The X-Men have had a very good history in gaming, at least starting in the 16-Bit era. Let’s ignore the Nintendo Entertainment System games for the sake of this article. When Capcom got the license they immediately took it in a new direction, adding the X-Men characters into their popular Street Fighter II engine was pure gold. Players that were proficient in Street Fighter II were already ready to go in X-Men: Children of the Atom. Originally X-Men: Children of the Atom was an arcade title, Capcom brought this title home to only one console, the Sega Saturn on April 6th, 1996- 19 years ago today.
There were some creative freedoms taken here, most notably the Sentinel is not “full” size. Sure, there was a smaller Sentinel in the comics but that is not the “cool” Sentinel. Not the Sentinel that I wanted to see, that is for sure. I was hoping for some Aldynes on Super Grafx boss style mode when it came to fighting the Sentinel. To be fair, the Saturn port didn’t change this, the Sentinel is the same in the arcade and Saturn port.
Another thing that set X-Men: Children of the Atom apart from other fighting games was the vertical-ness of the levels. Some levels have multiple levels while others just have a single level to battle on. In one level you are fighting on the streets and can crash through to the underground where the Morlocks might dwell. Pretty darn cool.
There were missing frames of animation in the combatants, which was to be expected though due to the limited amount of RAM that the Saturn was equipped with. If you import a memory expansion pack (such as one of the 4 Meg models) then you can get full animation in X-Men: Children of the Atom on the Sega Saturn. This trick also worked if you fought the same character in versus mode.
19 years ago today, X-Men: Children of the Atom hit the home and for once, Saturn gamers had something to wave in the faces of Sony Playstation owners’ faces. Thank you Acclaim.