- Mortal Kombat II: "Thought to have been killed in the Shaolin Tournament, Sub-Zero mysteriously returns. It is believed he traveled into the Outworld to again attempt to assassinate Shang Tsung. To do so he must fight his way through Shao Kahn's tournament."
- Mortal Kombat 3: "The ninja returns unmasked. He was betrayed by his own clan, the Lin Kuei. He broke sacred codes of honor by leaving the clan and is marked for death. But unlike the ninja of old, his pursuers comes as machines. He must not only defend himself against the Outworld menace, but he must also elude his soulless assassins."
- Mortal Kombat 4: "After Shao Kahn's defeat at the hands of Earth's fighters, Sub-Zero's warrior clan known as the Lin Kuei is disbanded. But with the new threat brought on by Quan Chi, the ice warrior once again dons the familiar costume once worn by his brother, the original Sub-Zero. He also holds secrets passed onto him from his sibling... secrets that could hold the key to stopping Shinnok."
- Deadly Alliance: "The future of the Lin Kuei hung in the balance as Sub-Zero and the cyber-ninja Sektor battled for control of the Dragon Medallion. Sub-Zero defeated Sektor and claimed the title of Grand Master. With his freezing powers enhanced by the medallion, he vowed to reform the Lin Kuei as a force for good. Sub-Zero relocated the clan to a remote location in the frozen Arctic where he had discovered an ancient temple frozen into the side of a glacier. There, the new Lin Kuei could hone their skills without interruption. Raiden appeared before Sub-Zero and asked for his aid in defeating The Deadly Alliance in Outworld. Fighting alongside Raiden would prove to the world that the Lin Kuei had changed for the better, Sub-Zero accepted the challenge and brought with him his newest recruits. It was highly unusual for the Grand Master to embark on such a dangerous mission, but Sub-Zero felt it was necessary to earn the respect of his fellow Lin Kuei."
- Deception: "My fellow Lin Kuei, Frost, had betrayed me and stolen my Dragon Medallion. Unable to control the medallion' s power, she was consumed by her own freezing ability. I searched Outworld for a suitable place to bury her remains when I happened upon ancient ruins carved into a mountainside. I learned that the ruins were a holy structure belonging to a lost race of people who had attained mastery over the cold. After thorough study of this culture, I now believe both Frost and myself to be their descendants. I laid Frost's body in a sarcophagus and left the catacombs, donning the armor of my newly discovered heritage."
- Armageddon Bio Kard: "While still in Outworld, the Lin Kuei Grand Master Sub-Zero discovers his true heritage, the source of his mastery over cold. This discovery will aid him in the fight against the Dragon King's Tarkatan hordes."
- Shaolin Monks: "With his mastery of cold, Sub-Zero freezes his opponent into submission. Though his loyalties lie firmly with his clan, the Lin Kuei, his purpose in Outworld is known only to him."
- MK vs DCU: "An assassin of the Lin Kuei clan, Sub-Zero is skilled in the art of kombat and commands the power of ice and cold. He assumed the mantle of Sub-Zero when his brother was killed by the ninja specter Scorpion in the same Mortal Kombat tournament that Liu Kang won. Though his brother succumbed to corruption, Sub-Zero struggles with his conscience and questions the methods of his clan. He will one day have to make a choice between loyalty to the Lin Kuei and the safety of Earthrealm."
Following his brother's failure to assassinate Shang Tsung during the first Mortal Kombat tournament (and his eventual death at the hands of Scorpion), Tundra (His original alias) took up his brother's codename and was sent to Outworld to complete the assignment after Shao Kahn's tournament was announced; he was accompanied by fellow Lin Kuei and close friend Smoke.
Sub-Zero soon discovered Scorpion's foul vendetta against his brother. Scorpion had risen from the Netherrealm once more upon learning of Sub-Zero's "survival" and continued to hold a grudge. However, Scorpion received a rude awakening when he witnessed Sub-Zero spare the life of a defeated opponent whom he battled during the tournament, which left him confused for he did not understand why Sub-Zero showed mercy. Scorpion then came to the realization that this Sub-Zero was actually his sworn enemy's younger brother, and thus swore not to harm him. Sub-Zero never learned why the specter spared his life. Despite their efforts, neither accomplished the mission that they were tasked to do for the Lin Kuei clan, as Shang Tsung survived, although they did assist Liu Kang, Raiden, and their allies in Liu Kang's battle with Shao Kahn. Smoke and Sub-Zero returned home empty handed.
In the events leading up to Mortal Kombat Trilogy, the Lin Kuei obtained technology that could vastly improve the effectiveness of their warriors, and they chose four of their number to undergo the procedure that would turn them into cyborg assassins: Sub-Zero, Smoke, Cyrax, and Sektor. Sub-Zero and Smoke refused to participate, and fled the clan, who declared them traitors. While Sub-Zero successfully managed to escape, Smoke was captured and subsequently converted into a cyborg. In leaving the clan, Sub-Zero had broken the Lin Kuei codes of honor. After Smoke's automation, the Lin Kuei programmed the three cyborg assassins to hunt and terminate Sub-Zero, who, by this time, had received a vision from Raiden and agreed to join the rebellion against a new threat.
The armies of Shao Kahn attacked Earthrealm, and Sub-Zero was among the few mortals whose souls were spared so they could fight Kahn and his extermination squads. These events also signaled the beginning of Sub-Zero's transition to a greater moral consciousness. Unluckily for Sub-Zero, his cybernetic assassins, lacking souls, also survived. Sub-Zero eventually encountered Smoke and convinced him that he still had a soul, which then overrode Smoke's Lin Kuei programming. With his new ally, Sub-Zero was able to overwhelm Sektor and Cyrax. However, instead of destroying Cyrax's CPU, he reprogrammed the cyborg to hunt and terminate Shao Kahn (at which Cyrax failed - he would wander in Jade's Desert and become trapped there). Smoke was again less fortunate: he was captured by Shao Kahn's troops and transported to Outworld. Eventually, the Earthrealm warriors were victorious and Earth was restored to its normal state.
When the banished Elder God Shinnok threatened the Earthrealm, Raiden once again summoned Sub-Zero to assist in the defense of Earth. In honor to his older brother, Bi-Han (Noob Saibot), Sub-Zero donned his sibling's uniform, and brought to the battle information passed to him which could prove essential to Raiden in his mission to stop Shinnok. In the meantime, Quan Chi had convinced Scorpion that Sub-Zero still retained some culpability for the destruction of the Shirai Ryu, turning the spectre's hostile attentions to him once more. Sub-Zero met Scorpion in Goro's Lair and the two fought, with Scorpion gaining the upper hand. When it seemed that Scorpion was going to kill Sub-Zero, the former Lin Kuei warrior revealed that he had no role in the murder of Scorpion's family. Quan Chi, convinced that Sub-Zero was about to die nonetheless, readily admitted his deed to Scorpion, who then turned on Quan Chi and transported the treacherous sorcerer into the Netherrealm, where Scorpion hunted Quan Chi unceasingly. This was to be the last time Scorpion and Sub-Zero were to actively oppose each other, until the Battle of Armageddon.
After that, Sub-Zero returned to the Lin Kuei Headquarters and he found out that the Grand Master of the Lin Kuei was slain by Sektor, who thought that the Grand Master was inferior and the clan needed a stronger one, but was prevented from acquiring the powerful Dragon Medallion (symbol of leadership) by Sub-Zero, who defeated Sektor in an intense battle and Sektor fled to Japan.
Sub-Zero, possessing the Dragon Medallion, enhanced his freezing powers to levels he had never thought possible (as a side effect, it appears, it also changed his appearance). Great changes were made to the Lin Kuei after Sub-Zero's victory. He moved the Lin Kuei to a remote area in the Arctic where they would not be disrupted and began training them as a force for good, teaching his students not only formidable fighting skills, but the value of life as well, turning them into seasoned warriors rather than mindless assassins.
Sub-Zero held a tournament at the Lin Kuei headquarters in order to recruit strong warriors, and a female who surprisingly harnessed the same freezing powers as Sub-Zero emerged as the winner. Impressed by her exceptional skill, Sub-Zero made Frost his apprentice, breaking Lin Kuei tradition. While she was a superb fighter, Frost did not agree with Sub-Zero's philosophies and appeared arrogant and aloof, which would generate some friction between her and Sub-Zero's allies, specifically Sonya.
After Liu Kang's murder at the hands of the newly formed Deadly Alliance, Raiden asked Sub-Zero to join him to fight for Earthrealm's survival. Surprised at the tragic news, Sub-Zero agreed, but mainly for personal reasons - he wanted to gain the respect of his fellow Lin Kuei and prove his worth once again to his clan and to most importantly, himself.
When Sub-Zero and Frost were separated from the other Earthrealm warriors on Outworld, Frost succeeded to steal the Dragon Medallion. Unable to control the medallion's powerful energies, she was consumed by her own freezing abilities and seemingly died. Sub-Zero placed the blame squarely on his own shoulders for her death, feeling he had failed to dampen her pride and teach her the same philosophies of life he had.
As he searched for a place to bury Frost, he encountered the ruins of an Outworld civilization capable of manipulating cold. After careful study and examination of this race, the Cryomancers, he came to the realization that he and Frost were descendants of this race. Burying her and forgiving her for her betrayal, Sub-Zero donned an ancient suit of armor found in the ruins and enhanced his powers once more. He headed for the portal, to rendezvous with Raiden and the Earthrealm forces. On his way through Outworld, he was attacked by a group of Tarkatan warriors. After killing them in the Living Forest, he was pursued by their new ally Hotaru. Sub-Zero soon found the deadly wounded swordsman Kenshi in Outworld and saved his life. Kenshi reported to him about the failure of Raiden and his forces. So they decided to return to Earthrealm together. As Hotaru takes an assault on them and temporary blinded Sub-Zero, it was this time Kenshi who successfully defended the life of his new companion. They defeated Hotaru and continued on their way.
As Shujinko rallied Earth's remaining warriors to defeat the new threat in Onaga, Sub-Zero once again ventured back into Outworld where he soon ran into Sareena. Since she helped free his brother from his confines of the Netherrealm and also helped defeat Quan Chi with him so many years ago, Sub-Zero offered her asylum within the Lin Kuei. Sub-Zero gave Sareena a small metallic object that would guide her and grant her access to the hidden Lin Kuei temple. The two then spotted two dark figures leaving Shao Kahn’s fortress, it was Sub-Zero’s brother Noob Saibot and his good friend Smoke, the two disappeared into the Netherrealm. Sub-Zero ordered Sareena to wait for him at Lin Kuei temple as he ventured after the two, however Noob and Smoke knew they were being followed and attacked Sub-Zero in the Netherrealm. The Grandmaster was overpowered until Sareena jumped in fending off Sub-Zero’s would be assassins but not before Sub-Zero was left unconscious, but upon waking Sareena had reverted back to her demonic form, dazed and still very confused Sub-Zero attacked and Sareena fled to the depths of the Netherrealm.
Upon returning to the Lin Kuei temple in Earthrealm, Sub-Zero discovers many of his fellow Lin Kuei slain by a highly delusional Frost, who was in reality still very much alive when he buried her, and had now returned seeking revenge. Sub-Zero then froze the highly unstable Frost in a solid block of ice and placed her frozen body in a shrine deep in the temple, with the knowledge that she will one day recover, and, on that day, will have to answer for her crimes against the Lin Kuei.
Sometime later, the half god Taven came to the Lin Kuei temple in search of a gift left to him by his mother. Sub-Zero challenged Taven to a fight after the latter had not only defeated many Lin Kuei warriors, but also released Frost from her icy prison. Before the outcome of the battle could be decided, Sub-Zero took notice to the dragon tattoo Taven had on his face, commenting that it was similar to the one on the vault door containing the armor Taven's mother left for him. Taven acquired the armor and the temple was invaded once again, this time by Noob Saibot and Smoke, who turned the Lin Kuei warriors into cyborg demons. Taven chose to help Sub-Zero and defeated the demons. Taven then defeated Smoke and eventually, Noob Saibot, who had overwhelmed Sub-Zero. Sub-Zero showed his thanks by revealing to him the location of the stronghold to the Red Dragon Clan, who had been repeatedly attacking Taven. Sub-Zero then attempted to cleanse his brother, Noob Saibot's, soul. It was unknown as to whether or not he was successful.
He joined the Forces of Light in the Battle of Armageddon and confronted Scorpion in kombat. Mortal Kombat 2011's opening cinematic showed Sub-Zero with Baraka's left arm with the Tarkatan Blade lodged in his spine, as well as his own Kori Blade lodged in Scorpion's spine.
In the story mode, Sub-Zero first appears in Liu Kang's chapter. Thinking Liu Kang was responsible for the disappearance of several of his fellow Lin Kuei warriors, Sub-Zero ambushed the Shaolin Monk in the Graveyard before challenging him to a fight, though he was defeated by Kang. However, Sub-Zero soon learned of Liu Kang's missing monks as well, pleading his innocence in the disappearance of Sub-Zero's fellow clan members, though the cryomancer still did not trust him.
Liu Kang suddenly saved Sub-Zero from the spear end of Scorpion's rope dart, and after some insistence from the monk, fled before Scorpion could reach them, giving Liu Kang a quick bow of thanks as he left. Retreating to the Lin Kuei temple, he found the Fortress of Solitude had appeared. Seeking answers from Quan Chi, Sub-Zero learned of the world's merging together and that the master of the Fortress was their leader, Superman, as well as learning of the Man of Steel's formidable power.
Hoping to weaken the invaders by defeating their leader, Sub-Zero infiltrated the Fortress of Solitude and fought Superman. Though he would have been outclassed by Superman at full power, the magical nature of both the world's merging and Sub-Zero's own abilities allowed him to defeat Superman and freeze him in ice. Exhausted, Sub-Zero collapsed to his knees, only to be soon confronted by Wonder Woman, who was investigating the Fortress in search of Superman.
Sub-Zero rose back up in challenge, but was defeated by Wonder Woman, and bound by her Lasso of Truth. After freeing the Man of Steel, Wonder Woman demanded answers from Sub-Zero about why the Kombatants were invading her world, but Sub-Zero only called her the invaders. Sub-Zero was then brought to the UN Space Station, where he witnessed Wonder Woman battle the Kombat Rage crazed Captain Marvel, and after he was defeated, he commented that she should have finished him, though Wonder Woman quickly told him they didn't kill their friends on this world.
Wonder Woman began to take Sub-Zero to his cell when she caught Jax Briggs infiltrating the station having just defeated Captain Marvel. Sub-Zero warned Wonder Woman of Jax's kombat prowess and she was defeated. Sub-Zero explained to Jax he was a captive when his presence was questioned and told him they were now allies. Though reluctant, Jax decided to trust Sub-Zero and freed him from his bonds, before asking him what he knew.
Sub-Zero explained his theory that the mysterious warriors were Shao Kahn's new enforcers before leaving to find Quan Chi, believing he would know who was behind this new invasion. Returning to Earthrealm, Sub-Zero traveled to Raiden's Temple, seeking advice from the Thunder God and swearing his loyalty to him. Raiden, distrustful of the Lin Kuei as well as remembering Sub-Zero's elder brother's actions, he challenged Sub-Zero to a battle. The cryomancer defeated the Thunder God, proving his greater power than his brother's and while Raiden was still hesitant in giving him Quan Chi's location, Sub-Zero earned Raiden's trust in his motives in proving his resolve to protect Earthrealm.
Raiden then took Sub-Zero to a mysterious rock formation just outside his temple, and explains he has learned much of the nature of the merging of worlds through it, revealing that powers are shifting. Sub-Zero reveals Quan Chi foresaw the invasion and that their champion would pose a dire threat and so the Lin Kuei sent Sub-Zero to defeat him, though Raiden reveals his victory was false, as Superman's powers were weakened by the effects of the merging. Raiden then tells Sub-Zero to search for Scorpion to find Quan Chi, but warned the Lin Kuei not to betray his trust at his own peril.
Heading into the invader's territory of Gotham City, Sub-Zero began following Scorpion's trail, only to be confronted by the assassin Deathstroke, and the two exchanged tense words in a standoff, with Deathstroke soon realizing he is an invader before challenging him. Sub-Zero defeated the assassin and continued in his search for Scorpion. Following Scorpion's trail, Sub-Zero arrived in the Bat Cave and was confronted by a Rage infected Batman.
Sub-Zero defeated the Dark Knight, when a portal suddenly appeared and Scorpion's kunai shot out, yanking him through. Sub-Zero found himself in the Netherrealm, before a chained Quan Chi and Scorpion. The spectre declared that Sub-Zero would pay for murdering his family and clan, though Sub-Zero protested his innocence, with Quan Chi asking who else it could be.
The two mortal enemies fought, and the ferocity of their battle caused the merging to spread to the Netherrealm, allowing Quan Chi to free himself. Sub-Zero was infuriated to be used but Quan Chi merely sent him through another portal, telling him to tell Raiden that he would have to ally with them to save the realms. Sub-Zero returned to Raiden, revealing what happened and protesting his innocence to the enraged Thunder God when Quan Chi arrived with Kitana.
Sub-Zero then witnessed Quan Chi use the last of his magic to free Kitana from the Kombat Rage's influence as well as the necromancer's pleads for the Forces of Light and Forces of Darkness to unite. Sub-Zero would then work with Scorpion and faced Lex Luthor and Catwoman at the Shaolin Temple. Sub-Zero would be defeated by Luthor, with Scorpion following soon after.
Sub-Zero then joined the united Forces of Light and Darkness in journeying to the ruins of the merged Apokolips/Outworld to confront the DC heroes and villains, where he witnessed the arrival of Dark Kahn. The Kombat Rage infected Sub-Zero and he faced Batman once again in the final battle, only to be defeated and knocked unconscious. After Dark Kahn's defeat, Sub-Zero witnessed the restoration of the realms.
- Mortal Kombat II (Non-Canonical): "When Sub-Zero failed to return from the Shaolin tournament and rumor of Shang Tsung's survival reached the Lin Kuei clan, they immediately sent another assassin to complete the task. This new warrior is actually the younger brother of the original Sub-Zero. He enters the Outworld contest and accomplishes his task. He learns of Scorpion's foul vendetta against his brother, but will never know why his life was spared. Perhaps a third tournament is in his future?"
- Mortal Kombat 3 (Non-Canonical): "In vicious battle, Sub-Zero faces Cyrax and Sektor: but not alone. He finds his third Lin Kuei assassin - the elusive Smoke. Before automation, Smoke and Sub-Zero were allies. Sub-Zero helps Smoke recall his past and gains him as an ally once again. Sub-Zero defeats his cyborg assassins with the help of Smoke and finds it takes all his inner strengths to defeat Kahn and his Outworld minions. The former ninja once again disappears into the shadows, his legacy known by a select few."
- Mortal Kombat 4 (Non-Canonical):
- Sub-Zero: The battle is finished! Your quest for vengeance is over, Scorpion!
- Scorpion: You cannot kill a dead man! You have defeated my physical form, but my soul is eternal. You will pay for the massacre of my clan and family!
- (Quan Chi sneaks up on Sub-Zero and knocks him down)
- Quan Chi: Well done, Sub-Zero. Like your brother before you, you have served my purposes well.
- Sub-Zero: I serve no one! Not the Lin Kuei, and not you! (Quan Chi stomps him) UUUGH!!!
- Quan Chi: Scorpion agreed to fight for us in exchange for freedom from the Netherrealm. A deal I had no intention of fulfilling. By killing him, you saved us the trouble. Both you and Scorpion were pawns for Shinnok... (Scorpion stands up and uses his powers to make Quan Chi levitate)
- Sub-Zero: Scorpion!!!
- Quan Chi: NOOOO-
- (Scorpion releases an energy sphere that destroys Quan Chi)
- Scorpion: Our battle is finished. You are now freed from my curse. Live well, Lin Kuei warrior.
- Scorpion: You cannot kill a dead man! You have defeated my physical form, but my soul is eternal. You will pay for the massacre of my clan and family!
- Deadly Alliance (Non-Canonical): "After defeating the Deadly Alliance, Sub-Zero returned to the new temple of the Lin Kuei with the severely injured ninja Frost. A short time later, I visited the temple to commend him for his victory in Outworld and to express my gratitude for all his assistance. With Sub-Zero now the Grand Master of the Lin Kuei, Earthrealm will be well protected."
- Deception (Canonical): "On his way to the rendezvous point with Raiden and the others, Sub-Zero was ambushed by a band of Tarkatan warriors in the Living Forest. He tried to outrun them, but there were too many. He was quickly surrounded. Sub-Zero decided that his last living deed would be to vanquish as many of these barbarians as he could before he succumbed to death. As Sub-Zero began his attack, he felt his armor speak to him. It guided and strengthened each blow as he broke their limbs and crushed their skulls. At his feet, a dying Tarkatan warrior uttered the words, "Long live the Dragon King...."
- Armageddon (Non-Canonical): "The Dragon Medallion having amplified the godlike power granted him by his victory over Blaze, Sub-Zero was no longer a mere warrior, but an ice god. He was, however, a false god. He had become a deity without the consent of the Elder Gods, who sent their champions to hunt him down and destroy him."
- MK vs. DC (Non-Canonical): "Fighting alongside the Forces of Light during the world-merge crisis, Sub-Zero came to a realization. He was no longer the assassin he had been; nor was he comfortable among the self-proclaimed defenders of Earthrealm. Inspired by one of the invaders, Sub-Zero decided he would work for the good of the realm, but on his own terms. He would be a mostly solitary figure, blending in with the dark and the cold. Sub-Zero left the Lin Kuei and donned a new costume befitting this new endeavor. But the Lin Kuei do not tolerate desertion, as he will soon discover...."