Mortal Kombat: Deception Updated Hands-On

We take another close look at the latest Mortal Kombat game and see a few new twists.

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The latest game in the Mortal Kombat series, Mortal Kombat: Deception, is just over a month away from release. Development is in its final stages, and the only thing left to do is to make pretty minor adjustments. Following our recent exclusive hands-on preview, we spent some more time giving a near-final version of the game a once-over, and we've come away with a few interesting details.

Here's a sample of the sort of action you can expect from MK: Deception (note the footage is from the PS2 version). Click "Stream for Free" for higher resolution.

As reported previously, the game starts you out with 12 characters to choose from and there is room on the character-select screen for 12 more. Some of the silhouettes for the hidden characters stand out pretty plainly. The guy with the big conical hat, for example, is almost certainly Raiden. But one of the character slots looks like it has two heads. A two-headed monster, perhaps? No, this slot most likely belongs to what will probably be one of the more interesting characters in the game: Noob-Smoke (based on the old MK games' infamous hidden characters, Smoke and Noob Saibot). Noob-Smoke is two characters in one, and you can switch between the two characters much like the other characters switch fighting styles. Style-branching combos with Noob-Smoke will let both characters get in on the action. Each also appears to have a unique set of special moves. Smoke, for example, has the teleport punch that he and Sektor shared back in Mortal Kombat 3.

It's interesting to see how many of the old Mortal Kombat special moves have found their way into Deception. Ashrah, for example, has a move similar to Raiden's torpedo, as well as a standing spin move that is very similar to Kung Lao's spin in Mortal Kombat 3. Sub-Zero has the ability to freeze, of course, though he can do it either with a standard projectile or an MK3-style ice clone. Scorpion's teleport is back, though it's now in the form of a kick instead of a punch. Mileena's got all her old moves, from her throwing sais to dropping through the floor for a teleport kick. And of course, Bo'Rai Cho can still vomit on command to make a slippery mess akin to Sub-Zero's ground ice in MK2.

But when it comes to special moves, it sounds like Shujinko will have them all beat.

Shujinko is the character you play in the game's konquest mode, which is a role-playing game-like adventure with quests, inventory items, and plenty of one-on-one fighting. When you begin the mode, Shujinko is a 13-year-old boy who merely dreams of being one of the great fighters, like Liu Kang. However, time flashes forward at key points in your quest. For example, once you get out of your starting town, you'll train with Bo'Rai Cho and time will jump ahead five years. Shujinko will age appropriately. By the end of the mode, which will supposedly take players 20 hours to complete, Shujinko will be an old man with the ability to bust out with a ton of special moves. The brief video shown at a Midway event in San Diego showed the old guy using Sub-Zero's ice, Scorpion's spear, Liu Kang's bicycle kick, and Raiden's torpedo. You'll be able to take Shujinko into the other modes in the game, including online. Aside from Noob-Smoke and Shujinko, other characters that aren't on the standard 12-man roster were displayed, like Sindel, Jax, and Kenshi.

Midway also showed off a few new hara-kiri fatalities, which are suicide moves that you'll be able to do after losing a fight--if you can pull them off before your opponent pulls a fatality. Kabal takes his hooksword and jams it into his head and chest. Nightwolf tosses a tomahawk up into the air, where it spins around and lands blade-first in his chest. Other characters will rip their own heads off, bash their faces into the ground until their heads come off, and so on. Outstanding!

On the fatality front, we caught a glimpse of how Kabal will cause his enemies to spin and how he then sticks his hooksword into the spinning victims, which causes them to essentially disintegrate into chunks. The fatalities and hara-kiri finishers are nicely gruesome, though they also convey Mortal Kombat's classic sense of humor extremely well.

Overall, the game gives a very positive first impression. The character roster, while not fully revealed, already has a lot of really interesting fighters on it. The fighting system seems solid and the modes seem as though they'll work well both online and off. We'll have more on MK: Deception in the near future.

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