Kabal was first introduced in Mortal Kombat 3, sporting long, black hair, Hookswords and a respirator. He was a mysterious chosen warrior who survived an attack from one of Shao Kahn's extermination squads. His origin was unknown, however, his ending reveals he was actually a member of the Black Dragon. At the time of his introduction, he appeared as a force for good, but has since reverted to his evil ways, planning to place himself as the head of the new Black Dragon clan.
In Mortal Kombat (2011), Kabal is once again good, although his past as a Black Dragon member was mentioned by Kano after Kano fixes him with his respirator and improvements. Before his disfigurement by Kintaro's flames, he was a police officer partnered up with Kurtis Stryker.
Kabal was originally going to be named Sandman, with wrist-mounted buzzsaw blades instead of hookswords. This was eventually dropped in favor for his current look, though rumors existed that Midway had briefly thought about using the discarded idea for a new character before abandoning those plans as well.
According to the MK team, in Deception they finally could show Kabal in the way he was intended to be in the 2D games: the long trench coat and the backpack. They couldn't do this because digitizing the costumes' characters was limited in 2D graphics. But by creating them in 3D graphics, they can build them from scratch.
Kabal's hookswords were first designed for an early plan of Baraka during preproduction of Mortal Kombat II. They were also used as generic weapons that were packaged with select characters in a line of MK action figures that briefly hit the market in 1995, which were based on the figures of G.I. Joe.
In the original plans for Mortal Kombat: Special Forces, a pre-scarred version of Kabal was to be introduced as one of the Black Dragon bosses. Screenshots were released and the character model can still be seen in the game, though he has no name or special significance. Of note is that he had a Southern accent and left the player his hookswords for use. This concept was later used in Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks, where there is an optional mission to rescue Kabal in the Wastelands.
A strange glitch could occur in the Sega Genesis version of Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, where, if the player entered the combination for Kabal's MK3 Animality after the "Finish Him!" message was displayed, his own head would be knocked off by no visible means and various glitches appeared. This is because the programmers forgot to delete Kabal`s Animality code.
Powers and abilities
Being a Black Dragon warrior, Kabal is a ruthless but level-headed kombatant. His weapon of choice is a pair of Hookswords, which he can use to eviscerate his enemies with ease. After being ambushed by Shao Kahn's extermination squads, he is forced to wear a respirator system to keep himself alive, and wears a mask to hide his hideous deformity, which is apparently so revolting that other kombatants would cower in fear because of it (strangely though, in Mortal Kombat 2011, the kombatants are oblivious to his face).
Kabal's other defining trait is his superhuman speed. He is able to move at such blinding speeds he appears as a blur, making him the fastest character in the series. His speed has even been compared to The Flash from the DC Universe. It was later revealed in Mortal Kombat 2011 that his speed is due to his brief time in Outworld, his ravaged body exposed to the magic-heavy atmosphere of that realm granting him such power.
- Raging Flash: Kabal runs forward at a very fast speed past his opponent, leaving them spinning into a dizzy state. In MK 2011, this is called Nomad Dash. (MK3, UMK3, MKT, MK:D, MK:A, MK 2011)
- The enhanced version is called Nomad Charge. This increases the speed of Kabal's start up.
- Gas Blast: Kabal fires a purple projectile from his mask. He can do this both on the ground and in the air. (MK3, UMK3, MKT, MK:D, MK:A, MK 2011)
- The enhanced version is called Vapor Blast. This makes the projectile larger in size and increases damage.
- Sawblades: Kabal summons sawblades from the ground, cutting the opponent. In MK 2011, this is called Buzzsaw. (MK3, UMK3, MKT, MK 2011)
- The enhanced version is called Saw Blades and sends two blades instead of one.
- Nomad's Touch: Kabal thrusts out his hands towards the opponent, and - if they are in range - will be caught in an odd field that draws them in to collide with Kabal, though only the opponent gets hurt when they make contact. (MK:D, MK:A)
- Tornado Slam: Kabal takes both hookswords and slashes in front of him, if the opponent is in range, they will be hooked. He then spins the hookswords, spins the opponent around, and slams them on the ground. This move was once his grab move. (MK 2011)
- The enhanced version is called Cyclone Slam. Kabal will spin the opponent around twice before slamming them.
- X-Ray Move - Kabal's Deep: Kabal first uses his Raging Flash to daze his opponent before sliding in to break both of their shins. Afterwards, he runs up behind them and slashes the opponent's back with his hook swords, causing damage to the shoulder blades, ribs, and spine before slamming the opponent to the ground. (MK 2011)
- Throw - Whirling Hooksword Slam: Kabal rapidly whirls his opponent around twice and slams him/her to the ground using a hooksword. (MK3, UMK3, MKT)
- Head Inflation: Kabal uses his respirator and inflates the opponent's head like a balloon. The opponent floats on top of the screen. An explosion is heard as their blood, bones and organs rain down. (MK3, UMK3, MKT)
- Freaky Face: Kabal removes his mask and reveals a horribly disfigured face. He screams at the screen as his hair rises before doing this to the opponent, which literally scares their soul out of them. (MK3, UMK3, MKT)
- Hook Up: Kabal kicks his foe into the air and slices them in half with his hooksword. In MK 2011, the Fatality has him slicing the opponent vertically, with their head impaled on the hooksword upon impact. (MKD, MK 2011)
- Tornado Cut: Kabal kicks the opponent to make them start spinning, then pulls out a hooksword and slices the opponent into different pieces. (MKD)
- It Takes Guts: Kabal stabs his hookswords into his opponent's intestines and rips them out. Then as they fall to the ground, he puts his swords on the ground with the blades above and the opponent falls into the swords, stabbing both shoulder blades. (MK 2011)
- Friendship: True Camper: Kabal roasts a marshmallow on one of his hookswords. (MK3, UMK3, MKT)
- Animality: Rhino Charge: Kabal transforms into a skeletal rhino and rams the opponent. (MK3, UMK3, MKT)
- Hara-Kiri: Hooksword Surgery: Kabal drives a hooksword into his own face and collapses onto the floor. (MK:D)
- Babality: Kabal attempts to do a Nomad Dash (crawling as he's a baby), but fails and he ends up falling face first into the ground. He starts crying and a puddle of tears forms around him. (MK 2011)
Appearances in other media
Kabal made one appearance in episode 11 of the cartoon series Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm, in which he betrays Kano and the Black Dragon and befriends Sonya Blade. Sonya sees Kabal with his mask removed and she is startled, but later she expresses disgust over the prejudice he faced due to his disfigurement. Kabal is shown without disfigured features in the episode.
- "I'm hideous."
- "Dressed like that?" (Referring to Mileena)
- "Kano? I was on fire."
- "I'm a freak!"
- "This is your fault!" (After knowing Kano provide weapon supplies for Outworld)
- "I should be dead! Now you're gonna be!" (Challenging Kano)
- "How do I get outta here?" (To Kano)
- "And I thought I was a freak!" (After defeating Mileena and Noob)
- "Yeah. Says who?" (To Cyber Sub-Zero)
- "Not as cool as you thought!" (Defeating Cyber Sub-Zero)
- "He is not my brother. He's machine, I'm human." (To Sheeva)
- "Don't let the mask fool ya!"
- "Starting to feel like the old days, only faster!"
- "You're the lightning guy. You helped Stryker. Stryker, is he..." (To Raiden)
- During his Freaky Face Fatality in Mortal Kombat 3, Kabal faces forward and screams at the screen before screaming at his opponent beside him. Therefore, he has broken the fourth wall.
- That being said, Kabal is the first character in the Mortal Kombat series to have broken the fourth wall.
- In Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks, Kabal's accent is similar to that of Elvis Presley's.
- One of Shaolin Monks' game over messages is "Kabal says thank you very much." This may be a reference to the mission in which the player could get the chance to wield his hookswords after rescuing him and/or simply a direct reference to Elvis Presley.
- In Hebrew "kabal" translates to "Capacitor" while in Arabic, it translates to "Fortress." Also, "cabal" usually refers to a secret group or organization. As per the MK tradition of changing C's to K's, it could form his name.
- In a Top 10 list hosted by Screwattack.com, Kabal's Freaky Face was placed at #9 of the worst fatalites in the Mortal Kombat series.
- In a technical sense, he is one of the few characters to be dead in both the original and current timelines.
Mortal Kombat 3
- Has the same voice actor as Nightwolf, Rain, Chameleon and Raiden.
- Portrayed by Richard Divizio, the same actor who played Kano and Baraka.
- He was considered too powerful for Mortal Kombat 3, so Midway toned down his power for Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3.
- Kabal's 'skeletal rhinoceros' seen in his Animality is Kirin (Tsi-lin), a fictional beast of Chinese myths.
Mortal Kombat: Deception
- Kabal is the only character to have a style-branching combo, going from the armed weapon style to the first unarmed style.
- In Konquest mode, Kabal is one of two characters (the other being Tanya) who will attack Shujinko if he is bumped into. Normally, the aggressive characters must be punched by Shujinko before they react by assaulting him back.
Mortal Kombat: Armageddon
- Even though Kabal has his hookswords back, Mavado still has a pair of hookswords.
Mortal Kombat VS DC Universe
- Kano mentions that The Flash is so fast that "You'd give Kabal a run for his money", acknowledging his superhuman speed.
Mortal Kombat (2011)
- His alternative costume is his pre-injury police outfit with his breathing equipment. It also features an update to his classic MK3 mask.
- Upon closer inspection, Kintaro's flames not only burned Kabal's skin and lungs, but blinded his left eye as well. This can be easily seen in his 3D model.
- If a Fatality that involves the torso's removal is done on Kabal (such as Reptile's Weight Loss), his hookswords will fly in the air and as the legs falls down, the swords will fall down together with the legs, and clip into the floor.
- Kabal along with Sindel, Kung Lao, Sonya, and Reptile are the only five characters whose special moves are affected by Headless Kombat. He loses his Vapor Blast move.
- Along with Sonya, Quan Chi and Nightwolf, Kabal never appears in Mortal Kombat (2011)'s Story Mode in his alternate costume. However, he appears in his regular, unburned form when he is introduced.
- This is the first game where Kabal's superhuman speed´s origins are explained. It is a residual effect of Shang Tsung's magic.
- However, during Story Mode, he refers to this as "a result of the Outworld magic".
- When Kabal performs his It Takes Guts fatality, and when the opponent falls on his hookswords, the blood is always red, no matter what color the opponent's blood usually is.
Mortal Kombat X
- Kabal is not playable in the game, but appears in cameos of the Story Mode as one of Quan Chi's Revenants.
- ↑ As a "chosen warrior", he was to be good in Mortal Kombat 3. However, he became evil since Mortal Kombat: Deception. In Mortal Kombat (2011), Kabal is portrayed as good once again.
- ↑ He is briefly mentioned in the Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe crossover by Kano, who after meeting the Flash says "You could give Kabal a run for his money". He is one of the few MK characters not present in the game to be referenced in it.