Mortal Kombat 5 - Deadly Alliance
Review of Mortal Kombat 5 - Deadly Alliance
The Mortal Kombat series has been in a cryogenic freeze for the past couple of years, perhaps still reeling from the last few disappointing titles that were released in the series. To be honest I never really thought, or cared for that matter, that another MK game would see the light of day. The premise was stale and the gameplay execution became painfully generic and old. Well, it is readily apparent that the developers have taken their time, listened to fans of the series and have released a Mortal Kombat game worthy of its origins. Deadly Alliance has a whole new storyline and cast of new characters (in addition to many of the old stalwarts) in addition to being brought into the world of fully polygonal, 3D gameplay. Surprisingly, the excitement is back!
The first Mortal Kombat game almost single handedly defined the term “violence in videogames”. During all of the Capitol Hill battles, Mortal Kombat’s name was the one that was always tossed around and probably the reason for today’s ESBR ratings system. I find it almost laughable now to go back to that 16bit classic and compare it to Deadly Alliance in terms of can now be graphically displayed. The previous sprite-based spurts of blood have now evolved into incredibly realistic streams and puddles that garnish the playfields and the combatants. If those geezers thought the original was violent, wait until they get their hands on this version.
The game opens with a kick-ass intro showing the partnership of Quan Chi and Shang Tsung. It goes on to explain the plot a bit, show Raiden throwing in the towel and deciding to return to battle and finally…Lei Chang getting whacked. So, now the premise is set and the game begins…
Players will need to first create a profile before beginning. This simply means inputting a character name and a password that players will be prompted for each time the profile needs to be accessed (a bit of a pain in the ass). The profile will track your wins and losses in multi-player mode (why it doesn’t track them in single player arcade mode is beyond me) and tracks progress through the Konquest mode.
Mortal Kombat has always been about the Arcade Mode and jumping into a series of fights, dealing out some serious whoop ass and then facing off against an almost undefeatable boss character. Deadly Alliance is certainly much the same in this respect…but the game goes on to feature so much more.
In Arcade Mode gamers have a nice starting selection of characters to chooses from…some old and some new faces. The interface/display for each upcoming battle is nicely done and the fighting arenas really kick ass. Fighting has been brought into the realm of quasi 3D with characters now having the ability to side step and move in and out of the ring. Gameplay can be customized with the numbers of rounds, time for each round and difficulty level. It should be noted however, that while control of the characters is quite exceptional, the D-pad is the only pad that can be used to move the fighters around. The thumb sticks do not work in this game.
The gameplay really excels in character control and gamers ability to pull off the characters moves. Simply pressing Start, will bring up a menu where one of the options allows the moves to be displayed for the character being played. Each character has two primary disciplines; one being hand/foot and the other weapons based. In addition, special moves for each character can also be discovered here. Execution of the moves is right on the money, once players practice and get used to each characters abilities and nuances. So far (and we have played the hell out of the game) we have only been able to discover one Fatality move per character. There are no Animalities, Babalities or Friendship moves to be found. Not that big a deal as I always thought, besides the Animalities, that the rest was crap anyway.
As any Mortal Kombat fan knows, the Fatality move is the most graphic, devastating and enjoyable knock-out blow that can be delivered… It surprised me to find that for the most part, the Fatalities in Deadly Alliance are rather lame. There are certainly a couple of real gems tucked in there, like Quan Chi’s Neck Stretcher, but most are rather uninspired. Distance to the character is no longer an issue in executing a Fatality and to further assist gamers, the L1 button can be pressed prior to executing the button sequence to lock the character in place.
Every 5 rounds or so (the number of rounds can be set in the menu screen) a mini-game will pop up. Here gamers will be faced with one of three challenges; Test Your Might, Test Your Sight and Betting You Kurrency. Succeeding here will earn you the Platinum or Onyx Koins. Don’t want the mini-games to interrupt the flow? Just shut it down in the menu screen.
Once the Arcade Mode is completed, gamers can sit back and enjoy a nice story for each character they played.
New to the Mortal Kombat series, is the Konquest Mode. I hesitate to call this the “meat” of the game as some players may be quite happy to just stick it out with the Arcade Mode, but Konquest is a very deep and involved addition that I enjoyed very much.
In this mode, gamers will be brought on a journey for each of their selected characters (the story is different for each character played, adding a good deal of reply value). There are well over two hundred missions overall for each character consisting of training exercises, battles and an assorted variety of stuff that bit by bit, piece by piece, begins to chronicle each characters life and fully fleshes out their story. Along the way Koins are awarded for mission completions. Koins are the Kurrency (gotta love the bastardization of the English language here) that can used when visiting the Krypt (more on that in a moment). Koins are also awarded in the Arcade Mode as well and consist of Ruby, Sapphire, Gold and Jade. Two other Koins; Platinum and Onyx can only be acquired by winning the various mini-games.
The Krypt is the place to visit once you are ready to spend the Koins that have been awarded. This place is a series of Koffins lined up, row after row in a 26x26 grid, starting at AA and finishing off at ZZ. For the mathematically impaired, this equates to 626 Koffins that can potentially be opened!! Koffins can contain a variety of things from extra playable characters to new arenas. Some Koffins however have squat and others merely return Kurrency back to the gamer. Needless to say, there is a lot to obtain here and gamer can spend a lot of time and Kurrency gathering up all of the goodies hidden.
Of the course the single biggest improvement in the game is in the way it looks. With the power of the current consoles, Deadly Alliance comes to life with vividly designed characters and backgrounds, silky smooth animation and the most realistic blood the series has ever exhibited.
The fighters are nice and beefy with fantastic polygon counts and colorful, smoothly implemented textures. Body armor moves independently, as does articles of clothing and of course the blood spurts out in huge doses…IT also remains on the arena floor until the end of the final match, so things can get rather grisly looking. Special effects for the characters “special” moves are sweet as well.
Gone are the short, blippy animation sequences that the old motion captured Kombat games had. Character movement is now extremely fluid and much more realistic looking. Even the transitions from hand-to–hand to weapons and back is handled flawlessly.
The backgrounds are wonderfully detailed and animated with all sorts of stuff happening at any given moment. There could be flowing acid, people, waterfalls…the backgrounds are virtually alive with movement. There is also some interactive elements such as being able to break away chunks of ice by hitting it or throwing a body at it.
The sound, which I always considered fine in the series, is as good as ever. The famous sound bytes are still there like Scorpion shouting out “Get over here” when he deploys his spear. The kicks and punches are bone crunching and in your face. The background music is fine and stays in line with the action feature a nice mix of arcadey styled tunes and some nice rock beats.
OUR PLEDGE: We promise that we have fully played 'Mortal Kombat 5 - Deadly Alliance' before writing this review. The scores given above are our honest opinion and were not influenced in any way by the manufacturer or distributor of the game.
This review was written by Tom Rooney © Absolute PlayStation
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