# 4 – Ex-Mutants (We’re just regular people!)

System: Sega Genesis

Release Date: 1992

First Played: 1995

Status: DEFEATED – December 23, 2014

 

Reader – Oh! Another X-Men game!

Adamus – Actually, it’s not.

R – But…you said this was called X-Mutants.

A – I said it was called Ex-Mutants.

R – Ex-Mutants?

A – Ex…as in Ex-Girlfriend, you follow?

R – So…Ex as in they are not mutants.

A – They used to be Mutants! But a doctor changed them into normal people.

R – Oh.

A – The Doctor is a Cyborg though!

R – Oh!

A – But…he’s running out of batteries…and doesn’t leave the lab…

R – Oh.

A – But the Ex-Mutants come with cool weapons!

R – Like lasers or rocket launchers or…?

A – No…no…they have handheld weapons…no projectiles…

R – Oh. How many are there?

A – 6!…Well, 2…the rest were captured by a mutant with powers.

R – …………….Why are you playing this?

A – …Why am I playing this……?

 

When First We Met

As you can see from some of my past QUEST entries, I was an X-Men nut in the 90’s! I read the comics, played the games, watched the cartoons, and was an avid collector of X-Men action figures. I liked to think I was a bit of an X-pert on the subject! Which is why I was confused when I found this in a used game bin at my local Zellers…

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“Ex-Mutants?” I had heard of X-Men, Uncanny X-Men, X-Factor, X-Force, even The New Mutants; but not Ex-Mutants. I don’t even recognize any of the characters. Then I notice the “E”…”Ex”…is that a typo? The term “Mutants” was used all the time by Marvel Comics and where there are mutants you can be sure there is an “X” thrown in there somewhere. I had no idea who this mutant team was! Well, only one way to find out. So, $10 later, I went home determined to solve this mystery.

I knew something was up as soon as the title screen pops up…

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What does that say at the bottom…Malibu Comics???? What the hell is Malibu Comics??? At the time, I only knew of DC and Marvel Comics, so this threw me for a loop. Is this some sort of weird bootleg? The pre-game intro answers my questions…well, most anyway…

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Or Modern Day Detroit

In the year 2055 (just 40 years to go!) the earth has been decimated by World War 3 and the majority of humanity has been mutated into hideous creatures! A cyborg named Professor Kildare found 6 mutated subjects, 3 male and 3 female, and changed them back into humans!

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Since he is a Professor, he cleverly dubbed them Ex-Mutants!!

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Together, they fight the forces of Sluggo, lord of the mutants in this area, who want to see all humans destroyed!

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There’s a problem though; Sluggo and his henchmen have captured everyone but Shannon and Ackroyd and Professor Kildare is running out of Power Cells to run the lab! So you must save your team mates and get batteries for Kildare!!

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Off to adventure!!! I’m brought to the title screen, from here there are options where you can do a sound test and pick your level of difficulty. Since these are “Normal” people, I choose Normal difficulty. I press start and am brought to a character selection screen.

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Let’s see the breakdown…hmmm…Ackroyd is taller, has a Battle Axe and does high damage but is slow and doesn’t have good reach; while Shannon is shorter, has a “Nunchaku” that does average damage, but she’s faster and has longer reach. Shannon is…110lbs?!? Christ! Eat a burger or something would ya?? Or take some of what Ackroyd’s eating, he’s 225lbs, and something tells me that trench coat is more for hiding a gut than to look cool! But who to choose…well, I’ve always been one for power over speed…and frankly I can’t stop thinking about Dan Aykroyd now…so let’s go with Ackryod. I press start…

The first level is the abandoned part of Professor Kildare’s lab. Kildare (who is freaking massive!!!) points the way as you run by. I always thought it was fun to run back and forth watching him raise and lower his arm pretending that Ackroyd was making excuses not to go; like he forgot something in his room or that he left the stove on and Kildare would keep telling me to get out…I was an imaginative boy…

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This level isn’t anything difficult; it’s mostly to help you get used to the controls. “A” is your main attack, “B” is jump and “C” uses your secondary weapon; swappable items like grenades, time bombs and these blue dots that home-in on baddies. An interesting aspect of your main weapon is that you can pick up power-ups that can shoot out daggers or tiny axes when you swing your axe. Nothing says sneak attack like an axe that shoots axes!! Shannon shoots out ninja stars and these things that look like logs…or bread rolls…

Other items to pick up throughout the game include hearts which fill your life bar, an “E” symbol that extends your life bar, 1-ups, a chicken drum stick for health (which based off of the idea that this is a highly contaminated earth, I don’t think eating chicken you find on the ground is the best idea; especially since many times it comes out of a mutant you just killed!), stars and diamonds (which give points) and MONEY which comes in the shape of coins or bags. Getting $100 gives you an extra life…which I’m not sure how that works in this scenario. I’m guessing that the global economy was destroyed in this post apocalyptic world…so what good is money? I’d think the random radioactive chicken pieces would be much more valuable…

Moving on, your main enemies in this level are some kind of tiny dog men and these weird brown blobs that come out of the wall and explode. Enemies make these very manly grunting noises when they are hit and a fun squitchy squirt noise as they explode in death! Speaking of noises, every now and then Ackroyd will say something after you kill someone, like, “You’re going down!” or “Take that sucker!”

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…or “Holy Fuck it’s a Dog Man!!!!!!”

After leaving the lab (and after every level), you’re presented with a cut scene explaining what the next level is, what to expect, and usually a clue as to a battery location or hint of where treasure is. There’s also a fun back and forth between the main antagonist Sluggo and his bumbling sidekick Zygote!

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The end of humanity is HILARIOUS!

Next up is Steel Mountain, which is more a volcano what with all the lava everywhere. This place is packed with weird Lava Aliens that fall from the ceiling, rather handsome Cyclopes, and faces that live in the walls that spit fire at you! Oh, and lots of saw blades…which I guess puts the steel in Steel Mountain.

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Oh boy…

The Cyclopes are the worst; they can throw grenades at you from a distance and Ackroyd can’t dodge for shit. The lava pits and saws cost me a couple lives, mostly because Ackroyd is a slow runner and jumper. Eventually I manage to navigate my way past all the traps and exit the level when suddenly…

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I didn’t get a battery, so Kildare sends me back into the level. ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?!? I barely made it through and you send me back in?!?! At least he sends you in at the levels end and not the beginning. The batteries are usually located near the end of the level anyway, and I was able to find it nearby. After navigating a terrible pit of spikes in part 2 of the level…

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(and making extra sure I got a battery)

…I make it to the boss… Beefcake!

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BEEFCAKE!!!

He’s big and beefy, but he just stands there and tries to attack you with fire balls which follow you around the screen. If you get too close, he’ll spin his spear and then try to stab you! Luckily, I was packing 25 grenades and was able to whittle his life down from a safe distance. After a couple more well places crotch level axe shots, Beefcake gets brutalized!

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Good Lord!!!

Ackroyd chopped him to pieces!! Look at his arm just hanging there on a piece of lifeless flesh! This is all accompanied by a gory explosion and Beefcake grunting and making oddly sexual death cries. Ackroyd yells “Hoooya!!” and Ex-Mutant “Bud” is saved!

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Shut up Bud.

Bud explains that the only way to get to the Forrest of Death Grove is to take a mine car through the abandoned mine…and by mine car he means a tiny piece of wood with one wheel.

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Really? This is the only way through??? Why not just go back the way you came and go AROUND THE MOUNTAIN!?!? Everyone in the mountain is dead so no one would stop me…but where would be the fun in that??? This level is crazy tough; you speed past saws and more Cyclopes throwing crap at you! Needless to say, I died a lot and it took days of me playing this to memorize when and where all the obstacles would appear! Oh, one “fun” thing they decided to throw in; if you just really suck at a level, your player will come on screen and taunt you…

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Shut up Ackroyd! I wanted to go around the mountain!!

Though, if you do well in a level, your character will compliment you…

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Yeah! X-Men Rule!! I mean…Ex-Mutants…rule…*sigh*…

Eventually I make it through and am in a foggy forest full of fun tree forts!

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Tiny Rhino Men and Armoured Tony the Tigers are present, but even Ackroyd can side step them, the problem comes with the blow darts that litter the stage! Many times you’ll be running to one side of the stage to get to a ladder, which has a currently off screen blow dart, and as soon as it comes on screen, it fires! Also, you run into a disgusting mini boss…

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You jump down and end up bellow this guy. He also stays put but fires wave after wave of fire balls at you. You only have a couple seconds to get in a shot or two before he starts up again. All in all, he’s not that tough and soon he explodes and falls off the edge…

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Randomly, on one play through, I discovered an interesting glitch…it can be very helpful…or a complete pain in the neck if you’re not careful…instead of just falling off the ledge, run sideways and as soon as you leave the platform, jump! You’ll jump right onto the platform that chubsy is standing on.

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Because the game only recognises that the Boss Battle begins when you are on the ground below him, he won’t attack you! So just wail away at him! BUT BEWARE!! If you hit him too many times, he’ll change to what he looks like after you defeat him, but without the gross explosion or falling. The only place you can go is on the ground below you, and as soon as you land…the game will reset itself! The key is to hit him maybe 10 to 12 times and then jump off so the Boss Battle can start. Because you’ve already dealt damage, one hit will inflict heavy damage and if you’ve done it right, you should be able to beat him in less than 5 hits!

Part 2 of the level gets extra spooky with more mist and mutant goons and before I know it I’m at this levels boss…EL MOTHO!

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Doesn’t look like a moth….

He flies back and forth firing missiles at you and dropping fire bombs. On top of that, there are weird slugs that appear out of the ground and try to get you! I discovered a trick that makes this guy a piece of cake. When the level starts, don’t move. The slugs will never appear where you’re standing and his missiles can’t reach you. When he appears, throw grenades at him! He’ll then fly over your head, so wail on him with your axe. When he flies away he’ll drop a fire bomb that will clear away and slugs that are nearby; just time your jump so you don’t get hit. It takes longer to beat him this way, but it is by far the easiest… expic56
Hooya!! El Motho blows up real good! AND you rescued Tanya!

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Damn it Tanya, keep it in your pants would ya???

After Tanya’s onslaught of flirting, she tells you the only way to get to the next level is by travelling down the river…

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This song was stuck in my head while playing this level https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=upsZZ2s3xv8

This level gives you more breathing room, but has double the enemies! I found that sticking to the front of the log (how freaking nimble is this guy to do all this on ONE LOG???) lets you dodge most of the catapult attacks and can give you a chance to take out the stretchy mutant that jumps on the log with you. There is a blue homing dart that you can pick up that takes cares of the birds that want to kill you for some reason.

And then the sewers……and the end of my journey…

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The reach on this sewer lady is ridiculous! No matter how I timed it, I would always take damage from them, and they pack a punch! But the WORST are the BATS!!!! They are RELENTLESS and dive bomb you constantly!! And sometimes, because this game wanted to throw in unimaginable suffering halfway through, you need to outrun a trail of fire that chases you! But Ackroyd is so damn slow; I’d die every time…nothing I did worked! And if that’s not bad enough, checkout what happens when you run out of continues and it’s Game Over!

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OK! I’M A FAILURE! I GET IT!!!

I tried Shannon, figuring that her speed and reach would help, but her lack of strength worked against me and I would find myself dying in the sewers over and over again…

Just as a side note, when Shannon gets hit…it sounds very sexual…and when she dies…well, let’s just say she finishes in more ways than one…and as a teenager, hearing these sexy sounds were…well…distracting…

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Meanwhile in the Present

Adding this game to my QUEST was a no brainer, but when I looked in my Sega collection…it was gone! I couldn’t find Ex-Mutants anywhere! Do I have some other chest somewhere that I thought would make a great video game storage place??? Then I remembered…what I did…something I almost never do…I TRADED IT IN. It all came back to me; I traded in Ex-Mutants for Sonic and Knuckles over 10 years ago at the Flea Market!! How could I have been so stupid!? I lamented to my wife and she comforted me the best she could…but I realized I would never be able to beat this game! I tried finding it on eBay, but it was either stupidly expensive (one was $90!!!) or I would constantly be out bid. It was hopeless…defeated, I shuffled around my QUEST list and moved on….

A couple days before Christmas 2014, I got my wife a new coat, and since we were having some extreme cold weather, I gave it to her early so she could avoid the whole freezing to death thing. Since she got a present early, I selfishly suggested that I should get one too! So she gave me a tiny package. This looked like nothing that I had hinted that I wanted for Christmas; I opened it…and in my hands was a near mint copy of Ex-Mutants!! I laughed; I think I must be the only person in history to be overjoyed to get this game for Christmas! But how did she know? When she heard that I was missing this game, she went on eBay and bought it for me; I bet she was even one of the people that out bid me! What can I say; I’m a lucky guy to have someone that gets me…and someone who is willing to get into a bidding war over a virtually unknown Sega game!! I wasn’t going to waste this Christmas Miracle…Ex-Mutants was going down! So, I shoved this in at # 4 on my QUEST and began.

Before playing, I did a bit of research as to who these “Ex-Mutants” were. There were actually 2 comic series called Ex-Mutants, an imprint from Eternity Comics in the 80’s and a run from a company called Malibu Comics in the early 90’s, which is where this game gets its inspiration from. Interestingly enough, Malibu would be bought out by Marvel Comics and some of the Malibu titles were created into the “Ultraverse”…which wasn’t as popular as the main Marvel Universe and was eventually cancelled. The Ultraverse is currently designated in Marvel Comics alternate universe lore as Earth-93060. The Ex-Mutant comics are very hard to come by; I couldn’t even find a collect edition or anything, so I can’t tell you what the stories were like, but I’m guessing the banter seen in the game is similar to what you would find in the comic series. A light hearted post apocalyptic adventure!

Back to the game: as per my stipulation, I selected the highest difficulty to play on (Hard) and I choose Ackroyd again. Despite the increase in difficulty, I was able to make my way to the sewers quite easily; I was surprised at how quickly everything came back to me! I was even able to find an easy strategy to overcome the sewer ladies; basically run at them, swing and run away, never stopping this back and forth action until they blew up. The bats were less of a problem, since I edged my way through the level and tried to lure them out of hiding to deal with them individually instead of in a horde or on top of battling sewer ladies. I DID run into a problem with this thing though…

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Eeeew!!

It’s some kind of sewer worm that randomly dives around the screen, drools on you and fires pebbles out of its nose that deal a lot of damage! I found that for the most part, I was safest while standing under that little platform you see there…so eventually this worm thing went from what you see above to this…

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To…THIS…

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Again, when this boss dies he makes weird sexual moans and grunts, which makes it even grosser to watch. It’s like watching some kind of nasty Japanese Tentacle Porn or something!! Holding back my urge to vomit, I exit and save Piper! Against her better judgement, as no one has EVER made it out of Sluggo’s skyscraper base, she gives me a rundown of how to get to Sluggo via a Subway Train that is still functioning somehow. expic18
But then she goes on to say something strange…

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Find the KING? Like the King of Mutants? And he’ll give me treasure!?! Cool!

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So many possibilities!

Maybe I get some kind of secret ending if I can liberate the King from the clutches of Sluggo! So, Piper heads back to base with some batteries for Kildare and I catch a train…

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There’s nothing overly complicated here, just run across the train until you get to the end. There are a lot of tricky jumps made harder by Ackroyds lack of any kind of acrobatic skill and by these Jason Voorhees mutants swinging baseball bats! But, by taking my time, I manage to get through with only a couple of lives lost…and then I’m on the Final Level…

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This level, though short, is full of some very powerful enemies that make it terrible! In addition to the Penis Head Flame-thrower you see above, you got to deal with…

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Pimple Snake Men!

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A Big Baby!
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And some guy whose head explodes into an Ant Head when you touch him!

What wonderful Nightmare fuel!! On top of this there are sections of the walls that crumble and fall on you, and it took me many deaths to find where and when they fall! Eventually I manage to get past these monstrosities and come face to face with SLUGGO…

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This is one of the most unfair boss fights I have ever faced! Sluggo just lays there like a…slug, while you slice away at him. But he has several attacks that make life miserable: If you linger to long in front of him, he’ll hit you with his tail; He spits out a wave of pellets that deal huge damage; there’s some sort of drone plane that flies by dropping bombs everywhere and his little sidekick Zygote comes on screen every once in a while to throw a grenade at you!!! You just have an axe….but there is a heart that will fill your life bar on the other side of the screen, getting at it is the issue. Oh, and it seems that you can only cause damage by hitting Sluggo in the butt, so don’t bother doing any awesome jump attacks!

As luck would have it, I died, and had to continue…I should say that by this time, I was able to get the biggest life bar possible…but when you continue…it rests it back to what it was at the beginning of the game…so not only do I need to find some way to survive the insane Sluggo attacks but I need to do it with HALF the life I had before!! Eventually I see a pattern: Hit his butt, dodge hit his butt, dodge spit attack dodge air attack dodge Zygote, Repeat. Easier said than done! Though, in true fashion of a comic book finale, when I think all hope is lost and one hit away from death, old Axey finds that vital butt strike that sends Sluggo into whatever mutated hell is waiting for him!!

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I’m going to take his bow tie!

I did it!! I’m thrilled! So is Dillon!

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You don’t get to tell me what to do, DILL!

Here’s my deal; you clearly DON’T need a team if one guy or girl can take out an entire army by themselves! So, remind me…WHY IS DILLON LEADER? After showing Dillon how do get shit done there are several screens that show a bright future for our heroes!

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Or is it…..?

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Don’t worry folks, there’s no sequel and the comics only lasted 18 issues…so we’re good…

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Now I know what you’re thinking…WHAT ABOUT THE KING? Near the beginning of the level; there is a floor in the elevator shaft that can break away if you bomb it. If you have bombs, GREAT! If not, then you have to find some time bombs hidden in this stage. After falling through and disposing of a baddie you run into… expic19
A man in a white jump suit with sun glasses and slicked back black hair…wait a minute…the king…IS THAT ELVIS????? expic20
As if to answer my question, the King starts to dance and throw money everywhere; I think I was able to get at least 2 extra lives, then he vanishes. So…..I’m confused. In this world of mutants, did someone mutate into Elvis Presley? Because…..THAT’S AWESOME! Unless all the radioactive fallout somehow revived Elvis…or maybe there is a whole city full of Elvis’! Is the plural for Elvis Elvi? I guess we’ll never know…

Judgement

This is actually a really fun game. It’s a shame that it uses characters that you most likely have never heard of. Though, much like the comic, I bet they were hoping that some sap, aka ME, would think this is some kind of X-Men game and buy it. Still, the levels are unique and have a nice comic book inspired look. The enemies are never generic, and I don’t think there was any enemy that was repeated more than once throughout the game and some of them were just gross. The Boss fights, though nothing ground breaking, offer great kill shots; they look like that they have just been hacked at with an Axe of Nunchaku!

The cut scenes in-between levels are worth sticking around for as they can be quite funny, especially the banter back and forth between Sluggo and Zygote, it almost makes you feel bad having to chop him to pieces…almost. They also offer hints that let you discover items that will help you along the way. AND ELVIS IS IN IT!!!

Music wise, I was surprised at how catchy some of the levels were. Over the years I’d find myself humming something and it would take me a while to figure out that it was from this game! I really want to read the comics that this is based off of. If the banter is anything like the comics than this should be a fun read…and there are only 18 issues, so I can get through it quickly!

So what do you think? Are you going to track down this game and fight some mutants? Are you going to search out the original comics and see if they deserved the video game treatment? What kind of sequel would this game have provided??? Sound off in the comments below!

Next time we take on # 3 on the QUEST! We’re jumping back to the Nintendo Entertainment System, and back to a game considered by many to be one of the most frustrating games EVER! It’s something strange…and it don’t look good…

Tah tah!

Adamus Prime

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3 thoughts on “# 4 – Ex-Mutants (We’re just regular people!)

  1. I played this game as a kid and was also confused about X Men vs this game. Was never able to beat it as a kid even with my brothers but as an adult was able to.

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    • Hey! Thanks for reading my blog! This is a pretty solid game looking back on it,. I’m actually trying to collect the original comic series that it is based off of, but you can imagine that it is pretty hard to find. I find the boss music gets stuck in my head on rare occasions for no reason at al!

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