Liu Kang (Chinese: 劉鋼; pinyin: Liúgāng) is a fictional character from the Mortal Kombat fighting game series from Midway Games, introduced as one of the original seven player characters in the 1992 first game as a Shaolin monk who enters the Mortal Kombat tournament to save Earthrealm (Earth). Since his victory in the tournament, Liu Kang becomes the Mortal Kombat series' hero as the champion and chief defender of Earthrealm guided by his mentor, the thunder god Raiden. He also becomes romantically involved with Princess Kitana, the adopted daughter of evil Outworld emperor named Shao Kahn.
Designed with special moves intended to be easier to perform than the moves of other characters, Liu Kang has appeared in many of the Mortal Kombat fighting installments, in addition to starring with Kung Lao as the title characters of the action-adventure game Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks, and being among the eleven series characters representing the franchise in the crossover game Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe. Liu Kang has extensively featured in alternate Mortal Kombat media and official merchandise, serving as the primary protagonist of the two feature-length films and the Malibu Comics comic book adaptations, in addition to supporting roles in other media such as the 1995 Mortal Kombat novel and the animated series Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm. Critical and general reception of the character has been mainly favorable, although various aspects have been criticized.
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