Musing: The Perfect Beat-em-up

First off, I’d like to apologize for the late post, you see there is this company called Blizzard that decided to claim my soul this week.  But, as a show of good faith I am here to rise from my cave sleepy eyed yet full of ideas.

I have a loving relationship with the simpler genres of gaming.   I’ve mentioned my love of fighting games, but the beat-em-up held my attention long before I put a quarter in Street Fighter 2.

Sadly you can’t get this anymore. Lawyers have seen to that.

Double Dragon, River City Ransom, Battletoads, and good ol’ Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.   Two out of four of these had remakes recently, and for good reason.   TMNT re-shelled was a pretty cool revamp of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System port of Turtles in Time.   Double Dragon Neon is pure win.  It suffers from somewhat clunky controls but if you were even alive in the 80’s, you’ll appreciate this game.   Even if you don’t PLAY games.

Yes. Mullets. A requirement for fighting evil, per the Lee Brothers. Take a drink whenever they say bro. I DARE you.

Now for the Hard core, and having to go back to ancient 2004.  River City Ransom EX was about the best thing you could ask for.   It was on Game Boy Advance, but don’t let that fool you.   It was amazing.   They basically added 20 times the moves of the original and ramped up the camp to the levels of DD Neon.

The Dungeons and Dragons Capcom games. If you missed this in the arcade. You missed out on a great blend of RPG and Beat-em-up.

However, I wanted to talk about a game that doesn’t exist.   The perfect Beat-em-up.   One of the best things about these games is playing with other people.   TMNT was a mediocre game if you looked at it cynically.   You had very few attacks and the game made you burn through quarters like toilet paper on taco night.  But, we did.   And we fought over who got to play what turtle.   And we liked it.

When you approached this bad boy, armed with 5 friends and a bucket of quarters. You were ready for a good time.  But one of you had to play as Dazzler.

This genre is so nice to just let your mind relax.   That is why I love them to this day.   It’s basically a digital version of the stress ball.

This is the formula for perfection.

  • Tons of Moves.
  • Multiplayer 4-6 players.   (see X-men the Arcade game)
  • Food items to fight over.   (THIS IS KEY!)
  • Point items to fight over.
  • A scoring system akin to Super Smash Brothers.
  • Customization.  RPG elements for stats/Movesets
  • Punishing bosses that award teamwork, but are possible to solo if you’re zen.
  • Pause music.  (See Battletoads)

I’ll leave you all to chew on that for a while and I’ll detail the perfect game in my eyes in a later post.

2 thoughts on “Musing: The Perfect Beat-em-up

  1. Having played my fair share of Streets of Rage, I have one addition to your list: punks wearing mohawks are to be the first to feel your divine fury.

    But yes, beat-em-ups are glorious. They’ve been good to me in the past and present; always nice to know that I can fire up my Xbox at any time and play some Castle Crashers or Guardian Heroes, or even some Scott Pilgrim.

    Also, I’m guessing you downloaded the Double Dragon Neon soundtrack? If you haven’t, it’s free of charge (unless you want some good karma and donate). Arguably, the soundtrack is the best part of the game.

    “Couldn’t be…any clearer…upon my magic mirror…”

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