- "What!??? I am Baraka! Leader of the Tarkata. I fear no one - least of all the human."
- — Baraka is the leader of the Tarkatans, he fears no one, least of all the human
Their most distinctive physical traits are their long, sharp teeth, large mouths, and blades protruding from their bodies, especially their arms. Baraka is their leader, and it's revealed that Mileena is a half-Tarkatan clone as well, with this heritage owing their devout loyalty to her in the current timeline. The Tarkatans are a nomadic species, mainly populating Outworld's wastelands, but it's discovered that they come from the Never Never Land and migrated to Outworld. This race possesses a love for battle and serves whoever is in command (Shao Kahn, the Dragon King, etc.).
They are often depicted as unintelligent, bloodthirsty brutes that serve the currently most powerful leader. However, Baraka is depicted as being intelligent, as he knew that a meeting Mileena had scheduled with him in the ancient Beetle Land was a trap and sent another Tarkatan in his place.
According to Mortal Kombat 9, all Tarkatan males joined Kahn's Army once they came of age and survived the brutal ritual of blood. Among the ranks present within their armies included that of an enforcer.
In Jade's Return of The Dragon King ending, it's revealed that it is possible to gather concentrated Tarkatan essence and seal it within a container. When the container is shattered against a person, the nearby Tarkatans enter into an uncontrollable frenzy as they believed the person with the essence is being a rival male or female so they instinctively attack.
The Tarkatans play a prominent role in the invasion of Earth initiated by Shao Kahn. The Tarkatans are bolstered by artillery supplied by Kano's Black Dragon Clan, and are able to easily overwhelm Earth's defences.
The Tarkatan are seen again in Mortal Kombat X during the story mode.
Flashbacks to four years ago reveal when Mileena was Empress, several Tarkatans accompanied her to confront Kotal Kahn and his fellow insurgents against her rule, with Baraka alongside her. The Tarkatans attack after Mileena orders them to kill those conspiring against her. In the end, they are defeated, with their leader, Baraka, being viciously executed by D'Vorah.
Even after Mileena's deposing, the Tarkatans remain fiercely loyal to her. During the present events of the story, Mileena and her allies (Tanya and Rain, who freed her from prison) ambush Kotal's forces with hordes of Tarkatans. Upon Mileena's signal, the Tarkatans storm the Outworld Market, first targeting Kahn's allies (D'Vorah, Red Harlow and Ermac) who ruthlessly kill them. Mileena paid Kano to kill Kahn, hoping to not be forced to unleash her ultimate weapon: Shinnok's Amulet, acquired by Kano in exchange for gold. After Kotal defeats Kano & Tanya, he is attacked by two more Tarkatans. Then, he spots Mileena, Rain and other Tarkatans on the roof of a building. Having grown fed up, he transports there. Mileena is surprised but orders the Tarkatans to attack, though, Kotal slays them effortlessly.
- In MK9s Challenge Tower, there are several challenges in which the opponents are Tarkatans of various rankings: Spy, Soldier, and General.