Now I’m speaking of this game as a franchise in general because of the other Mutant League titles (Hockey and Basketball), but for the most part I will end up talking mostly about the Football game. That was the best one anyway. If you’ve never played this game, then stop, go find a copy of it for the Genesis (hell, ROM it if you have to) and start playing it. Done? Good.
This is such a fun title, it’s hard to know where to begin on it. From the players, to the fields, the ‘nasty’ audibles, and the various traps laid throughout this game is such a unique take on the football genre that it’s hard to believe Electronic Arts developed it. It harks back to a day when EA was willing to experiment and didn’t take themselves so seriously. The game plays out on the basics of any other football game, but implements new variations.
In the game, players are zombies, skeletons, mutants, or some other form of monster to toss the pigskin. Teams come with their own skills, and the ability to kill opposing players adds a different layer of strategy. Gamers have various options with nasty audibles which played out as incredibly violent tricks (like exploding balls, electric shocks, or even jet packs).
That’s not all, even the playing field is interactive and forces you to be constantly on your toes. Fields are littered with landmines, fire pits, and different stadiums feature unique terrain that can slow you down or even kill your players. Referees aren’t anonymous characters waiting on the sidelines either. Players can bribe them, kill them accidentally if they wanderin your way, or even kill them on purpose if you don’t like how they’re calling the game.
By far Mutant League was one of the most unique spins on sports in videogame history, and it’s one that hasn’t been matched yet. So what happened? Well, it got a couple of spin-offs, a short-lived cartoon show, and after that the franchise just kind of died, and it never received a proper sequel.
The reason might be pretty simple. As great as the idea was, and fun as it could be, it wasn’t the perfect game. Built off the Madden 93 engine, it featured the same problems, and never truly felt polished. With EA moving on to bigger and better things, Mutant League just kind of slipped into memory.
Right now it’s something we need. Let’s face it, I’m not the only person in the world with little to no interest in the sports genre. These days developers are concerned with making these games as realistic as possible which only makes it harder for non-sports fans to get into them. It’s an ever-widening gap which Mutant League would be able to fill and dominate. A new Mutant League game with its over-the-top violence, unique gameplay, and zany concept could shake up the monotony of sports games for the casual gamers and bring new life to the sports genre on the whole.
My dream team for this would have to still be EA. They could do it, they still own the property and somewhere in there, they’ve got the creativity to pull it off. However, that doesn’t seem very likely to happen any time soon. At the very least this title deserves an HD remake so new generations can enjoy this classic title, but why stop there? Mutant League needs the sequel it deserves, and the current-gen consoles would be a great place for it.