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E3: Midway’s TNA iMPACT, Wheelman, and Mortal Kombat Vs. DC Universe

Midway Games has had their share of ups and downs, from the
low valleys of Blacksite: Area 51 and Hour of Victory to the pinnacles of Psi-Ops:
The Mindgate Conspiracy and Touchmaster. After spending a few hours in their E3
meeting room, we walked away optimistic about their upcoming releases.


We first sat down with TNA iMPACT!, a wresting game due for
the PS3, 360, Wii and PS2. As we grabbed the PS3 controller, we were slightly apprehensive
about the game; the competing Smackdown Vs. Raw series by THQ has been devoid
of innovation and seemed rooted in last-gen play mechanics. We sincerely hoped
TNA would be better.

The first thing Midway’s rep explained was the team’s goal
to keep the title running 60 frames per second. Except for a bit of choppiness
on the in-game wrestle intros, it looks like the team has met that goal, as
gameplay was buttery smooth. Our first match had three wrestlers vying to pull
down an “X” hung above the mat. Players would climb on a turnbuckle, and then
shimmy along a beam above the mat. Within a few minutes of learning the
controls, we were having a great time, pulling people down from the
scaffolding, and beating each other with chairs. We sat down with skepticism,
and walked away with optimism.This could turn into an amazing game to play along a few buddies.

Although our rep wouldn’t confirm four player multiplayer
via Xbox Live or the Playstation Network, we have a feeling that the final
product will allow for heated online battles. One thing that won’t make this year’s
TNA will be female wrestlers.


Whether or not Wheelman is successful, we can nearly guarantee
one thing- its nudging system will be copied by numerous racing games over the
next few years. The game is being developed in collaboration between Vin Diesel’s
Tigon Studios and Midway, and will be released (presumably, long) before
the film.

Our demo of Wheelman started in an open-ended recreation of
Barcelona, as we drove through the streets, with police in hot pursuit. As the
police pull up against the main character’s vehicle, players can use the right
stick to nudge the cops into scenery. The results feel amazing, as cars spin
throw the air, ejecting rag-doll like policemen, before settling to the ground
in a smoking mess. Players can also use the nudge function for a quick lane
changing maneuver; this was used expertly to pass a narrow gap in a two-way
tunnel.

Clearly the focus of the game was destruction; Wheelman
borrows code from Midway’s own Stranglehold, as nearly every object in the environment can
be destroyed.  Additionally, we were
shown an air-jack move that allows player to change vehicles in a move reminiscent
of PSP title, Pursuit Force. Over 100 different side missions will complement the main
game to extend playtime. Now, if Midway can just fix the framerate we’ll be very pleased.


Finally, we spent some quality time with Mortal Kombat Vs.
DC Universe
. The first thing we noticed is how little this game has changed from its predecessors.
Except for the integration of the DC hero and villain characters, two changes
have been added to the core gameplay: Klose Kombat and Free Fall.

As soon as Klose Kombat is initiated by a player, the camera
zooms, showing the plastic-looking player models, and an on-screen
representation of the controller’s attack buttons. The attacker presses one of
the buttons, and then the defender has a limited amount of time to copy the
input, thereby blocking the attack.

Free-Fall Kombat is automatically activated when one player
knocks their opponent to a lower, enviormental level. During this sequence, fighters battle
to achieve domination- the player who wins, lands on top of their opponent, and
inflicts damage. Fatalities will be used by the returned MK cast and DC villains,
while hero’s have violent, non-lethal moves to finish the match. Overall, those
worried that MK vs. DC would be watered-down need not fear, the game feels and
plays surprising close to its ancestors.

About Robert Allen

With over 35 years of gaming experience, Robert 'DesertEagle' Allen is Tech-Gaming's resident worrier/warrior who spends his days teaching at three colleges and his nights devoted to JRPGs.

47 comments

  1. Great impressions!

  2. So you guys didn’t love MK vs. DC? As a comic nerd I can’t wait for it.

  3. I hope Wheelman ends up as good as Chronicle’s of Riddick (the game, not the movie)

  4. I might rent MK vs. DC just to see Batman fight Scorpion. Maybe they might even make a comic book crossover series based on it.

  5. Man, I’m excited for any wrestling game that isn’t WWE branded, and the fact that it’s shaping up nicely is icing on the cake. Great article.

  6. Great preview guys. TNA might be worthy of some attention.

  7. TNA all the way, baby! I’ve wanted a wrestling game beside Smackdown. One thats not crappy.

  8. That’s a pretty ridiculous MKvDC screenshot.

  9. marvel vs Capcom>>>>MK vs. DC

  10. Did Wheelman look that blurry/light? That screenshot looks fake?

  11. Glad to hear Midways improving from their Blacksite days. Man, that game was awful….

  12. In the first shot, it looks like the guy on the ground is pulling the tights off the other guys. LOL.

  13. I’ve been getting more and more excited about MKvDC. Sure, it’ll probably suck, but hope never hurt, right?

  14. Its seems like it’s just another NK game this time with DC characters; I’d rather have the puzzle fighter, and cart games, myself.

  15. Let hope Diesel can go for two for two; his action career isn’t exactly lighting up.

  16. Nice previews

  17. Does it still say “FINISH HIM”?

  18. and Marvel>DC!

  19. MKvDC should be awesome

  20. Desert,
    thanks for reporting on all the stuff at E3. Think it will ever be open to the public?

  21. No, it’s always been media and exhibitors only. One bad harbinger- the exit banner always has the date for next year’s show.

    This year there was no date!

  22. Wheelman will drop is price quick, like all Midway games. That’s when I’ll pick it up.

  23. THat MK pic is crazy!

  24. Superman FROZE Sub Zero. UNPOSSIBLE!

  25. I don’t think Mk will be the hot game for too long; it might sell well for a week or two.

  26. I’m a little skeptical about MK vs. DC, but it looks good so far. Any idea on when it’s going to be released? It might be a great gift for a friend of mine hehe.

  27. Wheelman looks interesting, remember watching someone demoing the game and showing off these cool moves you can do with the car. I think the controls can make or break that game.

  28. Great preview. Bookmarked the site

  29. Kombat VS DC sounds a little strange to me. But then again, the Kombat games havent been good since the SNES/Genesis days in my opinion.

  30. Sounds like a vast improvement for Midway. Congrats for them.

  31. If I remember correctly it used to be open to the public when it was a bigger affair. It’s just that you had to pay hundreds of dollars to get a pass.

  32. You are right, Unlicked, I stand corrected!

    For us poor people, that was never an option.

  33. does MK vs DC even have fatalities?

  34. Can’t wait for Mortal Kombat Vs. DC Universe… Looks to be just as gory as ever!

  35. Weren’t you lucky to know me so I could get you in. Back when it was like the Disneyland of gaming. Not this boring stripped down affair.

  36. The new MK game looks decent, not really a huge fan of DC comic really except for a few people out there like Spawn but i’m more of a Marvel person. Still the game looks pretty rad!

  37. Mortal Kombat VS DC is just a stupid idea. Honestly, does anyone actually believe someone like Johnny Cage could beat up Superman? Thats like saying Jacky Chan can fight Ryu from street fighter and win.

  38. When you say MK will play like its ancestors, are we talking Armageddon level (utter junk), or even further back to when the game was actually good (1, 2, 3)?

  39. Still scared that MK vs DC will suck like all recent MK games.

  40. MK vs DC intrigues me…it just seems like a crazy combination to me. I’ll have to keep watching this one.

  41. I want to see Batman’s fatalities.

  42. I’d like to see Jacky Chan vs. Jet Li vs. Sumo Huang in a cage match.

  43. Tna impact looks like it has some solid gameplay mecahnics and sounds like a good remedy for the lame WWE games that have been coming out. And DC vs Mortal Kombat sounds like a good time.

  44. I am looking forward to TNA’s first entry into the video game world. As to DC vs MK.. not sure how I feel. I will rent it sometime though. Thx for the info

  45. Batman ftw

  46. MK vs DC looks cool. Any chance to get MK vs Marvel?

  47. I can’t wait for MK vs DC, I wasn’t into it initially but after all the stuff Ive seen, it sure looks to be one heck of a game.