The Lin Kuei (Chinese language: 林鬼; pinyin: Lín Guǐ; literally "Forest Ghosts") is a faction from the Mortal Kombat fighting game series. The clan includes assassins such as the Elder Sub-Zero, the Younger Sub-Zero, Cyrax, Sektor, Smoke, and Frost.
About the Lin Kuei
The Lin Kuei are based loosely on the ancient Chinese clan of the same name, much like the infamous Black Dragon Society (Kokuryūkai) of Japan was used for Kano's Black Dragon clan. They have become one of the most prominent and well-known factions within the Mortal Kombat universe, and they have played a major role throughout the history of the series. Though it has gradually shifted from being a sinister force into a friendly power, it has always remained very reclusive. To gamers, its history has always been intertwined with the adventures of both Sub-Zero brothers. According to one episode of Mortal Kombat: Conquest, friendship is forbidden in the Lin Kuei, as they consider it a warrior's flaw, and thus trust is only given to the group. Also in that same series, wanting to leave the clan is equivalent to treason and is punishable by death.
Somewhere in the northern most parts of Asia, there exists a secret clan of assassins and thieves known as the Lin Kuei. This group has existed for centuries and thrives on the evil intention of the people who pay for their services. Its warriors are chosen at birth to be raised apart from the workings of day to day civilization and are stripped of their former lives. Only the clan knows their existence. Each of them posses certain skills and abilities that set them apart from normal men. These abilities are passed on from generation to generation and honed throughout the experiences of life. Certain Lin Kuei warriors possess supernatural abilities including those that commune with nature.
The Defeat of the Shirai Ryu
It is unknown when the Lin Kuei were founded, but their earliest chronological appearance in the Mortal Kombat games begins with Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero, where the elder Sub-Zero, a Lin Kuei clansman, was its title character. In the game bearing his name, the sorcerer Quan Chi hired the Lin Kuei to find an ancient amulet, and Sub-Zero was sent to find the map leading to its location. He did not know that Quan Chi had hired a Japanese ninja, Scorpion, for the same task in case Sub-Zero would fail. Scorpion and Sub-Zero encountered each other in the map room, where Sub-Zero killed him in cold blood. After Sub-Zero delivered the map, Quan Chi made good on a promise to the Lin Kuei Grandmaster; the rival clan, the Shirai Ryu, was wiped out. The Shirai Ryu was a clan founded by Takeda, a breakaway member of the Lin Kuei, many years earlier.
Amulet of Shinnok
The Lin Kuei demonstrated their mercenary nature here when they inadvertently placed the Earthrealm in danger for personal gain. After retrieving the map, Sub-Zero was hired again for another mission. This time, he was to follow the directions on the map to the hidden Temple of Elements, wherein an amulet (supposedly Quan Chi's) was kept. Defeating the four elemental god-guardians in the temple, he found the amulet. Quan Chi took the amulet, revealing that it is actually Shinnok's amulet, capable of freeing the fallen Elder God from the Netherrealm and allowing him to take over all realms. Raiden, who had placed the amulet in the temple in the first place to protect it from the likes of Quan Chi, appeared and ordered Sub-Zero to rectify his mistake. Sub-Zero reluctantly agreed and was transported to the Netherrealm. There, he tracked down Quan Chi, and, with the help of the demon Sareena, he was able to steal the amulet back from Shinnok before he could use it. He then escaped to Earth via Raiden's portal. It is later revealed that Quan Chi had never given the amulet to Shinnok; instead, he had crafted a fake and kept the original for himself. This was crucial to the events of Mortal Kombat 4 and its sequels.
The Elder Sub-Zero's Last Mission
Immediately after returning from his mission, Sub-Zero was hired by Shang Tsung to compete in his Mortal Kombat tournament. This takes place during the first game. Though the Lin Kuei agreed to this, someone else paid the Lin Kuei to assassinate Shang Tsung, to which they also agreed. Sub-Zero was unsuccessful as evidenced by Liu Kang's victory in the tournament for Earthrealm, and Tsung's survival. During this tournament, he was killed by Scorpion in retribution for his own murder. Sub-Zero's soul descended into the Netherrealm, where he was stripped of his humanity and became Noob Saibot. This was only revealed years later in Mortal Kombat: Deception.
The Younger Sub-Zero and Smoke
Despite losing, Shang Tsung survived the first tournament and organized a second tournament in Outworld as a trap for the Earthrealm warriors. Once again, Sub-Zero was sent to kill him, but this time, it was actually Sub-Zero's younger brother who was sent as a replacement and assumed the same code-name to honor his brother. Presumably, this also explains Smoke's presence in the tournament. He was a friend and close ally of the younger Sub-Zero. Shang Tsung survived again, and Sub-Zero and Smoke returned home empty-handed.
In Mortal Kombat 3 and its follow-ups, the Lin Kuei have a much greater role. In the events leading up to Shao Kahn's invasion of Earthrealm, the Lin Kuei have begun a program of turning their clansmen into cyborgs. The first to volunteer for this program was Sektor, also referred to as LK-9T9. He is notable for being the only one of the cyborgs to be consistently described as soulless for the rest of the series. Second was Cyrax, also known as unit LK-4D4. The younger Sub-Zero and Smoke were in-line as well to be converted. Likely considering this a fate worse than death, the two fled their clan, an act equivalent to treason. Sektor and Cyrax were sent to capture them and return them to headquarters. While Sub-Zero escaped, Smoke was recaptured and transformed into the third (and last) cybernetic warrior: Unit LK-7T2.
Shortly thereafter, Shao Kahn began his invasion of Earthrealm. Sub-Zero and Smoke had been previously marked as chosen warriors of Raiden, and their souls were spared. Sektor had no soul to take and generally stays true to his original mission of killing Sub-Zero, but fails. Cyrax ends the game trapped in a desert. Smoke is later shown to have been captured by Shao Kahn at some point, later revealed in Mortal Kombat: Deception. Noob Saibot also appears on Shao Kahn's side, at least initially. In Mortal Kombat Trilogy, he is mentioned as serving under Shinnok in the Netherrealm for the first time. The rest of the Lin Kuei are assumed to have their souls taken by Shao Kahn, but later restored along with the rest of the world's souls when Kahn is defeated.
Most likely due to Sub-Zero's successful escape from the clan following the events of Mortal Kombat Trilogy, the Lin Kuei lost many of its members before Mortal Kombat 4, and is initially even described as "disbanded". Perhaps it explains their attempts to have Sub-Zero killed, because they blamed him for their troubles. Cyrax, whose soul had begun to reassert itself, was recovered from the desert by the Lin Kuei to give him another chance to hunt Sub-Zero under the surveillance of Sektor, but instead sought out the help of Sonya Blade and Jax Briggs (both from the Outer World Investigation Agency), who helped restore his memories and former self.
Sub-Zero was confronted by Scorpion. In Scorpion's ending, confirmed by the background of Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance, shows that, after finally defeating Sub-Zero, Quan Chi reveals that he was the one truly responsible for the death of Scorpion's family and clan, while also indirectly responsible for Scorpion's own death. Scorpion responded by taking Quan Chi with him to the Netherrealm.
The storyline between MK4 and Deadly Alliance revealed some significant changes to the Lin Kuei and their history. During the events of Mortal Kombat Gold, Sektor's programming became corrupt and he attacked and killed the Lin Kuei Grandmaster. Sektor attempted to turn himself Grandmaster by taking possession of a hitherto unmentioned Dragon Medallion, whose possession determines the leadership of the Lin Kuei, as well as increase its wearer's powers. However, Sektor was prevented from taking the Medallion by a returning Sub-Zero, who fought him over the clan's leadership and won. Sektor fled to Japan, and Sub-Zero assumed the title of Grandmaster himself.
Sub-Zero implemented a number of changes to the clan. He moved the Lin Kuei headquarters from its original secretive location in China to an ancient temple he had discovered buried in the icy region of Arctika. He also changed the mission of the Lin Kuei, making it a force for the side of good for the first time. He began recruiting new warriors to replenish the Lin Kuei's depleted ranks. Among these efforts was a tournament, the winner of which would be introduced into the clan. The winner was Frost, a brash young woman with powers remarkably similar to Sub-Zero's own ice-controlling abilities. Frost becomes Sub-Zero's personal student, another exceptional event. He was able to teach her new ways to use her powers, but failed to quell her sense of arrogance and ambition. Around this time, Sonya Blade attempted to contact the Lin Kuei at some point, perhaps in an effort to open relations between the Outer World Investigation Agency and the Lin Kuei. However, she was prevented from doing so by an overzealous Frost.
Journey into Outworld
Raiden sought the help of Sub-Zero to fight the Deadly Alliance and he brought Frost with him. While in Outworld, Frost turned against Sub-Zero and attempted to steal the Dragon Medallion from him. Though initially successful, she was consumed by her own freezing ability. His troubles with Frost saved him from a worse fate, as the four other Earthrealm warriors and Kitana died at the hands of the Deadly Alliance.
After Frost's apparent death, Sub-Zero searched for a place to bury her and found the ruins of an extinct civilization: the Cryomancers. They were a people who could control the powers of ice and cold. Sub-Zero inferred that he and Frost both were descendants of this race. He also found an ancient armor in the tomb, and donned it. Sub-Zero decided it would be best to head back to Earth after the Deadly Alliance was defeated by the even more sinister Onaga. On his way to a portal, he encountered Kenshi, who was badly wounded. The two decided to travel together. Along his travelling path, Sub-Zero had killed many Tarkatan warriors, drawing attention from Onaga and his zealous enforcer, Hotaru. Once again, the Grandmaster found himself tailed and marked for death. In Mortal Kombat: Tournament Edition, it was revealed that Sub-Zero also encountered Sareena in Outworld. He offered her asylum within the Lin Kuei for helping his older brother in the Netherrealm many years before.
As described in Mortal Kombat: Unchained, upon his return to the clan's temple in Earthrealm, Sub-Zero found that Frost had awakened and returned to slay him. However, in her delirium, she saw Sub-Zero everywhere, and had already killed many members of the Lin Kuei. Sub-Zero froze her and placed her body on an alter, sealing off the room with a wall of ice until she can one day recover.
The temple of the Lin Kuei (which in fact was the Temple of the Lady of Fire) happened to contain a gift that was left behind for Taven by his mother Delia. In the events of Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, Taven traveled to the temple in order to acquire this artifact for his quest, but he was immediately attacked by Lin Kuei warriors perceiving him as an intruder. During his explorations inside, Taven encountered the tomb where Frost's body was lain. He shattered the ice containing Frost and she unexpectedly came back to life. Delirious, Frost attacked Taven, thinking he was Sub-Zero, but she soon realized her mistake and left.
Taven eventually encountered Sub-Zero himself, who told him he was trespassing and also attacked. After a quick brawl, Sub-Zero recognized the mark on Taven's face to be similar to a carving on an unopened door that was in the temple. Taven explains that it contained something left for him. Opening the door using his hand as a key, he took and donned the armor inside. Taven then asked Sub-Zero about the dragon symbol worn by the people that were hunting him down. Sub-Zero claimed that he might know who these people are, but before he could tell Taven, the temple came under attack by mysterious shadow warriors. Sub-Zero demanded that Taven choose a side to fight on, and Taven reluctantly decided to help the Lin Kuei.
After battling more of the new intruders, Taven discovers that they were being created by Smoke who was now under the control of Noob Saibot. Taven defeated Smoke, who retreated to inform his master. Eventually, Taven encountered Noob, holding an unconscious Sub-Zero. Angered by Taven's meddling, Noob challenged him, but was defeated. Sub-Zero woke up and thanked Taven for saving his life. In return, he revealed to Taven that the people with the dragon symbol were members of the Red Dragon clan and also told him where they could be found. After Taven left, Sub-Zero decided to take the opportunity to try to bring his brother back to the light. He failed to restore his brother, but succeeded in restoring his old friend, Smoke.
After these events, all characters related with the Lin Kuei (former and current) died in the Battle of Armageddon.
In a new timeline created by Raiden, the Lin Kuei are hired by Shang Tsung to help him defeat Earthrealm's warriors in the 10th tournament that will decide Earthrealm's fate. The Lin Kuei send a party of warriors that include the Elder Sub-Zero, Sektor and Cyrax (both of whom are still human at this point). During this time, it is revealed that the Lin Kuei's Grandmaster has already devised the Cyber Initiative - the order to transform Lin Kuei warriors into cyborgs. Some, like Sektor support the Initiative, believing that it will erase all weakness from the Lin Kuei. Others, like Cyrax, however, oppose it, believing that the Grandmaster's plan will strip them of their souls.
The tournament proves to be disastrous for the Lin Kuei. The Elder Sub-Zero is defeated in a fight against Sonya Blade. The Lin Kuei are then dealt a blow when Scorpion defeats both Cyrax and Sektor, and then kills Sub-Zero by the means of incineration in revenge for the supposed murder of Scorpion's family and clan. Later, Cyrax defeats Johnny Cage in Mortal Kombat, but despite having been assigned to kill him, Cyrax refuses to do so - much to Shang Tsung and Sektor's displeasure. Sektor confronts Cyrax and accuses him of being disloyal to the Lin Kuei. In the battle that follows, Cyrax defeats Sektor and leaves the Lin Kuei.
After the tournament, the Grandmaster goes forward with the Cyber Initiative. Sektor and Cyrax (who was captured at some point) are amongst the first to be turned into cyborgs. Their first mission is to follow and capture two rogue Lin Kuei: the Younger Sub-Zero and Smoke. They are sent to Outworld, where Shao Kahn is hosting a new tournament. Due to Raiden's interference, in this timeline it is Sub-Zero, not Smoke, who is captured. Furthermore, the Lin Kuei pledge their loyalty to Shao Kahn in exchange for permission to detain Sub-Zero for trial. The Younger Sub-Zero is taken back to the Lin Kuei's temple and transformed into a cyborg. Stripped of his humanity, Sub-Zero is forced to do the Lin Kuei's - and therefore Shao Kahn's bidding. However, during Shao Kahn's invasion of Earthrealm, Kabal manages to subdue the Cyber Sub-Zero and the Earthrealm warriors restore his free will.
When Shao Kahn invades Earthrealm, the Lin Kuei openly assist him in accordance to their bargain made with Kahn in the second tournament. A squad of Lin Kuei cyborgs led by Sektor and Cyrax attack Earthrealm's warriors. The Earthrealm warriors manage to defeat them, with Nightwolf defeating both Sektor and Cyrax. Cyber Sub-Zero would die at the hands of the brainwashed Sindel and his soul would come under the possession of Quan Chi. Quan Chi would destroy Sub-Zero's cybernetic body due to the innate programming affecting his ability to properly control Kuai Liang. Quan Chi would then restore Kuai's human body as one of his undead reveants. Sub-Zero would serve Quan Chi until his eventual resurrection at Raiden's hands.
Sometime before this, Sektor claimed leadership of the Lin Kuei from his father and converted all members of the Lin Kuei into cyborgs, killing whoever resisted. Sektor would go on to create a cloning program to expand his army, converting all the clones into cyborgs innately loyal only to him, removing the need for slaving protocols that were required for Cyrax and Sub-Zero. Sub-Zero would come under the possession of the cleric of chaos, Havik, due to Blood Magik and was pursued by Sektor's servants. Sub-Zero easily dispatched his pursuers with his enhanced powers, before he was freed from his possession after a battle with the revived Scorpion.
Near death after his fight against Hanzo, Kuai was saved by Bo' Rai Cho at Raiden's bidding and taken to heal and train. Sometime later, Sub-Zero and Bo' Rai Cho would hire the young archer thief Kung Jin to steal a virus program designed to disable the Cyber Lin Kuei's slaving protocols. With this hand, Sub-Zero attacked Sektor's base, allowing himself to be captured after installing the virus. Confronting Sektor and Cyrax, Sub-Zero battled Sektor, and soon after the virus finished its work. Cyrax joined Sub-Zero against his former master, his freewill finally returned after years as his slave. Sub-Zero would kill Sektor and take his head. The remaining cyborg ninjas declared Cyrax the new grandmaster after Sektor's death, and while Kuai Liang was initially hopeful that all converted Lin Kuei could be saved, Cyrax activated his self-destruct function to kill himself and the cyborgs to give Kuai a clean slate to work with and to restore their clan's honor.
Sub-Zero would retreat to Arctika and take up residence at a Lin Kuei temple stationed there, where he would be joined by a large number of warriors, the cryomancer Frost among them, who desired to become apart of the Lin Kuei via a tournament supposedly to be held there as claimed by the one who sent them there: Raiden. Though annoyed, Sub-Zero agreed to test their skills, and at least Frost became a member of the new Lin Kuei.
Some time after restoring the Lin Kuei, Hanzo Hasashi comes to the Lin Kuei temple after being invited by Sub-Zero. While Hanzo is wary of Sub-Zero's intentions and still seeks retribution for his clan's extinction, Sub-Zero shows him the truth about how Quan Chi killed his clan at Sektor's bidding, using the memory core of Sektor's cybernetic head. With all ill will cleared between them, both leaders then give their salute as acceptance and become allies, ending the feud between their clans.
Five years later, the young recuits from the SF (Special Forces) come seeking help from the Lin Kuei and clarification on their allegiances to Earthrealm. However, they are ambushed and captured upon arrival. To their shock, they find out that it is just a training exercise set up by Johnny Cage and Sub-Zero (which shows their talent but lack of teamwork and practical experience), and are released to go back to SF headquarters. During Shinnok's invasion of Earthrealm and a separate invasion by Kotal Kahn, Sub-Zero and the Lin Kuei arrive and help fend off Kotal Kahn's forces.
- Ancestor Sub-Zero
- Sub-Zero (Bi-Han)
- Sub-Zero (Kuai Liang)/Cyber Sub-Zero
- The Grandmaster
- Unit 5
- Shujinko (Formerly)
- Hydro (Non-canon Character)
- Oniro (Non-canon Character)
- Yong Park (Non-canon Character)
- Lin Kuei Archers
- Lin Kuei Assassins
- Lin Kuei Saboteurs
- Lin Kuei Warriors
- The Lin Kuei is one of the 5 selectable factions in Mortal Kombat X's online "Factions" mode.
- Through his repeated protests to Quan Chi, the elder Sub-Zero demonstrated an interesting fact. The Lin Kuei are not ninja. He preferred the term "Lin Kuei warrior". In addition to that, referring to himself as Lin Kuei demonstrated his loyalty to the clan as he tries to separate the Lin Kuei ninja from the other "ordinary" ninjas. The younger Sub-Zero made nearly the reverse protest in Mortal Kombat 4.
- Despite Sub-Zero's claims to the contrary, in the Mortal Kombat Album, Sub-Zero's song is titled Chinese Ninja Warrior. It should be noted that this Album was released several years before the game Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero was released.
- Rain, in one of his earliest appearances (at least in Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3) is described as being a former member of the Lin Kuei. However, in the Sega Genesis version of the same game, and in both versions of Mortal Kombat Trilogy, his storyline is replaced in favor of Edenian ancestry.
- Shujinko is revealed to have trained with THIS Sub-Zero and apparently joined the ranks of the Lin Kuei years ago, though his true allegiance is to the Elder Gods. Shujinko was never an active member of the group, briefly aligning himself with the organization for the purpose of gaining this Sub-Zero's knowledge of fighting.
- According to John Vogel, the Sub-Zero who taught the freezing abilities to Shujinko in his youth, was not Bi-Han or Kuai Liang but an ancestor of them (he could be their father or their grandfather) 
- The Lin Kuei's insignia as of late has shown to be that of a dragon claw mark, seen on Smoke's mask in Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks, and Robot Smoke's chest in Mortal Kombat Deception. However, this emblem is also built into the helmet of Sub-Zero's ancestral armor found in Deception, which could possible indicate the Cryomancers had a hand in the founding of the Lin Kuei. The Insignia was replaced with a new symbol in Mortal Kombat (2011), which resembles a Shuriken bisecting a triangle, found on all members of the Lin Kuei's uniforms.
- The current insignia first apeared in the third episode of the Mortal Kombat Conquest Tv series named "Cold Reality"
- Mavado, after killing Kano in his ending, is shown focusing his energies on the Lin Kuei clan. Because of this, the Red Dragon become the next rival of the Lin Kuei. However, Mortal Kombat: Deception has little on this subject, instead having Kabal killing Mavado and reforming the Black Dragon clan.
- In Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero the first chronological grandmaster of the Lin Kuei is seen. He wears the traditional ninja mask, but has a more elaborate uniform as compared to the typical ninja; his uniform is red. It is presumed the grandmaster that Sektor killed was this one.
- In the Mortal Kombat movies (as well as Mortal Kombat: The Journey Begins and Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm) the Lin Kuei clan is said to be from Outworld, not China. However, in Mortal Kombat: Conquest, the Lin Kuei clan is said to be from China, while occasionally doing the bidding of the Outworld forces out of fear.
- In Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm, the Lin Kuei Grandmaster is named Oniro, and looks radically different from the Lin Kuei Grandmaster shown later in Mortal Kombat: Mythologies; unmasked and donning a white/gray uniform. Oniro can shapeshift into animals and shares a catchphrase with Shang Tsung: "Your soul is mine", referring to the automation process whereby he will have complete control over his Lin Kuei warriors' actions as they become cyber-ninjas.
- Prior to the 2011 reboot of the series, Sektor, Cyrax and Smoke were the only Lin Kuei warriors shown to have undergone cyberization, though this was primarily due to the lack of other Lin Kuei warrior appearances. In Mortal Kombat(2011) however, many additional Lin Kuei warriors were revealed to have undergone the cyberization process as well, appearing as gray versions of Sektor and Cyrax. In MK: DoTR, similar gray Lin Kuei cyborgs appear as "henchmen" of Shao Kahn. These cyborgs appear to be considerably less armored than Sektor and Cyrax, and often easily defeated.
- In addition, the design portrayal of the Lin Kuei has had different depictions. In the games, specifically in the original Sub-Zero's ending in the first game, as well as Armageddon, the Lin Kuei predominantly wear blue uniforms like Sub-Zero. However, in Conquest and Defenders of the Realm, the Lin Kuei wear gray uniforms instead. Mortal Kombat (2011) further muddles the case, showing numerous generic gray Lin Kuei warriors wearing the traditional ninja outfits, while specific warriors like Bi-Han, Kuai-Liang, Sektor, Cyrax and Smoke wear more elaborate, personalized outfits.
- In MK: DoTR, the Lin Kuei were allied with Shao Kahn when in the games, the Lin Kuei only was concerned to kill the traitor Sub-Zero (not counting MK 2011 where the Lin Kuei are actually allied with Shao Kahn).
- The Grandmaster of the Lin Kuei wore Red, but since Sub-Zero has taken over he hasn't worn the robe that was formally used.
- The Lin Kuei were also known for abducting small children to recruit more members of their Lin Kuei just like what happened with both Sub-Zero brothers.
- Smoke & Cyrax are the only two known Lin Kuei ninjas that are not Asian. Smoke is Czech while Cyrax is Motswana (a citizen of Botswana).
- Each of the well-known Lin Kuei has a unique way of teleporting. Sub-Zero freezes himself and shatters, and vice versa, Smoke dissipates into smoke, Cyrax splits up into various pieces, and Sektor dissapears into a portal made of computer code.
- ↑ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AnII45o18kk&feature=related John Vogel explains that the Sub-Zero who meet with Shujinko was an ancestor
- Mortal Kombat, Midway Games, 1992.
- Mortal Kombat II, Midway Games, 1993.
- Mortal Kombat 3, Midway Games, 1995.
- Mortal Kombat Trilogy, Midway Games, 1996.
- Mortal Kombat 4, Midway Games, 1997.
- Mortal Kombat Gold, Eurocom, 1999.
- Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance, Midway Games, 2002.
- Mortal Kombat: Tournament Edition, Midway Games, 2003.
- Mortal Kombat: Deception, Midway Games, 2004.
- Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, Midway Games, 2006.
- Mortal Kombat: Unchained, Midway Games, 2006.