May 9th, 2004
Announcing TRMK's 5th E3 Live Show Coverage
Continuing a tradition dating back to 1999, during times that were so much simpler back then, it is with great pleasure to announce our 5th year of covering the Electronic Entertainment Expo live in Los Angeles, CA. While many can argue that, during the past year, we have not been able to bring you the level of commitment to our readers and fans that has become synonomous with TRMK, we have made it an important achievement to provide our thoughts and opinions on the next iteration of the venerable Mortal Kombat franchise. In addition to Mortal Kombat: Deception, we are excited about the significance of having arcade quality ports of the first three original Mortal Kombat arcade games, as many of our loyal readers share the same excitement and nostalgia with the early arcade games.

I hope everyone enjoys the blitz of media and editorials that both IGN/GameSpy and GameSpot are going to provide this week. Please check back with us during the show for our own coverage of this year's E3.

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  May 13th, 2004
E3: Initial Impressions. Final Impressions on Friday
Greetings from E3 in Los Angeles, CA. So far the show has been good, not quite the calibur of shows we've been to in the past, but for Mortal Kombat fans, E3 2004 has been a great venue for the MK franchise. Midway has eight stations with MK: Deception playing on widescreen flat panels, four Xbox, four PS2. Also, Microsoft's booth has four stations of MK:D on Xbox.

So far the response from everyone who has played or seen the game has been overwhelmingly positive, with the interactivity of the backgrounds grabbing the most attention. Gameplay fundamentals seems to be similar to the foundation of MK: Deadly Alliance.

Along with Deception, Midway Arcade Treasures 2 is on the floor, with only 3 total games available: Total Carnage, N.A.R.C., and Mortal Kombat. MK is a direct port of the arcade version and plays truly to the original.

Due to time crunch issues, we will bring you our full impressions of Mortal Kombat: Deception and Midway Arcade Treasures 2 on Friday evening.

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  May 15th, 2004
E3: Midway Arcade Treasures 2 Impressions
For me and many others in their twenties and thirties, Midway’s Arcade Treasures 2 is a very special title. It harkens back to the times when arcades were the place to hang out and meet up with friends and make new ones while playing some of the best video games of the time. The arcades is where the Mortal Kombat franchise started and has built such a strong following that is evident by the perennial financial success of each iteration of the series. At E3, the first Mortal Kombat was fully playable along with N.A.R.C. and Total Carnage. Personally I spent a long time playing Mortal Kombat and quite honestly it brought back many fond memories of the arcade I used to frequent on what seemed to be back then an almost daily occurrence. Because the games in Midway’s Arcade Treasures 2 are emulated from their arcade counterparts, everything is faithfully represented, including the bugs that remained in the final revisions. I found myself recalling old tactics learned back when the game was in the arcades, along with foolishly trying to reverse flip-kick over ‘turtling’ opponents, which didn’t exist until Mortal Kombat II.

For arcade quality renditions of previous Mortal Kombat games, fans have had to resort to either emulating illegal copies of the game’s ROM, or go the legit route and buy it from an online auction (spending upwards of $50 on an original game board and countless other parts needed to make a workable controller and display device). Now, with Arcade Treasures 2, all of the hassles have been eliminated with one disc. It is amazing how many great arcade games are included on the disc. Midway alone could have released 3 or 4 collections based on the library but have elected to include many of the most popular and highest money earners all on one collection. At $20, there is absolutely no reason why anyone who had ever set foot in an arcade during the late-eighties and early to mid-nineties should not buy this game. This is an automatic buy for anyone that has a Xbox or PlayStation 2.

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E3: Mortal Kombat Deception Impressions
For a series that started out as an arcade game, Mortal Kombat Deception shows absolutely no signs of having any trouble in establishing itself as a great console fighting game. Building on the solid foundations laid by Deadly Alliance, Deception takes the console-only iterations of Mortal Kombat to a much higher level of quality. By having already conquered the fundamental issues with developing a console-only title with Deadly Alliance, this has allowed the MK team to invest more time in creating an enormous amount of creative content for Deception. Deadly Alliance can be compared to the first Mortal Kombat in that it established a strong foundation of gameplay and features, where Deception is more or less a modern day Mortal Kombat II: offering more content and features popular of the previous version. Comparisons aside, Deception truly establishes the Mortal Kombat series as a remarkable console-only fighter.

First off, one of the most evident features of Deception’s quality is the game’s fully interactive backgrounds. So many fighting games have touted this feature, but have poorly represented it. Deception finally delivers an implementation of interactivity that is more than just a bullet-point feature so many games have butchered in the past. Deception’s backgrounds are not just a breakable barrel and a platform to knock your opponent off of. With death traps and knock-off fatalities, Deception’s backgrounds become another weapon in your character’s arsenal and must be factored into the player’s strategy.

Another element that is evident to the amount of focus the MK team is investing into quality content are the mini-games. Past Mortal Kombats have featured the occasional game of pong and galaxian clones; however, Puzzle Kombat and Chess Kombat are the most elaborate and feature-rich mini-games ever featured in a Mortal Kombat game. These games have their own strategies and gameplay systems and could easily exist on their own as independent titles. Puzzle Kombat is simply a really fun game to play. It features its own special moves and special features that keep the games lively. With Chess Kombat, a highly strategic element is brought to the MK universe. Even though it sounds odd, the game works very well, presenting the gameplay of Deception with a strategically-rich façade of chess, archon and stratego. One of the benefits of adding these mini-games to Deception is the multitude of replayability and value they add. But most importantly, the mini-games will attract and expand the game’s following to beyond the fighting genre.

If these additions weren’t enough, Deception marks the beginning of a new era of competition, with Xbox Live and also PS2 with the aid of GameSpy technology for , bringing online play to the Mortal Kombat franchise. Finally, the elements of competition similar to the days of the arcade are back in the Mortal Kombat universe. Online is such an important feature to the revival of the fighting genre, and to have Mortal Kombat Deception step in and offer the feature is another huge plus for the game.

At every E3 that Midway has shown a Mortal Kombat game, the previews of the games have always been pretty positive. This is no different for Deception; however, one difference is that Deception is a g
ame that I can actually say will live up to the hype that most previews generate, but many games fail to fulfill upon release. Deception is the most feature-rich demo-version of Mortal Kombat shown at any previous E3 show. The fact that the development team has so much packed into the E3 demo shows that they are able to focus on polishing the game all the way up until its release in October 2004.

October will be an unbelievable month for Mortal Kombat fans. Deception ushers in a new era of Mortal Kombat, along with Midway’s Arcade Treasures 2 immortalizing the nostalgia of the first three Mortal Kombat arcade games onto the Xbox and PlayStation 2.

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  May 26th, 2004
GameSpot Live Ed Boon Gameplay Demonstration
GameSpot Live, GameSpot's video area, now has archived Ed Boon's live gameplay demonstration of Mortal Kombat Deception from GameSpot Live's stage at E3. Watch as Ed Boon plays and describes each gameplay mode, along with his ambitions for the future of the Mortal Kombat series.
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