Mortal Kombat: Deception
|Mortal Kombat: Deception|
North American cover art featuring the game's main antagonist, Onaga, at the bottom
Digital Eclipse (Premium Pack)
|Release date(s)||PS2, Xbox
|Mode(s)||Single-player, multiplayer, online multiplayer|
Mortal Kombat: Deception is a fighting game developed and published by Midway as the sixth installment of the Mortal Kombat (MK) series. It was released for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox in October 2004, and for the Nintendo GameCube in March 2005. Mortal Kombat: Deception follows the storyline from the fifth installment, Deadly Alliance. Its story centers on the revival of the Dragon King Onaga, who attempts to conquer the realms featured in the series after defeating the sorcerers Quan Chi and Shang Tsung, the main antagonists in the previous game, and the Thunder God Raiden, defender of Earthrealm. The surviving warriors from the previous titles join forces to confront Onaga.
Twenty-six characters are available to play in the game, with nine making their first appearance in the series. Deception contains several new features in the series, such as chess and puzzle games with the MK characters and an online mode. The Konquest Mode returns from Deadly Alliance, but follows the life of Shujinko, a warrior who is deceived by Onaga to search for artifacts to give Onaga more powers. In November 2006, Midway released Mortal Kombat: Unchained, a port for the PlayStation Portable, which adds new characters to the game.
Series co-creator Ed Boon designed Deception to be an unpredictable fighting game, and included new features such as the minigames as surprises. Several parts from Deadly Alliance such as combos and arenas were redesigned to be more realistic as well as more interactive. Deception has been well received by video game reviewers, who praised the fights and new features. The Konquest Mode, however, received criticism for poor voice acting. Several publications have awarded the game as the best fighting game of 2004.
The game's arenas are similar to those in Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance, but include new features such as unique weapons which players can use, and instant-death traps, which immediately kill a fighter who falls into them. The game also introduces the "Combo Breaker", a system which allows players to interrupt combos up to three times per match. In contrast to Deadly Alliance, in which characters had only one Fatality, the Deception characters have two Fatalities and a hara-kiri suicide move. The latter is used when the phrase "Finish Him/Her" is shown on the screen and the player is about to lose.
Deception introduces two minigames that use MK characters. "Chess Kombat" is a minigame similar to classical chess, but uses player-selected characters as pieces that must best each other in combat to take a square. Some pieces have certain abilities, ranging from impersonating their opponents to instantly killing one of the opposing pieces. It also adds "Puzzle Kombat", a puzzle game similar to Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo which features super deformed versions of the MK characters that attack each other once a player gains an advantage in the game.
The "Krypt" returns from Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance, and serves as an interface to access extra content hidden in "koffins" (actual coffins named with the series' trademark misspelling). In Deception, the size of the Krypt was reduced from 676 koffins to 400 koffins. Some koffins also have locks that require keys that can only be found in the Konquest mode. The Krypt in Mortal Kombat: Deception includes 12 bonus characters (which was cut down to 6 characters in the GameCube version).
Deadly Alliance 's action role-playing game-style game called "Konquest" also appears in Deception. Deception 's Konquest mode explores the history of Shujinko, starting prior to his training with Bo' Rai Cho and ending with the beginning of Deception 's main story. While mostly an adventure game, the combat elements take place in the normal Deception fighting mode. In Konquest, a young Shujinko meets Damashi, a being who requests Shujinko's assistance in collecting six powerful items, the Kamidogu, to send to the gods. By the time he collects the six Kamidogu, Shujinko is an old man, having spent 40 years on his mission. However, Damashi is then revealed to be the Dragon King Onaga, who deceived Shujinko to obtain the six Kamidogu. Players seeking to unlock much of the bonus content in Deception are required to play through the Konquest mode.
In the final events of Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance, Raiden's warriors who were meant to protect the six fictional universes named realms are killed by the Deadly Alliance (Shang Tsung and Quan Chi), who attempted to conquer the realms. With Raiden defeated, the Deadly Alliance dissolves as the two sorcerers turn on each other for Shinnok's amulet. When Quan Chi wins, the Dragon King Onaga, the former emperor of the realm of Outworld, appears to regain his power. Raiden awakes and then unleashes all his powers in a colossal explosion that apart from destroying both members of the Deadly Alliance, the surrounding palace and himself, has little effect on Onaga.
Onaga now seeks to use six artifacts called Kamidogu (literally "Tool of God" or "divine clay"), which are able to destroy the realms. Those fighters not killed in the battle against the Deadly Alliance now stand against Onaga and his supporters. The latter include the forces of Edenia, now led by Mileena in the titular theme of deception as she masquerades as her sister, Princess Kitana. Other enemies include the former defenders from the realms, who were resurrected by Onaga and are under his control.
In the story explored in Konquest mode, a young man named Shujinko is deceived into spending his life collecting the Kamidogu for Onaga, who uses the guise of an emissary of the Elder Gods, the beings who created the realms, named Damashi. Onaga reveals his identity and intentions after Shujinko has gathered all the Kamidogu. Shujinko, led to believe he was working for the greater good, decides to continue training to defeat Onaga.
There are 28 characters in the game, nine new and 19 returning. New characters include Ashrah, a demon searching for redemption by killing demons; Darrius, the leader of the resistance in the realm of Order; Hotaru, a warrior of Order, pledged to serve the Dragon King; Dairou, a mercenary contracted by Darrius to assassinate Hotaru; Havik, a cleric of Chaos who wishes to consume Onaga's heart and revive Emperor Shao Kahn to ensure chaos reigns; Kira and Kobra, new members of the Black Dragon organization; Onaga, the Dragon King and former emperor of Outworld who appears as the unplayable boss character from the arcade mode; and Shujinko, an old warrior who was deceived by Onaga when he was young.
Several of the returning characters have been redesigned and were given new moves, such as Liu Kang, who reappears as a zombie, having been killed by the Deadly Alliance. Noob Saibot and Smoke are sub-bosses that fight together under the name of Noob-Smoke. The GameCube version has two more playable characters: the sub-boss from the first MK game Goro and the boss from the two following titles Shao Kahn, both of whom were previously thought to have died in the prologue of Deadly Alliance.
Character redesigns were generally accepted to be favorable, namely in the case of Sub-Zero. Once again appearing youthful rather than the septuagenarian he was depicted as in Deadly Alliance, Sub-Zero sported a "grandmaster" armor set that was often likened to the Shredder. Scorpion was redesigned to resemble a more classical ninja look, while characters like Ermac received a considerable makeover from the standard ninja fare, offering up a more sorcerer-like appearance.
Mortal Kombat co-creator Ed Boon wanted Deception to be an unpredictable fighting game that gave players new features "they could never imagine". In order to do it, the Midway staff listened to fans on bulletin boards to know what to work on for Deception, such as the playable characters. Wanting to surprise fans and make the game deeper at the same time, they added the puzzle and chess minigames (the chess minigame have been first considered for Deadly Alliance, but the developers lacked time to implement it). Boon and John Podlasek supervised the staff, which was divided into teams to work on different areas of the game. One of their concerns was to maintain the traditional feel of the MK series as they wanted the game's violence to make it a more realistic fighting game rather than "a fighting simulator".
Character appearances were improved to make their moves "more responsive" to the player's input. They also wanted to bring back several characters they felt were absent for too long — including Sindel, Nightwolf, Baraka and Mileena — and an arena with several weapons which players could use to fight; however, it was remade to become the Liu Kang's Tomb arena. Characters' combos were redesigned to be distinct so that they would be more important because as Boon noted they were necessary for any move the player would like to use to inflict more damage on an opponent. The Midway staff focused on the designs and functions of the backgrounds, wanting to make them as influential to the outcome of the battle as the fighting between the characters.
Because of the popular demand and favorable reception of Deadly Alliance, the number of finishing moves, known as Fatalities, increased to two per character. The Fatalities were developed by a group of animators led by Carlos Pesina; they comically considered Mileena's Fatality in which she eats the opponents' neck as the most disturbing due to how her "sexy moves" are modeled from Pesina. The Hara-kiri moves were added to allow the losers to perform a finishing move as well, creating a race between both players. The Death-traps, meant to be introduced in the previous game, were added to give the combat more strategy as well as to give more chances to players to win a fight if they are at a disadvantage. The game was originally meant to have other new finishing moves, such as tortures and falling cliffs similar to Fatalities.
One of the main features of Deception was the emphasis on online gameplay, which had yet to become common for console fighting games. A team of engineers took almost a full year to decide if the feature was viable. The MK team focused their energies solely on platforms that had strong online functionality available to the end consumer; this led to a greater focus on the PlayStation 2 and Xbox versions. Because the GameCube games require some re-engineering as compared to the other platforms when porting, it was decided to exclude the GameCube from the work of the team until the online hurdles were cleared. Some time after the game's release, Boon commented that he was disappointed that the GameCube version did not feature online gameplay as he regarded it as "the best in the business".
Details about the game were first confirmed to the general public in the May 2003 issue of PlayStation: The Official Magazine, in which the game was known as Mortal Kombat VI, and an online mode was confirmed. On February 6, 2004, Midway registered the domain names mkdeception.com and mortalkombatdeception.com. When Midway Entertainment was asked if Mortal Kombat: Deception was the official title, the developers gave no answers at that time. Later that month, Midway released the first trailer from the game, confirming this title.
Mortal Kombat: Deception was released for the PlayStation 2 (PS2) and Xbox in North America on October 4, 2004, and in PAL territories on November 19, 2004. While the game is known as Mortal Kombat Mystification in France, other countries did not change its original name. A GameCube version was later released exclusively in North America on March 1, 2005.
Two versions were released for both the PlayStation 2 and Xbox consoles: the standard edition for both systems, a Premium Pack for the PS2, and Kollector's Edition for the Xbox. The Premium Pack and Kollector's Edition include a metal trading card and a bonus disc containing a history of Mortal Kombat, several video biographies of characters, and an "arcade perfect" version of the original Mortal Kombat. The Xbox version covers feature either Scorpion, Raiden, Baraka and Mileena, while the PS2 version uses the character Sub-Zero.
In October 2005, the game was redistributed as a Platinum Hits title on the Xbox and as a Greatest Hits title on the PS2, coming in new packaging and sold for a discounted price. Deception is also included along with Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks and Mortal Kombat: Armageddon in the compilation Mortal Kombat Kollection released on September 29, 2008 for the PS2.
During its release week, Mortal Kombat: Deception sold one million units, surpassing sales of the previous MK title and becoming the fastest-selling game in Midway's history. A year later, the game had sold 1.9 million units worldwide.
Prior to the game's release, GameSpot named it the best fighting game of E3 2004. It was also the winner of the 2004 GameSpot Top Spike TV Video Game Awards in the category best fighting game. In GameSpot's Best and Worst of 2004, Deception received the award for best fighting game. On February 1, 2005, Deception received the fighting game of the year award at the 8th Annual Interactive Achievements Awards. The PlayStation 2 version was a runner-up in IGN's PS2 Best of 2004 Awards in the best fighting game category, and won the Readers' Choice. The 2011 edition of Guinness World Records Gamer's Edition award Deception a world record for "earliest 3D fighting game to offer online play".
Metacritic had 81 favourable reviews out of 100 for both PlayStation 2 and Xbox versions. However, the GameCube version received 77 favorable reviews. GameRankings had an average of 81.31% from 57 reviews for the Xbox version of the game. The PS2 received almost the same average but with 49 reviews, while the GameCube version received 77.43% from 18 reviews.
Louis Bedigian from GameZone liked the interaction with stages as one of the best parts of the game, commenting that it adds more strategy to the combat. He praised the return of "classic characters", commenting on their new designs and how different their attacks are. Gaming Age's Brian Peterson commented that Deception was the best game from the MK series since Mortal Kombat II. He praised the "fluid and detailed" characters designs and the interactive stages. Jeremy Dunham from IGN wrote that it was the best game from the Mortal Kombat series. He also stated that the removal of special move buttons, which caused too much damage to an opponent, was one of the developer's best decisions. As such, with the special moves removed from the fights and the addition of Breakers, players are now able to stop any combo. However, he called character designs in Deception "robotic" in comparison to other fighting games such as the Dead or Alive series or Virtua Fighter 4. The soundtrack was also criticized for having "basic sound effects". GameSpot's Greg Kasavin commented that the fights have been highly improved with the addition of new fighting styles which "is clearly inspired by kung fu movies". Although he stated the fights were not perfect noting they could end in a few seconds due to the interaction with the arenas, he liked how painful and funny some moves looked. TeamXbox's Dale Nardozzi praised the characters' animations and movements, adding that the soundtrack "sets the tone perfectly for your basic, disembowelments, decapitations, and impalements."
The Konquest Mode received mixed opinions. Dunham liked how the Konquest Mode explains the storyline from the game. Conversely, Kasavin commented that the Konquest Mode "is the weak point from the game" and described it as "ugly", lacked good voice acting and good graphics. However, he noted that one of the "few nice touches" in Konquest was "hitting anybody you want". He added the mode had to be completed if he wanted to unlock characters. Bedigian complained that the Konquest is the biggest flaw of the game, criticizing the storyline, the trainings and voice acting. Nardozzi, however, found the mini-games to be very entertaining if played online.
In contrast to the Xbox and PS2 versions, the GameCube port received lower scores from publications. It has been criticized for the lack of an online mode and pixelated picture quality on the unlockable videos & cutscenes, though 1UP.com still praised it. Although the addition of Goro and Shao Kahn was well received, GameSpot opined that the other ports were better, while also commenting on Goro's appearance which looks "anemic". In his review, GameSpy's Miguel Lopez wrote the GameCube version "is far from the best version of the game" and advised players to use another port to play.
Mortal Kombat: Unchained
Mortal Kombat: Unchained is the title of the PlayStation Portable version of Mortal Kombat: Deception, developed by Just Games Interactive. The game was released on November 13, 2006 in North America, November 24, 2006 in Europe, and December 9, 2006 in Australia.
Unchained includes all the characters from the GameCube version, and four more characters — Blaze, Frost, Jax and Kitana — from Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance that are exclusive to the PlayStation Portable version. The four characters have only one Fatality and no Hara-kiri in contrast to other characters, most likely because that was all they had in Deadly Alliance. Exclusive to the Unchained version is the Endurance mode, where players can compete against a constant wave of opponents. The system's wireless ad hoc network functionality can be used for multiplayer games. Characters who remain hidden in the other versions appear unlocked by default in Unchained; producer Shaun Himmerick explained that the staff wanted to show players characters that were difficult to obtain in Deception such as Liu Kang. Although Midway did not develop the game, they helped Just Games Interactives optimize their code and the Wi-Fi feature, as they wanted to keep the framerate very high.
Metacritic gave it an average of 70 from 14 reviews, while GameRankings gave it a score of 70.88% based on 17 reviews. Although Brian Peterson from Gaming Age commented the game was entertaining and praised the audio, he criticized the difficulty it took to fight with the handheld system. Jeff Haynes from IGN agreed regarding the problem with the controls and criticized the long loading times.
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Onaga: Shujunko, please save me! Old fool! Damashi does not exist! The avatar you see before is merely a projection of my consciousness!
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Shujinko: If I am to redeem myself, I must continue to learn all that I can and prepare for this final battle against the Dragon King.
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