Raiden is a player character in the Mortal Kombat fighting game series. Raiden, also known as Lord Raiden, is a thunder god of the Mortal Kombat universe and protector of Earthrealm. He commands many supernatural abilities such as the ability to teleport, control over lightning, and flight. As an immortal, he thinks in terms of eternity rather than normal human lifespans and his memories date back to the beginning of time itself
When Earthrealm was young, Raiden was its protector. He fought the rogue Elder God Shinnok, who wished to overthrow his fellow gods, in a war that threatened to destroy Earthrealm itself. One of the casualties of the war was the Saurian civilization (of which Reptile was a member), forcing the remaining survivors to emigrate to another world, which they named Zaterra. With the aid of the Elder Gods, Raiden managed to defeat Shinnok, then banished him to the Netherealm and secured Shinnok's amulet of power in a secret location - a Temple of the Elements tucked away in the highest mountains of Nepal. Raiden charged four gods with guarding the amulet - the gods of Wind (Fujin), Fire, Earth, and Water. When the elder Sub-Zero stole Shinnok's amulet from the temple for Quan Chi millions of years later, Raiden appeared before the Lin Kuei warrior and instructed him to enter the Netherealm and steal it back, lest Shinnok use it to free himself. Raiden could not retrieve it himself as his powers would dissipate in the Netherealm. Sub-Zero's mission into the Netherealm was a success and Shinnok was, for a time, no longer a threat. Though it was later revealed that the sorcerer Quan Chi had given Sub Zero a false amulet, Raiden never realized the counterfeit; Quan Chi would remain in possession of the true amulet for years.
In the original Mortal Kombat Raiden was invited to compete in the Mortal Kombat tournament, by Shang Tsung himself. Raiden accepted the invitation and took human form to compete. He also was able to keep his elemental power of lightning and Kitana helped Liu Kang find his element of fire.
In Mortal Kombat II, watching events unfold from high above, Raiden realises the grim intentions of Shao Kahn. Raiden warns the last remaining members of the shaolin tournament Liu Kang and Kung Lao of Shao Kahn's threat. Raiden then disappears and ventures to outworld alone.
Despite Shao Kahn taking every soul on Earth as his own, Raiden was able to protect the souls of Liu Kang and other chosen warriors. At first unable to participate due to the merger of both realms, Raiden decided to sacrifice his own immortality in order to help his chances against Kahn after the Elder Gods refused to assist him in Mortal Kombat Trilogy. In the end, Kahn's forces were defeated, repelling the invasion back into Outworld and restoring Earth to its rightful state.
In Mortal Kombat 4, after the invasion was driven back into Outworld, Shinnok, with the aid of Quan Chi, again sought to rise from the Netherealm and conquer the realms. However, with Liu Kang again uniting Earth's warriors at the side of the thunder god, Raiden's Forces of Light emerged successful. Now granted the status of Elder God, he turned over his position as Earthrealm's protector to Fujin.
As an Elder God, Raiden could not interfere when Shang Tsung and Quan Chi killed Liu Kang at the Wu Shi Academy. Disgusted at his peers for their refusal to intervene, he relinquished his position as an Elder God and gathered his trusted warriors to stop the Deadly Alliance. This time, disaster struck the heroes. The Earthrealm warriors Jax Briggs, Sonya Blade and Johnny Cage were slain in battle with a Tarkatan horde; Kitana was slain by Quan Chi, and Kung Lao was slain by Shang Tsung. In a desperate measure, Raiden personally confronted Shang Tsung and Quan Chi in front of their Soulnado. Raiden put up an admirable fight and managed to hold his own against both villains for a while, but the combined powers of the two were in the end too much, and Raiden was defeated. He returned to his feet when Onaga, the Dragon King, entered the chamber. Momentarily putting his differences aside with Tsung and Quan Chi, he assisted them in their attempts to repel Onaga. When he saw that their attacks barely made an impact, Raiden released his godly essence, resulting in an enormous explosion. It obliterated the Dragon King's tomb, snuffed out the Soulnado, and killed both members of the Deadly Alliance, yet did little damage to Onaga.
After doing battle with the Deadly Alliance in the Netherealm, Raiden's essence soon gathered again in the Earthrealm, but the essence came back corrupted. This is proven by the fact Raiden's essence did not reform as an entirely new god, but a darker variant of himself. He had now become furious with the way Earthrealm's inhabitants had treated their own realm. He became even more enraged when he learned that Shujinko had foolishly unleashed the Dragon King by attaining the Kamidogu of various realms for him. With that, his patience exhausted, Raiden decided he was going to take matters into his own hands. Removing Liu Kang's body from its grave, Raiden took it to an underground temple that belonged to an ancient sect of necromancers called the Houan, whom he had destroyed centuries earlier. Binding Kang's body with enchanted shackles the Houan had used to control their revived undead, Raiden spoke the enchantments etched into the temple's walls that revived his former ally, infusing it with a thunderclap of lightning. The corpse of Liu Kang was now the enforcer of Raiden's will, and he sent it on a mission to wreak havoc on those he believed did harm to Earthrealm. This caught the attention of Shinnok, who appeared before Raiden and offered him an alliance. If Raiden were to assist him in whatever he wanted, Shinnok would try to ensure the safety of Earthrealm. Raiden was well aware of Shinnok's deceptive nature, but he accepted the offer in an attempt to secretly uncover Shinnok's plans.
Raiden's story is further expanded in the Konquest mode of Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, when Taven (the story mode's main character) encounters him. He informs Taven that he had struck a deal with Shao Kahn, agreeing to let the Emperor conquer and rule all other realms, so long as Earthrealm was left alone. In return, Raiden agreed to hunt and eliminate Taven for Kahn, so that he could claim Blaze's godlike power for himself. Raiden confronts Taven as Kahn, Onaga, Shang Tsung, and Quan Chi escape into a portal leading to Edenia. He is unsuccessful however, as he is defeated by Taven, and left unconscious on the ground. Taven, while still being in shock and disbelief at Raiden's actions, leaves and follows the villains through the portal. Raiden would later fight against Shao Kahn when the two became the last surviving warriors. Shao Kahn emerged victorious, but Raiden was able to send a message to his past self before Kahn could finish him off.
Raiden returns in the crossover fighting game Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, chosen due to his popularity in the series. He plays a significant role in the Story mode for the game, being in part responsible for creating Dark Kahn (alongside his DC counterpart Superman), which in turn causes the Mortal Kombat and DC Universes to merge together. He also comes into contact with Batman when he rescues Liu Kang from him after Batman detains him for questioning regarding the merging of the worlds. Raiden attempts to electrocute Batman but finds it has no effect due to his insulated body armor. After a brief skirmish, Raiden is able to teleport himself away from the UN Orbital Space Station with Kang in tow. He later challenges Sub-Zero into a fight and later the enraged Captain Marvel, who tells him to leave. After the large battle between the Mortal Kombat warriors and the DC heroes and villains, he defeats Shang Tsung and Kang. Realizing his mistake, he teams up with Superman to defeat Dark Kahn, and later imprisons Darkseid in the Netherrealm. In his endings, Raiden returns to his realm to find that exposure to his world's sun has weakened him greatly. The sorcerer Quan Chi offers him a large jade amulet with unknown origins that would restore his powers. Raiden is given a choice between a life of servitude to the sorcerer, or mortality.
Raiden is the pivotal character in the latest Mortal Kombat installment, simply titled Mortal Kombat. Taking place in the aftermath of the events of Armageddon, Raiden realizes that the world is in peril due to the course of events that began during the tenth Mortal Kombat tournament (the setting of the original Mortal Kombat). During a mortal battle with Shao Kahn, he transmits a message through time and space to himself at the time of the tournament. The Raiden of the past has been imbued with the knowledge of his future self and commits to using this information to alter the course of history to avert the disaster laid out in Mortal Kombat: Armageddon. Although, he succeeds in fulfilling his vision, his decision resulted in the death of nearly all of the Earthrealm Defenders, including Liu Kang.
Raiden appeared as a secret character in Unreal Championship 2: The Liandri Conflict, NFL Blitz, and NBA Jam Tournament Edition. Raiden also made a cameo appearance in Bally's 1994 World Cup Championship pinball machine in a bonus round.