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Time to open the gates of hell!
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Beat Down: Fists of Vengeance is a Beat 'em Up by Capcom. It hit the Xbox and the PS2 in the 2005, and had a very interesting premise. The game is a Wide Open Sandbox, a Fighting Game, and a Beat 'Em Up that relies heavily on RPG Elements. The player is able to do some Level Grinding with his chosen character, highly customize him/her by changing everything about him with cosmetic surgeries, buying tattoos, changing his/her hair, his/her clothes and even adding/removing features like facial and body hair (making him/her a real Virtual Paper Doll). There's also loads of side quests and over 30 recruitable characters that can help you around by filling your party and being sidekicks just for the sake of it. These allies also gain levels, and some have specializations and different (but limited) fighting styles. For example, Martial Artists can teach you moves for some cash, Pickpockets can steal, and car thieves can hijack cars parked on the streets to give you a quick trip. You can also interrogate, rob, and even brutalize the characters in the game to a pulp using the option "Beatdown" for no other reason than really being faithful to the game title.

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The plot is about five mob soldiers from a Wretched Hive called Las Sombras who got set up by their own organization. In the ensuing chaos, they get split up and try to build up a network of informants and underlings to get revenge.

The Five Player Characters are:

  • "Raven", an Irish Brutish Thug who plays the Blood Knight and Jerkass tropes Up to Eleven. He has an Irish accent and fights in a funny stance that prioritizes punches. He is the "Standard" choice.
  • "Aaron", a Eurasian with a penchant for gothic fashion, tatoos and emo hair (that thankfully you can change..) He is the bastard son of the Big Bad Zanetti and likes to spend his cutscenes playing with the "Well Done, Son!" Guy trope. He is the most "smart" of the three guys and fights using fancy kung-fu moves that are snake-based. He also likes knives, and comes equipped with one. He is the "Tech" choice.
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  • "Jason G", the resident Scary Black Man doubling as a Big Guy for the game. He is very fond of orphans, since he is one too, and is the most kind-hearted character of the entire game. He fights using sheer raw power and is slow as a slug but can endure more punishment. He is the "Power" choice.
  • "Gina", a blond Action Girl/Chick whose beautiful looks can be tarnished by the Gorn features of the game. She has a Dark and Troubled Past that the game will never tell you about and unfinished business with Zanetti's right-hand man, Eugene. She fights using fast blows and is a Fragile Speedster. The "Speed" choice for players. (If you customize her with the right parts, she can end looking like The Bride from Kill Bill.)
  • "Lola", the Dance Battler Latina who appears to be from the South America. Like the majority of Hispanic characters, she drops Gratuitous Spanish one-liners here and there. She is very mysterious, cunning, smart, and she has lots of shady dealings with some characters in the game. Fights using capoeira moves. She is the "Exotic" choice.

This game provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: Pretty much every woman in this game can be one. Even female pedestrians, since they can defend themselves if you try to hurt them.
  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: It's more like "Adam Smith Hates Mobsters"; if the player tries to buy anything while wearing their mafia outfit, stores won't sell anything to you.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: By interrogating the right characters, they will tell the player that new items are available at stores and some will them about other new features like new tattoos at the clinic and new cosmetic options at the hospital and new haircut options at the barber.
  • Affably Evil: Quincy. If you meet him earlier in the game, when he's acting like a normal doctor worried about your health, you will be surprised about having to fight with him later.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The option of loading all of your recruited characters in the versus mode is ruined because of the game's constant loading and scrappy fighting physics.
  • Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work: Chester pulls one.
  • Bald of Evil: Quincy
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Subverted; The player can really screw up your character's looks fighting all time and getting hit. You will end up bloody and with loads of bruises, but if you take medicine, you will recover along with your good looks.
    • As a service to the squeamish, bruising and bloodying can be turned off for both male and female characters.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Jason G.
  • Black and Gray Morality: There aren't any truly good and noble characters in the story, and even your allies tend to have plenty of shady dealings on the side. If the player decides to play nice and not go out of your way to commit mayhem and only go after the bad guys, your ultimate goal is still to start your own gang and take over Las Sombras.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory:
    • Certain characters can be recruited to your side and will give the player information on stores with new items without fighting them. While some will join the player with no problems, others will ask for a certain amount of money before joining the player or giving them advice. The player can either pay what they're asking for or lower the characters pride and then recruit them/ interrogate for information.
    • In chapter 2 at the Las Sombras Cantina, you have a chance at running into a police officer that won't arrest you if you talk to him. When talking to him, he'll ask the player for $1000 to get them off of the wanted list, i.e. police and cops won't get suspicious when you approach them at every place they can be found at.
  • Camera Screw: The other big thing that didn't sit well with critics. There is a "snap back" option to instantly put the camera back behind you, but it doesn't always work reliably, and the camera loves to circle around to your front in free battles and keep you from seeing who's about to whip your ass.
  • Cardboard Prison: Got arrested? No problem! You can break out of jail! Or just pay up...
  • The Cartel: Controlled by the Fatima Saints, they get wiped out in the intro sequence.
  • Cat Fight: Averted; no gender difference is going to protect your female character (or the others) from ending up with bruises for taking and receiving loads of punishment.
  • The Chessmaster: Chester.
  • Cluster F-Bomb
  • Cool Old Guy: Melvin.
  • Cowboy Cop: Chester uses Police Brutality and questionable methods to deal with criminals, including you.
  • Damsel in Distress: Gina and Lola are both locked up in desolated places and left for dead. It is up to you to find them.
  • Deadly Doctor: Quincy.
  • Defeat Equals Friendship: You got to beat nearly everyone in a fight including three of your former partners so they can join you.
    • Though in the case of two of your ex-partners, they aren't opposed to joining up with you, but when they fight both of you are in disguise when you encounter one another, so they don't realize the truth until after the fight's over.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Averted; if you die, it's over.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: An irritating example. Since the game has a Guide Dang It! nature, if the player doesn't know what they're doing, they'll run into them and get another ending. And there's no way to know if you did it wrong until they see a guide.
  • Distressed Dude: Subverted with Aaron, who gets kidnapped by the mob and trapped in a hotel, but is found alive, well, and unharmed.
  • Do Well, but Not Perfect: While obtaining the final three bosses and two people at the hole selling weapons is indeed nice to get for clearing the game with all ranks maxed out, clearing the game with just two ranks maxed out and leaving one not maxed out will allow the player to obtain all of the rewards from both categories instead of just one for a perfect ending.
  • Dueling Games: With Urban Reign, released a few weeks later.
    • Name's the Same: Coincidentally, both games have a boxer named Grim (or Grimm in Reign's case).
  • Executive Suite Fight: Subverted. The fight against Zanetti takes place in his luxury hotel room... but he is not the final boss.
  • The Dragon: Eugene is this to Zanetti. You may think your player character was this, but he/she was more a member of a Quirky Miniboss Squad.
  • Escort Mission: A very common type of sidequest.
  • False Flag Operation: One mission requires the player to dress in a specific gang's colors to mix with them, cause a riot, and run away when the cops arrive so they can be arrested.
  • Final Boss: Chester again in the best ending where your character decides that he won't be dealing with him anymore and decides to kill him.
  • Five-Man Band:
    • The Hero: Raven. He appears on the game's cover, wears red, and his plot has everything to do with the "revenge" theme of the game. He also appears to lead the team in the opening sequence.
    • The Lancer: Aaron. He's always arguing with Raven to the point that they barely get into a fistfight. He's also very competent in what he does and is always the second choice for players. He also wears green.
    • The Big Guy: Jason G
    • The Smart Guy: Lola
    • The Chick: Gina, so much that her storyline is focused more on her affair with Eugene than anything else.
  • Game-Breaker: Subverted. The ATM scheme could easily make you rich, but since the game loads for everything, you will barely use it.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: If you wish to achieve 100% Completion, you need to unlock everyone in the blacklist. This requires several playtroughs, because taking different choices nets you different characters, and some will only join you if you're a specific gender.
  • Guide Dang It!: Without a guide, the player is pretty much screwed due to a lot of Permanently Missable Content as the player won't know things like which character gives out information for more items and how to recruit certain characters.
  • Heel–Face Turn: It's another point of the game. You will notice that everyone who is in the blacklist can join you. If you play with the right cards, the player will reach the end of the game and see that every soldier from the Zanetti mob has joined your cause.
  • If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten: Zanetti challenges his bastard son Aaron to kill his other friends.
  • Karma Meter: Another big "feature" of the game. The player has two karma meters; one deals with the cops, and the other is about the mobsters. Do enough sh*t near either group and they will start to recognize you. If the meters hit 100%, they will start random encounters with you, sending cars to kill/arrest you. The only way to avoid this is to change your looks often, but you could just ignore this and kick the crap out of them while enjoying the loots that they drop.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: Fatima and Norma.
  • Kick the Dog: Noted by the fact that you can do that in the game too.
  • Knife Nut: Aaron starts the game with a knife. Eugene uses a hunting knife as his Weapon of Choice and looks pretty cool while doing so.
  • Loads and Loads of Loading: Hoo, yeah. Enough to seriously hurt its average score with most critics.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Eugene is behind Zanetti's schemes and allows him to rule the city.
  • Magic Plastic Surgery: Played straight for customization and gameplay purposes.
  • Meaningful Name: Las Sombras. It is always night there, and an NPC even complains about it.
  • Mercy Kill: Ignacy and Eugene ask for one if you defeat them with Jason G and Gina respectively. The first one rejects the request, the second grants it although it's implied she did it out of revenge.
  • The Mole: Tracy, of all people. At least she feels pretty bad about it after selling you up the river fails to keep her and Melvin safe.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: You can do that if you wish to.
  • One-Hit Kill: Your character during the "Dangerous Delivery" due to carrying a very volatile bomb.
  • Permanently Missable Content: One of the game's main faults. Everything is divided by chapters, including characters and side missions. Unless you have a guide, some of them can be lost forever. You can also lose potentially good recruitments by killing your would-be friends using the beatdown option. You also need to be patient to interrogate every character you find, since doing so nets upgrades in stores. If you miss one, you have to wait until the next playthrough and try again.
  • The Plan: Chester! He orchestrates all the mafia/cartel drug robbery predicting the outcome.
  • Professional Killer: Ignacy.
  • Reality Ensues: See the Bruises? It can happen with pretty much everyone who gets in a fight in Real Life.
  • Scary Black Man: Jason G, Quincy, and Gregorio. You can also recruit some into your team.
  • Schrödinger's Player Character: Averted. Although the player only plays as one of the five main characters, the other four also appear at the beginning and will also show up in the story later on and can be recruited.
  • Tattooed Crook: Aaron and Gina. There's also some recruitable characters, and your player character if you wish to put some on him/her. Heck, you can even take 'em off the player characters who have them.
  • Timed Mission: Chapter Three is an entire Timed Chapter if you follow the main mission, since Ignacy is playing a game with you and your friends in the blacklist, targetting them. You must reach their asses before Ignacy does; by the contrary, he will kill your boys.
    • Also the Gregorio Factory Mission that doubles as That One Level. If you don't know where to go after you plant the bomb, you blow up along with the factory and get a game over.note 
  • Title Drop: The "Beatdown" option that is displayed as a Gory Discretion Shot.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: Believe it or not, there are a couple times when some random Joes are in trouble (mainly being mugged) and you actually have the option of playing hero and saving them.
    • The recruitment option seems like a pretty decent thing for the player to do, considering your other choices: "Hey, I just sapped your pride and beat the shit out of you! How'd you like a job?"
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: There's a few examples, but the "Beatdown" option seems like the best starting point.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: The "Beatdown" option is pretty damn cathartic and a lot of those punks are just asking for it, but you kill that character and now you can't shake him/her down for money or important info. Wait until you've robbed and interrogated them and then kill them? Great, now the cops won't stop hounding you and you very likely just cost yourself a potentially useful ally.
  • Virtual Paper Doll: You can customize pretty much everything about your character, from tattoos to hair.
    • Wholesome/Creepy Crossdresser: There are no gender restrictions on any clothing choices, either. Want to play a big, burly guy in a miniskirt and heels or a sexy woman in a flannel and shitkickers? Whatever floats your boat.
  • Vice City: Again, Las Sombras.
  • World of Badass: Not everyone the player picks a fight with game has what it takes to kick your ass, but that doesn't mean they aren't gonna at least try.
  • Wretched Hive: Las Sombras is so vile that it's nearly impossible to meet someone that's not a criminal.
  • You Killed My Father: In this case, it's "You killed my sister." Norma invokes this while trying to avenge her sister, Fatima. If the player takes some paths in the game, Norma will chase you around to try again until she gives up and joins you.

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