History Of Beat 'Em Ups

Welcome to the comprehensive history of beat 'em ups since the introduction of the genre in 1986 with Taito's Renegade.

Beat 'em ups (also known as brawlers) are a video game genre featuring melee combat between the protagonist and an improbably large number of underpowered enemies. ;xNLx;;xNLx;The First Age is comprised of traditional beat 'em ups that took place in side scrolling levels with limited color palettes. This age is noted for its simple gameplay; a source of both critical acclaim and derision. Two-player cooperative gameplay and multiple player characters are also hallmarks of this age.;xNLx;;xNLx;The Second Age began with a marked increased in mechanical sophistication and nuance. Every aspect of the beat 'em up experience was improved by a substantial margin. Most of this select handful of high quality games were created by Capcom on their CPS2 hardware.;xNLx;;xNLx;Unfortunately, the very promising Second Age was cut short by the advent of 3d gameplay on the home console. The brief Dark Age is comprised of a few remarkably poor titles that were produced and marketed on the excitement of early 3d gameplay.;xNLx;;xNLx;The Third Age was ushered in by Devil May Cry 1 and put the beat 'em up back in the spotlight with 3d gameplay that finally looked and felt good. The third age has been a 10+ year renaissance, only losing momentum in recent years.;xNLx;;xNLx;The greatest threat to the beat 'em up has now appeared in the form of "Watch 'Em Ups", a genre of games that looks like beat 'em ups but are actually a wholly different experience.

1986-05-01 14:56:54

Renegade

Renegade is a video game released in American and European arcades in 1986 by Taito. It is a westernized conversion (including changes to all of the sprites and backgrounds) of the Japanese arcade game Nekketsu Kōha Kunio-kun, released earlier the same year by Technos.

1986-06-01 19:54:35

Double Dragon

Double Dragon is a 1987 beat 'em up developed by Technos Japan and distributed in North America and Europe by Taito Corporation.

1988-12-01 10:50:26

Double Dragon 2

Double Dragon II: The Revenge is a side-scrolling beat 'em up produced by Technos originally released as a coin-operated arcade game in 1988. It is the sequel to Double Dragon, released during the previous year.

1989-04-28 01:26:27

River City Ransom

River City Ransom is a video game for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). It was developed by Technōs Japan and originally released in Japan on April 25, 1989. It was one of the first console games published by North American subsidiary American Technos.

1989-05-01 23:42:28

Golden Axe

Golden Axe is a side-scrolling, beat 'em up, hack and slash arcade video game released in 1989 by Sega for the System 16-B arcade hardware. It is the first game in the Golden Axe series. Makoto Uchida was the primary developer of the game and also was responsible for the creation of Altered Beast.

1989-12-01 14:28:04

Final Fight

Final Fight is a side-scrolling beat-'em-up game originally released by Capcom as a coin-operated video game in 1989. It was the seventh game released by Capcom for their CP System arcade game hardware.

1990-11-01 15:19:54

Double Dragon 3

Double Dragon 3: The Rosetta Stone is a side-scrolling beat 'em up produced by Technos Japan Corp. that was originally released as a coin-operated arcade game in 1990.

1991-02-02 16:53:52

Mutation Nation

Mutation Nation is a beat 'em up arcade game that was developed and released by SNK for the Neo Geo Japanese arcade and home systems in 1991 while the English versions were released in 1992.

1991-06-01 15:08:38

Battletoads

Battletoads is a platformer video game developed by Rare for the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1991.

1991-08-02 01:28:40

Streets Of Rage

Streets of Rage, known in Japan as Bare Knuckle: Ikari no Tekken, is a side-scrolling beat 'em up released by Sega in 1991 for the Sega Mega Drive. It is the first installment of the Streets of Rage series which was followed by Streets of Rage 2 and Streets of Rage 3.

1991-11-01 08:32:34

Captain Commando

Captain Commando is a 1991 futuristic side-scrolling beat 'em up game originally developed and published by Capcom as a coin-operated video game, and later ported to several other platforms.

1991-11-27 17:36:26

Knights Of The Round

Knights of the Round is an arcade game released by Capcom in 1991. A side-scrolling beat 'em up based loosely on the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, the game features a level advancement system, with fighters getting new weapons and armour as they advance through the game.

1991-12-26 21:58:58

Golden Axe 2

Golden Axe II is a side-scrolling beat'em up released for the Sega Mega Drive on December 26, 1991. It is the home console sequel to the popular game Golden Axe.

1992-12-20 23:25:24

Streets Of Rage 2

Streets of Rage 2, known in Japan as Bare Knuckle II: Shitō he no Chinkonka, is a side-scrolling beat 'em up video game released by Sega in 1992 for the Mega Drive / Genesis console. It is the second game in the Streets of Rage series, a sequel to Streets of Rage and followed by Streets of Rage 3.

1993-04-01 23:25:24

Cadillacs & Dinosaurs

Cadillacs and Dinosaurs: The Arcade Game is a 1993 arcade game released by Capcom. The game was produced as a tie-in to the Cadillacs and Dinosaurs animated series which was aired during the same year the game was released.

1993-04-22 23:25:24

The Punisher

The Punisher is a 1993 arcade game developed and released by Capcom.

1993-05-22 08:32:34

Final Fight 2

Final Fight 2 is a side-scrolling beat 'em up released by Capcom for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in 1993. It is a sequel to the coin-operated video game Final Fight (which was also released for the SNES).

1993-06-25 15:31:04

Golden Axe 3

Golden Axe III is the last installment in the Golden Axe series released for the Sega Mega Drive on June 25, 1993.

1993-09-01 10:50:26

Ninja Baseball Bat Man

Ninja Baseball Bat Man, known in Japan as Yakyū Kakutō League Man (野球格闘リーグマン Yakyū Kakutō Rīgu Man?, "Baseball Hand-to-Hand Fighting League Man"), is a 1993 beat 'em up developed and published by Irem Corporation in association with its North American division Irem America exclusively as an arcade game. It is the fourth arcade game by IREM to use a belt scroll perspective, following Blade Master, Hook and Undercover Cops.

1993-12-22 10:52:04

Final Fight 3

Final Fight 3, released in Japan as Final Fight Tough, is a side-scrolling beat 'em up by Capcom originally released for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in 1995. Like its predecessor, it was produced by Capcom's consumer division with no preceding arcade version released.

1994-01-13 18:50:43

Dungeons & Dragons: Tower Of Doom

Dungeons & Dragons: Tower of Doom is the first of two video games created by Capcom based on the Dungeons & Dragons tabletop role-playing game.

1994-05-20 06:11:35

Aliens Vs Predator

Alien vs. Predator is a beat 'em up arcade game released in 1994 by Capcom on the CPS-2, in which the players take control of human and Predator characters in a battle against Aliens.

1994-06-01 05:36:56

Streets of Rage 3

Streets of Rage 3 (Bare Knuckle III in Japan) is a side-scrolling beat 'em up released by Sega in 1994 for the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis. It is the last part of the Streets of Rage series.

1994-09-01 13:24:10

Maximum Carnage

Spider-Man and Venom: Maximum Carnage is a scrolling fighting game for the Super NES and Sega Mega Drive/Genesis, developed by Software Creations and published by LJN (a subsidiary of Acclaim) in 1994.

1994-09-16 17:13:52

Armored Warriors

Armored Warriors is a 1994 mecha-themed fighting action game released by Capcom as a coin-operated video game for their CP System II hardware.

1996-01-25 01:52:21

Guardian Heroes

Guardian Heroes is a 2D side-scrolling beat 'em up and hack & slash action RPG video game developed by Treasure and released in 1996 for the Sega Saturn video game console

1996-04-01 17:11:09

Dungeons And Dragons: Shadow Over Mystara

Dungeons & Dragons: Shadow over Mystara is an arcade game developed and published by Capcom in 1996 as a sequel to Dungeons & Dragons: Tower of Doom.

1996-10-01 00:30:10

Die Hard Arcade

Die Hard Arcade is the licensed North American, European and Australian version of the Japanese video game Dynamite Deka. The game is a beat 'em up licensed from the Die Hard movie.

1997-03-19 01:48:48

Battle Circuit

Battle Circuit is an action "beat 'em up" game developed and published by Capcom for the CPS-2 arcade hardware for Japan and Europe in 1997.

1997-10-31 07:01:29

Fighting Force

Fighting Force is a 1997 3D beat 'em up developed by Core Design and published by Eidos in the same lines of classics such as Final Fight and Streets of Rage. It was released for the PlayStation, Windows and Nintendo 64.

1999-12-16 05:32:21

Sword Of The Berserk: Guts Rage

Sword of the Berserk: Guts' Rage is a hack and slash action video game for the Dreamcast based on the popular Berserk manga by Kentarō Miura.

2000-04-18 12:23:57

Gekido

Gekido is a beat 'em up for the PlayStation game console. The game uses a fast paced beat 'em up system, with many bosses and comic-book inspired graphics.

2000-12-01 10:50:26

The Bouncer

The Bouncer (バウンサー Baunsā?) is a beat 'em up game for the Sony PlayStation 2 video game console. Released in Japan in December 2000, in North America in March 2001, and in Europe in June 2001, it was co-developed by Square and DreamFactory. The game features character designs by Tetsuya Nomura and music by Noriko Matsueda and Takahito Eguchi.

2001-08-23 00:00:00

Devil May Cry 1

Devil May Cry is a hack and slash beat 'em up video game developed and published by Capcom, released in 2001 for the PlayStation 2. Devil May Cry received prominent coverage in the video game media, high overall scores from professional reviewers, and has sold more than two million copies.

2001-10-25 08:09:31

Sengoku 3

Sengoku 3 is a side-scrolling beat up game developed by Noise Factory and published by SNK on October 25, 2001.

2002-08-18 20:16:56

Buffy The Vampire Slayer

Buffy the Vampire Slayer is a 2002 Xbox video game based upon the Buffy the Vampire Slayer franchise.

2002-12-12 23:42:28

Otogi

Otogi: Myth of Demons is a hack and slash action game by From Software, published by Sega for the Xbox.

2003-01-25 17:36:26

Devil May Cry 2

Devil May Cry 2 is a hack and slash beat 'em up video game developed and published by Capcom in 2003 exclusively for the PlayStation 2.

2003-06-26 10:40:27

Viewtiful Joe

Viewtiful Joe is a video game developed by Capcom's Production Studio 4 for the Nintendo GameCube. It was originally released in 2003 as a part of the Capcom Five under director Hideki Kamiya and producer Atsushi Inaba.

2003-12-25 17:36:26

Otogi 2

Otogi 2: Immortal Warriors is a hack and slash action game designed by From Software for the Xbox in 2003.

2004-03-02 00:32:25

Ninja Gaiden

Ninja Gaiden is an action-adventure game developed by Team Ninja for the Xbox video game console. It went through five years of development before its release by Tecmo in 2004.

2004-09-14 05:36:56

Advance Guardian Heroes

Advance Guardian Heroes is a beat 'em up videogame developed by Treasure for the Game Boy Advance. The game was released in 2004.

2004-11-18 10:40:27

Viewtiful Joe 2

Viewtiful Joe 2 was developed by Clover Studio and published by Capcom in 2004 for GameCube and PlayStation 2 (PS2).

2005-02-17 02:21:37

Devil May Cry 3

Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening is a hack and slash beat 'em up video game that was developed and published by Capcom, released in 2005 for the PlayStation 2 (also ported to the PC in 2006).

2005-03-22 17:31:25

God Of War

God of War is a third person action-adventure video game developed by SCE Santa Monica Studio and published by Sony Computer Entertainment. The first installment in the God of War series, it was first released on March 22, 2005 for the PlayStation 2 video game console.

2005-09-13 17:31:25

Urban Reign

Urban Reign features both single player and multiplayer action with both multiple AI opponents and human controlled characters on the same screen fighting at the same time. The characters can move in the environment, pick up weapons, throw objects, give instructions to AI partners, and pull off moves on multiple opponents.

2006-09-14 09:45:58

God Hand

God Hand is an action beat 'em up video game developed by Clover Studio and published by Capcom for the PlayStation 2 video game console. The game was released in 2006 in Japan and North America.

2007-03-17 20:16:56

God Of War 2

God of War II is a third person action-adventure video game developed by SCE Santa Monica Studio and published by Sony Computer Entertainment. First released for the PlayStation 2 video game console on March 13, 2007.

2007-05-17 09:18:11

Odin Sphere

Odin Sphere is a 2D fantasy action RPG video game. Developed by Vanillaware and localized and published by Atlus for the PlayStation 2 in 2007.

2008-01-01 23:49:13

Devil May Cry 4

Devil May Cry 4 is a hack and slash beat 'em up video game that was published and developed by Capcom in 2008 for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Windows platforms.

History Of Beat 'Em Ups

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