Self-fulfilling prophecy: MKOs Tremor April FoolIn April, Mortal Kombat Online featured classic Mortal Kombat characters who existed in hoaxes and rumor, as well as characters who were nestled deep within the games themselves. We also began the month with our customary April Fool, pulling on references somewhere in between, to allude to some vaguely prophetic, discarded phony DLC follow-ups.

If you're at all worried about spoilers for Kombat on the PlayStation Vita, it's at this point you might like to gouge your eyes out and run screaming into the night, desperately trying to unsee what has been seen [below].

Tremor - More Than Just a Rumor!

Not exactly a rumor -- Tremor was one of the characters we included in our quartet of April Fools [pictured top], before he made his triumphant return in the portable PlayStation version of Mortal Kombat, May 1.

Despite having only previously appeared in one of the most infamous games in MK history -- Tremor is a character who has amassed a massive cult following within the fanbase in recent years. Part of that intrigue may be for the relative obscurity of his only actual outing prior to the Vita Challenger Tower exclusive, but to get the full story on Tremor, we have to go deep into the past, to a time when rumor and mystery was rife.

Mortal Kombat Trilogy was released on popular home consoles in 1996, updating the Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 base with final additions to its compilation formula. MKT returned Johnny Cage to the series, introduced playable bosses, and unleashed a veritable rainbow of palette swap characters in the mode of what would become todays Klassic Skins. Not surprisingly, it's here that Tremor is said to have his origins.

Sources are difficult to come by these days, but anecdotal evidence would have it that Tremor was almost included in printed material for Mortal Kombat Trilogy, assigning his bio to Rain, opposite a miscoloured Ermac. Rain had previously made a teaser appearance in the intro of UMK3, before being fully realised as a playable character in ports to the Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo.

The misprint bio describes a former Lin Kuei assassin working for new masters, factors presumed to be present in Tremor's character in his eventual debut in Mortal Kombat: Special Forces -- a 2000 third-person shooter that introduced Tremor as a member of Kano's Black Dragon clan.

Rain is an assassin working freelance. He was once a member of the Lin Kuei along with Sub-Zero, but left the clan under mysterious circumstances. Years later, Rain is found working for Shao Kahn as an assassin in the Outworld. Born a human, he finds himself questioning his loyalty towards Kahn after watching the invasion of Earth.
- Mortal Kombat Trilogy Manual Rain Bio (1996)

Tremor - Knows a Thing or Two about Doing Hard Time!

Theoretically, like Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero before it; Special Forces plays as a vague, particularly ill favoured prequel to the original Mortal Kombat.
The game begins with a violent breakout of Black Dragon superhuman criminals from the "Special Forces Maximum Security Facility," told through rudimentary 3D cut scenes, and dialogues between playable protagonist, Jax, and Special Forces contact, Gemini.

Freed by Kano; Tremor is part of a group that includes Jarek (of Mortal Kombat 4 fame), and never again seen MKSF exclusive characters, No Face and Tasia. All four, along with Kano, appear as bosses at the end of each stage, taking Jax progressively deeper into the weird and wonderful world of mysticism and realms, before a final confrontation and Kano's ultimate post-beatdown escape, in Outworld.

Rendered in polygons, Tremor received a significantly bulked up physique in MKSF, particularly when compared to his digitized, UMK3 counterparts. Still closely adhering to the "klassic" palette swap design, Tremor had a muted yellow tone, (popularly described as brown), which appeared to have been a major factor in condemning him to obscurity. Tweeting in response to a fan, Ed Boon rebuked any inclusion of Tremor with some hint of irony, "... he looks too much like Scorpion. Palette swap bastard."

Assuming a counterpart role to the playable Jax, Tremor's powers were less dependent on elemental manipulation of terrafirma, instead reflecting his burly figure with Jax-style ground pound quakes, and conventional fireballs. This moveset returned for his cameo as a playable PSVita Challenge Tower character, complete with MKSF style fireball, and appropriate additional moves, even though he is still relegated to palette swap status.

Tremor Gets Appropriate Moveset in PSVita! Tremor Faces his MKSF Arch-Nemesis - Jax!

So, what's next for Tremor? Your guess is as good as ours!
2002's Deadly Alliance began a process of individualizing the army of colour swap characters MK was once infamous for. Characters like Ermac and Rain continue to show that even the thinnest of Mortal Kombat premises is able to develop into a compelling creation, earning distinct designs and a clear sense of identity amidst a growing roster.

Tremor, like many kombatants before him, may have begun life as a "palette swap bastard," but has shown plenty of potential to develop into a lasting favourite, given the opportunity. The basic fascination with palette swap fighters and the loose thread of existing properties has built a strong following around Tremor, but there's much more value to be mined here.

With the unique mercenary perspective of being Lin Kuei-turned-Black Dragon, he already has an individual story to tell, and a multitude of associations to ingrain him immediately into the thick of the fiction. Existing strongman powers make Tremor an interesting, classical counterpart to arch-rvial Jax, with the fan-favourite potential to develop into an earth-centric, elemental fighter, providing many additional options.

You'll find a wide variety of fan-fiction ideas and discussions by searching the Fan Submission Forum. You can also discuss all things Mortal Kombat: Special Forces in the 3D Kombat Klassics forum, and more PSVita in Kontemporary Kombat. Special thanks to C-Sword for providing PSVita screenshots.