Mortal Kombat Wiki
Mortal Kombat Wiki
MK2011 Ladder

The Arcade Ladder in Mortal Kombat (2011)

The Arcade Ladder, also referred to as Arcade Mode, Tower and Klassic Tower, or simply [The] Arcade, is a single player game mode, in the form of a ladder of kombatants, where the player must face up to reach the final boss. It gives the player a quick preview of who they will be fighting against, starting at the top where the boss is located and descending down at the bottom where the very first opponent is faced. As the player wins matches, they rise to the top before reaching the apex, climaxing with the final boss. It has appeared in all Mortal Kombat games, except for Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero, Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks and Mortal Kombat: Special Forces.

The term "Ladder" usually refers to the Arcade lineup design featured in all Mortal Kombat games to date.

Arcade Ladders in the MK series

Mortal Kombat

The Arcade ladder (called "Battle Plan") features all 7 playable characters, with the 7th character always a Mirror Match (the same character that you are using). Following are three Endurance Matches, each against two characters, and the bosses - Goro and Shang Tsung.

The first time Goro is fought (after Endurance Match 3), he jumps down and the fight starts immediately, without the ladder animation. For this reason, Endurance Match 3, like the boss battles, is always fought in Goro's Lair. However, if the player loses to Goro, subsequent fights will start with the normal ladder animation.

On the Game Boy version, the "Battle Plan" banner will instead read "Brittle Plum" when playing as Goro, reflecting the Probe-themed joke renames given to the cast.

Mortal Kombat II

The Arcade ladder is in the shape of a mountain, with Shao Kahn standing at the top with a triumphant fist raised. It features all 12 playable characters. Shang Tsung is always the 12th character, functioning as a playable sub-boss. Before Shang Tsung, a "?" marker appears, indicating the possibility to fight a secret character. The bosses, Kintaro and Shao Kahn, are always fought in Kahn's Arena.

Mortal Kombat 3, Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, and Mortal Kombat Trilogy

The Arcade ladder offers several sizes, allowing players to pick a shorter ladder for an easier game. Sometimes picking the smaller ladders prompts Shao Kahn to laugh and heckle the player. Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 and Mortal Kombat Trilogy also add Endurance matches to the harder towers, denoted by an E symbol. The Master ladder of UMK3 and Trilogy features 2 Endurance Matches (the former sees the player fight 2 characters and the latter has 3 characters). Also, in the N64 version of Trilogy - with the use of a code - the Secret Endurance Ladders could be unlocked. Motaro and Shao Kahn are the bosses in all the ladders, thoguh in the CD versions of trilogy, either one of the two Shokan or an Endurance round may replace Motaro.

In UMK3 and Trilogy, completing the ladder presents the player with The Lost Treasures of Shao Kahn, where the number of treasures to choose from increases with the difficulty of the ladder.

Mortal Kombat 4 and Mortal Kombat Gold

The ladders are similar to MK3, UMK3 and MK Trilogy, but can be rotated to feature a different set of opponents. Shinnok is the main boss (and also a playable character). In the home versions, Goro makes a return as the sub-boss. He is also playable via a secret code. Like Shao Kahn before him, Quan Chi (the announcer) will sometimes laugh when the player picks the smaller ladders.

Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance and Mortal Kombat: Tournament Edition

The Arcade Ladder is not tiered and does not have different sizes, instead taking the form of a map, with it taking the player to various locations on a globe. This ladder screen features small 3D dioramas representing the next arena they will be fighting in. The last two arenas feature the two bosses of the ladder, Shang Tsung and Quan Chi, the order of which is random.

In the GBA version, similar to Deadly Alliance, the ladder consists of 8 characters, and features images of various locations on a globe in the background, picturing the arena the battle takes place in. Shang Tsung and Quan Chi are again the bosses of the ladder.

Mortal Kombat: Deception and Mortal Kombat: Unchained

In the Arcade Ladder, the player moves by climbing a mountain and the character is displayed as a low-res model with the Val Tudo style, ready to fight. When defeated, the characters lay sprawled on the ground, but still moving whether or not a finisher was performed on them. Onaga is the boss of the ladder, with Noob-Smoke serving as the sub-boss.

In Unchained, the visual design of the Ladder screen is instead similar to the Armageddon ladder, with a pillar featuring the fighters on that Ladder along with Onaga in the background on a single platform waiting for the player to reach him.

Mortal Kombat: Armageddon

The ladder returns to being a single, straightforward ladder. After beating the penultimate opponent (usually a sub-boss caliber opponent), the game zooms in on the final boss Blaze standing atop the Pyramid, ready for the final challenge.

Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe

The player chooses between fighting the MK Universe, the DC Universe or Mixed. In all cases, the ladder consists of 8 normal characters, a sub-boss (Shao Kahn or Darkseid, varying in Mixed Mode), and the final boss - Dark Kahn. The character's background in the ladder animation shows the arena where the fight takes place.

Mortal Kombat (2011)

Similarly to MKvs.DCU, the Arcade Ladder consists of 10 characters. The overall visual design of the Ladder returns to the simple style of earlier games, albeit with an extra pop-in of the arena the next fight will take place in. Shang Tsung is always the 8th character you fight. However, he has a number of buffs that the playable version of him does not have such as being able to morph midfight into three other random kombatants, which makes him much harder. The 9th is usually one of the two Shokan, Goro or Kintaro, decided at random. Shao Kahn is always the 10th and final character you fight, making him the main boss in the Arcade Ladder.

The arena hosting the fight is displayed along the ladder during the transition animation. Shang Tsung is always fought in Shang Tsung's Throne Room. Goro/Kintaro are always fought in Goro's Lair and Shao Kahn in Kahn's Colosseum.

Mortal Kombat X

The Arcade Ladder is now a sub-section of the "Towers" mode and can be found with these directions - One Player/Towers/Traditional Towers/Klassic. Similar to MKvs.DCU and MK2011, the Arcade Ladder consists of 10 characters, with the 9th character always being the sub-boss Goro and the 10th character always being the final boss, Shinnok/Corrupted Shinnok. The rungs feature the opponent with lit torches on both sides, which light up as soon as the player selects the ladder and are doused once the opponent is defeated. The transition to the match always features the opponent with animated smoke behind them.

Mortal Kombat 11

The Arcade Ladder is still a sub-section of the "Towers" mode, now the "Klassic Towers". Similar to MK3's Ladder system, 3 Towers are available to tackle, with an increasing amount of opponents and increasing difficulty for each. Novice has 6 opponents, Warrior has 8 opponents and Champion has 10 opponents. The rewards increase the more opponents there are. The final boss is always Kronika, who has her own unique intro in lieu of the usual character interractions, along with two random characters, which occur after losing a portion of her health bar per character, with the battle being a best of one instead of a best of three.

Mortal Kombat 1

The Arcade Ladder is still a sub-section of the "Towers" mode. Just like before, 3 Towers are available to tackle, with an increasing amount of opponents and increasing difficulty for each. Novice has 6 opponents, Warrior has 8 opponents and Champion has 10 opponents. The second to last fight will always be a Mirror Match against your chosen character and Kameo Fighter, while the final boss is always Shang Tsung with Quan Chi as his Kameo Fighter.


  • The Deception Portal stage features Arcade Ladder pillars from earlier games, with each featuring character images from the classic games from Mortal Kombat to Mortal Kombat 4.
  • As a result of a clashing Titan powers between Liu Kang and Shang Tsung that cause the Hourglass splits the flow of time in multiple directions, most of the characters' endings in Mortal Kombat 11 are canonical to Mortal Kombat 1 storyline, particularly Kitana, Kung Lao and Raiden's arcade endings. Though the timeline from good ending/Liu Kang's ending in Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath serves as the main focus setting for Mortal Kombat 1 story.