Thursday, September 2, 2010

Tales from the Krypt: MK Deadly Alliance

Worst. Headache. Ever.
I never want to play Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance again.

It’s not the moderately outdated fighting mechanics, the unexplainably chunky blood splatters or even the bowel-stimulatingly dumb fatalities like Quan Chi’s “Neck Stretch” that have me wanting to lob this game at the nearest handicapable youngster. No, it was my own obsessive-compulsive nature that rammed that last nail through my heart and into my koffin.

The three PlayStation 2 era Mortal Kombat titles – Deadly Alliance, Deception and Armageddon – share a similar way of awarding extras: The Krypt. The Krypt holds literally hundreds of unlockables, with kontent ranging from new characters and battlegrounds to the gaming equivalent of those asbestos-lined gumball machine prizes you used to beg your mother for as she checked out at Shoprite. Using the kurrency he or she earns in battle, it’s up to the player to purchase as much krap as possible. It’s sort of like Pokémon and its “Gotta Catch ‘em All!” tagline, only what you’re catching are shattered bone fragments and pieces of Kano’s shameful spleen.

Worst. Fatality. Ever.
Sensing that the Mortal Kombat database in my head needed updating when I didn’t recognize about 25 characters from the lazy-yet-brilliant hodgepodge that is MK: Armageddon, I chopped a bloody trail through MK4, MK: Deadly Alliance and MK: Deception until I had thoroughly explored all three titles. I cleaned out all the koffins Deception’s Krypt, but of the 626 koffins in Deadly Alliance, I only opened about 400.

Those 400 koffins didn’t come easy: For days all I did was earn kurrency for the Krypt or try to dream up ways to get more. My friends started disowning me, I almost got fired from my journalism gig and Saint Anthony of Padua, the patron saint of missing persons and lost things, called my cell phone and threatened to have me excommunicated if I didn’t put down the controller. So one day I told the game that I was taking it out to clean it, then before I lost my nerve, I shoved it back in the case and left it on my shelf. For awhile I was free of the kall of the Krypt.

Worst. Caption. Ever.
Kut to about three weeks ago when my hard-hittin’, girlfriend-ranglin’, N-Sync lovin’ cousin came over and we started kombatting it up with MK1, MK2 and UMK3. All it took was a little Southern Comfort and his innocent suggestion that we play Deadly Alliance to set me off again, but worse this time. It was like quitting smoking only to take up licking tar directly off the sun-baked road.

I must have slogged through Deadly Alliance’s single player mode at least 20 times over the course of the next week before going through the ultra boring Konquest mode again. Then I started making dummy profiles with names like “Strawman” and (at the suggestion of my cousin) “Asshats,” kopping some easy koins, then fighting endless two-player battles with myself to “win” all the currency on my real profile. My cousin walked in at one point while I was sleeping, but I still had the controller in my hands and was attempting to do Sub-Zero’s fatality mid-round.

“This is sad,” he said.

“Mumble, mumble Kano wins,” I am told I replied.

With most addictions, it’s up to the afflicted individual to realize that he or she is stronger than their habit and consciously push it away in the name of a better life. My MK:DA Krypt addiction came to an end when I opened that last Godforsaken tomb one morning as the sun was just peeking through the clouds and over the horizon. The camera twisted around to a side view, as it always does, and the lid slammed down on the floor. An evil laugh reverberated in the chamber. Through the dust these words appeared on my screen:


I know there’s a metaphor here, but I kan’t quite put my finger on it.

This is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen.

1 comment:

  1. im not sure who this "cousin" guy is...but he sounds awesome, just like all of n*syncs' albums!