Review by Speedy Boris

Reviewed: 08/10/05

MK is BACK! (For the most part)

MK is BACK! After a decidedly decent (but rather unspectacular) outing in 3D with MK 4 to the just-plain-bad MK Special Forces and Mythologies, we finally get a game that brings the fast-paced, gory fighting back to its roots. While the game isn't quite perfect, there's still a lot to like here, especially in Konquest Mode.

1) SUMMARY: Mortal Kombat Deception comes with four gameplay modes:

-Arcade Mode: Your basic game mode. Fight against a host of other characters (in this case, eight), including the end boss. There are 12 fighters initially playable, with more unlockable later. No surprises here, especially if you've played any of the previous Mortal Kombat games. But fun anyway. It's especially nice that the fighting engine is quite good, allowing full movement and maintaining a crisp pace, combined with interactive environments and all the various bonuses that we've come to expect in 3D fighters. And new stuff like Hara-Kiri (opponent suicide).

-Chess Kombat: A MK-themed chess game, but the twist is that to take an opponent's piece, you must battle them in traditional fighting and win. Added frills include trap-setting and power-ups. Surprisingly, I found this mini-game rather dull, despite it sounding like lots of fun; the perspective is isometric and limited, and the pace slows down when you have to fight, because the game has to load the 3D fighting engine.

-Puzzle Kombat: A Columns-style (better yet, Puzzle Fighter-style) mini-game. Like Chess Kombat, this was a disappointment. Not only are matches LOOOOOOONG (because the very item needed to make blocks disappear, the MK logo, only appears during certain times), but the pace of the falling blocks is SLOOOOOW on any difficulty except Max. Yes, you can speed them up a little, but it's still fairly slow.

-Konquest Mode: Now THIS is the best part of the game. In fact, the inclusion of this mode ALONE propels the review's score into the higher ranks. Without, this game would merely be average.

You play as Shinjuko, and throughout the course of this fighter's life, you'll rise up the ranks by training with martial arts masters from many different realms. The realms include Earthrealm, Netherrealm, Chaosrealm, Outworld, Orderrealm, and Edenia, and each brings a unique visual style, as well as unique inhabitants therein.

Truth be told, the training with masters is only a small part of this mode. Actually, the bulk of it is item collecting koins, because you'll need them to unlock various items in The Krypt, located on the menu. And believe me, these koins are stuffed in every single nook and cranny of these six worlds. Not only will you find them in heavy forests, remote caves, huts, and in less-than-ideal locations, but you'll also get koins by completing quests that random villagers give you. You can talk to everyone you meet, and not knowing who will be useful and who won't offers a lot of incentive to ask everybody.

Now normally I hate pointless item collecting, especially if the pay-off isn't anything spectacular or even non-existant. Such is the case with Spyro: Year of the Dragon, which literally gave you nothing for the massive amount of gems you had to collect. Not the case with MK Deception. There are hundreds upon hundreds of items to unlock in The Krypt, ranging from artwork to jukebox tunes to martial arts demonstration videos to trailers to FMV sequences from previous MK games to secret characters to alternate outfits, etc. etc. The massive amount of variety alone makes the incentive for collecting koins quite large.

Of course, Konquest isn't quite perfect. The environments are far less detailed than those of Arcade Mode. There are many areas where you'll get stuck inbetween two items due to a needlessly large, invisible perimeter. There are some quests that you only have ONE chance to complete or they're lost forever , which can make it extremely difficult to rack up enough koins for The Krypt items (the village that you begin in is the prime example of this; once you leave, you can't go back in! I wish I had KNOWN that before I left...). The included map with each world doesn't come with coordinates on the map itself, so there's a lot of trial and error involved. There are occasional moments of walking through people (for an example of this, fail to scare the old man in Earthream; you'll walk right through him!). And finally, there are needlessly pointless parameters in which certain koins appear. For example, certain chests only appear in a certain realm on a certain day of the week at a certain time. So that means if you miss that day, you have to put yourself to sleep and wait until the right day appears to get the koins. That shouldn't have been the case.

Regardless of these flaws, however, Konquest remains an addictive mode, and is arguably the best part of MK Deception. While the arcade mode is been there, done that for the most part, and the two puzzle games are surprisingly disappointing, Konquest and The Krypt more than make up for it.

Do I recommend the game? Yes. You get plenty of classic MK fighters (Mileena, Baraka, Scorpion, Sub Zero, Jade, Kabal, Nightwolf, etc.) with the new ones (Shinjuko, Bo Rai Cho, Cobra, Ashrah, Darrius, etc.), the graphics are consistently great, the fighting engine is well-developed, and Konquest mode is fun. You should buy this game to wash the bad taste of some of the previous MK stinkers from your mouth.

P.S.: A Kollector's Edition of the game is also available, and it includes an "arcade-perfect" version of MK1, along with some making-of documentaries. While this version isn't widely sold in every store, being that it was just a collector's item, try searching GameStop or a similar pre-played video game store; they're more likely to have it.

Rating:   4.0 - Great

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