Beat 'em up

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A beat-em-up is a genre of video game where the player controls a character who uses close-combat to defeat a multitude of opponents to achieve a goal. These games began as 2D side-scrollers and make heavy use of martial arts, but over the years, the genre has expanded. Some gaming databases make a distinction between a beat-em-up and hack-and-slash. Hack-and-slash games usually have a fantasy setting and the player's character has weapons, but the play mechanics are effectively the identical, so I group them together. Beat-em-ups differ from fighting games because they put less emphasis on complex individual character battles and more emphasis on defeating many basic opponents.

In general, I find the classic beat-em-up to be a flawed gaming idea. It was good for draining quarters in the arcade, but it doesn't create a very rewarding experience. Some beat-em-ups place less emphasis on developing perfect timing and player control, and more on the game's environment and story-telling, which I prefer. My favorite beat-em-up is River City Ransom.

Examples

This is a list of beat-em-ups that are important to me.

Title Released Developer
Altered Beast 1988-08-?? Sega
Bad Dudes Vs. Dragon Ninja 1988-04-?? Data East
Double Dragon 1987-07-?? Technos
Golden Axe 1989-05-?? Sega
Jackie Chan's Action Kung Fu 1990-12-?? Now Production
River City Ransom 1989-04-25 Technos
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1989-??-?? Konami