Mortal Kombat Vs DC Universe Review
- Posted November 24th, 2008 at 14:21 EDT by Steven Williamson
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We've had a blast playing MK vs. DC Universe, despite its uninspired storyline.
- Comic-book humor may appeal to DC Universe fans
- Fast-paced entertaining fights
- Great new in-fight features
- Some pitiful excuses for starting fights
- Didn't see any fatalities from A.I.
- Lack of game modes
With the possibility of upsetting its legion of fans it was a brave move by Midway to change a winning formula, but after 15 years, and considering over a dozen games have been born from the Mortal Kombat franchise, it was arguably an action that was long overdue. Merging its heavyweight roster of characters, including the electrifying Raiden and the knife-throwing Kano with that of the infamous DC Universe and its catalog of crowd-pleasing heroes and villains, it appears to be, certainly on paper anyway, an ideal way to freshen up and re-invigorate the popular fighting game.
When we first heard about the coming together of these two universes we were excited at the prospect of some explosive battles, but also intrigued to hear the story of how the collision of these two very different worlds had come about. Why on Earth would Superman ever cross paths with the shape-shifting Shang Tsung and why would The Joker possibly come to blows with Sub-Zero on the streets of Gotham City? Penning a tale that involves such an iconic set of characters has certainly afforded respected comic book writers, Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray, with the freedom to be creative with their talents. Ample source material should also, in theory, allow them to conjure up some intriguing scenarios and fascinating twists to make Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe a really attractive prospect, especially for those hoping for a unique and exciting take on the fighting genre, not to mention fans of the subsequent worlds. In reality though, when we take into account our expectations of how impressive the storyline could have been, it hasn't quite worked out.
Aside from a bog-standard arcade mode and a straightforward online multiplayer component, Midway’s attempt to be different from the crowd is through its story mode, which tells the tale from two different perspectives. Although each story path culminates in the same universe-saving ending (as if you didn’t know), the game begins when you choose to either side with Mortal Kombat or DC Universe, with each chapter being told solely through the eyes of your chosen team-mates. Broken up by cinematic sequences the story begins well enough; building up nicely and revealing itself gradually through seven chapters, but it's abrupt and unsatisfying conclusion brings you straight back down to Earth with a thud. Still, thanks in the most part to the appeal of its two sets of characters and indeed some addictive and frenzied action in the arena, MK vs. DC does deserve some credit for managing to dangle that proverbial carrot in front of you for long enough to keep you interested to actually want to find out the story’s outcome.
Following two cataclysmic battles, one involving Raiden against Kahn on the MK side and the other entailing Superman and Darkseid on the DC Universe side, you learn that portals have opened allowing both sets of characters to step into each other’s lands. This allows the likes of Scorpion and Raiden from the Mortal Kombat posse to mosey on down to the streets of Gotham City where they do battle with the DC Universe characters and against themselves before joining together as one force to save the universe. The premise is without question appealing, but following a deluge of lame excuses for why the two sides are fighting with and against each other, the story soon takes a downward spiral. More often than not, the excuse that the worlds have been contaminated by a viral “kombat rage” that makes them want to kill anyone who happens to be standing around at the time is enough reason to see them do battle, whereas bitter rivalries, including The Joker vs. Batman and Lex Luther vs. Superman come to a head without any real substance. Fighting against your own team-mates, such as The Flash vs. Captain Marvel or Catwoman vs. The Green Lantern, inevitably takes place because the rage washes over them and makes them attack. When ‘the rage’ wears off after a fight, they’re friends again. Hmmm...
Steeped in the kind of humor that is more likely appeal to the DC Universe and comic-book crowd, the storyline and the script in MK vs. DC Universe is full of cliché and groan-inducing lines. “You look like hell,” says Captain Marvel. “Flattery will get ... (continued on next page) ----