Test Your Might, meanwhile, takes us back to the board-breaking days of the early Mortal Kombats, and occurs when you slam your opponent into the wall of a flat-planed arena. Both combatants are then required to mash the face buttons, moving a damage counter across a sliding scale. There is no way to for the defending player to counter a Test Your Might, but should your fingers move like The Flash, you can potentially negate all the damage.
MK vs. DC also has a stab at its own Samurai Shodown-style rage gauge, also similar to the one in Tekken 6, which fills up as you receive damage or perform special moves. Half a gauge can be used to perform a Kombo Breaker, which works as advertised, and can be useful for escaping further punishment should Catwoman or Kitana be battering you flat against a wall. When the meter's full, you can squeeze both triggers for Rage Mode, where you take damage but your combos can no longer be interrupted, and every combo is also unblockable after the first hit. Sadly though it's too easy for an inexperienced player to cheese a losing round back by activating Rage Mode and rushing their opponent with cheap three-hit combos, and the only real defence is to back away until it ends or to fly into a Rage yourself.
In the past, not being able to compete directly with the finesse of Street Fighter or the later graphical sophistication of Tekken and Dead or Alive, Mortal Kombat's appeal has largely been down to its violent bouts and graphic Fatalities. The introduction of the DC licence therefore caused concerns about how far Midway would be allowed to beat seven bells out of Wonder Woman or torpedo-dive Batman to a bloody pulp. The end result is a compromise between gratuitous gore and squeaky clean; clothes rip, tights slice and faces break and bruise, with a bit of blood splashing around on most impacts, but even if the round goes the distance most fighters still look alright.
The Fatalities are toned down as well. Each character has two options, with no Brutalities, Animalities or Stage Fatalities to be seen, and compared to the highly inventive methods of the past, Fatalities in MK vs. DC are tame and simplistic, although most of them would still appear to have the desired effect. And before anyone gets excited about Batman murdering Sonya with the Batmobile, be warned that the six superheroes in the 22-strong roster only have Heroic Brutalities - effectively beating the loser to a pulp, but leaving then with a faint pulse and a future in wheelchair-testing.
Taking MK vs. DC online, matches range from just about playable to, "how the hell did Sub- Zero freeze me?!? I fully blocked that stupid ice blast!" Furthermore, most of the games we played with manageable lag turned into bouts comparing cheap special moves and who could Rage for the win quickest. Certain characters, like The Flash, seem to have a repertoire of abuse-able techniques, and it doesn't help that a day after the game's release an infinite combo for Superman came to light, whereby you just spam the pro-move version (uber-cheap specials requiring very tight timing) of his Ground Tremor. Still, if anyone was going to have a surefire winner, it had to be the Man of Steel.
As it stands then, MK vs. DC probably won't be seeing tournament play in the next Evo Championship Series. That doesn't preclude it from being a solid fighter for dabblers, but when so many other fighters, including Soul Calibur and Smash Bros., offer accessible gameplay for low-level play, while at the same time offering core gamers underlying balance and depth, we can't help feel this is yet another missed opportunity for Midway to craft a worthy Mortal Kombat.
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