Developer(s) – Midway Games & Digital Eclipse
Publisher(s) – Midway Games
Director – Ed Boon
Producer – John Podlasek
PEGI – 18
Created as a direct follow-up to Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance, Mortal Kombat: Deception was designed by Ed Boon to be an unpredictable game compared to most other fighting games; and so it was, featuring gameplay elements that were uncommon among the genre, and have more or less remained uncommon to this very day, making the game stand out a great deal among multiple generations since it’s release back in 2006. Because of its unconventional collection of gameplay features, Deception remains not only one of my favorite fighting games of all time, but to date, the best game in the Mortal Kombat series I’ve played.
Graphics – 7/10
The Mortal Kombat series has always been known for its wide variety of different types of stages and settings, and Deception is no different. Featuring a range of stages reminiscent of series classics, as well as new kinds of stages that present some of the most sadistic stage fatalities in the series, the game doesn’t fail to impress in this respect at all. Bar my least favorite character in the series, Bo’ Rai Cho, it also has a particularly impressive character roster, with not only some of the fan-favorite of recent years returning such as Kenshi and Li Mei, but also the return of a couple of classics that Ed Boon himself felt had been absent from the series for far too long, such as Baraka, Nightwolf and Sindel.
Gameplay – 9/10
Aside from having the traditional arcade and story modes, the krypt mode returns from Mortal: Deadly Alliance, as well as including two mini-games; Chess Kombat, and my favorite feature of the entire game, Puzzle Kombat; a Tetris style game in which each character has his/her own abilities available to throw off the opposing player. As well as the traditional fatalities, the developers introduced the facility of players being able to perform hara-kiris, which are fatalities that layer can perform on their own characters as opposed to their opponents. It all makes for one of the most gruesome, addicting, and satisfying fighting games ever developed in my own personal opinion.
Controls – 8/10
By default, I do prefer the more traditional 2-dimensional fighting game style controls style over the 3D style, which was implemented largely throughout both the fifth and sixth generations, and so, I did encounter a couple of issues with the control scheme of this game. Because of this, it can be a little unnecessarily complicated to perform stage fatalities at times, and overall, it can make moving around a bit of a chore in general. Otherwise, there are no other problems, and fighting can become more fluent with the more practice that is put in by the player over time.
Lifespan – N/A (10/10)
As with most fighting games, Deception practically has an infinite lifespan; not only in its two-player mode but in both single and two-player mode in Puzzle Kombat, which speaking from experience, can have an unfathomable amount of time invested in it in its own right, effectively making it a whole other game in itself, much to my own personal delight when I first sat down to play it.
Storyline – 7/10
Carrying on directly from the events of Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance, the thunder god Raiden is defeated by the self-proclaimed Deadly Alliance of sorcerers Shang Tsung and Quan Chi, who then turn on each other for control over the amulet of the fallen elder god Shinnok. After Quan Chi defeats Shang Tsung, the dragon king Onaga is awoken, and the Deadly Alliance is obliterated when Raiden awakens and unleashes his powers, which has little effect on Onaga. Raiden and his warriors resolve to defeat Onaga and bring peace to the realms once again. As well as expanding on what is, in my opinion, the greatest mythology of any fighting game series, the story is delightfully well written with decent voice acting and a couple of unexpected plot twists.
Originality – 9/10
As I alluded to before, Deception stands out from more or less every single fighting game ever developed, and for all the right reasons. It stands out from every other game in the series in terms of gameplay and visual presentation, doing spectacularly well to leave behind the overhaul of palette-swapped characters synonymous with Mortal Kombat 3, which offered a different dimension to the genre that may very well never be seen again.
In summation, Mortal Kombat Deception is most definitely one of the most silently innovative fighting games of all time. It allows players more to do than what is expected of them to do in a game like this, and all the things it does differently, it also does exceptionally well, making for an addicting and exciting gaming experience in its own right.