I love X-Men, and I loved X-Men. I probably don’t love it as hard as I did as a young, lonely child with a wild imagination, but that’s okay. Not everything lasts forever, and that’s why nostalgia exists. Growing up, I had plenty of X-Men action figures, two VHS tapes–namely X-Men: Pryde of the X-Men and X-Men: Night of the Sentinels–that I watched over and over again, to the point of almost burning them up, and, of course, countless collectible cards, ranging from Jim Lee’s X-Men Series 1 to SkyBox’s X-Men Series 2 to X-Men ’95 FLEER ULTRA and even more. If you were at all like me, then you know exactly what I’m talking about; if not, oh well, move along. So it was natural for me to be excited about anything X-Men-related when it came to videogames, which brings us to X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse…for the SNES.
In X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse, Charles Xavier sends five of his beloved X-Men to sabotage various operations and structures on the Genosha island complex to liberate mutants in captivity. Further investigation reveals Queen Brood and Tusk are involved in this matter and headed by the titular Apocalypse. After defeating all evil forces on Genosha, Xavier discovers that Magneto intends to destroy Genosha from his space station Avalon. To prepare for the confrontation, Xavier tests the five X-Men in the Danger Room to defeat holograms of Omega Red and Juggernaut. After passing the tests, the X-Men go on separate paths inside Avalon to face and defeat Exodus and then battle against that non-magnanimous Magneto. It’s like a multi-part string of episodes from X-Men: The Animated Series, and I was into it.
Right, so. The player takes control of five X-Men who each have their own objectives, as well as different moves and capabilities activated by certain control combinations. There is a limited number of lives that count for all five X-Men and not one individually. That said, similar to Mega Man, the levels may be played in any order. At the end of each level, you fight a boss, and the next three levels are linear and require each boss level to be defeated. This is followed by two straightforward boss battles in the Danger Room. Finally, only one of the X-Men can be selected, each one going through a different end level. Thankfully, after beating the first five stages, a password can be acquired. The game has health pickups, as well as the option to gain extra lives by collecting three “X” icons hidden throughout each stage. Otherwise, it’s a straightforward action game where you destroy anything and everything in your path, usually with mutant powers.
Here’s who you get to play as in X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse:
- Beast – Possesses superhuman physical strength, agility, and an ape-like appearance…if, y’know, apes had blue fur.
- Cyclops – Produces powerful, uncontrollable beams of concussive force from his eyes, forcing him to wear a specialized visor at all times.
- Gambit – Has the ability to manipulate kinetic energy and charge objects with it. He’s also skilled in card-throwing, as well as hand-to-hand and staff combat.
- Psylocke – She can use her telepathic powers to form a “psychic knife” from her fist. She’s also an expert martial artist.
- Wolverine – A gruff mutant possessing superhuman senses, enhanced physical capabilities, adamantium coated bones and claws, and regenerative abilities.
For me, I was sold the instant I knew I could play as Gambit. He was always a favorite of mine growing up, and I still think there is a coolness to the character now, even if I haven’t kept up on any of his storylines. I also enjoyed Beast a great deal, hanging upside-down and punching minions in the face. The pixels were big for X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse, almost zoomed in, which meant you didn’t get to see a ton of the environment around you, but you got a nice closeup of Cyclops firing off his laser blast. It definitely helped make these characters seem larger than life, which, for me at that age, they certainly were.
Now, around the same time as this game, there was another X-Men game, but it was for the SEGA Genesis. A system I did not own, but frequently played on at my then-best friend’s house. This was X-Men 2: Clone Wars, and it seemed to be the cooler-looking one of the bunch, much like how Mortal Kombat had blood on the Genesis and sweat drops on the SNES. In this one, you controlled a select few X-Men as they attempted to thwart the alien Phalanx from assimilating all of Earth’s inhabitants to their race. It played differently, and I still can’t pinpoint why I felt like my SNES title was inferior to it, but the feeling remains.
Either way, sorry, X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse, for trading you in. I do have a bunch of other X-Men-related games in my collection that remain untouched, shame on me, and I hope to get to them soon, as well as procure a copy of X-Men: Destiny, which might become a rarer thing down the line.
GAMES I REGRET PARTING WITH is a regular feature here at Grinding Down where I reminisce about videogames I either sold or traded in when I was young and dumb. To read up on other games I parted with, follow the tag.