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Mutant Reviews by an older fan


by scythemantis

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As a horror artist and biology student born on Halloween, I've always been a lover of gruesome ghouls, eerie parasitic aliens and other bizarre monsters. I first created a neopets account back in 2000, when most of the pets available were a little too sweet for my tastes. It wasn't until later that my interest was piqued by the introduction of one Dr. Sloth and his clearly superior mutant creations, which were initially introduced only as plot characters. I waited and hoped for the day we players might be able to own mutant pets ourselves, and couldn't have been more excited when the mutant Kacheek, Techo, Chia and Grundo appeared one day in the Rainbow Pool. I spent my entire neopoint savings on my first set of transmogrification potions, and found myself hopelessly addicted to the site like many of you reading this now.

Sadly, there's a tale of loss here that I'll be getting to later, but as the biggest possible fan of mutant neopets - someone who wouldn't even be a part of the site without them - I've taken it upon myself to give my detailed opinion on some of my favorite and least favorite representatives of this often unappreciated color, rating each on a scale of one to ten. Mutants appeal to a broad range of creative tastes, and mine are quite likely to differ from your own, but I hope that some of you might come away from this article with a renewed appreciation for the strange and unusual.

THE MUTANT LENNY - 9/10

Several Lennies borrow their color schemes from real-world birds, including the flamingo-style pink Lenny and peacock-feathered faerie Lenny, so it's appropriate that the mutant would take after scavenging birds such as vultures and buzzards. In the real world, similar birds typically have bald heads for reaching deep into decaying carrion, and I think that might have suited this mutant a bit better than its fully-feathered face, but it's still a nicely designed pet, with a suitably "mutant" grunginess!

PETPET SUGGESTION: The Intesteen is the sort of thing a real-world carrion bird would call dinner, so pairing up these two is kind of like a touching friendship forged between a cat and a mouse. Or you and a sentient hot dog. Wouldn't that be just SO cool?

THE MUTANT ACARA - 5/10

With its array of wicked horns and flaming face of black energy, the Mutant Acara is certainly one of the more distinct mutations out there and already wildly popular... but I'm afraid I must leave it with a rather low score, because I can't say it gives me the impression of a "mutated" being. The design comes across much more as an alien or even supernatural entity, which I believe would have made better sense if it were part of some other color.

PETPET SUGGESTIONS: The Darigan Drugal feels like a nice fit, especially with its darkened face.

THE MUTANT AISHA - 7/10

This fascinatingly abnormal feline is most notable for the additional mouths where it would normally have additional ears, turning the strangest aspect of the standard Aisha into something stranger still. Also unique is the giant, perpetually closed eye, which makes me ponder if it can actually see or not, and on closer inspection the "spikes" down its back look like a series of extra tongues.

Interestingly, the mutant Aisha almost looked very, very different, as an unreleased version had multiple limbs and grotesque, snail-like eyeballs! I actually preferred this more unsettling design, and am hoping it might be applied to some other mutant neopet or petpet in the future.

PETPET SUGGESTIONS: the Dribblet nicely matches this mutant's pink highlights and external tongues, as though one of them dropped off and started moving around. Isn't that visual just precious? You're welcome for it.

THE MUTANT GNORBU - 10/10

This is an example of my favorite sort of mutant: one that appears sickly, scuzzy and misshapen. With its mostly hairless flesh, dribbling mucus, drooping eyeballs and apparently rank odor (if the flies are any indication), this may be the foulest mutation in all of Neopia, and couldn't possibly be more delightful to me. It also seems so adorably content to be a four-legged sack of disease.

PETPET SUGGESTIONS: the mutant Slorg looks hilariously like something the mutant Gnorbu might have hacked up.

THE MUTANT OGRIN - 8/10

Perhaps the most outlandish mutant of them all, the Ogrin is a colorful, eclectic concoction of horns, tentacles, barbs and suckers with an amusingly peculiar, goatlike face and otherworldly eyes. Most interesting is its tail, which appears to be an entire carnivorous plant! I do feel that the color scheme is a little TOO eclectic, and that the horns are a bit much. I'd have preferred more of those pink tentacles, rather than the addition of the horns.

PETPET SUGGESTION: with its pug face, insect body and fabulous wings, the Scarabug nicely matches the Ogrin's outrageous anatomy.

THE MUTANT KOI - 10/10

Like the Gnorbu, this is another pleasingly putrid-looking critter, especially with those tattered, decayed looking fins. I love how its three eyes veer off in random directions. This truly brings to mind the result of some terrible chemical spill, as well as the many ghastly-looking fish that can really be found in the deepest, darkest depths of the deep-sea abyss!

PETPET SUGGESTION: I actually like the Filamen for this one. Why? Like I said, the mutant Koi brings to mind a deep sea fish, many of which use glowing lures to attract their prey. Just imagine a mutant Koi hunting the depths of the sea with a Filamen by its side, tricking hungry Jetsams right into its master's jaws.

THE MUTANT RUKI - 10/10

Insects have always been my favorite animals to study, but for a long time, the only insect-like neopet was the Buzz. I was fairly pleased when they unveiled the mantis-like Ruki, but even more pleased when they unveiled the mutant! Drastically different from its unmutated brothers, this Ruki looks less like a mantis and more like a gigantic roach, beetle or even a wasp depending on your preferences. Then again, this is Neopia we're talking about, so perhaps what we're looking at is a giant Vernax-like Ruki? I love its dirty colors, translucent wings and those long, segmented feelers. Oddly, it possesses only four limbs, a pretty serious mutation for an insect!

PETPET SUGGESTION: I've always felt that the mutant crabula, while clearly inspired by the style of the mutant Koi, is an even better compliment to the mutant Ruki!

THE MUTANT PTERI - 9/10

Freaky and fearsome rolled up in a perfect package, the mutant Pteri combines avian and reptilian features much like the mythological cockatrice, a hybrid of chicken and serpent that could kill with the stare of its eyes alone. The Pteri's splotchy, sagging flesh and vestigial, prehistoric-looking wings have a distinctly "mutated" feel to them, though the colors could stand to be a little less vibrant. I feel that a more muted scheme of browns and greens would have suited this design better.

PETPET SUGGESTION: the mutant peadackle is a fellow freakish fowl... imagine these two weirdos in a chicken coup. Could you ever trust those omelets?

THE MUTANT MOEHOG - 8/10

Resembling an older, saggier, blobbier and significantly gloomier Moehog makes this one of the simpler and less popular mutants, but for those same reasons, it's always been one of my favorites. This mutation is actually plausible according to real-world science, exhibiting signs of very realistic genetic abnormality! It may be a simplistic difference, but sometimes, less is more.

PETPET SUGGESTION: swine have long been associated with mud and slop, so what better companion to a globular mutant hog than a sludgy from the Haunted Woods?

THE MUTANT CHIA - 3/10

Here is where we come to that sad note I mentioned. You see, it wasn't just any old mutant pet that grabbed my attention all those years ago; it was one mutant in particular that I fell in love with, an oozing, putrescent heap of flabby sludge with a face that can only be described as maggot-like:

This handsome heap was actually the original design of the mutant Chia, and I adored it head to toe, if you can find any toes in this warped globule of flesh. To me, the slimy beast represented everything cool about mutants - it was weird, it was gross, it was different. Unfortunately, most players wouldn't touch it with a ten foot virtual pole, and so the staff eventually gave it a makeover into what we see today. There's still never been another neopet that could fill my old friend's slime-caked shoes, and no offense to its fans, but I never thought the spikier, more vegetable-like appearance looked very "mutated." It almost looks too cute, or even too "healthy" for a mutant.

PETPET SUGGESTION: these guys are notorious for devouring petpets (or Florg is, anyway) so why not a tasty petpet that can bite back, like the candy vampire?

THE MUTANT KAU - 10/10

On the flip side, there's absolutely no mistaking THIS number for anything other than a creepy, unnatural mutation. A tentacle-lined sucker face is nothing shocking to a fan of sci-fi horror, but by Neopian standards, it's downright disturbing. The mutant kau looks like a barnyard animal from some twisted interdimensional pit of chaos and madness, combining that lovely squid-face with diabolical horns and reptilian skin for a truly sinister appearance. My only critique is that the colorful serpentine tail, while reasonably cool, feels a little cluttered and extraneous. Even with the body of a completely normal Kau, this would have been freaky enough!

PETPET SUGGESTION: for this one, I like the disturbing implications of a dung petpet - who knows what unnatural lifeforms might arise in a pasture inhabited by tentacled bovines?

 
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