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May 27, 2002

Huge E3 Updates and Summary!!
Well, if E3 this year didn't satisfy your MK craving, I don't know what could!  Present were incomplete X-Box and Playstation 2 versions of MK: Deadly Alliance, and although I was unable to go to the show, a lot happened that I am lucky enough to share with you because TRMK.org (new address) and MK5.org were nice enough to share what they got from the Midway booth with other MK sites.  So, without further adieu, here is the massive E3 wrap-up that the MK Empire has taken much time and effort to compile.  It is condensed on this page, but links can be followed into the new MK: Deadly Alliance E3 Section for more of what you want.  Enjoy, and have a good Memorial Day!

The "Sights" of E3:
 

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Thanks to both TRMK.org and MK5.org, I was able to borrow almost 80 screenshots from the X-Box and Playstation 2 versions (not GameCube) that they took at Midway's booth at E3.  As you can see, the pictures range from the Select Screen, the Start Screen, loading screens, victory poses, and of course the fights.  In order as they appear, here is what each picture tells us:

-The Select Screen: At E3, 8 of 20 characters were playable, but special moves were disabled.  The new Select Screen that MK: DA boasts allows the player to view character stats before he or she is chosen, a new feature in the MK series.  Each character has 2 fighting styles and a weapon style.  Much speculation has gone into exactly who the darkened faces are on the screen, but after lots of guesses and rumors all over the internet, the list seems to go as follows:
Updated: TOP ROW - Johnny Cage (?) (Edge Magazine was right), Scorpion, Sonya, Jax, Blind Kenshi (not finalized name), Quan Chi, Li Mei, Sub-Zero, Shang Tsung, and Kitana.
Updated: BOTTOM ROW - Kano, Cyrax (?), Mavado (name changed), Moloch, drunk guy (no name yet), Raiden, Drahmin, Reptile, a female Sub-Zero (no name yet), and Kung Lao.

-The Start Screen: The first ever pictures of the incomplete Start Screen have emerged from E3.  As of now, there are a lot of new options that MK has never before used in any of its games, and caption boxes pop up to explain what each allows you to do.  Only the "Versus" mode was playable at E3.  Each mode is as follows:
ARCADE - single player versus given number of computer opponents.
VERSUS - classic 1-on-1 two player mode.
THE KRYPT - play missions to earn credit as you work your way around challenges in training-like mode to unlock "Kontent" and "Extras".
PLAYER PROFILE - store settings for your game and players you have used before with pin numbers (maybe memory card compatible).
OPTIONS - set the game the way you want, like controls, difficulty, see high scores, etc.
KONTENT - see never before seen pictures and artwork of the game.
EXTRAS - possibly never before seen videos to watch, behind-the-scenes footage, and maybe "Kombat Theater" like MK4 for character endings.

-Loading Screens: As with any CD game, both the X-Box and Playstation 2 versions of MK: DA will have loading screens.  Here we see a loading screen with a picture of Moloch, but we know that every character has his or her own loading screen that comes up randomly.  I heard that loading times at E3 were real bad, but Midway expects to cut them down by 75% before the game comes out in the Fall.

-Victory Screens: As always, the winner of a match gets his or her camio.  Here we see Jax is his win pose and alternate costume; supposedly, if the camera gets too close, he hits it away.  We now know that a lot of characters have the same win pose, but each character has multiple and different ones as well, so you could win with Sub-Zero in round one and he will lift his hands up, but in round two he may look down at the camera and breathe cold breath into it.

-The Fights: What MK coverage would be complete without the screenshots of the action?  The two pics above show Scorpion using his weapon on Shang Tsung and Jax kicking his opponent into an invisible barrier wall.  We now know that MK: DA has barriers around arenas that keep fighters in certain spots that would otherwise screw up the match.  Maybe the invisible walls cause damage too.  Check out the graphics... damn!

The "Sounds" of E3:
Despite three days of activity at E3, not much for audio was available to anyone.  But, ]{ombat of MK5.org did manage to run into Ed Boon on the floor and pull him aside for a little bit to talk to him about MK: Deadly Alliance.  You can download the interview from this link, which provides you an .mp3 formatted sound file of the interview that is a little under 4 MB.  Enjoy.

The "Nitty Gritty" of the game at E3:
Well, E3 sported 6 stations to play MK: Deadly Alliance on at Midway's booth.  3 versions were for the X-Box and the other 3 were for the Playstation 2, but they were only incomplete demo versions.  A trailer was also continuously running at the booth for the 3 days, and a model dressed up as Li Mei was there to pose for the camera :).  With that said, here is a run-down of the game so far:

GRAPHICS - As you can see from the screenshots, MK: Deadly Alliance looks very promising on the next-generation systems.  Characters, arenas, and fighting styles are very detailed.  The demo version included highly graphic blood, which drips down players as the match progresses and also stays on the floor into the next round, sweat, spit, breath, snow, dust, mist, and many other things you can imagine MK could have.  The only things missing as of now is the ability to see real-time bruises, cuts, and tears in clothes, but Midway will be implementing all of this within the upcoming months.  As for stages, we now know that besides the ones we have already seen, there will be plenty of returning classics as well.  Expect to see an updated Soul Chamber of MK3, an updated Portal Stage of MK2, as well as temples, the Kuatan Palace, the Acid Bath, the Lava Shrine, the Wu Shi Academy, and much more. All stages will be very detailed and may possibly include the ability to interact with objects and crash through walls and ceilings.

CONTROL - E3 allowed people to play both X-Box and Playstation 2 versions of the game.  The controls were the basic D-Pads that we know of, and the default settings are the same on both systems.  Five buttons are dedicated to attacks, one to block, and one to switch styles (which, by the way, changes a character's position, attakcs, and combo style).  Each fighter has 3 styles as of now, 2 be a hand-to-hand style and the other a weapon-wielding style.  Paying attention to the detail, Midway made it so that certain styles work better or worse against certain opponents, so this MK game will be more challenging to master than any other of the past.  One big update to the control scheme, however, is a change in the D-Pad settings.  While forward and back are still same, up and down now allows the player to move in 3D directionals in and out.  By pressing up and forward simultaneously, the character flips forward; by pressing up and back simultaneously, the character flips backward.  Jumping straight upward does not exist anymore, which isn't that big of a deal anyway.  To duck, you now have to press down and back simultaneously or down and forward simultaneously, since down moves you out in 3D.  But overall, these changes are easy to learn quickly, and if you are having a hard time, there's always ways to customize the buttons in the "Options" menu.

SOUND - What else can you say but "Wow"?  MK: Deadly Alliance sports really good sound effects, and even though E3 was loud and full of people, we know that the audio is great.  From the grunts and groans to the slashes of the weapons, everything is sweet.  The announcer from MK4 is back to narrate the game, and the band Adema is definately doing the main theme song "Immortal" for MK: DA.  They performed live at
E3 and have admitted that they are hardcore MK fans.

GAMEPLAY - Despite bad loading times at E3, Midway promises that this will be fixed.  They also said that a GameCube version was not playable because they were still tweaking the game, but don't worry, it will be released on time.  At E3, there were 8 playable characters - Scorpion, Jax, Sonya, Blind Kenshi, Quan Chi, Li Mei, Sub-Zero, and Shang Tsung.  Altogether, there are twenty regular characters as of now and an unknown number of hidden characters.  We already knew that Kitana, Reptile, Rayden, and a female Sub-Zero were in the game, but E3 revealed 2 new characters to us: Johnny Cage and Kano.  ::Sigh:: I have no comment on this.  Though special moves and fatalities were not working at E3, the hand-to-hand combat was deadly.  The weapons system is similar to that of MK4, which allows for the dropping and picking up of weapons.  We now know that Midway is planning to implement a special ring-out in the game, where players can be knocked out of an arena into other arenas, pits, or acid.  Right now, there is an invisible barrier around each stage that illuminates when a character is hit against it, but Midway claims that this feature will be customizable in the home versions so that certain sensitivities can be implemented or the barrier system can be turned on or off.  As for as background interaction goes, Boon hopes to have lots of it, and he's working on Matrix-style slow-motion animation during the fights.  The combos system is like that of MK3 and MK4, where the number of hits and damage percentages are shown after a combo is performed.  A new feature is that individual fighting styles can be change mid-combo to hook together hits and increase damage on an opponent.  This emphasizes the skill needed to perform certain combos during a match.  With this, we know that each style changes how hits are delivered, meaning that one style may favor punches, while another is more of a kicking style.  And, to finish up, "Flawless Victory" is indeed back in MK: DA (seen in the pic above), and the game is following a storyline which was mostly created by who else but John Vogel.

OVERALL - To wrap up, I just have to say that even though the version of MK: Deadly Alliance at E3 was only about 40% complete, it looks really amazing.  This is the game we have all been waiting for to revolutionize the MK series and all fighting games to come.  Midway promises to make this game dark, gory, and perfect, and though some tweaking needs to be done, so far this path seems attainable.  We now just have to sit back and wait as the Fall months arrive and MK: Deadly Alliance hits the shelves.  Will it be all that the hype says it is?  Only time will tell.

The Wrap-up of E3:
With E3 complete, I just want to list a few important things that may not have been said before or need to be emphasized for their importance.
-Blind Kenshi's name is going to change; the one he has now is only temporary.
-Malvado's name is now Mavado, without the "L".
-The female Sub-Zero has no name yet, but the final name will tie into the 3rd MK movie.
-Moloch is confirmed as a sub-boss, but the head boos is unknown.
-Kano and Johnny Cage are back from the pits of dead characters.
-One character in MK: DA is supposedly a drunk guy.
-Fighter's styles carry over into the next round, and matches fade into each other.
-The rumored MK Compilation CD/DVD for next-gen systems is possible according to Ed Boon, but as of now it's not likely and hasn't been discussed yet?  It's possible, though, that all past MK games could be put in the MK: DA game as playable versions in the "Extras" section.
-A PC version of MK: DA is not likely, according to Boon.
-Right now, the X-Box version is a little better graphic wise than the Playstation 2 version.
-The game is only about 40% complete.

My Opinions:
Okay, so E3 is over and I'm impressed considering Mortal Kombat wasn't even there last year.  But, before I conclude this massive E3 post, I just want to put my 2 cents in before I stop and maybe spark some discussion in the MK world with some questions.  A few things I need to say are:
1.)  This MK looks and feels a lot like Tekken, a game that I personally don't like because it's too slow.  I hope it's not like this when it comes out.
2.)  What happened to having the majority of new characters?  Bringing back Kano and Johnny Cage?  Hell no!
3.)  The game is supposed to be dark, so why do we have bright neon colors following the weapons when they move?
4.)  The select screen is alright, but I don't think character stats are really needed in MK.
FIN.)  Okay, I think that's it.  I know that Midway still has many months left to fix up the game, so I'm hoping that that's what they do.  I can also say this: I guarantee that the game will change, and the select screen will change too.  Characters will be swapped, taken out, put in, etc., so although I am pissed that we have Kano and Cage back, we have seen before instances where characters have only been in E3 versions to fill up space, only to get deleted later on (i.e. Noob Saibot in MK4).  So, there's still plenty of time to see changes happen in MK: Deadly Alliance... both good and bad.  Now we wait.

THE END - Check out the NEW MK: Deadly Alliance E3 section for all of this and more!  And thanks a lot once again to TRMK.org and MK5.org for their generosity!


May 27, 2002

Official MK: DA site adds new pics and character bios
On the first day of the E3 convention, the official MK: Deadly Alliance website updated with 2 nice new pictures of a new stage called the Wu Shi Academy, an outdoor fighting arena that is a stretched out canvas suspended over an abyss, as well as with a new character bios section for all of the confirmed characters in the game.  The bios section also has things like character sketches, stories, information on fighting styles, and other little things to poke around for.  Make sure you check out this new "Game Info" to get the full scoop on the stories behind the fighters, and check out the Wu Shi Academy pics right here in the MK Empire's MK: Deadly Alliance stages section.

GameSpot releases updated MK: Deadly Alliance video and news
GameSpot must have seen their video at Midway, because right after that happened they released a new MK: Deadly Alliance video on their pay site, GameSpot Complete.  It's basically the same as the one they released a few days ago, but it has no intro, shows Li Mei and Mavado in action, and cuts out the music a bit, emphasizing the grunts and groans of the game and some projectile and deadly weapons moves.  Also, they've updated with some new information pertaining to a newer version of MK: Deadly Alliance.  So yeh, I know that you have to pay for this movie as well, but thanks to some good guys on the net, there are ways to get around that :).

Midway updates MK: Deadly Alliance site and posts video
Before E3 even began, Midway went and made much needed improvements to their main site, as well as the MK: Deadly Alliance section of the site.  It now loads much better than the older version that they had, and they were nice enough to add 4 new (but old) MK: DA screenshots, new information, 2 different free links to the video which was released last week at GameSpot Complete, and some other little things as well.  Check it out if you're curious.

Edge Magazine covers MK: Deadly Alliance
It seems that the June, 2002 issue of Edge Magazine had a small article covering MK: Deadly Alliance titled "MK: DA: The Komeback".  It gave the basic history of Mortal Kombat, as well as screenshots we've already seen before.  But, 2 new things that it had were a sketch of the Acid Bath stage and a sketch of Quan Chi's Palace.  Another new piece of information was the mentioning of Johnny Cage as a returning character in MK: Deadly Alliance.  Is this true?  We'll have to wait and see.  Credit goes out to Adam Barnett for the heads up and Mechi for the scans, which can be seen in the MK: Deadly Alliance sketches section.


May 20, 2002

GameSpot releases new MK: Deadly Alliance video and screenshots
Just two days ago, GameSpot was nice enough to add 6 more screenshots to their MK: Deadly Alliance section of the site.  Not all of them are brand new, but the new ones are really clear and show recent clips from the game as it stands now, complete with new and improved lifebars, injuries, character faces, projectiles, and the dragon logo.  Hurry up to see these pics because after this week, they become a part of GameSpot's pay-to-view site, GameSpot Complete.  Also, as part of GameSpot Complete, a new in-game video of MK: Deadly Alliance has been posted up for those who pay for this service.  This new, 1:10 long (GameCube?) video is what all MK fans have been waiting for and is possibly the best MK video ever released to date!  The fright is back, the blood is back, special moves, weapons, combo percentages, updated lifebars and character faces, groans, grunts, and much, much more!  Many sites have been posting numerous stills from this video since it is only attainable to paying viewers, and I also managed to get some stills which can be found in the MK: Deadly Alliance screenshot section of this site (thanks GameSpot).  But, as for the video, I guess you should pay the fee to see it, but I'm sure there are ways to get around that ::cough::MKX.org::cough::Scorpion's Realm:: ... ahem, sorry.  So, sign up for GameSpot Complete now since the month of May is free to new users (so basically sign up now and then before May 31st cancel the subscription and you shouldn't get charged).  And remember, expect even better videos after E3 rolls away, and be on the look out for this video to appear at the official MK: Deadly Alliance website in the future, but until then, get this video now... if you can?!

New MK: Deadly Alliance video in PSM magazine
On May 15th, the June, 2002 issue of PSM DVD magazine came out with an interactive CD/DVD packaged inside of it.  On it, we are able to see the first-ever in-game video of MK: Deadly Alliance, complete with about 10 seconds of fighting action and rock music.  The video is supposedly of the Playstation 2 version, but it is an older clip that does not have blood, injuries, or lifebars shown.  Still, it is worth viewing because so far the game looks intense.  So, go out and buy this magazine so you can see this video for yourself, or use the link provided by MK5.org, because they may possibly still have it up somewhere.

New character revealed in Game Informer
The recent release of the June, 2002 issue of Game Informer magazine as promised has a decent article on MK: Deadly Alliance.  While much of the information is already known to us, the best thing they reveal is a new female character by the name of Li Mei.  She appears to be a "partially" dressed woman with a purple top and pants, and she has a taste for kicking butt.  Could she be the sister of/female Sub-Zero that we've all been waiting for?  Who knows, but stay tuned as we unravel more in the future.

Overhaul of the MK: Deadly Alliance section
Just a reminder that over the next couple of days the MK: Deadly Alliance section will be undergoing some needed updates.  You may already notice that many more different types of pictures sections have been put up, as well as some new information, characters, AIM icons, and multimedia.  Make sure you check out this new stuff if you have time, and keep checking back as changes are made frequently.

Ex-Midway staffers create Tao Feng game
Remember way back when John Tobias, Josh Tsui, and Dave Michicich left Midway to pursue career plans of their own?  Well, recently TRMK reported that the French site NewTechnix posted four screenshots of an X-Box game called Tao Feng.  Released by Studio Gigante, it is the first fighting game that the ex-Midway members have created since their departure, and in my opinion it looks kind of like a rip of MK, but a rip with better graphics and fighters.  Just see for yourself by checking out the pics, and expect more from E3.


May 9, 2002

3 new MK: Deadly Alliance pictures
I know it was a while ago, but the official MK: Deadly Alliance website updated with 3 new pictures from the upcoming game.  Two of the pictures are more screenshots, the first of Kung Lao fighting Blind Kenshi, and the second of Scorpion fighting Jax.  These two screenshots were previously published in the most recent issue of GamePro magazine.  The third picture, however, is a new render of Sub-Zero with his mask, large blue scar, and glowing fists.  It's a nice render and worth a look, and the same goes for the screenshots.  So, make sure to check out the official MK: Deadly Alliance website for regular updates, as well as our MK: Deadly Alliance pictures section for any new images we get.

MK: Deadly Alliance is PSM magazine
It seems that the June issue of PSM magazine has gone all out and done a pretty big spread on MK: Deadly Alliance.  Besides having new screenshots from the now "40% complete" Playstation 2 version, the issue also reveals the return of Sonya Blade, the final look of Malvado wearing a Black Dragon symbol, some new arenas, and finally some images with blood.  I don't know about anyone else, but I was starting to wonder if MK: Deadly Alliance even had blood, since going for a more realistic fighting style would mean not so much... splatter.  But, blood is back in full force, so everybody can breathe easy.  Credit goes out to TRMK for this bit of news.

MK: Deadly Alliance to show at E3
A while back, Midway announced that they will be showing MK: Deadly Alliance at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, California from May 22nd-24th.  This event is very good for game exposure and promises to show some great things about the next MK installment.  While, of course, I personally can't go and be there live, be sure that the MK Empire will have all the latest information and possibly pictures from the Playstation 2, GameCube, and X-Box versions if and when they pop up.  So, get ready for the show, and if you have the chance to go to the expo, feel free to drop me a line with any news, comments, or pictures that you may get.

Test #15 up
Okay, as promised, I have posted Test #15.  Before I tell you what it asks, the answer to Test #14 was Zebron; this was the name of the character in the sketch.  This test had an overwhelming amount of participants, so thanks for the support.  Now, for Test #15, the question is "How many past MK games has Scorpion been in (as a playable character)?"  If you think you know, go over to the Test section and submit your answer.  Good luck!
 
 

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