by Keaton Arksey
reviewed on PS3
The Mortal Kombat series has always been one of gamingís more... intense franchises. Since the spine-ripping days of the original 2-D games, the games have been better known for their gruesome finishing moves then the fighting mechanics. So of course, everyone was surprised when Mortal Kombatís next gen debut was revealed to be against the heroes of the DC universe, all but guaranteeing that the game wouldnít be seeing an M for mature rating.
The Mortal Kombat series and the DC Universe donít necessarily make the best bedfellows, and the fact that they can even exist in the same room is enough to blow minds. Yet, surprisingly, the story actually makes sense. The game kicks off with Superman defeating the villain Darkseid. When he tries to escape, Superman uses his laser eyes on an interdimensional teleport created by Darkseid. Lo and behold, this causes Darkseid to be transported to another realm.
Meanwhile, in the Outworld, series bad guy Shao Kahn has once again failed to take over Earthrealm. After being confronted by the God of Thunder Raiden, Shao Kahn is also hit by a lightning bolt in a teleport.
Needless to say, Darkseid and Kahn merge to form one super-being, called Dark Kahn (original name, isnít it?). The resulting crossover between the two realms means that the two worlds begin to combine. Neither side knows what exactly is going on and views the other as intruders to their world. To make matters worse, the Outworld begins to ďpoisonĒ Earth, infecting the DC heroes with ďRageĒ, making them lose control and attack anyone in sight. Along with this, some of the more invincible characters such as Superman or Captain Marvel have their powers weakened by the crossover, as well as weaker characters like Joker being able to face them in head to head combat. (And all this actually made sense to you!? -Ed)
For a fighting game, the story is actually interesting. The meat of the single player experience is the story mode, where you can pick a side and play through the events of the story as various characters. The story runs around 30 fights (all best of 3) for each side. All in all, it should only take 6-8 hours to run through the stories on both sides. There is also the standard arcade mode where you take a character up the ladder of foes, as well as a practice mode to hone your skills.
Super... and not-so-super heroes
The cast of characters covers all the basics on both sides. On the DC side, Batman, Superman, The Green Lantern, The Flash, Wonder Woman, The Joker, Catwoman, Lex Luthor, Captain Marvel and Deathstroke provide a healthy mix of heroes and villains. For Mortal Kombat, Sub-Zero, Scorpion, Raiden, Kitana, Baraka, Jax, Kano, Liu Kang, Sonya, and Shang Tsung bring the pain. Iíll admit it, when Wonder Woman and Kitana faced off... Well, it was a pretty sweet couple of minutes.
The arenas range from all of DC and Mortal Kombat universes, such as Metropolis, the Batcave, Hell, and the Fortress of Solitude. Most of the levels are multi-tiered, and some have destructible elements such as columns.
Pulling off the combos
Since this is a fighting game, you can expect the usual mix of moves. Every character has the same basic moves, like punches and kicks. Every character also has their own special moves, like Batmanís Batarangs, Supermanís laser beams, or Sub-Zeroís ice blasts. The combos to pull these moves off arenít that difficult, which is a nice change from some of the as-complex-as-calculus moves seen in other fighting games.
However, if you really want those complex strings, you can still have them. A Kombo Challenge is included as a single player mode, where you can take a character and go through ten complex combo strings constructed by the games developers.
No Pros and Cons at this time