Beat 'em up
As the name implies, the focus of this action game genre is hand-to-hand combat (beating them up) and less about platform jumping or puzzles.

IREM's Kung-Fu Master and Jordan Mechner's Karateka were the most well-known granddaddies of the genre with a single plane play field. Many of the elements that became beat 'em up staples, like the playfield allowing combatants to move up and down as well as left and right, battling street gangs, and many other elements were popularized by Nekketsu Ko-ha Kunio-kun, its English-localized version, Renegade, and the smash-hit Double Dragon, all created by Technos. Double Dragon's refinement of the Nekketsu/Renegade formula and two-player simultaneous game play set a new standard with many games trying to ape its success, though a few beat-em-ups were still patterned after Kung-Fu Master and Karateka. The genre evolved again in two slightly different directions thanks to Capcom's Final Fight (itself inspired by Double Dragon 2) and Konami's four-player Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Crime Fighters arcade games. Each company based their beat-em-up dynasties on those games engines and influenced those who followed.

Some people use the term beat-em-up to describe all fighting games, including what most people now call Fighting Games (Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, etc.). This site uses the "Beat 'em up" term only for this type of game. This genre is also known as "Belt scroll."
Game list:
64th Street: A Detective Story, Alien vs. Predator (arcade), Avengers (arcade), Bad Dudes vs. Dragonninja, Beats of Rage, Brawl Brothers (SNES), Burning Fight (Neo Geo), Captain America and the Avengers (arcade), Captain Commando (arcade), Crime Fighters (arcade), Double Dragon (arcade), Double Dragon II: the Revenge (NES), Elevator Action (arcade), Final Fight (arcade), Final Fight 2 (SNES), Growl (arcade), Hachoo! (arcade), Ikari III: the Rescue, Kung-Fu Master (arcade), Ninja Baseball Bat Man, Ninja Gaiden (arcade), the Ninja Kids (arcade), Ninja Warriors (SNES), The Punisher (arcade), Rival Turf (SNES), River City Ransom (NES), Sonic Blast Man (SNES), Streets of Rage, Streets of Rage 2, Streets of Rage 3, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (arcade), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - Turtles in Time (SNES), Vendetta (arcade), X-Men (arcade)
Screenshots (click to see full-sized):
Kung-Fu Master Karateka My Hero Renegade Double Dragon Avengers Bad Dudes River City Ransom Final Fight Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Streets of Rage 2 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time

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