Mortal Kombat: Deception
Mortal Kombat could be described as a beat’em-up that took the gaming scene by storm, mainly because of rather bloody and over-the-top action. It all started in 1992 with an arcade machine. In that era there was no such thing as 3D imaging, so no state-of-the-art graphics were involved. What happened was getting a load of actors doing moves on a lot of photographs which were put into a sequence for the game’s action. Several of the caracters looked alike with the only difference being the color of their outfit and other moves. All this put together with the most bloody finishing moves made this game an instant succes with the youngsters… and fanatic anti-gaming groups.
MK:D is the 6th in the series (not counting the silly Sub Zero adventure), a series not always succesful: after MK4 most of the gamers sort of had it with the repetitive gameplay. MK: Deadly Alliance was considered a step into the right direction, so you could see MK:D as a continued story after MK:DA…
The game starts with a pre-rendered bit showing Raiden (professional Thunder God) getting an asswhooping by two of his arch-enemies: Quan Chi and Shang Tsung. These two gentlemen succeed in bringing Raiden down after which they cannot do anything else then… start fighting among each other (as bad guys often do). Because of this they lose sight of a slight annoyance: a nasty prophecy comes to pass… Enter our pal Onaga, the Dragon King, joined by his mummified army. Close to soiling their undergarments they throw everything they have at this winged dude. Raiden notices that this does not have the desired effect and decides to join them in their assault. The added lightning does not even scratch their opponent and Raiden only sees one sollution: sacrificing himself in an ultimate attempt to exterminate the mummified and winged thread. The army is defeated, but unfortunately Raiden’s sollution did not impress he-who-has-a-bigger-wingspan-then-the-average-albatros… He’s got artefacts that protect and empower him… and somebody is feeling very guilty about that!
As in every beat’em-up you have to go through several characters to get to Onaga and try to do where others failed… beat him. Every selectable character has two different combat techniques (loosely based on existing martial arts styles), and a weapon. To be able to effectively use all the available moves you really will have to invest some time: there are after all an average of 50 moves and combo’s available per character. These combo’s are the most efficient way of dealing with your opponents. As in previous incarnations of MK you can, if you take the time of finding them, execute one of the two available Fatality moves, or if you lost there is always the possibility of doing a hara-kiri suicide move. Both of these options produce more blood then an abatoir in overdrive…
If this was everything the game had to offer I should be getting ready for my conclusion… but there is more: Chess Kombat, Puzzle Kombat and Konquest.
The first is best explained as a variation on chess and the game Chewbakka and R2D2 play on the Millenium Falcon in “Star Wars: A New Hope”. You don’t simply move your pieces around the board, but have to attack and fight your opponent in one round of Mortal Kombat. Depending on the class of your piece, and who has control of the energy points, you’ll be either more or less powerful. As in chess it is your goal to get at and defeat the king (or Leader).
Puzzle Kombat could be compaired with a kind of Tetris game: fill up your opponents field with blocks by removing blocks from yours… and executing special moves to either help yourself or annoy your competitor. Winning will put your opponent in a very funny and extremely deadly position!
Over to Konquest, which is very elaborate and, surprising to me, rather enjoyable. It is a story-based mode that has you playing as a young man named Shujinko, who has to go through several schools to finish his training as an Earthrealm champion. He is aided by another student showing him the different dojo’s. In between you can help out people you meet… Sound like RPG, but it’s not. The training you receive is basically getting to know all the moves available. To make a long story short: you go through your school days and meet this ball of light claiming to be a God who needs your help which will take you a lot of years. To aid you in your quest you are given the ability to mimic your oponents. This way you are able to go through ****EDIT by author… would be giving away a bit too much! ****! Surprised? I know I was Of course this character becomes available in the other game modes. The only downside to Konquest, besides the repetitive gameplay, is that you’ll have to go through all of it to unlock all the of the other characters in the game. It could even be that you have to go through the different realms again to find all the unlockable items because you missed them the first time round.
While playing all the game-modes you get rewards in the form of “Koins” which you can use to unlock the extra’s the game has to offer. These extra’s range from alternative bio’s and attire for certain characters to pictures of the creators. Nothing that really adds to gameplay but if you want to unlock everything you’ll have to play the game A LOT!.
What I also liked is the fact that, when you’re not the only one at home using the PS2, you can lock your saves by using the password system, leaving them lazy buggers to unlock everything for themselves…
The online part of the game I have not tested, because my internet connection does not reach the location of my PS2… I did hear that it is a lot of fun, if you can take the odd bit of lagging.
Thanks to the extra game-modes MK:D is a game that has added life-span. Somebody willing to unlock everything will have to invest time, and then some more time. Funny are the cute characters and fatalities in Puzzle mode, all the rest takes itself a bit to serious… without being too serious. an MK game wouldn’t be the same without ridiculous amounts of blood and gore! Although I enjoyed playing it, I must say I’ve played better Beat’em-ups. To me the Tekken series, thanks to it’s controls and graphics, is still the game to beat in this genre and sadly MK:D doesn’t come close. Graphics could have been a bit better, but the PS2-GPU probably has something to do with that…