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randombullseye avatar 1:17 PM on 07.05.2011  (server time)
Old School Games: X-Men Mutant Apocalypse

While the Genesis got two excellent exclusive titles, the Nintendo got a game of their Super Nintendo console that was, in some circles, considered the superior game! I know right? So if you got some time to read an article, lets talk about what I consider a game worth talking about and remembering with my beloved Destructoid!

First of all, this is a game I discovered by accident as with most games. Somehow I missed all advertising for this thing. No promotions or anything at all. I can remember seeing ads for the Genesis game, but nobody ever mentioned this thing. And surprisingly, nobody ever really mentions this game now. It isn't as fondly remembered or widely talked about for whatever reason. My cousin Jame's mother picked it up at a yard sale, and so the two of us and my half brother got to experience a really fun X-Men game.

The thing I wanted to bring up while talking about this game was the control. While there is a practice difficulty setting where you can simply press a button to activate mutant powers, you cannot proceed past the first set of levels in that mode. Which means you need to learn very basic fighting game combinations for each character. An interesting feature for a beat em up, even a simple one-plane one as this. Unlike most games in the genre, there isn't a foreground to walk up and down during combat, which makes for some crowded scenes, but nothing you can manage with a quick mutant power use.

I don't know about you guys, but I think the X-men are pretty cool. I like all of Marvel, and that includes the X-men. You can pick your analog for what they represent. Racial issues, homosexuality, or just plain guys from West Virginia, or persecuted groups can stand in for a good X-Men story. I love that. That has nothing to do with the game, other than that allowing for a diverse group of characters, which this game has you playing as five of, right off the start. You pick a character, Mega Man style, and their level is their own unique snowflake. Once you beat that, you play out a linear set of levels, which unless I'm confused the final level on Asteroid M has branches depending who you choose as the only real difference. Some levels are quick hit boss battles against dudes like Husk or Apocalypse, but the majority are standard beat em up levels full of guys ready to have their faces bashed in, and a final boss at the end with the same attitude.

So I'll start off talking about the five levels and the characters you can choose from!

Wolverine -

I doubt anybody who is playing this game doesn't play the majority of it as Wolverine. Of the X-men, for whatever reason, Wolverine is the favorite. Here he can climb up walls with his claws, which if you say out loud has a strange vocal cadence to it, but in my article here as you read it hopefully you won't have a stutter when reading inside your own head. I did that as I typed all that.

How close can the video get to the words? I don't know!

Wolverine's level has you start off fighting generic soldier types, and then progressing to fighting a decent mid boss robot. After that section, you climb up a bit more of the level and start fighting sentinels! Which of course leads to a final boss for this level being the incomplete Master Mold! I love it!

Gambit -

This stage has some very frustrating platforming sections. Right on par with the Guts Man level from Mega Man, but without the annoying noise or precision of Mega Man. Still, I like playing as Gambit. He can shoot out cards, and if you charge the move right he can shoot out three of them. For whatever reason, I really like that he has this big metal pipe as a weapon at all times. I always pictured that when cracking guys with this thing, it hurts.

After the usual beat em up elevator section, you somehow go out onto the water and are attacked by a helicopter. Not so bad if you're playing the practice mode and can do your card moves rather easily, but I always had some difficulty with that boss. The roughest section of this level by far is that Guts Man style little jump platform section. Otherwise, this is a pretty fun level to play.

Psylocke -

She's infiltrating some sort of army base, which means lots of generic army guys. I never read a comic book with her during this era, and if I did I wasn't paying attention to her. She has this psychic knife, I know that sounds stupid, but she totally has one, but also even better than that you can bounce on characters heads flipping around. I liked that. Her boss is a sentinel, not a very interesting level, but I guess little girls want a character to play with too, so why not include her.

Not to say that little girls wouldn't want to play as Wolverine, but as I said before, the diversity of the X-men is what makes them interesting. And what is more diverse than a British little girl somehow inhabiting the mind of a Asian assassin chick, who has a pink psychic knife?


I hate Cyclops. The qualities of a serious "no nonsense" type always bother me, as anyone who hears my voice or speaks to me realizes quickly, I've no use for order at all. Luckily, I think shooting laser beams from your eyes is a pretty cool power, and this is actually one of the better levels within the game. You're in a jungle fighting soldiers, some of which come by one hover bikes, and you eventually end up fighting a train as a final boss. Yup, a train! How wild is that!

Beast -

For whatever reason, he's attacking the sewers that are filled with soldiers and robots! I know right? Beast was always interesting me, because his power isn't his blue fur, but his super intelligence. I like that. Has nothing to do with his level here where he fights robots and soldiers in the sewer, but I like it.

I also like that you can climb on certain pipes as Beast and fight upside down. That always struck me as a cool thing to do, and most levels feature sections only Beast can get to. I love it!


So after these first five levels, your then presented with a gauntlet of varying length levels. Most of which involve you fighting soldiers and eventually getting to a boss. You start off with a really cool level featuring the Brood. Which, for non-X-men fans, the Brood are H.R. Giger rip off aliens that take over people. Fighting a giant alien queen as Wolverine is pretty cool, even in my mid-twenties, I find this hilarious. Even over sized with artifacting left on the image, I find this funny.

Two other levels that stand out are literally just boss battle levels. One in which you fight a no-name C-list character called Husk. He's one of those classic run at you/jump over him type of bosses, except that he poops out miniature versions of himself! I always thought that was hilarious, and hope that you find that as funny as I do. This guy must be friends with those flying Goomba in Mario Bros 3! I couldn't locate a picture of this and didn't have time to play the game and take on myself, but take my word for it, this guy poops out little versions of himself and is a boss battle!

The other memorable boss-only level was Apocalyspe. You're in a volcano chasing him, and then have a pretty bad ass encounter. One thing that bothered me about this, his name was on the game yet he isn't the final bad guy. Surprise, the final guy as always is Magneto! Not a bad boss fight either, he has that metal shield which you have to wear down. I recall him not being that difficult, but then again, the entire game wasn't that difficult.

A game with a lava chase level? Why not!

I've a major gripe against the game. The same gripe lobbied against many beat em ups, and that is the lack of a two player mode! Despite playing the game with lots of people, we always used that classic "when you die, pass the controller" which meant that if I got into rotation I got to play for an hour while everyone watched with baited breath, waiting for me to make a miss step and die so they could play the game. If either my brother or cousin wish to refute these stories of my legendary video game playing, there is a comment section for just such occasion. If I'm telling the legend, I am the best video game player of all time, and after spending lots of time with this game, I learned the intricateness of it really well. When I tried to replay it, I could barely beat Wolverine's level.

I can even now hear the sound effect of landing a really effective combo against an opponent, nearly twenty years after the fact. I even remember most of the locations of the these little X power ups floating around the levels. Collecting three of those gave you a extra life which was necessary I felt. The sytem used in the game had each character having their own amount of extra lives, which was a strange thing to have, but it did it. So losing all your Gambits meant no more Gambit for the rest of the game. Not game breaking for myself, as I'm not a huge Gambit guy, but losing your last Wolverine is earth shattering to a six year old kid. To give you an idea of how much I like the X-Men, even now as a "grown up," the entire time I've been writing I keep humming the song to the nineties cartoon show for some reason.

So what do I think of this game? I love it. I like it, because I can actually sit down and beat it. It has an excellent password system, all of which are on GameFAQs in case you get stuck, and the variety of characters made for great replay value. Even if myself, James, and my half brother Chris all wanted to play as Wolverine. Every single time it was Wolverine. Same with the X-Men on Genesis, it was always a rush to be Wolverine! Something about him just speaks to the inner twelve year old in all of us I guess?

There are tons of X-Men games out there, but my favorites are definitely the ones I already wrote about. X-Men and X-Men 2: Clone Wars are classic great games, and Spider-Man and X-Men Arcades Revenge is a frustrating, but fascinating game worth checking out. There are a couple fighting games and solo Wolverine games floatintg around as well for the older consoles. Otherwise, I'd recommended the the two X-Men Legends games for the PS2/Xbox/Gamecube, but they don't have the same 2D charm that these old games have. I love it.

Did you guys ever play X-Men Mutant Apocalypse?

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