Test Your Speculation

June 6th, 2008 by | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I’ve joked about the upcoming Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe game a lot and I don’t expect it to be an especially good game, but at the same time, I’m drawn to the lead-up. As a crossover, it’s such a unique concept that I can’t help but wonder about the final product. In other words, at the moment, I’m enthralled by the speculation.

As of now, only four characters have been revealed: Superman, Batman, Sub-Zero and Scorpion. Series bigwig Ed Boon said that there will be 20-22 characters on the game’s roster. On one hand, I get that this is because the game has a brand new engine working for it. On the other hand, it doesn’t bring in the fun factor that comes with the obscure characters.

Capcom’s crossover games initially had the same problem, which is why the sequels had more going for them. With the foundation in place, the creators got to move outward and be more creative with the character spots. That’s when we got guys like Marrow, Tron Bonne and Chang Koehan. So if there is a sequel to this game, only then will we get Noob Saibot vs. The Shade or Moloch vs. The Shaggy Man. Myself, I’m all for Stryker vs. Azrael in the battle of who fanboys hate the most.

For the fun of speculation, I’m trying to make some educated guesses on who will be in the game. The low character count helps. The need to include the more marquee characters from both sides helps too. Boon also mentioned that each character pairs into a rivalry with the crossover counterpart.

That means you have to figure out first who Midway wants to put in the forefront. That means most of the MK1 cast and a handful of the other more memorable fighters. Then you mix and match while making sure to stick in all the well-known DC heroes. To be optimistic, let’s say that there are 11 characters on each side.

Now, Shang Tsung vs. Martian Manhunter isn’t on my list. It makes a ton of sense in terms of story. Not only do they both do the morphing thing, but you have conjuring fire up against the fear of fire. The thing is, not only would two morphing characters be too redundant in a game like this, but there hasn’t been any morphing in a MK game in years. It’s too much of a loading nightmare.

Now then…

This has already been stated by Boon as an example. They’re both grim ninja characters and on the frontlines of their respective companies. Plus they make for neat promotional graphics. Maybe in the next game they’ll have Red Hood vs. Frost in the battle of the failed asshole protégés that come back from the dead.

Just because Superman’s been announced doesn’t mean he makes sense as Scorpion’s rival. Now, Scorpion’s storyline is that he was murdered unjustly and came back as a spectre, trying to get vengeance on the previous Sub-Zero. As the storyline progressed, he spent some time working for the Elder Gods as their sacred champion.

When you say it like that, it sounds like the Spectre would make the perfect rival against Scorpion. On paper. I just don’t think it’ll happen. I can buy Superman being weakened enough that Kano can hurt him, but the Spectre? That guy could take on all of the MK boss characters at the same time if he felt like it. At most, I’d say that Scorpion would become the new Spectre in his ending.

That sounds pretty fucking rad, actually. Somebody draw that.

In terms of rivalry, think back to the long-running rivalry of Sub-Zero vs. Scorpion. Scorpion’s counterpart would have to be somebody Batman fights a lot. Joker? Nah, doesn’t fit. Ra’s Al Ghul? Yeah. Sure. Why not?

Ra’s Al Ghul is known by the general public for his role in Batman Begins and the animated series. He’s one of Batman’s top villains and much like Scorpion, he’s an assassin that continues to return from the dead. At the very least, this one makes the most sense.

Raiden’s classic story makes him more like Captain Marvel’s current self, but his darker character path of late makes him far more susceptible to being pitted up against Black Adam. That’s tossed aside simply because he has to be up against Superman. Ignoring his recent evilness, he has the same leadership role as Superman and he’s the only MK good guy on the power level of Superman. At least the only high profile one.

There’s also the meta joke of it. People have been calling Raiden’s signature screaming attack the “Superman Glide” or “Superman Dive” or “Superman Push” for years. It’s all coming full circle.

Wonder Woman naturally has to be in the game. Mortal Kombat only has two iconic female heroes: Kitana and Sonya. Considering Kitana is too a warrior princess and is just more important to the overall story, this rivalry has to be cemented.

I suppose in a sequel, that could lead to Mileena vs. Cheetah.

Liu Kang is considered to be the main hero of the MK universe, but he is also considered to be extremely boring. There’s a reason why the fans gravitate towards the ninjas more often than the generic hero with the turkey voice. At least they did add excitement by doing that whole zombie thing in the later games.

Green Lantern is a superhero that’s also been accused of being boring. Mostly referring to Hal Jordan and John Stewart. While Hal Jordan is the main Green Lantern these days, Stewart gets the role of media Lantern for the sake of adding diversity. So much like Justice League Unlimited, Justice League Heroes and the aborted Justice League movie, Hal takes the backseat to John this time around.

Like I said earlier, Sonya is one of MK’s most iconic female characters, so she’s a definite. Since squeezing as many female characters as possible into a fighting game is the big thing to do these days (see Soul Calibur 4), it would make sense that DC would try to toss in another superheroine to fight Sonya. While I have the nagging feeling that they’d use someone shitty like Starfire, Black Canary feels like a decent enough fit against Sonya that I can see it work.

It would also make sense in terms of fighting style. New engine or not, Midway has experience programming a movelist for a woman whose power is super-screaming.

You know I’d love Cage vs. Booster Gold, but that’s not happening. More so than Cage with MK, Flash is too important to DC not to show up in this game. He’s more light-hearted than most of the other major Justice Leaguers and much like Johnny, he too has dealt with his ego in contrast to his heroism.

The great irony here is that Johnny Cage is supposed to be a successful actor and a Flash movie is destined to suck. Hey, I love Wally, but face the facts.

I figure there has to be a street level DC villain vs. MK evil grunt rivalry in there somewhere. On the MK side of things, the more popular two are Kano and Baraka. Kano’s part of the original cast, so I’ll give the spot to him. Bane hasn’t been relevant in years, but he’s still well-known to the casual audience and would fit the gritty MK style. He fits well as a fighting game character.

Then again, this spot could always go to the Joker. But he’s not much of a real fighting-based character. It’s hard to say. Bane just feels right here.

Midway loves shoving Quan Chi down our throats. After the initial Mortal Kombat Trilogy (the series itself, not the game), Quan Chi is the most memorable member of the MK cast. He’s probably one of the few that anyone really remembers. They had something going with Kenshi, but their interest in the character petered out by the next game.

If they’re breaking away from the initial three games, then Quan Chi is the most likely. So who is his rival? A fellow villain? If they go the lazy route, they could have him fight Sinestro, who would fight almost identical to Green Lantern. There aren’t any great magic villains that anyone’s heard of from the DC Universe. Do you really think anyone really wants to play as Mordru?

Let’s go in another direction and go with heroic sorcerers. Justice League Heroes included Zatanna, so why not? She brings up the female ratio and is popular enough to earn a spot in the game.

Just as long as Quan Chi’s ending doesn’t include him being inspired by her choice in wearing fishnets.

If we’re talking about the first game and not the series in general, Goro is Mortal Kombat. Sure, the ninjas got all the glory in the sequels and he wasn’t even the final boss, but he was the big attraction. Kintaro and Motaro were just extensions of the idea (“What if instead of having four arms, he had four legs?”). Deadly Alliance killed him off, alongside Shao Kahn and Liu Kang, to show that this was a new direction. Of course, they all came back by the next game due to their iconic value.

Doomsday is much stronger than Goro, but if Superman’s getting tamed, then I suppose Doomsday is fair game. He’s in the same ballpark as Bane as the guy everybody remembers even if he hasn’t been relevant since his first appearance. Still, I can’t think of a better brutish monster with no megalomaniacal plans going on who could best fill in the subboss spot.

Getting to the final bosses, what else could it be? Shao Kahn’s worth was dwarfed when they introduced Onaga into the story. Doesn’t matter. Kahn is still king of the MK bad guys. No cutscenes about how impressive Onaga’s ability to no-sell attacks is will ever change that.

In the same fashion, he may have just been killed off in the pages of Countdown, but Darkseid is the only acceptable end boss for the DC side of things. Sure, I could almost see them put in Superman Prime or even that piece of shit Monarch, but Darkseid is the sure bet. Besides, he and Kahn are at least comparable. They’re both ancient rulers with an almost complete lock on their dominions, due to ruling their worlds for countless years.

Now somebody draw me a picture of Kirby-style Shao Kahn. That sounds too awesome to pass up. Come ooooon!

Anyway, as the game comes closer to fruition, we’ll see how close I am. Feel free to play along at home!

One final note, I came across this take on the crossover and found it amusing. Check it out.

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5 comments to “Test Your Speculation”

  1. Wait, the first Vs. games weren’t running on a new engine at all. It was just a further extension of the engine they’d essentially been refining since Street Fighter 2. To move it forward a bit, it certainly wasn’t any different than the Street Fighter Alpha games. Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 was probably the first major overhaul since it was running on completely different hardware and had the whole 3D background thing going on.

  2. I was going to point out how the Monarch is a hilarious villain, but then I realized you’re talking about someone from DC and not the Venture Brothers character.

  3. Kirby-style Shao Khan, as requested.

    More or less…

  4. What, no Shang Tsung?

  5. Shouldn’t that be ‘Test Your Spekulation!’?