Just when people thought the Mortal Kombat series was dead, out came Deadly Alliance in 2002 to revive the series, featuring new game modes, characters, and the same feel of other games in the series. The follow-up to that successful MK game, Mortal Kombat: Deception, will satisfy long-time fans and those rare gamers who are new to the series. It’s not the most outstanding fighting game but it has an important element that often is missing from games in this genre: Mortal Kombat: Deception is fun to play. The classic fighting mode is still the strong point of the game, but even more new modes up the ante.
The first Mortal Kombat was famous partially for its “realistic” digitized graphics. Nowadays it may seem funny that motion capture and digitizing were considered cutting edge in videogames because now they’re a tool used by a lot of games. The characters looked lifelike thanks to these animation techniques, which made the other element that made MK stand out from the competition – Fatalities – even more incredible. There was great hype because of their hyper-violent characteristics, and the lifelike characters made it even more gruesome. In Mortal Kombat: Deception, the graphics don’t break that kind of new ground, but they are still very good my contemporary standards. The arenas are some of the best among fighting games, in both design and detail. The solid speed and frame rate help the gamer enjoy the visuals and the intense fights even more.
When you are fighting an opponent in any game, you want to hear the sounds of battle loud and clear. In other words and without sounding like a violent freak, the sound of pain of your adversary. No need to call the shrink, fighting games derive their success from that satisfaction, not from causing someone pain, but in winning, and winning with a bang. Sociological and psychological chatter aside, the sounds of MK: D are what one would expect from a game of the series. The sound effects are purposely exaggerated to increase the game’s intensity, and it works out very well. There’s not a dull moment when it comes to the fighting itself.
Gameplay is an integral part of any videogame, but even more so in fighting games. The mechanics of fighting itself have to be effective for the game to be successful, and have a degree of complexity to add depth to gameplay. Although simple game mechanics can make the game more fun, an overly simple fighting game can be dull and no fun at all. That’s what the Mortal Kombat series has long been criticized with: simplistic gameplay and too much concentration on the awe effect of Fatalities. Deception and Deadly Alliance have added a wider array of moves and combos, and combo breakers. These combo breakers are an ability strangely not often used in fighting games; in MK: D they work wonderfully and have a strategic aspect to them. You have only a limited number you can use in a fight, and this forces you to plan their use better.
Fatalities are obviously in this game also. Actually there are two for each character, for twice the fun. But have you ever thought about self-fatalities? The folks that worked on the game did. It comes in form of hara-kiri: honorable deaths for samurais, or in this case avoid getting your head or limbs cut off. They’re just different paths for the same end. This addition adds to the emotional side of the game, every fighter wants to preserve his or her own honor. If you don’t want to go through the hassle of fighting a whole round to win it you can always end the round by throwing your enemy into a pit. Strangely, it will not end the fight but you win the round. Back from MKII is the acid pit, for a good cleansing of the enemy.
Aside from this classic mode, there’s the Konquest mode (yes, with a k). It’s just another game mode because it doesn’t add more than that. It’s seems like it was just added so it can be said that Mortal Kombat has an adventure mode, too. The only good thing to come out of it is the unlockables, including new attire for the characters, hidden characters, and new arenas as well. The adventure game serves as a tutorial also, and that is a good thing. However, veterans of the genre and the series will have little use for the Konquest mode.
HOW ABOUT A GAME OF CHESS?
Fighting is not all that Mortal Kombat: Deception is about; there’s also fighting chess and fighting puzzle. They might not seem like it, but these modes are pretty fun to play, and the sheer idea of getting three games in one has always been appealing, even if they aren’t really three games in one. Battle chess is exactly what it sounds like. It’s regular chess but instead of removing pieces from the board you engage in a fight when two “pieces” meet. It’s very fun to play if you like chess. The puzzle game is not as good, but it’s really up to the gamer. Some people love puzzle games and may like it more than I did. They are additions to the main event, which is the fighting itself, and additions are always welcome when they don’t take away from the core of the game.
KOMBAT IS BACK
It’s refreshing to see a series like Mortal Kombat reinvent and evolve over time, while others just copy the same formula over and over again. While some new features may seem skin deep, there are other additions that make the experience more complete. One of the most popular series in the fighting games genre, Mortal Kombat is still strong enough for fans and to win new ones too. Creativity and the will to venture into new territory has done good things for Mortal Kombat.