Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance is a 3D fighting game developed and published by Midway for the PlayStation 2 (on November 16, 2002), GameCube (on November 17, 2002), and Xbox (on November 18, 2002).
It is the fifth main installment of the Mortal Kombat franchise, after a five-year hiatus, and revamps numerous gameplay aspects from the series's previous 3D installment. These include a larger focus on the 3D aspects and the introduction of multiple fighting styles per character (including three styles based on real martial arts, one of which is the character's weapon).
As the first installment not to be released in arcades, Deadly Alliance introduces a system for unlocking characters, arenas, alternate costumes, concept art, and other promotional material (including the Mortal Kombat Collector's Edition comic book). Known as The Krypt, this makes use of a persistent currency known as "koins", and players can store their battle stats and unlockables in unique "player profiles" passworded with a four-button combination. It also introduces a dedicated single-player campaign mode known as "Konquest", which in this game serves as a mission-based tutorial mode.
The game's plot takes place sometime after Mortal Kombat 4, with the evil sorcerer Quan Chi escaping the Netherrealm and forming an alliance with fellow sorcerer Shang Tsung in order to kill their greatest threats (Earthrealm champion Liu Kang and Outworld emperor Shao Kahn) and revive the Dragon King's undead army. Sub-plots to the game include the recently-formed Outerworld Investigation Agency (OIA) and its conflict with not only Kano's Black Dragon criminal organization, but also their Red Dragon rivals.
Two handheld ports of the game by Criterion for the Game Boy Advance were developed: Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance on November 20, 2002 and Mortal Kombat: Tournament Edition on August 25, 2003. While both games feature the same gameplay engine (with pre-rendered graphics in a faux-3D environment), each game features a different character roster (with only three fighters that appear in both games).
Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance plays differently to previous Mortal Kombat games. Players have four attack buttons (however, they do not represent specific punches or kicks), a Block button (R2 in the PlayStation 2 version, R in the GameCube version, and Right Trigger in the Xbox version), a Special Attack button (R1 in the PlayStation 2 version, Z in the GameCube version, and Black Button in the Xbox version), and a Change Fighting Style button (L1 in the PlayStation 2 version, L in the GameCube version, and Left Trigger in the Xbox version). Special Attack buttons have a wide range of utility depending on the character's current fighting style, including throws, taunts, and "Power-Ups".
Each character has three fighting styles. Two of them are based on actual fighting styles while the third fighting style allows the character to brandish a weapon. (With the exception of secret characters Blaze and Mokap, who instead possess three actual fighting styles and no weapons) Pressing the Change Fighting Style button immediately switches the character to the next fighting style. Players can also press the Change Fighting Style button in the middle of certain combos to switch fighting styles while continuing the combo, allowing for more devastating combos. Unlike Mortal Kombat 4, the character equips and unequips weapons on the fly and the character's weapon cannot be dropped and picked up. Characters have a minimal amount of Special Moves, forcing players to focus on the fighting styles.
Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance is the only fighting game in the franchise to not include Stage Fatalities. However, several stages include environmental interaction, such as obstacles. Although each character has only one Fatality in the game, Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance introduces a Fatality "fighting style" system that, when players can perform Fatalities, they can press the Change Fighting Style button to lock the character down to perform the Fatality easier.
Along with the traditional Arcade and Versus modes, Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance includes Konquest Mode, which tutors the player on each character while building upon the character's fiction. After completing the eight introductory challenges, players can perform ten challenges with each character. Each character has their own unique challenges, ranging from performing specific combos and techniques to winning against hard computer opponents. Konquest Mode is the primary means of earning "koins" for The Krypt. Completing all challenges with all characters unlocks Blaze and Mokap as playable characters.
Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance includes two mini-games: Test Your Might and Test Your Sight. Test Your Might is the mini-game from the original Mortal Kombat, where players have to tap buttons to build up a bar (which quickly decreases) until it reaches a certain point, at which the player presses another button and the character attempts to break the object. Test Your Sight (a name parody) forces the player to follow the movement of a set of cups in order to find the one with the Mortal Kombat logo hidden underneath it.
The main roster of Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance includes 12 starting characters, 9 unlockable characters (that must be bought from The Krypt), 2 secret characters, and 1 unplayable sub-boss.
New playable characters include the blind swordsman Kenshi, the drunken martial arts master Bo' Rai Cho, the Outworld native Li Mei, the vampire Nitara, the high-ranking Red Dragon member Mavado, Mavado's henchman Hsu Hao, Sub-Zero's apprentice Frost, and the decomposing Netherrealm demon Drahmin. Another Netherrealm demon, Moloch, serves as the game's unplayable sub-boss. The game also introduces two new secret characters: the fire elemental Blaze and the motion-capture artist (and joke character) Mokap.
Both ports for the Game Boy Advance feature different rosters (with the Tournament Edition version including three bonus characters, one of whom makes her fighting game debut). Only Scorpion, Shang Tsung, and Quan Chi appear in both versions.