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Mutant League Football (Genesis) artwork

Mutant League Football (Genesis) review

"The most fun way of killing the opposing players are the Nasty Audibles. These are ''plays'', used once per half, that you can call prior to the snap that have various interesting effects on the resulting plays. The most mundane of these merely enhance the ball carrier's ability, such as giving him Super Speed. The main attractions are the violent ones."

Mutant League Football was the first of an EA Sports mini-series that introduced the concept of winning the game by killing off your opponent. The only other game in the series ended up Mutant League Hockey. I'm guessing the series was probably so short because there was backlash to it from politicans and groups of ''concerned mothers.'' It was one of the first games to picture violence, being released a year after Wolfenstein and the same year as Mortal Kombat and Doom.

Naturally, you could still win in the ''traditional'' way: by scoring more points than your opponent. The basic football game mirrors the early Madden games. Overall, this is solid, but it does bring along one major annoyance: the dreaded passing windows. This was always my biggest complaint about the Madden games, and it is my biggest complaint about MLF. After hiking the ball on a pass play, you call up these ''passing windows'' which show your three eligible receivers. Unfortunately, you can only see for a couple yards around each receiver. Someone who may have seemed open may, in fact, have been in double or triple coverage.

Obviously, the main attraction to MLF is the ability to win by killing off your opponent. Thankfully, there are multiple ways to accomplish this. The most basic way is by viciously hitting your opponent. If he's weak enough, and you're strong enough, his body may explode, leaving gory body parts all over the field. This is bad luck for the MLF groundskeepers, but since we never see them, what do we care? The fields themselves are also quite deadly. You can step on land mines, fall into fire pits, and even go off the edge of the field into the abyss of space.

The most fun way of killing the opposing players are the Nasty Audibles. These are ''plays'', used once per half, that you can call prior to the snap that have various interesting effects on the resulting plays. The most mundane of these merely enhance the ball carrier's ability, such as giving him Super Speed. The main attractions are the violent ones. For example, the Bomb Nasty Audible turns the ball into (you guessed it) a bomb. The first person to touch it after it leaves the quarterback's hands will be instanly blown into bloody little pieces. This may accidentally kill your own man, but hey, **** happens! Perhaps the best Nasty Audible is the one that is every sports fan's dream...Kill Ref. Even better, this one can be called as many times as you want! There's a 5-yard penalty, but it's a minor price to play. If you're evil enough (like me), you'll notice that there are only about 8 refs, and after that, the first one magically returns to the field.

If you absolutely refuse to win or lose by the death of all the players of a team, you can turn reserves off. In this mode, players still die, but they return to the field for the next play, so you won't have to piss and moan about losing your star player in the first quarter.

Finally, there are five different violence settings. On the lowest level (Rough), it's nigh-impossible to kill your opponents with regular hits. You're forced to rely on Nasty Audibles and field traps. On the highest level (Annihilation), there will probably be players dying at least every other play. You'll notice that most games are over by the end of the first half in this mode.

The only other major flaw that can be attributed to MLF is its (lack of) challenge. The teams in MLF are rated from 0-5 skulls, and it is child’s play to defeat the computer as long as your team is within two or three skulls of the computer’s. The playbook is a part of this. Some plays are ''money'' and will work almost every time, while other plays aren’t even worth using. The running game is a good example here. As long as you have a decent running back, you can nearly always pick up 7-10 yards on outside runs. Up the middle, though, rarely nets you anything more than 3 yards and a lot of blood. If you’re playing another human, MLF becomes a lot more fun. For example, on outside running plays, you can line up opposite the running back so you’re ready to stuff him. Of course, when you’re against another human, you’ll probably focus more on killing each other’s players instead of scoring, but to each man his own!

MLF's graphics are passable. Obviously, being that the Genesis is a 16-bit system, the players aren’t intricately detailed. The main goal of the player design is so you can differentiate between the 5 races of players the game has to offer (Superhuman, Troll, Skeleton, Alien, and Robot), and in this, it succeeds...except for the fact that the Robot is merely a palette-swapped Skeleton. This isn’t too much of an issue, however, since Robots are only on one team. Of course, the other main point to be addressed is the blood. Yes, when players are hit on the field, they bleed...even the Skeletons (although that doesn’t make sense). And when they die, there’s a veritable eruption of blood. The blood doesn't look very realistic,'s basically just red dots. Still, at the time, any blood seemed like a bonus. The coaches, who you see before each half and while you’re choosing a play, are meant to look humorous. This is achieved by making them scream at you and using such effects as bulging their eyes when they’re mad.

MLF’s sound is typical for a Genesis sports game. There’s one music track that loops at the opening menu, and that’s about it. The sound effects are done better, however. The coaches’ voices sound funny when they’re yelling at you, and the sound effects really convey the slaughter that’s occuring on the field.

My final thoughts are that MLF was an excellent game when it was released, and it is still an excellent game now. If you have a Genesis, and you even have the slightest interest in football, you should own this game. Isn't the ability to win solely by killing off your opponent reason enough to want to play this?

Pros: Unique concept; you can win by killing your opponent's players!
Cons: It's not that hard; those damn passing windows!

Video: 7/10
Audio: 6/10
Gameplay: 8/10
Challenge: Low
Replay: High
Buy/Rent: Buy!
Overall: 72/100

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Community review by jaksiel (Date unavailable)

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