I love the Mortal Kombat games. It’s probably one of my favorite franchises of all time. I decided to get a little nostalgic and play through Mortal Kombat Deception. There was no particular reason for this. It just grabbed my attention while looking through my Xbox games. Is it as good as I remember it being? Read on to find out.
Unlike most fighting games, the Mortal Kombat games have plots in them. At that time, Deception had the most ambitious fighting game story mode I had ever seen. The game was set up with a large story mode called Konquest mode. In which you play Shujinko on his quest to recover the 6 Kamidogu from each of the realms.
Believe it or not I really like the story in spite of the obvious problems within it. Let’s start with the positive. The story does an excellent job of incorporating it’s new character into the already established world. It also does a good job of creating new worlds that expand on the Mortal Kombat mythos.
To be honest the Mortal Kombat story as a whole is pretty ridiculous. Most characters have fairly ridiculous plot lines. The new character Shujinko actually has a fairly ridiculous plotline himself.
The story of Deception gives itself away in the opening cinematic. It shows Quan Chi, Shang Tsung, and Raiden fighting at the conclusion of Deadly Alliance. All of the characters from that game for the most part are dead in this game. They fight and Raiden is defeated by the two sorcerers. The two then fight each other because why not? After Shang Tsung is defeated Onaga, The Dragon King arrives to spoil the celebration. He kills the three fighters and thus the game can begin.
The Konquest mode. Yes it begins with a k, starts with Shujinko in his hometown in Earthrealm. He dreams of defeating Shang Tsung in the Mortal Kombat but first has to train with Master Bo Rai Cho. This is where most people’s complaints with this game come in. The konquest is essentially a 6 hour tutorial. You meet new combatants, you learn their moves, and then you move on. It is basically setting you up for multiplayer and the arcade mode. That should be fine though. With some characters the training helps. Sure it makes the game ridiculously easy, but it’s an excellent learning tool.
In fact the easiness is my problem with it. There are points in the game where you must fight in three round combat. The hardest fights in the game are against Tanya, and Scorpion. The only reason is you have to fight them as regular Shujinko. Allow me to explain.
After going over the basics Shujinko is approached by a glowing orb named Damashi. Damashi tells Shujinko that he has been chosen by the elder gods to go on a quest to find 6 artifacts spread throughout the realms. To give him an edge Damashi gives Shujinko the power to absorb other fighting styles. So when he is doing the training, Shujinko transforms into who he is fighting. So those hard fights are when Shujinko is in his old man form. Where he has no special moves, unless you find them in the world.
That’s what bugs me about the story as a whole. Shujinko is set up in this story to be the most powerful fighter in the history of mortal kombat. If he can steal anybodies powers he could defeat anybody. Yet when you actually play as him he is pretty low tier.
Anywho, Shujinko scours 6 different realms looking for Damashi’s kamidogu. Along the way he meets and trains with the fighters of the game. When he collects the last one, it turns out that Damashi had been fake the entire time. The elder gods hadn’t elected Shujinko to do shit. It had all been a ploy by the Dragon King, Onaga to return to the physical world. Then the game ends. You can wander around for a bit after that.
I really did like the story. I had fun seeing the plot unfold. Although there are some things that are moronic to no end. The game has the job of passing time from when Shujinko is in his late teens all the way until he is a man in his 60s. So they have time transitions. The most ridiculous is late in the game when Shujinko goes to a city and is arrested by it’s leader Hotaru. He’s placed in prison for many years, awaiting his day in court. The violation you ask? Breaking curfew. Mind you the game has a clock and I arrived in the town at 10:30 AM.
Still it’s fun. As such the story gets a 34 out of 40. I enjoyed it, but there are some flaws that keep it from getting a higher score.
One thing that is true about all of the Mortal Kombat games I’ve played is that they don’t skimp out on features, or things to do. This game proves to be no different. There is a lot that the player can do in this game.
First is the obvious arcade mode. Here the player can climb the ladder to fight the Dragon King, Onaga. There’s an actual strategy to this end boss though. In the fight Onaga is surrounded by the kamidogu. If the player touches them they get destroyed, and Onaga becomes weakened. He’s still a cheap bastard, so it’s better to just be cheap back.
There’s the Konquest mode which I just described. It takes about 6 hours to complete, and consits of training with fighters, and fighting with others. Each thing you do in the Konquest and Arcade mode nets you coins…sory Koins, that can be used at the Krypt. Here you can unlock different fatalities, alternate costumes, and music. There is a lot here and the problem is that there is seven different koin colors. So there’s a lot of different money to keep track of which can get annoying.
That’s not all though. There are also two other side modes that are actually quite interesting. There is puzzle kombat which isn’t as good because it’s just like that Tetris esque game that Street Fighter did, only now there are fatalites at the end. Finally there is a chess kombat game. This is actually quite interesting, although depending on your skill impossible to lose.
In regular chess the player takes another piece if on their move they take the square. In Chess Kombat the players fight for the square. There are just health bonuses if you are the attacker. If you are proficient with the characters on your squad, then you’ll have no problem winning this. Also you can lay traps to take out even more of your enemies.
Overall this game is loaded to the gills with things to do. I didn’t even mention the online multiplayer, which is only good if you are currently in 2004. I give the game a 36 out of 40. There is so much to do. The Konquest is short if you just follow the linear path, but if you explore there is much to find, and lots of side missions to complete. There is also the arcade mode that can be beaten with 22 different fighters each with their own ending. Finally there are two fully developed side games, that can kill a large amount of time.
This game was on the original Xbox. So for that time it is really good looking. There are excellent little details that really stand out. For example the characters head move with the body placement of the enemy. Also the character’s faces will receive damage throughout the fight. The fight area will also remain stained with blood as it falls. Which brings me to the best part. The blood. The blood is really good in this game. As a character looses blood it will flow in rivulets down their body and remain in splats on the ground.
It also looks great in the fatalities. Each character has two fatalities and a hara kiri. In which s the enemy commits suicide. Each one is really fun to watch and pretty gruesome.
My only problem with the presentation comes in the voice acting department. Like I said it’s rare for these games to have a story to begin with, so there normally isn’t need for voice actors that say anything other then ouch and hiya. Yet when there are cinematics the characters all talk funny. Shujinko is okay, but everyone else sounds silly and forced.
Still this is a good looking game, even for its time. As such I give it a 19 out of 20.
So in the end Mortal Kombat Deception gets a
34 out of 40 for the story
36 out of 40 for the gameplay and a
19 out of 20 for the presentation equaling a
89 out of 100 or a B+
Pro Tip: If you are stuck fighting as Shujinko when he doesn’t have special moves, abuse the shit out of his sword. It’s got some really powerful pop ups that can be a god send, especially against the final boss, Scorpion.