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Video Game / Mortal Kombat: Deception

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"I was the fool who brought him this power. Only I can destroy this threat, born of deception."
Shujinko, the game's main character.

Mortal Kombat: Deception is the sixth fighting game installment in the Bloody Mortal Kombat franchise. It was released for Play Station 2 and Xbox in 2004 and for GameCube in 2005, and it takes place right after Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance.

At the end of that game, Shang Tsung and Quan Chi managed to bring back Outworld's ancient army. The opening cutscene brings us to them fighting Raiden. Once Raiden is down, they start fighting each other, with Quan Chi defeating Shang Tsung. However, while he was rejoicing with his victory, someone appears. It's Onaga, the resurrected Dragon King, who wants Outworld back. Quan Chi and Shang Tsung tried to bring him down, with Raiden joining them later. In the end, neither the three of them could stop Onaga, and Raiden, in a desperate move, tried to do his most dangerous move... which has proven to be fatal only for the trio, as Onaga managed to survive to that and without taking much damage. With Raiden and the Deadly Alliance gone, now there's only one ruler.

It turns out that, while the events of previous games were taking place, Onaga, disguised as an Elder God emmisary, tricked a youngster named Shujinko into getting six MacGuffins for him, across the realms. This, plus Reptile's body being used as a host, managed to bring back the Dragon King to life.

So, now, without any leader, and with five of the heroes (specifically Johnny Cage, Sonya, Jax, Kitana and Kung Lao) being killed in battle, Sub-Zero trapped in the Netherrealm, and his pupil Frost being frozen, the survivors of the battle against the Deadly Alliance (Kenshi, Bo' Rai Cho, Li Mei, Scorpion and the aforementioned Sub-Zero) are on their own against the forces of Onaga, which included the Tarkatan army, led by Baraka. Raiden, corrupted by Onaga's magic, became disgusted with the humanity in general, and revived Liu Kang as a zombie, sending him to a massive manslaughter. Kang's spirit, however, stays with Ermac, to help him save his friends.

Deception follows the 3D path the MK series has taken with Mortal Kombat 4 and Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance. It also brought back the Stage Fatalities, which were absent in the previous installment, now doable even during the match, and increased the mayhem by adding several stages more than two traps, a Combo Breaker system, and a hara-kiri move, which the character can use to avoid the Fatality. And, as you've seen above, it's the first Mortal Kombat game which assumes that The Bad Guy Wins. (Ok, it's the Big Bad Duumvirate from the previous game, but still.) Oh, and it's the first Mortal Kombat game to feature online play, at least in the Xbox and PlayStation 2 versions. The GameCube version lacked this functionality, but was given two extra characters in the form of Goro and Shao Kahn.

There's also a Play Station Portable version called Mortal Kombat: Unchained, which included all of the playable characters from the main console versions (including Goro and Shao Kahn) in addition to adding a new Endurance mode and porting over four extra characters from Deadly Alliance.

    Character roster 

Followed by Mortal Kombat: Armageddon.

See also:

The game has examples of:

    open/close all folders 

    In general 
  • Aborted Arc: All the build up in the previous game regarding new and emerging factions vying for control didn't really go anywhere. None of the Red Dragon character or Oni appear despite the endings of multiple characters indicating a larger role for them.
  • Actually a Doombot: Explaining the presence of Goro and Shao Kahn after their apparent death in Deadly Alliance (GameCube only).
  • A Day in the Limelight: There are several unlockable "Kards" which contain bios about the characters.
  • Anachronism Stew: Good luck trying to figure out what time period it is in Earthrealm. Shujinko hails from an Medieval style Chinese village, but at the same time there are US special forces, robots and movie stars hanging around. And let's not even start with all the Timeline inconsistencies.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: The hara-kiri moves.
  • The Bus Came Back: Nightwolf, Kabal, Noob Saibot, Smoke, Sindel, Tanya, Jade, Mileena, Liu Kang. Shao Kahn & Goro join them in the GameCube version.
  • Came Back Wrong: Raiden, after he releases his Godly essence in an attempt to stop Onaga. Liu Kang, after Raiden (after he Came Back Wrong) reanimates his corpse.
  • The Cameo: The Dark Prison stage (which is set underneath Shang Tsung's island) features nearly every playable character from the series not in this game, the cast of Deadly Alliance included. A MK2-era Shang Tsung also pops up on the balcony of the Deadpool stage. All of the non-playable characters from previous games can also be seen scurrying around the graves in The Krypt.
  • Combo Breaker: It can be used three times in a match, however.
  • Compilation Rerelease: Mortal Kombat Kollection, which shipped this game alongside Mortal Kombat: Armageddon and Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Noob-Smoke is a reference to how they both originally had Scorpion's moveset, both were secret characters in Mortal Kombat II, and are both close to Sub-Zero.
    • One of Li Mei fatalities in Deception mirrors one of Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3's Brutalities.
  • Dark Reprise: Raiden still has the same battle cries he always had but delivered in a much more aggressive tone, befitting his darker persona.
  • Dead Guy on Display: Before Noob Saibot found him, Smoke's deactivated body was being kept by Shao Kahn as a war trophy from his Earthrealm invasion in Mortal Kombat 3.
  • Denser and Wackier: Compared to Deadly Alliance, which was pretty much entirely serious (except for Bo Rai Cho, Mokap and some unlockable items in the Krypt), there is more humor in this one, from some of the easter eggs in Konquest Mode to the very concepts of Chess Kombat and Puzzle Kombat.
  • Downer Beginning: The opening movie comes with one for the player, as the first shot is of the stairs leading to Shang Tsung & Quan Chi's base from the previous game littered with the corpses of Johnny Cage, Kitana, Sonya, Jax and Kung Lao, and one in-universe when Onaga turns up.
    Quan Chi: No! It cannot be!...
  • Enemy Mine: The opening movie starts with Shang Tsung & Quan Chi fighting Raiden, then turning against one another, before playing the trope straight when Onaga turns up and they all start attacking him instead.
  • Everybody's Dead, Dave: The ending of Deadly Alliance involves most of the kast's souls fueling the titular Deadly Alliance's undead army, so there's a crippled roster.
  • Expy: Darrius of Jax. Take a good look at a couple of his finishing moves.
    • He also bears a passing resemblance to Blade.
    • Kobra's character design was clearly based on Ken Masters.
    • Likewise, his partner Kira bears a striking resemblance to Rayne.
  • Farts on Fire: Bo' Rai Cho has one of the stinkiest Fatalities in Mortal Kombat history. He lights a big matchbox, and then uses it to fart a huge flame towards his opponent. And it only appears in this game.
  • Hammered into the Ground: Shao Kahn had this as a fatality using his own hammer.
  • Hotter and Sexier:
    • What Deadly Alliance started, this game cranked up a few notches. With the notable exception of Ashrah, just about every playable female has at least one Stripperiffic outfit (and even her alternate outfit isn't exactly what you'd call modest...).
    • This game also featured the infamous crossover with Playboy, where Mileena appeared sexy (but not naked). A special art piece was created for the magazine (but not actually featured in it) of Mileena in her alt costume, pulled away from her breasts with her sai's crossed over her nipples. The art is an unlockable in the Krypt (and was apparently a favorite desktop background for the developers of the game).
  • Irony: The original Sub-Zero from Mortal Kombat (1992) had the classic "Spine Rip" Fatality, which involved ripping the opponent's head off with the spine still intact. Scorpion, who originally sought revenge against the original Sub-Zero over the death of his clan and family, adapts the classic Spine Rip Fatality as his own.
    • Pull this on either Sub-Zero (the current one) or Noob Saibot (the original Sub-Zero) to really see a Death by Irony
  • La Résistance: Mostly notably Darrius.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Noob Saibot is revealed to be the original Sub-Zero in this game. His reunion with his younger brother is less than ideal as he orders Sub-Zero's (the younger) former best friend, Smoke, to help rip him in half.
  • Meaningful Name: The second name of the game, "Deception." It's about Onaga tricking Shujinko, who played a big part of the deal in reviving the former.
  • Mini-Game: "Chess Kombat" and "Puzzle Kombat."
  • Mythology Gag: The design of Kira's Dragon Teeth knives comes from the knife Kano wielded in the first movie.
  • Nostalgia Level: The arenas The Courtyard, The Pit, Dead Pool, Living Forest, the Portal, Kuatan Palace and Quan Chi's Fortress all return for this game.
  • Offhand Backhand: One of the loading screens shows Kenshi doing this to Kira via telekinesis... into a wall.
  • Precision F-Strike: If you knock Ermac off of the Sky Temple, you hear something you wouldn't expect from someone with his disposition.
  • Ring Out: In several of the arenas. This being Mortal Kombat, the loser is rewarded with a bloody death by way of Death Traps.
  • Shared Life-Meter: The Noob-Smoke tag team.
  • Sin Eater: Nightwolf undergoes a Sin-Eater ritual to absorb the sins of his entire tribe. This comes with the risk of being potentially corrupted by the sins he has absorbed and he can't even fall asleep. The ritual pays off when Nightwolf uses the sins to bind Onaga in the Netherrealm.
  • Skeleton Motif: Havik is an Ambiguously Human character who is missing the lower part of his face (starting at the nose) which was apparently ripped off, revealing his skeletal structure. He's not evil, though, just chaotic (he hails from Chaosrealm, after all).
  • Spinning Out of Here: Jade has a move called Vanishing Winds where she spins around a cloud of green smoke and reappears behind her opponent.
  • Swap Fighter: Noob Saibot and Smoke become a tag team with the two characters swapping between each other in exchange for the Stance System every other character uses.
  • Terrible Trio: Kabal, Kira, and Kobra.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Havik seems to think so about being knocked off of the Sky Temple.
  • Version-Exclusive Content: The GameCube edition added Shao Kahn and Goro, and the later Unchained edition topped that with Jax, Kitana, Frost and Blaze.
  • You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me!: Raiden's thoughts about Shujinko's quest, in a nutshell.

    Konquest Mode 
  • Asleep for Days: Picking up a question sign near Bo'Rai Cho's second dojo will make Shujinko asleep for two days.
    Apep: Shujinko! You're awake! I was worried about you! Do you realize you were out cold for two days? From now on you should be careful not to pick up everything you see, OK?
  • The Bully: There's one, called Mekko, who steals some guys' lunch money. It's up to Shujinko to teach him a lesson.
  • Collection Sidequest: While the mode is ostensibly a large tutorial for learning the various characters' moves, a large part of it involves hunting down coins and treasure chests, which can be used to buy things (alternate costumes, music, extra stages, concept artwork, videos, etc.) in the Krypt.
  • Deconstruction: Of Jumped at the Call and Gotta Catch Them All. Before meeting Damashi, Shujinko was just a kid who played pretend that he was the Great Kung Lao and trained under Bo' Rai Cho. However, Damashi comes along and tells him the Elder Gods need him on a quest to find the Kamidogu, with a lot of holes in that story Shujinko ignores. Shujinko gullibly takes on the quest to be a hero, and obeys everything he's told to do. He ends up spending decades on this quest, with him stealing, lying, killing, getting imprisoned in Seido for a Felony Misdemeanor until he's an old man, ruining his friendships, and seeing the unsavory things people will do to help him on this quest. By the time he gets to the final realm he admits that he doesn't even know why he's collecting the Kamidogu. This all got so bad that he was considered evil enough to enter the Netherrealm, all with "I will do as you ask." And when his quest is complete, Onaga arrives to reveal he played Shujinko like a fool.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Attacking the Lin Kuei spy on Shujinko's village nets an attack back.
    "That was a cowardly attack. If we meet outside of the protection of this town, there is nowhere you can hide."
  • Do Not Do This Cool Thing: In-Universe, according to one of the NPCs Bo'Rai Cho may drink a lot, but he does not condone drinking.
  • Eat the Dog: You meet up with a woman in the starting town who is looking for her lost dog. You are directed to a butcher shop where the butcher has already killed the dog. He says something along the lines of "Oh no! I didn't know he was anybody's pet! I thought he was a stray!" He gives you the dog's butchered remains anyway. When you meet back up with the woman, her lines are...
    "Oh no! Niko! I shouldn't have let him out of my sight!... oh well, would you like some Niko stew?"
  • Five-Finger Discount: One of the NPCs steals your wallet and runs out from you.
  • Food as Bribe: Getting to the fourth dojo requires passing through a guard that is hungry and won't let anybody pass. So, after finishing the three dojos, Apep will say that Shujinko needs to bribe the guard to let both of them pass. Shijunko accomplishes this by going to the butcher for a ham.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Damashi's true motivations:
      • For a being that calls himself an emissary, he's very commanding over Shujinko (one would even say "authoritarian"). There are quite a few situations where he chooses to display his power as a celestial being over the protagonist and either vetoes or ignores Shujinko's own wishes and questions, with the biggest example being how he seems to flat-out toy with his life-long desire to enter the Mortal Kombat tournament to defend Earthrealm, offering the opportunity only to pull it away from him when it finally does show up. Naturally, Onaga still has uses for him and can't afford his pawn getting distracted or killed, and his own desire for absolute power makes him strict and authoritarian.
      • When first entering Outworld, Shujinko makes a comment about Shao Kahn being emperor, to which Damashi immediately becomes furious, calling Shao Kahn a "thief" who rose to power unjustly. He's correct, because Onaga was poisoned and killed by him in his bid to attain Outworld's rule, which naturally means the Dragon King still holds a grudge in his current state, which he can't hide even as Damashi.
      • Despite being in service of the Elder Gods for a good cause, Damashi is not above using underhanded tactics in Shujinko's quest, like telling him to make a deal with the Seidan Guard to let them take control of Lei Chen behind its ruler's back, or hiring Dairou, an assassin, to free him from jail when he's arrested.
      • He rarely answers Shujinko's questions straightly, either giving a half-hearted answer, playing the "just a messenger" card, or shifting the focus of the conversation back to the main quest. The one time he does give a straight answer, Shujinko has to put his foot down and demand it out of him, and even then it's not the full story, and by that point he's already wasted the majority of his life behind bars.
      • Another obvious sign he's not telling the whole story is the Kamidogu count. Damashi explicitly says there are six, but the altar at the Nexus clearly shows a seventh spot in the middle for something else.
      • If Shujinko is the "champion of the Elder Gods", the other deities of Earthrealm should be able to tell straight away that it's him, yet Raiden has to be shown in Kombat that he has the power to be one. Raiden should know straight away that Shujinko is the champion, which indicates he isn't.
    • At the beginning in the village, Shujinko can pick up a question mark that leaves him asleep for two days. Near the end of the Kamidogu obtention quest, he enters into a pool that ages him quickly.
    • One of the citizens of Shujinko's village says that "there is a realm where there is nothing but chaos". Of course, he refers to Chaosrealm, which you get to visit in the Kamidogu quest.
  • The Gambling Addict: One of the NPCs in Shujinko's village pawned his wedding ring in order to pay for a gambling debt, and his wife refuses to talk to him. The ring is now property of the merchant who tells Shujinko "if you break it, you pay it". Hitting him gets said ring back.
  • Guide Dang It!: Certain treasure chests in Konquest Mode only appear at certain times of the day on certain days of the week.
  • How We Got Here: Konquest Mode shows the series of events that eventually led to the game’s opening cutscene.
  • In-Universe Game Clock: Some quests can only be completed at a certain time. Shujinko can make time pass by meditating.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: Shujinko can obtain koins by looting every house on his village.
  • Last Lousy Point: While it isn't necessary to get every single coin in Konquest Mode, unlocking all the items in the Krypt requires collecting the majority of them. So exploring every nook and cranny, as well as completing many side missions, is essential.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: According to several endings, after the conclusion of the Konquest Mode, Shujinko managed to find, gather and lead a veritable army of fighters against Onaga, the Dragon King and presumably his army before dealing the killing blow to the Emperor himself. It's not shown or fully explained how this all happened, but it can be surmised that Shujinko went around and asked for help.
  • Permanently Missable Content: In Konquest Mode, once you leave the village at the beginning, you can't get back in. So be sure you've gotten as many koins and open as many chests as you can before you do so.
  • Playable Epilogue: The Konquest Mode allows the player to still roam around the realms after finishing the main story. However, the player also gets the opportunity to find new yin-yang icons that unlock main protagonist Shujinko's special moves and Fatalities and Hara Kiri, or chests that the player missed out on at the beginning village, along with a few new ones only accessible after completing the main campaign.
  • Post-Victory Collapse: After finishing the second dojo, Shujinko can pick down a big question mark near Bo'Rai Cho's dojo... and fall asleep for two days.
  • Regenerating Health: The encounter with Shang Tsung in the Netherrealm has him regenerating his health while Shujinko (as Sub-Zero) bleeds.
  • Rewarding Vandalism: In Konquest mode, hitting the NPCs and several props that shouldn't be destroyed throw up items that serve for opening certain areas. Instances include an old woman being kicked for the key to her hut, and an old man with a painful tooth pain being kicked in the chin... somewhat solving the problem.
  • Run, Don't Walk: Averted; there is a run button in Konquest Mode. Chances are you'll be holding that button constantly, since Shujinko's jog is pretty slow by comparison.
  • Sdrawkcab Speech: Many of the inhabitants of the Netherrealm speak in reversed english. There's a lot of easter eggs among them.
  • Unlockable Content: Koins, lots and lots of koins, to buy articles at the Krypt. And also Krypt Keys, for unlocking lots of stuff.
  • Unwinnable by Design:
    • Several of Konquest mode's questlines have no ending.
    • Once you leave the starting town, all unfinished quests will be lost. For instance, you can accept a quest to deliver a pot to another NPC somewhere else in town. If you leave the town before completing the quest, you'll figure out that you technically can't get back into the town.
  • Window Watcher: There's a man in Shujinko's village who spies on a woman at 2 A.M. while she undresses. Beating him nets a reward for Shujinko.