When you mention MORTAL KOMBAT these days, it doesn't seem to carry the same weight that it used to. If you tell a person that a new MORTAL KOMBAT is coming out, the usual reaction is something along the lines of "Oh God, not another one. Why won't they end that series?" I seemed to hear a lot more of that after the release of MORTAL KOMBAT 4. But apparently the guys at Midway have been redesigning the game, and have come up with MORTAL KOMBAT: DEADLY ALLIANCE.
DEADLY ALLIANCE starts off a little bit differently than the previous MORTAL KOMBAT games, basically because something happens in the introduction. In DEADLY ALLIANCE, the evil sorcerer from MORTAL KOMBAT 4, Quan-Chi, has escaped his prison and has made a move towards Outworld. He then teams up with everyone's favorite bad guy, Shang Tsung, and they agree that they must control both Outworld and the Earth Realm. But there are a few things in their way. The first is Shao Kahn, the emperor of Outworld. So, they kill him. The other thing, or person, is Liu Kang, the only person that ever wins a MORTAL KOMBAT tournament. After a brief fight, they kill him. Not what you expected, eh? So, the remaining warriors must fight to save both realms.
The game, like its last predecessor, is completely in 3D. The game looks really good, and the characters are rendered pretty well. There are also some really nice looking backgrounds in the game. The characters are animated pretty well, as are each of their special moves.
Returning for the fifth installment are Johnny Cage, Sonya Blade, Kano, Scorpion, Sub-Zero, and others. There are 12 playable characters to begin with, and 24 total (with the remaining 12 being unlockable, but I'll get into that later). Weapons are back for another game, but the coolest feature in DEADLY ALLIANCE is the ability to change fighting styles with a simple button press. Each character has three different fighting styles: Johnny Cage for example has Karate, Jeet-Kune-Do and Nunchuku. By pressing the L-trigger, you can switch styles. Each style has different sets of moves, and can completely throw your opponent off-track. Combos can also be performed now by doing certain moves in one style and switching styles in mid-combo. This really adds to the fun factor of the game.
The control scheme can be kind of erratic at times, though. I've been a die-hard MORTAL KOMBAT fan since the first game, and I sometimes find myself unable to pull off a simple move (like Scorpion's spear) which I've never had a problem doing before. Sometimes sidesteps just don't seem to work, and sometimes I could swear I got that move off before my opponent got theirs; it just gets a bit aggravating at times.
Also making an appearance in this game is the return of Test Your Might from the first game, along with a new mini-game called Test Your Sight. Test Your Sight is a game where a MORTAL KOMBAT symbol is placed under a cup and that cup is moved around with a couple of others, and you have to keep track of it. You all know what I'm talking about.
Konquest mode is another new mode in the game. In Konquest mode, you pick a character and basically are taught everything about him or her. You'll go through different "missions", where you'll come face to face with an outworlder, and you will be instructed to do certain moves or combos. Upon completion of this, you go to the next mission and earn Kurrency.
Included in DEADLY ALLIANCE is the Krypt. I mentioned unlockable characters earlier in this review, so I'm going to go into detail here. During the game, you receive Kurrency for beating an enemy, going through the Konquest mode, or winning one of the mini-games. There are numerous types of Kurrency, so you won't get the same type of reward every time; sometime you'll get Ruby, sometime sapphire, etc. The Krypt contains hundreds of caskets (or is it "Kaskets"?), each containing an item. Some are secret characters, some are secret levels; there are even sketches and comic books in there. Each one costs a certain price, and the more expensive ones are normally the secret characters. So, you really have to save up to get the characters you want.
MORTAL KOMBAT: DEADLY ALLIANCE has done the job which was required of it: make the series respectable again. Even with some of the control problems, Midway has shown that MORTAL KOMBAT just won't go away because of a bad game or two. The series looks to keep on rolling.