Officially released on November 16, 2008 in North America, Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe is a significant departure for Midway
's long-running Mortal Kombat
series. The game is a crossover between a selection of Mortal Kombat
fighters and characters from the world of DC
Comics. The game initially announced in April 2008 at Midway's annual press event in Las Vegas. Ed Boon
, the co-creator of the Mortal Kombat series, was on-hand to give the initial details and show a brief teaser trailer.
At the time of the game's announcement, only four characters were confirmed as appearing in the game. Scorpion and Sub-Zero represented the game's Mortal Kombat side. Superman and Batman were the first two confirmed DC characters. Since that time, the full roster was released via press releases and updating showings of the game at trade shows for both the game and the comic industries. The game's backgrounds cover a variety of famous MK and DC locations.
The story that justifies the tying together of these two groups involves the merging of universes. The chaos that ensues with the DC version of Earth begins coming together with MK's Earthrealm serves as the backdrop for the game. The fighters become infected with "kombat rage," a state in which the urge to battle overtakes their entire body. This is what the game uses to justify situations where "good" characters fight amongst themselves.
This is the first Mortal Kombat game developed for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 and it uses Unreal Engine 3
, also a first for the MK series. Along with the new engine, the game's fighting has been redesigned and moves away from the multiple unarmed and weapon-based fighting styles found in the previous PS2/Xbox/GCN games.
Due to the game's crossover with DC Comics and the wider potential audience that brings, Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe was built with an ESRB T (Teen) rating in mind. This means that the grisly fatalities that have become something of a calling card for the MK series are not present in MK vs. DC. However, the game still has finishing moves. Midway has stated that it intended to push this game right up to the line that separates the ESRB's T rating from its M for Mature rating. The European release of the game shows slightly more violence due to the availability of a "15" rating, as opposed to the implied age of 13 in the US. Most notably, the Joker's fatality is censored in the US release.
Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe is primarily a 2D fighting game. Though players can side step
, the side step is too slight to be very useful up close, maintaining most of the usefulness of projectile attacks. The game places four numbered attack buttons on the face of the controller. On the shoulders is a block button, a sidestep button, a regular throw, and a button to initiate "Klose Kombat" sequences. Unlike the past 2D MK games, MK vs. DC's fighters have varied normal moves as opposed to assigning nearly identical normal attacks to each fighter. Special moves are performed by entering specific motions and button presses on the controller.
Generally speaking, the top two attack buttons are primarily used for punches while the bottom two buttons are usually kicks. This varies by character and by combo. This varies from the classic Mortal Kombat setup, which put high and low punches on the left side of the controls and kicks on the right.
The game's combo system retains many of the same concepts that MK was founded on with plenty of juggle-friendly moves. Up close, some normal attacks can be strung together into combos and like Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3
, fighters can begin combos from a jumping punch. Jumping punches and kicks will turn around the face foes who end up behind the fighter when the attack button is pressed.
There are three different in-game systems that take the players out of the standard fighting mechanics and bring them into brief, counter-based minigames. Klose Kombat is a new fight mode that is initiated by pressing the KK button from within throw range. If it connects, the camera zooms up and the action slows a bit. The attacking player can hit any of the face buttons to perform an attack. The defending player attempts to guess which button the attacker will press. If the defender guesses correctly, the Klose Kombat mode is broken. If not, the attacker can attempt another move. This concept also applies to Freefall Kombat, which works while players fall from one level of a stage to the next. In this situation, if the defending player successfully guesses the button press, the attack is countered and the roles switch. After a few successful hits, the player in control can press a button to bust out a special mid-air attack that does extra damage and sends the victim crashing to the ground below.
The third and final in-fight system is Test Your Might, which is a concept that originated as a bonus round in the original Mortal Kombat
. Here, however, it's used to give players something to fight over while crashing through buildings horizontally on supported stages. This is basic button mashing
, with the attacking player attempting to maximize the damage done while moving to the next part of the stage. The defender also mashes in an attempt to reduce damage.
With the exception of story mode, finishing moves can be performed by the winner of a fight during a brief window before the match ends. To help differentiate between the "good" DC characters that wouldn't normally kill their opponents, some characters have "heroic brutalities" instead of fatalities. The end result is roughly the same, as both types of finishers trigger flashy animations that result in the definitive defeat of the enemy. Each character has two finishing moves.
Counting the two unlockable characters that are attained by completing each side of the story mode, there are 22 characters in the game, 11 per side. The Mortal Kombat side of the roster has been described as a "greatest hits" roster, consisting entirely of characters who debuted in Mortal Kombat or Mortal Kombat II
The DC side of the roster pulls from a few different places, including obvious choices like Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, as well as less-popular characters like Deathstroke and Captain Marvel.
Midway planned to release Quan Chi and Harley Quinn as DLC characters but those plans were scrapped
Here is the official roster for both sides:
Xbox 360/PS3 Game Installation
Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe requires 6.4GB of space to install on an Xbox 360 HDD.
The Install file for the PS3 measures in at 1.02GB.