We’re not done with our countdown of the best beat ’em up video games. For this portion of the list, we’re gonna count down numbers 15 through 6. You’re gonna see some of your favorite superheroes, big screen aliens, sewer heroes with turtle power, and overly huge toads with ‘tude.
15. Spider-Man: The Video Game
New York’s favorite web slinger has starred in his fair share of video games. When Sega put out this beat ’em up back in 1991, Marvel’s slim superhero got a good arcade game in his back pocket. Not only could you use Spider-Man, you could take control of Black Cat, Hawkeye, and the always awesome Sub-Mariner (we always picked him). We took great pleasure in beating the breaks off of baddies like Electro, Lizard, and The Green Goblin. Those stages where you made your way up some towering structure were great, old school fun.
14. The Punisher
And here we are with another Marvel superhero-themed brawler. This game made way too much sense. A beat ’em up game starring the ever vigilant Punisher and his equally hardcore buddy Nick Fury? This had to be made. Thank the gaming gods that Capcom handled the creation of this one. Not only could you beat hired thugs into oblivion, you could wield a long list of firearms (an M16 rifle, an Ingram submachine gun, a flamethrower etc.). The Punisher was full of frantic action and over-sized bosses that didn’t stand a chance against the combined might of our heroes. Killing a boss and watching his henchman all take flight and die in slow motion was too cool.
13. Splatterhouse 3
*shudders* This entry still scares the crap out of us. Splatterhouse 3 was gory as all hell, which was a rare sight to see on the Sega Genesis. The game’s use of those all too real cinematic sequences also sparked moments of fear in our hearts. Traversing the huge demonic mansion that housed your scared girlfriend was the main point of this horrifying brawler. We were also meant meant to deal with some hideous baddies along the way. Thankfully, that talking mask turned you into Super Jason. We remember this beat ’em up because of three things: the frightening music, the scary FMV’s, and the different endings you could get. We always got the bad one, sadly…
12. Alien vs. Predator
Now here’s one beat ’em up that needs an HD remake/digital re-release! This game stands as one of the few respectable video games dedicated to the Aliens vs. Predator franchise. The humans we could choose in this game were pretty fun to play as, but we definitely got our kicks in once we picked the two Predator’s. Predator Warrior and Predator Hunter are an unstoppable team by themselves, but the addition of either Major Dutch of Lieutenant Linn spiced things up. Carving up and blasting those filthy, slimy Alien’s turned this game’s fun factor up to a million. We’d love to play this on consoles again. Just sayin’, Capcom…
11. Battletoads/Super Battletoads
You know what’s shocking about this game? The surprising use of blood. This ain’t the super difficult game you played on the NES (damned third level…). This is the arcade beat ’em up that let you stomp on ginormous rats with your spiked boots. The animation was so over the top, but that’s what made us gravitate towards this one. Each Battletoads’ limbs would turn into all manners of sharp objects, plus their boots would maximize in size when it was time to send some rats packing. Axe feet? That was possible in Super Battletoads.
The moment where you and five other friends were all playing this mutant brawler in the arcade was magical. This X-Men arcade game pays homage to the 1989 pilot episode X-Men: Pryde of the X-Men, which explains the old school look of the team. You could choose from top members such as Wolverine, Cyclops, and Colossus (or get stuck with lames like Dazzler). The six-player co-op option made everyone feel like an important part of the team, though. Laying waste to hundreds of Sentinel robots led to huge explosions on-screen. Konami did a great job with X-Men Arcade.
9. Final Fight
For anyone wondering just where the hell Street Fighter’s like Cody and Guy originated from, here’s you answer. Final Fight featured three of the most iconic beat ’em up heroes in gaming. What tripped us out about this game was the fact that Metro City’s mayor was a burly former wrestler. Mike Haggar is the main man, forreal. The stages were filled with cool lookalikes (that Andre The Giant looking dude always gave us a headache), the special moves were fun to pull off, and the weird story behind Poison places this game among the greats.
8. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game
Scott Pilgrim has done good in the comic book world and on the big screen. Little did we know that it would also make a great splash in the world of video games. Ubisoft put several of its development studios to work on this old school throwback and it worked out for the better. The nods to past games are all over the place (keep your eyes peeled for the shoutout’s to Mario, Kirby, and Mega Man). The four-player option leads to 2D chaos, but the chip-tune soundtrack makes that endeavor a pleasing one. Survival Horror mode is the ish, son!
7. Castle Crashers
This mega popular Xbox Live Arcade beat ’em up shot to the top of the charts when it debuted. The animation in this game is similiar to a Flash game with a high definition sheen. Cutting down nameless soldiers and watching deer’s crap themselves at the sight of some hideous creature supplied the awesome parts for Castle Crashers. Each knight was fully upgradable, which made this title deeper than other games of its type. And the minigames? Truly hilarious. “Going medieval” never felt so good.
6. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
The first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arcade game started this franchise’s awesome gaming legacy. Each turtle perfectly matched their cartoon counterpart, plus they all had differing characteristics that made them stand out. Donatello’s slow but his reach is godly, Leonardo is well-rounded, and Michelangelo and Raphael are fast but both have a short range for their attacks. All those lowly foot soldiers didn’t stand a chance as we took each turtle into the brightly colored battlefield. We still hear April O’Neal’s pleas for help and Master Shredder’s evil laughter in our sleep.