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Mortal Kombat: Deception (PlayStation 2) artwork

Mortal Kombat: Deception (PlayStation 2) review

"I have a lot of qualms about recent fighting games. Back in the nineties, they were at the top of the industry. Arcades were littered with teenage kids lined up in front of a machine, pounding out the quarters just to digitally smack around any challenger and I was one of them. I remember how involved I became with them. I stood in line, I bought the hint books and I studied the moves. I paid a lot of money and I spent a lot of time just to be the best at every new, kick ass fighting game that c..."

I have a lot of qualms about recent fighting games. Back in the nineties, they were at the top of the industry. Arcades were littered with teenage kids lined up in front of a machine, pounding out the quarters just to digitally smack around any challenger and I was one of them. I remember how involved I became with them. I stood in line, I bought the hint books and I studied the moves. I paid a lot of money and I spent a lot of time just to be the best at every new, kick ass fighting game that came out. Why? Because it was worth it to me. It was worth every ounce of energy I put into those games because they gave me back something much more valuable: Entertainment. Fighting games, back in the nineties, were unmatched.

But something changed

Whether it was me seeking more depth in a game, or whether it was the industries inability to grow and evolve Iíll never know. All I do know is that fighting games of today are lackluster at best. Most sequels are merely rehashed versions of my old favorites, only carrying new names or unimportant new ideas like a ďturboĒ bar or cheap customization options. Yet just when I had almost given up hope, one of my old favoritesóMortal Kombatóresurfaced from a long hiatus with a new style, new ideas that actually served a purpose and enough nostalgia to keep the old fans as happy as the new ones. Deadly Alliance was the best fighting game to come out in a long time, but even that pales up to its sequel Deception. Everything Alliance did well, Deception super charges. Everything that fighting games were, are now just a memory. Deception is the new era. Violence is reborn.

Long have fighting games been plagued with systems that donít work. When Deadly Alliance introduced gamers to its own style of 3-D fighting I was enticed. When I played Deception, I realized what was done in Deadly Alliance was only the beginning. Intensity now dominates the game. The entire system of sidestepping to combo has been tightened; would be blows now land only inches away from you if timed right and the chance to capitalize on your opponentís mishap has been cut short. Side stepping never draws you too far away from your opponent, and if youíre not on top of things or not thinking, by the time you actually swing your enemy will take the brunt of your blows by blocking. Eventually, the combos become second nature and each move, each press of the button can be done without thinking, allowing you to sink into the game and appreciate its style and intensity. Mortal Kombat is no longer about perfectly timed projectiles and free hits; it is an up close, in your face brawl.

Recent fighting games have also been bogged down (Mainly Tekken) by useless characters that strike me as only carbon copies from previous sequels. I donít find myself caring about them because they have no history; they were only crammed in to create a roster in hopes of impressing fans. Thankfully, thatís not true with Deception. Yes, there are a slew of characters for you to choose, from old favorites like Raiden and Baraka to new comers like Kira and Shujinko but they all have appeal. Each character has an in depth bio, two styles plus one weapon for you to master and an ending worth fighting for but the thing that really allows you to connect with them is Deceptionís Konquest mode. Again, it is amped up from Deadly Allianceís version.

You take on the permanent role of Shujinko. It starts when heís just a young boy, dreaming of fighting in the Mortal Kombat tournament. However, the elder gods have bigger plans for him and he becomes their champion, fighting all his life and traveling through all seven realms to complete his quest. Along the way you meet nearly all of the new characters as well as some of the previous ones. You fight alongside Bo Rai Cho and help Sindel escape from prison. You become an honorary member of the Lin Kuei and ravage the Nether realm with Scorpion. Konquest is a game in itself, allowing you to get the feel for each character by providing you with an entertaining tutorial for every character, both old and new. It is also a very deep, very sophisticated introduction to Shujinko, who obviously is going to carry the torch and become MKís star character now that Liu Kang is dead. Konquest alone is worth playing the game; drawing on nostalgia and connecting the story Midway has spent years telling.

Graphically, this is the most gorgeous MK to date. Every outline is smooth and the rendering is seamless. The movement is never choppy or segmented. The design is outstanding, both for the returning favorites and the newcomers. Tiny details have been taken into account as dresses follow the movement of the owner and every special move has a glittering originality to it. The blood and guts is still a bit hokey in my opinion but itís a huge step up from the sequels. Most of the characters have an original design. Iíll admit that Hotaru looks a little too much like Raiden and Kira looks like Sonya with her hair died, but Shujinko is definitely original with a bit of old school kung fu movie style to him.

The sound is still lacking for the most part. All the background noiseóthe laughter, the screamsóare flawless donít get me wrong. But would Mortal Kombat suffer from having a soundtrack? Thereís nothing wrong with violent metal to go along with brutal brawling.

A few new things have been added so all the fighting doesnít get redundant. The Krypt has more useful things in it like bios, alternate costumes and videos rather than just lame pictures of the staff making funny faces. The puzzle mode is certainly fun if youíre ever in the mood for Tetris with an edge and the characters crack me up, reminding me of ancient RPGís where big-head syndrome ruled. Chess Kombat is another cool mini-game, using the same rules and design of original chess but allowing you to fight for and earn every square you want to take. The mini-games were certainly well thought out but I steered away from them, as they werenít really my style.

I came here to fight.

And I got one hell of a battle. Deception completely reversed everything Iíve hated about recent fighting games. It provided me with ideas I actually wanted to use, a fresh, innovative new fighting system and characters I could actually get behind and actually wanted to win. Mortal Kombat is the bestóagain. If this is the style, if this is the future, then Iím definitely looking forward to Armageddon.

True's avatar
Community review by True (November 24, 2005)

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