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Beat 'em up (also known as brawler) is a video game genre featuring hand-to-hand combat between the protagonist and an improbably large number of opponents. Traditional beat 'em ups take place in scrolling, two-dimensional (2D) levels, though some later games feature more open three-dimensional (3D) environments with yet larger numbers of enemies. These games are noted for their simple gameplay, a source of both critical acclaim and derision. Two-player cooperative gameplay and multiple player characters are also hallmarks of the genre. Most of these games take place in urban settings and feature crime-fighting and revenge-based plots, though some games may employ historical, science fiction or fantasy themes.
Hand-to-hand combat is a physical confrontation between two or more persons at very short range that does not involve the use of ranged weapons. While the phrase "hand-to-hand" appears to refer to unarmed combat, the term is generic and may include use of melee weapons such as knives, sticks, batons, spears, or improvised weapons such as entrenching tools. While the term hand-to-hand combat originally referred principally to engagements by combatants on the battlefield, it can also refer to any personal physical engagement by two or more people, including law enforcement officers, civilians, and criminals.
A side-scrolling game, side-scroller, or horizontally-scrolling game is a video game in which the gameplay action is viewed from a side-view camera angle, and the onscreen characters can generally only move to the left or right. These games make use of scrolling computer display technology. The move from single-screen or flip-screen graphics to scrolling graphics, during the golden age of video arcade games and during third-generation consoles, would prove to be a pivotal leap in game design, comparable to the move to 3D graphics during the fifth generation. Although side-scrolling games have been supplanted by 3D games, they continue to be produced.
2D computer graphics is the computer-based generation of digital images—mostly from two-dimensional models and by techniques specific to them.The word may stand for the branch of computer science that comprises such techniques or for the models themselves.
The first beat 'em up was 1984's Kung-Fu Master ,with 1986's Renegade introducing the urban settings and underworld revenge themes employed extensively by later games. The genre then saw a period of high popularity between the release of Double Dragon in 1987, which defined the two-player cooperative mode central to classic beat 'em ups, and 1991's Street Fighter II , which drew gamers towards one-on-one fighting games. Games such as Streets of Rage , Final Fight , Golden Axe and Battletoads are other classics to emerge from this period. The genre has been less popular since the emergence of 3D-based mass-market games, but still some beat 'em ups adapted the simple formula to utilize large-scale 3D environments.
Kung-Fu Master is a side-scrolling beat 'em up game produced by Irem as arcade game in1984 and distributed by Data East in North America. The game was initially released in Japan under the title of Spartan X as a tie-in based on the Jackie Chan film Wheels on Meals ; however, the game has no bearing on the plot of the film outside the names of the main protagonist and his girlfriend, allowing Irem to export the game without the license by simply changing the title.
Renegade is a side-scrolling beat-'em-up developed by Technos Japan and distributed by Taito for the arcades in1986. The player controls a street brawler who must face four different gangs in order to rescue his girlfriend being held captive by a mob boss. The game was released in Japan as Nekketsu Kōha Kunio-kun, with this version of the game revolving around a high-school delinquent named Kunio who must stand up against a series of rival gangs frequently targeting his classmate Hiroshi. In order to make the game more appealing for the west, Technos produced a graphically-altered version with a visual style inspired by 1979 film The Warriors, changing the looks of some of the game's characters and scenery. The game was ported to a variety of consoles and computer platforms.
Double Dragon is a beat 'em up video game series initially developed by Technōs Japan and released as an arcade game in 1987. The series stars twin martial artists, Billy and Jimmy Lee, as they fight against various adversaries and rivals. Due to the popularity of the game series, an animated series and live-action film adaptation have also been produced.
A beat 'em up (sometimes also called a "brawler")is a type of action game where the player character must fight a large number of enemies in unarmed combat or with melee weapons. Gameplay consists of walking through a level, one section at a time, defeating a group of enemies before advancing to the next section; a boss fight normally occurs at the end of each level. Arcade versions of these games are often quite difficult to win, causing players to spend more money.
An action game is a video game genre that emphasizes physical challenges, including hand–eye coordination and reaction-time. The genre includes a large variety of sub-genres, such as fighting games, beat 'em ups, shooter games and platform games. Some multiplayer online battle arena and real-time strategy games are also considered action games.
A melee weapon, or close combat weapon, is any weapon used in direct hand-to-hand combat; by contrast with ranged weapons which act at a distance. The term melee originates in the 1640s from the French word mêlée, which refers to hand-to-hand combat, a close quarters battle, a brawl, a confused fight, etc.
A level, map, area, stage, world, track, board, floor, zone, phase, mission, episode, or course in a video game is the total space available to the player during the course of completing a discrete objective. Video game levels generally have progressively increasing difficulty to appeal to players with different skill levels. Each level presents new content and challenges to keep player's interest high. The use of levels in video games dates back to Namco's shoot 'em up Galaxian, released in 1979 during the golden age of video arcade games.
Beat 'em ups are related to but distinct from fighting games, which are based around one-on-one matches rather than scrolling levels and multiple enemies.Such terminology is loosely applied, however, as some commentators prefer to conflate the two terms. At times, both one-on-one fighting games and scrolling beat 'em ups have influenced each other in terms of graphics and style and can appeal to fans of either genre. Occasionally, a game will feature both kinds of gameplay.
In the United Kingdom, gaming magazines of the early 1990s such as Mean Machines and Computer & Video Games (C+VG) referred to all games which had a combat motif as beat 'em ups, even fighting games.However, they were differentiated by a specific prefix; games like Double Dragon or Final Fight were called "scrolling beat 'em ups" and games such as Street Fighter II or Mortal Kombat were referred to as a "one on one beat 'em ups".
Mean Machines was a multi-format video game magazine published between 1990 and 1992 in the United Kingdom.
Mortal Kombat is a media franchise centered on a series of video games, originally developed by Midway Games' Chicago studio in 1992. The development of the first game was originally based on an idea that Ed Boon and John Tobias had of making a video game starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, but as that idea fell through, a horror-fantasy themed fighting game titled Mortal Kombat was created instead. Mortal Kombat was the first ever fighting game to introduce Secret Fighters. The player had to complete a set of instructions that would eventually lead them to a fight if the tasks requirements were met. The original game has spawned many sequels and spin-offs consisting of several action-adventure games, films, and television series, as well as a comic book series, a card game and a live-action tour. Along with Street Fighter and Tekken, Mortal Kombat has become one of the most successful fighting franchises in the history of video games and one of the highest-grossing media franchises of all time.
Beat 'em up games usually employ vigilante crime fighting and revenge plots with the action taking place on city streets,though historical and fantasy themed games also exist. Players must walk from one end of the game world to the other, and thus each game level will usually scroll horizontally. Some later beat 'em ups dispense with 2D-based scrolling levels, instead allowing the player to roam around larger 3D environments, though they retain the same simple gameplay and control systems. Throughout the level, players may acquire weapons that they can use as well as power-ups that replenish the player's health.
3D computer graphics or three-dimensional computer graphics, are graphics that use a three-dimensional representation of geometric data that is stored in the computer for the purposes of performing calculations and rendering 2D images. Such images may be stored for viewing later or displayed in real-time.
In video games, a power-up is an object that adds temporarily benefits or extra abilities to the player character as a game mechanic. This is in contrast to an item, which may or may not have a permanent benefit that can be used at any time chosen by the player. Although often collected directly through touch, power-ups can sometimes only be gained by collecting several related items, such as the floating letters of the word 'EXTEND' in Bubble Bobble. Well known examples of power-ups that have entered popular culture include the power pellets from Pac-Man and the Super Mushroom from Super Mario Bros., which ranked first in UGO Networks' Top 11 Video Game Powerups.
Health or vitality is an attribute assigned to entities such as characters or objects within role-playing games and video games, that indicates their continued ability to function. Health is usually measured in hit points or health points, shortened to HP which lowers by set amounts when the entity is attacked or injured. When the HP of a player character or non-player character reaches zero, that character is incapacitated and barred from taking further action. In some games, such as those with cooperative multiplayer and party based role playing games, it may be possible for an ally to revive a character who has reached 0 hit points and let them return to action. In single player games, running out of health usually equates to "dying" and losing a life or receiving a Game Over.
As players walk through the level, they are stopped by groups of enemies who must be defeated before they're able to continue.The level ends when all the enemies are defeated. Each level contains many identical groups of enemies, making these games notable for their repetition. In beat 'em up games, players often fight a boss—an enemy much stronger than the other enemies—at the end of each level.
Beat 'em ups often allow the player to choose between a selection of protagonists—each with their own strengths, weaknesses, and set of moves.Attacks can include rapid combinations of basic attacks (combos) as well as jumping and grappling attacks. Characters often have their own special attacks, which leads to different strategies depending on which character the player selects. The control system is usually simple to learn, comprising as little as two buttons. These buttons can be combined to pull off combos, as well as jumping and grappling attacks. Since the release of Double Dragon , many beat 'em ups have allowed two players to play the game cooperatively—a central aspect to the appeal of these games. Beat 'em ups are more likely to feature cooperative play than other game genres.
The first game to feature fist fighting was Sega's boxing game Heavyweight Champ (1976),which is viewed from a side-view perspective like later fighting games. However, it was Data East's fighting game Karate Champ (1984) which popularized martial arts themed games. The same year, Irem's Hong Kong cinema-inspired Kung-Fu Master (known as Spartan X in Japan) laid the foundations for side-scrolling beat 'em ups with its simple gameplay and multiple enemies. Also in 1984, Bruce Lee combined multi-player, multi-character combat with traditional collecting, platform and puzzle gameplay. Later that year, Karateka combined the one-on-one fight sequences of Karate Champ with the freedom of movement in Kung-Fu Master, and it successfully experimented with adding plot to its fighting action. It was also among the first beat 'em ups to be successfully ported to home systems. Nekketsu Kōha Kunio-kun , released in 1986 in Japan, deviated from the martial arts themes of earlier games and introduced street brawling to the genre. The Western adaptation Renegade (released the same year) added an underworld revenge plot that proved more popular with gamers than the principled combat sport of other games. Renegade set the standard for future beat 'em up games as it introduced the ability to move both horizontally and vertically. It also introduced the use of combo attacks; in contrast to earlier games, the opponents in Renegade and Double Dragon could take much more punishment, requiring a succession of punches, with the first hit temporarily immobilizing the enemy, making him unable to defend himself against successive punches.
In 1987, the release of Double Dragon ushered in a "Golden Age" for the beat 'em up genre that lasted nearly five years. The game was designed as Technōs Japan's spiritual successor to Renegade,but it took the genre to new heights with its detailed set of martial arts attacks and its outstanding two-player cooperative gameplay. Double Dragon's success resulted in a flood of beat 'em ups that came in the late 1980s, where acclaimed titles such as Golden Axe and Final Fight (both 1989) distinguished themselves from the others. Final Fight was Capcom's intended sequel to Street Fighter (provisionally titled Street Fighter '89), but the company ultimately gave it a new title. In contrast to the simple combo attacks in Renegade and Double Dragon, the combo attacks in Final Fight were much more dynamic, and the sprites were much larger. Acclaimed as the best game in the genre, Final Fight spawned two home sequels and was later ported to other systems. Final Fight was also the reason for Capcom's new found fame and for Technos Japan's bankruptcy. Golden Axe was acclaimed for its visceral hack and slash action and cooperative mode and was influential through its selection of multiple protagonists with distinct fighting styles. It is considered one of the strongest beat 'em up titles for its fantasy elements, distinguishing it from the urban settings seen in other beat 'em ups. Bad Dudes Vs. DragonNinja featured platform elements, while P.O.W.: Prisoners of War took the weapon aspect a stage further, allowing the players to pick up guns. Another beat 'em up— River City Ransom (1989), named Street Gangs in Europe—featured role-playing game elements with which the player's character could be upgraded, using money stolen from defeated enemies.
The Streets of Rage series was launched in the early 1990s and borrowed heavily from Final Fight.Streets of Rage 2 for Sega's Genesis was one of the first console games to match the acclaim of arcade beat 'em ups. Its level design was praised for taking traditional beat 'em up settings and stringing them together in novel ways, and its success led to it being ported to arcades. The beat 'em up was also a popular genre for video games based on television series and movies, with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Batman Returns a surprise success, and encouraged many more beat 'em up games based on the characters. However, the "golden age" of the genre ended in the wake of the success of Capcom's Street Fighter II (1991), which drew gamers back towards one-on-one fighting games, while the subsequent emerging popularity of 3D video games diminished the popularity of 2D-based pugilistic games in general. By 1994, the genre suffered from a lack of innovation and popularity.
Core Design's Fighting Force (1997) was anticipated to redefine the genre for 32-bit consoles through its use of a 3D environment. However, it was met with a lukewarm reception.The Dynasty Warriors series, beginning with Dynasty Warriors 2 in 2000, offered traditional beat 'em up action on large 3D battlefields, displaying dozens of characters on the screen at a time. The series to date spans 14 games (including expansions) which players in the West view as overly similar, although the games' creators claim their large audience in Japan appreciates the subtle differences between the titles. While critics saw Dynasty Warriors 2 as innovative and technically impressive, they held a mixed opinion of later titles. These later games received praise for simple, enjoyable gameplay but were simultaneously derided as overly simplistic and repetitive. In 2000, Italian studio NAPS team released Gekido: Urban Fighters for the PlayStation console, which uses a fast paced beat 'em up system, with many bosses and a colorful design in terms of graphics. Another best-selling Japanese series, Yakuza , combined elaborate plots and detailed interactive environments with street brawling action. Despite these releases, game reviewers started to pronounce that the genre had died off. By 2002, there were virtually no new beat 'em ups being released in arcades.
Capcom's Viewtiful Joe (2003) used cel-shaded graphics and innovative gameplay features (such as the protagonist's special powers) to "reinvigorate" its traditional 2D scrolling formula.The Behemoth's Castle Crashers (2008) also featured cartoon graphics, quirky humor, and acclaimed cooperative gameplay. Rockstar Games' The Warriors (based on the 1979 movie of the same name), released in 2005, featured large scale brawling in 3D environments interspersed with other activities such as chase sequences. The game also featured a more traditional side-scrolling beat 'em up Armies of the Night as bonus content, which was acclaimed along with the main game and was later released on the PlayStation Portable. Releases such as God Hand in 2006 and MadWorld in 2009 were seen as parodies of violence in popular culture, earning both games praise for not taking themselves as seriously as early beat 'em up games. Classic beat 'em ups have been re-released on services such as the Virtual Console; critics reaffirmed the appeal of some, while the appeal of others has been deemed to have diminished with time. Although the genre lacks the same presence it did in the late 1980s, some titles such as Viewtiful Joe and God Hand kept the genre alive.
After 2000, the beat 'em up genre has seen a revival in the form of popular 3D hack and slash games in the style of Devil May Cry (2001 onwards), including Ninja Gaiden (2004 onwards), God of War (2005 onwards), Heavenly Sword (2007), Afro Samurai (2009), [ citation needed ]. Saints Row IV (2013) featured a parody of Streets Of Rage entitled "Saints Of Rage", where the player rescues Johnny Gat from a virtual prison.and Bayonetta (2009). Several traditional 2D scrolling beat 'em ups have also been released in recent years, including Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game (2010). The popular Grand Theft Auto series also has elements of the beat 'em up genre.
The 2D beat 'em up genre has seen a resurgence in Asia, where the South Korean online beat 'em up Dungeon Fighter Online (2004) is very popular. Dungeon Fighter Online has become one of the most-played and highest-grossing games of all time, having grossed over $10 billion.Streets of Rage 4 is scheduled for release in 2019.
A fighting game is a video game genre based around close combat between a limited amount of characters, in a stage in which the boundaries are fixed. The characters fight each others until they defeat their opponents or the time expires. The matches typically consist of several rounds, in a arena, with each character having different abilities but each is relatively viable to choose. Players must master techniques such as blocking, counter-attacking, and chaining attacks together into "combos". Starting in the early 1990s, most fighting games allowed the player to execute special attacks by performing specific input combinations. The fighting game genre is related to but distinct from beat 'em ups, which involve large numbers of enemies against the human player.
Shoot 'em up is a subgenre of video games within the shooter subgenre in the action genre. There is no consensus as to which design elements compose a shoot 'em up. Some restrict the definition to games featuring spacecraft and certain types of character movement; others allow a broader definition including characters on foot and a variety of perspectives.
Final Fight is a side-scrolling beat-'em-up video game produced by Capcom. Originally released as an arcade game in 1989, it was the seventh title released for the CP System hardware. Set in the fictional Metro City, the player controls one of three characters: former pro wrestler and mayor Mike Haggar, his daughter's boyfriend Cody, and Cody's best friend Guy, as they set out to defeat the Mad Gear gang and rescue Haggar's young daughter Jessica.
Double Dragon Advance is a 2003 side-scrolling beat-em-up released for the Game Boy Advance. It was published by Atlus and developed by Japanese studio Million. It is a remake of the 1987 arcade game Double Dragon and incorporates elements from its sequels and home versions.
Ikari Warriors is a vertically scrolling, run & gun shoot 'em up arcade game developed by SNK, published in North America and Europe by Tradewest, and released in 1986. Originally titled Ikari in Japan, Ikari Warriors was SNK's first major breakthrough US release. The game was released at the time when there were many Commando clones on the market. What distinguished Ikari Warriors were rotary joysticks and a two-player mode.
Alien vs. Predator (エイリアンVSプレデター) is a beat 'em up video game developed and released by Capcom for the CPS-2 arcade game system in 1994. It is based on the science fiction franchise of the same name. In the game, the players take control of up to three out of four human and Predator characters in a battle against the Alien hordes and rogue human soldiers. The game was very well received by the public and by media publications, becoming a classic title for many fans of the beat 'em up genre.
In video games, a combo is a set of actions performed in sequence, usually with strict timing limitations, that yield a significant benefit or advantage. The term originates from fighting games where it is based upon the concept of a striking combination. It has been since applied more generally to a wide variety of genres, such as puzzle games, shoot 'em ups, and sports games. Combos are commonly used as an essential gameplay element, but can also serve as a high score or attack power modifier, or simply as a way to exhibit a flamboyant playing style.
Cooperative gameplay is a feature in video games that allows players to work together as teammates, usually against one or more AI opponents. It is distinct from other multiplayer modes, such as competitive multiplayer modes like player versus player or deathmatch. Playing simultaneously allows players to assist one another in many ways: passing weapons or items, healing, providing covering fire in a firefight, and performing cooperative maneuvers such as boosting a teammate up and over obstacles.
Dungeons & Dragons: Tower of Doom, published in 1994, is the first of two arcade games created by Capcom based on the Dungeons & Dragons tabletop role-playing game and set in the Mystara campaign setting. It is a side scrolling beat 'em up with some role-playing video game elements mixed in. The game was also released on the Sega Saturn, packaged with its sequel, Dungeons & Dragons: Shadow over Mystara, under the title Dungeons & Dragons Collection, although the Saturn version limited the gameplay to only two players. In 2013, both games were re-released for modern platforms as Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara.
The Warriors is a beat 'em up video game, developed by Rockstar Toronto and published by Rockstar Games. It was released on October 17, 2005 for PlayStation 2, Xbox and was later released for PlayStation Portable. The Warriors is based on the 1979 movie of the same name, and features large scale brawling in 3D environments interspersed with other activities such as chase sequences.
ABA Games is a Japanese video game developer, composed solely of game designer Kenta Cho. ABA Games' works, available as open source freeware, are predominantly shoot 'em up games often inspired by classic games in the genre. Its games feature stylised retro graphics, innovative gameplay features and modes and feature random rather than scripted events. These creations have been acclaimed as some of the best and well-known independent games available, though some commentators, including Cho himself, feel they are too simple for commercial release.
Batman Forever: The Arcade Game is a beat 'em up video game based on the movie Batman Forever. The subtitle is used to differentiate it from Batman Forever, another beat 'em up published by Acclaim at around the same time. One or two players, playing as Batman and Robin, fight Two-Face, the Riddler, and numerous henchmen.
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 an action role-playing video game-like level advancement system, with fighters automatically being upgraded to new weapons and armor as they advance through the game. In September 13, 2018, Capcom announced Capcom Beat 'Em Up Bundle with Knights of the Round being one of seven titles and being released digitally for PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and Microsoft Windows on September 18, 2018.
Arabian Fight (アラビアンファイト) is a scrolling beat 'em up arcade game released by Sega in 1992. Like many of Sega's arcade titles the game was never ported to a home console and seems to have been released in direct competition with Taito's Arabian-themed game, Arabian Magic, which was also released in 1992.
The Warriors: Street Brawl is a beat 'em up scroller video game created by Latvian studio CXTM. It was released on the Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows, and Xbox Live Arcade in September 2009. It is based on the 1979 movie The Warriors, which in turn is based on the 1965 novel of the same name written by Sol Yurick. The plot of the game is exactly like the film itself, and the 2005 video game of the same name, about a street gang named the Warriors from start to finish with you leading the Warriors street gang back to its home turf on Coney Island, after being unfairly blamed for the assassination of wannabe messiah Cyrus in Van Cortlandt Park.
The Ninja Warriors is a beat 'em up video game developed by Natsume for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and published by Taito in Japan and North America in 1994 and by Titus in Europe in 1995. It is a follow-up to Taito's 1987 arcade game of the same title, and shares similar gameplay. The player can choose between playing as one of three ninja robots, each with different attributes and a unique set of moves including jumps, dashes, throws, and other attacks. The game was developed by the same team at Natsume that later developed Wild Guns (1994).
Battletoads Arcade, also known as Super Battletoads or just Battletoads, is a 1994 scrolling beat 'em up arcade game in the Battletoads series developed by Rare and published by Electronic Arts. Up to three players, as the Battletoads, brawl aliens and mutant rodents through six levels to save the universe from the Dark Queen. The game also includes vertical and bonus levels. Each Toad has its own signature attack, and as customary for the series, players can knock enemies towards the screen, breaking the fourth wall.