Finish Him!” Those words and the accompanying basso voice have become a part of popular video game culture thanks to the Mortal Kombat series of games. Midway has released the latest version of the series with Mortal Kombat: Deception. MK:D brings more gameplay options to the table, but only provides minor refinements to the graphics, controls, and sound. It is using the same graphics engine that powered its predecessor, Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance. The lack of change in those departments makes the game immediately accessible to all players of Deadly Alliance, and then the additions add more reasons to play the game. This game has definatly left the simple roots established in Mortal Kombat. Large, fully rendered models of the fighters take up the majority of the screens. The backgrounds have a lot of animation and simulate the depth of the area well, from crypts (or is that Krypts?) to a high cliff that slowly crumbles beneath you. The graphics are also well optimized, leading to little to no slowdown even in the largest of scenes. The down side to this is that it is basically the same graphical engine used in MK:Deadly Alliance. Even this is hardly a down side, as the game is very beautiful to look at. The world in the Konquest mode is detailed well, and feels suitably alive, weather beaten, or barren depending on which realm you are in. The MK:D music is suitably heavy metal, matching the tone of the matches. Some of the music varies from basic symphonic into the metal music, but the pieces are for the most part all metal. The music supports the pace of the matches well. It also stays just at the edge of the background. The designers carefully considered the volume of the music to the rest of the game play and found the perfect mix. Mortal Kombat engineered the direction plus button press move style of fighting games, compared to the more sweeping and rolling moves that make up the Capcom/SNK fighting games. The controls make use of all four face buttons for the punches and kicks in the game, and the shoulder buttons of the PS2 controller handle style changes, throws, and blocks. The controls fall right in the proper place making most of the basic combination moves easy to perform. The more difficult chains can become second nature after a time. The only time I had any serious problem with the controls were during the cross style special moves. I found the timing of the buttons and the L1 shoulder button to be very finicky. This is only a small blemish on the otherwise excellent controls.
If I were to start this game up, and set up a match before you looked at the screen or saw the title sequence, you would never know that this game was not Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance. The first clue that something is different would be the use of a Hari-Kiri finishing move, in which the losing player takes his or her own life before an opponent finishes them off. The next clue would be the addition of a Puzzle Kombat game and then Kombat Chess to the mix. After that, going exploring in Konquest mode would definitely throw you for a loop. Several new characters and many returning characters round out what’s new to the game. All of these items will have people asking you “Which Mortal Kombat are you playing?” All the game play modes are well done, and provide many challenges for returning to them and playing. Midway has learned that simply providing an arcade ladder to fight against and a versus mode is not enough to get people to pick up the game.
Kombat Chess is a standard chess game, but you pick several fighters to be the pieces on the board. These fighters will fight it out for each contested square. In addition, there are special power squares that will give a life or power bonus to one side or the other during the fights. It’s a nice way to play a series of matches with a larger goal in mind.
Puzzle Kombat is Midway’s answer to Super Puzzle Fighter. Super deformed versions of the Mortal Kombat characters duel it out and force the other player to fill their screen to the top with blocks.
Konquest mode is partially a tutorial for the game, and a way to unlock new stuff in the Krypt. It starts off with basic lessions with Bo Rai Cho in Earthrealm, then moves on to adventuring through different realms and learning about the figthers of Mortal Kombat. It is very much like Deadly Alliance’s mode, except that you play as a young monk who learns about all the fighters, rather than each section being about a specific fighter in advance. Also, the path you take throughout the world is not fixed, but allows you to run around this world yourself, with day/night cycles for the characters in it. You can find treasure chests in this mode that contain special Keys for unlocking Krypt locations. These are for new levels and fighters. They are usually time and location based.The value in this game is represented by the sheer number of unlockables in the Krypt. Earning Koins in all the modes to unlock these Krypts will occupy your time. Some of the Krypts simply have production or staff artwork in them, while others have movies on the characters and history of Mortal Kombat. Finally, some of the most expensive Koffins have characters or alternate costumes locked away in them. This large room presents your biggest challenge in the whole game (aside from the kid down the street that also knows all the Finishing moves by heart) and will keep calling you back to the game to earn Koins.