Mortal Kombat Deadly Alliance (PS2)

Review

posted 12/19/2002 by Charlie Sinhaseni
other articles by Charlie Sinhaseni
One Page Platforms: PS2
I remember a little game called Mortal Kombat. Sure its main selling point was the blood and gore that populated the title but underneath it all, it was a pretty decent 2D fighter. While it wasn’t about to dethrone Capcom’s King of the Arcades, Street Fighter, it still managed to find a pretty decent audience, enough to spawn four sequels. Many fans will debate as to which title was the pinnacle of the series, MK2 or MK3 but one thing was for certain, MK4 was one of the weaker entries into the franchise. It tried to inject some freshness into the series by transforming the game into a truly 3D fighter but the end result was less than desirable. Can Midway rebound with this latest iteration of its vaunted franchise or is it time to put the franchise to rest? Judging by my experiences with Mortal Kombat Deadly Alliance, I’d say that this old granddaddy still has some life left in it.

Storylines really have no place in a fighting game I mean, do a bunch of sweaty guys and well-endowed chicks really need to have a reason to beat the living piss out of each other? Can someone explain to me why some chick needs to enter a tournament just to avenge her father’s death? Here’s a novel idea, how about sneaking into the guy who killed your father’s house and killing him while he’s on the crapper? See it really makes no sense but oh well, I guess it gives the programmers a reason for creating some generic world tournament.

The story in Deadly Alliance is as follows, Shang Tsung and Quan Chi have combined forces to take control of the Earth Realm. In true generic fighting game fashion, Raiden has gathered the earth’s forces together to counteract the DEADLY ALLIANCE!! The game opens up with a pretty lengthy cinematic detailing the heinous acts of the DEADLY ALLIANCE!! culminating in the eventual murder of Liu Kang, the Bruce Lee look alike who just also happens to be the world’s greatest warrior. Of course his murder conveniently transpires in the exact center of the Mortal Kombat logo, thus setting up the title screen and the rest of the game. I’m going to give the Midway guys a heapload of credit here, sure I don’t care too much for storylines but when the guys are willing to take some time to develop a 10 minute cutscene, you can’t be anything but impressed.

In case you haven’t revisited the Mortal Kombat franchise in some time quite a bit has changed. Scorpion and Sub-Zero no longer look alike; Sonya became a gorgeous big-breasted woman with some major attitude among other things. The rest of the roster features mainstays Johnny Cage, Jax, Cyrax, Raiden, Katana, Kano and Reptile. There are a few new additions to the roster, most of whom feel like a familiar fit into the MK universe. You’ve got Kenshi, a blind warrior who plays very much like Ermac from Ultimate MK3, Li Mei, a sort of Chun Li martial artist female warrior, Frost, Sub-Zero’s female lackey, Bo Rai Cho, whose secret weapon is his ability to puke on command, a few other characters. The cast is pretty fleshed and well rounded, catering to all sorts of gamers.

I was very disappointed to find that the game appears to be drifting from its 2D roots and more and more into the 3D combo-heavy realm of today’s fighters. Special moves are still present but as you play the game you’ll come to realize just how ineffective they are. It’s all about stringing together those ridiculous combos that have become commonplace in today’s fighting landscape. Oh well, guess I’m just a little old school when it comes to fighting games.
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