reviews\ Dec 10, 2002 at 7:00 pm

Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance - GC - Review

They’ve gone and done it again – with the help of Midway, Renderware has brought us yet another Mortal Kombat. For those of you that stopped playing the Mortal Kombat series when it went 3D, fear not. Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance plays much like the older Mortal Kombats, but in a beautiful three-dimensional world. Many of the usual Mortal Kombatants make a return along with some new contenders. Total, there are 23 characters that make up the roster of this massive arcade fighter.

Each character has three different fighting styles, and each style has an entire move list all its own. This provides tons of moves to use on your opponent, and a more varied approach to the fighting genre in general. Aside from adding variation, this also gives you the ability to deal a deadly string of blows. Deadly Alliance allows you to switch fighting styles in mid-combo, and then continue to deal damage with the moves from that form. For example, Sub-Zero has a combo beginning with some punches from his Shotokan stance, then he switches to his Dragon stance as he continues to pummel his adversary, and finally finishes the combo with a stab from his Kori Blade. Almost every character has a long, damaging combo like this. Almost all the characters have a weapon as well, which deals more damage than usual, but also causes you to take more damage.

Deadly Alliance did a great job of throwing so much stuff into one game that you could never get bored. First of all, you have your traditional Arcade, Versus, and Practice modes. In Arcade mode, you fight your way up the ladder of foes until you reach the boss. Upon defeating the boss, you are rewarded with that character’s ending – like if you were to play the game in the arcade. They also revived the “Test Your Might” mini game, and brought in a new “Test Your Sight” mini game. These tests act as breathers during the constant chain of fights. Versus mode is exactly what it’s supposed to be – you and a friend face off using characters of your choice. Practice mode allows you to practice moves and combos against an inactive opponent. Aside from these, new modes have been added. Konquest mode familiarizes you with each character, and teaches you a bit of their background. After each successful lesson, you are rewarded koins (no, that’s spelled correctly) that can be used to purchase various extras. The Krypt is an expanse of coffins that hold prizes. The koins are used to unlock whatever the particular coffin holds. There are 676 coffins in the krypt and none are labeled, so what you are purchasing is a mystery. Coffins can hold anything from new arenas, costumes, art, and even new characters.

The graphics in Deadly Alliance are definitely impressive. The characters move and look very realistic, although the blood is less than convincing. The fighting styles and moves look very authentic, and the characters react very well to each other. At the end of a fight, the damage becomes apparent on the fighters. Their faces will have bruises and scrapes, and all the blood that was shed during the match will still be on the floor. Some arenas have interactive elements, for example the icicles jutting up from a frozen lake that can be shattered.

My only complaint is the reduction of fatalities. I don’t miss the animalities, babalities, or the friendships, but I noticed that every character only has one fatality. Some characters don’t even have any! And where did the pit fatalities go? I can still remember the subway level from Mortal Kombat 3, where after the fight you could knock your opponent onto the subway tracks in the background where he was promptly hit by the train. Fatalities are a Mortal Kombat tradition, and I can’t help but be upset by the lack of attention paid to these fighting game legacies.

I don’t usually do this, but I feel I should point out that the Gamecube controller is not the ideal fighting game controller. The small directional pad and the various sizes and shapes of the buttons make it an awkward tool for this specific genre. While it doesn’t necessarily detract from the quality of the game, it definitely did make it more of a chore.

Reviewer's Scoring Details

Gameplay: 9.7
Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance creates an excellent blend of gameplay, creating a long-lasting experience. Not only are there your traditional fighting game modes, such as Arcade or Practice, but there’s also tons of stuff to unlock, challenging mini games, and a new Konquest mode that thoroughly trains you with each character. The only thing that hurts this score is the flow of the fights. The characters attacks don’t really blend together; if you aren’t doing a combo, there seems to be a small pause between each attack. Even with this small flaw, there’s no doubt that this game will definitely keep you busy.

Graphics: 8.6 
The backgrounds are a bit plain, but the character models are excellent. Each character moves very realistically, and reacts to attacks properly. The fighting styles and moves look very authentic, and even the blocking looks right. When you block an attack it looks like you are blocking it, instead of being frozen in a defensive position. Your character will even take damage during the fight in the form of bruises and swells and will bleed when hit. All the blood shed during the entire match will stay visible on the ground without fading away.

Sound: 8
Not much to complain about on the side of sound. It’s your usual bone-crunching sound effects, grunts, and cries. The music sets the dark tone well, while complementing the exciting fights. Even the menu music and sound effects add a great ambient feel.

Difficulty: Medium
Each difficulty level is faithful to its name: the easy mode is easy, medium is medium, etc. Thanks to the Konquest mode, you can go into each battle well prepared. Even then, the computer can be difficult. The only exception is the Konquest mode, which becomes progressively difficult as you take more characters through it and can become very hard.  

Concept: 8.5 
This Mortal Kombat feels much like Mortal Kombat should. They successfully brought the playability of the old games into a new idea. Each character having three different fighting styles was definitely a unique and brilliant way of expanding the gameplay and opening up new combo possibilities. The only thing I had a problem with was the lack of fatalities. I just remember the old Mortal Kombats having at least two per character, now each character has no more than one – with some characters not having any! There aren’t even pit fatalities. Fatalities were Mortal Kombat’s trademark…what happened?

Multiplayer: 8
No one can argue with the fact that beating on your friends is much more entertaining than beating on a computer player. As with any multiplayer game, it’s definitely no fun to play against someone better than you, or to play against someone worse than you. This holds very true to this game, but if you fight someone of equal skill as you, you can create some very realistic-looking and fast-paced fights.

Overall: 9.1
This game is definitely one of the best fighting games available to Gamecube owners. Practice is needed to complete a lot of the game’s modes, such as Konquest or Arcade. Your challengers will become increasingly difficult, which makes the Practice mode very helpful. Combos are easy to memorize, but a little harder to pull off since the necessary timing is required. Even just watching the fights is entertaining; the realistic movements and detailed character models create pure eye candy. Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance should not be missed.


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