Mutant Zone was to be the sequel to Spore and published by Mastertronic back in 1989.
The sequel was a full 2/3 screen scrolling game which had a far right display panel (Top to bottom) consisting of multiplexed sprites. It was not quite as mental as the original game and described by it’s creator Paul Rogers as more of a “slow burn”.
The game was actually reviewed in ACE magazine and given a rating of 624, and was also planned for the Spectrum too. Sadly neither version ever got released for reasons that are currently unknown.
It seems that ACE reviewed an incomplete copy, as Paul suggests that it just needed tweaking on the game play – but everything else was pretty much done. It is not known why it was decided not to release the game! French magazine Tilt! also included a small snippet review, which said: “Piloting a tank, you have to find your way in a huge base while destroying many enemies. This software could have been interesting but is poorly made and the action is repetitive. There are way better “budget” games.” and gave it a B rating overall.
Paul is looking for the source code for the game, but currently cannot find it. We hope he’s more lucky very soon!
In the meantime, GTW64 did locate a game called Cybowormz which looks startlingly like Mutant Zone and the screenshot we have. Just look at the screenshots and the main sprite! It certainly feels Spore like too and the dimensions of the screen, bullets etc look identical.
Cybowormz was confirmed by Paul to be an earlier incarnation of the game which has somehow sneaked out. Mutant Zone will be very much similar, but with a lot more interaction and actual gameplay. The Cybowormz build is in a very early stage of development. Paul continues to hunt for remains of Mutant Zone, and we are hopeful that it will turn up some day soon!
For now, check out the review and a rare glimpse at the C64 version and a preview of a future GTW download we hope!
Contributions: Paul Rogers, Vinny Mainolfi, Catel