Review by SunsetRider

"One of the better fighters comes to the Cube."

Midway's trademark over the top fighter is back, and better than ever. Here it is, the long awaited sequel in the Mortal Kombat series, and the trend of suckery that was set by the last 4 or so years of MK titles is broken. Yes, this one is actually what you would call ''good'', unlike previous efforts Sub Zero: Mythologies and MK 4. This game plays well, the fighting system is one of the freshest things to come along in this genre in quite a long while, and it seems that Mortal Kombat has completely reinvented itself! After trying their hand at a 3D MK game with Mortal Kombat 4, they've worked out the flaws to produce a great all around fighter with all the blood and guts that have become the game's trademark.

NOTE: All words supposed to be spelt with a C are spelt with K in the game, and are thus spelt that way here to reflect the game's terminology.

Gameplay
This game is a seemingly endless stream of fun. Whether you're picking up the controller for the first time and button-mashing against your friends, or just finished perfecting an incredibly complicated maneuver, you'll have a blast.

The movement of your fighter is based purely on the digital pad, and can take a while to get used to. The general movement is fairly easy to pick up, with both walking and dashing simple to execute. Rather than have a separate sidestep button, the game uses up and down on the digital pad for sidestepping into the background or foreground respectively. A direction left or right combined with up will make the character jump, while a direction left or right with down will make the character crouch. The block button uses the right trigger and is truly a blessing in 3D fighters like this. Z, A, B, X, and Y are all attack buttons, though Z is sometimes just used to taunt. The left trigger switches fighting styles, which is where the gameplay truly takes on a new dimension.

Each character has 2 fighting styles and a weapon. Using the left trigger will cycle through these. Each style has a different set of moves and combos, and a different function for the Z button (taunt, power-up, or a weapon's alternate attack). When using a weapon, you can do insane amounts of damage, especially if you know the proper combos. To balance this out, your character will also take more damage while holding a weapon. Also, after the ''Finish Him/Her'' message appears, your character is able to access a fatality fighting style. This lets you enter in the right combination of buttons needed to do a fatality without having your character jumping around the screen, as they remain stationary. They also give you more time to do a fatality, so you aren't trying to push 5 different buttons in 3 seconds.

For play modes, the game has Arcade, Versus, and Konquest. Versus is exactly how it sounds, and lets you play against a friend. Konquest is a mode that introduces players to the basics of the game. After completing the first eight missions with a preset character to learn the basics, players are able to choose a character and take training missions as that character to learn their combos and various attacks. Through doing these missions players also earn koins, which can be used in the Krypt, which will be explained later. The Arcade mode is the main way players will earn koins. In it, they progress through increasingly hard opponents until they reach the end, where they are treated to their characters ending. The arcade mode is well done, but the AI can be quite frustrating. Rather than a gradual climb to the more difficult fights, the fights start off fairly easy, then make a big jump to the more difficult. Another frustration is that while you could be faring well in round 1, the CPU will absolutely destroy you in round 2, and block every single attack you do. While this can be overcome, the third last character you fight, Moloch, is simply a nightmare. You can't grab him, and projectiles like Scorpion's spear and Sub Zero's freeze have no effect. To make it worse, his attacks do insane amounts of damage. What you are left with is an unpleasant battle. Occasionally between fights, players will have a chance at earning more koins in a mini game. You can either ''Test your Strength'' or ''Test your Sight''. The sight game is a version of the shell game, while the strength game requires hitting A, B, X, and Y as fast and as much as possible, then hitting the R button to attack the thing you are trying to break. Simple, yet fun.

Graphics
The graphics in the game have been generally done surprisingly well. The textures in the levels look great, but while the characters look very good for the most part, there are flaws. For example, Kano's body hair looks like it was painted on. An interesting new feature is having battle damage visible on the characters face as they take damage, in the form of cuts and bruises. Unfortunately, the same effects are absent from other parts of the body. Instead, they have unrealistic blood that drips off your character as damage as taken. The blood is plentiful and exaggerated, just as it has been in all of the games. The blood effects look a lot better, though. The blood spilt actually stays on the ground, and turns a darker red as the battle goes on. Very impressive. While not perfect, the graphics are very well done, and do the job nicely.

Sound
When are they going to make new MK themes? The sound, I am very sad to report...is exactly the same as every other game in the series! There is almost absolutely nothing new here, which is a big dissapointment to those of us that have gotten sick and tired of them. It is slow, brooding, and does not really add much of an element of intensity to the fights. This is mostly where the game falters, but I will admit that the music that plays during the fatalities is very good. It has that sort of chilling sound that lets you know that something nasty is coming.

The grunts, smacks, screams of pain, and such are well done, but sometimes it feels as if they give different characters the same set of voices. With the exception of their taunts, Johnny Cage sounds surprisingly like Scorpion, for example.

Also worthy of note is that Midway has included the music video for ''Immortal'' by Adema as en extra in the game. I liked it, but whether or not you will is a matter of personal taste.

As a whole, the sound is okay, but disappointing fight music and the fact that they seem to use the same set of grunts for different characters takes it down quite a bit.

Replay Value
There is a massive amount of replay value in this game.There are 6 different kinds of koins: Ruby, Sapphire, Jade, Onyx, Platinum, and Gold. The koins are used in the krypt, which is filled with koffins. The koffins show which type of koin is needed to open it, and how many of that type of koin is needed. The koffins contain all sorts of things for players to unlock. They have everything from more koins, new characters, alternate costumes, character profiles, special pictures and movies, and even a few empty koffins. There are over 600 koffins for players to open, so the game should supply lots of replay value. There are over 20 unlockable characters who all have different figting styles. Even if you get tired of the Arcade mode, get a friend, let them practice for 15 minutes, then play VS mode and whoop them badly.

Closing Comments
Overall, Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance is a awesome game. It's a lot of fun with a massive amount of replay value. It still has all the gimmicks like the blood and fatalities, but it includes a solid fighting system to back it up. The sound is a little weak, but the fun you'll have with the game more than makes up for it. This game is one of the best 3D fighters on the market.

MK:DA is a must-buy for all of you who are into the fighting genre and/or just love MK games! If you've never played a MK game before, however, I recommend renting this game first to see if you like it or not. If you say ''hey, this is kind of fun...'', buy it and you will be very pleased with what the MK series has to offer. If you have played previous MK games, just buy it immediately! It's Mortal Kombat with a deep fighting system and everything you've come to love and expect.

Overall:

Gameplay:
The freshness of the three fighting styles along with the different game modes makes this game great. The D-Pad at times makes this game awkward.
9.0

Graphics:
The blood stains on the ground and an actually ''good'' 3D version of MK both make the graphics outstanding.
9.0

Sound:
Same MK theme and the repetitive grunts of the fighters are the only real negatives to the game's sound score.
7.0

Replay Value:
So much to unlock, but requires a lot of patience.
8.5

Overall: 8.0





Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 06/10/03, Updated 06/10/03


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