Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe

Back in 1997 we saw one of the greatest mash-ups in gaming history. Marvel vs. Capcom was a pure stroke of genius. Bringing together some of the greatest comic book heroes and villains of all time and pitting them against the legendary characters of Street Fighter et al. It was life-changing.

Now, after more than 10 years later Midway have taken an almost identical plunge and produced Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe. Few can argue that the MK series has had some high and low moments over the past five years. Midway has produced numerous MK titles ranging from 3D beat-‘em ups to RPG-like action adventure games. Not to mention the horrendous Mortal Kombat Kart Racing game that was included in Deception. Long gone are the days of the basic 2D fighting game, but the question remains – is this a bad thing?

Ad FeedbackAdvertisement

In a similar vein to Marvel vs. Capcom, you are given a selection of classic MK characters and some of the more well known personalities from DC comics. The roster of initial playable characters includes (from the MK corner) Baraka, Jax, Kano, Kitana, Liu Kang, Raiden, Scorpion, Shang Tsung, Shao Kahn, Sonya Blade, Sub-Zero, and (from the DC corner), Batman, Captain Marvel, Catwoman, Darkseid, Deathstroke, The Flash, Green Lantern, The Joker, Lex Luthor, Superman and Wonder Woman.

Now the first thing that comes to mind is… what the hell is Superman doing in this line-up? Surely an upper-cut from The Man of Steel would send Kitana to the moon!? But in a strangely distorted manner, all of the abilities and powers are balanced to make for even fights in MK. Vs. DC Universe. This means you can expect to see Superman being hurt by a punch to the jaw from The Joker. I can imagine comic book fans being extremely annoyed by this fact, but the game still opens the doors to some classic encounters. Batman vs. Superman, Batman vs. The Joker and Catwoman vs. Batman… actually Batman versus anyone.

Like MK games of recent years, the game has a mix of 2d and 3d gameplay. This has both its advantages and disadvantages. Firstly it looks great with all of the characters brilliantly rendered and there are only occasional collision detection bugs with capes or long range attacks. Against the right opponent (with a similarly matched skill level) the combat is impressive to watch, with a fast pace that MK fans will appreciate. The game even includes damage effects with torn clothing and bruised faces as your fight progresses. Meanwhile the 3d environments include scenes from the world of MK and also areas inspired from the DC Universe including the Batcave and Superman’s Fortress of Solitude. These surrounds are pretty to look at, but also open up a large amount of interactivity too. You can throw opponents off ledges, resulting in the two of you plummeting to the next level whilst throwing punches at each other all the way down. Or charge at your opponent and smash them through walls into new arenas via a “Test Your Might” (aka button-mashing) mini-game. But this 3d freedom gives way to one major issue of the simple side-step. While the original Mortal Kombat forced you to either block and take a bit of damage, or jump a projectile and make yourself vulnerable to attack – now you can simply step backwards from a fireball and watch it fly harmlessly past.

Sure it takes some skill with the timing, but a three-parter flaming skull projectile from Shang Tsung leaves him completely open to attack. The increasing difficulty of the AI as you progress through the game doesn’t help matters either, as your opponent can often foresee your moves and easily avoid them leaving you with egg on your face. Or more likely, an upper-cut to the face.

Those players who have mastered Sub-Zero’s freeze + slide + upper-cut routine will be glad to hear that the library of moves has remained practically unchanged. Although the characters have fewer “super-moves” than in previous titles, fireballs and special attacks can be triggered by basic commands like down-forward (punch) or down-back (kick) or forward-forward (punch) and so forth. Unfortunately the Xbox 360 controllers don’t lend themselves perfectly to these controls, but moves can be pulled-off via the D-Pad with practice. Hardcore fans will definitely get a more enjoyable experience with an arcade stick however.

Being a huge fan of both DC comics and the Mortal Kombat series, it was a shock to find myself being disappointed with this title. Unbalanced characters and a very steep difficulty curve can cause an unnecessary amount of frustration. The Story Mode (playable from either the DC or MK point of view) was interesting to progress though and had some well thought-out storylines. But eventually you’ll come up against a near unbeatable foe like Scorpion who will put a dampener on your enjoyment levels. Finally, the fact that the fatalities (one of the features that made MK stand above its rivals) have been toned down significantly to achieve an M (15 years or higher) rating make this game lose several points that should be a given. Midway has stated that there will be downloadable content for MK vs. DC Universe though, including new characters and arenas so there is still room for improvement.

"Long gone are the days of the basic 2D fighting game. "
- Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe
Follow Own it? Rating: M   Difficulty: Hard   Learning Curve: 30 Min


Relevant Articles


Comments Comments (13)

Posted by Lisa3x3x3
On Thursday 4 Dec 2008 10:12 AM
This game sounds mean!!!
@ Angus "Superman Vs Catwoman" haha dont act like your not excited!
Posted by Slide
On Thursday 4 Dec 2008 10:41 AM
Yeah, but with a $140 price tag?
Posted by alienhominid
On Thursday 4 Dec 2008 10:46 AM
At one point you say the characters are balanced and then you say they aren't later on
Posted by Munkah
On Thursday 4 Dec 2008 12:26 PM
4 December 2008, 10:41 AM Reply to Slide
Yeah, but with a $140 price tag?
Midway need money, fast!
Posted by Ron
On Thursday 4 Dec 2008 12:28 PM
4 December 2008, 10:46 AM Reply to alienhominid
At one point you say the characters are balanced and then you say they aren't later on
I think you'll find that Angus was referring to the characters from DC vs. Mortal Kombat and they're balanced, so playing with DC fighter is the same as Mortal Kombat, but overall fighters like Sub Zero are still better than most.
Posted by Synergy
On Thursday 4 Dec 2008 4:10 PM
4 December 2008, 12:28 PM Reply to Ron
I think you'll find that Angus was referring to the characters from DC vs. Mortal Kombat and they're balanced, so playing with DC fighter is the same as Mortal Kombat, but overall fighters like Sub Zero are still better than most.
Cheers Ron, yes that but also I mean "balanced" in the way that the powers of the DC characters have been watered down to closer suit the abilities of the MK ones. It becomes apparent in some pairings more than others, but if you're progressing through a ladder then you'll notice it for sure. And to the first comment - ya Catwoman is pretty... "bouncy" to say the least. = )
Posted by Hayvin
On Saturday 6 Dec 2008 1:04 PM
I dont understand how Liu Kang can just 'decide' to not be a zombie. It doesnt make sense. They shouldnt have killed their main character in the first place.
Posted by KAZUYA
On Sunday 7 Dec 2008 12:02 AM
man batman looks ugly
Posted by Liam
On Sunday 7 Dec 2008 10:10 PM
7 December 2008, 12:02 AM Reply to KAZUYA
man batman looks ugly
I would much rather be afraid to him than attracted to him.
Posted by PandaJenkins
On Sunday 7 Dec 2008 10:46 PM
my bro rented this, i played a small ammount of versus with him, its a pretty crap game really. when i first heard the idea i was like 'awesome!1!' but now its just like meh. MK has gone downhill to much, it's style is dated and just looks stupid and stiff on next-gen. i can't be bothered going into everything i don't like about this ill just say i dont recommend it....
Posted by shadowbandit
On Friday 19 Dec 2008 3:00 PM
It sounded a lot cooler when my friend described it to me =|
Posted by twisterjamz
On Monday 6 Apr 2009 7:50 PM
I wouldn't mind getting it but it cost to much right now
On Monday 31 Aug 2009 10:02 PM
this game looks ill str8 ill.