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Reviewed: X-Men Mutant Academy
Author: Michael Ahlf       Date: November 14th 2000
Page: 2

The idea of X-Men Mutant Academy is quite simple: pick a mutant and beat the snot out of all the others up through Magneto. This is pretty much standard for any fighting game, The first thing that the characters lack, however, is some sort of plot line. In most fighting games there are at least token attempts to show ending/opening sequence movies somehow related to the characters being involved in fighting: X-Men Mutant Adacemy just shows another sequence that has nothing to do with the battles every time Magneto is beaten.

Game graphics seem to be the one thing Activision didn't skimp on: every move at least looks realistic, with special attention to making the characters look right. The only gripe to be seen here are the costume designs; obviously a marketing ploy, it'd be much nicer to have seen a few more skin overlays so that in addition to movie costumes and the stereotypical late '80s - early '90s costumes some older, more classic costumes could be viewed as well. To make up for this, the game renders some striking 3D environments, then limits the player to a 2D line of motion without even sidestep capability. Sorry 3D fighting fans, this is a 2D fighter in disguise.

Twelve characters, somewhat like the movie.
The super moves are nice, but I don't normally
imagine Wolvie spinning like a top.
The big man himself -- MAGNETO.

Moves in the game are executed in classic fashion: basics are limited to quarter rolls of the joystick followed by a punch or kick. Special attacks are a bit more diverse, but not really so. Activision's big idea for these seems to have been to limit the game to 1-hit attacks, because the button scheme is set to 4 attack buttons. The Playstation's 8 buttons map the 4 normals, and then the L and R banks hold combinations thereof to include the fierce punch and kick, counter, and block buttons. Sounds confusing, doesn't it? Unfortunately, it's not that great for anyone trying to keep track of what's where.

The AI in the game fights well, but only with characters that are naturally unbalanced like Sabretooth and Toad who move quickly. With others such as Magneto or Cyclops, it relies almost exclusively on super moves, leaving the gameplay in single player to be ridiculously easy. Added to the frustration, even against a human opponent none of the hits string together: a block or counter can be executed at any point, leaving the game to guesswork instead of strategy when playing against a friend.

The load screens feature old, classic X-Men Covers.
Be glad, you'll be watching them a long time.
Instead of a moves list we get a full training sequence.

For those who want to play the game in Emulation, it's certainly possible -- while Bleem 1.5b, the latest PC release, chokes on it, Connectix VGS will run X-Men Mutant Academy just fine. Either way the graphics look largely the same. Unfortunately for Connectix users, the long load times and annoying control setup don't get any better either.

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Added:  Tuesday, November 14, 2000
Reviewer:  Michael Ahlf
Page: 2/4

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