Kabal is a character that was first introduced in Mortal Kombat 3. His background originally cast him as a member of the Black Dragon crime syndicate until Shao Kahn’s invasion, which led to a horrible disfigurement that forced him to wear a respirator mask in order to survive. However, numerous details of his background were retconned in the 2011 Mortal Kombat.
Kabal was a member of the Black Dragon organized crime syndicate until Shao Kahn’s power swept across Earthrealm and killed all the people except Earth’s chosen warriors. Kabal was one of these warriors, and even managed to survive a run-in with one of his extermination squads. The battle left him horrible disfigured and requiring a respirator to breathe. He decided to assist the Guardians of Earth against Shao Kahn in the third Mortal Kombat tournament, going against his criminal nature for the time being.
Despite being on the winning side, Kabal is ambushed by Mavado, a member of the rival Red Dragon clan. Mavado savagely defeats Kabal, beating him to the point of near-death and taking his trademark twin hookswords as trophies. Kabal is visited by the mysterious sorcerer Havik, an agent of chaos and anarchy. He says that he can save Kabal, but that Kabal must revive the Black Dragons as a force of destruction and mayhem. Kabal, despite seemingly having renounced his criminal ways, agrees and goes with the sorcerer to Outworld to train. He returned in time for the Dragon King’s resurrection, but wanted only to kill Mavado and recruit Kira and Kobra for the revived Black Dragons. He used the tournament as an excuse to train his new recruits against the powerful forces of the Dragon King. In Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, Taven defeats Kira and Kobra as well as several Black Dragon underlings before being offered a place in the clan by Kabal himself. He refuses and defeats Kabal, but does not kill him.
Mortal Kombat (2011) Retelling
Kabal is a former member of the Black Dragon crime syndicate that eventually had enough of the criminal life and turned over a new leaf. He eventually joined the same police force as Kurtis Stryker and became his friend and partner. Together, they witness the devastation of Shao Kahn’s invasion of Earthrealm and become caught up in the fight against it. However, as they prepare to engage Kintaro, Kabal is horribly burned. After becoming separated from Stryker, he is collected by Kano and Shang Tsung. Shang Tsung uses his magic to heal Kabal to an extent, and afterward, Kano fits him with an unremovable respirator mask. The adjustments also provide him with an enhanced level of speed.
Kano attempts to convince Kabal to return to the Black Dragons, but Kabal refuses. He briefly makes an effort to attack Shao Kahn directly, but after his effort is thwarted, he escapes through a portal back to Earthrealm, where he joins other warriors in their struggle to fight against the Outworld forces. He is later killed along with most of the Earthrealm warriors when Sindel attacks their primary base. He is last seen resurrected by Quan Chi in attempt to stop Raiden.
Kabal’s defeat of Motaro and Shao Kahn proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is the chosen one. Kabal will now dedicate the rest of his life to fighting injustice the world over, giving criminals of all kinds reason to fear.
Havik had told Kira and Kobra to lure the other heroes away from the Dragon King’s chamber while he stole the Dragon King’s
heart. The heart apparently granted the ability to resurrect the dead, the secret behind the Dragon King’s army’s apparent invincibility. Kabal realized how useful such a power would be for the new Black Dragon clan and killed Havik, taking the heart for himself. Havik was impressed.
Blaze’s power infused Kabal’s hook swords with incredible power. Crossing them above his head, he challenged Mavado to a duel atop the pyramid. Mavado accepted, but found himself quickly overpowered. Rather than face defeat at the hands of his rival, he committed hara-kiri. Kabal held his head atop the pyramid, showing what happened to those who oppose the Black Dragons.
Mortal Kombat (non-canon?)
Kombat with Shao Kahn damaged Kabal’s respirator and if he didn’t get it fixed he would surely die. Kabal seeks out Kano and forces him to give the name of the cyberneticist that created his eye laser. The doctor agrees to help Kabal. For a price. He rebuilds Kabal’s respirator and improves Kabal’s strength and speed. Now Kabal has to repay his debt.
- Plasma Blast: Kabal shoots a plasma blast at his opponent from his headgear
- Raging Flash: Kabal runs past the opponent spinning them in place giving him a free hit
- Nomad’s Touch: Kabal thrusts out his hands towards the opponent and catches them in an odd field that draws both Kabal and the opponent to collide with each other however only the opponent gets hurt.
- Ground Saw: Kabal Summons a blade from the ground that slices anyone that gets in the way
- Head Inflation: Kabal uses his respirator and inflates the opponent’s head like a balloon. The opponent then floats to the top of the screen and an explosion is heard as blood, bones and organs rain down.
- Freaky Face: Kabal removes his mask and reveals a horribly disfigured face. He screams at the screen before doing this to the opponent, which scares the soul out of them.
- Torso Split: Kabal Uppercuts the opponent and slices them horizontally in two pieces.
- Tornado Cut: Kabal spins the opponent by kicking them and then pulls out his hooksword and slices the foe into many different pieces.
- Friendship: Kabal roasts a marshmallow on one of his hookswords.
- Animality: Transforms into a rhino and rams the opponent.
- Hara-Kiri: Kabal stabs himself in the head with one of his hookswords before collapsing to the ground.
Mortal Kombat (2011)
Special Attacks / Enhanced
- Ground Blade
- Spin Dash
Kabal starts by slide kicking his enemy, breaking both shins. He then quickly moves behind them and digs one hook sword into each shoulder blade, and finishes off by throwing them overhead from that position.
Kabal kicks his opponent, launching them high into the air. As they fall back down, he grabs one of his swords and sticks it out in the path of the victim. As they approach, Kabal swiftly slashes upwards, cutting the defeated in half and catching their head on the curved end of his weapon, which he holds out in victory.
- Due in no small part to the efficacy of his Spin Dash and the damage he can deal afterwards, Kabal is frequently regarded as the strongest character in the original release of MK3. To compensate, Midway went on to weaken several aspects of his character for UMK3, such as disabling the use of his Saw Blade while his opponent is affected by the Spin Dash. This did little to stop his dominance, however, as a talented Kabal player can still use his dash to control the flow of the match and punish their opponent with a wide variety of moves.
- For reasons unknown, the developers of Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks decided to give Kabal’s voice an exaggerated southern twang in his brief in-game appearance. On top of this, Kabal was given a pair of long sideburns, leading to the possible conclusion that he was intended to be a humorous homage to Elvis Presley. This is reinforced in the game itself, as a game over screen pokes fun at him by telling the player that Kabal would like to “thank you very much.” Also of note, this is the only time he appears without a mask in a Mortal Kombat game set prior to his disfigurement until Mortal Kombat was released in 2011.