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Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe Review

Blake_Morse By:
Blake_Morse
11/24/08
PRINTER FRIENDLY VERSION
EMAIL TO A FRIEND
GENRE Fighting 
PLAYERS 1- 2 
PUBLISHER Midway 
DEVELOPER Midway 
RELEASE DATE  
T Contains Blood, Suggestive Themes, Violence

What do these ratings mean?

When worlds kollide.


Komic book nerds kan be harsh. Especially towards anything that kould possibly dilute their encyclopedic knowledge of their favorite spandex klad heroes. Which means Midway had to tread lightly in order to find a way for Batman to take a whack at beating the krap out of Sub-Zero.

click to enlargeMortal Kombat vs. The DC Universe is the amalgamation of the two franchises that tries to pander to komic fanboys and hardcore MK followers at the same time, but ends up somewhere in the gray area between them. The plot is penned by komic writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray and it definitely has that sort of kitchy superhero vibe you would expect from a DC book.

And how does one explain the fact that the Joker kan kick Superman’s ass? What about the fact that Green Lantern shouldn't be able to do any damage to Scorpion since GL’s ring is useless against anything yellow?(*In comic book guy voice: Worst weakness ever.).

The short answer: Magic. Yes, when you kan’t think of a good plot twist just pull the ol' Deus ex Machina. Is it klever or kreative? Neither, but you try and think of a better way to bring the Man of Steel down to a reasonable level of power. It’s the kind of thing that is going to start some epic flame wars, but you’re just going to have to take in stride to make the rest of the game fun.

The story mode is actually decent for a few reasons. Not only does it try to explain why these two particular universes are colliding, but it also provides a great way for you to learn all the characters in the game. There’s a story for each side and playing through them gives you the opportunity to learn to play as everyone, since you get about three matches with each in story mode before moving on to the next one. Story mode is really the only interesting feature of MK vs. DC.

Arcade mode is just what it sounds like. You climb up the Kombat ladder on your way to total supremacy until you’ve beaten everything there is to beat. The thing is, there’s really no difference between arcade and story mode.

Character models range from awesome to konfusing. All the MK guys have a good amount of detail to their costumes and so do most of the DC fellas like The Joker and Batman. The women, however, look like they might have been born men, decided that they were trapped in a man’s body, had a sex change and are currently going through hormone therapy. Wonder Woman is not the least bit attractive, and I find that disappointing. (*In Austin Powers voice: It's a man, baby!).

click to enlargeWhile the ladies may not look as delicate as you would want, one really nice aspect of the design is the battle damage taken during kombat. When you get your ass handed to you, you look like you just got your ass handed to you. If you make a racing video game with licensed vehicles, kar kompanies usually won’t allow the kars to show physical damage. The fact that you kan give Superman a fat lip and black eye speak well of DC’s generosity in licensing their characters.

The kombat system has been tweaked from previous Mortal Kombats. Some aspects, such as the dash meter and weapons, have been removed and that’s probably for the best. Fatalities have been watered down in an attempt to reach a broader, as well as younger, audience. But in a series that has always been infamous for the amount of gore it kontains, watering down the violence seems to have the same wishy-washy effect on gameplay.

Fighting feels like it did in Mortal Kombat 3 but slowed down. Kombos can be extremely difficult and take precision timing to pull off. This is a great reward for those who take the time to memorize all the moves and have that sort of instinct, but novice players may find the insanely demanding timing a turnoff. This is especially the kase for the Combo Conquest. The Conquest is the only thing that even barely resembles another mode. It’s essentially a watered down training mode that makes you progress through a series of ten combos in order to achieve god knows what. In neither the challenge or training mode are you given the ability to watch a demonstration of the moves you are being asked to complete, resulting in a large amount of konfusion as to what the hell you're even supposed to do.

click to enlargeA new aspect to the fighting that’s actually pretty cool is the in-fight mini-games. Mashing buttons as you plow enemies through walls and trying to predict button combinations as you plummet from platform to platform is a great way to break up the monotony that is inherent in so many games of the fighting genre. Some may find it a little too Dragon Ball Z Budokai for their tastes, but this feels different and is not as much of an imposing factor. Out of everything added to this latest endeavor the mini-battles definitely stand out and will hopefully be kept in further iterations.

Another new addition to kombat is the rage meter. Once filled and activated you become temporarily unstoppable. You’ll still take damage when hit, but you won’t get knocked down and your attacks will be more devastating. However, it doesn’t really add much to overall to the gameplay dynamic. The ability to use your rage meter in order to perform a combo breaker seems much more tactical and is probably how you’ll end up using the gauge a majority of the time.

The biggest problem for Mortal Kombat vs. the DC Universe is that it’s just meh (Yes, it's now a word, so I get to use it). You will neither love it nor hate it. Instead you will find yourself in a fighting game limbo where you feel kompelled to keep playing because you love one of the respective franchises, or you’ll just play for a while until a sense of disappointment and betrayal sets in.

C+ Revolution report card
  • It appeals to your inner comic nerd
  • Noticeable damage to your characters
  • In-fight mini-games
  • Strangely decent plot
  • that relies on silly “Magic”
  • Combo Conquest is weak
  • Difficult timing
  • Transgender reassignment
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