Review by chadandjody

"As a fighting game, this latest MK dish is served luke warm."

Mortal Kombat has been a fighting series with a rabid fan base, including myself. There's a nice fuzzy feeling you get when performing a fatality on your opponent after a well fought match. This installment of MK seems to stray a little too far from its roots in terms of content. Instead of delivering a deep, satisfying fighting game, it delivers a mediocre fighting game with cute extras.

MK: Fighting System not quite Flawless

The basic MK fighting structure is still here, with two punch buttons, two kick buttons, and a block button. Like the last Mortal Kombat, you can change fighting stances with the click of a button. Each character has three stances, with one of the stances using weapons. The problem is that the stances don't seem to make that much of a difference; you'll probably just stick with the stance that has the longest combo. By executing combo's you can inflict maximize damage on your opponent. The game is nice enough to let you to give you the button sequences for basic combos. New to this installment is Combo Breakers. Three times per each match you can stop an opponent's combo by holding block and pressing forward. This does add a splash of strategy as you have to ration them out and figure when the best time to use it is. Fatalities are back as well, with two per character and stage fatalities. While all this may seem like a lot for a fighting game to offer, the gameplay itself is shallow. There's no real reason to switch stances once you're comfortable with one, which leaves each character with an unimpressive variety of moves. The gameplay itself often breaks down into only using projectiles, combos, and combo breakers. Compared to other 3d fighters, like Tekken, there's just no real depth. There is a nice selection of characters, but there's a catch to it. You have to unlock them in Konquest Mode.

MK's saving grace is its online play. Virtually lag free, Midway certainly has something to be proud with their coding. Connecting via Xbox Live is simple and it's not difficult to find an opponent.

MK: Konquest Mode

Konquest Mode is what ruins this game for me. You play a young man going from place to place to train you skills. You can move around and talk to anyone in the village and take on quests. The quests play out to be nothing more then Talk to Person B, or go to location C at a certain time. As you progress in the game you earn Koins to unlock extras, like alternate character outfits and characters them. While it sounds fun, it's slow paced and monotonous. The real kick in the teeth is that you can't play extra characters online until you get them unlocked from here first. It goes from being a sub par quest mode to a grueling chore. If someone finds a code or cheat to unlock the characters without going thru quest mode, then this game would easily go up a point in rating.

MK: The Extra's

Ever wanted to play Chess with Mortal Kombat characters? Me neither, but this is still kind of fun. The rules are slightly different and do require thinking ahead several turns. Also included is a puzzle fighter game. It plays similar to Tetris and Capcom's Puzzle Fighter. A nice diversion and a way to kill a few minutes. The problem is that these are just extra's, icing on the cake so to speak. Mortal Kombat is a fighting game, but Midway's thrown in these extra's to take away your attention from the bare bones fighting system.

Audio, Video, and Controls

Graphic's wise, this game is standard fare for an Xbox. They'll neither impress you nor disappoint. For a fighting game, they serve their purposel. A few of the backgrounds, such as the tropical island, change dramatically during the course of a game and are quite interesting to see. Some of the sound effects and music are recycled from previous MK games, and that's not a bad thing. We MK fans like a bit of nostalgia.

Most of the character combo's and special moves are simple to input, which is good because the controls seem sluggish. The standard S-Controller just isn't made for fighting games, especially a series that has its roots in arcades. Trying a more arcade style controller may remedy the controls that are slow to respond, and sometimes don't respond at all.


MK: Deception is not a bad game by any stretch; it's falls evenly in the average range. On the good side, online play is excellent, mildly entertaining extras, and it has the feel of the Mortal Kombat series. The negatives are the shallow fighting system and the fact that you have to spend time in Konquest mode to use characters online.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 10/08/04

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