playable in Mortal Kombat Trilogy through the use of a cheat code at the character selection screen. Here, he is a palette swap of a random ninja who changes frequently into the other ninjas.
In Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, Chameleon was not originally planned to be in the game, and would have been omitted as a playable character along with Motaro. However, due to great fan demand, both were added to the roster.
Chameleon is similar to Reptile's first Mortal Kombat form in that he has no moves of his own, but rather has the moves of the ninja he is emulating. Where Reptile was named for being green, Chameleon was named for his color changing and camouflaging abilities, akin to a real chameleon. He is playable by selecting one of the other seven male palette-swapped ninjas (Rain, Reptile, Noob Saibot, Classic Sub-Zero, Ermac, Scorpion, or Human Smoke) and holding a certain button combination. During gameplay, Chameleon switches between the seven ninjas randomly and can only perform the special moves of whatever ninja he is currently impersonating. Upon winning, Chameleon will flash through all seven colors rapidly during his victory pose.
In Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, Chameleon is now able to perform a select number of the other ninjas' moves at any time, forcing his costume to change to the color of whatever ninja the move belongs to. He did not receive a move from Noob Saibot, despite being able to turn black in color. He also did not receive any moves from Smoke, nor does he turn gray during combat, apparently ignoring Smoke's previous status as a ninja. Also of note is that Chameleon uses Scorpion's "Vanishing Kick" move which the latter only possesses in the previous title, Mortal Kombat: Deception, not Armageddon.
- Shao Kahn destroyed and enslaved his homerealm.
- One of Shao Kahn's deadliest warriors.
- While he did not appear in the opening cutscene of Armageddon, it is likely that he joined the Forces of Darkness.
- Chameleon, along with Hsu Hao, were the first characters confirmed not to return in Mortal Kombat (2011).
- Chameleon bled red and green blood in Trilogy, but bleeds green blood in Armageddon.
- Unlike his female counterpart Khameleon, Chameleon is never explicitely said to be a member of the Saurian race, nor does he ever interact with Reptile.
- Chameleon is one of five non-boss/sub-boss characters in Armageddon to not have an alternate outfit, alongside Daegon, Mokap, Meat and Khameleon.