X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse is a brawler based on the animated series in the early 1990s which is set in the X-Men world. It follows an original plot concerning the island nation of Genosha, which has started taking mutants hostage and is gearing up for a possible invasion of Sentinels. Five X-Men are sent in to sabotage the various facilities on Genosha and foil the villains behind the plot. The game eventually moves to Magneto's space station base, Avalon. Each of the X-Men's missions are unique to them, and occasionally make use of their specific powers.
The game was exclusive to the Super Nintendo and was released in the US, Europe and Japan. It was coincidentally released the same month as the similar Wolverine: Adamantium Rage, which was produced by LJN.
The story first explains about what the mutants are and how they were helped. It is then revealed that there are mutants who were captured on the island of Genosha, who are then forced into labor by an army of robots called the Sentinels. It is believed that the powerful immortal mutant Apocalypse is responsible for these acts of terror. And so the five X-Men members were sent out to Genosha Island to infiltrate the island, rescue the mutants and gather information on Apocalypse's plans. All members of the X-Men split up to take out the enemies. Every mutant has direct objectives:
- Wolverine will access the Sentinel factory to destroy the robots.
- Cyclops will intercept the train transport from the Genoshan army to destroy their access to supplies.
- Psylocke goes full offensive on the main base to distract the army's attention.
- Gambit sneaks into the harbor to eliminate the enemies.
- Beast will make his way to the central computer to gain all information of where the captured mutants have been placed.
The game is based on a 2D beat-em-up platformer where the player walks from the left hand side to the right, defeating enemies as they pass. Each character has their own lives counter and extra lives can be gained either by collecting icons which has an "X" on it, or later on in the game, collecting an icon with the chosen hero on it as the icon will rotate through all the characters.
In the first act, there are five levels all based on each X-Men character where the level is also designed for each character's skills and even have their unique bosses.
At some stage in the game, the levels will also be the same where all characters can play the same stage.
The interface consists of the player's health bar and the name of the X-Men character shown underneath with the "X" logo on the left of the bar. When fighting boss characters, their health is shown on the right similar to the player's bar but an "E" is shown on the right of the bar.
The characters can be moved left and right, crouch to duck, and only two buttons are used: attack and jump.
The combat works just like Final Fight where tapping the attack button near an enemy will create a chain combo. The combos can also be cancelled into special moves as well, adding extra damage to the enemy.
After each level is complete, a password system (in the form of the X-Men characters) is shown on the screen so that players can re-enter this to get back where they left off in the game.