Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance

Game Boy Advance

Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 9

Sound: 9

Gameplay: 7

Overall: 8


mkdagba1.jpg (21957 bytes)Mortal Kombat made it's debut on the latest set of consoles to mixed reviews. Taking an entirely new approach to the series and completely revamping the game engine was, to put it lightly, a bit jarring to fans of the long standing series. Surprisingly, the GBA rendition of Deadly Alliance follows the same path, even keeping the 3-D movement and combo system.

Familiar faces return, new characters have joined, and the fatalities are worse then ever. It's certainly Mortal Kombat in presentation. Seems Quan Chi has teamed up with our old buddy Shang Tsung to take over the Outworld. Battles are fought in 3-D arenas which allow for mostly free movement when necessary. The combo system is the meat of the game and trying to play through it without pulling them off simply isn't possible. Yes, this does mean that without knowledge of the combos and how to do them your in deep trouble which is why many people were turned off by this game on the major consoles. The multiple styles of fighting (two per character) really makes a difference and adds to the available combos.

Each match you fight in (or survival mode attempt) earns you coins which can be used in the Krypt. Herein lies countless game extras, but at least 85% of these are simply different colors for the games main characters. Others include a few new stages (including one from Midway's Spy Hunter remake), few hidden characters, and alternate "modes." All these do is change the look of the game including a night vision style, thermal, and an ode to Nintendo's Virtual Boy featuring nothing but red and black.

mkdagba2.jpg (21302 bytes)As far as the graphics translation has been handled, you really couldn't ask for much more. The characters are now of course sprite-based, but the backgrounds are all presented in some sort of mode-7 3-D style. Pixels galore assuredly, but there are countless colors being pushed out at once. Animation is outstanding and easily mimics the style of the console games. Blood sticks to the floor in certain spots, but it's hardly noticeable otherwise. Fatalities are vicious, but why don't any heads actually pop off like they should?

Much like the look, the music sounds like it being pulled right off of a CD even when it's turned up full volume and the voice samples are clear. However, few samples do exist and every male character sounds just like the rest. Same goes for the female characters. Their quality more than makes up for any lack of variety though.

Issues arise during the extended play with the computer AI. It's dumb. Real dumb. Simply blocking an attack then unleashing a 10-hit combo is really all that's required even on the hardest levels. It's not smart enough to duck and hit low when the opportunity arises. The Krypt feature, while still adding to the replay value, hardly offers enough worthwhile items to reach it's potential. Multi-player allows for betting on matches with coins, but when their really not worth anything, what's the point? Also, you can't jump straight up. It's disorienting, but the 3-D movement is probably better in the long run.

Overall, if you can get past the completely new combo system, you'll find a surprisingly deep fighter that rivals the best on the console. It's gory, the fatalities are the stuff classics are made of, and the combo system is manageable. It's a great game that can be played in short bursts making it perfect for car rides when a serious game won't do.

mkdagba3.jpg (20180 bytes)Tips: Kano's rolling ball is completely venerable after being blocked, even if it's still going.

Winning on very hard (which earns mucho coinage) is simple. Take Scorpion. When the match starts, hold block. When the enemy attacks, hit them with a high kick (to get them in the air), hit them again with it, and then jump kick into them. It's a 3 hitter that does 20% damage. Keep repeating throughout. You'll win in no time.


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Last updated: Sunday, September 25, 2005 02:36 PM