One versus all
'Batman V Superman' - it doesn't get much more obvious than that. One brooding dude versus an all-powerful alienin tights! What's not to love? Truly, this is a golden age for humanity, one in which even the grittiest of actioners bears a name as blatant, as unabashedly comic book-esque as Batman V Superman and yet barely raises a titter. It's a title that tells you everything you need to know, right there on the tin. One man with a thing for bats going up against another with severe ego issues, apparently. Game on.
There's something almost tangibly visceral about a good Vs. title. It's the ultimate, fan-baiting elevator pitch. Video games, for their part, are chock full of such epic confrontations, battles so potentially seismic in scope they practically demand to be made the part of the title, even if not all of them turn fulfill their promise. So, in recognition of the new Batman V Superman trailer, here are some of the very best and worst of gaming's 'Vs' collection. Whoever wins, we lose. Sometimes. Depending on quality.
Various Vs. Capcom
Why fight? Capcom must've made some serious drunken indiscretions over the years to procure this many enemies. There's X-Men, then Marvel, then Tatsunoko and SNK. Hell they've even snuck Tekken in there under the new fangled 'X' moniker. At this point Cappy could well be fighting it out with the principality of Monaco and no one would bat an eyelid. Maybe they talk trash them all behind their backs, like a gormless gossip of the gaming world?
Any good? Indubitably. Capcom's fighting family all share a single common ancestry - the ever-reliable Street Fighter franchise. You really couldn't go wrong with a lineage like that. Right?
Professor Layton Vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney
Why fight? Perhaps Mr. Phoenix is a nasty minded xenophobe, and can't quite stand to look at a man with soulless black circles where his eyes ought to be. Perhaps Prof Layton was given bad legal advice and spent 6 whole weeks in the slammer. Who knows? The simple fact remains that, on the surface of it, these two heroes aren't even close to being enemies. If anything they're allies, forced together by fate and generally collaborative from the off. I guess 'Professor Layton and Phoenix Wright have a bloody amicable chit-chat' didn't have quite the same ring to it.
Any good? Yes, actually. Layton Vs. Wright meshes the best bits of both franchises - along with some of the more minor niggles - to create an effective entree for both series.
Battle Vs. Chess
Why fight? For all of its tactical nous I'm afraid that the basic concept of 'chess' doesn't really stand much of a chance up against that of 'battle'. King to Knight Four may be all well and good in isolation, but it isn't going to stop a bunch of incensed soldiers from brutally bludgeoning the bishop. And no, that's not an innuendo. To be blunt: my money's on battle. But - intentional misreadings aside, what exactly does Battle Vs. Chess mean? Is this the 'Battle Vs.' franchise taking a brief detour into chess? Will the next game be named Battle Vs. Checkers, or Battle Vs. Hungry Hungry Hippo's? It's a mystery. Still, at least they didnt stick with the original title - 'Check Vs. Mate'. One man's painful decision between spotting his best bud the next month's rent or booting him right out the door. Probably
Any good? Battle Vs. Chess earned a mixed reception from critics, with some praising its on-point A.I., while others poured scorn on the game's badly implemented trimmings, namely its lacklustre story mode and poorly executed animations.
Alien Vs. Predator
Why fight? One wants to fight us, the other wants to f*** us. It's the alien equivalent of a jailbreak on the psychotic nymphomaniac's ward. Sadly for them, there are only so many of us fleshy repositories to go around, and so both sides must quickly take care of the other in order to establish dibs. It's galactic mandibles at dawn, triangular laser thingies versus a good old fashioned jaw-goring.
Any good? Initially yes, though the franchise has faltered in recent years. The first AvPs, and the arcade game remain worthwhile adventures. As for Extinction and 2010's reboot: not so much.
Bad Dudes Vs. Dragon Ninja
Why fight? You don't get a name like 'Bad Dudes' without cracking your fair share of skulls first. Either that, or by being part of a late '80s boyband. In this instance, I'm not entirely sure which description fits best. In any case, Bad Dudes tells the tale of two 'roided up street toughs named Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Shannon. No wait, scratch that. Despite visual similarities to those Hollywood greats, they're apparently called Blade and Striker. Because the '80s. With America overrun by ne'er do well Ninjas, and even the secret service unable to protect their chief, B and S are called in to retrieve said Pres from the clutches of the titular Dragon clan. What follows is several levels of largely unremarkable kicky, punchy conflict.
Any good? No, though that wasn't enough to stop the game from selling strongly on the ZX Spectrum. Plans for a crowdfunded sequel were ultimately squashed due to lack of support. I guess they really were "bad enough dudes" after all.
Mortal Kombat Vs. DC Universe
Why fight? An unfortunate mix up at the post office results in Raiden and Superman sending one another their dirty laundry. Said error somehow results in the merger of their respective realms, with the monstrous amalgam Dark Kahn playing both sides off against the other. Cue much pummelling. It doesn't get much more 'Vs.' than seeing two teams of muscle bound brawlers punching each other into oblivion.
Any good? Though not quite as polished as its latter-era standalone kin, i.e. MK 2011 & MKX, NetherRealm's first foray into the DC mythology still manages to produce plenty of fluid action and fun fan service.
Zoids Vs. III
Why fight? Zoids is a popular toy line originating in Japan, based on a concept that might best be described as Beast Wars meets the Power Rangers. People - typically wide -eyed and ultra emotive teenagers - are tasked with flying these titular mechs on behalf of their nation states, two of whom are currently embroiled in an ongoing conflict. The Zoids themselves are modelled after an array of insects and animals, and are just as alive as their allotted pilots.
That's the backstory covered, but why exactly are they fighting the number three? Is it really the magic number? Have the numerical cast of Sesame Street finally had enough? Nope, as it turns out this is just the third entry in the 'Zoids Vs.' series. How very disappointing.
Any good? That all depends on who you ask. Many fans consider the game to be an enjoyable, if somewhat flawed experience, while critics proved to be far less liberal with their praise.
WCW Vs. The World and WCW vs. nWo: World Tour
Why fight? When your sole business model revolves around pulling in the violence-loving punters, going to war against an entire world's worth of people just seems counterproductive. Still, I suspect the name WCW Vs. The World isn't meant to be taken literally. It's more of an 'us against them' type of thing, a glorious affirmation of sweaty machismo in the face of then wrestling rivals, the WWF. As for its sequel, WCW Vs. nWo: World Tour, that name does at least manage to make a lick more sense. After all, the company's biggest hit, the villainous nWo faction, set themselves up in direct opposition to the WCW brand, leading the two groups into a lengthy confrontation.
Any good? Both of the 'WCW Vs.' games were flawed, if enjoyable brawlers that essentially acted as dry runs for the series' best-loved outing, WCW/nWo Revenge.
Ford Vs. Chevy
Why fight? These two titans can trace their enmity back to the very earliest days of motor racing, when the Ford Model T battled it out against the Chevy 490. In the 1980s, both sides fought for domination of the pickup truck market, largely by dragging each other's vehicles around in big, cheesy commercials. Then, in 2005 both, belligerents agreed to appear in a mutually endorsed driving game. Sadly, the game sucked, though at least fans were finally able to settle their decades-long debate. Well, sort of. The whole project was essentially moot by 2005, with both sides already having appeared together in multiple superior driving games.
Any good? Not particularly. It may have included a slightly deeper roster of both Ford and Chevy vehicles, but at the cost of your actual enjoyment.