Beat 'em Up

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Sometimes it's more like Hack and Slash 'em Up.

The "Beat 'em Up" genre is a cousin to the Fighting Game genre that is popular since the eighties, with their Trope Codifiers Double Dragon and Golden Axe. 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. Co-Op Multiplayer 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. Many Beat 'em Ups include weapons and magical powers.

In Japan, Beat 'em Ups of the Double Dragon or Final Fight variety are known as "belt-scroll" action games (ベルトスクロールアクションゲーム) 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 Kung-Fu Master (which is completely side-scrolling) or Beat Down (which is in 3D) are not considered belt-scroll games.

Known as Beat 'em All (in English) in France, due to the various occurrences in side-/belt-scrolling games where the game won't scroll any further until all enemies are down.

3D Beat 'em Up games are better known as Stylish Action or Character Action Games.

Games in this genre include:

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:

  • The Tick
  • Tiny Toon Adventures: Scary Dreams/Buster's Bad Dream for the Game Boy Advance, which used a gameplay engine that would later be used in Astro Boy: Omega Factor.
  • Transformers: Devastation: A beat'em up being developed by PlatinumGames.
  • The Warriors: Based on the seventies B-movie of the same name. Strictly single-player, though an unlockable 2-player minigame is available if you beat it. Titled Armies of the Night, it features an homage to Double Dragon, Streets of Rage and a few others.
  • X-Men, a six-player arcade game by Konami loosely based on the "Pryde of the X-Men" animated pilot featuring Cyclops, Wolverine, Storm, Colossus, Nightcrawler, and Dazzler.
  • X-Men Legends and its sequel, X-Men Legends: Rise of Apocalypse, as well as its spiritual successor series Marvel Ultimate Alliance, are more recent additions to the genre.
  • X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse, a beat'em up and platform game by Capcom, based on the popular X-Men comic, with a few elements from the 90s cartoon series.
  • The game based on X-Men Origins: Wolverine is also this.
  • We Shall Wake, a high-speed action game where you control an incredibly powerful and fast super-robot.

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