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Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance (GameCube) Review

By RyThom

My experience with Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance has been a unique one.  I first played the game at E3 2002 and was left with less than favorable impression.  The version I played was a sloppy version of Virtua Fighter, with lose controls and very very cheap moves.  Yes, the kid playing next to me successfully used Scorpion's high kick and defeated me flawlessly twice in a row.  The biggest flaw of the game was its lack of fantasy projectile attacks - a staple in the MK series.  Expecting a game similar to the Mortal Kombat of old, I walked away very disappointed. 

Fast forward to the release week of MK:DA when I, almost as a joke, rented it.  I was 99% sure that it was going to be the same game I played at E3, but I was in the mood for senseless violence and gore so I figured what the hey.  After playing for maybe two minutes, I could safely say that MK5 was the best fighting game I've played all year.  In fact, it rivals Soul Calibur for the best fighting game of all time.

Fighting games come from two schools of thought.  The first is what I call the "Special Move" system.  You can find this in games like Street Fighter, Guilty Gear, King of Fighters, and others where your success in battle depends on a mastery of special moves done with joystick/button combinations.  Moves like fireballs, dragon uppercuts, hurricane kicks, etc.  The second fighting game style is what I call the "Combo" system.  This has been used in most modern 3D fighters like Virtua Fighter, Tekken, and Soul Calibur.  Meaning no special moves, just a lot of smaller moves linked together with combos.  MK does something no other game (with the exception of maybe Killer Instinct) has done before - combined the two.

MK:DA also brings new innovation to the fighting game genre with the inclusion of different fighting styles.  Some games use different stances to expand a fighters library of moves, but MK characters each have two completely different and authentic martial arts styles plus one weapon to use against their opponents.  Using these with the slick combo system, players are able to start a combo in one fighting style, string it all the way through the second style, and finish with a strong weapon move at the end.  You can also use special moves during any of the stances and link a combo through them.  It sounds gimmicky, but it works.  Not only does it look outstanding, but it makes MK one of the deepest fighters around.  Technical, button-mashable, and fun.

But what good are all these styles if you don't have any fun fighters to take advantage of them?  Fear not!  MK:DA has one of the best rosters in the series including long time favorites Sub-Zero, Scorpion, Raiden, Sonya, Kano, Kung Lao, Shang Tsung, Jax, Johnny Cage, Cyrax, Quan Chi, and great new additions such as Frost, and Kenshi!  There are only a few forgettable fighters in the mix, like Bo Rai Cho and Drahmin, but they don't hamper the experience one bit.  All of the old characters are, more or less, complete with their classic moves ("Get over here!"), and they're balanced well enough so there's no "cheap" character in the game.  Since this is a MK game, there's also the infamous fatalities to use on your opponents as they're staggering after the final match.  Unfortunately, in this installment of the series, the fatalities are very disappointing, and each character only has one.  Oh well.

Most fighting games lose major points in the single player aspect of their package, however MK:DA provides one of the best next to Soul Calibur with "The Krypt".  Using this idea, players earn koins while they kontinuously fight kombatant after kombatant in order to purchase koffins in the krypt.  Inside these koffins are a variety of kontent, ranging from koncept art, to kollectables.  Some of the kontent is kool, some of it downright lame, but altogether it provides one very long lasting game.  Because of the addictiveness of the krypt, and the sheer number of koffins (667, last we counted), my Xbox was not turned off from when I purchased the game until we opened the very last koffin.  Well done, Midway!

Graphically, MK:DA is very very pretty.  Flawless 60 fps animation drives the game and all its bloody gory...erm...glory.  The mokaped character animations are done just right with exaggerated expressions to make you really feel the pain when they get run through with a Kori Blade.  The sounds consisting of lots of grunts, ouches, and slams gets the job done just fine.  Topping everything off is the classic MK announcer, decent narration by Raiden himself, and a sweet soundtrack giving the stellar score of the MK movie a run for its money.

Overall, Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance is one of the most surprisingly good games I've played in a long time.  Not only does it revive the once thought to be dead MK series, but it breathes new life into the entire fighting game genre with its mixture of combos and special moves, and the delicious fighting styles.


Realistic players, outstanding animation, and gore galore!  Reflective floors, intricate battle arenas, true to life free moving shadows, and flaming skulls! w00t!



Nothing really out of the ordinary as far as the sound effects go, but the hard hitting noises of MK will definitely make you feel their pain.  The classic announcer and great techno soundtrack are just icing on the cake.


Game Play:

One of the smoothest fighting engines ever created.  Combining combos with special moves and allowing players the freedom of two fighting styles, one weapon each, and full 3D fighting, MK:DA is one seriously deep fighter.


Replay Value:

The Krypt will keep you fighting for weeks on end as you try to unlock everything, and the two player battles are always fresh.  One of the few fighters you can really get "good" at.



Best fighter of the year, hands down and possibly one of the best fighters of all time.  If you are a fan of fighting games in the least, you owe it to yourself to pick up a copy of Mortal Kombat today!






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