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Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance is the fifth canonical installment in the Mortal Kombat franchise, released for Game Cube, Play Station 2, and X Box in 2002. It picks up where Mortal Kombat 4 left off.
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.
With the exception of Shao Kahn and Liu Kang, Deadly Alliance features all of the characters mentioned above (Quan Chi, Shang Tsung, Raiden, Scorpion, and Kung Lao), as well as Johnny Cage, Sub-Zero, Sonya Blade, Kano, Kitana, Cyrax, Jax, and Reptile. The game introduces Nitara, Bo'Rai Cho, Drahmin, Frost, Hsu Hao, Kenshi, Li Mei, Moloch, Mavado, Blaze, and Mokap to the franchise as well.
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/the Run meter.
Two versions of this game were released for the Game Boy Advance. The first, which is named the same as this game, features Shang Tsung, Quan Chi, and Scorpion being included in both versions. DA has 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:
- The Bad Guy Wins: The titular 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.
- Concept Art Gallery
- Downer Beginning: Complete with a Hope Spot and everything.
- 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.
- Fan Service Pack/Hotter and Sexier: All of the returning women here are notably more well-endowed than they were back in the day.
- Jiggle Physics: Ayup. Mostly played straight, although there is the case of Bo' Rai Cho's gut...
- La Résistance: Mostly notably Li Mei.
- Our Hero Is Dead: At the beginning of the game, Shang Tsung shapeshifts to 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.
- Real Song Theme Tune: "Immortal" by Adema.
- Sealed Army in a Can: The Outworld's ancient army Shang Tsung and Quan Chi are trying to resurrect.
- Secret Character: Lots of them, including The Protagonist, Raiden.
- Shout-Out: Check the page.
- 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.
- Shows Damage: Though it's just the characters bleeding nonstop.
- SNK Boss: Moloch. Quan Chi and Shang Tsung can't 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: Games after this one in the series wouldn't be numbered again.
- Supernatural Martial Arts
- 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 Liu Kang gets better... Kinda.
- Title Drop: The last line of the intro.
Raiden: "We must act now; we must stop this Deadly Alliance."
- Villain Opening Scene
- Wham! Episode: This was the straw that broke the camel's back. To put this into perspective, three games later, and we are still dealing with the repercussions of one event.