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- Game: Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe
- Format Release: PS3, Xbox 360 (Xbox 360 Version Reviewed)
- ESRB: T
- Publisher: Midway Games
- Developer: Midway Games
- Suggested Retail: $59.99
GAME REVIEW- Get Over Here! Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe
Worlds collide when Midway's fighting franchise meet the mighty heroes from DC comics
By Josh Gordon
November 21, 2008
If I only play one fighting game this year, it’s, without a doubt, going to be MK vs. DC Universe.
I don’t really play a lot of fighting games. Sure I got into Street Fighter II for the SNES back in the day as well as MK II for the Sega Game Gear but since then trying to master all those combos just makes my brain bleed (in the bad way).
When I first heard the rumblings from the fortress of Midway about this seemingly odd pairing, the pugilist in me was definitely piqued. “Huh? What? Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe? Surely you speak in jest” was my first thought. But as time went on and the rumblings grew louder, I pondered the possibilities. “How are they going to do it?” I wondered. “What heroes? What villains? What powers? Will there be the blood? Will there be the famous fatalities?” To get it out of the way, the answer to the last two questions is “yes” and “sort of”, respectively but more on that later.
Fighting in Style
Credit must be given to the art direction and graphics. There has been obvious care and love put into crafting MK vs. DC. First of all, the style of the DC heroes is pure Alex Ross (who happened to illustrate the cover for the Kollector’s Edition), my very favorite hero artist. His heroes look the way they should, like men and women and not like boys and girls. An exception for the stellar artwork will be made for the train wreck that is Catwoman’s chest; Holy silicone Batman! What a disaster! Cleavage aside, the idea that I could control my very own Alex Ross styled DC superhero is enough to make me leap over a tall building in a single bound. Kudos to whoever came up with the idea of going with a more grown up/ old school tone.
All the graphics are really top notch and do great justice to the Hi-Def format. The textures are great and the arenas are lush and detailed. Even the still drawings during loadings are a blast to look at.
There are so many cool things crammed into MK vs. DC that I’m going to give ‘em to you in list form.
- Freefall Kombat/Test Your Might – When you throw your opponent out of the arena you initiate a mode by where you fall to the next arena below, while you’re freefalling you are STILL engaged in combat! The object is to land on your opponent dealing them a crushing blow. Test Your Might is a horizontal version of Freefall Kombat.
- Klose Kombat – A player can initiate a camera zoom to bring you closer to the action which then allows you to perform a series of attacks (or defenses).
- Rage Mode – Your character will build up Rage which then provides you with extra fighting abilities for a limited period of time
- Single Player Story Mode – My favorite mode. Explains how this whole shebang happened in the first place. It’s an effective and fun, if slightly underdeveloped, story that works nicely to bring the two universes together.
- Online Mode – Absolutely awesome but not for the faint of heart. I got my ass kicked severely while playing other players but it was a total gas.
- Arcade Mode – Like it sounds, you pick a character and progress through a series of MK, DC, or mixed opponents, each one getting progressively more difficult.
- Kombo Challenge Mode – The chance to practice by “performing increasingly difficult combos scripted by the Mortal Kombat designers”
- Practice Mode – I particularly appreciated this mode. You’re placed in an arena with an opponent who doesn’t fight back. It gives you a chance to work on learning the different moves. This mode also displays your button moves so you can see which button combinations it took to perform that awesome move you just did.
- Super Moves – Each character comes with their own set of special moves. These are a high point of the game and will illicit gasps of joy. For instance, Green Lantern has the fist of justice, in which a giant green hand emanates from his ring, grabs the opponent and smashes him to the ground. Capt. Marvel has Zeus’ Lightning, The Joker has a Joy Buzzer and so on and so on. The animations and graphics for these moves are fantastic. Some of the moves are breathtaking. Each character has multiple super moves, in addition to a set of regular combat moves.
Now, back to the Fatalities - To our younger viewers who may have missed out back in the day, Fatalities were post battle end moves in MK 1 and particularly MK II that were excessively violent, so much so that MK single handedly ignited a war between Washington and video games. Fatalities included things like Sub-Zero ripping the spinal cord out of his opponent. Blood spraying from game characters when hit also caused a ruckus. Mortal Kombat became famous for this element of its gameplay.
The $64,000 question is: are there Fatalities in MK vs. DC? Technically the answer is yes. There are finishing moves that a player can perform IF you’re a Mortal Kombat character (I’ll get to DC in a second). In reality, the moves are missing much of the irreverent violence that caused so much brouhaha back in the day. DC comics, wanting to keep the righteousness of their heroes intact, won’t allow characters like Superman to perform a fatality and so the DC dynamo’s finishing moves are called “Brutalities”. Are people upset about this toning down of the MK franchise? You bet they are, just check out message boards all over the Internet. Do I particularly care that the hardcore fatalities are missing? No. I don’t think it really matters. BUT it really would have been great fun to give BOTH sides of the universe terrifically violent end moves. The story supplied in the single player story mode of the game gives justification for The Flash to commit gleeful acts of brutal violence. I’m also guessing that DC didn’t want Sub-Zero ripping off Batman’s head and drinking blood from his neck stump. That being said, the fatalities are, at the very least, amusing and their lack of gore shouldn’t really detract from your enjoyment of the game. By the way, there’s plenty of blood spatter during the fights and our heroes do end up quite bruised and battered.
The game is not without its flaws. First on my list would be Wonder Woman’s face, which looks like a masculine Natasha Henstridge (and that’s being kind) and, like Catwoman, her chest is large and immovable. While most of the characters look fantastic (my favorites are Green Lantern and Capt. Marvel) a couple of them look like they would have benefited from a little more time under the artist’s mouse. I also question the choice of DC villain Deathstroke. Why not Brainiac or Doomsday?
Is the D-Pad D-sad?
Another reservation I have is the accuracy of my 360 directional pad. If you’re playing a fighting game, rock solid accuracy is a must and the 360’s d-pad is among the most infamous and useless. In other 360 games the point is largely moot because you can just use the left analog stick but in a game like MK vs. DC, where the D-pad is not a choice but a necessity I’m sometimes left wondering if I’m performing the button sequence correctly or if my D-pad is just plain ineffective. PS3 fans probably won’t have the same concerns.
Ultimately, MK vs. DC Universe is a welcome and worthy addition to the game collection for fans of either Mortal Kombat or the DC Universe.