Beat-em-up - This offshoot of the side-scrolling platform game is all about the combat and less about platform jumping or puzzles. IREM's Kung-Fu Master and Jordan Mechner's Karateka were the forerunners of the genre with a single plane play field. The taller play field and many other elements that became common in beat-em-ups were popularized (if not introduced) by Renegade (originally Nekketsu Ko-ha Kunio-kun) and Double Dragon, both games 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 (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 really needs its own unique title.

Game list: 64th Street - A Detective Story (Arcade), Alien vs. Predator (arcade), Avengers (Arcade), Bad Dudes vs. Dragonninja (Arcade), Batman (NES), Beats of Rage (PC), 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 (Super Nintendo), Growl (Arcade), Hachoo (Arcade), Ikari III: the Rescue (Arcade), Kung-Fu Master (Arcade), Ninja Baseball Bat Man (Arcade), 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 (Genesis), Streets of Rage 2 (Genesis), Streets of Rage 3 (Genesis), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Arcade), Vendetta (Arcade), X-Men (Arcade)

Return to smaller definition in Venacula-X glossary

Return to Venacula-X glossary

Return to top of the top of the page