Review by mronimusha

"The best yet?"

Mortal Kombat: Deception. The latest installment of a series that would be able to have sex in Alberta if it were a person (by which I mean it's fourteen years old), and with five excellent games in the past, fans were expecting Deception to be in a different class to its forefathers. The sixty-four-thousand dollar question, of course, is does it live up to the expectations the Mortal Kombat name automatically sets? In my attempt to answer, I'll give all of the categories two rating – the traditional one-to-ten, naturally, but also showing how it stacks up against its predecessors.

Graphics – The graphics have had a revamp since Deadly Alliance, and when you see the opening video you will be impressed at the quality; all of the projectiles Raiden and the Deadly Alliance hurl at one another are animated beautifully. I can safely say that if they ever decided to make another Mortal Kombat movie and it was animated like this, I'd be in the queue a week before dressed like Sub-Zero. In-game the graphics are about equal to Deadly Alliance; all the splats of blood trickle from the bodies in the thick drops we've seen before, and the Fatalities are more cringe-worthy than ever – a particular favourite of mine is Smoke's. This is an easy section to rate: it gets 9/10 alone, and stacks up equal to Deadly Alliance.

Sound – From the Sky Temple and the Dark Prison, to the wide expanses of Konquest Mode's Edenia and Chaosrealm, the sound is pretty much picture perfect all around. The shouts of pain and the screams from the characters as they suffer Fatalities are more or less the same since Deadly Alliance, but the background music is much improved and suits the stages in question. The Golden Desert's sounds suitably Arabian, while the Slaughterhouse's is filled with heavy drum beats and creates the perfect aura for a stage surrounded by a lake of blood needs. Like graphics, this is easy to call: 9/10 because a lot of the sound effects are recycled, and the best sound quality in the series.

Gameplay – As before, it's like Deadly Alliance revamped. The style-changing system remains intact, although some of the characters have styles they didn't in the previous game – such as Scorpion losing Pi Gua in favour of Moi Fah – and to compensate for no longer being able to impale your opponents with certain characters' weapons, Midway have pulled out all the stops on the stages. The introduction of Deathtraps – areas of the stage that would effectively be an instant kill if you could knock your opponent into them – was much publicised, and had the effect of overshadowing the new multi-layered arenas. Taking a tip from Dead or Alive, most of the arenas are fully interactive; you can smash your opponent through walls, or pillars, and uppercut them through floors if you so desire. Take it from me – the first time you manage to use the Deathtrap in Hell's Foundry, you'll forget about losing the ability to impale.

But what of Konquest mode? Konquest was much-derided in Deadly Alliance because of a number of factors – long load times, an uninspired concept and such and such – but Deception's Konquest mode is vastly different. It plays much more like an RPG; you control a character named Shujinko, who starts as a young boy receiving training from Bo' Rai Cho and progresses on to obtaining six sacred objects called the Kamidogu from each of the six areas in the game (Earthrealm, Outworld, Netherrealm, Chaosrealm, Orderrealm and Edenia). The training modes within Konquest remain the same, but apart from the first sessions with Bo' Rai Cho, they are all completely optional. As if all this weren't good enough, the PS2 and Xbox versions offer online play – bringing true the Cable Guy's proclamation that we would be able to play Mortal Kombat with our friends in Vietnam – so if you don't have any friends who are willing to play with you, the online mode is more than able to accommodate you. An easy 10/10 for this section, and the best game yet (rivaled by MK2, which was great in its simplicity)

Replay Value - If you have online play, shove this section up by about three points, because while the Krypt means you'll want to keep playing to unlock the alternate costumes and stage and such and such, Chess and Puzzle Kombat probably won't keep you occupied for that long (although Chess is a good way to see the Fatalities if you can't do them yourself – if you beat the Leader without using a Deathtrap, your character will perform the fatality automatically). 7/10 for this, but sadly this does still make it the best game yet.

Overall – If you liked Deadly Alliance…heck, if you liked ANY of the previous Mortal Kombat games, pick this up. You won't regret it. 9/10, and the best game yet. Armageddon has a lot to live up to.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 07/31/06

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