Today’s guest post is by Colin Crebs.
Flash fans rejoice! Another playable Flash in a fighting game appears, this time in Injustice: Gods Among Us. But is he done well, or is it an… injustice?
Pictured above: The Flash striking a pose with the DC Trinity, with Solomon Grundy photobombing.
For quick reference, here is a video of the Flash fighting Shazam. You can see the Flash do some super-speed combos, slow down time, and perform his Super Move where he runs entirely around the world just because why not. If you practice with him for a few minutes, you will discover he’s very different in play-style from his appearance in MKvDC. He will seem generally slower, with no ability to zip around the stage with impunity. But he may grow on you.
First, he’s got a lightning fast anti-air uppercut, like a faster, more horizontal Shoryuken, which is super satisfying to shut people down with. So characters coming at him from above are generally no problem. Second, he’s got a Lightning Kick move, which becomes especially awesome when combined with “Meter-Burn”, which turns it into a super-speed flurry of kicks that end in a popup. So you can juggle combo with the Flash fairly easily from it, a recurring theme in many of the Flash’s gaming appearances. He’s also got a fast dashing attack, where he chucks himself like a cannonball head-first at the opponent, some overhead smash attacks, and a “wind-up” stance for attacking high, mid, or low. So there’s still plenty of strategies and mind games you can play on your opponents. This Flash comes off especially like E. Honda in my mind, reminiscent of his days in Justice League Task Force.
But enough about gameplay mechanics, since the game is still very young and subject to change based on new strategies, tournaments, and patches.
What’s interesting about the Flash’s character in Injustice’s storyline, without spoiling anything, is that he doesn’t consider himself godlike in the Justice League. Whereas Superman, Shazam, and Wonder Woman are all super fast, strong, and capable of flight, the Flash identifies more with someone like Green Arrow on the ground (they’re both intimidated that Shazam can call magical lightning from the sky.) I thought this was an interesting direction, because the Flash is used as a direct analogue to Hermes all the time in the comics. The idea that he’s more human, and kind of insecure about his role in the Justice League, is good characterization and deeper than a comedic relief role. It’s Green Arrow cracking all the jokes in this one. This ‘more human’ Flash is kind of reflected in his play-style. Whereas Black Adam and Superman will be chucking planes and trees at each other in many of the levels, the Flash relies more on agility and positioning.
In terms of Flash-specific fan service, don’t expect a lot from Injustice however. There is no Flash-specific stage to wage battle on. While Wonder Woman has Themyscira, Superman has the Fortress of Solitude, and Batman has the Batcave, Gotham, and Arkham Asylum, there is no Flash Museum or Keystone City or anything like that. Moreover, in terms of arch-nemeses, while Wonder Woman has Ares, Batman has the Joker, and Green Lantern has Sinestro, the Flash is bankrupt. Despite how cool it would be, there is no playable Mirror Master, Captain Cold, or Gorilla Grodd, etc. I applaud the developers for including some obscure characters that have never seen the video game light of day, like Raven and Killer Frost. But where’s the love for the Flash? The first DLC character on the horizon is Lobo, and Superman already has Doomsday and Lex Luthor.
And as you may have already seen, all of the Flash’s unlockable costumes are variations of the classic red and yellow. You can’t go wrong with red and yellow, but the lengths you have to go just for the Flash’s Elseworlds costume are Herculean and probably not worth it. Maybe we can hope for Blue Lantern Flash, Black Flash, Reverse Flash, or even Jay Garrick Flash sometime in the future. In the meantime, you’ll have to settle with a lot of Flash-related icons and backgrounds you can customize your “Hero Card” with.
Final verdict? Super fun. The storyline is a big hug to DC fans, the Flash is competitive, and there’s a lot to unlock through leveling and completing STAR Labs challenges. It will have to tide you over for a while, as the Flash is appearing in a fighting game once every 5 years at this rate.