Reviewed in 2011 by Tibe

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Genetic Engineering for Noobs

by Tibe (2011)

If one game is still in the memories of retro-gaming fans as one of the best Beat them Up ever released on the Neo Geo, it's maybe Mutation Nation. This title is one of the rare games of the genre to feature fighting against human-mutant enemies. This was never really exploited in a Beat them Up before, and the least we can say it that this particularity provides incredible characters. A crazy scientist - character particularly loved by videogames creators - have conducted dangerous genetic experiment which went wrong. The world is now under attack of hideous and bloody monsters, half-human, half-alien, capable of the worst abuses. Therefore, two fighters go downtown to kick some strange asses with their bare hands... using your only punches and kicks, you'll have to fuck up hundreds of octopus faces, each one more atrocious than the others. 

You've read it with your own eyes, you' ll have to fight with your bare hands and feet: this means there will be no weapons to pick up nor elements to use all along the game. Too bad, as this is one of the features aficionados look for in Beat them Up games. However, you still can collect on your way energy capsules that' ll allow you to trigger devastating special attacks and/or recover some life. The range of moves for ou heroes are pretty basic, including one single button for hitting and another for jumping, and only one throw. Anyway, the game features a nice combo system (by maintaining high or low or nothing, while tapping the button in the right timing) and some beautiful juggles (re-hitting an opponent in the air before he's landing on the ground). Besides, the bestiary is particularly interesting in Mutation Nation. It's varied and exotic, going from the insect-men to the killer bees, or from the thug's squid-headed to the werewolf mutant. Nice and original, as players might feel a vicious pleasure punching those ugly faces!

Our Beat them Up also features many great details in its graphics or animation, such as fighters getting tired (the stance of your hero changes depending on its physical condition), or the large bundles of guts and bile happening when killing an enemy... This tweaked work contributes significantly to the weird atmosphere we can feel in Mut'Nat. The soundtrack is typically hard rock, with electric guitars riffing all the way! The musics are nice, embellished with powerful effects for blows and shouts, but we' re also gratified with moldiness noises, or flesh explosions rather disgusting, which further reinforces the strange feeling. Mutation Nation offers six varied stages, quite hard to clear, packing a total life of forty-five minutes. That said, the pleasure felt is powerful: controls are perfect, realization excellent, and it feels good to dismember these motherfucking aliens throughout the differents places of the city. 

Those are all the reasons why many players would go back willingly to Mutation Nation, even when they will have cleared it a few times. Without pushing the system to its limits, the graphics and animation are doing great, hard rock soundtrack fits nicely the action and the sound effects are punchy. Not to mention the crazy atmosphere of the post-apocalyptic Earth, a real treat of offset and creepy! This game is undoubtedly a very good Beat 'em Up: its concept is quite original (kick the ass of many shabby and disgusting mutants) and the gameplay is highly enjoyable, including the few combos, a comprehensive special attack system and a well-thought life bar. We can simply regret there's no weapons to pick up, as well as no elements to destroy during the stages. Anyway, the pleasure of fighting is there! The retinas are flattered, and the stick suffers hard during the magical minutes you play Mutation Nation.



Clever and beautiful graphics immerse the player into a XXIth century post-apocalyptic world.
It's a smooth and speedy animation, featuring zooms, transformations, explosions... Groovy!
Nice musics, excellent effects. Futuristic at will, the sounds are fine all along the game.
A bit too short, as for a majority of Beat them Up, but the difficulty is perfectly set and the cooperative play still a great thing.
MN packs a fun combo system and a decent range of moves. Anyway, there's only one throw, no weapons to use nor material to crush in the whole game. Fact remains that controls and fluidity are awesome, as well as the pleasure of punching!



One of the best Neo Geo's Beat them Up, packing a nice realization and a good gameplay. Players can come back to it, even when cleared, with  great pleasure.


About eighty euros for any version, it's a little bit expensive considering the life of Mut'Nat. Anyway, good BTU are not legion on the Neo Geo: I can see only Sengoku and Robo Army that could stand as a good alternative choice, for alsmot the same price.

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