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Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe

Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe

Developer(s) Midway Games
Publisher(s) Midway Games
Distributor(s) Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Designer(s) Paulo Garcia
John Edwards
Composer(s) Cris Velasco
Sascha Dikiciyan
Todd Haberman
Soundelux DMG
Tilman Sillescu
Alexander Pfeffer
Markus Schmidt
Pierre Langer
Series Mortal Kombat
Engine Unreal Engine 3[1]
Platform(s) PlayStation 3, Xbox 360[2]
Release date(s)
  • NA November 16, 2008
  • AUS November 20, 2008
  • EU November 21, 2008
Genre(s) Fighting
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer

Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe is a crossover fighting video game between Mortal Kombat and the DC Comics fictional universe, developed by Midway Games and Warner Bros. Games. The game was released on November 16, 2008 and contains characters from both franchises. Its story was written by comic writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray. Despite being a crossover, the game is considered to be the eighth installment in the main Mortal Kombat series, as confirmed by the naming of the tenth entry by this count: Mortal Kombat X.

The game takes place after Raiden, Earthrealm's god of Thunder, and Superman, protector of Earth, repel invasions from both their worlds. An attack by both Raiden and Superman simultaneously in their separate universes causes the merging of the Mortal Kombat and DC villains, Shao Kahn and Darkseid, resulting in the creation of Dark Kahn, whose mere existence causes the two universes to begin merging; if allowed to continue, it would result in the destruction of both. Characters from both universes begin to fluctuate in power, becoming stronger or weaker.

Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe was developed using Epic Games' Unreal Engine 3 and is available for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 platforms. It is the first Mortal Kombat title developed solely for seventh generation video game consoles. Most reviewers agreed that Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe was entertaining and made good use of its DC Universe license, but the game's lack of unlockable features as opposed to past installments of Mortal Kombat and toned-down finishing moves garnered some criticism.


  • Gameplay 1
  • Plot 2
    • Characters 2.1
  • Development 3
  • Release 4
  • Reception 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


The game features a story mode, playable from two different perspectives. The perspectives consist of one segment from the DC Universe side, and one from the Mortal Kombat side, each split up into various chapters.[3] Depending on which side players choose, the characters from one universe see those from the opposite universe as the invaders of their own. Ed Boon, creative director of Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe and co-creator of the Mortal Kombat franchise, did confirm that the player would have the ability to play as all the characters in the story mode at one point during development, but the story mode ultimately lacked story arcs for a few characters.[3][4] Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe also contains a mode called "Kombo Challenge". Its aspect is individual to the Versus and Story modes, where players must perform ten precreated combos of increasing difficulty.[5][6]

Two characters fall from a tall building, one punching the other in the process. In the background other skyscrapers can be seen, as well as some light clouds.
"Free-Fall Kombat" is a new mode introduced in Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe. In stages where it is allowed, two characters can battle in mid-air for the chance to land on top of the opponent and perform maximum damage.

Unlike in previous Mortal Kombat titles, which used a control scheme of four buttons of high and low punches and kicks or specialized fighting styles for each character, four buttons on the game controller represent attacks that correspond to each limb. The same control scheme is used in the follow-up game Mortal Kombat. Intertwined within fight matches, which are played in a 3D fighter style, are new gameplay modes, such as "Free-Fall Kombat" or "Falling Kombat," which are activated automatically after throwing the opponent to a lower level in the arena. The players can fight in the air during the fall in a quasi-mini-game, with one player having to hit certain buttons to be above the other during the fall and land on the other player when the fall ends.[7] "Klose Kombat" is a mode the players can enter during a fight, causing the characters to lock with each other and the perspective to change to a close-up shot of the two, to make for an interval of close-quarters fighting.[3] A "Test Your Might" mini-game is also worked into the gameplay; while fighting in certain areas, the player can smash the opponent through a series of walls and engage in a tug-of-war with the damage meter at the top of the screen. The player on the offense presses buttons to increase damage given, while the player on the defense presses buttons to decrease damage taken.[7]

Another in-fight feature called "Rage mode" is introduced in Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe. The Rage mode is governed by a rage meter placed below the player's health meter that fills progressively every time the player receives damage or attacks. Once the meter is completely filled, Rage mode can be activated and lasts for several seconds. Rage mode enables the player to break the opponent's guard on the second hit, prevents the attacker from experiencing hit stun, knockdown or pop-up, and increases the damage of an attacker's moves.[7] During fights, characters show permanent signs of damage, such as bruises, scrapes, bleeding, and broken or torn clothing.[8] All of the characters except Darkseid, Shao Kahn, and Dark Kahn have finishing moves; the Mortal Kombat characters and the DC villains can execute Fatalities, while the DC heroes can execute moves called "heroic brutalities," which function in the same manner but do not kill opponents, in order to stay in tone with the heroes who have an established reputation of never taking a life.[9]


In two different realities, Raiden and Superman destroy their greatest enemies, Shao Kahn and Darkseid, but their actions cause their two worlds to merge with each other. Elsewhere, the White Lotus begin to experience mysterious losses, whilst the Justice League too experience some disappearances. Liu Kang believes the Lin Kuei to be the assailants, but soon discovers that they too have suffered losses as well. At the same time, the Flash experiences a "rage", that causes him to attack Batman. Scorpion disappears and takes the place of Flash. Liu Kang kidnaps Flash, believing him to be Shang Tsung in disguise, but he too disappears and encounters Batman. He is overwhelmed by the rage and fights Batman, but is defeated whilst Scorpion, who had been captured earlier by Batman, escapes. Raiden learns of Liu Kang's capture and rescues him from the UN Orbital Space Station. Meanwhile, Sonya Blade goes on a quest to rescue Liu Kang, capturing Catwoman along the way. When she discovers Baraka, she believes that another invasion is taking place, especially when she encounters Captain Marvel. However, the rage consumes her and forces her to attack Jax.

Wonder Woman stages a quest to search for Superman, who has mysteriously disappeared. She encounters Shang Tsung and Kitana in her quest, whilst the latter falls under control of the rage. Her mysterious behavior leads Wonder Woman to believe that Darkseid may be returning. At the same time, Batman tracks Superman down to the Fortress of Solitude and sends Wonder Woman the coordinates. She finds Superman being held captive by Sub-Zero, but manages to rescue him. Captain Marvel again falls under the effects of the rage and attacks Green Lantern, but his ring saves him and teleports him to the planet Oa. After capturing Lex Luthor, Jax and Sonya plan an invasion on the UN Orbital Space Station. They rescue Sub-Zero, but the two are captured by Green Lantern. Sub-Zero decides to seek out Scorpion, believing that he can lead him to Quan Chi so they can learn more about the invasion. He follows Scorpion's trail to the Batcave, where both he and Batman fall under the effects of the rage and battle each other, with the ninja winning. Scorpion captures Sub-Zero and takes him to Quan Chi, where he forces them to battle. In the ensuing chaos, the sorcerer is freed. Quan Chi sends Sub-Zero back to Raiden and orders Scorpion to hunt down Kitana, believing that she can lead them to the threat they are now battling.

Scorpion searches the globe for Kitana, encountering the Joker, Superman and Wonder Woman along the way, and is successful in finding her. Quan Chi orders Shang Tsung to take Captain Marvel, who is right now searching for a worthy opponent of the threat they are facing, to the Neatherrealm, where he'll be weakened. However, Captain Marvel proves to be a match for them and he easily overpowers them. Kitana and Captain Marvel describe the threat to each of their comrades: Dark Kahn. Each team sends a number of pairs to one another's realm to seek out their enemies, whom they each believe to be Dark Kahn's forces. Joker and Deathstroke are sent to intercept the military base, where there is a portal that may lead to Kahn himself. They are confronted by Sonya and Kano. Joker however, is overwhelmed by the rage and easily defeats the two of them. Joker then turns on Deathstroke and attacks and defeats him. Excited with his new powers, he hunts down Batman and beats him in a fight, but is knocked out so the rage can't overwhelm him. It is later revealed that Luthor only used them as a diversion whilst he and Catwoman infiltrate the actual military base. Liu Kang and Shang Tsung fight alongside each other against Superman and Green Lantern, but the rage briefly overtakes both Liu Kang and Green Lantern during the fight. Returning to Raiden's temple, Shang Tsung gets in a fight with the raging Kano, but are quickly restrained.

Arriving at the base, Luthor contacts the Justice League and sends them the coordinates leading to the base. Jax intervenes but is defeated by Luthor, but then the raging Flash arrives with the unconscious Catwoman. Luthor beats Flash into unconsciousness just before the Justice League arrive, along with Joker and Deathstroke. Both Raiden and Superman lead their comrades into a portal, which takes them to a deserted location what appears to be merged Outworld/Apokolips. Dark Kahn arrives and forces each of the warriors and heroes to fight. However, the fight leads to nowhere. Superman and Raiden are overcome by the rage and both battle Lex Luthor and Shang Tsung, until Batman and Liu Kang interrupts them from killing Shang Tsung and Lex to remind their respective leaders to remember who the real enemy is, respectively. Raiden snaps out of it just before he comes close to killing Liu Kang, whilst Batman convinces Superman to never give up, resulting in the rage being taken apart out of Superman's head. Both Superman and Raiden travel to Kahn's fortress, where the two face off. They soon learn that neither fight for him, and work together to channel Kahn's own energy against him, destroying him. As a result, the worlds are reverted to their normal state. They both believe it to be over, but it turns out that Shao Kahn and Darkseid have been transported to one another's realm. However, their powers are stripped of them, leaving them completely powerless. As the game ends, Darkseid is shown chained in the Neatherrealm, whilst Shao Kahn is imprisoned in the Phantom Zone.


Playable characters[10][11][12]
Mortal Kombat DC Universe
^a Unlockable character


Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe was Midway Games's last project before filing for bankruptcy and selling the rights to Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment the following year in 2009.[13] In February 2007, Midway Games announced they were planning a new game in the Mortal Kombat franchise, inspired by seeing a showcase of Gears of War. "Mortal Kombat 8" would have been "dark, gritty, serious" and a "back to basics reboot" of the series.[14] Eventually, during the planning process, a deal with DC Comics was made and this project was cancelled, thus leading to the development of a different game.[15] An announcement in April 2008 confirmed the game as a crossover, and a trailer was released.[16] The only notable aspect that remained from the original project was the use of the Unreal Engine 3, also used in Gears of War.

Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe was co-published by Midway Games and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and was the final Mortal Kombat title to be developed under the Midway label prior to its purchase by Warner Bros. Interactive.[17] Midway used AutoDesk software to develop Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe, according to Maurice Patel, entertainment industry manager at AutoDesk,[18] and Illuminate Labs products for lighting.[19]

The use of a DC license in Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe imposed some restrictions on the characteristic violence in Mortal Kombat games. Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe was thus restricted to a "Teen" rating. Therefore, various Fatalities such as Sub-Zero's "Spine Rip" were replaced due to their violent nature.[20] In order to keep that rating, two of the Fatalities in Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe were censored in North America.[21][22] In the United Kingdom version of Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, both the Joker and Deathstroke's first Fatality depict them each finishing their opponent with a gunshot to the head, both shown uncut from a distance. The North American version has the camera quickly pan toward the victor before the shot is fired, thereby cutting the victim out of the shot completely.[23][24][25][26] Additionally, one of Kitana's Fatalities which involved impaling the opponent in the head and the torso with her fanblades was modified so that both fanblades impaled her opponent's chest instead.[27][28]

According to interviews, the characters were chosen for their popularity, and for parallels between them from both universes.[3] Boon has said that some of the characters' abilities, especially those from the DC Universe, had been toned down to make them balanced within Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe. For example, Boon specifically mentioned that Superman became vulnerable because of magic.[29][30] Boon revealed that two new characters were developed as downloadable content, Quan Chi from Mortal Kombat and Harley Quinn from DC comics but had been discarded.[31] He had also hinted earlier at the prospect of Kung Lao and Doomsday being downloadable characters.[32]


For the release of the Kollector's Edition of Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, a new cover was created by Alex Ross. Also included in the Kollector's Edition is a 16-page comic book prequel, Beginnings, which was illustrated by Mortal Kombat co-creator John Tobias.[33]

Downloadable content (DLC) had been confirmed by Major Nelson, but was canceled due to Midway's financial issues.[34] Ed Boon had stated that they would have been updating Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe periodically with new content all the way up to the release of the next installment of the Mortal Kombat series: "I'd like to have [DLC] as soon as possible. I think that might be a great Christmas gift to reinvigorate the game".[35] Ed Boon said on his Twitter account that the plan for DLC had been scrapped, which occurred because, as clarified by 1UP, Midway had filed for bankruptcy and was purchased by Warner Bros. Interactive after the suggestion of downloadable content.[31]


Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings (PS3) 77.87%[36]
(X360) 74.55%[37]
Metacritic (PS3) 76/100[38]
(X360) 72/100[39]
Review scores
Publication Score
Game Informer 8.5/10[40]
GamePro 4/5 stars[41]
GameSpot 7.5/10[8]
GameTrailers 7.4/10[42]
Giant Bomb 5/5 stars[43]
IGN 7.5/10[6]
OXM 8.5/10[44]
X-Play 3/5 stars[45]

Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe received generally positive reviews from critics.[38] Adam Sessler of X-Play stated: "Whether it's a decade-late answer to the Marvel vs. Capcom team up games or an off-the-cuff boardroom joke gone wildly too far, Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe is destined to make just about anyone's shortlist of bizarre video game team-ups. Still, sometimes two disparate things can merge to create a unique synergy that makes the melding work, however unlikely it may have seemed at the outset."[45] In GamePro, Sid Shuman called it "surprisingly enjoyable."[46]'s preview stated that the concept of the game was "nose-pokingly ludicrous", noting that Superman's powers could be used to easily defeat a character with the comment, "from Sub-Zero to Well-Done in eight seconds flat."[47] ABC News praised the game's story because it did "a great job of giving players a cohesive, if far-fetched, story line that's fun if not engaging," as well as "comic book-like" dialogue.[48] Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe‍ '​s Kombo Challenge mode was criticized as a thin and frustrating mode with combos that required very precise timing.[6][40][45] The modes of Klose Kombat and Free-fall Kombat were praised as concepts but were criticized in their execution as they appeared to slow the gameplay down and took the player out of the fast gameplay experience.[6] Critics noted that the change in the amount of gore was disappointing to longtime fans of the series who were used to the "insane amounts of gore."[8]

The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry approved of Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe because of its departure from the earlier M-rated games of the series praising its "simpler play, familiar graphics and adjustable gore content" but still not recommending it for younger players.[49] In 2008, GamePro, ranked it as the 15th best fighting game out of 18.[50]

Midway Games announced that as of January 26, 2009, Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe had shipped 1.8 million copies since its release in mid November 2008, not including the sales of the Kollector's Edition.[51] The chief operating officer of GameStop stated that the Kollector's Edition of Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe made up 55% of the game's total sales at GameStop locations in its first week.[52] In their 10-K filing, Midway Games revealed the title had sold over 1.9 million units, making it one of the company's most successful titles since 2002.[53] According to, Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe also "holds the distinction of being the most pre-ordered MK game of all time."[54] In a ranking by Rentrak, the Xbox 360 version of Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe was the sixth most rented game of 2009.[55]


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External links

  • Official website
  • Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe at MobyGames
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