By now, the formula for making a PSP game should be pretty clear: Take a PS2 game, put it on a UMD and...um, yeah. That's it. So rather than let that code for ultraviolent one-on-one fighter Mortal Kombat: Deception go to waste, the violent elves at Midway picked it up, dusted it off, spruced it up, and set it loose as Unchained, the MK series' PSP debut. They couldn’t have picked a better candidate for porting to a portable (the latest in the series, Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, has more characters, but fewer cool mini-modes), but something’s not quite right with the fight.
The core gameplay is basically Deception with six extra characters - Goro and Shao Kahn (who showed up in the GameCube version) plus Jax, Kitana, Frost, and the suddenly-important-after-Armageddon Blaze. Your reward for slow loading times on the PSP is fast fighting action; we were surprised at how briskly the beatings were handed down.
Then again, we were also surprised at how uncomfortable it was to jump diagonally; the d-pad simply didn't want to let us leap, though the analog stick came through more often. Pulling off special moves was kind of tricky with either one, and after tasting freedom with Armageddon, we didn't like returning to the "Deception -era" switch between three different fighting styles' mechanic at all. We're also disappointed at how dark some of the stages look, and how that same fast action tends to make the graphics blur.