The top five greatest beat ’em games! We made it to the finish line and there’s plenty of roast turkey’s, baseball bats, and random pizza pie boxes to go around. Indulge yourself in all of these wonderful side-scrolling treats as we count down the best of the best.
5. Double Dragon
If you’ve never played at least one Double Dragon game in your lifetime, then your gamer card needs to be revoked. The names Billy and Jimmy Lee are ingrained in the memories of old school gaming heads. Watching that first scene still gets us amped for some old fashioned ass kicking. No one likes to see their lover get punched in the stomach, so we immediately sided with the Lee Brothers as soon as we saw Marian get knocked silly. This beat ’em up is one of the most well known beat ’em up’s in gaming. The action never ceases to stop as you walk from left to right beating up chicks with whips and wife-beater wearing thugs. It’s hard to forget a game that stars a boss named Abobo.
4. Guardian Heroes
The Sega Saturn is home to a wide variety of underrated video games. Thanks to the magic of downloadable games, gamers now have the chance to play some of the lesser known classics from that system. One game that got a new lease on life is the classic beat ’em up/action RPG Guardian Heroes. There’s a couple of reasons why this game is regarded as one of the best beat ’em up’s of all time – the amazing music, the branching paths in story mode, the wild Vs. Mode, the beautiful animated graphics etc. The action stays at a frantic pace as you hack and slash your way to the Black Knights. Treasure is known for crafting some awesome games and this is definitely one of them.
3. Golden Axe
Man, does anyone remember the cover art for the Sega Genesis version? Kinda looked like the cover of some fantasy-themed adventure book starring Fabio. Half-naked heroes with swords standing near an axe wielding dwarf and a dragon in the background exudes nerd excellence. Golden Axe lets gamers relive their Conan The Barbarian dreams by letting you take on Death Adder and his horde of warriors. The magic spells were legendary, the screams of death were quite amusing, and the boss fights were full of awesome antagonists. We love this game and we definitely love the lovable dwarf, Gilius Thunderhead.
2. Streets of Rage 2
Play the music form the first stage in a room full of gaming nerds and watch their eyes open wide as they’re taken back to the good ol’ days. Sega’s Streets of Rage 2 has some of the best video game BGM we’ve ever heard. The actual game isn’t too shabby, either. We were known to pick Axel or Skate for our fight for justice against “Mr. X.” The police squad car special attack was gone, but we didn’t miss it too much. Lacing thugs with Burning Upper’s and dropping them with flying kicks was just more fun to pull off. You could literally feel the pain that these fools felt when you flung them to the background in a nightclub. Streets of Rage 2 is a timeless classic.
1. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time
If your local arcade or pizza spot housed the 4-player arcade cabinet for this game, your childhood was awesome. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles In Time is a game that we can play anytime, anywhere, with anyone. The cartoony visuals compared greatly to the cartoon show, so we felt more comfortable giving this game a go. The intro scene with April O’Neal and Krang’s theft of the Statue of Liberty is still incredible to watch. All four turtles played the part perfectly as they bashed on Foot Clan Ninja’s all through different points in history. The music in this game is too hard to ignore (we love how the TMNT theme can be heard in a few of the stage themes). Plus, you gotta love the way those ninjas grabbed their crotches when you hit ’em. Turtles in Time is, in our humble opinion, the greatest beat ’em up video game ever made.
Muramasa: The Demon Blade
X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse
Ninja Baseball Bat Man
Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks
Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon
Guardians/Denjin Makai II
For a better look at some of Capcom’s beat ’em up’s, check out his video done by the guys at Game Informer: