Monday, November 17, 2008

Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe Hits Store Shelves

Unlike many of my friends, as a kid, I tended to read DC Comics, rather than Marvel Comics. Why? One of my favorite characters was Green Lantern (GL). Despite the fact that, at the time, Marvel Comics stressed topical issues and angst among its publications, the DC Universe still grabbed me because of GL, The Flash, Superman and The Batman.

And I'll be honest: if it wasn't for the fact that comics would take up way too much of my time --- and money --- I'd probably still be reading GL (problem is all the crossovers would mean I'd be reading other comics as well).

For a shorter period (I eventually became bored with it), Mortal Kombat's Universe also had me under its spell. It had its own mythos, including Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Liu Kang, Sonya and more, and what game player didn't enjoy the Fatalities?

But I never expected a crossover between the two universes. Until Sunday, when Midway Games Inc. announced that Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe has finally arrived on store shelves.

Unfortunately for PC gamers, it's a PS3 / Xbox 360 release only. MSRP is $59.99, with the Kollector's Edition priced at $69.99.

How do DC Universe characters end up fighting Mortal Kombat characters? Simple: parallel dimensions, corrupt boom tubes (the transportation system used by characters of New Genesis and Apokolips in the DC Universe), blah, blah. It all makes sense, right? The characters you can play as are listed below.

Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe

Scorpion The Joker
Sub-Zero Catwoman
Sonya The Flash
Shang Tsung Superman
Kitana Batman
Jax Wonder Woman
Liu Kang Deathstroke
Raiden Lex Luthor
Kano Captain Marvel
Baraka Green Lantern
Shao Kahn Darkseid

Midway toned down the violence and achieved a "Teen" rating for this game. After all, associating with DC Comics heroes, you'd have to figure there'd be some changes made. And one is that, while Mortal Kombat characters and DC Comics villains can all do fatalities, DC Comics heroes can only do "Heroic Brutalities." Let's not forget that Superman has vowed to never take a life, after all.

One fear I had when hearing about this game was that all they'd do was basically swap characters and the DC Comics characters wouldn't get individualized moves based on their actual powers. That doesn't seem to be the case, as evidenced by the screenshots above.

There's an arcade mode, which is much as you would expect, and a story mode. One half of the story mode focuses on Mortal Kombat and the on the DC Universe. Each half has multiple chapters, with each chapter having you play as a different character. Heroes (and villains) try to determine what the comic book-ish writers have gotten them into.

Sounds sorta Crisis on Infinite Earths-ish, does it not?

In their press release, Scott Johnson, vice president, business development, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment (DC's parent company) said:
"Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe brings together iconic characters from both the DC Comics’ and Mortal Kombat videogame universes to give gamers the opportunity to take part in extraordinary battles. Working with Midway, we are allowing fans to control the destiny of famous heroes and villains with enhanced graphics and combat."
Matt Booty, president and CEO, Midway said:
"Midway is proud to have been able to work so closely with the artists and visionaries at DC Comics to bring you a unique fighting experience that stays true to the hallmarks of the Mortal Kombat franchise. With the broad market potential afforded by the T-Rating, the engaging story mode, the critical acclaim we are already seeing from reviewers, and enthusiastic support of the fans from both franchises, we expect this to be one of our most successful Mortal Kombat games."
So, will this new chapter in the MK gaming universe produce a fatality for the series, a heroic brutality, or just some solid sales? It's likely to garner some interest due to the added characters, but the story mode only lasts about six hours. There's the arcade mode, but that will eventually become repetitive (which is what eventually drove me from earlier MK games). Still, the game will likely be successful, earnings-wise.

Watch some fatalities (heroic brutalities) here:

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