For our youthful readers on the market, it’s a bit onerous to elucidate simply how sizzling mutants have been within the Nineteen Nineties. Between Marvel’s X-Males hitting hovering heights and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles slicing and dicing their means into the hearts of youngsters in all places, there was no higher time to have genetic anomalies. It appeared like each firm with mutant characters have been pushing them ahead, and each firm with out them was making their very own. Simply the phrase ‘mutant’ itself was sufficient to attract consideration. So it was maybe no shock when SNK launched Mutation Nation ($3.99) in 1992 for its NEGOGEO system. A beat-em-up stuffed to the brim with mutants to battle? Certain, why not?
I’ve talked a bit earlier than about how SNK did a little bit of looking round to attempt to discover a standard beat-em-up model to name their very own on the NEOGEO earlier than hitting it massive with preventing video games, after which level it didn’t actually matter anymore. Mutation Nation might not have been its most profitable try (the Sengoku trilogy would in all probability take that title), nevertheless it turned out higher than most. Evaluate scores have been pleasant again within the day and it nonetheless tends to be nicely considered even now, and it definitely pulled in its share of cash for some time. And rightfully so, for my part. It’s a well-made instance of the style with a few stable hooks.
The story isn’t terribly clear, as in most arcade video games of the period. Some mad scientist did some genetic experiments that went uncontrolled and ended up mutating regular residents, turning them into bloodthirsty monsters. A few younger males named Ricky and Johnny come again to city after a protracted absence and take it on themselves to cease the mutant menace with their arms and toes. Whereas they aren’t mutants, they each know tips on how to carry themselves in a struggle. They’ll additionally make use of a variety of particular assaults by gathering power-ups alongside the best way. Their journey will take them by six decent-sized levels crammed with some really wild creatures, with boss fights specifically going means excessive. That’s actually it. Even the ending doesn’t provide a lot in the best way of particulars.
However hey, it’s an arcade beat-em-up from 1992. You’re not right here anticipating Chaucer. You’re trying to bash some heads in, and that’s what Mutation Nation is sweet at providing. You may need to go looking a bit to discover the top, however that’s one other matter. Surprisingly, what makes this game work so nicely is that it performs issues comparatively straight. You’ve obtained an assault button and a soar button. The assault button busts out strings of assaults, the soar button sends you a smart distance into the air, and urgent the 2 collectively does a particular transfer. No power value there, nevertheless it’s additionally not as highly effective as comparable particular assaults in different brawlers.
You will have some cooler methods up your sleeves (metaphorically that’s; Johnny doesn’t imagine in sleeves) nonetheless. Choose up the gadgets strewn in regards to the streets and also you’ll see a letter and a few numbers seem within the standing space. Merely maintain the assault button till your POW meter fills and launch to launch one of some totally different tremendous strikes (the letter determines which), dealing some critical injury throughout a large space. And that’s your arsenal, aside from a easy grapple assault that I forgot to say earlier than. Simply fake I advised you that within the final paragraph the place it might have match higher thematically.
The small listing of strikes finally ends up working fairly nicely for the game, largely coming all the way down to the truth that the fundamental assault combo is each efficient and fulfilling to unleash. It certain doesn’t harm that soar kicks work higher right here than in most SNK beat-em-ups. The tremendous strikes add a pinch of selection, and the pick-ups wanted to make use of them are plentiful sufficient you could make pretty common use of them with out worrying that you just’ve wasted them. Your hits join with a pleasant stable really feel, and I believe I’ve talked about earlier than how instrumental I really feel that’s in making for a great game on this style.
However what actually makes Mutation Nation stand out from the pack, to the restricted extent that it does, is its colourful solid of enemies. They’ll typically mutate mid-fight, and the designs are artistic and gnarly in all the proper methods. It provides a substantial amount of selection to the game, avoiding the usual road brawler trope of your foes simply being a collection of various folks in bizarre garments. A part of the enjoyable is in seeing what weird creations will crawl out in entrance of you subsequent, and like I stated earlier, the boss battles actually exhibit some attention-grabbing concepts.
Whereas the game is gentle on graphical gimmicks, Mutation Nation truly makes good use of the NEOGEO’s technical capabilities. The characters are giant and detailed, and the backgrounds look nice. The animations of the monsters, significantly once they mutate, are actually cool. The primary characters additionally animate nicely, and their now extraordinarily dated Nineteen Nineties designs carry numerous attraction. The music leans onerous into rock, often dipping into the zone I are inclined to confer with as butt-rock, and there’s nothing flawed with that in any respect. For a beat-em-up launched in 1992, the presentation is absolutely fairly good. It’s naturally been significantly surpassed by different video games through the years, nevertheless it holds up nicely.
Now we head to the a part of the assessment particular to this ACA NEOGEO model. To seemingly nobody’s shock, there’s little to speak about right here that we haven’t talked about earlier than. The contact controls work nicely with the easy two-button motion, and you need to use an exterior controller in the event you’ve obtained one and like to play it that means. In case you have two (and solely you probably have two) controllers you too can indulge within the fulfilling two-player mode. You get the standard choices right here, together with each Japanese and abroad variations of the game, a Caravan Mode and a Rating Assault mode, and many settings to tweak. The standard visible, audio, management, and problem stuff. Hamster is nothing if not constant in the way it places this stuff collectively.
So sure, the standard grievance about how I want we may do some on-line multiplayer, however in any other case I don’t have so much to complain about with Mutation Nation. It’s a very enjoyable beat-em-up that holds up nicely and performs properly on cellular. Maybe not essentially the most unique of video games when it comes to mechanics, nevertheless it does what it does nicely and provides you numerous entertaining sights and sounds alongside the best way. Till Sengoku 3 is added to the ACA NEOGEO cellular line-up, I can’t think about I’ll rating one other NEOGEO brawler increased than this one. Properly definitely worth the meager asking value, that’s for certain.