Reviewed by Downtown Jimmy
Oct. 14th 2004
Introduction:Mortal Kombat returns for another bloody gore feast of cross dimensional fighting. Midways fighting gem is stuffed full of extra goodies, but is it enough to hold up against the other popular fighting franchises? Read our review to find out.
The Game:If you know videogames then I'm almost certain you have heard of the Mortal Kombat series. Mortal Kombat became popular back in the arcade days along with other fighting legends like Street Fighter and its many spin-offs. Mortal Kombat has always been a little different and offered something the other games didn't, mainly blood and a more fantasy styled fighting game. Some people call the Mortal Kombat series the greatest fighting games of all time, and if this was the 1990's I might agree. In 2004, Mortal Kombat: Deception falls short and is only good enough to please Kombat fans.
Mortal Kombat's greatest asset would be it's over the top characters and its blood thirsty appetite for blood. In that aspect Mortal Kombat: Deception delivers and then some! For the bloodiest results keep that blood flow on max and memorize those fatality combos. This time around they offer a bunch of new modes besides basic fighting; online play and even an RPG component which I will cover more in the innovation section. Midway sure wasn't shy about trying to push the boundaries of a typical fighting game, but when you strip away all the extra illusions you're still have a fighting game, Mortal Kombats claim to fame.
The grip I have with Mortal Kombat: Deception is the actual fighting. The fighting in Mortal Kombat feels like those old "Rock Em' Sock Em' Robots" where the you extend the arm and punch, almost no joint movement or sense of human genetics. The lack of realism is extremely noticeable when you use kicks and when you bounce off the floor like rubber ball? Explain that one? Mortal Kombat comes off really stale and it seems to have no life running though it. I could expect some machine like flexibility and movement out of a fantasy character like Baraka, but when using the ninja typed characters I want to feel like ninja. Deception really doesn't give any leeway to counter attacking besides the lame block, and you end up just trying to manage combo after combo. I wasn't overly impressed with a majority of the combination moves or the lack of grapples in the game. Fighting is about reaction and timing, and without this you loose the art of hand to hand combat.
Graphics & Sound:The graphical content in Mortal Kombat is average with a mix of good and bad moments. Deception keeps that old school digitized game model feeling and really doesn't take any approach to improvise with a different graphical engine. The character movement is pretty horrible and doesn't come of feeling spontaneous. The fighters feel more like wooden statues and don't seem to have the flexibility like in other fighting games. The overall art direction is good and original, but I believe technology can not keep up with their ideas.
Anther area where I think the programmers and designers had a bit of problems messing is in the environments. Mortal Kombat: Deception boasts some of the silliest level designs I have seen. I would have to say I liked half of them, but I think it was the Yin-Yang level that pushed me over the edge. It's a perfect example of a great concept executed horribly. If they would have timed the dynamic change with the fighting somehow it might have worked, but the random switching of themes is horrible. I won't spoil it for anyone who anticipating the game, but I'm sure like the Yin-Yang you're either on one side or the other.
The graphics are a mixed bag, and like I mentioned I think there was so much creativity that ideas only got brushed against and not completed. I give a major kudos point for the graphical content is the opening movie which is spell-binding. It looks great and helps tell the story and show off some of Mortal Kombats great characters and mythology.
As you can guess I wasn't too impressed with the sound element as well in Mortal Kombat, although you can't beat that Mortal Kombat assertive tone. I had a good time trying to recreate the player introductions. Over sound is pretty bland, the Konquest Voice overs and in game sound effects are the worst aspects. The standard heavy metalish soundtrack works, but then they added strange out of place sound effects during combat which breaks the whole effect of the thumping metal mayhem. Like the graphic engine, I think the whole system needs to be reworked.
Innovation:Mortal Kombat: Deception should be called Mortal Kombat: Super-Sized. The developers at Midway have gone out of their way to include everything they could think of, even if it doesn't relate to fighting at all. I commend the series for pushing ideas forward even if they don't completely work. The new modes in Mortal Kombat: Deception is the easy noticed Chess and Tetris inspired games and a new mode called Konquest. The Konquest mode is by far the most entertaining and interesting and sure beats playing Tetris in a fighting game.
Konquest mode is essential if you want to unlock all there is in Mortal Kombat huge unlockable Krypt section. Konquest mode is an RPG element where you take the third person perspective and set out on an adventure to basically get more unlockables. Konquest mode would never be strong enough to be its own game since it's plagued with some minor problems, but as a side game it's pretty innovative and interesting. Konquest mode provides a nice alternative to the constant fighting and helps teach you a few techniques along the way. If you want to get the most of Mortal Kombat you will have to sit though a few hours of mindless running around and coin searching, even if you can't stand it. It's a great idea which if they continue with should be a little more polished.
The two other modes; Chess Kombat and Puzzle Kombat are just little fillers. I was interested in Chess Kombat and I loved the old Archon feeling to the game (love my old c64), but I have to wonder why they didn't keep the original chess rules for piece movement in the game. Not keeping something authentic from the game of chess besides the board really ruined Chess Kombat which could have been amazing. Then there is Puzzle Kombat a Tetris, 2d puzzle fighter style game which I tried. and I tried with friends and just could find any pleasure out of it.
Mortal Kombat still has the unique twist of using three different fighting styles for each fighter, to mix things up. The changing styles are still a high point the game and remain the only fighting game where you can switch up styles on a whim. The different styles consist of two different types of martial arts, and the other weapon based combat. Mortal Kombat still holds on to some innovation even though this game is a more like an extended remix version of MK: Deadly Alliance.
Mojo:I was so looking forward to Mortal Kombat: Deception considering I love the classic characters so much, and I know my man Sub-Zero is stone cold with mojo. I still dig Sub-Zero, but maybe in an older version of the game. Mortal Kombat: Deception did nothing for me and it could be because of my countless hours playing Soul Calibur, but it need more out of my fighting games. I respect the franchise keeping the blood, fatalities, and old school arcade mode and the in their own way keep some mojo value. Everything else just downs the vibes.
Lowdown:Mortal Kombat: Deception will make fans happy, and will keep them busy for a while with all the unlockable content in the game. I myself an old school fan think its time for Midway to re-invent the series and spend more time on redefining their fighting engine instead of creating Kombat Tetris!? Mortal Kombat: Deception is worth a rental just to check out the novelty of the violence, but overall I wouldn't recommend Deception when there are games like Virtua Fighter, DOA and Soul Calibur on the market.
Gameplay: 5, Graphics/Sound: 6, Innovation: 8, Mojo: 5. Final: 6
- "Mortal Kombat Deception feels like an extended remix of MK: Deadly Alliance"