Worlds collide

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Sometimes, what seems at first to be an odd mashup works out fairly well - the Scooby-Doo gang and the Harlem Globetrotters, Solid Snake and the cast of the Nintendo game universe, chocolate and peanut butter.

But I still would never have considered partnering the over-the-top gore of Mortal Kombat with the larger-than-life heroics of Superman.

Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe is a brutal fist-on-glove fighting title that's supposed to combine the M-rated Kombat games with colorful-spandex-wearing characters like Green Lantern and the Joker. What results is a somewhat sanitized, yet still gruesome, fighting experience.

So how does a simple cybernetic soldier like Kano stand toe-to-toe with Superman, the god of heroes, and still have a fighting chance? I'll leave it up to the plot exposition to explain.

After he's beaten in his latest invasion attempt by the heroes of Earth, galactic despot Darkseid opens a portal to return to his home planet and begin planning his next invasion attempt. But it seems Superman's tired of the alien's repeated assaults on his adopted world, so he uses his powers to trap the escaping baddie in his own dimensional tunnel.

Meanwhile, in the Mortal Kombat universe, thunder god Raiden has again defeated the evil Shao Kahn by jolting him into seeming nothingness through a dimensional portal. These simultaneous dimensional shifts cause a cataclysmic reaction that creates an uber-villain comprised of Darkseid and Shao Kahn - Dark Kahn.

The story is pure comic-book stuff, and as the two worlds converge, the heroes of each realm begin to change. Superheroes like the Flash and Wonder Woman find their powers lessened while the relatively human characters from Mortal Kombat gain godlike strength and speed.

This allows the two sets of characters to compete on a basically even playing field - and helps explain how someone like Jax could pummel Superman into submission.

The fairly diverse cast of iconic characters includes popular DC heroes and villains like Catwoman, Batman, Captain Marvel and Lex Luthor along with Mortal Kombat favorites Liu Kang, Shang Tsung and Sonya Blade. There's a nice mix of play styles between fast up-front fighters, mystic ninjas and superheroes.

Overall, it's a good run-of-the mill fighting game with a colorful cast, and two single-player campaigns tell each side of the worlds-colliding story. Fans of either Mortal Kombat or DC comics are likely to enjoy at least a temporary diversion with this title, but for non-fans, its brevity and lack of gameplay depth make it more of a solid rental.

"Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe"

System: PS3, Xbox 360

Price: $60

Players: 1 or 2

Rated: T for Teen

Who Should Buy It?: Mortal gods and superheroes

GameOn! Grade: C+