PSX Mania – 037 – X-Men: Mutant Academy (2000)

Completion time: 45:37

I have always known of X-Men: Mutant Academy, but I have never really seen any gameplay, or even heard much about it review wise. It’s definitely something I’ve wanted to check out sooner and not later, and I’m happy I did. Mutant Academy manages to have its own distinct identity that, although it’s not as strong as a Capcom Marvel brawler, still has enough personality to give it its own distinct, and highly enjoyable, identity.

I’m sure had I read the booklet I would have figured out how to work the super move suite, but even still, basic combat is familiar enough. Two things that Mutant Academy has that most fighters do not, is a dedicated grab button, as well as a counter button. The grab button is self explanatory, the counter button lets players counter just about any not throw attack, and launch a counter attack that pushes the opponent away. You can only do this counter three times a match it seems, but it’s a nice little way of getting out of trouble if timed right. Combat overall felt like any Marvel fighting game in terms of how to perform moves, with the only knock I have on it being that jumping felt a bit weird.

The rest of the package was quality stuff. Character models looked pretty damn good, although the CG models were a bit ghastly. Sound effects were punch, though the lack of audible music was a bit of a bummer. The character selection had the typical staples to X-Men fighting games (Wolverine, Storm, Cyclops), as well as some nice additions (Gambit, Sabretooth), oddity choice (Toad) and the final boss as playable (Magneto). Between fights you’re treated to more or less some comic book clips art of the upcoming mutant you’re about to face, all of them looking really slick. I especially enjoyed seeing the Jim Lee representation of Magneto from X-Men #1 as the picture shown before you enter the final battle.

This is in no way, shape or form a better fighting game than any of the Capcom brawlers (even though I have rated it as high as I did, likely higher than I will for X-Men: Children of the Atom coming up soon). What it is though, is an alternative to the status quo, and one that has enough personality to further differentiate its self from the pack. X-Men: Mutant Academy is not the most mindblowing fighting game out there, but as a fighter based on the Marvel franchise that wasn’t developed my Capcom, there’s a good bit of quality involved, and is worth checking out.

And it will take me a LONG time to forget how Magneto can basically range grab you, fling you up into the air and down into a german suplex. By far the most insane move I have ever seen from a Marvel brawler!

Rating: 8

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