"If you like action games, or the X-men, you'll like this, I guarantee."
In the 1990's, there was a huge rush of licensed character games. Eventually comic books got into the act, as Spiderman, Venom, Batman, and any other character imaginable got their own video game. Unfortunately, most of these were complete and utter crap relying only on their character(s) to sell. Enter X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse.
Released about halfway through the Super Nintendo's lifespan, it borrows the side scrolling brawler format made popular by other Capcom games such as Final Fight. There are also some elements from the Street Fighter games. Unlike other games with comic book characters, X-Men offers excellent action gaming while using the characters as a strength. It's a big step past the previous X-Men game, ''Arcade's Revenge''.
The plot of the game follows the comic book and animated TV show loosely. In the game, you must save the enslaved mutants from Genosha Island. To do this, you control five X-Men, all popular characters from the comic book, each with various missions to fulfill. Big fans of the comic book and show will notice SEVERAL story discrepancies (more on that later), but the story is mainly just a backdrop for the fighting action in the game.
The lives system in X-Men is a bit different. In actuality, you start out with 10 lives, 2 for each character. However, if you lose 2 lives with one character, that's it, they're lost for the game. Not all the characters are needed to win, but you do get a nicer ending.
The action in X-Men is side-scrolling, however, you can not move up or down. This might seem to limit the gameplay, but it actually makes it move along much faster then say Final Fight. A nice addition is Street Fighter type moves that can be executed for each character. There's four for each and you can use them as much as you want.
The X-Men represented in the game are Psylocke, Wolverine, Beast, Cyclops, and Gambit. Each has their own distinct powers and advantages, although some are similar to each other. The character balance can be downright awful at times though.
How so? Well, once you get by the introduction stage for all five characters, you get to choose who you want to use for a mission from then now. As this point, you only need two characters: Wolverine and Gambit. Their abilities make better choices then the other three.
Wolverine can provide the physical power needed and the fact that he's the smallest character allows him to avoid attacks much more easily. He has an uppercut much like that of Ryu and Ken that will cut down air opponents. Gambit's physical attacks aren't as strong as Wolverine, but he has a long reach with his stick, and his kinetic energy powers allow him to fight effectively long range.
Cyclops can be used, but his physical attacks aren't as good as Wolverine, and his long range attacks take more effort to execute then Gambit. Psylocke falls into the same category as Cyclops. Beast is pretty much worthless for the entire game. He has good range but no long range attacks worth mentioning.
The challenge level of the game is a bit above average. Some of the latter stages can tax your patience, but nothing is impossible. Beast's introduction stage, the one time when you must use them, can be very tough, and it one of the toughest stages in the game. Practice a bit and you should be able to beat the game.
X-Men is a graphical feast. Each character is scaled well to the screen (Beast is bigger then Wolverine, i.e.) and illustrated with bright colors. There's plenty of big explosions and enemies to keep you occupied. The graphics look like they came straight out of the TV show. A strong point for the game.
Sounds are decently, but nothing to write home about. The main theme from the TV show didn't make it into the game, which is mildly disappointing. There's nothing that will really stick with you the next day, and the sound effects are the standard ho-hum action fare.
If you're a hardcore fan of the comic book and show, you'll notice a lot of differences. For starters, Psylocke was not with the X-Men at this time. Rogue, Jubilee, Storm, or Jean Grey would have been a better choice. A few boss characters come out of nowhere to attack you, and abilities that the X-Men don't have in the series appear here (teleportation). The ending is also a bit mind-boggling, and parts of the story do not link up either.
The replay value is not extremely high. The game is very fun to play, which will probably motivate you to play it through all the way, but there's no large incentive to play it again. Maybe if a character or two died, but that's about the only reason.
X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse is an outstanding addition to any game player's library. It's probably available for less then thirty dollars at Funcoland or another used game store, at which price it's a steal. If you like action games, or the X-men, you'll like this, I guarantee.
Community review by sgreenwell (Date unavailable)
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