Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe is a Fighting Game launched in 2008 for Playstation 3 and Xbox 360. It's a Crisis Crossover between the Mortal Kombat and DC Universes, featuring characters from both sides beating the crap out of each other.
This game stands out from similar Crossover Fighting Games by having an actual plot, which is strictly followed in story mode – instead of picking up the characters, you choose a side and play the story with all of them, in order. Both sides' story happen in the same time and space. It's set up between Mortal Kombat 3 and Mortal Kombat 4, and it's considered a Spin-Off and an Elseworld respectively.
In Metropolis, upon his defeat at the hands of Superman, Darkseid tries to escape, using a BoomTube, but Superman blasts him through the portal. Meanwhile, in another universe, Shao Kahn's invasion on Earthrealm has failed and he's blasted by Raiden's thunder right into the magic portal. It seems that peace has returned to both worlds. But it doesn't last long. Quickly, heroes, villains, and fighters from one universe gets transported to the other, both world's magic is disturbed, while powerful, irrational rage starts randomly taking over the characters, making them brutally attack anybody they see, even their allies.
The game features the following characters:
- DC side: Batman, Captain Marvel, Catwoman, Darkseid, Deathstroke, The Flash, Green Lantern, The Joker, Lex Luthor, Superman, and Wonder Woman.
- MK side: Baraka, Jax, Kano, Kitana, Liu Kang, Raiden, Scorpion, Shang Tsung, Shao Kahn, Sonya Blade, and Sub-Zero.
It also features some unique minigames which you can play during a fight, such as the Freefall Kombat, (which happens if you throw your opponent out from the ring, your character will jump after him and, if you push the right buttons at the right time, kick his ass in the air, before landing on a new arena), Klose Kombat (a guessing game where you try to block your rival's hits during up-to-four turns), the return of Test Your Might as a mid-battle event, replacing the Freefall Kombat in enclosed areas, and the plot-pointal Rage, a temporary Limit Break where you can't be hit-stunned and where you're able to do a load of damage in six seconds.
The reception of this game was somewhat mixed, and marked the end of Midway Games. Interestingly enough, the Mortal Kombat franchise is now owned by Warner Bros., which also owns DC Comics. So, who knows, they may give this series another shot if they feel so inclined.
There is also a comic adaptation that introduces both the Big Bad and how his actions lead to the worlds merging.
It has a character sheet.
See also Capcom vs.. Spiritually succeeded by Injustice: Gods Among Us and Injustice 2 from by Nether Realm Studios, the same studio responsible for Mortal Kombat 9, Mortal Kombat X, and Mortal Kombat 11. Scorpion appeared as a Guest Fighter in the first game, and Sub-Zero and Raiden appeared as guests in the second.
Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe provides examples of:
- All There in the Manual: Where are the likes of Johnny Cage, Goro, Robin, or Aquaman? Erased from existence thanks to the universes merging. This was only mentioned in the comic book that accompanied the limited edition of the game.
- Alternate Company Equivalent: To the Marvel vs. Capcom series as the other top comic book publisher's characters butt heads with the other top fighting game franchise of The '90s. Word of God also says that the characters were paired up based on their similarities:
- Raiden and Superman are the most powerful of the groups, the De facto leaders, and also the Big Goods.
- Sub-Zero and Batman are the loners. To strengthen that comparison, look at Sub-Zero during most of the events in the MK series. Especially Deadly Alliance and Deception. He even had his own "Robin" for a brief time.
- Kitana and Wonder Woman are both the warrior princesses of their worlds.
- Scorpion and The Flash are both motivated by tragic losses. Though in contrast, Scorpion made a literal deal with the devil for power and Flash gained his by accident. Additionally, Scorpion is ruled by vengeance while Flash is selfless.
- Liu Kang and Green Lantern are the appointed protectors of Earth. Liu being the immortal champion of Mortal Kombat and GL being charged with a sector of the galaxy which includes Earth.
- Shang Tsung and Captain Marvel both wield magic. They match perfectly when considering that DC character Black Adam, who shares the same powers as Marvel, requires them to stay young and powerful. Similar to Tsung and his need for souls.
- Jax and Lex Luthor are both tech savvy and utilize tech to enhance their strength. They also contrast in that Luthor is a genius and Jax, while certainly not incompetent, is mostly depicted as relying on his brawn.
- Kano and The Joker are both highly dangerous, unpredictable criminals. While Kano may not be as psychotic as Joker, both are self-serving, and could easily turn on an ally in an instant.
- Sonya Blade and Catwoman are different as they don't actually share character traits. Both operate on opposite sides of the law. But for that reason they share a dynamic as Catwoman could simply fill the role of a female Kano. Not murderous, but certainly self-serving and capable of betraying allies for her own purposes.
- Baraka and Deathstroke, besides wielding blades, are also both mercenaries. Baraka and his Tarkatan brethren have served practically every Big Bad throughout the series, while Deathstroke often sells his skills to the highest bidder.
- Shao Kahn and Darkseid are both evil rulers of their worlds and are always attempting to conquer new worlds and expand their territory. The main focus often being Earth.
- This also applies to most character endings:
- After the Universes are separated, Raiden learns that his powers have been affected. He loses them while under Earthrealm's sun. Quan Chi offers Raiden a glowing rock (Kryptonite) that will restore his power, in exchange for servitude. This makes Raiden the Mortal Kombat Universe's Bizarro Superman.
- Sub-Zero's ending depicts him operating solo as a force for good. He watches over a city wearing a new uniform that incorporates a cape. He has essentially become the Mortal Kombat Universe's Batman. The Lin Kuei however, do not take Sub-Zero's desertion lightly and plan to retaliate. This draws parallels to DC Comics League of Assassins as depicted in Batman Begins.
- In Kitana's ending, she and her Edenian Resistance inhabit Shang Tsung's Island, renaming it Argus Island. Essentially becoming the MK universe's Themyscira, with the Edenian Resistance (who appears to be made up mostly of females) becoming the MK Amazons.
- Inspired by Captain Marvel, the gods (including Raiden) grant Liu Kang their power. All he would need to do to access them is shout "MORTAL KOMBAT!"
- Jax subjects himself to heavy cybernetic conversion after he was badly injured in the conflict. He becomes the Mortal Kombat Universe Cyborg.
- Kano becomes truly insane and begins to don face paint, becoming the Mortal Kombat Universe Joker.
- During the merger, a Green Lantern died, and his ring chose Sonya as a successor. She becomes the Mortal Kombat Universe Green Lantern, though she is not seen wearing the Lantern Corp. uniform and she does not have access to a battery to recharge the ring. Bonus points for Sonya sharing a military background with Hal Jordan.
- Baraka and the Tarkatan's become far more bloodthirsty due to the Kombat Rage. They begin to mark their foreheads with blood and go on to dominate all the realms. This makes them the Mortal Kombat Universe Dominators.
- Despite being banished to the Phantom Zone, Shao Kahn grew in power and was able to break free, leading every single criminal ever banished who swore loyalty to him. He would go on to conquer the DC Universe, similar to General Zod.
- To combat future potential breaches to their Universe, Batman creates the OMAC (Outerworld Monitor and Containment) System. This mirrors the MK story line where Earthrealm formed the OIA (Outerworld Investigation Agency) after Shao Kahn's invasion. This is also a reference to DC Comics OMAC.
- In Green Lantern's ending, Argus's Pyramid mysteriously appears on a distant planet. This causes Hal and the Corp. to become involved in a battle with the Sinestro Corp. to secure it, much like the plot of Armageddon.
- Lex Luthor would make contact with the MK Universe and form an alliance with Quan Chi. The narration describes their joining as a Deadly Alliance.
- The Joker would somehow keep his power gained from the merging of the Universes and use it to take over Gotham City. He would host his own tournament where combatants must fight to the death, with the winner facing off against The Joker himself. This is essentially the entire plot of Mortal Kombat 1, with Joker as Shang Tsung.
- After the merger is reversed, Catwoman gains the ability to transform into a black panther at will, allowing her to perform an animality.
- Deathstroke forms his own clan of assassins, outfitted in his own image and with himself as Grand Master. This makes him the DC Universe Lin Kuei and Shirai Ryu.
- In Darkseid's ending, Shang Tsung tries to take advantage of his imprisonment by stealing his soul. Darkseid instead turns the tables and reversed the soul drain and broke free. Now an old man again, Shang Tsung swears allegiance to Darkseid to save his life. Darkseid essentially becomes the new Shao Kahn, with Tsung being in the exact same position as prior to Mortal Kombat 2. They are even in similar poses as from that game. This also makes Tsung Darkseid's new Desaad.
- Alternate Continuity: Jimmy Palmiotti, the story's co-writer, describes it as an "ultimate Elseworlds" DC scenario. However, it's also treated officially as Mortal Kombat 8 internally. Raiden and Sub-Zero have a pre-fight exchange lampshading it. This is addressed in canon with Mortal Kombat 11 — due to Kronika's time manipulation plot, it is one of the countless timelines that she had manipulated in order to achieve her vision of a perfect future, only to be discarded like the rest.
- "Bang!" Flag Gun: The Joker uses one as part of his fatality. He then drops it and blows away his opponent with a real one.
- Big Badass Battle Sequence: A smaller scale one happens near the end of the game as all of the fighters from the Mortal Kombat and DC Universes clash with each other. Sadly, we are only shown screenshots of the fighting. This is apparently where the Arcade Ladder fits in.
- Broad Strokes: Mortal Kombat's side appears to take place after at least 3, but is fairly vague otherwise in regards to where it could possibly take place in that series' timeline.
- The Cameo:
- Johnny Cage, Goro, Robin and Aquaman appear in the prequel comic as some of the disappeared characters.
- Quan Chi appears across the entire MK part of the Story Mode. He's never seen in the DC part.
- Quan Chi also mentions that Shinnok will be displeased of Shao Kahn's failure at conquering Earthrealm in the MK chapter 1.
- Kano mentions to the Flash that he would give Kabal a run for his money.
- Ganthet appears in chapter 3 of the DC side.
- Wonder Woman mentions Martian Manhunter in chapter 1 of the DC side.
- Fujin and Argus appear in Liu Kang's ending. The latter also appear in Kitana's ending.
- Sinestro appears in Green Lantern's ending.
- Can't Default to Murder: When the DC villains are forced to align themselves with the superheroes against the Mortal Kombat universe, the heroes order them not to kill anyone.Superman: (to the villains) No killing. If one of you steps out of line, believe me, I'll know.
- Clothing Damage: The fighters Shows Damage as the fight progresses.
- Combo Breaker: By filling half of the Rage bar, you can break a combo string.
- Conflict Ball: The Rage is an in-universe form of this.
- Cool and Unusual Punishment: Shao Kahn being trapped in Phantom Zone, at least for those unaware with DCU. Especially compared to Darkseid being chained to a deep section of the Netherrealm.
- Cool Versus Awesome: The deadliest warriors of Mortal Kombat against the greatest heroes of the DC Universe.
- Crossover Power Acquisition
- Downplayed with Sonya Blade's arcade ending. She acquires a Green Lantern ring, but has no means to charge it, or contact the rest of the Green Lantern Corps.
- In Catwoman's arcade ending, she ends up gaining an Animality that turns her into a big panther.
- A Day in the Limelight: The Story Mode's chapters function like this. Everyone except for Kano, Baraka, and Kitana on the Mortal Kombat side and Catwoman and Deathstroke on the DC side gets one.
- Deadly Force Field: One of Green Lantern's Heroic Brutalities involves him using his ring to form a compacting bubble of green energy that shatters the bones of the unfortunate victim.
- De-power: After the destruction of Dark Kahn, both Darkseid and Shao Kahn end up in the opposite universe, where they're rendered, apparently, powerless. That lasts until their respective endings in the Arcade mode, where they're repowered again.
- Empowered Badass Normal: All the Badass Normal characters have been temporarily powered up, so they can beat up warriors like Raiden and Superman.
- Enemy Mine: The main conflict of this game involves the heroes and villains of each universe banding together against each other. Thankfully, once Raiden and Superman finally realize that they are both enemies of Dark Kahn, they manage to restore everything to normal.
- Forgotten Fallen Friend: Despite his presence being an indispensable element in Mortal Kombat 1 and 2, Johnny Cage does not appear or is even referenced. Even his best friend (Liu Kang), mentor (Raiden), ally (Jax), rival (Kano), and lover (Sonya Blade) seem to have forgotten he even existed.
- Free-Fall Fight: The Freefall Kombat feature involves one of the fighters breaking the walls of a specific stage and trading blows with their opponent while falling until they reach the floor. Only a handful of stages have this feature, among them Hell/Netherrealm, the Graveyard, the Batcave, the transition between Rooftop and Streets of the Gotham City stage, the Fortress of Solitude, the Special Forces' Base, the transition between Raiden's Temple and the Rock of Solitude (Captain Marvel's half of the stage), the Outer Space, and Apokolips (the fusion between Darkseid's Throne Room and the Outworld Throne Room), a.k.a. Dark Kahn's stage.
- Gameplay and Story Integration:
- The "Kombat Rage" is the handwave to explain why the heroes are constantly fighting each other, and it's also an actual gameplay mechanic which allows you to change the flow of a fight.
- During Jax's fight with Wonder Woman in his chapter of Story Mode, he is unable to use his Machine Gun special. This is because he discarded it due to it being ineffective against her in the previous cutscene.
- Glowing Eyes of Doom: THE RAGE! THE RAGE!
- Gory Discretion Shot:
- Deathstroke's first appearance sees him cutting a man's head off in silhouette.
- The Joker and Deathstroke's gun shot Fatalities were censored into this, despite no gory bits actually happening in the move proper.
- Hammered into the Ground: One of Superman's Heroic Brutality moves.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Raiden and Superman managed to channel their shared Kombat Rage towards Dark Kahn instead of each other in order to stop him.
- Intercontinuity Crossover
- Jiggle Physics: Wonder Woman during cutscenes. Sonya and Kitana also had this in at least one cutscene.
- Let's You and Him Fight: The whole premise of the game. Dark Kahn planned to gain power from champions of both worlds fighting each other. Also used by Quan Chi, who manipulated Scorpion and Sub-Zero into fighting each other so the power of their battle would fuse his prison with part of the DC Universe, freeing him.
- Lighter and Softer: Compared to the last MK games before it, thanks to the T rating.
- Mirrored Confrontation Shot: Batman and Sub-Zero in the trailer, with the addition of Superman, Wonder Woman, Raiden, and Scorpion on the cover.
- Moral Guardians: US gamers didn't get to see The Joker's full Lethality — shooting someone in the head.
- Ms. Fanservice: The "Bio" bonus feature gives you the option of getting a tight close of any part of a character's anatomy that strikes your fancy. Both male and female characters can be viewed this way, but let's be real; the number of players taking time out for a closeup of Catwoman's Navel-Deep Neckline or Sonya Blade's lack of a bra far outnumbers those seeking a closeup of Luthor's backside.
- Mythology Gag:
- Superman and his friends find out that some force is merging their world with another, which is destroying them both. The merging is causing certain characters to act violent and hostile. Superman and co. travel to a void between the worlds, with lots of floating rocks. They run afoul of a team of warriors from the other world, and the thunder god challenges them. Superman and the thunder god battle bitterly until they realize that they've been victims of the rage caused by the merging, and the two of them join forces against the main villain. The villain is defeated, and the two worlds are separated and restored to normal - but a major villain ends up suffering an ironic fate. This is similar to the JLA/Avengers crossover.
- In 3, Liu Kang could drop a Mortal Kombat arcade cabinet on the head of his enemy as his fatality. This same Fatality is recreated in Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe.
- Lex Luthor's arcade ending uses the term "Deadly Alliance" when he and Quan Chi join forces.
- His fighting style is a near perfect copy of Sektor's.
- Deathstroke's ending has him forming a clan of ninjas whose designs mirror several of the ninjas in the MK universe.
- He also uses a lot of Stryker's attacks.
- His fatality? That's how he killed Jericho (his own son) in the comics.
- Kano points out how The Flash's dash attacks and Super Speed remind him of Kabal.
- The Flash also has the only Heroic Brutality in the game that plays straight to its name, as it resembles a UMK3-style Brutality.
- Green Lantern's ending has the Armageddon pyramid, and Sinestro tries to take it over.
- He also fights like Ermac.
- In Wonder Woman's ending, she carries a dagger very reminiscent of Ashrah's, Quan Chi's pendant, and a shield which resembles the logo of Deadly Alliance.
- Darkseid's ending is very similar to the beginning of Mortal Kombat 2, where an old Shang Tsung begs for mercy to a big and manly "lord of darkness".
- Shang Tsung essentially becomes Darkseid's new Desaad.
- Catwoman's ending has her earning the power to turn into a cheetah. While this is kind of farfetched, Catwoman could've learned how to perform an "animality".
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: All this mess started because Superman and Raiden had the brilliant idea to blast some crazy gods and warlords of evil into portals. Lex Luthor even points this to Supes in the DC side of the story. (See the Character sheet for this.)
- Nintendo Hard: Don't even think of playing the storyline game without spending a lot of time practicing the moves and learning the various commands. If playing the DC side, you begin as The Flash, who is pretty lame in terms of his fighting style. Then, after you switch to Batman, you're faced with a one-sided battle against one of the MK characters who will wipe you out almost instantly if you don't know what you're doing.
- Non-Lethal K.O.: Played straight with the Heroic Brutalities, though half of them look pretty damn lethal anyway, if only by the standards of series not named Mortal Kombat.
- One particularly harsh example is Green Lantern's Brutality, entrapping them inside a green sphere then reducing it to the size of a beachball. That has to hurt, ouch. Even the game seems to acknowledge this, since unlike other Heroic Brutalities (but exactly like Fatalities), the opponent isn't moving after it hits.
- Post-Adventure Adventure: No matter which side you pick when you start the game's story mode, you're presented with a cutscene of Superman/Raiden having just defeated Darkseid/Shao Kahn while they reference events that happened before this point. Once both of them are sent away, the game proceeds into the main plot.
- Power Creep, Power Seep: Part of the reason for the Kombat Rage in MK vs DC. Justified as the fusion of both worlds and Battle Rage weakens some characters, while empowering others. Lampshaded at least once, when Deathstroke figured out that the Joker could beat Sonya Blade:Deathstroke: (to Joker) Since when you can beat up anybody?
- Once the DC characters realize this is going on, Joker takes advantage by luring Batman into a stand-up fight.
- One of the most notable examples is a scene where Superman is attacked by Scorpion; with one kick, the ninja sends Supes soaring several city blocks away, and when he gets up, he still has Scorpion's burning footprint on his chest. He quickly realizes that not only are his powers fluctuating, this other guy is magic, one of the few things that can hurt Superman.
- Rainbow Pimp Gear: The online mode offers the chance to upgrade your stats with clothes... with some of the worst examples of this trope.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech:Shang Tsung: (to Kano) A clown? You were defeated by a CLOWN?
- "Rashomon"-Style: The story is done this way, up until the final two battles of Raiden and Superman's chapters.
- Sequel Hook: Many endings in the Arcade Mode suggest a sequel, such as Lex Luthor forming a Deadly Alliance with Quan Chi in his ending, Liu Kang and The Flash agreeing to warn each other when another interdimensional hole is opened in Kang's ending, and finding said hole later, the Green Lantern Corps trying to prevent Sinestro from obtaining the power of the Pyramid of Argus, and Batman having installed a new system in the Batcave in order to detect interdimensional rifts (called Outerworld Monitor and Auto-Containment, funnily enough.) Oh, and Sonya Blade gets a Green Lantern ring. But no power battery to recharge it.
- In story mode, both halves of Dark Kahn are trapped in the other's universe. Shao Kahn is banished to the Phantom Zone, and Darkseid to the Netherealm. In their arcade mode endings, Shao Kahn escapes the Phantom Zone with an army of Kryptonian supervillains, and Darkseid escapes the Netherealm and forces Shang Tsung into his service (making him his new Desaad), effectively having the Big Bads trade places with one another.
- Sequel Number Snarl: The game is counted by Netherrealm Studios as the eighth Mortal Kombat installment, despite not being part of the mainline continuity.
- Shown Their Work: One of Deathstroke's fatalities (the gut stab) was how he killed his own son in the comics!
- Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Trailer: The first trailer of the game is pretty much just Batman and Sub-Zero fighting, nobody else appears, even in the Mirrored Confrontation Shot.
- Squirting Flower Gag: The Joker does this in his chapter when he offers Sonya a flower, only for it to squirt acid on her wrist portal, teleporting them (as well as Kano and Deathstroke) to Oa.The Joker: I was going for the eyes.
- Story-Breaker Team-Up: Thanks to DC's involvement in the development, the game was forced into a T rating.
- Technical Pacifist. Again, the Brutalities. C'mon, how is Supes not comically piledriving someone by the head into the ground like a spike not fatal?
- Thou Shalt Not Kill: The DC heroes can't perform Fatalities. Instead, they get Heroic Brutalities, which are just as brutal as the Fatalities but don't directly result in the opponent's death.
- Two Girls to a Team: Each half of the crossover only has two playable women. Wonder Woman and Catwoman for DC, and Kitana and Sonya for Mortal Kombat.
- Unstoppable Rage: Unstoppable Kombat Rage, which causes anyone infected by it to become combative and aggressive while granting them a power boost. In-game, this translates to a Combo Breaker and is also what drives the playable characters to perform Fatalities/Heroic Brutalities.
- Versus Title: It's a crossover between the Mortal Kombat and the DCU.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Quan Chi vanishes from the story as the MK characters head to Apokolips for the final battle.
- The Worf Effect: Superman of all characters is frozen into a block of ice by Sub-Zero. Albeit, in the Fortress of Solitude, which would be advantageous to an ice mage.