Mutant League Football is an oddball variant on EA's Madden '93 engine; picture football in a world of Mad Max meets Castlevania and you are somewhere close. Teams like the Terminator Trollz and the Psycho Slashers, manned by monsters and skeletons, play a fairly authentic version of seven-on-seven pigskin football. The major difference here is the gore factor.

The advanced "features" of the game actually aren't even really apparent unless you read about them in advance. Players that are worn down from multiple hits over the course of the game can be killed with a crushing blow; once gone they are not replaced, and you can eventually destroy the entire team (apparently, anyway; I could never even wear one guy down enough to fatality him). There is also a special audible you can call, once per half, which varies by team; among these are a play that turns the football into a bomb (throw an intentional interception!) and a throw that slices the heads off of anyone foolish enough to try to get in front of it. There is even an option to kill the ref; this is more for personal satisfaction than anything, as you get a five-yard penalty and then a new ref takes his place. Bribing the ref is also an option; he'll start calling BS penalties on the opposing team, but if the CPU is controlling them they inevitably kill him on the next play.

Same engine of Madden '93 means same weaknesses - passing is a bother due to the limited pass windows that don't adequately show where the receiver is or how many people are around them. Catches are more determined by stats than positioning; a high-caliber receiver a few feet away from the ball or triple-covered in the endzone might magically haul it in anyway. There's a general loose, slidey and clunky feel to the whole game, not terrible, but Tecmo Super Bowl vets will long for the tight responsiveness of that game. You also virtually need to pick a high-ranked team to win; teams that have more than a two-skull difference between them are usually way too imbalanced to compete.

The game certainly has its charms, though, despite no season mode and only a limited playoffs to keep solo players busy. Aside from the brute over-the-top violence and the Running Man-esque environment, there are a slew of digitized sound clips, field types to play on (each with random obstacles such as pits and land mines) and cute animations. The game definitely requires more-than-average patience and time to adjust to the sloppy uniqueness of the controls, but plenty of people seem to have found it worthwhile (more likely to be so if you have a second player to play against regularly).

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