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Beat 'em Up
Even comes in hack 'n slash flavors.
Beat 'em Up
genre is a cousin to the
genre that is popular today. Most games that fall under this genre have
very little in the way of story
, and lots in the way of bash-the-other-guy's-heads-in-with-your-fists action.
in these games is a highly popular feature.
These games eschew one-on-one duels for the protagonist (and a friend or two) rampaging across the map, handing out unmerciful beatdowns to every group of gangsters, mutants, robots and ninjas they meet, acquiring weapons from their environment and
finding cooked chickens inexplicably hidden inside arcade cabinets
Related to the
Hack and Slash
, a Beat 'em Up that primarily includes weapons and sometimes magic. Expect some cross-pollination.
In Japan, Beat 'em Ups of the
variety are known as "belt-scroll" games due to their semi-isometric perspective and the fact that the characters are always facing left or right despite being able to move up and down as well. Games like
(which is completely side-scrolling) or
(which is in 3D) are not considered belt-scroll games.
Games in this genre include:
, which also contains driving and light-gun sections
The Adventures of Bayou Billy , one of the Altered Beast Sega Genesis/Mega Drive's launch titles. " Wise fwom youw gwave!"
, the spiritual successor to Anarchy Reigns Mad World.
, Capcom's mecha brawler; the predecessor of Armored Warriors .
Cyberbots , something of an odd example, as it also presents itself as an interactive anime to an extent.
Asura's Wrath . " Bad Dudes Are YOU a bad enough dude to save the the president?"
Bad Street Brawler
, a fanservice-laden parody indie brawler.
BANZAI PECAN: The Last Hope for the Young Century , a 2D Flash beat 'em up with some RPG elements.
Battle Beavers , Capcom's last traditional 2D brawler.
Battletoads , a spiritual successor to Bayonetta Devil May Cry.
, a dismal 2000s 3D Beat 'em Up from Capcom made to capitalize on Grand Theft Auto's success; Mainly remembered for the characters' liberal use of the F-word.
Beat Down: Fists Of Vengeance : A beat 'em up-platformer hybrid that was eventually Bio Force Ape scrapped.
The Combatribes , a spiritual successor to Code of Princess Guardian Heroes.
Comix Zone , a hack-and-slash doujin game with platforming elements.
Crescent Pale Mist
Crime Fighters , a.k.a. Vendetta Crime Fighters 2.
, an arcade-styled doujin beat 'em up styled after the Bloody Palace of the Cröixleur Devil May Cry games.
(a.k.a. Crude Buster Two Crude Dudes), a spiritual successor to Bad Dudes.
Cyborg Justice Dad Game
, a mix of beat 'em up and an action-adventure game akin to Darksiders The Legend of Zelda series.
Defenders of Dynatron City
The Dishwasher DJ Boy, with narration by Wolfman Jack, recorded shortly before his death.
B Rap Boys, notable for having an entirely lyricized soundtrack, supposedly done by a then up-and-coming Raekwon.
The series, coined as the codifier of the modern beat 'em up genre.
Devil May Cry
Dungeon Fighter Online Dynamite Deka, the first game was released outside Japan as .
Die Hard Arcade
Dynamite Dux and its many sequels from Dynasty Warriors Koei.
EOE Eve Of Extinction
Fairy Bloom , A free 2D beat 'em up web-game about a pair of college students trying to get college students to pick up free personal alarms to keep them safe at night — by creating something for them to keep safe Fear Is Vigilance from.
Fighting Force, considered to be one of the earliest attempt at a 3D beat 'em up, was originally developed to be a Streets of Rage sequel.
Final Fight , a single-plane side-scrolling mecha brawler; its sequel incorporates some platforming elements.
Gladiator , a modern revival of the genre, which had been pretty moribund for the previous ten years.
God of War , depending on which character you pick.
Golden Axe goes with 3D character models but 2D gameplay. Overlaps with hack-and-slash due to almost everyone using weapons. And magic.
Grand Chase , a doujin beat 'em up fan-game of Grief Syndrome by Twilight Frontier.
Puella Magi Madoka Magica
Guacamelee! , a dual-titled obscure beat 'em up with 8 characters with massive move-sets.
Guardians / Denjin Makai II , a hybrid of beat 'em up, action-RPG, and fighting game with branching story paths from Treasure.
Guardian Heroes , in 1984 being one of the oldest available for home computers.
Karateka Kenka Bancho
Killer Is Dead
The King of Dragons
Knights of the Round , known in Japan as Kung Fu Master Spartan X, a very loose adaptation of the Jackie Chan movie better known as Wheels On Meals in the West.
Kung Fu Strike
Little Fighter 2
Lollipop Chainsaw , an amateur effort.
Lugaru , an interesting example as it's a single-plane mecha brawler that plays like a 2D fighting game then shifts into the latter during boss battles.
Mad Stalker: Full Metal Force , featuring over-the-top violence and a comic-book style.
Malicious , a cross between Megabyte Punch and Custom Robo
Super Smash Bros. , Metamorphic Force Altered Beast applied to a typical belt-scroll engine; made by Konami.
Mortal Kombat Mythologies Sub Zero
Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks
Mutant Rampage Body Slam
Mutation Nation Night Slashers, a zombie-slaying beat 'em up that predated Zombie Revenge by several years.
Ninety-Nine Nights , the general concept and initial designs were made in America with the intent of it being the follow-the-leader platformer game; It was sent to Japan for programming, and when it came back, it became " Ninja Baseball Bat Man Power Rangers WITH BASEBALL!".
The Ninja Kids
The Ninja Warriors
Onechanbara is a rare 3D example, with a bit of third-person shooter mixed in.
Overgrowth , a Panzer Bandit Guardian Heroes-esque beat 'em up by Fill-in Café.
, a retro-styled spin-off of the Phantom Breaker: Battle Grounds -Cocoa's Nightmare Attack- yet-to-be-localized fighting game featuring a cutesy, super-deformed characters with gameplay similar to Guardian Heroes.
Pu Li Ru La Ragnarok Battle Offline
Rampage The series, with two main notables:
Kunio-kun Renegade (a.k.a. Nekketsu Kōha Kunio-kun), the first beat 'em up that used the "belt-scroll" perspective, which allowed characters to move along both the vertical and horizontal axis while still facing primarily to the left or right
, a co-operative brawler with RPG elements.
River City Ransom
River City Ransom: Underground
Rushing Beat , a.k.a. Rush'n Attack Green Beret
, a.k.a. Ryu Ga Gotoku Yakuza
has one level that adapts a mission from Saints Row 2 into this.
Saints Row IV
Sonic Blast Man Spikeout
Streets of Rage Streets of Rage Remake, a fan-made remake of Streets of Rage that combines all three games into one.
mixes a beat 'em up and fighting game in its Story Mode.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl console releases starting from the third one have beat 'em up game modes:
Tekken Tekken 3-4: Tekken Force
Tekken 5: Devil Within
Tekken 6: Scenario Campaign
...and Death By Degrees, a spin-off centering around Nina Williams.
The Wonderful 101 Tokyo Beat Down
Trio the Punch Twin Blades, an iOS App game; formally available on Xbox Live Indie Games and Windows Phone 7 that was pulled due to its cartoon-ish violence.
, a post-apocalyptic beat 'em up that has a cult following in Japan, but is mostly unknown everywhere else.
Undercover Cops , a 3D brawler from Namco featuring Paul Phoenix of Urban Reign Tekken fame.
Vigilante , a post-apocalyptic beat 'em up by Konami, often mistakenly labeled as the third Violent Storm Crime Fighters game.
Warlords Heroes, a side scrolling hacky-slashy beat 'em up from Ben Olding Games.
, an odd example of this genre as it uses a first-person perspective for its combat system.
Zeno Clash , the sequel to Zeno Clash 2 Zeno Clash, which continues the story and has a more open design.
, a side game to Sega's Zombie Revenge The House of The Dead series.
Licensed video games in this genre:
For a time, it was common for licensed games to be made in this format. Some of the more famous ones include:
Alien vs. Predator: a single-player SNES game by Activision where you control a lone Predator.
: a three-player arcade game by Capcom with human and predator player characters.
Alien vs. Predator , a two-player arcade beat 'em up by Konami.
Astérix , a Astro Boy: Omega Factor Game Boy Advance game based off of the 2003 anime series.
Astro Boy , from various sources to various consoles:
Batman on the Super Nintendo.
Batman Returns , two versions, console and arcade. The former is a lively-looking Batman Forever Turtles in Time clone. The latter utilized digitized actors, resulting in few enemies (not enough RAM) but a decent range of animation.
, though the Genesis version is closer to Batman & Robin Contra (and possibly the hardest game on this entire list).
The Adventures of Batman & Robin for the Super Nintendo, based on the animated series
, also based after the animated series.
Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu , the craptastic SNES game adaptation of an already craptacular animated movie.
Bebe's Kids (arcade version)
Cadillacs & Dinosaurs
Captain America and the Avengers
Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara Tower of Doom
Shadow Over Mystara
(a.k.a. Fist of the North Star: Ken's Rage Hokuto Musou)
and Hyakujuu Sentai Gaoranger , 3D beat 'em ups for the PlayStation.
Ninpuu Sentai Hurricaneger , a four-player arcade game by Irem
Hook , the unreleased Midway arcade game
Judge Dredd for the Super Famicom.
Kamen Rider : Marvel Super Heroes War Of The Gems Spiritual Successor of X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse, based on the Infinity Gauntlet Story Arc.
: Based on the popular Super Robot anime, licensed for the Super Nintendo
Mazinger Z Mazin Saga for the Sega Genesis
on the Super Nintendo.
Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers
The Pirates of Dark Water , a two-player arcade game by Capcom co-starring Nick Fury; also released for the Genesis.
The Punisher had a few alongside the fighting and puzzle games; It can be very entertaining to see tiny girls like Mercury and Moon bust out DDTs and suplexes.
Sailor Moon , the very same Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World: The Game Scott Pilgrim comic book series, in the form of a River City Ransom-style brawler.
, a four-player arcade game by Sega featuring Spider-Man: The Video Game Namor, Black Cat, and Hawkeye.
, a beat 'em up game based on the popular TV show by Konami.
The Simpsons , two different beat 'em ups: a 1988 Taito arcade game, and Superman The Death and Return of Superman for Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis.
for the arcades by Konami, released as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Arcade Game Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II for the NES.
The Tick , a six-player arcade game by Konami loosely based on the " X-Men Pryde of the X-Men" animated pilot featuring Cyclops, Wolverine, Storm, Colossus, Nightcrawler, and Dazzler.
and its sequel, X-Men Legends X-Men Legends: Rise of Apocalypse, as well as its spiritual successor series , are more recent additions to the genre.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance , a beat'em up and platform game by Capcom, based on the 90s cartoon series.
X Men Mutant Apocalypse