Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance is the fifth fighting game installment in the Mortal Kombat franchise. Notable for being the first game in the series to skip the arcades (getting a straight-to-console release instead) and for dropping the numerals from the titles (although the logo does resemble a Roman numeral "V"). It was released for the GameCube, PlayStation 2, and Xbox in 2002, the year of the first game's 10th anniversary.
Scorpion's ending in Mortal Kombat 4 shows Quan Chi being imprisoned in the Netherrealm — but he escapes this fate, and in the process, he discovers an ancient tomb with the mummified remains of Onaga the Dragon King, the first emperor of Outworld (and the dragon portrayed in the franchise's logo). Quan Chi figures out how to resurrect Onaga's dark army — the souls of various warriors must be implanted into the army's dead bodies — and he strikes a deal with Shang Tsung to gain immortality in exchange for Tsung's help. The deadly alliance has two major problems in its path — Shao Kahn and Liu Kang — but they are taken care of in short order: Kahn is killed while the duo swears a false allegiance to him, and Liu Kang is killed when Tsung disguises himself as Kung Lao and approaches a none-the-wiser Kang. After consuming their souls, Tsung and Quan Chi return to Outworld and begin their plans to resurrect Onaga and his fallen army — which is when Raiden gathers together Earthrealm's strongest warriors to stop them.
Although still suffering from Polygon Ceiling problems, Deadly Alliance was praised as the Mortal Kombat game which resurrected the franchise as a whole after the failures of Mortal Kombat Gold and Mortal Kombat: Special Forces. It was the first game to include a Stance System — which allowed fighters to switch between two separate fighting stances and a weapon-based stance — and it also dropped the Running mechanic and it's corresponding meter.
- Returning from Mortal Kombat: Scorpion, Raiden, Johnny Cage, Reptile, Sonya Blade, Kano and Shang Tsung.
- Returning from Mortal Kombat II: Sub-Zero II, Kitana, Jax and Kung Lao.
- Returning from Mortal Kombat 3: Cyrax.
- Returning from Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero: Quan Chi.
- Newcomers: Bo' Rai Cho, Drahmin, Frost, Hsu Hao, Kenshi, Li Mei, Mavado, Nitara, Moloch, Blaze and Mokap.
Two versions of this game were released for the Game Boy Advance. Shang Tsung, Quan Chi, and Scorpion feature in both versions. The first, which is named the same as this game, also features Frost, Jax, Sub-Zero, Kano, Kung Lao, Kenshi, Kitana, Li Mei, and Sonya. The second, Mortal Kombat: Tournament Edition, featured Bo 'Rai Cho, Cyrax, Drahmin, Hsu Hao, Johnny Cage, Mavado, Nitara, Raiden, and Reptile, plus the exclusive characters Sektor, Noob Saibot, and Sareena (making TE the only Mortal Kombat game aside from Special Forces to not feature Sub-Zero as a playable character).
Followed by Mortal Kombat: Deception.
The game has examples of:
- Artistic License Martial Arts: In this game and the two following ones, some of the fighting styles are shown to be quite inaccurate, despite all the motion capture work. Sonya's Tae Kwon Do is one of the most prominent examples, as it's not focused on kicking in the slightest, unlike the real thing.
- The Bad Guy Wins: The eponymous Deadly Alliance of Quan Chi and Shang Tsung manage to bring Back from the Dead all of Outworld's ancient army.
- Big Bad Duumvirate: The "Deadly Alliance" of Quan Chi and Shang Tsung.
- Downer Beginning: Complete with a Hope Spot and everything as Shang Tsung and Quan Chi attack Liu Kang and ultimately kill him in a two-vs-one battle.
- Downer Ending: Jax, Johnny Cage, Kitana, Kung Lao, and Sonya are all killed in battle against the Deadly Alliance and their Tarkatans, Frost betrays Sub-Zero and steals the Dragon Medallion, causing her to freeze herself with her own ice powers, Sub-Zero is left searching for a way back to Earthrealm, Kenshi is defeated by Mavado and left for dead, Scorpion is tossed into the Soulnado by Drahmin and Moloch and seemingly torn to shreds, Cyrax is unable to return to Outworld due to all his available means of inter-realm travel being compromised, Li Mei is imprisoned in one of Onaga's soldiers and Bo' Rai Cho diverts from the mission to save her, and the only one left is Raiden, traveling to Shang Tsung's palace in a desperate attack on the Deadly Alliance. He loses.
- Enforced Plug: Done in-universe. Some of the extras found in the Krypt are comedy commercials where fictitious products and services are sponsored by the cast. Some of these also hint at Hidden Depths for some of the characters. For example, Scorpion is an ardent chef, Quan Chi is a soulful saxophone player, Kitana and Goro are golf buffs, Li Mei is a ventriloquist, etc.
- Expy: Li Mei of Mileena, with her general appearance, use of sai as weapons, and color scheme, but thankfully not her face.
- Fanservice Pack
- Five-Man Band: Earthrealm's warriors
- Hope Spot: In the fight during the Intro, Liu Kang appears to have Shang Tsung on the ropes when they fight. Too bad he did not notice Quan Chi sneaking up from behind
- Hotter and Sexier: All of the returning women here are notably more well-endowed and less-covered than they were back in the day.
- Jiggle Physics: Ayup. Mostly played straight, although there is the case of Bo' Rai Cho's gut and some cursory examination shows that it is Jiggle Physics done wrong, as the 3D artists animated malleable flesh the same way cloth would be animated. This is very noticeable when you jump around with a female character: boobs are not supposed to shake that way!
- La Résistance: Mostly notably Li Mei, who is part of a different movement from the Earthrealm warriors altogether.
- Mythology Gag: In Mortal Kombat: Conquest, there was a character called Master Bo. Bo 'Rai Cho is clearly a reference to this man (with the other two syllables in his name forming a pun on borracho, the word "drunk" in Spanish).
- Our Hero Is Dead: At the beginning of the game, Shang Tsung shapeshifts into Kung Lao and kills Liu Kang using a Neck Snap.
- Practical Taunt: Each character has an action that can be activated with the R1 button and varies from style to style. Among these are taunts that either heal a small portion of health or boost attack power for a period of time.
- Sealed Army in a Can: The Outworld's ancient army Shang Tsung and Quan Chi are trying to resurrect.
- Secret Character: About half the cast, including The Protagonist, Raiden. Though "unlockable" is a better term, since some of them (especially those on the heroes' group) are known to the player form the beginning.
- Shown Their Work: A lot of effort and research went into the implementation of a multiple Real Life martial arts and weapon styles in this game, Deception, and Armageddon, a fact that should become readily apparent if you bother to fight through Konquest Mode here.
- SNK Boss: Moloch. Quan Chi and Shang Tsung cannot match him.
- Stance System: DA is the first game in the series where you can do this. All the characters have a weapon stance and two fighting stances (except for Blaze and Mokap, who instead utilize three fighting stances).
- Status Buff: Each style had its own unique personal action (such as shoving away blocking opponents, hastily putting space between combatants, parrying attacks to leave enemies open for a hit, taunting to regain some health), including techniques that could briefly power up all attacks. Havik and a few characters in Armageddon have access to either these techniques or the self-healing taunts.
- Stock Scream: The infamous, widely-used Howie Long scream and an oft-used female scream can be randomly heard among the screamers in The Krypt.
- Stopped Numbering Sequels: Other than the logo resembling the Roman numeral V, Mortal Kombat games from here on until Mortal Kombat 11 were not numberednote .
- Supernatural Martial Arts
- The Hero Dies: The Deadly Alliance kill Liu Kang in the opening of the game.
- The Worf Effect: How are we told that we need to take the Deadly Alliance seriously? They kill Liu Kang and Shao Kahn in the opening movie. However, the Kahn they killed was Actually a Doombot whereas Kang gets better... Kinda.
- Title Drop: The last line of the intro.Raiden: "We must act now; we must stop this Deadly Alliance."
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom:
- Moloch and Drahmin. After Scorpion makes a truce with the younger Sub-Zero and drags Quan Chi back to the Netherrealm (as seen in 4), he starts chasing the wizard throughout the lands, beating the white off of his ass as repayment for killing his family (this is shown in Deception's Konquest mode). The two onis stop Scorpion, allowing Quan Chi to flee and discover Onaga's tomb. They are indirectly responsible for jumpstarting a Wham Episode that has continued to the present day and into the future.
- There are other factors, such as Nitara leading Reptile astray (according to his bio, Reptile knew of the Deadly Alliance's assassination attempt on Shao Kahn and would have been able to stop them had he not been sidetracked), but most of the blame can be traced back to the two Oni, as they prevented Scorpion from killing Quan Chi.
- Villain Opening Scene
- Wham Episode: This was the straw that broke the camel's back. To put this into perspective, five games (and over 15 years) later, we are still dealing with the repercussions of one event.
- Wham Line: In the intro:Raiden: "Liu Kang... is dead."
- Wham Shot: Multiple in the intro. Shang Tsung and Quan Chi seemingly killing Shao Kahn, formerly established as being a huge threat, in a Curb-Stomp Battle, and perhaps even worse, the shot of Liu Kangs corpse after being murdered by the two sorcerers.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: At the end of 4, Raiden was promoted to Elder God and Fujin took over as protector of Earthrealm. In Deadly Alliance, Raiden has stepped down as an Elder God and Fujin is never mentioned.
- What the Hell, Player?: Mild version, but if you spend too long reading the intro explanations in konquest mode, the little apprentice avatar turns to the camera and shrugs