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Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe (Video Game)

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Mortal Kombat vs DC UniverseReviewed by Uncle Creepy

Available for the Xbox 360 (reviewed here) and the Playstation 3

Distributed by Midway Games


It was the winter of 1992 in Brooklyn, New York. I was at my favorite pizzeria getting a slice of cheesy goodness when from behind me I heard the words “FINISH HIM!” To my shock and awe I was witness to an arcade game that featured a strange blue ninja ripping the spine out of his opponent. The character held his trophy head up high with the spine dangling from the torn neck. “Sub Zero Wins. FATALITY”. Immediately I spun around, threw a ten spot on the counter and demanded quarters. I’ve been in love with the Mortal Kombat franchise ever since.

When news first broke of a next-gen Kombat experience coming to the Xbox 360, I was elated. But in a strange twist of events we then learned that the new game would also be featuring characters from the DC Comics universe, and — to further confound me — it would be rated T for Teen. Um, did I just wake up in some bizarro alternate reality? No, the news was true, and with a heavy heart I prepared for the worst.

For months there was nothing but questions. Would the series’ trademark Fatalities be gone? Would there be blood and gore? And how the hell could these two universes be brought together in a way that actually made sense? Well, the time has come to judge what has gone right and what has gone wrong.

Mortal Kombat vs DC UniverseFirst of all, the storyline is a surprising winner penned by comics legends Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray. At the same time in both universes, super villains Shao Khan and Darkseid were being vanquished by Raiden and Superman (who were using their electricity and heat vision), respectively. These energies managed to merge together and create a portal between the two realities. Like two sides of a mirror. Even worse, being that this was happening at the same time in two different places to two different beings, Khan and Darkseid ended up merging, thus creating a new foe named Dark Khan. From there the MK and DC factions clash, each figuring the other are invaders looking to destroy the world, when in fact it is Dark Khan looking for the ultimate destruction. Sound a bit convoluted and confusing? Honestly, it is, but seeing the events play out does a lot more justice to the affair than just reading about them. The dialogue ranges from downright hilarious to way too cheesy, but you know what? In the end it was a lot of fun. Even better, depending on which side you choose, the storylines vary and intersect. Nifty!

After you’re done with that, there’s the classic arcade mode, which lets you choose either all MK characters, all DC characters, or a mixture of both.

Okay, so fun’s one thing, but how about the gore we’re used to? Here’s the harsh reality — DC was not about to let any of its characters get disemboweled by anyone, and they certainly were not going to let goodie-goods like Superman or Wonder Woman become stone killers for a video game, so a compromise needed to be made. For the MK crew it would be business as bloody usual, but for DC there were some tweaks in order! The heroes would perform Brutalities (in which they pummel someone to the brink of death), and the villains like the MK‘ers would perform Fatalities. Following along? Good!

Mortal Kombat vs DC UniverseNow let me get this out of way … There is blood in the game despite its T rating. Every time someone gets hit, the grue flies accordingly. Character models display damage like bruises, cuts, and torn clothing. All-in-all its exactly what we’d expect, but the Fatalities? They’re horribly nerfed. Don’t expect heads to be flying or limbs to be severed. Despite even the implied violence everything comes off as uber-tame. A shame because Batman beheading the Joker would have been amazing.

The roster finds eleven characters from each side. Mortal Kombat: Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Sonya, Jax, Shang Tsung, Liu Kang, Raiden, Kitana, Kano, Baraka, and Shao Kahn. DC Universe: Batman, Superman, Catwoman, Green Lantern, The Joker, Shazam, The Flash, Wonder Woman, Deathstroke, Lex Luthor, and Darkseid. The gameplay is very much like old-school Mortal Kombat, meaning there are no different styles or weapon pick-ups. This is a great return to form to the core game-play I had grown up loving. All the MK characters feel like a warm cozy sweater, while the DC ones end up being pretty badass themselves with the stand-outs being (what a shock) The Joker, Batman, and Superman.

There are a couple of new elements thrown into the mechanics such as “Klose Kombat” in which a character grabs another and we zoom in to see the carnage as close as possible, “Free Fall Kombat” in which you get to brawl while falling through multi-tiered arenas, and a redesigned “Test Your Might” mini-game which will get your fingers mashing the buttons as quickly as possible.

Mortal Kombat vs DC UniverseThe only real downfall here other than the less than stellar Fatalities is the lack of content, or Kontent for you fans playing along. Gone are the Krypt which has become a staple of the last few MK games, the Kreate a Fighter, and whatever you do, don’t expect any mini-games like Puzzle Kombat or Kart Racing because they’re just not here. This is one of the single most bare-bones Mortal Kombat releases (let’s hope for some tasty downloadable content) in a really long time. Good thing we have the silky smooth and lag-free online mode to spice things up by letting us play other kombatants the world over. No surprises or let-downs here. Just good old fashioned brawling!

Like the original Marvel vs Capcom this is a great first cross-over attempt. It wasn’t until Marvel vs Capcom 2 that the formula really got nailed so maybe if this game is successful, we’ll see an amazingly deep sequel. We can only hope, and speaking of hope … If the DC Universe guys don’t come back for the next game, can we have our gore back, please? Better yet — release a new stand-alone Mortal Kombat game and release it soon. Though good in its own right, I’m sure this game will leave many an MK fan will feeling just like me — blood-hungry and waiting to perform a glorious high-definition spine rip!

Game Features

  • Online/offline multi-player
  • Content download
  • Leaderboards
  • Achievement and Trophy support

    Game:
    “>“>“>“>

    4 out of 5

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    AHS: Cult Review – Clowns, Cults, Politics, and Peters

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    Starring Evan Peters, Sarah Paulson, Billie Lourd, Cheyenne Jackson, Frances Conroy, Mare Winningham, and Allison Pill

    Created by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk


    ** NO SPOILERS **

    It’s here. We’ve reached the end. The newest season of “American Horror Story” has ended and now we are here to provide you guys with our season review of AHS: Cult.

    Spoiler free.

    To start things off let me say I’m not the world’s biggest fan of “American Horror Story”. It breaks down like this: I enjoyed the absolute hell out of the first season of the series (“Murder House”), couldn’t get through “Asylum” (I know, I know, I’ve tried), dug “Coven” for what it was, really enjoyed “Freak Show”, and again I couldn’t get into “Hotel” or “Roanoke”.

    That’s the story of me and “American Horror Story”. Plain And simple. But what did I think of the new seventh season of the notorious horror anthology series? Let’s find out.

    Back when the seventh season of AHS was first announced (then going by the title “AHS: Election”) I was immediately intrigued by the new season because I heard it would not include any supernatural elements. Like the fourth season, “Freak Show”.

    Now I’m a fan of ghosts and weird creature-men with drills for d*cks, don’t get me wrong. But the series has thus far relied almost exclusively on horrors of the supernatural variety (other than “Freak Show”) so this major change of pace was again welcomed by this guy.

    Instead of vampires, aliens, and witches this season relied on terrors of the mind. Psychological fears and anxieties. The horrors man does to man. Deep issues.

    Oh, and clowns. Like a lot of clowns.

    But just because this new season didn’t include anything supernatural, that doesn’t mean the 11-episode season wasn’t filled with twisted visuals and horrifically disturbing acts. No, sir. This season boasted some showstoppers including S&M, gimps, and a house of horrors that wouldn’t be out of place in a Rob Zombie flick. It was all good.

    But let’s backtrack a bit here.

    Allow me to rundown the season’s plot for those who may be unaware. “AHS: Cult” tells the tale of a world post-election night. The literal dawn of Trump’s America. In one corner we have Sarah Paulson’s soccer mom, trying to fight through life with a series of crippling phobias (including clowns, holes, blood, and being a good person).

    And in the other corner, we have Evan Peter’s angry, white (blue-haired) male, looking to seize Trump’s new position of power to bring about the end of… Actually, I want this to be a spoiler-free season review, so I’m just going to say the dude’s got big plans.

    Like Manson-size plans. Let’s leave it at that.

    With these two characters established, the new season then proceeds to send them spiraling into a collision course of political sabotage, intrigue, and clown-based nope, nope, nope-ing that can only end with one – or both – of them dead as Dillinger.

    Overall “AHS: Cult” belonged end-to-end to Mr. Evan Peters. The young actor has continued to show his striking range from season to season of Ryan Murphy’s horror show and this season was no different. Peters’ turn as not only Kai, the blue-haired leader of the titular cult, but as infamous leaders such as David Koresh, Jim Jones, and Charles Manson – to name a few – owed this season.

    I can only hope he doesn’t pull a Jessica Lange and opt-out of more AHS next year.

    Speaking of top performances, “AHS: Cult ” showcases some other chilling and memorable turns with Alison Pill’s strangely vulnerable, put-upon wife character being the best next to Peters in my eyes. This actress needs to be in more films/TV!

    Along with Pill, actress Billie Lourd killed it time and time again. The “Scream Queens” breakout star and Carrie Fisher spawn was yet again a highlight in her second Ryan Murphy series. Bet she has the starring role in next season. Mark my words.

    Add to that, the season also boasts a handful of fun cameos, including John Carroll Lynch’s return as Twisty the Clown, Emma Roberts as a bitchy reporter that will do anything to end up on top, and Lena Dunham as SCUM Manifesto writer Valerie Solanas. The cameo cast killed it and I wish they would have been present for more episodes. What are you gonna do?

    On the sour side of the season, I didn’t dig Sarah Paulson’s character. At all. But I’m sure that was the point. Right? I’m still not sure. But, boy, I wouldn’t even want to be stuck in line behind her at a Starbucks for three minutes, let alone spend the better part of this season’s 11-hours with her and her whiny bullshite. Urgh.

    That said, she pulled it out by the finale. That’s all I’ll say.

    In the end, I enjoyed this season as much as – if not more – than any other of the series. “Murder House” will still no doubt go on as my favorite season of the series, but “AHS: Cult” will rank third after season one and “Freak Show”.

    While I was on the fence about the season after three episodes, the show ended up ditching Paulson’s character (and/or shifting her arch) after a lull so the episodes picked up quickly. Whenever the season turned its focus back towards Peters (in whichever incarnation he was playing at the time) the show got better and better. Every time.

    Not a bad way to spend my Tuesday night for the past 11 weeks.

    Bring on season 12.

    • American Horror Story: Cult (2018)
    3.5

    Summary

    The seventh season of Ryan Murphy’s American Horror Story was Evan Peters’ show all the way through. The young actor pulled out all the stops time and time again to make what may have been a lackluster supernatural-free season a winner.

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    User Rating 4.43 (7 votes)
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    The Axiom Review – A Stylish and Clever Slice of Independent Horror

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    Starring Hattie Smith, Zac Titus, Nicole Dambro

    Directed by Nicholas Woods


    The Axiom is an ambitious, well directed, impressively acted and stunningly shot independent horror film that has just a few, teensy little flaws holding it back from greatness (and therefore will have to settle for just being really, really good, instead).

    The first thing you realize when watching The Axiom is that this is a beautiful film. Everything is framed and shot in a lush and stylish manner, but one which is always tonally appropriate for the scene.

    The second thing you’ll notice, and keep noticing as the film plays out, is that the movie really struck gold with this cast. Not only is there a total lack of the sort of stilted and unnatural acting seen in countless other microbudget horror affairs, but the performances are genuinely fantastic across the board. The main characters are believably chill and relatably normal in the early scenes, and the acting remains just as impressive once things start getting a bit more… intense. It’s not often that an independent horror film has so many good performances that it makes it hard to pick the movie’s acting VIP, but that is undeniably the case here. Taylor Flowers delivers what is probably the showiest performance (and does it very well, indeed), but the entire cast really is quite good.

    The central premise of the film is both interesting and original, and touches upon the real life fact (given some recent attention in the ‘Missing 411’ books and documentary) that a lot more people sure seem to go missing out in the woods than seems reasonable, while simultaneously weaving all sorts of folklore, fairy tales and urban legends into the mix. It’s also clever in the way that it very naturally reveals aspects to the relationships between characters that serve to later – or sometimes retroactively – explain some of the more questionable decisions they make or attitudes they display. While that may sound like screenwriting 101, it’s surprising how many films fail to do this. The Axiom rewards the viewer’s attention in other ways as well, with many aspects of the movie that initially feel odd or unnatural receiving reasonable explanations (within the context of the movie) by the end. It’s not quite as challenging (or as rewarding) in this regard as, say, something like Session 9, but it does add a nice layer of complexity to the storytelling.

    The film’s score, by Leo Kaliski, is also quite good. There may be a moment here or there where the music hits an overly familiar beat, but overall it not only fits the movie’s tone, but does quite a bit to help set that tone as well.

    The only thing that I don’t feel the movie quite pulls off – and I’m trying to be vague here, because I feel like the less you know going into this film, the better – is some of the makeup effects work. The gore stuff is very well executed, but some of the other stuff feels like it was crafted with the intention of shooting it in a more… stylized manner. Instead, filmed as it is here, the result is sometimes less than impressive and can fail to make the impact that the movie seems to be implying that it should. And while some of what the makeup effects lack in execution is made up for with the ingenuity and creativity of their design, it’s still a bit of a shame when they don’t quite pull them off because, aside from a few niggles that I have with the writing, the effects are the only aspect of the film that occasionally fails to live up to the high level of technical proficiency that The Axiom otherwise demonstrates.

    ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS:

    • Man, the acting in this movie is really good. The dialogue may stumble once or twice, but these actors always sell it anyway.
    • Give back Mia Sara’s DNA, Hattie Smith!
    • If you’re going to put your female lead in shorts this small, I hope you’re not sensitive to viewers unleashing a nonstop parade of “Has anyone seen my pants / OH GOD WHERE ARE MY PANTS!” jokes.
    • “You just pop this here ‘Blair Witch Stick Person / Anarchy sign’ sticker up on that there windshield of yours, and them park rangers? Well – heh heh – they won’t bother you none, no sir.” Hmmmmm…
    • The film really is shot amazingly well – better than a lot of mainstream releases. Cinematographer Sten Olson has a real future ahead of him.
    • As does writer / director Nicholas Woods, for that matter. Any director who can get this level of quality out of their cast and crew on their first ever film is someone to keep an eye on.
    • “I’ll make a run for it and get help,” says the female lead, and I’m like “Yeah, let her go – she has no pants to weigh her down.”
    • The gore effects in the movie are both realized and utilized very well.
    • Welcome back to horror movies, “I’ll be right back” dialogue spoken unironically by and/or to ill-fated characters.
    • The Axiom
    4.0

    Summary

    In the end, The Axiom is a solid and entertaining flick that manages to wring a level of quality and originality out of the somewhat tired “Don’t Go in the Woods” horror subgenre not seen since 2012’s Cabin in the Woods. The cinematography and acting are hugely impressive, it features a nice, unnerving score, the premise is original and captivating, and the whole thing moves at a nice pace that helps keep the film’s flaws from dragging it down.

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    User Rating 4.14 (14 votes)
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    The Dollmaker Short Film Review – Welcome to Heebie Jeebie City!

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    Starring Perri Lauren, Sean Meehan, Dan Berkey

    Directed by Alan Lougher


    The loss of a young child drives a mother to take a set of unusual measures to preserve his memory, and all it takes is one call to The Dollmaker.

    When the short film by Alan Lougher opens up, we see a rather disturbing image of a little boy inside a casket, and the sound of a grieving mom speaking with an unidentified man in the background – he’s requesting something personal of the child to help “finish” his product, and it’s not before long that mom has her little boy back…well, kind of. What remains of the child is the representation of his former self, although it’s contained within the frame of a not-so-attractive doll, and the boy’s father isn’t a believer in this type of hocus-pocus (or the price to have this constructed, either). The doll comes with a specific set of instructions, but most importantly, you cannot spend more than one hour a day with the doll, or else you’ll go mad thinking that the soul inside of it is actually the person that you lost – sounds reasonable, doesn’t it?

    Well this is just too good to be true for Mommy, and as the short film progresses, we’ll just have to wait and see what happens to her mind – it’s ultimately a depressing scenario, but Lougher gives it that creepy feel, almost like visiting a relative’s home and seeing their dearly departed pet stuffed and staring at you over the fireplace – HEEBIE-JEEBIE CITY, if you ask me. All in all, the quickie is gloomy, but ultimately chilling in nature, and is most definitely worth a watch, and if I might use a quote from one of my favorite films to apply to this subject matter: “Sometimes…dead is better.”

    • Film
    3.5

    Summary

    Ultimately chilling in nature!

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    User Rating 3.41 (17 votes)
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