MK's other most iconic character, Scorpion has been a part of the franchise since it's beginning. Aside from the original release of MK3, he's been in every single MK game and was put back in ultimate MK3. Ed Boon, one of the two founders of MK, has gone on record saying Scorpion is his faviort character and no MK game is complete without the yellow ninja.
So this is were the joke starts. Scorpion's apperances in MK is basically the same as Sub-Zero, just yellow. That said his over all colour scheme dose put one in the mind of dangerous creepy crawlies such as wasps... but that name just doesn't sound as awesome now dose it? On first glance Scorpion comes of as more of a normal ninja then his blue counter part, what with his moves being his spear and a teleport punch from behind. However Scorpion's true nature is cleverly hidden and revealed within gameplay. Unless you beat the game or pull of his fatality, you'd never know that the yellow ninja is actually a hellspawn! It may seem a small detail now after we've spent years with the character but its a pretty cleaver idea that's, as far as I know, unique to MK. Scorpion also sets another lesser trend in the Mk franchise, the face reveal. In his fatality Scorpion rips off the skin of his face to reveal a fire breathing skull underneath, something almost akin to the unmasking of Jason Voorhees in his movies. This little gimmick would only be around used for the first three mk games and only for a select few characters.
Much like Sub-Zero, Scorpion's real name is listed as "Unknown" in this game although his pasted is somewhat revealed. He was murdered by Sub-Zero and is back from the dead to get revenge. How is not mentioned here. In his ending, some of which becomes part of the series cannon, he slays the blue ninja but can never return to his family.
On a final note, Scorpion is the only character in the original game to get anything resembling proper dialog with his now iconic line "GET OVER HERE!"
Mortal Kombat 2
Scorpion returns in MK2 for the sole reason of finding and killing the new Sub-Zero, believing him to be the original. Upon realising that this is not the same man who murdered him, Scorpion actually adopts a more sympathetic role, deciding to protect the blue ninja as a penance for killing his brother. It's here we begin to see the complexity of Scorpion's character. He was already breaking the mould somewhat in the first game by being hell spawned ninja seeking to avenge his murder, but here we see that Scorpion, despite his current nature, is not an evil being. While his desire for revenge is his primary motivation, it doesn't blind him to reality and cause him to punish someone who has done him no wrong and is actually a good person. Along with being freaking cool, this little bit of development helps make Scorpion endearing as a character. It's even ironic given that MK is very much a 90's game that got famous for it's edge blood and gore, but thats what's helped keep the series going for so long. The violence and gore may be the main draw, but there's a lot more to MK then that. Solid game play may also play into it.
Design wise MK2 Scorpion is pretty much just the same as befor, identical to Sub-Zero but yellow.
Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3
As stated above Scorpion didn't make the cut for the original MK3 release, what with all the other ninjas and cyber ninjas showing up. He was however added to UMK3...which makes his design here the result of backward compatibility. See MK3 had Reptile, Ermac, Noob Saibot and Smoke, all of whom used a recolouring of the same outfit while Sub-Zero got his "heroic" look. Scorpion, who had been around just as long, gets lumbered with just a recoloured design like everyone. This is a more streamlined version of the original ninja outfit. The whole thing looks more skin tight and sleek although the chest piece looks more padded. The patter in the suits yellow parts has been removed, with the chest piece gaining coloured squares with black borders. The mask now has an almost armour like look, were as befor it was only cloth. Interestingly Scorpion dose deviate from the other ninjas in one respect. While his character model is just a colour swap, is artwork on the character select screen and his ending have his mask appearing to have a grinning skull like design while upper face is just a skull, giving him a more demonic apperances. This change is likely due to the fact he's been in hell for some time now. Yes I said hell, not the NetherRealm.
When Shao Kahn invaded Earth he began to not only harvest the souls from the living world but also our hell. This allowed Scorpion to come back to our plane of existence once again. At first he sides with Shao Kahn, until he realises that Sub-Zero is fighting the other side and switch's teams. In his ending Scorpion is the one to kill Shao Kahn and then simple returns to hell. Story wise, and this may be due to him being added after the story was developed, Scorpion's role here is the same as befor but with less meaning.
Mortal Kombat 4
Scorpion is back in the main series and thankfully is going to stay from now on. While MK4 may be the weakest of the MK games in general, it's at this point that Scorpion gets set on his new path. At the start of the game Scorpion meets the necromancer Quan Chi, in the now fully realised NetherRealm, who informs him that his family had been killed by the new Sub-Zero. Scorpion naturally doesn't take the news well and goes off to kill the blue ninja. In reality however Quan Chi was the one who murdered Scorpion's family, with the intention of eliminate Sub-Zero befor he can interfere with Shinnok's plans. In Scorpion's ending, he has Sub-Zero at his mercy only for Quan Chi to show up and, like a total moron, tell Scorpion everything BEFOR he'd finished his job. Scorpion reacts to this like a gunpowder to a flame, attacking the necromancer and dragging him to the NetherRealm. These event are pretty much cannon to the story going forward.
Design wise Scorpion fares better then Sub-Zero in this game. While he has the cat ears and cloven feet, he now boasts pure white eyes (possible inspired by the MK movie), a skull like mask and a skull on his belt. It's not much but it helps him stand out from fellow ninja's. This further builds on Scorpion's demonic nature.
MK4's story was tied to the game MK Mythologies Sub-Zero. In that game a little more of his background is revealed. He and the original Sub-Zero were hired to undertake the same mission by Quan Chi. The two met and Scorpion was killed, as their employer didn't see fit to tell them he'd hired someone else to insure the job got done. He later showed up in the game, now undead, but was not strong enough to kill Bi-Han yet. It's also here were we first learn of the Shirai Ryu Ninja clan that Scorpion belonged and we find out that Quan Chi didn't just murder Scorpion's family but also his entire clan, as payment for the Lin Kuei's services.
Scorpion was stuck in something of a rut until this game as, with his killing of Bi-Han and befriending of Qui-Liang, he has no real motivation of his own. MK4 almost makes this worse by having Scorpion just go back to being Sub-Zero's bitter rival but thankfully gives him a new enemy in the form of Quan Chi. Scorpion now has a new purpose and goal.
Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance
In the years after Shinnok's defeat by Liu Kang, Scorpion has imprisoned Quan Chi and has been torturing him for the murder of his family and clan. However the necromancer is able to gain the aid of the Oni Drahmin and Moloch, who help him escape. These three would go on to join Shang Tsung and form the Deadly Alliance. Scorpion, despite the fact that he's after the same people as the heroes, doesn't join them. Instead he makes his own way to their temple base.
In Mythologies it's stated by Bi-Han that "Scorpion was the ninja" setting a clear difference in origin between the two groups in terms of how they function. Scorpion's design in this game reflects this new mind set. While he may have looked like a ninja stereotype originally, Scorpion is now truly looking the part with his design being based on true ninja attire. That said given his tendency towards more actual combat Scorpion sports a little more armour normal. He still sports skull designs on his armour and belt although despite his white eyes he looks far less demonic then befor. Maybe this reflects his new found and more righteous purpose in his unlife. He now also carries two katanas, which will remain a permanent part of his design from this point on.
After MK4 the series seems to have adopted a less stereotypical story telling style as for the next few games, the heroes have a pretty rough time of it as any everything that could go wrong dose! Scorpion's ending is actually his canonical one, while all the heroes are out fighting the forces of Quan and Shang, Scorpion takes the smart approach and sneaks in through the back door (hidden passage wink wink). Unfortunately he finds himself facing not Quan Chi, but Drahmin and Moloch once again! Scorpion is overpower (a fact not hard to believe given how much of a bastard sub-boss Moloch is) and gets promptly thrown into the soulnado at the heart of the temple. This soulnado was created by Quan Chi so that Shang Tsung would have an endless amount of souls to use and feed on. Now being thrown into a soulnado is never a good thing, but there's only a few places that will grant you an "unlimited amount of souls" and the place the Deadly Alliance targeted with this one was the Heavenly Realm itself. So Scorpion, an undead hellspawn from the NetherRealm, finds himself hurtling towards a place that is the complete antithesis of his nature. A place that will destroy him if he goes there.
Mortal Kombat: Deception
Scorpion is able to avoid being destroyed by the purity of the Heavily Realm by escaping from the Soulnado into the Void. The place between realms that souls use to ascend after death. Here he encounters the Elder Gods, with whom he watch's the final battle between Raiden and the Deadly Alliance and the return of Onaga. Not wanting the realms to fall under Onaga's tyranny, the Elder Gods chose Scorpion to become their champion with the promise to resurrect his clan once the deed is done. Naturally Scorpion accepts the deal and is remade as the weapon of the gods. He is then sent back to Outworld to begin his mission.
This game gives Scorpio his biggest change as a character so far. For years he's been little more then a revenge seeking hellspawn, constantly chasing those who've wronged him. Here however, while his task is to kill someone, he's doing so to resurrect his clan and save the realms from a tyrant, not out of desire revenge. He's actually fighting for life rather then death. While his design in the game is little different from his last, maybe a little more spiky armour and less skulls, there's a very important difference that only seems minor at first glance. Scorpion has the image of a dragon engraved on his armour. Easter Dragon's are symbols of power, strength and luck as well as being viewed as celestial beings. A far cry from a hellspawn like Scorpion. While the image marks him as the champion of the Elder Gods, it could also be view as a symbol representing Scorpion's more noble quest. That said however lets not forget that Scorpion is not doing this purely out of the kindness of his heart, he's getting something out of this and maybe wouldn't be as helpful without the carrot.
Scorpion tracks Onaga through the realms, Outworld, the Realms of Order & Chaos and finally the Nexus, the hub of all realms. In his arcade ending Scorpion engages Onaga and is able to kill him. In the canonical story however he meets another warrior seeking to defeat the Dragon King. Shujinko, an old man with a talent for absorbing the fighting styles of others and who in his youth paved the way for Onaga's return. Scorpion and Shujinko clash and Scorpion loses, after which he disappears.
Mortal Kombat: Armageddon
Exactly what happened to Scorpion after he lost to Shujinko is unknown. What we do know is that his clan was resurrected despite his failure, resurrected as hellspawn like himself. Why the Elder Gods did this is cruel think is unknown. Possible it was for his failure or maybe Scorpion himself did something to cause it. Whatever the case, Scorpion felt bitterly betrayed by this act, turned his back on the gods and took up the path of wrath and vengeance once more. In fact it may very well have driven Scorpion right off the deep end. In the days leading up to Armageddon, Scorpion would learn of the gods plans to prevent the coming destruction and chose to try and kill Taven, so of the Edenian protector god Argus, out of spite. Something he never would have done befor. After his failure Scorpion would eventually be drawn toward the final battle at the Pyramid of Argus and in his hate sided with the forces of darkness.
Scorpion's design here perfectly reflects his regression as a character after the betrayal of the Elder Gods. A hellspawn consumed by hate.
If Scorpion had defeated Blaze his clan would have been full restored and numbered in the thousands. This victory would have been stained with the tragedy of his son being kidnapped by Quan Chi, but this time Scorpion is not alone in his pursuit of the Necromancer.
In the canonical ending Scorpion, along with almost everyone else, is slain in battle. In his case likely by the hand of his former ally Sub-Zero.
Mortal Kombat 9
Scorpion's story here takes place in an alternate timeline of the original 3 MK games. It is here that, as far as I'm aware, Scorpion is first referred to by his birth name. Hanzo Hasashi. Scorpion's origin is somewhat altered in this timeline. Here he is turned into a hellspawn after making a deal with Quan Chi to get revenge for his murder and the destruction of his clan. Scorpion enters the Mortal Kombat tournamant as a fighter for Outworld under orders from Quan Chi. Things are not the same in this timeline, as he battles both Kung Lao and Nightwolf befor getting his chance at the man reasonable for his pain, Sub-Zero. However Raiden has a vision of Bi-Han's death and what will eventually become of the elder Sub-Zero, prompting him to try and make a deal with Scorpion. If he refrains from kill Sub-Zero, Raiden will personally request for the Elder Gods to resurrect his clan. At first Scorpion is swayed by Raiden's words but after Sub-Zero is defeated in the NetherRealm, Quan Chi appears and shows Scorpion visions of his loved ones' deaths. This drives Scorpion to murderous rage and he kills Bi-Han. An act Scorpion would regret for years to come. Scorpion appears only briefly after this. In the Outworld MK tournament he is summoned at the request if Kuai Liang, who seeks revenge for his brother's death and later fights Raiden when he seeks an alliance with NetherRealm against Shao Kahn.
The most striking thing about Scorpion's design in MK9 is how much it's been influence by his name sake. his armour almost looks like an exoskeleton, with scorpion stings on his shoulder guards & swords and his face guard looks like mandibles. It's easily the most scorpion Scorpion so far. It's a very good redesign for Scorpion's early, rage filled self.
In his arcade ending, Scorpion finds himself drawn to the home of his clan. As he stands amidst the destruction, their spirits call out to him, telling him the name of the one responsible for their deaths. Quan Chi.
Mortal Kombat X
During the events of Shinnok's first invasion Scorpion was still in the serves of Quan Chi, assisting the fallen god and necromancer in assaulting Earth Realm. After Shinnok's defeat and the assault on Quan Chi's fortress in the NetherRealm, Scorpion, along with several revenants are freed from Quan Chi's control, becoming alive and fully human once more. Now free from anyone's control, Hanzo spends the next five years rebuilding the Shirai Ryu. During this time he is approached by the warrior Kenshi, who asks Hanzo train and protect his son while he peruses his conflict with the Red Dragon Clan. Hanzo accepts, taking Takeda as his student. As they trained they would develop a strong respect for eachother, Hanzo himself taking great pride in his students progress. Hanzo would also find himself invited to the home of the Lin Kuei by Sub-Zero, who sought to make peace between the two clans. While their was much tension between the two, eventually Kuai Liang was able to convince Hanzo that his intentions were pure. Kuai Liang informed Hanzo that the old Lin Kuei did have a hand in the destruction of his clan... but they had not been alone. Quan Chi had also played a part in their down fall also. This revelation rekindled Scorpion's wrath, for not only had he been a pawn of the man who had killed his family, that same man had cost him his one and only chance to have them resurrected.
In the present day, Scorpion ambushes Sonya and the Earth Special Forces after they have apprehended Quan Chi. Scorpion has them tied up then forces a now elderly and weak Quan Chi to face him in Mortal Kombat. Scorpion bests the necromancer but as he deals the final blow, Quan Chi insures the return of Shinnok with his last breath. In the ensuing battle Scorpion and the Shirai Ryu fight alongside the forces of Earth Realm against Shinnok's demons and the forces of Outworld until Cassie Cage is able to beat the fallen Elder God.
Scorpion is MKX is probable the most human the characters ever been, and not just in how he looks. Believing he got his revenge and now no longer bound to Quan Chi, he strives to try and make a new life for himself. He proves himself to be an honourable warrior and wise teacher. Unfortunately he has yet to truly free himself from the demons, as seen when he allows his hate for Quan Chi blind him to all else. In terms of his design, well his primary costume is clearly an updated version of his original MK1 look but by far his most intreasting is his normal human one. What makes it intreasting is how simple it is compared to his more ornate Scorpion design. We finally get to see Hanzo Hasashi for the man he is, not the monster he became.
In his arcade victory, Scorpion regrets giving into his anger when confronting Quan Chi and contemplates suicide as penance. However Raiden appears to him and convinces him to live and make amends. Scorpion absorbs a small amount of the Jinsei's power, linking him to Earthrealm's essence. Scorpion and his Shirai Ryu clan would protect the Earthrealm forever.