E3 2002Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance impressions

Midway shows off an early-looking build of the next game in the Mortal Kombat series.

Midway is showing off a partial build of its upcoming fighting game Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance here at E3. While the game is an entry in the long-running Mortal Kombat fighting series, the game Midway is showing here bears little to no resemblance to the previous Mortal Kombat games.

Projectile attacks are one of the most noticeable omissions in the E3 build of the game. They will be in there eventually, but right now, the developer's focus is on basic attacks and stance changes. The game uses five different attack buttons, but there's no clear indication of what these five buttons do or why they're different right now. There doesn't appear to be any difference in strength, they don't seem to be broken up by limb or by punch or kick. On top of that, changing stances, which can be done at will with the push of a button, only further confuses the issue by making those five attack buttons act entirely differently. The only thing that has remained a constant is the block button, which allows you to block both high and low.

The game's combo system is still relatively juggle-friendly, but there doesn't appear to be a classic, MK-style uppercut in the game at this time. Instead, certain moves, such as some kicks from Scorpion, will pound the opposing fighter into the ground and pop him or her back up, allowing for Tekken-style jab-juggle combos. The game employs a combo counter similar to the one featured in MK4, showing you the number of hits and percentage of damage done. According to Midway, stance changes will be available mid-combo, allowing you to extend combos by cycling through your fighter's three styles. This also didn't appear to be working. In addition, the current version of the game doesn't appear to have any fatalities in it.

Both the PlayStation 2 and the Xbox versions of the game were being shown, and both appeared to be at similar stages in development. Both games look crisp and move reasonably well, though the Xbox version had a slightly sharper look to it.

The version shown here at E3 doesn't really play anything like any of the previous games in the series, but we've been assured by Midway that this is a pretty early version of the game, and that many of the game's more advanced features have yet to be implemented. Hopefully the final product will more closely resemble earlier entries in the series.

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Jeff Gerstmann has been professionally covering the video game industry since 1994.

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