The Neo Geo is obviously a fighting game dream machine and SNK seemingly went to great lengths to make it so. From the King of Fighters series to the Fatal Fury and Samurai Shodown games, fighting games were more than well represented on this arcade/premium home machine. Mutation Nation is in the fighting game family, just the red headed stepchild of the family favorite series. Rather than fighting one opponent at a time, brawlers pit the player against many enemies at once, though with a reduced move set.
In the early days, SNK was not only focused on one-on-one fighting games, they actually went out and tried other genres on the Neo Geo. Brawlers were one genre that I, personally, enjoyed a lot. I was only slightly interested in one-on-one fighters around this time but enamored with the likes of Final Fight.
Back to Mutation Nation. The story is all about some mad scientist in 2050 gets in trouble with his bosses for performing some wild experiments. An explosion and missing mad scientist turn to a virus that infects the area, that eventually becomes a slum, and creatures start appearing. At least it is a different story from the usual “girl kidnapped” style that plagues so many other games.
The unique approach to special moves, different style of enemies and challenge level make Mutation Nation an interesting option for brawling fans to check out.
There is no digital re-release of Mutation Nation available so it is Ebay or Game Gavel for the cart.