E3 2008: Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe

One of the games generating a lot of positive buzz on the floor of this week's E3 Media and Business Summit in Los Angeles is Midway's "Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe." Announced back in April, the latest installment of the Mortal Kombat franchise will feature fan-favorite characters like Scorpion and Sub-Zero facing off against the biggest names in the DCU including Superman and Batman.

Not surprisingly, the initial announcement was met with some skepticism from Mortal Kombat loyalists. There was concern that the visceral and graphic nature that is the essence of Mortal Kombat would have to be compromised in order to incorporate the more all-ages DC brand. After viewing the demo footage shown at E3, however, it appears "Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe" may yet please DC fanboys and MK loyalists alike.

Midway Creative Director Ed Boon showed off a build that highlighted a few characters from each universe, with matches that included The Flash squaring off against Scorpion, and Superman fighting Sub-Zero. The brutal nature of the MK franchise seemed to be fully intact as Flash and Scorpion traded bloody punches. The Flash performed several speed moves such as a "juggle" whereby he ran through the environment delivering blows while keeping Scorpion in the air.

One of the new Mortal Kombat innovations introduced in "Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe" is that damage taken by characters manifests in the form of cuts, bruises and costume tearing. There are also new mechanics in "MK vs. DC," including a freefall combat mode by which players can throw or push opponents off the edge of the map and pummel them as they topple down to the next level. There's also a throw mechanic that sets off a minigame of close quarters combat, in which offensive players try to rack up damage and defensive players try to break the grapple.

The biggest question most fans have about the game is whether or nor the signature "fatalities" would be included, and the answer is yes -- sort of. Boon explained the DC villains and the Mortal Kombat characters would have "fatalities," while the DC heroes would have "brutalities," or finishing moves that are not necessarily lethal but are no less devastating. One of the clips depicted Superman performing his "brutality," which had him driving Sub-Zero into the ground like a stake. Another clip featured Scorpion using his infamous fire "fatality" to incinerate the Flash.

Even with the inclusion of the finishing moves, however, it's unlikely that we'll see Sub-Zero tearing Superman's spine out, or Batman being decapitated.

"Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe" appears to be shaping up well as it heads for a November release, and expect more characters from both the Mortal Kombat and DC franchises to be revealed in the coming weeks. Boon did mention that both Catwoman and Captain Marvel would be showcased at the upcoming Comic-Con International in San Diego.

The official E3 trailer for "Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe" can be viewed below:

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