Review: ‘Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe’Written by Michael Siebenaler | | email@example.com
Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe (Midway)
Two long standing franchises combine to deliver teen rated fighting action in the familiar fighting arena format. The over the top fatalities switch to simple neck snaps, shootings and stabbings…still a brutal way to die, but not as savage as the memorable, shock filled character deaths, which have always been a series staple. Hard core fans of the Mortal Kombat game franchise, which began in 1993, will not be disappointed with this expanded installment.
This Midway game adds a few new elements and entertaining character weapons/powers centering on a new equalizing element blending with the storyline. One of your first questions might be – so why can’t Superman beat everyone? Rage is the answer. This logical element make the explanation simple while introducing a new enemy, named Dark Kahn who seeks to rule during this “birth of a new world.” This rage blinds the character’s logic making them fight regardless of alliances. Yes, these former allies can even turn on each other plus you get the classic duels like Batman versus Joker and Superman vs. Lex Luthor who’s surprisingly strong. Mortal Kombat (MK) “characters” include Liu Kang, Shang Tsung, Scorpion, Sonya, Jax, Raiden and Sub-Zero. You can choose any character in the multiplayer arcade mode, but the story mode only allows choice of side as you progress through an engaging story switching characters along the way. The MK side could use some more high profile, prominent matchups, especially after the film series has died down (read the character biographies in extras for a reminder). The normal best of three round format remains the standard (can be altered to as few as one).
You will also use two new techniques, Freefall Kombat and Klose Kombat. The self explanatory freefall engages when you get strong attacks near the edge of the arena then wait on each other in mid-air. Get up close and personal to engage the slo-mo fighting mechanic. Your punching bag opponent can counter…oops, I mean “Kounter”, so thankfully it’s not a helpless situation in either case. Rage attacks are great but a player still takes normal damage throughout the melee, though they may not immediately react to responseful “Kounters”. Using Kombo breakers also allows you to attack through blocks. Other special attacks include the “test your might” horizontal attacks where you can smash opponents through building and objects inflicting some major damage.
The heads up display (HUD) helps you keep track of the combinations, combo breaker and rage meter while the practice mode and Kombo challenge create some appealing open learning scenarios where you can master your skills and tinker with AI options. You learn advantages and disadvantages to each character and matchups to every other characters making the replay value high for incentive thinking players. As your response time and quick reflex increases so will the level of play. The effort is definitely worth it when you experience the always entertaining results. Players looking for the quick thrill still use great finishing moves and witness progressive damage as they pummel their opponents. Clothes rip, muscles bruise and blood flows (unless you turn it off).
The online mode has the basic join group or create options plus leader boards and statistics. Online tournaments would be an outstanding future addition. Options allow you to turn the blood setting on or off while the surprisingly scantily and impractically dressed female characters have no inhibiting options. The audio levels and sound effect production values are great plus get additional enhancement through the impactful controller vibrations. The visual production is strong mixing 3D action with a 2D feel. Developers wisely omit any animalities and babalities to make the DC merge more respectful and fresh. Could Marvel be next? (***1/2, Playstation 3 and Xbox360, rated T for violence, suggestive themes and blood)