GC 2008: MK vs. DC Universe Updated Hands-On

We're all smiles as we check out the playable Joker in Midway's upcoming fighter. Plus four new character reveals!

He's got that ugly purple suit, the bright green hair, and that painted-on smile that's one part nut job and one part pure menace. And while he might not pack the punch of a Superman or a Scorpion, that doesn't mean the Joker won't be a formidable opponent in the upcoming Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe. We had a chance to try out an updated build of the game today to check out the newly implemented "rage" system and play as the Caped Crusader's grinning nemesis.

While he was announced as a playable character back at Comic-Con, we haven't had a chance to play as the Joker until today. As you might expect, he handles quite a bit differently from the more traditional MK characters or the beefier DC heroes. After all, Joker doesn't have Superman's strength or Flash's blinding speed. What he does have, however, is some cunning moves and a few humorous weapons that will surely pack a punch.

The first thing you'll notice is his look. This isn't the bedraggled Heath Ledger version of Joker from The Dark Knight. At the same time, MK vs. DC's Joker isn't the relatively prim and proper version of Joker played in the original Tim Burton Batman film (portrayed by Jack Nicholson). Instead, this Joker draws its influence from the comics, namely the classic Alan Moore/Brian Bolland Batman graphic novel "Batman: The Killing Joke." The Joker's grin is as long and exaggerated as his lean, extended physique. He brings a sort of manic, comic menace to his fighting style, almost as if he's mocking the idea of fighting as he's kicking butt.

And, make no mistake, the Joker can kick all kinds of butt. In addition to relatively weak attacks, he's got a veritable arsenal of weapons at his disposal that you can access by pressing various button combinations. These weapons include exploding playing cards you can hurl at opponents, a joy buzzer that will electrocute your foes, and a comic boxing glove that really packs a wallop. And though we haven't seen the full roster yet, we're willing to bet that the Joker's fatality is the best in the bunch. After pulling a pistol on his dazed opponent, he pulls the trigger and a flag with the word "BANG" appears out of the barrel. Just when you think that's it, the Joker pulls out a real pistol and splits his opponents' wig. It's shocking and funny the first time you see it...just what you want from an MK fatality.

So beyond those handy comic gadgets, why is that Joker (or a similarly underpowered character like Catwoman) goes toe-to-toe with heroes like Superman? You can thank the newly introduced rage system for that. Though rage will tie into the MK vs. DC storyline, providing an explanation for why all the characters in the game are in roughly the same league in terms of power, when it comes to gameplay, rage plays a very important role.

Each character will have a rage meter, just underneath his or her health meter. You build your rage meter by taking and dealing damage or by blocking an opponent's strikes. As the meter fills up, you can use breaks to block an opponent's strikes. If you let the rage meter build up completely, however, you can enter rage mode (by pressing the shoulder buttons). Here, you'll have roughly six seconds to kick as much butt as you possibly can. Your attacks will be more powerful and, more importantly, unblockable. So, as long as you can make contact, you'll be pounding your foe into dust. Just watch out because his or her rage meter will be similarly building. As a result, you'll have to use your rage meter at the right moment (preferably to finish off your opponent). If you fail to do so, you might find yourself on the receiving end of a rage flurry.

While the Rage mode is a bit tactical, the free fall system is as fun as it looked when it was first revealed. When you toss someone off a ledge, your character will dive into the fray after him, resulting in a long plummet where both characters are beating the tar out of one another. The mechanic here is quite simple--the person on top dishes out the damage by hitting one of the face buttons. Countering moves in free fall is simple--the player just needs to guess which button his opponent will hit next. If he does, the characters flip flop in the air and the cycle begins again. It's not unusual for players to swap positions in free fall multiple times, and the player who ends up on the bottom will take the brunt of the damage.

Each of the (currently planned) 11 stages in the game will contain at least one free fall opportunity, as well as a chance to push your opponent through multiple walls while running at full speed. It's basically a button-mashing session, trying to see how much damage you can rack up by slamming buttons as your opponent smashes through wall after wall, with his opponent in tow.

In all, MK vs. DC Universe is looking like a lot of fun. Of course, any fighting game lives and dies with its cast of characters, and today, Midway announced four more characters to its final roster of 22 playable fighters. On the DC side, you'll see Wonder Woman and Deathstroke, while on the MK side, you'll be playing as Raiden and Kano. None of those characters were available in today's demo, but we look forward to seeing how they match up in our next look at the game.

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39 comments
Ken_Kusanagi
Ken_Kusanagi

Are you serious? THIS IS JUST SOOOOOOOOOO WRONG!!! You really want to see AQUAMAN kicking SCOPION's ASS??!!!! C'MON!!! What is next?! Fred Flinstone VS Spider-Man??!!! Jonny Quest VS Sagat??!! THE COOL-AID MAN VS IORI YAGAMI??!!!! This is just a pathetic attempt to keep alive 2 dying universes! and its both silly and lame! You want a REAL fighting game?! wait for STREET FIGHTER IV, and if you want to kick some ass NOW get Soul Calibur IV but don't waste your money in this piece of CRAP!.

SiMsquid92
SiMsquid92

I'm gonna play this game just so I can freeze that joker as sub-zero, and break him into a million pieces... I hope you can still do that, as a fatality

michael_milad
michael_milad

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

ansem1986
ansem1986

you are all forgetting something...this could be a good game...with superman in it... need i remind you all of superman for the n64? this game could break a long streak of sucky superman games and, if you ask me, that's what's amazing oh and joker

MGS_4life
MGS_4life

playing as batman, superman, so on and so forth, just sounds awesome! being able to fight while falling to a different area sounds really cool! i just hope its not a big disappointment!

MGS_4life
MGS_4life

i cant wait to get my hands on this game!!

sMeAgOl_VaDeR
sMeAgOl_VaDeR

the joker sounds freakin awesome. i love the 2 pistol trick.

juan772
juan772

Riddler must be in here!

razim14
razim14

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

dark_being
dark_being

I dont like Raiden and Kano, but the Joker is awesome!

Spelly-93
Spelly-93

I am a hardcore Joker fan. I won that graphic novel, "The Killing Joke" ... So glad my favorite villain is going to be in this game. Cant wait to use him :D

Patous
Patous

The pencil trick...that would be awesome.

-Intellectual-
-Intellectual-

@ zeke2040 Totally agree with you man. I want to bleed him.

punkpunker
punkpunker

too bad it's not the joker like my pic but still it is awesome!! wonder if there is the pencil trick like in TDK

zeke2040
zeke2040

man, i so hate super man it will be a pleasure on doing fatality's all the time on him... thanks midway for making my dreams come true..lol

pbot1981
pbot1981

Can't wait to play as the Flash & Green Lantern. I'm probably alone on this, but I'm glad that they took out fatalities for a lot of the superheroes. Keeps things a little more true to form.

doubleA_ron0890
doubleA_ron0890

fun fun fun!especially having the joker in the roster.

NYCKing87
NYCKing87

This games gonna be awsome. I'm gonna laugh at everyones face who doubted this thing from the beginning.

DNOMYTE
DNOMYTE

this game will be EPIC

dragonfist1407
dragonfist1407

i hope this game will have online and i wonder what the story mode is going to be about

dragonfist1407
dragonfist1407

dias game looks sexy and im deffinitly gettin it

Nic-V
Nic-V

First off... No Riddler they already have enough Batman characters. I can't wait to see who remains :p

Nic-V
Nic-V

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

JACKAL1883
JACKAL1883

I am still Waiting for the Riddler to be announced

Jackyll87
Jackyll87

Superman is gonna freefall ?