Nightcrawler

NightCraw

Growing up in the late ’80s to mid ’90s, cartoons were the best. Cartoons really hit their prime during that time as well. Whether it was G.I. Joe, ThunderCats, Transformers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Duck Tales or Mighty Max, cartoons were as important to me as video games. One of my favorite cartoon shows was X-Men: The Animated Series. It just recently turned 25 years old. Wow. How time flies. Since Avengers: Infinity War came out recently and I just reviewed Marvel Super Heroes: War of the Gems, I can’t think of a better time to share my favorite episode from the X-Men Animated Series than now. It touches on some pretty deep topics that you just didn’t see being broached back in the day. It flew over my head as a kid but when I saw this episode later in my 20’s, it completely resonated with me. Let’s see… it’s got:

  • Faith
  • The danger of being ignorant
  • Don’t judge a book by its cover
  • Accepting others who are different from us
  • Man’s struggle with whether or not there is a greater power

Originally aired nearly 23 years ago on May 13, 1995, RVGFanatic proudly presents…

Shout out to Len Uhley for making this great episode
Shout out to Len Uhley for making this great episode
A cold and stormy night somewhere near the Alps...
A cold and stormy night somewhere near the Alps…
"I saw the fiend!  It had fangs!  And claws!"
“I saw the fiend! It had fangs! And claws!”
"It was horrible! It haunts us!"
“It was horrible! It haunts us!”
"We must do something!  We shall destroy him!"
“We must do something! We shall destroy him!”
"DOWN WITH THE DEMON!  DOWN WITH THE DEMON!"
“DOWN WITH THE DEMON! DOWN WITH THE DEMON!”

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"AHHH!!  IT'S THE DEMON!!!  THE CURSED CREATURE!!"
“AHHH!! IT’S THE DEMON!!! THE CURSED CREATURE!!”
"Schieß!  Schieß! Get him!" "Destroy the demon! Shoot it now!"
“Schieß! Schieß! Get him!”
“Destroy the demon! Shoot it now!”
"Don't let it get away! Hurry!  What, it vanished into thin air!?"
“Don’t let it get away! What, it vanished into thin air!?”
"Heartless fools. They know not what they do..."
“Heartless fools. They know not what they do…”

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“I know, she say. Let’s take a trip, she say. It’d be fun, she say. Huh! Some fun.”

“After what we’ve been through lately, I figured we could use some time off.”

"But you didn't tell me we'd have a chaperone."
“But you didn’t tell me we’d have a chaperone.”
"Don't whine to me. This ain't my idea of a good time"
“Don’t whine to me. This ain’t my idea of a good time.”
"Hey, hoser, I thought you like to ski"
“Hey, hoser, I thought you like to ski.”
"Look at him. Who does he think he is, Hugh Jackman?"
“Look at him. Who does he think he is, Hugh Jackman?”

“This is sitting around drinking hot cocoa and getting funny looks from rich folk.”

"Yeah, well, next time, plan your own darn vacation!"
“Yeah, well, next time, plan your own darn vacation!”
"CHÈRE!  WAIT!"
“CHÈRE! WAIT!”
"Well, I hope you're happy"
“Well, I hope you’re happy.”
"Don't know the meaning of the word"
“Don’t know the meaning of the word.”

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“Come on, a demon? You must be kidding!”

“I heard it on the train. The whole town thinks they’ve been under attack by some dark creature for months. Must be some local yokel superstition.”

“TELL ME MORE.”

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“I’ll make it up to you. We’ll fly to Monte Carlo. We eat nice, lie on the beach…”

"Or you two could do something REALLY interesting." "Where are you going?" "Demon hunting. Interested?" "WHAT hunting?" "Gambit, a demon hunter? I'm gonna regret this, aren't I?"
“Or you two could do something REALLY interesting.”
“Where are you going?”
“Demon hunting. Interested?”
“WHAT hunting?”
“Gambit a demon hunter? I’m gona regret this aren’t I?”
"Exactly how far is this Neuherzl?" "A couple more miles. Why? You quitting, Gam?"
“Exactly how far is this Neuherzl?”
“A couple more miles. Why? You quitting, Gam?”
"It IS getting kind of late. Maybe I ought to fly us there." "What, and spoil Gumbo’s fun?"
“It IS getting kind of late. Maybe I ought to fly us there.”
“What, and spoil Gumbo’s fun?”
"Okay. So we don’t ski much on the bayou." *giggles* "You sure you don’t want help?"
“Okay. So we don’t ski much on the bayou.”
*giggles* “You sure you don’t want help?”
"Of course not. Gambit a natural athlete. … AHH!"
“Of course not. Gambit a natural athlete. … AHH!”
"Come on, Remy. Say something"
“Come on, Remy. Say something.”

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“Man doesn’t break a sweat against Apocalypse or Magneto. So WHAT nails him? A pine tree. Wait… OH CRAP.”

 "AVALANCHE!!!"
“AVALANCHE!!!”

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"WHAT IN TARNATION?!"
“WHAT IN TARNATION?!”

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“Please, do not worry. This is home to twenty members of our order. We minister to many ski accident victims.”

"Logan! How is he?" "Gambit will hurt a while. But he’ll be okay"
“Logan! How is he?”
“Gambit will hurt a while. But he’ll be okay.”
"Praise be to God"
“Praise be to God.”
*sniffing* "Who's the snoop?"
*sniffing* “Who’s the snoop?”

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“Brother Reinhard. Please show our guests to the visitor accommodations.”

“Brother, is it wise to have strangers around at this terrible time? They’re not the usual travelers!”

“Those in need are always welcome, Brother Reinhard. Please have faith in our mission.”

"You all monks? So, I’m the only woman here."
“You all monks? So, I’m the only woman here.”

“Yeah. Therefore, would you be kind enough to accept something more appropriate to wear during your stay?”

“Don’t wanna make the natives restless…”

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“You should take care where you walk. Some doors on the upper levels open into thin air. The abbey was heavily damaged during the war.”

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“So, Johann, besides praying and ministering, what do you boys do all day?”

“Our mission is to give shelter and comfort to all travelers. And, of course, to offer a place to renew one’s relationship with the Lord.”

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“Being close to Heaven didn’t help us this afternoon, Father.”

“Are you sure, sir? Have you lost your faith? What is it that you seek?”

“Action. F’rinstance, I hear ya got a demon hanging around here.”

“You mean down in the town, in Neuherzl. Yes. An odd rumor, isn’t it? Personally, I have never myself met a demon…”

The word demon causes him to drop the plates
The word demon alone causes him to drop the plates

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"Pardon, Reverend, I didn’t expect… hey!  What are you doing?"
“Pardon, Reverend, I didn’t expect…
Hey! What are you doing?”

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*GASP* "Oh no! They must serve the demon!"
*GASP* “Oh no! They must serve the demon!”
"AHHHHHH!!!"
“AHHHHHH!!!”

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"There, you're safe now!" *Rogue gasps* "Please! You do not understand!"
“There, you’re safe now!”
*Rogue gasps*
“Please! You do not understand!”
"GAAAAAAAAAAAHHH!"
“GAAAAAAAAAAAHHH!”
"TRY HOPPING OVER THESE, PAL!"
“TRY HOPPING OVER THESE, PAL!”
"I do not wish to fight."
“I do not wish to fight.”
"You and me are through dancing, Mr. Demon!" "No! You mustn’t!" "WHY SHOULDN'T I?!"
“You and me are through dancing, Mr. Demon!”
“No! You mustn’t!”
“WHY SHOULDN’T I?!”
"BECAUSE..... HE IS MY BROTHER!"
“BECAUSE… HE IS MY BROTHER!”
"Brother? I don’t see the resemblance."
“Brother? I don’t see the resemblance.”

“Brother in the ecclesiastical sense — a member of our monastery.”

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“I’m sorry I startled you, Fräulein. I did not know you could fly.”

“It’s okay. I didn’t know you could do whatever that was you did.”

“Teleportation. I think of a place I’d rather be, look to it, and I am there.”

“Gambit rather be in Monte Carlo. Think you can work that out?”

"Enough small talk! Are you the guy who attacked Gambit?"
“Enough small talk! Did you attack Gambit?”
"Of course not! Brother Nightcrawler is a man of God."
“Of course not! Brother Nightcrawler is a man of God.”

“But, aren’t you the demon we heard about?”

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“In a manner of speaking, yes. Like yourselves, I am a mutant. But unlike most mutants, my condition was obvious from the moment I was born.”

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"AHH! IT'S A MONSTER! AN ABOMINATION OF GOD!"
“AHH! IT’S A MONSTER! AN ABOMINATION OF GOD!”

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“The villagers drove my mother away… for bearing such a freak.”

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“I never even knew her name. She could be anyone, really…”

"She abandoned me..."
“She abandoned me…”
"... but I did not die..."
“… but I did not die…”

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“Instead I was found by a family of traveling performers. I became Nightcrawler, the star attraction of their little circus. For their freakish world, I was perfect!”

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“But when the spotlight went out, I was still an outcast. Shunned and hated.”

"Guess there no peace for the wicked-looking."
“Guess there no peace for the wicked-looking.”
"GAMBIT!"
“GAMBIT!”

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“No, he’s right. Though all people are flawed and all struggle with the capacity for sin, none likes to be reminded of our shared human weakness. My appearance does not make it easy.”

"Don’t it make you crazy?!"
“Don’t it make you crazy?!”

“It did once. But then I found peace by devoting my life to God. He directed me to this place, where they value the character of my heart, not my appearance.”

"What are you talking about? We’re MUTANTS! God gave up on us a long time ago!"
“What are you talking about? We’re MUTANTS!
God gave up on us a long time ago!”

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“No, my friend. God does not give up on any of His children, be it human or mutant. He is there for us in our times of joy, and to help us when we are in pain… if we let Him.”

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“Don’t give me that easy answer garbage! I’ve tried! Don’t ya think I want that!! I don’t need a sermon from some circus boy preacher.”

"Looks like you touched a nerve." "I am sorry. I did not mean to upset him."
“Looks like you touched a nerve.”
“I’m sorry. I did not mean to upset him.”

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“Fine. Now Gambit got a question. If you’re not the guy who tried to put me out for good, who was?”

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“All people of Neuherzl! I can no longer allow such sacrilege! The beast you seek is there! In the monastery!”

“Are you mad? Those are men of God!”

"The EVIL ONE has defiled that holy place! It must be destroyed!"
“The EVIL ONE has defiled that holy place!
It must be destroyed!”

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"You are searching for me?"
“You are searching for me?”
"Nah, looking for a moment alone."
“Nah, looking for a moment alone.”

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“We are alike, you and I, angry at the world, and ourselves. My pain drove me to seek God. Yours drove you away.”

"Don’t tell me about God! What kind of God would let men do THIS to me?"
DON’T TELL ME ABOUT GOD!!
What kind of God would let men do THIS to me?”

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“Our ability to understand God’s purpose is limited, but we take comfort in the fact His love is limitless.”

*SCOFFS* "I used to buy into all that..."
*SCOFFS* “I used to buy into all that…”
"BUT I'VE LIVED TOO LONG!"
“BUT I’VE LIVED TOO LONG!”
"... and I've done too much..."
“… and I’ve done too much…”
"Life will ALWAYS be hard. I understand this better than most."
“Life will ALWAYS be hard.
I understand this better than most.”

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“Yet despite it all, people of every faith believe there is a God who loves them.”

"Can so many be wrong?"
“Can so many be wrong?”
"OPEN YOUR HEART, HERR LOGAN."
“OPEN YOUR HEART, HERR LOGAN.”

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“Would it hurt so much to see the world through different eyes?”

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“Brother! There is a mob headed up the road from Neuherzl. They must have discovered you are here.”

"And they want to rip you into little pieces. Tell me, preacher. What’s God’s purpose in that?"
“And they want to rip you into little pieces.
Tell me, preacher, what’s God’s purpose in that?”

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“Neuherzl is isolated. The people know nothing about mutants. Perhaps I am here to help open their hearts. I must leave so no one will be hurt.”

"Running away, preacher? What’s wrong -- lose your faith?"
“Running away, preacher?
What’s wrong — lose your faith?”
"Why? Why must they always hate me?"
“Why? Why must they always hate me?”

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"WE MUST STOP THE DEMON NO MATTER THE COST!"
“WE MUST STOP THE DEMON, NO MATTER THE COST!”

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“Remember, Logan. Those people aren’t bad. They’re just scared. Be careful.”

“Careful? Fifty against two?!”

"Trois, mes amis. Don’t you know Gambit’s ready for anything?"
“Trois, mes amis.
Don’t you know Gambit’s ready for anything?”
"You sure you’re up for this?" "Course, chére. Soon as the room stop spinning."
“You sure you’re up for this?”
“Course, chére. Soon as the room stop spinning.”
"LET'S BREAK THE DOOR DOWN!!"
“LET’S BREAK DOWN THE DOOR!!”
"Welcome Wagon's here."
“Welcome Wagon’s here.”
"DEVIL! DESTROY THE DEMON! OUT WITH YOU!!"
“DEVIL! DESTROY THE DEMON! OUT WITH YOU!!”

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"THE DEMON MUST DIE! WE MUST CLEANSE THIS PLACE!!"
“THE DEMON MUST DIE! WE MUST CLEANSE THIS PLACE!”
"FIRST, YOU'VE GOT TO GET PAST ME!"
“FIRST, YOU’VE GOT TO GET PAST ME!”

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"Okay, people, now settle down!"
“Okay, people, now settle down!”

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"DON'T TOUCH ME!"
“DON’T TOUCH ME!”
"AHHHHHHHH!!"
“AHHHHH!!”
"Stop the demons! Our families! They want to hurt us! Kill them!"
“Stop the demons! Our families!
They want to hurt us! Kill them!”
"GET OUT OF MY HEAD!"
“GET OUT OF MY HEAD!”

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"I’m trying not to turn you bozos into hamburger. Now back off!"
“I’m trying not to turn you bozos into hamburger.
Now back off!”
"Bitte, Frau Kohler! You know us! Please listen to us!"
“Bitte, Frau Kohler! You know us! Please listen to us!”
"Nein! You are a pawn of the Evil One! Tell us where your monster is hiding!"
“Nein! You are a pawn of the Evil One!
Tell us where your monster is hiding!”
"I am not hiding."
“I am not hiding.”
*Villagers scream*
“What?! Where did they go?!”

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"The library? How did we get here?"
“The library? How did we get here?”
"Gambit not enjoying this vacation one bit." "Get him downstairs!"
“Gambit not enjoying this vacation one bit.”
“Get him downstairs!”
"What are you going to do?"
“What are you going to do?”

“I will surrender. It is the only way to prevent anyone else getting hurt.”

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"Brother Reinhard! STOP!"
“Brother Reinhard! STOP!”
"THIS IS THE END, DEMON!"
“THIS IS THE END, DEMON!”
"Be careful! The whole place is burning down!" "DEFILER!!!!"
“Be careful! The whole place is burning down!”
“DEFILER!!”
"The demon is attacking Brother Reinhard!"
“The demon is attacking Brother Reinhard!”
"I shall surrender!"
“I shall surrender!”
"YOU HAVE CORRUPTED THIS PLACE! I MUST PURIFY IT!"
“YOU HAVE CORRUPTED THIS PLACE! I MUST PURIFY IT!”
"LOOK! THE DEMON HAS GOT BROTHER REINHARD!"
“LOOK! THE DEMON HAS GOT BROTHER REINHARD!”

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"Go ahead demon, do your worst! … Why do you pause? I have betrayed you!"
“Go ahead demon, do your worst!
… Why do you pause? I have betrayed you!”
"It is not for me to judge you, Brother Reinhard."
“It is not for me to judge you, Brother Reinhard.”
"The question is... how will God judge you?"
“The question is… how will God judge you?”
"Look around you. This is the fruit of YOUR labors... ... Not mine!"
“Look around you. This is the fruit of YOUR labors…
Not mine!
*GASP*
*GASP*
"Lord help me! I was wrong! I have sinned! What have I done?"
“Lord help me! I was wrong!
I have sinned! What have I done?”

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"Thank you, my friends. Your presence here was a great blessing."
“Thank you, my friends.
Your presence here was a great blessing.”
"What do you mean, blessing?! Look at this place! We blew it!"
“What do you mean, blessing?!
Look at this place! We blew it!

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“I disagree. Brother Reinhard understands his tragic mistake and has repented.”

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“The townspeople no longer look at me with fear in their hearts.”

"There was no loss of life. All are reasons to be thankful."
“There was no loss of life.
All are reasons to be thankful.”
"What about the monastery?"
“What about the monastery?”
"A great tragedy. But it was only stone and mortar."
“A great tragedy. But it was only stone and mortar.”

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“The foundation God has built in our hearts can never be ruined.”

"Man, I don't get you."
“Man, I don’t get you.”
"Here, I’ve marked a few passages you may find rewarding."
“I’ve marked a few passages you may find rewarding.”

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"Remember, Herr Logan... DIFFERENT EYES..."
“Remember, Herr Logan… DIFFERENT EYES…”

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 *SIGH*  "Paris. Back in the civilized world."
*SIGH* “Paris. Back in the civilized world.”

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“I don’t know. Those quiet little monks were starting to grow on me.”

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“Face it, chére, those monks kid themselves. We on our own in this world. Life is random. Deal you a full house, or a busted flush.”

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"Something I said?"
“Something I said?”
"Ah well. Looks like more food for Gambit."
“Oh well. Looks like more food for Gambit.”
*SIGH* "What if he’s right? What if there’s nothing else?"
*SIGH* “What if he’s right? What if there’s nothing else?”

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“I will give thanks to you, oh Lord. For though you were angry with me, your anger turned away, and you comforted me. I will trust and not be afraid.”

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CLOSING THOUGHTS

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I love how this episode centers around Logan’s struggle with faith in something larger than himself. TV shows back in the ’90s rarely touched upon such issues, much less cartoons. Nightcrawler’s pure faith, if not admirable and inspirational, is certainly understandable. Len Uhley, who wrote this landmark episode, didn’t shove religion down the viewer’s throat. Instead, he presented it in a way that more or less left it up to the individual to decipher. It didn’t beat you over the head but the message was just strong enough to make you think about things that perhaps may be outside of one’s comfort zone. Very few cartoon episodes have ever made me reflect on my own life and views as much as Nightcrawler did. Is there really a God who exists and cares for us all? Can we find true peace from God’s word? That’s up to each individual person. Nightcrawler did a great job of broaching the subject. Personally, I’m a believer. I became a Christian at 25 back in 2009. I got into it pretty hardcore, but I’m pretty casual nowadays with my faith. It’s more of a private thing these days for me, and that’s how I like to keep it.

Shout out to Len Uhley! What a fantastic episode
Shout out to Len Uhley!

I’d be remiss if I didn’t share my favorite faith-related story. Several summers ago, I organized a volunteering gig with some friends of mine. It was a foot washing and feeding event for the homeless. It was a humbling experience. I’ll never forget the first man whose feet I washed. He told me right off the bat, pardon the pun, that his name is Bruce Wayne and that he’s THE Batman. Naturally, part of me thought he was crazy. But as the foot washing went on, “Bruce” shared childhood stories of his father with me, his 29 years in the truck driving business, and shared his dreams growing up. Didn’t take long for me to realize he’s just like anyone else. At the end he thanked me for the foot washing and left.

No youre not. Oh wait, you are?!
No you’re not. Oh wait, you are?!

Not three minutes later, he walked back in to show me his identification card. SON OF A BITCH. Sure enough, there it was, clear as day. Name: BRUCE WAYNE. He wasn’t kidding, he really was Bruce Wayne. He gave me a grin and I returned the gesture as we nodded before he walked out. Later I spoke with the coordinator and she explained to me Bruce is a regular and how his Batman persona is his own personal way of coping with being homeless. Wow. It’s a little bit deeper than just “Oh, this dude’s a crazy homeless guy.” The experience reminded me not to be so quick judging others. Walk a mile in their shoes — or wash their feet — before you decide what their story is.

BruceWaynePrays

Len Uhley reflects fondly on his Nightcrawler episode here.

X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse (SNES)

Pub: Capcom | Dev: Capcom | Nov. '94 | 16 MEGS
Pub & Dev: Capcom | November 1994 | 16 MEGS

Yesterday saw the release of the latest X-Men movie: X-Men Apocalypse. As I sat in my seat waiting for the lights to dim and the first trailer to play, I couldn’t help but think back 20+ years to the time Capcom released X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse on the SNES. All in all, I enjoyed the movie but felt it was a bit disappointing. Is that foreshadowing for the game itself? But as always, I’m getting ahead of myself a bit. Let’s rewind the clock back some shall we…

THE MARVEL SUBCULTURE OF THE ’90S

A staple of many childhoods in 1991
A staple of many childhoods in 1991

If you were a child of the early ’90s, chances were you somehow got mixed up in the superhero subculture. It was simply a sign of the times. From trading cards to cartoons to toys to video games, superheroes and super villains dominated the scene. My brother, our friends and I used to hang out at this card shop, Triple Play. It was right next to the local library and a mom and pop rental shop. What a great time to be a kid! We spent hours of our childhood down at the card shop, buying the newest Marvel ’91 series and trading them. When we weren’t trading or buying them, we played the Street Fighter II arcade cab right in the store. It was just an amazing time to be a young kid.

Who didn't love the bar stats on the back?
Who didn’t love the bar stats on the back?

My favorite thing about the Marvel ’91 cards? Hands down the enticing stats on the back of the cards. This is where my obsession with numbers and ratings probably first developed, and a large reason (EGM is another factor) as to why I personally like to rate video games. To me numbers have always been a fun snapshot at things. I remember Fin Fang Foom’s stats were off the charts. He had something nuts like three 7’s. Fun times.

It's 'uncanny' how bad this game is
Uncanny how bad this game is

As a kid I remember thinking to myself how badly I wanted to play a really good superhero game, particularly at home. Uncanny X-Men (NES) definitely failed to deliver on that front.

wolverine-nes

NES Wolverine? Better than Uncanny X-Men, but nope.

silversurfer

NES Silver Surfer? Heavens no.

capamnes

NES Captain America and the Avengers? Try again.

Remember wasting hours and quarters with this game?
Remember wasting hours and quarters with this game?

My wish for a good superhero game came true in 1991 with the arcade quarter muncher, Captain America and the Avengers. I was counting down until the inevitable Super Nintendo port. Unfortunately…

... we got this steaming pile of turd
We got this steaming pile of turd

When the port arrived, I nearly cried tears of sadness. It was such a watered down attempt and easily one of the most disappointing arcade ports to ever hit the SNES. My dreams were crushed. But a year later…

Now that's more like it!
Now that’s more like it!

The X-Men arcade game is one of the most iconic multiplayer arcade games ever created. When it hit the scene in 1992, it took everyone by storm, pardon the pun. I was eagerly anticipating the SNES translation but alas, it was never meant to be.

The cab was a monster. Unlike anything ever seen
The cab was a monster. Unlike anything ever seen

Just look at that hulking beast. Six player cabinet. It was truly worthy of the superhero name. My friends and I loved dumping quarters into this machine and we pumped hours into this one like none other. I always used Colossus. That was my guy!

One of the coolest cartoons ever
One of the coolest cartoon series ever

That same year, Halloween 1992 to be precise, the X-Men cartoon hit television screens the world over. And our Saturday mornings would never be the same again. There was only one thing missing: a proper Super Nintendo representation of the X-Men. Finally, two years later, X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse was announced for the SNES. Better yet, it was developed by ever reliable firm, Capcom. Surely the Big C wouldn’t let us superhero fanboys down, would they? Surely console owners would finally get a good superhero game? Well, for the most part anyway. Let us delve in, then…

MUTANTS ON A MISSION

X-Men - Mutant Apocalypse (E)_00000

Right off the bat you have the choice of using one of five different members from the X-Men force. Each mutant has his or her own unique mission to complete. Each level is designed with that mutant’s abilities well in mind. After you finish off the first five stages, the game allows you to select any mutant to use on the final handful of levels. I like that each mutant has his or her own unique mission to begin with, and I like how Capcom allows you to select them in whichever order you please. It’s very Mega Man-esque. Let’s begin with my favorite of the group…

Wolverine knows how to make an entrance
“Here’s Johnny!”

Wolverine always knew how to make one hell of a dramatic entrance, didn’t he? Things start off hot as the savage mutant comes bursting out of a elevated window. Now that’s what I’m talking about!

Ryu and Ken would be proud
Ryu and Ken would be proud

Each character has a few special moves that are executed via Street Fighter II-esque motions. As expected from a firm such as Capcom, the controls are tight and responsive. Pulling off special moves left and right is as easy as 1-2-3. I particularly love Wolverine’s Dragon Punch. I always thought to myself as a kid that it blows the real Dragon Punch out of the water on account of the flesh-cutting adamantium claws. Sorry Ken, not even your Burning Dragon Punch stands a chance.

Love the massive sprites
Love the massive sprites

This is a recurring mid-boss that you’ll encounter throughout the game. I was intimidated as hell when I first saw it as a kid, but it’s more bark than bite.

I'm a sucker for the red flash
“Come here, bub!”
Rock climbing must be a cinch for him
Rock climbing expertise

Wolverine can interact with his environment in the way of scaling tall walls. It’s not implemented as much as I would have liked, but the few bits you get to do it it’s undoubtedly satisfying.

OUCH, double whammy!
OUCH, double whammy!

Not only does that enemy get the worst of Wolverine’s claws, but he also got knocked into the razor-sharp robotic fingers for extra damage. Small moments like this delight — it’s a shame then that they’re too few and far between.

"Give me a hand will ya?"
“Give me a hand will ya?”
NIGHT OF THE SENTINEL!
NIGHT OF THE SENTINEL!

A giant pissed off Sentinel guards the end of Wolverine’s stage. Goons and cronies will come at you from both sides, so dispatch them quickly. The laser beams create a somewhat spooky look for the Sentinel. A nice, creepy touch.

Just another mantelpiece
Just another mantelpiece

Shades of Contra III

It felt so good zapping bad guys
It felt so good zapping bad guys

Cyclops, not surprisingly, is slower to control than Wolverine. He’s also a bigger target which makes avoiding hits a bit more difficult. But he has one thing on Wolverine: long distance attacks. His optic blast is basic, but effective.

Watch the background
Watch the background
And line yourself up accordingly
And line yourself up accordingly

Somehow, this never gets old :)

What goes up...
What goes up…
... must come down
… must come down
Let 'er rip: Cyclops is pure devastation
Let ‘er rip!
Shades of M. Bison's Scissors Kick
Shades of M. Bison’s Scissors Kick

Gambit’s long legs allow him to take out the opposition within a very generous radius. The coolest part is seeing two bad guys approaching you, from both sides, and knocking them out in stereo with the Scissors Kick.

Even cooler is attacking them from below
Mega Man Gambit ain’t

Even cooler is when you deliver death from below. You just can’t beat it.

What a lovely night
What a lovely night
I love the preview in the background
Lovely background
Shoot and slide
Shoot and slide
Love how he flinches!
Make that bastard flinch like hell!
You don't bring a gun to a card fight
Don’t bring a gun to a card fight
Imagine Beast teaming with Blanka
Shades of Blanka
Where have I seen this before...
Where have I seen this before…
It's a pretty epic fight while it lasts
You again, huh?

What makes Beast unique from the others is his ability to hang from ledges. It sort of makes the game feel a bit like Metal Storm, at least, for a few minutes anyhow. An interesting gimmick that isn’t fully fleshed out due to the shortness of this level (in fact, all the levels are criminally short).

You gotta go through 3 Sentinels
What’s worse than a Sentinel? 3
"A feat with my feet that could lead to your defeat!"
“A feat with my feet that could lead to your defeat!”
A nice foreshadowing for what's to come
Lovely foreshadowing…
Olivia Munn, I mean, Psylocke gets blasted out of the air
“Y’all done f*cked up now…”
Nice, Capcom. Nice
Nice, Capcom. Nice
"Hey bozo, over here!"
“Hey bozo, over here!”
Move it, Olivia Munn! Er, Psylocke
Sweet Jesus
Sweet Jesus

Who doesn’t love a good old fashioned screen-filling boss? We all have our own form of video game fetishes. For me it’s definitely towering end-level bosses and…

Paint the town red
… seeing them flash red like mad

I know. I need to seek professional help [Please, take all the time off you need… -Ed.]

Passwords are given once you get past the initial 5 stages
Passwords are given later on

You also get to use whichever character you want for the game’s remaining stages. Of course, different characters are more effective in certain stages. It’s fun to explore but I just wish the levels were longer.

Here comes the Brood...
Here comes the Brood…
X-PLOSIVE ACTION! ... sorry
X-PLOSIVE ACTION! … sorry
The Brood debut 3 years after Alien
Brood debut 3 years after Alien
Atmospheric level this is
Atmospheric level this is
Say hello to the matriarch
Say hello to the matriarch

Shortest level ever [Har har -Ed.]
Shortest level ever [Har har -Ed.]
No seriously, it really is. Walk about 20 feet over and then it’s boss time. What the flipping heck, Capcom? Makes you wonder if development on this game was rushed for it to hit store shelves in time for the Christmas season push…

Of all mutants, TUSK!?
Of all mutants, TUSK!?

Some of the choices boggles the mind, but on the bright size, the Tusk sprite looks pretty damn awesome. Look at how he towers over Wolverine. Heck, you can even see his bulging muscles. Great attention to detail for an otherwise forgettable boss.

Yeah, don't stand underneath that
Yep, don’t stand underneath that

Speaking of bright sides, at least there are a few fun little gimmicks thrown in here. You can knock Tusk into the lava BUT do watch out for that falling lift!

"Come and get me, bub!"
“Come and get me, bub!”

Just for fun, I like scaling the wall and making the bastard try to reach me. It’s oddly entertaining but then, the little things tend to be that way, don’t they?

Wanted: DASH button
Wanted: DASH button

The next level forces you to move swiftly as a lava gives chase. This is where the game sure could have used a dash option. Thankfully each of the characters have some sort of dashing special move you can pull off as a substitute for a lack of a dash button, except for Cyclops (who I definitely don’t recommend you selecting here).

Is it just me or is it HOT?!
Is it just me or is it HOT?!

Get stuck in front of a pillar though and you’ll have to smash your way through. This can cause for some intense moments to say the least!

I'm sweating bullets over here...
I’m sweating bullets over here…
"GET OUTTA MY WAY!"
“GET THE HELL OUTTA MY WAY!”
Thank God that's over with...
Thank God that’s over with…
"Oh for f*ck's sake!"
“Oh for f*ck’s sake!”
"Move it or lose it, bub!"
“Move it or lose it, bub!”
They never listen...
They never listen…
Cutting it way too close!
Cutting it way too close!
His Tornado Claw never gets old
His Tornado Claw never gets old
Meet Apocalypse...
Meet Apocalypse…
... wait, that's it?
… wait, that’s it?

For a big bad boss whose name is featured in the game title itself, the encounter with Apocalypse is a bit underwhelming to say the least. His special moves all sort of look weird and as it turns out, he’s not even the final boss. After defeating him you’re transported back to the Danger Room for more training. It’s a bit jarring… almost like Capcom said, “Oh crap, we need to throw in a little more shit because this game is way too short!”

Enter Omega Red
Enter Omega Red
And Juggernaut
And Juggernaut
Ugh, I hate this level...
Move it, Logan!
Exodus was such an annoying boss fight
Exodus can be VERY annoying

After this it’s off to face the final bad guy of the game: Magneto. Good luck.

WHAT THE CRITICS SAID

EGM's biggest issue ever, December 1994
EGM’s biggest issue ever, #65, December 1994

I have fond memories of EGM issue number 65. It came right in time for the holiday season of 1994 (what I consider to be an epic year both personally and in terms of gaming) and clocked in at over a massive 400 pages! I always said EGM sold their souls to the devil… for EGM in my humble estimation was never the same again after producing this tree-killing monster of an issue. I remember the joke that this issue was bigger than some small towns’ phone books! And I believe that. It had a badass cover featuring X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse. The critics were not too kind to this game. EGM gave it ratings of 8, 8, 8 and 7. But GameFan, who was notorious for handing out high scores like free condiments, gave it shockingly “low” scores of 78, 75 and 70%. Super Play Magazine, who were much harder graders in general (not to mention they weren’t huge fans of the beat ‘em up genre) rated this game 52%. Public fan reception has been a little more positive though. Most gamers would agree that this is a pretty good game, especially by X-Men standards at that time.

Size matters
Size matters. Oh, how the mighty have fallen

CLOSING THOUGHTS

It's fun to tear sh*t up
“EAT THIS, BUB!”

I enjoyed playing this game back in 1994, and revisiting it again this past week leading up to the new X-Men movie has been, for the most part, an enjoyable experience. It’s definitely not Capcom’s best effort and certainly feels rushed at times, but it’s still quite fun to play through the game using the various characters and utilizing their unique special moves. The graphics are big, bright and bold — it has that classic SNES look to it where you just know at a glance that it was made in the year 1994 (if that makes sense). It has a pretty rockin’ soundtrack to boot. Not in the same league as say a Mega Man X or a Donkey Kong Country but I dare say it more than holds its own. Control is tight and crisp, but the levels are way too short. Just as you’re about to sink your teeth into a stage, it ends. It leaves you with sort of an empty feeling. It’s fun while it lasts, but it never lasts long enough to kick the game playing experience into that extra gear that very good or great games have. Had Capcom spent a little more time fine tuning this aspect, this game could truly have been one of their many SNES classics. Instead, it’s simultaneously disappointing yet fairly solid in spite of its flaws.

Where's Colossus when ya need 'im?!
Paging Colossus…

I don’t mind single-plane beat ‘em ups, although I prefer more traditional “free roaming” ones such as Final Fight or Streets of Rage, but it works here. The inclusion of special moves done via Street Fighter II motions is pretty neat, and there’s a little more platforming here than seen in most typical beat ‘em ups. Instead of each mutant having a “clear all” attack that takes a little health off their health, each one has special mutant powers that can be executed without penalty or limit. I thought that was a pretty cool twist on the whole beat ‘em up trope. X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse feels like a bit of an amalgam of three classic genres: beat ‘em up, action platformer and in some cases, hints of a 2D one on one fighter. There were certainly instances (like the fight with Juggernaut) where I started daydreaming about this game actually being a legit Street Fighter II clone. Man, too bad Capcom didn’t incorporate a bonus mode where you can pick any of the superheroes and villains to duke it out, Street Fighter II style. Sure, it wouldn’t be terribly polished, but we got such bonus modes in NES Double Dragon and SNES Combatribes. Mutant Apocalypse would have done it better. Anyway, it’s not fair to criticize a game for not including a mode that thinks outside the box, but it is an indication that the game could have been more (generally speaking) and that Capcom didn’t let this one “cook to perfection” for one reason or another. Still, it’s a rock solid title that’s worthy of a spot in any Super Nintendo collection. It’s just a shame it wasn’t even better but hey, it’s hard to complain much when you see all the gems Capcom gave us during the vaunted SNES era.

Graphics: 8
Sound: 8
Gameplay: 7.5
Longevity: 6

AwardOverall: 7.5
Bronze Award