Building upon 2002's Deadly Alliance, the series' well-received leap to the 128-bit 3D fighting arena, Mortal Kombat: Deception demonstrates the same focus on the home console experience. The game offers five main modes of play, some of which will be familiar to fans of its immediate predecessor. The arcade-style Kombat mode has players fighting their way up a ladder of matches against increasingly difficult opponents, and Konquest leads them through ole-playing-styled character development in a
storylined third-person adventure full of fights and other events. Also available are Kombat Chess, which lets players choose a team of fighters and challenges them to strategically select matches on a chess board, and Puzzle Kombat, a color-matching action puzzle reminiscent of Capcom's Super Puzzle Fighter, featuring cute, anime versions of the game's otherwise dark and daunting
kombatants. Mortal Kombat: Deception is also one of the first 3D fighting games to offer an online multiplayer mode. Xbox Live connected gamers can simply log on to find a match against a human opponent. There are a dozen Mortal Kombat fighters selectable at the start of the game, including both old favorites and mysterious newcomers. Longtime fans of the series will recognize veterans of the earliest Mortal Kombat games, such as Sub-Zero and Scorpion, Kabal, Baraka, Mileena, Ermac, and Nightwolf, who are joined by relative newcomers like Bo'Rai Cho, who debuted in Deadly Alliance. Deception also introduces four characters, Ashrah, Dairou, Darrius, and Kobra, each with a distinctly new style intended to balance the deadly abilities of the other characters. At least a dozen more characters can be unlocked through the course of the game, by spending "Koins" to open the correct "
koffins" in the "Krypt," or by completing certain key challenges in the Konquest adventure mode. In addition to its character selection, Mortal Kombat: Deception draws on the series' storied roots in other ways; development of the game was lead by Ed Boon, co-creator of the original Mortal Kombat. Although Deception's fighting mechanics are also based on those of Deadly Alliance, a number of enhancements, adjustments, and embellishments have been made. In some instances, the gameplay may have a slightly more intense, exaggerated feel that rewards those who master the complex combo system. Characters can still take different stances, however, and choose to fight unarmed or with a weapon. Deception features "Fight State Indicators" on the ends of the characters' health bars, that make it a little
easer for players to anticipate particular dangers and time their special attacks. While it may seem these indicators would take the challenge down a notch, their addition is actually quite opportune, since Deception also adds a diverse selection of interactive
arenas, many with instant-kill "death trap" elements, as well as two fatalities for each and every character -- answering the two most common complaints that fans had of Deadly Alliance.