Mutation Nation
Producer(s)Eikichi Kawasaki
Designer(s)Kenji Ishimoto
Programmer(s)Akio Ooi
Artist(s)J. Mikami
Masato Miyoshi
R. Miyazaki
Composer(s)Masahiko Hataya
  • Arcade
    • WW: 16 March 1992
    Neo Geo AES
    • JP: 17 April 1992
    • NA: 17 April 1992
    • EU: 17 April 1992
    Neo Geo CD
Genre(s)Beat 'em up
Arcade systemNeo Geo MVS

Mutation Nation[a] is a beat 'em up arcade game that was developed and released by SNK for the Neo Geo Japanese arcade and home systems in 1992 while the English versions were released in 1992.[1]


Gameplay screenshot showcasing Ricky performing a charged special explosion attack against an enemy.
Gameplay screenshot showcasing Ricky performing a charged special explosion attack against an enemy.

One or two players (Player 1 as Ricky and Player 2 as Johnny) fight their way through the six levels of various mutated and mechanical enemies, each level containing one or more sub-bosses before an actual boss appears at the end of each stage. The game plays close to the usual beat 'em up mold allowing the player to utilize various combos, jumping attacks, throws and special moves to utilize on the opposition. Rather than the standard fare of allowing players to pick up objects to use as weapons against the enemy however, Mutation Nation instead uses a system where the player can pick up one of four elemental spheres that allow the player the ability to unleash screen-filling super attacks. There are also neutral spheres that will give life back to the player and increase the number of super attacks that they can use.


These are the various elemental spheres that can be picked up by the player and used for special attacks. Each sphere is represented by a letter and color that helps the player tell them apart. If the players do not have any spheres available, they can instead sacrifice part of their life meter to unleash a flurry of attacks.


In the year of 20XX, a mad scientist was shut down by his superiors after conducting bizarre biological experiments. However soon after, his lab exploded and the scientist himself mysteriously disappeared. Now several years later, there are new buildings on top of the forgotten slums where the experiments took place and suddenly a genetic virus has started to spread among the tenants turning them into vicious mutants. Two young men of the local city, Ricky Jones and Johnny Hart, return to town after having been away for a long time and upon seeing the chaos that's happening, they take it upon themselves to clean the town up before the mutants spread across the nation. Along the way they come across not just the mutants, but also robotic foes that the mad scientist has created to stop them.

Development and release

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RePlay reported Mutation Nation to be the fifth most-popular arcade game at the time.[14] In Japan, Game Machine listed Mutation Nation on their May 1, 1992 issue as being the sixteenth most-popular arcade game at the time.[15] The title received generally favourable reception from critics since its release in arcades and other platforms.[7][16][17][18][19][20]

AllGame's Kyle Knight regarded the sphere-based super-attack system as innovative but criticized issues with the controls, repetitive gameplay, enemy AI and average audiovisual presentation.[2] Aktueller Software Markt's Hans-Joachim Amann praised the visuals and large character sprites but criticized the sound design.[3] Consoles +' Marc Menier and Axel also commended the visual presentation, sprite animations, sound, playability and longevity.[4] Computer and Video Games' Frank O'Connor gave positive remarks to the audiovisual presentation as well, stating that its gameplay is good for beat 'em up standards but criticized the lack of originality.[5] Electronic Gaming Monthly's four reviewers praised the graphics and sound but criticized the Neo Geo AES version for its use of unlimited continues.[6] GamePro's Slasher Quan commended the colorful visuals, background details, enemy variety and controls but criticized the lack of a throw move.[8]

Hobby Consolas' Marcos García gave positive remarks to the multiplayer, digitized sound and playability but noted the lack of additional moves for the main characters.[9] Joypad's Nourdine Nini and Joystick's Jean-Marc Demoly gave positive comments to its graphics, character animations, controls and sound.[10][11] Nintendo Life's Dave Frear praised the varied character designs and rock-style music.[12] Player One's Christophe Pottier stated that "Despite the beautiful scenery and animation characteristic of the Neo-Geo, Mutation Nation is a very average game compared to other beat 'em ups on the same console."[13]


  1. ^ Japanese: ミューテイション・ネイション, Hepburn: Myūteishon Neishon


  1. ^ "Oh! Neo Geo Vol. 26 - ミューテイション•ネイション". Beep! MegaDrive (in Japanese). No. 61. SoftBank Creative. October 1994. p. 134.
  2. ^ a b Knight, Kyle (1998). "Mutation Nation (Neo Geo Advanced Entertainment System) - Review". AllGame. All Media Network. Archived from the original on 2014-11-15. Retrieved 2019-10-18.
  3. ^ a b Amann, Hans-Joachim (August 1992). "Konsolen - 100 Prozent Bio-Kost - Mutation Nation". Aktueller Software Markt (in German). No. 66. Tronic Verlag. p. 149.
  4. ^ a b Menier, Marc; Axel (May 1992). "Neo Geo Review - Mutation Nation". Consoles + (in French). No. 9. M.E.R.7. pp. 52–53.
  5. ^ a b O'Connor, Frank (May 1992). "Reviews - Neo Geo -- Mutation Nation". Computer and Video Games. No. 126. Future Publishing. p. 70.
  6. ^ a b Harris, Steve; Semrad, Ed; Alessi, Martin; Williams, Ken (June 1992). "Review Crew - Neo Geo - Mutation Nation". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 35. Sendai Publishing. p. 34.
  7. ^ a b "NEO GEO GAMES CROSS REVIEW: ミューテイション ネイション". Famitsu (in Japanese). No. 332. ASCII Corporation. 28 April 1995. p. 24.
  8. ^ a b Quan, Slasher (June 1992). "Special Feature: Brutal Beat-'Em-Ups - Mutation Nation". GamePro. No. 35. IDG. pp. 21–22.
  9. ^ a b García, Marcos (November 1992). "Neo Geo - Mutation Nation - Acción Mutante". Hobby Consolas (in Spanish). No. 14. Axel Springer SE. pp. 140–143.
  10. ^ a b Nini, Nourdine; Demoly, Jean-Marc (June 1992). "Test - Neo Geo - Mutation Nation". Joypad (in French). No. 9. Yellow Media. pp. 66–67.
  11. ^ a b Demoly, Jean-Marc (May 1992). "Tests - Neo Geo - Mutation Nation". Joystick (in French). No. 27. Sipress. p. 168.
  12. ^ a b Frear, Dave (November 2, 2017). "Mutation Nation Review (Switch eShop / Neo Geo)". Nintendo Life. Nlife Media. Retrieved 2019-10-18.
  13. ^ a b Pottier, Christophe (May 1992). "Tests De Jeux - Neo Geo - Mutation Nation". Player One (in French). No. 20. Média Système Édition. pp. 76–77.
  14. ^ "The Player's Choice - Top Games Now in Operation, Based on Earnings-Opinion Poll of Operators: Best Video Software". RePlay. Vol. 17 no. 7. RePlay Publishing, Inc. April 1992. p. 4.
  15. ^ "Game Machine's Best Hit Games 25 - テーブル型TVゲーム機 (Table Videos)". Game Machine (in Japanese). No. 425. Amusement Press, Inc. 1 May 1992. p. 25.
  16. ^ Knauf, Andreas (June 1992). "News - Neo Geo - Mutation Nation". Video Games (in German). No. 7. Future-Verlag. p. 16.
  17. ^ Yanma; Itabashi (July 1992). "Super Soft 大特集 - 今、『NEO・GEO』がおもしろい!: ミューテイション・ネイション". Micom BASIC Magazine (in Japanese). No. 121. The Dempa Shimbunsha Corporation. p. 209.
  18. ^ "Video-Game Reviews - Mutation Nation (SNK) For the Neo•Geo". VideoGames & Computer Entertainment. No. 42. Larry Flynt Publications. July 1992.
  19. ^ Rosa, Piemarco (September 1992). "Mutation Nation (Neo Geo)". Consolemania (in Italian). No. 11. Xenia Edizioni. p. 59.
  20. ^ Noak, Philipp; Hellert, Stefan (August 1993). "Special - Neo Geo - Mutation Nation". Mega Fun (in German). No. 11. Computec. pp. 28–30. Archived from the original on 2018-10-21. Retrieved 2019-10-18.