Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe is a 3D fighting game developed and published by Midway for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on November 16, 2008.
A spin-off of the Mortal Kombat series, Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe is a crossover game with the DC Universe series of superhero-themed media. It is the last game developed by Midway prior to their bankruptcy, and later served as the basis for both the Mortal Kombat reboot series and the DC-oriented Injustice series (both by NetherRealm).
The game's story involves an unintended merging of both Earthrealm (the setting for Mortal Kombat) and Earth (the setting for DC Universe) as a result of the simultaneous destabilization of both Shao Kahn's portal (as the result of a blast by Raiden) and Darkseid's boom tube (as the result of a blast by Superman). In addition, this merging causes numerous power fluctuations with the combatants of both universes (adding new strengths and vulnerabilities), violent "kombat rage" outbursts (which causes "good" characters to fight among themselves), and both Shao Kahn and Darkseid merge into a more powerful form (Dark Kahn).
The game uses a new game engine running Unreal Engine 3, and is the first in the series to be built foremost with the X360 and PS3 in mind. It uses a gameplay style similar to its predecessor (Mortal Kombat: Armageddon), with less focus on multiple unarmed and weapon-based fighting styles. New mechanics include quick-time events and the "rage meter" (which gives a temporal buff on both offensive and defensive capabilities). It also features a cinematic Story Mode, which would later be used for both the Mortal Kombat reboot series and Injustice series.
Due to restrictions with use of the DC license, the game was built with the ESRB's "Teen" rating (and its overseas equivalents) in mind. This means that the gratuitous violence and grisly Fatality system of previous Mortal Kombat games have been toned down to stylistic finishing moves (with the "good" DC characters having "Heroic Brutalities" instead).
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.
The game includes 22 playable characters (split evenly between the two sides, with two of them being unlockable). While the DC Universe characters are not based on a specific timeframe, the Mortal Kombat characters are based on their Mortal Kombat II appearances.
There were plans to release two DLC characters (Quan Chi for the Mortal Kombat side and Harley Quinn for the DC Universe side), but those plans were later scrapped.
- Dark Kahn (fusion of Shao Kahn and Darkseid, final boss, unplayable)
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.