Upon further review, trio of video games is quite the mixed bag

October 14, 2004

Here's a look at new titles that offer gamers everything from fights to play-along tunes to a shot at world domination.

Mortal Kombat: Deception

Bloody bouts and ultraviolent finishing moves make Midway's fighting game the target of rancor among parents and politicians. But compared with the gritty realism in many violent games, Mortal Kombat: Deception, the sixth in the series, is almost cartoonish.

Impaled warriors and exploding body parts make this game a big no-no for youngsters, but it has turned into more than just a gore fest.

Mortal Kombat: Deception has martial arts matches as well as a chess game, a puzzle activity similar to Tetris and a story-driven adventure mode.

Look beyond its bloody veneer, and Mortal Kombat actually has a lot of substance. Fine-tuned game play, online capabilities and a hefty list of activitites overshadow the violence.

Donkey Konga

Like most music/rhythm video games, you've got to follow along and mimic the beat in Donkey Konga. What sets this "monkey see, monkey do" title apart is the interface instrument - a pair of bongo drums.

As songs play, gamers pound the drums or clap when cued. If your timing is off, your score suffers. Tunes range from Happy Birthday to You to Santana's Oye Como Va - and all are kid-friendly. A variety of mini-games also use the bongos.

It boasts more than 30 tracks, multiplayer modes and three challenge levels.

Evil Genius

There are plenty of games that favor the dashing, handsome, international secret agent. But Evil Genius gives the bad guys a chance, letting you give those James Bond-types their comeuppance.

Playing the role of a villainous mastermind, you build up an evil empire by training henchmen, building secret bases and creating doomsday devices.

If you're expecting lots of instant action, this isn't the game for you. Taking over the world isn't an easy task. Most of the game consists of building, monitoring and maintaining your organization - typical of most simulation-strategy games.

Troy Oxford/Cox News Service

Mortal Kombat: Deception

Price: $49.99

Rating: Not yet rated, but not for youngsters

Platform: PlayStation 2, Xbox

Donkey Konga

Price: $49.99 (includes bongos)

Rating: E (for everyone)

Platform: GameCube

Evil Genius

Price: $39.99

Rating: T (for 13 and older)

Platform: PC

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