Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero is a 2D action-adventure platformer developed and published by Midway for the Sony PlayStation on October 1, 1997. It was later ported by Avalanche to the Nintendo 64 on December 8, 1997.
The first spin-off title in the Mortal Kombat fighting game series, Mythologies focuses on a narrow group of primary characters while serving as a prologue to the original Mortal Kombat (similar to Mortal Kombat: Special Forces, released three years later). The game blends fighting game mechanics of Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 with a beat-em-up platformer, adding some elements of RPGs (such as an inventory system and experience points for learning new special moves). It is also the last Mortal Kombat game to feature digitized characters and the only game in the series to have live-action cutscenes.
In the game, players take the role of the original Sub-Zero (a ninja of the Lin Kuei clan with the mastery of frost-based attacks) who, after infiltrating the Shaolin Temple to steal the Sacred Map of Elements (defeating rival Scorpion in the process), is sent by the mysterious sorceror Quan Chi to retrieve a mysterious amulet located in the Temple of Elements. It is revealed afterwards, however, that the sorceror is using this amulet to resurrect the dark fallen Elder God Shinnok. After being confronted by Raiden, god of thunder, the player must travel to the Netherrealm, searching for the whereabouts of Quan Chi while fighting his three assassins (Kia, Jataaka, and Sareena).
Like Mortal Kombat 3, Mythologies consisted of 4 attack buttons, a block button, and a run button. The game also used a “turn” button to deal with attackers on either side of Sub-Zero, accompanied by an “action” button used for items. The gameplay took place on a 2D plane that consisted of a fighting system very similar to that of the Mortal Kombat fighting series. The “turn” button would alleviate the issue of Sub-Zero turning away from an opponent while performing a special move. Platforming was also part of the 2D scrolling gameplay. Sub-Zero’s special abilities extinguished an “Ice Meter” that was replenished by retrieving items.
Sub-Zero does not start the game with all his special abilities. The aforementioned “Ice Meter” does not appear until Sub-Zero learns abilities that use it. The system is very RPG-like in nature as it tracks experience points, ability upgrades, and inventory.