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, changing various gameplay mechanics while adding new modes and features. The plot follows evil sorcerors Quan Chi and Shang Tsung, who form a deadly alliance (together killing Shao Kahn and Liu Kang) in order to revive the Dragon King's undead army.
This is the first game in the franchise to include the concept of "koins", which can be used in The Krypt mode to unlock characters, arenas, alternate costumes, concept art, promotional material, and the Mortal Kombat Collector's Edition comic book. Players can also store their battle stats and unlockables in unique "player profiles" passworded with a four-button combination.
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.
Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance includes 12 starting playable characters, 9 unlockable characters (that must be bought from The Krypt), 2 secret characters, and 1 unplayable sub-boss.
New playable characters include Kenshi (a blind warrior), Bo' Rai Cho (a drunken martial arts master), Li Mei (a warrior from Outworld), Nitara (a vampire), Mavado (a high-ranking member of the Red Dragon clan, a rival clan of Kano's), Hsu Hao (henchman of Mavado), Frost (Sub-Zero's apprentice), and Drahmin (a vile, decomposing Netherrealm demon). Moloch is an unplayable sub-boss, another Netherrealm demon who guards the main antagonists. The two secret characters, who can only be unlocked when the player fully completes Konquest Mode with all characters, are Blaze (a fire elemental) and Mokap (a motion-capture artist).
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.