Kintaro replaced Goro after Goro was defeated by Liu Kang in Mortal Kombat. He is the only member of his race seen thus far to have unique features. Unlike Goro and Sheeva, Kintaro has tiger striped markings all over his body as well as sharp fangs, claws and feline-like feet. According to his Mortal Kombat (2011) bio, this is indicative of the lower-class Tigrar clan of Shokan, differing from the more elite-class Draco clan that Goro and Sheeva belong to, so there are likely more of his kind out there. It should be noted that in each new game, his feline features stand out more than the last.
Kintaro was originally going to be a playable character (a tall anthropomorphic tiger with two arms). While his size would not be a problem (all the playable characters were digitally resized to be the same height), the impending difficulty of creating an extensively detailed fur-lined costume, however, led to Midway's revamping of the character into the game's four-armed boss in the same way as Goro.
Kintaro's appearance since Mortal Kombat II has shifted, with Kintaro growing closer to the initial tiger appearance drawn by Midway; he is distinguished from other Shokan by having true feline features (actual fur, digitigrade feet, fangs and a distinctly feline nose). His unique features, which differentiate him from other Shokan, are explained by the fact that he descends from a rare and ancient family lineage, known for its brutality.
In Armageddon, Kintaro's tiger appearance was played to the limit, including his weapons: his Saber Teeth resemble (in both looks and name) the oversized fangs of the smilodon, or "sabertoothed tiger", and both it and his other concept weapon design (a set of circular gauntlet-mounted blades known as the "Tiger Claws") have a distinct tiger's eye jewel embedded in their center. In fact, one of the concept renders of his weapon actually makes a reference to the Survivor song Eye of the Tiger when noting the jewel, encouraging players to "blast it loud and hard" while playing.
For a long time after his introduction, he was seen as one of the hardest bosses in all of the Mortal Kombat series. This was because he was able to grab someone in mid-attack and throw him or her to the ground, usually followed by a teleport-stomp. He also shot up to three fireballs at a time. The extreme difficulty in defeating him was enough to provoke a comment from Video Games magazine, in their 1993 review of the home versions of MKII, that Kintaro was "the hardest fighting game boss ever...He doesn't just beat you; he kicks your ass."
Shang Tsung had a Fatality in Mortal Kombat II where he morphed into Kintaro and punched the opponent's upper-body clean across the screen. This has been noted as the hardest Fatality to pull off in Mortal Kombat as it requires you to win your final round while holding low punch through the entire fight, then releasing it two seconds after the end of the round. This is the only time Kintaro was featured in a finisher in the Mortal Kombat series prior to Shaolin Monks. This exact same Fatality can be seen if the player is defeated enough times while battling against Kintaro.
When a player is defeated by Kintaro in Kahn's Arena, after Shao Kahn says "Kintaro Wins", the crowd cheers.
Powers and abilities
Like any other Shokan, Kintaro boasts brute strength, stamina and prowess. Unlike his brethren, Kintaro hails from a subspecies specializing in savagery. Combined with savage style of kombat and mercilessness makes him one of the most lethal kombatants on the battleground. Other than that, he shares similar powers to Goro, but is considerably more nimble.
- Fireball / Fiery Hands: Kintaro shoots a flaming fireball out of his mouth. (MKII, MKT, MK:SM, MK:A, MK 2011)
- Ground Fireball: Kintaro shoots a fireball directly to the ground. (MK 2011)
- Flame Breath: Kintaro breathes a short stream of fire from his mouth. (MK 2011)
- Rapid Fireball: Kintaro shoots multiple red fireballs from his mouth in succession. (MKII, MKT, MK:SM)
- Teleport Stomp: Kintaro jumps off screen and comes crashing down with all his weight. (MKII, MKT, MK:SM, MK 2011)
- Grab and Pound: Grabbing his opponent with his lower arms, Kintaro pounds them with his upper arms, shaving off a good portion of his opponent's life. (MK:SM, MK:A)
- Shokan Roar: Kintaro roars, making him vulnerable (or healing in Armageddon). In Shaolin Monks, he does this move before a teleport stomp, and he is vulnerable to attacks when he roars. In MK 2011, he roars if his teleport stomp misses and even after his X-Ray.(MKII, MKT, MK:SM, MK:A, MK 2011)
- Four-Armed Grab: Kintaro grabs his opponent with all four arms and smashes him overhead. He can also grab his opponent while in mid-air. (MKII, MKT, MK:A, MK 2011)
- Breath: Kintaro inhales deeply, dragging the opponent in and, if they are caught, he will do Four-Armed Grab and smash their overhead. (MK:A)
- Anti-Air Grab: Kintaro grabs the opponent while airborne, flips them over and breaks their back over his knee. (MK 2011)
- X-Ray - Shokan Smash: Kintaro punches the opponent in the chest with his lower arms, breaking their ribs. He then punches the opponent on both sides of their head, crushing their skull. He picks them up by their face and punches them in the side of the head, shattering their jaw and further damaging the skull. (MK 2011)
- X-Ray - Shokan Smash: Kintaro punches his opponent hard enough to stun them. He then forcefully wrenches their head sideways, breaking their neck. He then uses his lower arms to grab their waist and violently stretches them out, shattering the spine and several ribs before punching them onto the ground. (MK Mobile - Shokan Warrior)
Mobile Game Moves
- Art of the Shokan: When Kintaro blocks a special attack, with the exception of X-Rays or Fatal Blows, he has a chance to retaliate with a stomp attack that applies a Fire damage-over-time effect to the opponent. Kintaro and his teammates take less damage from Fire effects. (MK Mobile - Shokan Warrior Card - Passive)
- Shokan Warrior Combo-Ender: Ending his current combo, Kintaro performs a doubled-handed backhand that is empowered by a ball of fire that knocks the opponent away. (MK Mobile - Shokan Warrior Card)
- Shokan Fury: Kintaro performs a spinning backhand then launches a large fireball at the opponent, knocking them down. (MK Mobile - Shokan Warrior Card)
- Ground Breaker: Kintaro grabs the opponent, bounces them off the ground then punches them away with a powerful punch. The opponent is affected by a Fire damage-over-time effect. This attack is completely unblockable. (MK Mobile - Shokan Warrior Card)
- Quad Rip: Kintaro grabs his opponent with each of his arms. He then begins to pull outwards, eventually ripping the opponent into four pieces. (MK 2011)
- Reverse Rip: Kintaro turns the enemy around, grabs their arms and head. He rips off the arms and head and then breaks the head into two pieces. (MK 2011)
- Babality: Kintaro becomes a baby kitty with a bowl of milk in front of him, he crawls on all six to it and begins to meow and drink the milk, while purring away. (MK 2011)
Appearances in other media
Kintaro is portrayed as a minor character in the Malibu Comics Battlewave series. Unlike the games, in which he attempted to avenge Goro's death, the comics show he's bitter towards the Prince of Pain (Goro's nickname in the comics) since he's always at his shadow, and longs for a confrontation with him. His only noteworthy participation in the comics is when he kidnaps Sonya Blade while she leads an investigation team into Shang Tsung's crumpled island. In the comics, Kintaro refers to himself as the Scourge of Outworld.
Due to the anticipation for both he and Goro to face one on one (since both are impressive and legendary sub-bosses), Malibu Comics wrote as a response a special When Titans Klash mini-story at the end of issue four of the Battlewave series, in which Kintaro has his dream match against Goro. The short struggle (about two to three pages) ended with Goro victorious, and served to reconcile both Shokans in the comics' continuity.
Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle of the Realms
Kintaro is first seen alongside Reiko, Kitana, Jade and Baraka planning out their next attack when they spot Johnny Cage spying on them. Cornered by Tarkatan soldiers, he requests for a surrender to which Kintaro laughs at, and suggests instead to refuse their offer and kill them all off. Sonya, Liu Kang and Raiden arrive to provide Johnny Cage aid with Kintaro taking on Raiden. He's the first to get hit by a lightning blast from Raiden, only to then recover and tear off a tree from the ground, swinging it at Raiden and hitting several Tarkatans. As Kintaro attempts to crush Raiden with the tree; Raiden tears the tree apart with his lightning before knocking him back with another blast. Kintaro is then present to see Shao Kahn's arrival and proposal for another tournament. After Shao Kahn leaves with Raiden to consult with the Elder Gods, Kintaro growls and clenches his fist at Johnny Cage to which Johnny Cage responds by flipping him off.
Kintaro is then present in Shao Kahn's throne room with the other Outworld fighters. After Cage, Jade, Baraka and Li Mei are defeated, Kintaro is the next to fight. During an offscreen fight with Jax, he seemingly manages to subdue and prepares to finish him. He sadistically asks if Jax's metal arms will tear as easily as organic ones to which Jax goads him into trying. Kintaro attempts to pull Jax's arms out of their sockets to which he struggles to do so. After Jax releases some steam from his metal arms, he smirks at the Shokan. Perplexed by his reaction, Jax places his foot on Kintaro's gut and flips him over, pinning him to the ground and grabbing hold of his upper arms. Jax remarks over the pain that Kintaro is feeling--reminiscent over how Goro previously ripped out his own arms--he presses his foot down to keep Kintaro pinned as he pulls at his arms. Kintaro screams in pain as his upper arms are ripped off from their sockets. Jax then leaves Kintaro to seemingly bleed out and die at the Kolisuem.
Mortal Kombat (2011)
- "I will eat your heart!"
- "Less ugly when they burn."
- "He said on your feet!"
- "Get up."
- "Your treachery will be punished."
Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle of the Realms
- "(laughs) The tiny humans wish to surrender. Tell him, "no," so that we may crush them."
- "Let's see if these metal arms rip as easily as flesh."
- Kintaro - The character was a stop motion figure who was inspired by the Japanese mythological character Kintarō and initially conceived for MKII as an anthropomorphic bipedal tiger complete with a fur-lined costume, but the concept was scrapped due to the difficulty of creating such a complicated outfit, and the character was redesigned as a "Goro spinoff," according to series co-creator John Tobias.
- At the time of MKII's release, Kintaro was considered one of the hardest bosses to beat due to his ability to Teleport Stomp and at the same time throws the player even when they are in mid-air.
- Kintaro has been absent from MK3 to MK Deception, giving him the longest absent streak throughout the series of Mortal Kombat games.
- The best way to easily beat Kintaro in MKII is to trap him in a corner with low punches. This trick works more easily in the home versions and will work best using characters like Scorpion or Sub-Zero.
- Unlike most characters who have appeared in the first three Mortal Kombat games, Kintaro has barely made appearances in other media. He is portrayed as a minor character in the short-lived Malibu Comics "Battlewave" series, as well as the Mortal Kombat X (Comic Series). Due to those being his only appearances outside of the game series, he is the only character from the first three MK games to not appear in any movie or television adaptations of the series.
- He is one of the few characters in Deception's Konquest mode who does not interact with Shujinko at all.
- Like Motaro, Kintaro's name seems to have a connection to Japanese myth. It is a slight resemblance to Kintaro, a hero in Japanese folktale. However, also like Motaro, everything else about Kintaro has nothing to do with the tale.
- Kintaro is one of the few characters to fight with bare feet. Others include Blaze, Goro, Sheeva, Reptile, Kobra, Meat, Moloch, and Drahmin.
- Like Goro and Sheeva plus Motaro, Kintaro was portrayed by a stop motion puppet.
- Kintaro, Rain, Stryker, Sheeva and Motaro did not appear in the series for 9 years (starting with MK4 to MKD). This is the largest period of time during which the character does not appear in the games of the series.
- In the March 2011 issue of Game Informer, it featured an article on three expected DLC characters. One of the three was Kintaro listed as DLC, hinting the possibility that Kintaro was going to be a playable character in MK 2011. However, although Kintaro did appear in the game, he was an unplayable sub-boss and the DLC was never released for Kintaro. This feature may have been scrapped due to time constraints, or false information on Game Informer's part.
Mortal Kombat II
- He debuts as the second sub-boss of the series, replacing Goro.
- Kintaro also debuts as the first Shokan of Tigrar lineage.
Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks
- Kintaro's head can be used as a thrown weapon against Shao Kahn.
Mortal Kombat Trilogy
- His portrait in the character select screen is different from the one in MKII.
Mortal Kombat: Deception
- He is one of the characters seen trapped in a cage in the Dark Prison stage.
- He can be found once in Earthrealm in a small forest looking around. It is impossible for Shujinko to speak with him, as trying to do so will make him disappear.
Mortal Kombat: Unchained
- He has an unfinished model that was cut. He was going to be used for a klassic MKII Battle.
Mortal Kombat: Armageddon
- He appears to be taller as he was in MKII and has a build more similar to Goro's.
- He is the first main character seen in the opening cinematic, at the head of the Forces of Darkness.
- His Teleport Stomp move is not available in this game.
- Unlike Goro his fighting style attacks are more powerful causing the enemy to be knocked down with a single hit.
- He shares the same throw move with Goro, this being Grab and Pound, but he has his own Four Arm Grab move which is unblockable.
Mortal Kombat (2011)
- His first Fatalities debuted in this game.
- Kintaro returns as one of the three sub-bosses for the game alongside Shang Tsung and Goro and is one of two primary sub-bosses in the game, opposite his Draco counterpart Goro.
Mortal Kombat X
- While he doesn't actually appear in the game, he's mentioned in an interaction between Goro and Kitana, which suggest Goro doesn't like him much, calling Kintaro a "striped commoner".
- Goro borrows a couple of Kintaro's special moves in the Tigrar Fury Variation.
Mortal Kombat Mobile
- Kintaro returns as a mobile game exclusive character as part of Update 1.17.
- Unlike many of the exclusive characters ported from Mortal Kombat (2011) into the mobile game, Kintaro is the first of two characters that do not have their original fighting stance, combos and X-Ray attack. The second is Smoke.
- While a majority of the exclusive characters retain their X-Ray or gain an additional hit in their X-Ray from MK 2011, Kintaro is the only one that borrows an X-Ray from another character instead of using his own, borrowing Goro's X-Ray in its entirety.
- He is mentioned by Sub-Zero in Injustice 2 where Sub-Zero and Raiden appear as playable guest characters. Sub-Zero mentions his name when interacting with Cheetah, comparing the latter to Kintaro.
Mortal Kombat 11
- Kintaro cameos in one of Shang Tsung's Fatalities, where he spawns from a soul ball thrown by Shang Tsung at the opponent into their chest, where Kintaro tears the opponent apart from the inside before fully appearing in the opponent's place.
- When Kintaro performs his Teleport Stomp from full-screen distance in MK 2011, one can notice his legs and feet appear in the top of the screen on the opposite side of the arena before coming down on the player.