When it was first released way back when, Mortal Kombat was entering a hugely competitive market place against perhaps the most famous fighting game of all time, Streetfighter II and its many iterations. However Mortal Kombat made it through the initial phase and had a lot going for it that many gamers liked. It was a very mature game and at the time of release, games were still really only being marketed to kids. Now in its fifth game, the series has come quite a way since back then and we went hands on to find out what gamers can expect when it ships in November.
The storyline is divided into two areas; one for Kombat and one for Konquest. The Kombat storyline is fairly cliche and really remains the same as the other titles in the series. You must fight a number of enemies to reach the final boss (who is a dragon) to save the world. It's all been done before but if it works why try and fix it. The individual characters have their own storylines which you unravel through the Kombat game mode and in a twist the game seems to only give you the character endings on certain difficulty levels.
Mortal Kombat Deception will feature four main game modes. That's quite a large number for a fighting game and if there was ever any doubt that this game will have replay value, there shouldn't be now. The four modes will be Kombat, Konquest, Chess and Puzzle. We took each of them for a spin with the completed PS2 version of the game and came away impressed with all of them.
The arcade style mode returns once again to the franchise but is not the primary game mode for the first time ever. For those of you unfamiliar with the Mortal Kombat series of games this mode will basically task you with choosing a character and fighting random enemies until you reach the boss character. Defeat the boss and the game is completed. It's the mode you typically find in fighting games and its also the reason why most fighting games can be completed within an hour first time around. The chess mode is something that resembles a very old PC game known as Battle Chess. Before the match begins you will select which character you wish to play as the king, queen and other chess pieces before either taking on a friend or the AI.
However the chess featured in the game very much differs from traditional chess. You can have quick games or have a game go on much longer but as well as this the characters can cast spells and set traps to harm the enemy pieces. When a piece comes into contact with another one, a fight will break out. The big surprise here is that the fight very much resembles the arcade mode and you actually have control of the character. So in theory if you're a great fighter, you could be unstoppable in chess mode. One thing which comes as a surprise is that in terms of power, every single piece appears to have the same strength so a pawn can easily defeat the king and win the match.
The puzzle game mode will be a great choice for multiplayer action in a party format as its so easy to learn how to play. The game very much resembles a tetris style of play where two characters from the game sit at the bottom punching each other while the action on the screen takes place. Blocks fall and you have to match the colours in a grid. Special icons or bombs will shatter the squares of that colour and also put pressure on the other player. This mode is actually quite fun to play and should be one of the more popular modes online apart from fighting.
With the aforementioned game modes featured you already have a fully featured fighting game but the developers have gone the extra mile with this one. Konquest is a brand new game mode, something which really has not been done in a fighting game before. It's an RPG style story where you will travel the land fighting characters and training to become a better warrior. Our time with this mode was not very long but from what we saw it looks quite promising with stores featured in the town and lots of people to interact with. One thing that did stand out is that the intro appears to be a parody of the storyline featured in the very original game showing the developers aren't afraid to take the mickey out of themselves.
As expected the roster of fighters contains both new and old characters and some will be unlocked via the currency found in the game. Characters such as Scorpion and Sub Zero who have been around from the start return along with all their special moves and new ones will make their debut. Each character has three different fighting disciplines to choose from and this can be changed on the fly. One discipline contains weapons which changes the combat significantly especially if only one character is using a weapon at the time. Some will have ranged weapons while others have more hand to hand style with a weapon in each hand.
Whilst they appear to be all new, the arenas are definitely inspired by those featured in previous games. Fights on the top of towers offer the chance to knock an opponent off to a brutal death via impale, while other arenas are tiered allowing fighting to continue after an opponent is thrown off an edge or through a fence. Some of the levels contain areas which can be interacted with and the famous fatality moves return again during the 'finish him/her' phase. Visually the game features high detailed graphics especially for the character models, which also feature fluid animation transitions between moves which complements the detail put into the destructibility of the arenas where fights take place.
Mortal Kombat Deception should continue the franchise as being one of the most popular fighting games around and may even attract a new set of fans to the game. Four game modes was already enough to have fighting fans really wanting the game but throw in online play and you have what will be the most fully featured fighting game on consoles in 2004. Mortal Kombat Deception will be available in November.