Monday, May 26, 2008

Top 25 MK/DC
#1 Batman (DC)
#2 Superman (DC)
#3 Black Adam (DC)
#4 Catwoman (DC)
#5 Steel (DC)
#6 Green Lantern (DC)
#7 Green Arrow (DC)
#8 Flash (DC)
#9 Hawkman (DC)
#10 Noob Saibot (MK)
#11 Flash (DC)
#12 Martian Manhunter (DC)
#13 Aquaman (DC)
#14 Red Robin (DC)
#15 Wonder Woman (DC)
#16 Robin (DC)
#17 Zatanna (DC)
#18 The Demon (DC)
#19 Hawkgirl (DC)
#20 Nightwing (DC)
#21 Johnny Cage (MK)
#22 Spectre (DC)
#23 Green Lantern (DC)
#24 Goro (MK)
#25 Green Lantern (DC)
They've faced innumerable otherworldy oddities and interdimensional interlopers, but for the heroes of the DC Universe, the cosmos conspires to bring them into conflict with a group of warriors whose very function is to battle it out in the name of their realm!
Mortal Kombat versus DC Universe marks Midway's first major forray into the 'next generation' with a franchise responsible for two major motion pictures, two TV series, a catalogue of comics, and over a dozen gaming titles.

Already confirmed and revealed are franchise icons; Batman, Sub-Zero, Superman, and Scorpion.

As a site with split affections, the Infinite Wars has raised an ambassadorial hand, to provide a gateway between universes, for fans of both camps.
Over the past five weeks we've been using gimmicks, themes, and commonalities to count down some of the heroes and villains you may be seeing in the cast of twenty-something, and some whom you won't!

This week Midway will reveal another character render from the game; likely Batman or Sub-Zero; but as yet, there's no news since last week's reveal of Superman, and the conceptual stages of Metropolis and Netherealm arenas.

We're at the halfway mark now, which means the steady trickle of headlining names should gradually widen to a stream! If you missed out, be sure to track back through our many MK/DC updates, including: Fantasy Fights week one, two, three, four, and five; C2C supplements on common themes, and secret fatalities; and our reviews of the Blood & Thunder comic series! In the mean time...

[#527] :RANKING
[50%] :ODDS
Injustice League

RANKING: [#231]
ODDS: [100%]
Strength: Solomon Grundy 6 (Invincible)
Intelligence: Scorpion 2 (Average)
Speed: Scorpion 3 (Athlete)
Stamina: Draw 6 (Generator)
Agility: Scorpion 3 (Acrobat)
Fighting: Scorpion 6 (Warrior)
Energy: Scorpion 4 (Arsenal)

The Battle...
He's one of the most recognisable characters in American gaming, and you might have expected to see him with the headlining names in our final entry. Hey, we're halfway through our one hundred-plus countdown of characters, I figured you deserved a bone! And what better bone would there be than ol' bonehead himself - Scorpion!

Despite being instantly recognised as the yellow counterpart to Sub-Zero's blue, it's fair to say Scorpion's story is far less recognised. The trimming are obvious: murdered by Sub-Zero, Scorpion returns from the dead a spectre to exact revenge on the warrior responsible for his death, and the extermination of his family and clan. So begins a rivalry that spanned... two games!

1997's Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero, a scrolling adventure spin-off, revealed the details of Scorpion's murder, along with the added responsibility of his clan's death, falling on the sorceror, Quan Chi. Thus explained is Scorpion's cursed return in MKII despite the reveal that Scorpion successfully avenged his death, and killed Sub-Zero, during the first tournament.

Like Solomon Grundy; Scorpion's tenure in the afterlife is rarely long.
While his story has failed to regain the gravitas of early exploits, the undead ninja's presence continues to be felt through his shifting alliances with everyone from the younger Sub-Zero; to Shao Kahn; to even the Elder Gods themselves! His rivalries and adventures have touched many in the MK universe, making him one of the most enduring characters in the line-up.

Though Grundy is certainly a physical mismatch for the lithe Scorpion; the ninja spectre's versatility of martial arts prowess, supernatural abilities, and swordplay, are sure to be more than an equaliser.

Though a formidable and well recognised brute, Grundy's in-game potential offers very little beyond thematic suitability. One typically tends to doubt the MK team's ability to properly develop physically strong characters, with a long list of disappointing, skilless bosses to their name. Still, I'm not sure I'd complain!

The Math: Scorpion Our Winner: Scorpion

[#22] :RANKING
[55%] :ODDS
Justice League

ODDS: [40%]
Strength: Nightwolf 3 (Athlete)
Intelligence: Green Arrow 4 (Tactician)
Speed: Nightwolf 3 (Athlete)
Stamina: Draw 4 (Athlete)
Agility: Draw 3 (Acrobat)
Fighting: Draw 5 (Martial Arts)
Energy: Green Arrow 4 (Arsenal)

The Battle...
When it comes to DC heroes deserving of the side-to-side fighting experience, Green Arrow certainly jumps to mind!
As if to prepare for the game, 2007 saw the archer take up the sword, adding to an already diverse arsenal of weapons characterized by, but not limited to, a quiver full of trick arrows.

Nightwolf is a powerful shaman whose mystic abilities allowed him to evade destruction during Shao Kahn's invasion of Earthrealm. Among his many spiritual attacks is the ability to generate a bow and arrow of pure energy. Thus we have the flimsy thematic connection deemed necessary for a showdown such as this.

Practically Nightwolf has many abilities that give him the edge against the infamously powerless archer. If you're to accept his in-game specials as literal measures of his ability, Nightwolf can use his spiritual energies to generate tomahawk weapons, summon lightning strikes, and deflect projectiles.

Given GA's penchant for the aforementioned attack, a character capable of deflecting incoming arrows could be a bit of a problem. That is, unless, you take into account the lengthy experience of the character, and his own vices as a martial artist, and more recently, swordsman. I'm fairly comfortable with the notion that, despite not having "powers," Green Arrow could rise to the occasion as he so often has during his sixty-plus years of publication.

Should weapons find their way into MKvsDC I'd be quite happy to see the sword transplanted into a product tailor made for it. If not, GA still has a selection of ready-made projectile attacks (seen in Justice League Task Force), and street pounding martial arts skills that should not be forgotten!

The Math: Draw Our Winner: Green Arrow

[#425] :RANKING
[60%] :ODDS
League of

ODDS: [20%]
Outworld Army
Strength: Reiko 5 (Superhuman)
Intelligence: Ra's Al Ghul 4 (Tactician)
Speed: Draw 3 (Athlete)
Stamina: Draw 5 (Marathon)
Agility: Ra's Al Ghul 3 (Acrobat)
Fighting: Draw 6 (Warrior)
Energy: Reiko 2 (Projectile)

The Battle...
At this point I suppose we could just do away with themes, and fully commit to this as a catalogue of characters, varied in status and likelihood for a game appearance, but I feel committed!

Here we have two men whose lives have been defined by their leadership over armies, and their undying dedication to battle. Their world views may differ considerably, as do their methods, but there's a tenuous connection.

Reiko originally appeared in 1997's MK4, where he replaced Noob Saibot in a sweep to refresh the series cast in their first "3D" Kombat experience.
Retroactively defined as a mercenary General interested only in leading an army; Reiko caused a stir within the fanbase with an ending that revealed the character donning the helmet of then-believed dead, Shao Kahn. The event sparked debate within the fanbase until Kahn's return, and the eventual confirmation that Reiko was little more than an admirer of Kahn and his fashions.

A similar scenario of identity confusion surrounded Ra's Al Ghul in his most mainstream appearance as the lead villain in 2005's, Batman Begins. Drawing upon the veiled mythology of the character, Begins casts Liam Neeson as Ra's Al Ghul, initially posing as his own trusted servant, Ducard.
Japanese actor, Ken Watanabe, provides a Academy Award-nominated distraction for movie-goers, some who continue to be confused by the film's eventual reveal of Ducard's true identity at the top of the third act.

While Reiko's motivations are typically self-serving, pandering to his eventual aspirations to become an all powerful Emperor; Ra's Al Ghul takes a more planetary tact in his warmaking, believing environmental longevity to require the mass extermination and purification of sizable portions of humanity.
Though they both represent very different ideals, they are both mysterious characters whose goals are as epic as their armies are incalculable.

With the boost of starring in one of the most revered comic book adaptations, and one of DC's few successful films, Ra's Al Ghul would have to be up for consideration for the crossover game. Context of events and story may be what works against the ambiguous villain, but as another master swordsman and proficient fighter, he's a potentially flash addition to texture physics in the game!

The Math: Reiko Our Winner: Reiko

[#83] :RANKING
[55%] :ODDS
Injustice League

ODDS: [30%]
Strength: Deathstroke 3 (Athlete)
Intelligence: Deathstroke 4 (Tactician)
Speed: Draw 3 (Athlete)
Stamina: Draw 4 (Athlete)
Agility: Draw 3 (Acrobat)
Fight: Deathstroke 7 (Inherent)
Energy: Kenshi 3 (Explosives)

The Battle...
I'm starting to sense a theme of themes, here!
Once again, swords are front and centre, as we cast our sights on a character irrevocably identified by his mastery of the blade!

Kenshi was once a wandering warrior whose skill as a swordsman made him arrogant in his pursuit of battle. It was the deception of a disguised Shang Tsung that saw Kenshi lured into a plot to steal the souls of the warrior's ancestors, a plot that left the pride-filled fighter literally blinded!

After obtaining an ancient sword hidden within his family crypt, Kenshi began the path to retraining his senses to allow him to fight on as a blind master. It was a lesson in humility that only improved his fighting skill, which eventually developed to awaken to certain extra-senses, and the power of telekinesis.

Slade Wilson's enhancements were far less natural, attained as part of experimental development by the US military to create super-soldiers. As Deathstroke [the Terimator], Wilson's brain capacity and physical prowess was drastically increased. After abandoning the military to work as a mercenary, Wilson's enhancement remained a secret from his wife until his son was kidnapped by a rival. Though she attempted to kill him for endangering their child, a gunshot to the head left Wilson merely blind in one eye.

Versed in various fighting techniques; Deathstroke is a highly efficient fighter capable of executing and anticipating attacks through his heightened brain capacity. Among the many weapons carried in his arsenal a sword remains one of the most prominent, a weapon that reflects his confidence.

While both characters are defined by their expertise in fighting, it's Deathstroke that again has far more tangible evidence supporting his capabilities. Much like the other characters listed, translating Deathstroke into the game would require attention to fighting techniques, as much as options to utilize swordplay.

The Math: Deathstroke Our Winner: Deathstroke

[10%] :ODDS
The Rogues

ODDS: [0%]
Black Dragon
Strength: Draw 2 (Average)
Intelligence: Heat Wave 3 (Straight A)
Speed: Draw 2 (Average)
Stamina: Draw 3 (Strong Will)
Agility: Draw 2 (Average)
Fighting: Draw 3 (Streetwise)
Energy: Draw 3 (Explosives)

The Battle...
That's right! You read correctly! No Face!
Yessir! Even though this is only Round 6, we're dropping the big guns on you early!

Alright, this might not be the most auspicious of showdowns, but we've got more than one hundred characters to go through, and a list like this wouldn't be complete without some of the fun stuff. Then again, if you've played Special Forces, fun might be the last word to describe this scenario...

Originally designed to be a story-heavy two player adventure game, 2000's Mortal Kombat: Special Forces proved much less thrilling than builds previewed some four years earlier. It was the well known departure of series co-creator, John Tobias, that's said to have resulted in what is considered by many to be one of the worst Mortal Kombat games released, if not among the worst on the PSX (Playstation).

The premise of the game, a solo vehicle for Jax come release, was a simple third-person clash between the established agencies of the US Special Forces, and the Black Dragon clan. Designed to pit the likes of Sonya, Kano, and Kabal against one and other, the final product ultimately provides little more than fanboy thrills for it's occasional inclusion of vaguely memorable, but retired, boss characters.

Tremor, a bulky mustard variation on the classic ninja swap, is regularly cited by fans as a cult favourite eagerly anticipated for any new game. No Face is decidedly less popular, perhaps because the average MK fan can only remember colours, or perhaps because he just isn't that special. Either way, I have a soft spot for him!

Heat Wave's credentials as a flame throwing villain include regular clashes with his arch-nemesis, the Flash, as well as the occasional heated debate with his counterpart in the Rogues, Captain Cold. A zealous pyromaniac, Mick Rory became a far more glamorous villain than his MK counterpart, developing a fireproof suit, and flame spewing weapons of his own design.

No Face exhibits very little in the way of fighting ability, amounting to little more than a facially scarred man with a flame thrower. One might mockingly speculate his disfigurements were of his own doing, but very little explanation or depth is offered for these peripheral characters. In fact, that's why only concept art, taken from the game's opening intro, was availble for the mugshot.

Though unlikely to appear in the game, Heat Wave certainly has a variety of fairly obvious elemental attacks. One might assume such abilities might be retained by Scorpion, and thus, would not be much of a justification for such a comparatively obscure villain.

The Math: Heat Wave Our Winner: Heat Wave

[15%] :ODDS
Seven Soldiers
of Victory

ODDS: [35%]
Strength: Draw 3 (Athlete)
Intelligence: Draw 3 (Straight A)
Speed: Stryker 3 (Athlete)
Stamina: Draw 4 (Athlete)
Agility: Draw 3 (Acrobat)
Fighting: Stryker 5 (Martial Arts)
Energy: Stryker 4 (Arsenal)

The Battle...
I've mentioned before some of the issues I have with measuring Mortal Kombat characters against their comic book counterparts. Infinite Wars readers will be well conditioned to recognising the measure of characters on certain theoretical stats, as well as the tangible depictions of these abilities as laid out through years of publication.

Stryker is just such a character.
Despite being among the chosen warriors who survived Shao Kahn's genocide as part of the premise for Mortal Kombat 3; Stryker has very little to show for his fighting ability. Revamps to the character in 2006's Armageddon attempted to infuse the character with a fighting credibility previously not seen, accompanied by a design overhaul more fitting of a serious competitor.

Initially much maligned by fans for his bland appearance, Stryker's claim to fame was high-tier combination moves, and a flashy arsenal of weapons that include; a taser, baton, stun grenades, and automatic pistol.

Like many MK characters, there's little tangible evidence to draw conclusions on the extent of Stryker's ability. Manhattan Guardian, however, has amassed a few worthwhile credits in his short career since first appearing in Grant Morrison's 2005 mini-series, Seven Soldiers: Manhattan Guardian.

After shooting a man mistaken for his partner's killer, Jake Jordan retires from the police force disgraced. After responding to job searches from tabloid magazine, the Manhattan Guardian, Jordan finds himself the chosen inheritor of the superhero mantle formerly championed by Jim Harper in the 1940s.

Jordan remains in the employ of a surviving member of the original Guardian's junior troop, the Newsboy Legion, eventually leading to appearances in major events in recent DC history. Among his exploits, a brave stand against Doomsday, and participation in the battle for Metropolis, events debatably comparable to Stryker's implied survival of Kahn's extermination squads.

Despite substantial improvements, I'm deeply inclined to describe Stryker as the bottom of the MK pack. Going against the grain of most of our previous picks, I do actually think this time we've picked a reasonably fair fight, and despite arguments both way, I'd be comfortable enough to say hand-to-hand skill gives Stryker the edge here. I'd certainly entertain arguments both ways, though.

Suffice to say the somewhat obscure Manhattan Guardian is highly unlikely to appear in the game, but if it he were to, you could logically expect a lot of shield based attacks. With the original Guardian heavily inspired by a prior Simon/Kirby creation, you could imagine a lot of Captain America styled attacks, just for kicks. Y'know, if they didn't want to steal Kung Lao's thunder...

The Math: Stryker Our Winner: Stryker


Stephen said...

green arrow better kick some ass

Anonymous said...

Green Arrow would get owned by Nightwolf. Nightwolf is badass can't be stopped shaman. Kenshi over Deathstroke and No Face? That dude is a bum. Not even considered a "regular" MK character seeing as how he's never been in a vs game. That's a cheap victory for DC.