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3D Kombat Klassics

Discussing the 3D MK Klassics: Everything from MK4 to Armageddon.
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Mick-LuciferPosted: 11/30/2012 06:11 PMStatus ::
Retrospective: Mortal Kombat Deadly Alliance 10th Anniversary

There's no denying the current generation of Mortal Kombat has given fans plenty of reasons to be thankful. Throughout 2012, we've made a lot of noise about the MK 20th Anniversary, and the great things we've seen from series inception, to current day.
Less talked about has been the milestone sandwiched directly between -- an anniversary happening in November that we simply couldn't ignore!

As of mid-November, it has officially been 10 years since the release of Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance -- a game, much like the current one, that refreshed the series for a whole new era.

Characters received impressive new designs, gameplay entered uncharted territory, and the sins of the past were rectified in a major modern evolution for the then flagging fighter. It was perhaps the most significant development since the series' first sequel, but for a time, nobody even knew if it would happen!

The release of Mortal Kombat 4 had left the series in uncertain territory. Criticized for an awkward entry into the polygonal era; MK's first attempt was ultimately dominated by more proficient "3D" fighters (like Tekken), which were defining the zeitgeist of an age ditching the classics, whilst fast signing the death warrant of the arcades that spawned them.

A Dreamcast exclusive in '99 (MK: Gold) did little to reverse lukewarm reviews for the previous years MK4 console ports, arriving two years after the original arcade release. The update marked the first of many times the series would attempt to tap into the goodwill of MKII nostalgia, but reinserting characters like Baraka and Kitana, alongside MK3's popular cyber-ninjas, failed to create a significant buzz beyond fandom.

If you know your Mortal Kombat Online history, you know the site began life around this time, as MK5.org. Named for the sequel nobody was certain was coming, the site rallied fans around hopes built during the lengthy two-year cycle of MK4.

The turn of the millenium would bring only occasional blips for "MK5" watchers: rumors to coincide with tangent projects like Threshold Entertainment's television prequel, Mortal Kombat: Conquest, and the bungled 2000 PlayStation exclusive, Mortal Kombat: Special Forces.

In 2001, the real rumblings started, and the future looked bright...


Jax battles Scorpion in a 2001 screenshot -- obselete by the time Deadly Alliance hit in 2002.

Despite the best efforts of dedicated members of the Midway Games staff, the arcades were dead. 2002 was projected to be a transition point as they refocused development on the ever expanding exclusive home console market. "Mortal Kombat Five" would take pride of place in the line-up, designed to "revolutionize [...] the fighting game genre that [MK] helped create." If fans weren't already champing at the bit for a sequel after five years, big claims like that were certainly going to whip up that frenzy!

In an April, 2001 live chat co-moderated by MK5.org and MortalKombat.com; Ed Boon talked up changes coming to the series -- "Well you can throw everything you know about MK out the window, cause we are using a completely different fighting engine." Preliminary screenshots released shortly after [pictured above] failed to demonstrate just how different things were about to get.

Where Mortal Kombat 4 had staked its primary visuals on polygonal versions of MK3 spandex, Deadly Alliance was reinventing the wheel, the vehicle, and the driver, as well!

Far from spin, the reinvention of Mortal Kombat was to be a thorough expression, brilliantly referencial, but entirely fresh. No man would ever again mock the shared fashions of rival ninjas in Deadly Alliance -- an achievement in itself and a bold statement about the set course!

A sense of overdue individuality in character design was the first and lasting impression of 2002! First-look characters like Scorpion and Quan Chi were clearly consistent with what they'd always been, but the new hardware -- and the design philosophy it supported -- was finally fulfilling promises made by sequalized improvements in the original era.

With the rainbow palette swap ninjas trashed, it only made sense that uniform fighting technique would also be relegated to the technological restrictions of the past.

The drubbing MK4 took at the hands of Tekken was clearly learnt from, resulting in the introduction of individual fighting styles for most characters, and a surprisingly earthbound style of play.

Coming to grips with the new grounded, multi-style method was helped along by a similarly cribbed, Tekken-style practise mode. Better still, the first ever Konquest mode toured the twenty-plus roster, flushing out basic attacks, combos and expanded storylines in a prolonged tutorial twixt story mode. It was an important step toward credibility, but as IGN noted in their 2002 review, it came with good and bad:

The fighting system on the whole is incredibly enjoyable and makes for the most fluid and playable Mortal Kombat yet. It's most assuredly an offensive game with a sound defense playing second fiddle to a good sword slash. Unfortunately, there are still a couple of problems that have haunted the previous titles in the series and end up mucking with things here: Specifically, the cheap-hit tactics and static A.I. of your CPU opponent and the imbalance of impaling your opponent.
- Jeremy Dunham (IGN Review, November 2002)

While the intricacies of the new engine were still subject to criticism -- Electronic Gaming Monthly gave Deadly Alliance 65% in their January 2003 issue, stating, "Strip away the surprisingly excellent graphics and gimmicky bonus material and you've got a 3D fighter that's derivative at best." -- many reviewers felt simplicity was a virtue for the series that has always kept a rare sympathy for the neophyte. Some were willing to go so far as to compliment the accessibility of the game -- something we dare not dwell on in 2012!

It's a much less complex fighting system than the one in VF4 or Tekken, but that's part of its appeal - there's no need to learn specific throw-reversals or obsess over timing glitches to succeed. If you're put off by the frightening depth of other scrappers, this new system's the perfect level playing field to develop your skills, with enough combos to reward practice.
- Joel Snape (Games Radar Review, January 2003)

Mortal Kombat is a 3D fighter that doesn't fall into the same trap that some other games have fallen into when making the 2D-to-3D transition. It also doesn't play much--or at all, for that matter--like other 3D fighters on the market. What you're left with is an unusual fighting game that does a great job of balancing the classic Mortal Kombat style with enough new additions to draw in people who aren't completely familiar with the rest of the series. Anyone looking for a wilder ride than the one offered by Tekken 4's or Virtua Fighter 4's comparatively straightforward martial arts battles should definitely check out Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance.
- Jeff Gerstmann (Gamespot Review, November 2002)

Input timing could sometimes become frustrating (made moreso in Deception), but the fluidity of basic movement and move animation is another detail that makes Deadly Alliance a fondly remembered stand-out. Current wisdom is to take fighting games back to something closer to the 2D era, but the strength of the sense of character in motion may be the price of that reverted thinking.

Character is ultimately the inescapable brilliance of Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance. Reception for new characters was mixed, but at least deserves credit for boldly going where MK concept hadn't before, delivering us perhaps the last great new addition - Kenshi.

The success of the Deadly Alliance cast and plot was a testament to life after John Tobias. The series co-creator and driving creative force had left to forge a new path for himself in 2000, creating an Xbox-exclusive rival in Tao Feng: Fist of the Lotus as Studio Gigante. 2002 belonged to John Tobias and the rest of the team, who showed a deft touch in taking the series back to its Eastern-inspired roots, whilst expanding on the mythology that had been created right up to Mortal Kombat 4.


Quan Chi & Shang Tsung - The Deadly Alliance were something old and something new.

Like MK4 -- and it's related spin-off, Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero -- Deadly Alliance stepped into the modern age with a more elaborate, tightly woven narrative. Pieceing together character endings would weave a cohesive map with branching points of difference, while the concrete elements detailing The Dragon King would lay the groundwork for Deception (2004) in ways that make Mortal Kombat II's Outworld transition seem like cave scratchings.

It's a shame Tobias didn't get a chance to pilot the ship in waters that supported this much investment in storytelling. In a recent interview, he told us he certainly had ideas for where the story was going, and expressed the kind of plot-minded thinking that makes us long for another time in games. Even so, if things had to move on without Tobias, we have to be glad they went where they did.

The greatest crime of Deadly Alliance's story and the bold moves it made -- such as the killing off its lead protagonist and antagonist, Liu Kang and Shao Kahn -- is that it didn't have the conviction to follow through. Instead of forging a strong new era filled with strong new lead heroes (and villains), the series squirmed its way back toward the eventual rewrite of history told in 2011.

It's easy to get sentimental about Deadly Alliance -- especially coming up to the holidays. It was a high point for the series, defined by decisions that seem completely alien to the current mode of thinking in major corporate-funded video games. The slate seems clean for Mortal Kombat right now, with the next linear step leading us right in this direction, but it seems completely unfathomable that we'll ever see days like MKDA again. Even if only because, ten years later, we shouldn't!

It's been a nostalgic type of year for Mortal Kombat! Be you an OG mortal of twenty years, or a millenial longing for the recently retro, we want to hear from you! Post your early experiences to the Year of the Dragon 20th Anniversary thread, then join us under the microscope of the Deadly Alliance 10th Anniversary!

blacksaibotPosted: 11/30/2012 06:22 PMStatus ::


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RE: Retrospective: Mortal Kombat Deadly Alliance 10th Anniversary

Great read.

As impatient as I was back then, the development of MK5 brought so much life to the MK community and I was so excited to see the series reinvented and resurrected. That was the highlight of this place.

MK5.ORG forever.

AsesinoPosted: 11/30/2012 06:30 PMStatus ::


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RE: Retrospective: Mortal Kombat Deadly Alliance 10th Anniversary

My favorite MK! :D Great memmories with my buddyes :D Smokin` and playin MK 5

samus_aran3900Posted: 11/30/2012 06:45 PMStatus ::


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RE: Retrospective: Mortal Kombat Deadly Alliance 10th Anniversary

This is my first post in a while. And this news update got me to post lol.
Just wanted to say to say, MKDA was a giant leap at the time. Still have my copy. The Gamecube version. Though being a while since i've played it. And MKDA being 10 sure takes me back to. And here's ]{0MBAT with a Lei-Mei look a like too.



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#MicksDesk, #gamiz, #tmk, #mortalkombat
SubMan799Posted: 11/30/2012 07:48 PMStatus ::


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RE: Retrospective: Mortal Kombat Deadly Alliance 10th Anniversary

^^^^ Damn ]{ looks super pumped in that shot!

Mick-LuciferPosted: 11/30/2012 07:50 PMStatus ::


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Visits::19637
RE: Retrospective: Mortal Kombat Deadly Alliance 10th Anniversary

SubMan799 Wrote:
^^^^ Damn ]{ looks super pumped in that shot!

I think his spidey-senses were tingling. Ehhhhh hehhh.

Better The Devil you know...
MK Online Forums: Share your interests, broaden your horizons and support the kommunity with discussion forums for every topic. "Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country."
Ninja_MimePosted: 11/30/2012 09:08 PMStatus ::


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RE: Retrospective: Mortal Kombat Deadly Alliance 10th Anniversary

.

BiohazardEXTREMEPosted: 12/01/2012 01:43 AMStatus ::


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RE: Retrospective: Mortal Kombat Deadly Alliance 10th Anniversary

Sadly my DA disc is not in the best condition. It still works, but not well. What pissed me off is that when they released the MK Kollection, they released Shaolin Monks instead of MKDA. I mean, it would have been such an excellent collection if it was MK5, 6 and 7, wrapping together the new trilogy in 1. But instead, we got Shaolin Monks, which was a really inconsistent addition to the collection.

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Unknown265Posted: 12/01/2012 03:46 AMStatus ::


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RE: Retrospective: Mortal Kombat Deadly Alliance 10th Anniversary

I remember Deadly Alliance. My Dad bought it for my brother and I near the release date, I believe. We had so much fun on that game, our Uncles even came to visit us just to play MK:DA and have a good time with the extended family. I was at least 7 years old then. Of the new characters introduced in MK:DA, Drahmin caught my attention over most.

Deadly Alliance was my favorite game of the PS2 until Deception came along....

Sub-Zero_7thPosted: 12/02/2012 10:33 AMStatus ::


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RE: Retrospective: Mortal Kombat Deadly Alliance 10th Anniversary

The time of MK: Deadly Alliance were some of the best days for the series. It was a very refreshing change from the old school games, and it introduced a lot of characters that I still feel are largely underrated. I was (and still am) a big fan of using real martial arts styles and weapons, but I do wished that they were done better. Perhaps if the fighting styles were done with more of MK2011's gameplay style, MKDA-MKA would have been better games.

RaydenwithaYPosted: 12/04/2012 06:07 AMStatus ::


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Visits::30
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RE: Retrospective: Mortal Kombat Deadly Alliance 10th Anniversary

Excellent article and I strongly agree. A very exciting time for Mortal Kombat.

47.65kb
acidslayerPosted: 12/08/2012 09:57 PMStatus ::


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RE: Retrospective: Mortal Kombat Deadly Alliance 10th Anniversary

i still remember when i got mkda. i bought it at best buy and had to get my mom to come in the store because they would not sell me it. got it for 20$.

got home and started my profile. then jumped right onto arcade with scorpion. accidently did his fatality without trying. it was sweet. back/back/down/back/circle. the 1st opponnent. man was his fatal cool. loved when i bought his attire. was the 1st time got to see his flaming skull without performing toasty.

facial damage was neat. istill have not bought every koffin.

about year ago i beat all of konquest. was pain.

it introduced kenshi/lei mei which were 2 of my fav new characters.

reptile really looked like a reptile which i found to be great while alot of other people hated it. + he had his big role in the story for the 1st time. he awoken the dragon king.

i still play mkda every 1 in a while. it's better than mkd/mka in my opinion. it just had that feel and look. also it felt the most polished of the 3.

so thats how i feel about mkda.

RiyakouPosted: 12/09/2012 01:20 AMStatus ::


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RE: Retrospective: Mortal Kombat Deadly Alliance 10th Anniversary

Deadly Alliance was a real shocker for me.

I honestly thought Mortal Kombat was over after MKGold. No one was talking about the series, the official site had begun its stint of abandonment, and Conquest was all I had to look forward to for MK, which is really sad.

I first caught eye of MKDA in a magazine my older brother was going through in a supermarket. I noticed Reptile, Kitana, and who I didn't know was Bo' Rai Cho. It sparked me in the way of a kid who wakes up to presents on Christmas morning. I was so psyched the first time I played it. It was awesome!

'Til I found out they only had one fatality each.

DistraughtOverlordPosted: 12/09/2012 07:09 PMStatus ::


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RE: Retrospective: Mortal Kombat Deadly Alliance 10th Anniversary

Great thread!! MKDA was one of the great games/moments that pulled me back into gaming, and into MK mostly. Before actually buying that game i was always staring at the cover thinking: "Man, can this franchise ever be as awesome as it once was?" I had my doubts but as it turned out i was happily surprised and proud of the fact that i had bought it.

I remember the first time me and buddies had our first multiplayer matches. Yes, the franchise was coming back to life, had been reinvented if you will but we were all just stunned. As we were playing, things were said like The best MK since... MK2 in my opinion. But based on the story, which was really simple it's also easy to say that it could have been the first game in the series, or could have been MK2 and no one (Including new players) actually felt out of place.

In terms of character, new ones turned out to be a real shock since Kenshi, Bo Rai Cho, Nitara and Li Mei turned out to be the most played for evenings. Hell, some of us were almost forgetting that Scorpion and Raiden were introduced and had been used until we were done with unlocking the others. And as great as everything else was in DA (Art design, graphics, storytelling) I think the fact that all those new characters had something interesting to bring to the table is what made us enjoy the game for so long, and i still enjoy it solo when i find some time to. New characters in MK2, 3 and others were great. But with MKDA it was the first time that the bunch of new characters were used as much as Scorpion, Raiden and Liu Kang in my corner or friends.

As one of my buddies once said about DA: "Dude! This is awesome! The best fighting game that doesn't introduce Kabal." Yeah, i think is fav was Mavado.

MKDA was one of the greatest MK games in my opinion and despite a pretty good Deception, DA still stands as the last great MK game.
Happy late birthday to DA and its bunch of new faces, i guess.

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GoobieDoobPosted: 12/10/2012 08:51 AMStatus ::


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RE: Retrospective: Mortal Kombat Deadly Alliance 10th Anniversary

Amazing thread!

The first Mortal Kombat Game I got was Deadly Alliance for my PS2. First I spent the night at my cousins' house as they played on arcade with Li Mei in Deception, and I knew I had to have any Mortal Kombat game, I didn't care what it was, but I really wanted Deception. But to a degree, Deception bores me just like MK9, Shaolin Monks, and Armageddon (Same with MK3 and MK4/G).

I also saw it before I got it at my other cousins' house where they were playing MKDA as Tuxedo Johnny Cage. I was like "TUXEDO!" and "I MUST HAVE THE GAME!" and so when it was my birthday the next year, I finally got it.

I went upstairs with my cousins (first mentioned) who were in the first paragraph at my party, because we had no time for cake . . . I put it in my PS2 and we played for like 2 or 3 hours of pure fun. I went to Konquest because I was all like WHAT? Eventually I came up with enough coins to unlock all the Secret Characters and costumes. By far one of my favorites of MKDA was either Reptile or Alternate Kenshi. If Kenshi had that costume in MK9 I would play him ALL the time.

Either way, Deadly Alliance was one of the greatest games ever, and in two years, I'll be here on a different thread to rant about Deception . . .

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Scar_SubbyPosted: 12/10/2012 08:10 PMStatus ::


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RE: Retrospective: Mortal Kombat Deadly Alliance 10th Anniversary

Best MK game IMO. Even better than MK9. Yes, I said it.lol

I loved MK:DA, it felt new and fresh.

I just remember turning on the game and watching the intro and watching Liu Kang fight Shang and Quan. When he got his neck snapped, I just remember my eyes getting huge and not knowing what to think. I literally sat there with my brother and we looked at each other like "Did that just happen?" Liu Kang, even though I'm not a huge fan, had always been the savior for Earthrealm so it kind of gave this feeling of all hope is lost. New names would have to step in and take the reigns and shur nuff Kenshi was an awesome new character that I felt was going to replace Liu.

Anyway, it's hard to believe it's been ten years. Flash forward to now, and MK9 tried killing all of the heroes to do the same effect, but it didn't leave me feeling the same as I did then. Possibly because everybody has died by now. It just kind of feels like, Again? Really?

ShadalooPosted: 12/10/2012 11:31 PMStatus ::


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Nationality::Canada
RE: Retrospective: Mortal Kombat Deadly Alliance 10th Anniversary

Ahhh, man. This game knocked my socks off way back when - my jaw dropped when I first saw Kang's neck go snap. Still got my copy, and it's still in great shape. It brought me to mk5.org (as 'Cyber-Smoke' for a brief time) and into this community. I loved it for filling in so many blanks from the MK3 period; it went a long way towards tying the games together. It's weird to go back and play it now, but still fun. Props for introducing Bo Rai Cho and Kenshi, and Reptile's awesome lizardman form. Hopefully we'll get Drahmin and Moloch back further down the line, someday - always kinda liked the Oni, just felt not enough was done with them.


MK Khronology: 58.49% complete...
Tetra_VegaPosted: 12/11/2012 12:39 AMStatus ::


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Visits::2421
Nationality::Canada
RE: Retrospective: Mortal Kombat Deadly Alliance 10th Anniversary

That first pic is what drew me here in the first place, before I finally joined. I was so stoked for DA. My cousin was glad they killed Liu Kang.

They finally gave Reptile a lizard body. The fighting styles were refreshing, always seemed more fluid than Deception & Armageddon. The beautiful arenas. Conquest deeply expanding the MK mythos in a new way. Powerup moves, and impaling for bleed damage. Unlocking stuff in the Krypt. The controversy over the percieved clones/replacements for Sub-Zero, Mileena, and Ermac... Heeeyyy, UMK3 secret chars?!


Moloch was soooooo blanking difficult for me. Cheap blanking demon gorilla! Kano made short work of him.

Kung Lao, Jax, Kano, Kenshi, Quan Chi, Raiden, Reptile & Cyrax were, what we call today, my mains I guess. It's been so long. MK's always a good time.

Thank you MK Team, for 2 decades of fun n exciting memories. Video games have brought together completely different types of peoples in a melting pot of sorts. Thank You too, MKO.

14 YEARS! ^[2004-10 Komics Sig by Siklooted, tyvm]^ [2012-15 Komics *NEW 11/24/2015*] "Circling Vulture, Laughing Hyena" "All good things, in moderation..." "Mean what you say, and say what you mean. You never know, I could be a Djinn..." True story, it happened to a friend of a friend of mine... EVERYBODY!
johnny1upPosted: 12/18/2012 04:13 AMStatus ::


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RE: Retrospective: Mortal Kombat Deadly Alliance 10th Anniversary

I never really got over the fact that they killed Liu Kang. It was a shame, too. If he were there then this may have been my favorite Mortal Kombat game.

hey
Ninja_MimePosted: 12/18/2012 02:23 PMStatus ::


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RE: Retrospective: Mortal Kombat Deadly Alliance 10th Anniversary

johnny1up Wrote:
I never really got over the fact that they killed Liu Kang. It was a shame, too. If he were there then this may have been my favorite Mortal Kombat game.


I can't say I ever missed him in this game. The roster felt really complete to me. Weapon choice aside, Li Mei always reminded me of a "female Liu Kang" in MKDA anyway.

johnny1upPosted: 12/18/2012 10:55 PMStatus ::


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RE: Retrospective: Mortal Kombat Deadly Alliance 10th Anniversary

They did fine dividing up his special moves among other characters. For me it was just a matter of him not being there, him being my favorite character and all. It felt like Smash Bros. without Mario. I'm sure if you don't really care about Liu Kang, then you wouldn't miss him too much.

hey
RiyakouPosted: 12/19/2012 03:41 PMStatus ::


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RE: Retrospective: Mortal Kombat Deadly Alliance 10th Anniversary

johnny1up Wrote:
They did fine dividing up his special moves among other characters. For me it was just a matter of him not being there, him being my favorite character and all. It felt like Smash Bros. without Mario. I'm sure if you don't really care about Liu Kang, then you wouldn't miss him too much.


While I was shocked that Liu Kang had died, I also felt it was quite refreshing to see new protagonists rise, like Kenshi and Li Mei.

I was pleased to see him back again in Deception, but only because he was the last one to be unlocked, meaning I didn't have to see him the entire time I was playing.

Mick-LuciferPosted: 12/19/2012 04:03 PMStatus ::


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RE: Retrospective: Mortal Kombat Deadly Alliance 10th Anniversary

I think the biggest tragedy of killing Liu Kang off was not sticking with it.
If they'd really committed to killing him off, we'd probably still be talking about it as one of the biggest moments of the series! A major milestone around which a lot of the series could've grown, rather than the passing thought it is now.

It was the perfect storm of a character who still had major relevance to the series, an untouchable quality, but an entirely disposable and tired role that a lot of people were completely sick of. It was the perfect way to take the series forward with maximum impact! You put your title bad guys over in the biggest possible way; elevate overdue heroes like Kung Lao; and arguably make Liu Kang an even bigger legend than he actually was.

I'm of the mind that we never really got to see Liu Kang get the full treatment he deserved, but having him be anchored in the mythology as a dead hero to aspire to could've been a fantastic way to actually develop the character! He was too important to entirely disappear from reference, but the key would've been in the absence -- something that's just about always been to the betterment of MK story.

There'd always be a contingent who wanted him back, but if they'd stuck to their guns, we'd also probably be looking at a lot of the other characters in a different way. It would've been very interesting to see -- particularly in a world without the 2011 rewrite. A great chance to start making first-person legends of the characters we've spent the last twenty years with, perhaps with the objective of finally reaching a new generation of characters.

Better The Devil you know...
MK Online Forums: Share your interests, broaden your horizons and support the kommunity with discussion forums for every topic. "Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country."
raidenthefridgePosted: 12/20/2012 08:02 AMStatus ::


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RE: Retrospective: Mortal Kombat Deadly Alliance 10th Anniversary

Well now I really want to Play MKDA through to MKA.....

Thanks to MINION for taking my Siginity!
GoobieDoobPosted: 12/20/2012 08:47 AMStatus ::


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RE: Retrospective: Mortal Kombat Deadly Alliance 10th Anniversary

raidenthefridge Wrote:
Well now I really want to Play MKDA through to MKA.....


Yeah, me too. Except for you know, the MKA part XD

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