Been looking for a solid side-scrolling fighting game? Mutant Wars
has all the action you could need, and doesn't gunk it up with weird gameplay elements. By this time, I'm guessing there's not a soul on this planet who hasn't seen the X-Men movie, so you probably could guess the story. Magneto and an army of bad guys is planning to take over the world, and it's up to Wolverine, Storm, Gambit, Cyclops and Iceman to save the day. Apart from battling Magneto and the underlings, you face off against Sabretooth, War-Axe, Mystique and other bosses at the end of each level. Much like the movie, Mutant Wars
defaults to Wolverine as the main playable character. If for some reason he's not proving very effective against a boss or in some part of a level, you can switch to one of the other team members. As long as one of the team survives and beats the boss, the level is complete and you move on.
Although levels are side-scrolling first and foremost, you can move up and down if there are holes or ladders, giving you access to secret areas and power-ups. Every one of the X-Men has a hit-point gauge and a special attack meter. When one member's HP gauge is empty, they are automatically replaced by another member, and you can switch at any time by pressing Select and one of the D-Pad directions. Nice, easy system. As you knock out enemies, you get heart power-ups that build HP, and power-ups for attack power and increased HP-maximum. Other than Wolverine, the characters with projectile weapons use up XP (special attack) points quickly, and when XP is gone for a character like Storm or Cyclops, they are defenseless. I found this annoying, but switching characters solves the problem, and I spent most of my time with Wolverine or Storm. Projectile attacks can be directed up, down or diagonally from the ground or air, and enemies accordingly can attack from any direction. After you move through the main level, you get to a boss. Defeating the boss usually requires at least a couple different X-Men, and I used all five the first time I fought Magneto. Each level has a hidden key, and as long as you get it and beat the boss, you're in business.
Story Mode is the coolest, but Mutant Wars also has a Fight Mode that plays more like the standard fighting game interface. You go up against one character after another, without any exploration or side-scrolling.