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Reviewed: Mortal Kombat: Deception
Author: Michael Ahlf       Date: November 26th, 2004
Page: 2
In terms of controls, MK: Deception has followed in the footsteps of Deadly Alliance. Player characters can switch between two fighting styles and a weaponed style, each with their own move list and a few crossover combo maneuvers. Blocking is its own button, but the old "run" button is long gone; in its place is the ability to double-tap the joystick or gamepad for a short dash forward or backwards. Grabs are accomplished with a single button, and there's only one grab per character; likewise, each character is given a short list of "special" maneuvers that can be performed in any style.

The basic arcade mode will be readily recognizable to Mortal Kombat veterans - select a character, and play your way up the "ladder" against increasingly difficult (read: in the fighting system, cheaply computerized) enemies. It's fine and dandy, but it's not what the game is about.

The developers have also added in multiple other modes. There's "Chess Kombat", which is a chess board scenario with special blocks and squares added to the game for strategic play. It's not really chess, though. When pieces are "taken", they are only taken after a short MK-style battle, which the player has to win or lose his/her own piece. In Chess mode there are also two green squares which give advantages while held, trap squares (set by the players before the match begins) that kill all opposing forces who step into them, helpful spells to cast... it's not Chess by any means, truthfully. Consider it to be "tactical Kombat" instead.

Character-wise, the usual suspects - along with a few newcomers - are present. 16 are available in the beginning, and the rest must be unlocked on Konquest mode before they become playable.

Control-wise, the game is a mixed bag. Despite being set up for online play, serious players will want to acquire an arcade stick similar to the X-Arcade stick if they really want to sit down and learn the title. The Xbox's d-pad just isn't well situated for doing most of the maneuvers, and likewise for the Xbox's buttons and working the L button (stance change) into combo attacks.

The final mode of the game is Konquest Mode. This is where the game's storyline happens, and this is how the designers intend players to learn the system - playing Konquest is a strange merger of RPG-style play, fighting subquests, tournament play, and tutorials... lots of tutorials. "Secret" characters are also unlocked in this mode, necessitating playing it to unlock most of the characters in the game. That being said, Konquest mode is reasonably well constructed, and not a bad system to play. The only downside to it is that it requires creating a "profile" with a button-input password to activate; don't lose the password, or your profile (and game) are forever lost.

Overall, Mortal Kombat: Deception isn't a bad title. Chess mode and Konquest mode are a lot of fun.

The downside is the Mortal Kombat engine. Rather than being fluid, it still relies on the movelist system; if your input isn't listed in the movelist as a combo, it's not a combo, and that's that. Added to this is the fact that many combos are counterintuitive, and likely only to be found when studying the in-game list. Unless you've got a ridiculous amount of time to study characters' movelists and memorize them, the game's just not worth picking up for that reason. The in-game move list doesn't include the new Fatality maneuvers (2 per character) or Hara-Kiri (suicide to prevent your opponent achieving a Fatality victory) maneuvers, forcing players to hunt down a game guide or go online to sites like Gamefaqs.

Is it worth playing? Maybe. Rent before buying.


Added:  Friday, November 26, 2004
Reviewer:  Michael Ahlf
Page: 2/3

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