Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance
By: Matt C. on December 14, 2002
I personally grew up playing Mortal Kombat and Mortal Kombat II religiously on the Arcade and Sega Genesis, but due to the lackluster installments after the second game, I never had high expectations for Deadly Alliance. However, after playing the game for more than 15 hours, I am happy to say that Midway has revived my faith in the series.
To be honest, Deadly Alliance isn't quite as good as some of the other PlayStation 2 fighting games currently on the market, but it still certainly ranks high on the ladder. Long time fans of MK will be pleased to know that nearly every popular fighter from the previous games can be found in Deadly Alliance. Of course, there are also several new characters, which brings the total number of playable combatants to about 23. Unfortunately, one of my favorite characters is murdered in the beginning of the game, which is obviously disappointing.
The biggest and most noticeable change in MK: Deadly Alliance is the ability to switch fighting styles during a match with the L1 button. Not only can it throw your opponent off guard, but changing fighting styles gives you access to a totally different set of moves. In other words, the attack buttons will cause your character to perform a different type of kick, punch, etc. Each warrior has 3 different fighting styles (the 3rd fighting style always involves some kind of weapon, such as the Katana) at their disposal and it really gives the fighting engine some variety.
In addition, Deadly Alliance provides a nice combo system to keep the game for becoming a pointless "button masher". To amount of damage that special moves deliver seems to have been toned down, so learning combos is usually required to be successful in Deadly Alliance. In fact, some special moves are useless unless it is mixed in with a combo. I applaud Midway for trying to keep the game more complex, but some people might be turned off by this. After all, learning all of the combos for your favorite characters will take a really long time. Luckily, you can pause the game and view the "moves lists" at any time you wish.
Aside for the usual arcade, versus, and practice modes -- Deadly Alliance offers an incredibly long Konquest mode. In a nutshell, the Konquest mode throws hundreds of challenges at you that are designed to get you more acquainted with each fighter. It's basically a hands-on tutorial. Sadly, the Konquest mode gets rather boring half way through since you are doing the same old crap over and over again.
However, wading through the Konquest and Arcade modes will earn you various Koins (MK Kurrency) that can be used to purchase stuff in the Krypt. The Krypt is essentially a massive room full of koffins (676 koffins to be exact). Each koffin contains unlockable goodies, such as hidden costumes, arena sketches, new playable characters, Midway team photos and more. Needless to say, the amount of unlockable items is insane and it really boosts the replay value.
As for the graphics, they are quite good. Each arena has plenty of detail and certain objects in the background are often in motion. You can even interact with stuff around you -- but it only goes as far as breaking a stone pillar or statue if it happens to get in your way. The character animations look equally good as well, especially during the fatalities.
Speaking of fatalities, most of them look cool but there are a few that are just plain boring and predictable. For example, Frost simply freezes her entire opponent like an ice cube and kicks him. As expected, his body shatters into dozens of pieces.
All in all, Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance came together quite nicely. Like I mentioned before, Deadly Alliance isn't the best PS2 fighting game out there (in my opinion at least), but it is still worth checking out -- especially if you are looking for something more "intense" than Tekken 4 or Virtua Fighter 4.