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However, this has been retconned in the new timeline, as Baraka tells D'Vorah in Mortal Kombat X that his realm was conquered by Shao Kahn. This could suggest that the Tarkatans are from their own realm and not a fusion of Outworld and Netherrealm inhabitants as previously established.
They are often depicted as unintelligent, bloodthirsty brutes that serve the currently most powerful leader. However, Baraka is depicted as being intelligent, as he knew that the meeting Mileena (who is a half-Tarkatan clone of the Edenian princess Kitana) had scheduled with him in the ancient Beetle Lair was a trap and sent another Tarkatan in his place.
According to Mortal Kombat, all Tarkatan males joined Shao Kahn's army once they came of age and survived the brutal Ritual of Blood. Among the ranks present within their armies included that of an Enforcer.
In Jade's Deception ending, it's revealed that it is possible to gather concentrated Tarkatan essence and seal it within a container. When the container is shattered against a person, the nearby Tarkata enter into an uncontrollable frenzy as they believed the person with the essence as being a rival male so they instinctively attack.
Mortal Kombat 2011 Story Mode
The Tarkata play a prominent role in the invasion of Earthrealm initiated by Shao Kahn. The Tarkatans are bolstered by arms supplied by Kano's Black Dragon guild, and are able to easily overwhelm Earthrealm's defenses.
Mortal Kombat X Story Mode
The Tarkatan are seen again in Mortal Kombat X during the story mode.
Flashbacks to five years ago reveal when Mileena was Empress, several Tarkatan accompanied her to confront Kotal Kahn and his fellow insurgents against her rule, with Baraka along side her. The Tarkatans attack after Mileena orders them to kill those conspiring against her. In the end, they are defeated, with their leader, Baraka, being viciously executed by D'Vorah.
Even after Mileena's deposing, the Tarkata remain fiercely loyal to her. During the present events of the story, Mileena and her allies (Tanya and Rain, who freed her from prison) ambush Kotal Kahn's forces with hordes of Tarkatans. Upon Mileena's signal, the Tarkatans storm the Outworld Marketplace, first targeting Kahn's allies (D'Vorah, Erron Black and Ermac) who ruthlessly kill them. Mileena paid for Kano to kill Kahn, hoping to not be forced to unleash her ultimate weapon: the Amulet of Shinnok, acquired by Kano in exchange for gold. After Kotal defeats Kano & Tanya, he is attacked by two more Tarkatans. Then, he spots Mileena, Rain and other Tarkata on the roof of a building. Having grown fed up, he transports there. Mileena is surprised but orders the Tarkatans to attack. Though, Kotal slays them effortlessly.
Their most distinctive physical traits are their long, sharp teeth, large mouths, and blades protruding from their bodies, especially their arms. Baraka is their leader, and it's revealed Mileena is a half-Tarkatan clone as well, with this heritage owing their devout loyalty to her in the current timeline. The Tarkata are a nomadic species, mainly populating Outworld's wastelands, but it's discovered that they come from the Netherrealm and migrated to Outworld. This race possesses a love for battle and serves whoever is in command (Shao Kahn, the Deadly Alliance, etc.).
Only male tarkatans are met throughout the series. Without counting Mileena, the only true female Tarkatan is briefly seen in Baraka's MK 2011 ending. This female sports two rather than one blade on each arm, and wears a long ponytail which may come from the helmet she is wearing.
In Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe, Shang Tsung's ending indicates that the sorcerer was both impressed and angered by Captain Marvel defeating him. Using his magic, he mixed the blood on a torn piece of Captain Marvel's cape with that of a Tarkatan warrior creating a horrific race of Super-Tarkata that would be loyal to Shang Tsung.
TV & Movie Appearance
The Tarkatans first appeared alongside Baraka in Mortal Kombat: Annihilation. They are seen wearing cloaks, with the exception of Baraka himself, who disposes it in favor of preparing a battle against Liu Kang.
They later appeared but without Baraka in the animated film Mortal Kombat: The Journey Begins and the MK cartoon series Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm (here, they were called Nomads, because the term Tarkata was mentioned for the first time in Deception, a game that was released years after the premiere of Defenders of the Realm).
The Tarkatans are also featured in the webseries Mortal Kombat: Legacy, and while still retaining their bloodthirsty demeanor and trademark blades, their distinctive teeth seem to have been toned down. They are shown invading the realm of Edenia, led by their general, Baraka.
- In MK 2011's Challenge Tower, there are several challenges in which the opponent(s) are Tarkatans of various rankings: Soldier, Leader, and General.
- Originally, they were going to be the native inhabitants of Outworld.
- It is possible to make a Tarkatan character in Kreate-A-Kharacter, though lacking their distinct arm blades.