Mortal Kombat Deadly Alliance (GBA)

Mortal Kombat Deadly Alliance (GBA)

Written by Ben Zackheim on 12/17/2002 for GBA  

Mortal Kombat caused quite a stir when it first came out in the arcades. Its realistic graphics were mesmerizing and the game was a hell of a lot of fun. Oh yeah, and there was blood. Rivers of it. Every blow sent hemoglobin spewing. And to top it off, when you beat your opponent you got to “Finish Him” with a nasty move like frying him to the bone or introducing their spinal chord to the sunlight.

The game became a hugely successful franchise with four sequels, two movies, a tv show and plush toys with peel-off skin (okay, I made the last one up). But recently it’s been quiet - sitting on the sidelines watching other fighters grab all the attention. Fear not, my fellow twisteds, its back in a flurry of blows, with versions coming out for every console on the planet. Hide your children, for all the good it will do you.

I got the privilege to review the mini-me version on the GBA.

My first impression of the game was that the screen was hard to see. Sorry, I have to say that whenever I review a GBA game. My second impression was the sounds are really lame. That impression didn’t change. The moment you hear the menu sound you’ll know what I mean. Just about the only sound I liked in the game was the “Finish Him” Voice From Above. If they hadn’t done that right there would have been trouble. But let’s get to the meat of it. The game is fun in the way the original was. Mortal Kombat is back in style.

It’s not that there’s anything revolutionary about it. You have a stable of characters with the traditional Mortal Kombat attitude. Each character has an impressive and well-designed list of standard moves and special moves, all of which should leave your hand begging for a break. Moving through the games arcade mode allows you to unlock more characters for a total of 12, most of them pretty cool. My favorite newbie is Frost, a female Sub-Zero.
But wait! There’s a twist! Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance has a “new combat system”. What this comes down to is your character has two modes of fighting. By clicking on the left trigger button you can switch between fighting styles to confuse your opponent. For example, Scorpion has access to a slow but powerful move from the Pi Gua style to quick flurries with Kapkido. All with a quick click of the button. Defending is just a push of the right trigger. It can be tricky in the heat of battle (and painful to the hand) but it’s the best they could have done. Bottom line is there are a lot of things you can do with the buttons you have at your disposal. The feeling of depth certainly doesn’t get close to Soul Calibur but I have to say, it’s reminiscent of that classic.

On top of the two styles are weapons. That’s right – everyone has something up their sleeve besides the special moves. See what I mean? Depth! Love it.

There are minigames offered in arcade mode as well but they’re kind of dinky and unimpressive. Another thing I had a hard time with was probably best described as a limitation of the hardware – the finish moves are so tiny I can’t see them. A lot of the details that make the big console versions of the game so cool are too small to see here. Torn cloth? Looks like a stray pixel. And what is Jax doing to my head? He’s not doing what I think he’s doing…Maybe a zoom in on the gore would have been an option but probably not with the limited memory of the GBA. A small gripe overall. The graphics are sufficient otherwise, looking a hell of a lot like the original.

MKDA has yet another nice touch called the Krypt. A huge room of closed coffins hide treasures that you can buy with Koins, currency that you win as you move through the game. It’s a bit of a crapshoot since some coffins have nothing in them and others have new levels or characters. You get koins for pulling off flawless victories and for just moving on to the next opponent. In multiplay you can bet with koins. That’s right! Bet! Love it. The Krypt is a nice touch that I’m glad Midway managed to include on the GBA version. Its touches like this that proves this isn’t just another sequel.
I didn’t have high hopes for this game after the failure that was MK4. But Midway has pulled off a small miracle and taken the game back to its roots while adopting new angles that make it feel fresh. For all intents and purposes the fun-factor of the GBA version is equivalent to the original.

If you wanted me to characterize the game in easily definable terms that should make you run out and buy it now - I would say, with the implementation of different fighting styles, weapons and a sense of humor, MK: Deadly Alliance is the closest you’re going to get to Soul Calibur on your GBA.
It recaptures the glory of Mortal Kombat and manages to do it with a “new” fighting system. Wimpy manual that doesn’t do the depth of the game justice. Addictive gameplay, sitting in your briefcase, waiting…beckoning…

Rating: 8.9 Class Leading

* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company for review.


About Author

Ben Zackheim was born Ben Zackheim sometime before 1980 and after 1960 which characterizes him not at all. He's a writer of reviews, comics and screenplays, but aren't we all? Luxuries like food and shoes mean nothing to him. He's married to the most beautiful woman in the world, Robin, who reads all his reviews before he sends them in and says "Are you really going to write that for the public to read?" But I assure her no one reads my reviews anyway, only Charlie's, so it's kind of like a tree in the forest (without the cute little fuzzy things who smell their own poop - wait, then again there is Charlie...) She's a cross between Gillian Anderson and Hillary Clinton, which is a monster I'd love to play in Monster Rancher Advance 2. Photos are available upon request for a small fee. I'm currently writing this bio but have no plans beyond that. View Profile

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