Mortal Kombat returns with a vengeance in Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe. Mortal Kombat has always been the leader when it comes to the fight game genre and this new installation is no exception. Bringing back all the original characters from the past (Scorpion, Raiden, Sonya) and now including characters from the DC Comics we all grew up with (Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman), Midway spent a lot of time on the DC characters giving them signature moves and finishes while keeping the fighting even on both sides.
The first Mortal Kombat game was released way back in 1992 in arcades around the world and was an instant success. More violent and bloody than anything we had seen before, Mortal Kombat is one of the games that is responsible for the ESRB now being a staple in movie and games rating. With finishing moves where you were able to rip the head off an opponent, spine attached, parents were shocked and kids couldn't get enough! Over the years, that violence has been toned down somewhat and it's very obvious in this new game. Because DC characters are not known for their "finishing moves" where they might disembowel their enemy, game designers had to walk a fine line between the traditional Mortal Kombat character killing, and the DC character's not killing. I think Midway did a fine job with the balance, and I didn't miss the extreme violence.
The fighting mechanics are solid in Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe. And this is no button masher game where you can move on without learning some of the moves. I spent a couple hours trying to memorize some moves just to move on in the story mode and was still constantly beaten by the computer. This is one game where spending time in the training mode really can pay off later in the game. Especially when you go online, where I was decimated by every opponent. And there is a strong online presence of players for this game. After 6+ games and several movies and television shows carrying the Mortal Kombat name, there should be.
There are lots of game modes to choose from. In story mode, you fight through a pretty weak story line as all the different characters, learning each characters strengths and weaknesses. I didn't spend a lot of time here, rather I chose to utilize the Practice and Kombo Challenge modes. Practice mode is just what it sounds like, practice the moves you learn on an opponent that either fights back, or doesn't, your choice. Kombo Challenge is cool. This is where you go to learn the combos and timing for each character to master the moves. I spent a lot of time here, and because there are 20 characters, and 10+ moves for each, I concentrated on just one character, the one I remember from when I was a kid, Scorpion. He's the guy who always said "Get over here!" which is a move I was unable to figure out! Maybe I'm just getting old, but that was a lot of buttons! There is also a two player mode and online where you can beat up, or in my case, get beat up by other players all over the world.
Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe also has some new features included that in some ways make the game better, and others that are maybe not so much better. Klose Kombat is triggered by doing a grappling move and then pressing a series of buttons to beat up your opponent, at the same time your opponent is trying to match your button moves to break out. Little weird and I couldn't really get the hang of it. Free Fall Kombat comes into play when you knock you opponent out of the fighting arena giving you the chance to get in some special moves as you both fall to the next arena. Test Your Might is similar to Free Fall except you will be running sideways pushing your opponent through walls and barriers while pummeling them with special moves. And finally Rage Mode, a meter is filled by your opponent blocking your attacks until finally you can take it no more! All these add a little "zaz" to the already great fighting action.
If you are a veteran of the fighting genre, haven't played in a while and want to get back to your roots, or just a noob like me, this is a great title to start with. With lots of game modes, lots of players around the world to test your skills against and training modes to help you learn the ropes, you can't really go wrong here. Midway hasn't really messed with things too much in Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe and this is a good thing. Just a few new tweaks here to jazz it up but not messing with the core game play. Having the chance to play as your favorite DC characters is an added bonus. This is a game I can see playing for a long time. Just to learn and master one of the characters, and then to master them all!
Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe website
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Midway Home Entertainment
Rated Teen for Blood, Suggestive Themes and Violence