Review by JadeDragonMeli

"Finish Him!"

I'll be as straight forward as I possibly can, if you aren't an MK fan, this game will more than likely not be for you. Which is why I have to give it a 7 instead of an 8. It's a firm belief of mine that all games should not only appeal to it's already set fan base, but also to the casual gamer, or someone who previously hated the series. This goes for any game.

What Boon and Co. have managed to do with the extra features of Mortal Kombat Deception is nothing short of amazing. Puzzle Kombat is more fun than I ever thought it would be, Chess Kombat is more strategy than I thought it would be, and the Konquest adventure is, in a word, "cool".

Sadly, not much was changed in the fighting aspect of the game. Yes, we have combo breakers, which is a very welcomed addition, but it just isn't enough for this game to be considered an elite fighting game. I'll touch more on all of this later on though.

Graphics: 8/10

For the most part, the graphics in the game are top notch. The opening FMV will probably make your jaw drop at least one time. Sure, it's not SquarEnix quality, but it's a lot better than the opneing of MK:DA.

Every fighting game has it's own "style" if you will. Virtua Fighter tries to be ultra-realistic looking, Capcom fighters (for the most part) continue to deliver stunning 2-D graphics, Budokai games are obviously made to look like an anime, and then you have MK... Which is made to look like... MK! The characters and backgrounds alike are perfectly mixed with a blend of realistic/cartoonish factors. Such is the MK style.

Sound: 7/10

Every time I hear the sounds of MK:D I think of the glory days of Mortal Kombat. Some classic stages make a return here and have had their music and other sound effects re-done, but it still remains faithful to the classic games. Of course, a lot of the sound effects, especially for weapons, are shared and repeated. I wouldn't be surprised if I am the only one who noticed that though as I tend to be picky about small things :)

The sound effects for attacks for returning characters remain largely unchanged, which is no surprise. I think the speech and the screams of agony more than make up for it though.

So why did I give this section a 7 if I like everything? To answer simply, KONQUEST! The majority of the games good secrets are unlocked through Konquest. The only thing I didn't like about the mode was the sound, I mean seriously, would it of been that hard to pay someone $5 and get some decent voice actors? Characters you interact with tend to have no emotion in their voice at all and end up sounding like a robot. I think it was XBN that said Konquest was painful to play through. I will agree only because I was actually interested in the story and found myself wanting to skip the sequences every chance I got.

Gameplay: 7/10

Who needs more creativity on their fighting engine? That would be MK! I completely understand the fact that Virtua Fighter is Virtua Fighter, Tekken is Tekken, Soul Caliber is Soul Caliber, etc. etc. But let's face it, in over all depth, MK is far behind all of those games. That's not to say I don't enjoy the system, it just needs a lot of work and it could be great.

Let's start off with the basics. No low throws. Yes, crouching now prevents you from being thrown and pretty much gives you a free uppercut opportunity if your opponent does indeed try to throw you.

One throw per character. Really, it's bad enough we can only perform a throw in one situation, why limit us to just one throw period? Would it of been that hard to create a different one for each stance?

Combo breakers. Yes, good idea. But it was obviously a rushed job and it brings the game no closer to the depth of other fighters. You have to play strategically until your breakers are gone, then revert back to MK:DA tactics. Which is basically to do the longest combo you can. If you miss the first two hits, back dash cancel to a safe distance, rinse and repeat. It's almost been 10 years since MK3 came out, and we are still having to use 2-D strategies in a 3-D world.

There are no kind of parry or counter moves, just block and retaliate. Come on, even Street Fighter games have parry's now. Not to mention air throws, air blocking, tech hits etc.

Also, the extreme lack of customization in combo's. I feel very confined in MK:D. There are too few combo's per character. It almost forces you to learn only their best combos and simply do them over and over again. I like being able to pop a game in, go to practice mode, and find 5-6 hit combos on my own. That is almost impossible to do in MK:D seeing as you have 4 main attack buttons but all 4 are rarely used in any combo. I should be able to go 1, 2.or 1, 3. or 1, 4. And get a different combo every time. I'm not saying every button combination I hit has to be linked to a 5-6 hit combo, but something would be nice.

I want the ability to start a combo high and go low, or vice versa. True, some characters do have one... ONE combo that allows that character to do so, but how much more interesting would matches be if both players could go low to high, or high to low?

These are just a handful of basic things that every 3-D fighter should have now a days. Don't get me wrong, I love MK, but I have no problems pointing out it's flaws in hopes that it becomes a better game.

One thing that was changed from MK:DA is the juggle system. It used to be that any 3 hits while you are in the air would send you flopping back down to the ground. Now, you can pop a person up and hit them with a 5-hit combo. The only time a character flops down to the ground is when they are hit with consecutive pop maneuvers. I.E.: Pop, pop, pop. But, you could do: Pop, pop, 5-hit combo. This does add a bit more variety to characters and helps out those who actually take the time to learn the game.

I really believe that the current engine used by Boon and Co. is something that can be built upon to be something in depth and amazing, it's just a question of when will it be done.

Puzzle Kombat has really managed to grab my attention. The object is to get as many colored blocks touching each other as possible, then drop a breaker piece of the same color onto them. Doing this smashes all the connected locks of the same color, and dumps pieces onto your opponents puzzle.

Simple enough right? Not so fast, every character has super moves that they can do to tip the scale in their favor. You raise your super bar by destroying your blocks, the more you destroy the bigger gain you get to your bar. Once it is full you can press Square to perform your characters Super. Raiden for xample, has a super called storm in which it "rains" different colored blocks onto your opponents puzzle. Doing this not only causes your opponents puzzle to get closer to the top, but also can potentially severely mess up any combo they were setting up.

Chess Kombat also has it's fun moments. The pieces do not all move by standard "chess rules". Pawns, or Grunts as they are called in MK, can freely move diagonally at anytime. When you try to capture your opponents piece, you enter into Kombat and fight it out for the square.

In addition to all of this, you have a list of spells that you can bring up during your turn. You are allowed to cast each spell once, but every spell ends your turn. You can resurrect a character, heal, protect, teleport, imprison, kill, or sacrifice a character (I swear I am forgetting a spell). Also, every board has two green power squares. Occupying these will give you a little extra boost in power when you enter Kombat. The "attacker", or the person who initiated Kombat also gets a small HP increase at the start of the fight.

And what about online play? Now here's some fun! While it doesn't exactly feel like I'm back at the arcade, it does give you the opportunity to see just how good you really are. You can have a regular versus match or play puzzle kombat and chess kombat online.

Being able to have a great match with somebody then doing a fatality brings back some good memories of MK 1 & 2 for me. Not to mention, when you lose and do a Hara-Kiri. Nothing is a bigger slap in the face than killing yourself before your opponent does. I love the Hara Kiri!

Konquest has been totally and completely revamped from MK:DA. In fact, it doesn't even resemble DA's version at all. Before, the story of Mk was told in still shots with text, maybe an FMV. Now, you actually get to play through the MK story. This was a great idea. I love the fact that I can actually play through the story and not just get a "opening, ending, done".

There is so much in Konquest that I could probably type for an hour or two about all of it's features. There are tons of sidequests to do, some reward you with koins. While none of them are necessary to complete the mode, at least Boon and Co. made the mode a bit more interesting. Even after you complete the mode there is still much more to unlock. And if you don't use a FAQ, you could probably play it for the next year and not find everything.

Most characters, alternate costumes, and arenas are unlocked in Konquest. Most have to do with opening a certain chest that only appears on a certain day at a certain time. Or, you may have to fight a character that only appears at a certain day/hour.

There are some bad points to everything though, and Konquest is no exception. As I stated earlier, the voice acting is horrible. And my other big complaint is that there is no record/journal for side quests. I have absolutely no idea how many I've completed, or which ones I have started, but are not complete yet.

Since the mode mostly deals with Shujinko, I will talk about this here... I coul of sworn that Shujinko was supposed to be customizable in appearance and moves? You can't change his appearance at all, and the only thing customizable is that you can choose which ones you want to get or not. But, everybody who plays the game has the same list to choose from. Scorpions spear, Liu's bicycle kick, Sub's freeze, Li Mei's split kick, etc. etc.. They are unlocked in Konquest by finding Ying-Yang symbols AFTER you have played through the story. So basically the only customization you can get is, "Hmm I don't feel like going to this point on the map and getting this move, even though it only takes two minutes".

When it's all said and done, Mortal Kombat: Deception is probably the best MK of all time. But, even so, still stands surpassingly shallow while the rest of the gaming community evolves. The game is still fun and you have a near endless supply of challengers online waiting for you. It's just that I know that it is possible for MK to be even better than what it is now. And I want that to happen.

Replay-ability: 9/10

If you like the game, you are going to have no problems in this department. It's one thing to beat the CPU, it's another thing to beat a highly skilled human opponent.

Konquest should be more than enough to eat away your life as well. I would suggest using an FAQ to unlock all the characters, then doing everything should eat away at your life for awhile.

Puzzle Kombat, for me, is great. It's probably my most favorite of the extra modes. I could behappy playing against the computer in that as they are pretty skilled during the end. But hey, I have on line for that too :)

Fun Factor: 8/10

I would love to give this a higher score. Even with all the good things about MK:D, it doesn't distract me enough from the lack of customizable combos. Maybe I just got spoiled with VF or DOA, but I like have near limitless options for combos.

I think I have been over all the points of why this game is fun, so I will leave that alone.

Rent or Buy?

If you even remotely liked MK:DA, you will LOVE Deception. Buy it!! If you didn't really like it, but are still curious, then give it a rent. Sure, VF and DOA and such may be the better over all fighters, but I don't think I ever had so much fun with a fighting game since probably MKII. Might be different if DOA and VF were online, but meh. I love MK, and look forward to MK7.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 10/11/04

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