I finally beat: Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe


Let us get this out of the way: “mortal kombat” and “teen rating.”

Now, if you are still reading, either you are new to the series or you are wondering *how* they could do that to your beloved Mortal Kombat.

The answer is: not as badly as you would think.

While 3-d, MK vs DC plays more like the classic 2-d games.  With the d-pad or Fighting Stick, the game does not use the background or foreground.  You can side step if you use the left stick (an easy way to avoid projectiles), but if both characters stick to the 2d plane it has a very old-school feel as projectiles and well timed teleports are the rule of the day.

The roster includes only a small portion of the MK cast, but has most of the mainstays: Sub Zero, Scorpion, Liu Kang, Raiden, Sonya, Jax, Shang Tsung, Kitana, Kano, and Baraka.  The stars of the show are the DC characters: Superman, Batman, The Flash, The Joker, Green Lantern, Catwoman, Wonder Woman, Deathstroke, and Lex Luthor.

The DC Characters play and feel like they belong in a Mortal Kombat game.  Spamming attacks and slow plodding works better and feels natural when controlling Superman.  The Flash’s great speed is perfectly suited as using himself in all of his special long range abilities and teleports.  Batman’s great ability lies more in his long strings of combos and hand-to-hand combat than his special abilities (batarangs, jump kicks, trips).

The fatalities have been greatly reduced in terms of goriness.  To secure a Teen rating, Midway even pans away when other characters are shot in the head.  This doesn’t stop them from breaking necks/backs, shattering into tiny pieces, or setting people on fire; these have become popular replacements for the full spine rips and the decapitations.  The heroes can’t even “kill”, though their heroic brutalities are only less lethal in terms that their victim continues to move after being hit halfway into the ground.  The DC Villains get to perform the fatalities and, despite the overall Teen-ness, they have some of the better fatalities in the game.

The combat is very simple and fun to get into.  This is not balanced like Soul Calibur or Tekken.  Everybody has Down+Y/Triangle as the Mortal Kombat Uppercut.  Instead, you just jump in with your favorite combination of characters and get to street fight Superman vs. Captain Marvel, Superman vs. Batman, The Flash vs. anybody.

Seriously, The Flash has some fun special moves.

Throw in Sub Zero and Bruce Lee/Liu Kang, and you have an interesting roster of characters.  Scorpion throwing his spear into The Joker is just an interesting sight to behold.

Another interesting aspect: This game has a single player campaign.  Both sides are represented, like an old RTS, going through the story in parallel.  Play through both to see both sides of the conflict.  Long cinematics are watched between fights, but you’ll notice no one on the internet is complaining.  That’s because instead of Kojima lecturing on war, or some spikey haired kid depressed he has to save the world, you are left with Superman kicked in the chest by Scorpion exclaiming: “Magic?”

Or Wonder Woman deflecting Jax’s bullets from his gun (which is his special projectile attack, then disabled for that next combat since he throws it away during the pre-fight cinematic).  Or Raiden and Superman fighting it out in a destroyed landscape.  There are several other hammy, ridiculous scenes;  each more awesome than the last.  The story does a fun job of piecing how this game could happen and lasts about 3 hours per side.  It is a significant part of the package and is the main reason to pick up the game besides versus mode.

In fact, there aren’t many other modes.  Not that I mind, but all you have after that is online fighting and Kombo Challenge (a series of practically impossible combos to perform).  I could easily see the life of the game extended through some well planned and well priced DLC.  I’d pay a buck to add a character or two to the DC roster.  Green Arrow comes to mind.

Overall, this is a fairly easy game to recommend if you read all the way down here.  You are probably a fan of either the old Mortal Kombats or DC Heroes.  Try it out and rent it.  See if you really did like Mortal Kombat 2 and 3, or if they are just nostalgia now.  If you can have fun with the system, and spam out special attacks, then playing as the DC Heroes and Villans is a blast.  And (of course) Sub Zero, too.

3 thoughts on “I finally beat: Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe

  1. I’ve played this a bit with you, and I’m not sure I’m sold.

    I think it might not be that it’s a bad game, but I think the world has passed by the mortal kombat. When it was first released, the copious amounts of blood was novel and the digitalized captured graphics looked pretty good instead of the standard fair of hand drawn animated cells.

    Today, both of those don’t amount for too much. Blood is everywhere and today’s 3d graphics put yesteryear’s cutting edge 2d graphics to shame.

    I think there may be nostalgia factor to it, a certain goofy enjoyment of it. But when they reduce the fatalities, that just makes me disappointed. For me, the fatalities was the soul of mortal kombat, and if we want to replay a childhood friend, I would prefer that they didn’t rip that out and pour in some DC to try to even things out.

  2. Nostalgia is certainly a factor, but old games were often fun on their own merit: SSF2THD’s recent release and popularity helps show this. It’s still fun. Hell, contra, ninja turtles, and several other classics are all quite fun on xbla; as are other throwbacks like castle crashers.

    Mk, for me, was less about fatalities and more about the Kung fu feel. Back in mk1 days, I couldn’t even do any of the fatalities except for scorpion’s. I would be more upset about the soul rip if it wasn’t obvious a lot of work went into the dc characters. Superman is the first slow and powerful character in a street fighter that didn’t feel horrible to play as, and is in fact fun to use.

    I don’t see the new mk vs dc replacing soul calibur 4 competatively, but as a fun game to break out it’s quite fun.

    Justin, if you use the same email address your comments won’t need future approval. Admins (me) are the only ones who can see it (and the wordpress.com people). Or you can use a wordpress.com account.

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