Kombat: Deception has already been available for the
PS2 and the Xbox for months now. The core of the Cube
version remains identical although there are a few
new features that try to make up for the lack of online
play. We all know that nothing can make up for lack
of online play but Cube players are resigned to their
fate. The good news is that Mortal Kombat: Deception
is still a great without the online modes. It's intense,
frenetic, strategic, violent and bloody.
is infamous for its graphic display of violence. Bones
crack and shatter, appendages fly and blood squirts.
That tradition has not softened one bit in Deception,
a game that picks up where the last one left off.
as they might, there's always some kind of story forced
into each game in this series. It's really nothing
more than a set up for a good fight. Nobody gives
a rat about the story, they just want to get down
and dirty and start breaking some necks. And who can
blame them? The fighting system is one of the best.
I can't say that it's been improved much since the
last game but for what it offers doesn't need much
Kombat has always looked and played like an arcade
game. The fighters are kind of stiff and the animation
can be choppy in places. It's got a long way to go
to rival the fluidity of Tekken 5. But MK's style
is original and those that are loyal to the series
wouldn't have it any other way, although I doubt they
would complain about an animation upgrade.
Cube version offers two new characters and a few mini-game
style modes. Not enough to compensate for the online
mode but it's better than nothing. I enjoyed these
odd modes a lot more than I thought I would. More
on those later.
feature of the Cube version is that many of the characters
are unlocked right from the start. You don't have
to slog away in the Konquest mode to unlock them.
There are 20 fighters available at the beginning of
the game including Shao Kahn, one of the two new fighters
exclusive to the Cube. He wields a Thor-style hammer
which can do a lot of damage. Kahn himself is powerful
although he lacks agility. Such are the tradeoffs.
of the fighters are well balanced. They each have
different attacks, chains and combos not to mention
three different sets of martial arts moves which can
be changed on the fly, even in mid combo. The fact
that most of the moves correspond to the same button
scheme is a godsend. You can go from fighter to fighter
with relative ease. You will get to use weapons with
at least one of the of martial art sets. What's Mortal
Kombat without a deadly, razor sharp blade?
attacks can be absolutely brutal. You or your opponent
can look forward to being punched, kicked, thrown,
twisted, cut, sliced, hammered, stomped, torn, peeled,
contorted, distorted, dismembered, beheaded, impaled
and ultimately killed. These animations are so over-the-top
you just can't help but laugh. It's so sick, dude.
Even when you do get killed you only lose the round
and not the match.
offer another way to die. Edge your opponent towards
a spike-filled hole and drop him in for an instant
end to the round. These pitfalls are purely optional
though they do add another element of strategy to
the game. Speaking of strategy, combo breaks are a
new feature that allow you to block a combo attack
when you're on the receiving end of one. There are
only a few of these for each match so you have to
use them strategically.
character is allowed two fatalities instead of one.
Every single fatality is horrifying. I imagine there's
going to be a number of parental concerns and complaints
over these, as if there weren't already. If you don't
like to die at the hands of your conqueror you have
the option of committing hara-kiri which is a form
of suicide favored in the East when one loses face.
It involves jabbing a sword into one's stomach. Either
way you're going to get killed so you might as well
do it yourself and rob your enemy of the satisfaction.
It's especially annoying when you're the winner and
you get robbed of finishing your opponent off.
chess and Tetris-style mini-game modes may seem a
little out of place in a game such as MK but they
offer diversion. In the Chess Kombat mode you will
move characters on a grid in turn-based fashion. Opposing
characters that come face-to-face will have to fight
it out. It shares more in common with checkers than
chess. The Puzzle Kombat mode is a fun puzzle game
where the object is to match colored blocks with similar
colored icons as they slowly descend in your bin.
When you match them up they will explode and send
stray blocks into your enemy's bin.
music is thunderous and really sets the stage for
such barbarous behavior. The sound effects take front
and center stage with a variety of screams, shouts,
grunts, smacks, thuds, clangs, cracks and splats.
longer you play the better you get. There's plenty
of depth to the combat system which will keep you
returning to the fighting long after you've exploited
the additional modes.