by Keaton Arksey
previewed on PS3
Recently the biggest trend in fighting games has been inter-company crossovers. Solid Snake and Sonic in Super Smash Bros Brawl, the triplet of Star Wars characters in Soul Calibur IV, and Spartan-458 in Dead or Alive 4 are all examples of fighting games that have guest characters that don’t really mesh into the series. Of course, the whole idea could be traced back to Marvel vs. Capcom, where the superheroes of Marvel faced off with Capcom’s greatest characters.
The latest in this rather odd line of crossovers, Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe will pit Mortal Kombat characters against the heroes and villains from the DC comic books. But how will a series known for spine-ripping fatalities match up with a universe where the heroes refuse to kill?
The first and most obvious concession that had to be made is right on the game box. Instead of the usual M for mature rating that Mortal Kombat is used to there will be a T for teen rating. At least, that is what the developers are shooting for.
With the two universes crossing over, you can expect a good selection of characters from both sides to choose from. On the Mortal Kombat side the usual suspects like Sub-Zero, Scorpion, Kitana, Jax, and Liu Kang are available. As for the DC Universe, Batman, Superman, The Joker, The Green Lantern, Catwoman and the Flash will be there to fight for truth and justice. And in some unique cases, anarchy. The game will have different storylines for the two universes and explain what exactly is causing the universes to cross. As well as why Superman can be beaten up by mere mortals (magic is supposedly his other weakness). Online play is also included.
All of the characters have the usual combination of punches and kicks. As is to be expected, every character has also special moves specific to them. Sub-Zero shoots ice, Scorpion can throw spears, Batman throws batarangs, and Superman has laser eyes, ice breath, and super strength.
While Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe will not include the Puzzle Kombat and Chess Kombat mini-games that have been prevalent in previous Mortal Kombat games. Included are two new in-fight features, Klose Kombat and Free-fall Kombat. In Klose Kombat, you can grapple your opponent so that they are a bit too close for comfort, which results in the screen zooming in to fill the screen with the two characters. You can then beat them to your heart’s content until or the victim counters a move or gets in a punch of his own.
Several stages have multiple levels, and this is where Free-fall Kombat comes in. When you knock an opponent off an upper level, instead of a quick cut-scene playing and the fight resuming on the lower level, the fight continues in the air. The attacker is on top, and can attack the person on the bottom until they hit the ground. The poor sap on the bottom isn’t completely defenseless though, as they can counter the attacker and switch places. After a certain amount of beating, the attacker can pull off a character specific super move which sends the defender to the ground instantly.
Arenas from both universes are included, from the Gotham Police Department, The Fortress of Solitude, the Batcave, and Hell. Certain levels will have a special element that allows players to smash the opponent through a series of walls, where mashing on buttons increases damage for the attacker, while if the victim does it, it decreases damage.
The game uses the Unreal Engine 3.0, allowing for great character model designs. Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe has permanent damage appear on characters during the fight. Clothes will be torn, faces will be bruised, arms will be cut, and it will all show up in real time. Sadly, certain elements of characters won’t be messed with, such as Superman’s curly hair. On the plus side, Scorpion’s mask can finally be broken off!
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Mortal Kombat game without someone having their spine ripped out. DC heroes seem to feel that killing is wrong are only able to perform “brutalaties”, which basically beats the opponent within an inch of death. DC villains and the Mortal Kombat characters can perform fatalities, as evidenced by a preview showing Scorpion burning The Flash alive. Just don’t expect it to be as brutal as in previous Mortal Kombat games. Either way, if there ever was a time for Aquaman to appear in a videogame, now would be it.