2D Beat 'em Ups that aren't Streets of Rage et al

Let this be a thread for 2D beat 'em ups that are almost never mentioned because of circumstance/quality/platform/etc. I’m mostly interested in these games for their pixel art, music, and weird little design quirks, since honestly it seems like a lot of them have shallow mechanics and boring-to-bad enemy design. Right now, my main method of discovering them is by going through longplays of beat 'em ups I already know about and previewing related videos, so… that’s how I’ll be linking them ITT.

Monster Maulers was made by Konami and has you select a character from what appears to be a Sentai team to travel around the globe and screamkick things to death.

Another Konami game that lets you be a furry forever if you’re good enough or something. The characters’ sprites are really robust looking and the music is too much.

This game is just a dull pile. I’m linking it only because I never thought another videogame could have a soundtrack that was as similar and boring as Fatal Labyrinth’s.

I’m not sure if this would qualify as a Pure Beat 'em Up, given the static arenas, but the focus is on defeating hordes of enemies in real-time combat. Surprisingly gory.

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My favorite thing about beat em up speedruns is that I’ve never seen one that saved time any other way that just playing really well. There’s a lot of really thorough explanations of mechanics to be found in speedruns, and they’re why I ever learned to appreciate the genre.

Ninja Baseball Bat Man is probably one of the most vibrant beat em ups I’ve ever seen. The spritework is Tempo kinds of cute.

and the NES version of Battletoads and Double Dragon is easily the funniest just by how breakable it is (which is demonstrated throughout this run).

Not a speedrun, but D. D. Crew is AMAZING and weird. It’s seems derivative of SoR, but it has bizarrely detailed run cycles and really distinct music/sound design. Shut up already.


Oh, and I guess I’m obligated to share King of the Monsters 2.

I don’t know why I sold the SNES cart of this after beating it, but I kind of regret it. It’s a Tokusatsu beat em up where you’re just as much of a problem as the invading aliens. The music has stuck in my head for nearly two decades. Mashing the d-pad to get out of grapples kills my left arm like no other game can.


the only belt scroll that I think really improves on streets of rage 2 is advance guardian heroes

and emulating it 2 players is a pain


karate blazers is a pretty generic beat em up thematically, though it does have the gimmick of putting you against massive hordes of goons

i’m sure everyone knows about guardians/denjin makai ii, but it’s got a crazy, luridly coloured sci-fi/superhero theme, and a pretty extensive movelist for each character


IIRC, Zero Team was never released or only ever got loketested and honestly it doesn’t look all that hot, but yay oddities

Technically not a belt scroller but it has that beat em up feel despite strongly resembling Gauntlet and other Konami attempts at replicating the game

64th Street is fucking amazing. You’re a detective or his partner in Depression-era America fighting punks in sunglasses, hobos and robots. You can throw enemies into the back- or foreground, but not like Turtles in Time, but they smash up against the wall and items pop out. Also home to the best stage transitions in a game.


And the last boss is a Japanese businessman. It’s like a really bad 80s action movie made into an arguably worse game.


when did zero team become playable in mame?

It had to have been really recently since I believe the game wasn’t dumped until a year or two ago

ahh, my mame is 2 years out of date, since i can only ever find 64-bit versions of new mameui

I played so many of these back in the day but struggle to name any examples. At least any that weren’t based on licensed properties. (The sidescrolling Aliens vs Predator comes to mind, from the SNES).

Knights of Valour, released in 1999 (oddly late for a game of its kind) and made by a Taiwanese company, is an adaptation in the loosest sense of Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Features battles with bears on bridges and unlistenable music.

Knights of the Round and The King of Dragons are two medieval-themed beat 'em ups with shockingly limited mechanics and gorgeous pixel art for the fore- and backgrounds. TKoD is also one of Yoko Shimomura’s earliest soundtracks.


i love king of dragons and magic sword! knights of the round isn’t very good otger than the evolving character sprites

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IGS has been making games for the Knights of Valour series all throughout the past decade and have a PS4 game upcoming (though it’s done completely in 3D)

Where we got :gotohell: from. A hell of a lot better than any other Data East punchman and an unique theme most other belt scrollers don’t use.

The other game Konami made with the license. Not quite a beat em up, since like Aliens, it’s a run-and-gun kind of thing with the belt scroll perspective, but this hews closer to TMNT than Contra. Notable that the game’s story is identical to the show (I’m pretty sure it finishes what the show didn’t) and intermissions are fully voiced acted by the show’s cast.

Taito does a D&D kind of thing, looks nice and has sizable stages with some branching. And the perspective is different, of course.


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It’s an edge case, but: Legend of Mana has RPG systems, adventure game-lite progression and exploration, and beat-em-up combat.

it’s a weird and wonderful game.


This is probably among the et al, but whatever happened to Final Fight? It was such a huge franchise, then it seems like it just kind of ran out of steam. I guess it was sort of absorbed back into Street Fighter?

what do you mean what happened? Final Fight 2 and 3 weren’t even arcade releases. The ST-V/Saturn 3D fighting game is by all accounts terrible. Then in PS2 you got Final Fight:Streetwise .

This is exactly what I’m looking for. Hyperdetailed pixelscapes and insane stupid music.


Yeah I guess that’s it isn’t it. I just wonder why it hasn’t been resurrected in some fashion yet, but maybe the answer is because Streetwise.