LIST OF BEAT-'EM-UPS
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FLYER US / JAPAN TITLE, COMPANY, RELEASE YEAR & OVERVIEW

ALIEN vs. PREDATOR
Capcom; Released 1994

Technically an early draft of a cross-over film about the battle of intergalactic races on Earth (which was not completed or shown until 10 years later), Alien vs. Predator was one of Capcom's innovative beat-'em-ups. Up to 3 players can choose from 2 cyborg marines and 2 Predators to destroy the Alien outbreak, only to discover later that humans are behind the plot of using the Xenomorphs as biological weapons. With a huge assortment of armaments and massive melee fighting, Alien vs. Predator pits players with the formidable Alien Queen as well as a new beat-'em-up gaming experience.

ALTERED BEAST aka JUOKI
Sega; Released 1988

Located in Ancient Greece, Zeus resurrects a deceased centurion to rescue his daughter Athena from the hands of the sorcerer Neff. These soldiers can turn into beasts such as the werewolf with the use of spirit orbs left behind by mythological dogs. Each power-up will bulk up the soldier's physique and the third one transforms him into one of the beasts, unique to each level which also allows him to face that stage boss. There are five distinct levels in order to reach the ultimate conflict with the sorcerer and rescue Athena. The game is notable for having a twist ending for its time. The game became a loose predecessor of Golden Axe, being spearheaded by the designer Makoto Uchida.

ARMORED WARRIORS aka
POWERED GEAR: STRATEGIC VARIANT ARMOR EQUIPMENT

Capcom; Released 1994

Capcom goes mechanical with this robot-inspired beat-'em-up. Pilot the standard type Blodia, speed type Reptos, output type Guldin and mobile type Fordy into 7 missions across Earth and the planet Raia. The Variant Armors can be customized with a variety of arm and leg parts that drop from defeated enemies and can be used to turn the tide of battle! This game spawned the fighting game sequel Cyberbots: Full Metal Madness in 1995, where Jin Saotome of Marvel vs. Capcom fame originated. Only multiplayer games can the ultimate warriors be utilized!

ASTERIX
Konami; Released 1992

Based from Rene Goscinny and Albert Uderzo's bestselling French comics Asterix and Obelix, featuring the eponymous characters as Gaul warriors who fight the Roman Empire. Two players portray the diminutive Asterix and the gigantic Obelix, each with their unique attacks and animations in order to defeat incoming Roman soldiers. They can use spinning arms to punch a target with devastating effects, and they can also pick up a floored enemy for further throws.

BAD DUDES vs. DRAGONNINJA aka DRAGON NINJA
Data East; Released 1988

Set in Washington DC, the plot kicks in as President Ronnie of the United States has been kidnapped by the devious Dragonninja and his army of masked assassins. It is up to two street fighting guys Blade and Striker to use their butt-kicking skills to the test against various types of ninja. Knives and nunchaku are also available to whack these ninjas into oblivion. Being a Data East game, the cameo of Karnov is unsurprisingly obligatory, where he appears at various parts of the game as a boss character. The game was famous for its memetic tagline "Are you a bad enough dude to rescue the president?" and had a few spinoffs after Data East's demise.

BATTLE CIRCUIT
Capcom; Released 1997

The year 1997 saw the last Capcom arcade beat-'em-up and it is also a sci-fi themed game in the vein of Captain Commando with a twist of computerware. Most of the characters are either cyborgs, futuristic enemies and one even being a wannabe Elvis Presley. Up to 4 players can select from 5 bounty hunters, each with a specific party-boosting ability: balanced Cyber Blue (offense), agile Yellow Iris (agility), stretchy Captain Silver (defense), levitating Pink Ostrich (criticals) and brutish Alien Green (health). Throughout the stages, players earn coins by defeating enemies which in turn are used to purchase move upgrades after each stage. This game boasted a massive arsenal of individual character movesets.

BATTLETOADS aka SUPER BATTLETOADS
Rare/Electronic Arts; Released 1994

This iteration of the Battletoads was known to have a more mature, dark and gory atmosphere compared to the light, toilet humor-based console games before it. Rash, Zitz and Pimple are sent in an all-out brawlin' to take down the Dark Queen's army, with a shoot-em-up level as the final confrontation. Each of the Battletoads have unique specialties, and they can mutilate enemies like sewer rats in bloody decapitating finishers. The fast and furious content of the game along with its violence level set it apart to other games with a similar yet softer approach to the genre.

BURNING FIGHT
SNK; Released 1991

SNK's version of the famous Final Fight formula, three detectives are sent in Osaka where the mob boss Casterora had his grip of the streets, thanks to his gangster lackeys and members of the Yakuza. Two players can select from the balanced Duke Edwards, agile Ryu Saeba and heavy-hitter Billy King. The game has interactive rooms of breakables that produce score and energy items. It also references familiar wrestlers of the time, along with a call on the manga City Hunter's protagonist named Ryu Saeba. The game also has an expanded arsenal of usable weapons, including staffs and sticks of dynamite.

CADILLACS AND DINOSAURS aka CADILLACS KYOURYUU-SHINSEIKI
Capcom; Released 1993

Based on Mark Schultz's Xenozoic Tales comic series, up to 3 people can play as the balanced Jack, item-skilled bombshell Hannah, swift Mustapha and brute-strong Mess into circa 2513 A.D., an age where humans and dinosaurs co-exist. Black market poachers are skinning dinosaur hide for extorsive prices. As players beat-up, shoot and drive across the stages, they discover a deeper plot of mutating humans into dinosaurs and the man behind it is the mad scientist Dr. Simon Fessenden! Players can use a huge arsenal of firearms and melee weapons throughout the game, with a stage dedicated to the eponymous Cadillac, the moving fortress!

CAPTAIN AMERICA AND THE AVENGERS
Data East; Released 1989

Straight from the popular Marvel Comics superhero team Avengers, four people can choose from Captain America, Iron Man, Hawkeye and Vision to save Earth from the Masters of Evil headed by the diabolical Red Skull. Players must defeat hordes of robotic grunts in order to face both obscure and familiar villains in the Marvel universe. Furthermore, certain members of the Avengers can join in the action to provide temporary assistance. Go forth with their adventures in land, water, air and into the depths of space to destroy a dangerous laser cannon that threatens Earth's existence and put an end to the Red Skull once and for all!

CAPTAIN COMMANDO
Capcom; Released 1991

Captain Commando is a game with a futuristic sci-fi theme wherein up to 4 people can play as the good psychos who must defeat the army of bio-engineered mutants and cyber criminals in Metro City (same as Final Fight, but circa 2026 AD!) and whisk into space to Planet Callisto, to send the mad genetic engineer Scumocide into oblivion. The bizarre commando team includes the Captain, the Bushinryu ninja Ginzu, alien mummy Mack and infant genius Baby Head on his own mech. Even though this game did not attain the fame of Final Fight, the Captain became Capcom's mascot and his team makes a cameo in 1998's Marvel vs. Capcom.

CRIME FIGHTERS
Konami; Released 1989

One of Konami's earliest beat-em-ups, up to four players portray undercover police officers who must rescue kidnapped girls from a crimelord. Similar to the earlier arcade hit Gauntlet, players' health slowly tick away as elapsed time, and there is also friendly fire amongst the heroes. The two-player version stuck to the more simple health system of Double Dragon. Players can also perform a coup de grace to strike floored enemies and steal their weapons. A notable feature of the game involves the apparent final boss battle and the actual fight that follows afterward. Konami produced spiritual successors to this game with Vendetta and Violent Storm.

THE COMBATRIBES
Technos; Released 1990

Up to three people can portray the eponymous Combatribes: the balanced Berserker, the powerful Bullova and the nimble Blitz. Each hero has various attack abilities and all of them are strong enough to toss heavy items to decimate crowds of enemies. The players must brave through several acts while facing a thematic gang for each one, culminating a fight with the gang's boss. Similar to Technos' Renegade, the areas must be cleared first in order to face the boss. The game is also notable for a twist regarding the final boss battle.

CROSSED SWORDS
Alpha Denshi/SNK; Released 1990

Similar to The Super Spy, the game turns players into knights of journey travelling through the lands of Belkana in a medieval fantasy setting. Villages and castles have been attacked by the dark armies of the demon lord Nausizz. Employing a first-person view through wireframes, the game delves into the art of fencing with strategic defend and slash tactics. Maximum health increases as players gain experience in monster-slaying in an RPG leveling-up system. Stronger knights and creatures are encountered as the plot progresses, where powerful blades become available from a nomad merchant. It also spawned a Neo-Geo CD exclusive sequel that used a character class system.

DENJIN MAKAI
Winky Soft/Banpresto; Released 1994

Two people can play simultaneously in this futuristic beat-em-up. Choosing from six unique characters, players can use special attacks against the enemies through an energy gauge. Like the tradition of most beat-em-ups, characters can jump and attack, while in multiplayer, the heroes can perform team-up attacks to take down enemies. There's also a various arsenal of weapons and moves that can be used against the opposition. Select from Makai, Iyo, Belva, Kurokishi, Zeldia and Tarukusu to bring down a gang of cybernetic hoodlums!

DOUBLE DRAGON
Technos/Taito; Released 1987

Technos' spiritual successor to Renegade spawned the quest of the Lee brothers to fight the Black Warriors as a homage to the film Enter the Dragon. Double Dragon proved to be as popular by itself with similar controls but very engaging gameplay. Another founding element of the beat-em-up genre is the usage of various items like oil drums and weapons like knives as usable equipment for players and enemy characters alike. Double Dragon's climactic last area had unique environment obstacles and the battle with the big boss made it a very memorable fight, the basis of the creation of various sequels, comics and animated series.

DOUBLE DRAGON II THE REVENGE
Technos; Released 1988

The direct sequel of the first game takes plot narration to the grim side as Willy kills the love interest Marian right at the start of the game, prompting the brothers to step out again to exact revenge. The Lee twins' martial arts arsenal have also expanded, and so does the enemy roster and new weapons. The map layout of the sequel is very much like its predecessor, every close fight's interactivity like one involving a threshing vehicle, made gameplay even more intense. As one final twist, what dark force awaits the brothers along with the Black Warriors?

DUNGEONS & DRAGONS: TOWER OF DOOM
Capcom; Released 1993

Capcom made a boardgame-to-arcade classic based on world-famous RPG Dungeons & Dragons, with real-life Dungeon Master Alex Jimenez behind the game. Up to 4 players can cooperatively play as the combat-oriented Fighter and Dwarf, or spellcasters Cleric and Elf. They must employ different strategies in order to survive their trek across the Republic of Darokin, against a great red wyrm and a formidable evil lich! Players experience the RPG elements of the board game with references to attack rolls, saving throws and many more. Its popularity and sequel hook made a new installment come into fruition.

DUNGEONS & DRAGONS: SHADOW OVER MYSTARA
Capcom; Released 1996

The official sequel of Tower of Doom, also headed by Alex Jimenez, Capcom expanded the campaign by adding two new classes: the frail Magicuser wields a vast array of spells more devastating than the Elf's, while the Thief has stealth skills and trap detection. The fact that players can choose from branching paths, alternate player designs and spellbooks, the acquisition of class weapons and items, a huge assortment of spells, class movesets and endless replayability made it one of Capcom's best and most memorable amongst the arcade beat-'em-ups. Defeat the Sorceress Synn and her Four Grand Masters!

DUNGEON MAGIC aka LIGHTBRINGER
Taito; Released 1991

Taito's take on the medieval-fantasy RPG genre follows four heroes in their quest to stop an evil magician's plot in sacrificing the kidnapped princess to revive an ancient demon lord. The adventure takes place in an isometric view, where Ash the knight, Cisty the elven archer, Gren the roving warrior, and Vold the wizard then enter rooms of monsters and puzzles in a dungeon crawler theme. True to the genre, the enemies are mythical and fantastical creatures and rooms can be filled with traps or hoards of treasure. The heroes gain experience to level-up and must find upgrades to their unique weaponry. The choice of various routes provides players with endless replayability.

DYNASTY WARS aka TENCHI WO KURAU
Capcom; Released 1989

Aside from Koei's Sangokushi and Dynasty Warriors series, there was Capcom's! A beat-'em-up was released based on the manga Tenchi Wo Kurau, in turn based from Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Up to 2 players can choose from 4 Chinese generals to stop the rebelling hordes of the Han Dynasty called the Huang Ching, a reference to the Yellow Turban Rebellion. It is one of the rare games wherein players trek through battlefields on horseback with various polearms to sweep through enemies. The game later spawned a sequel due to a cliffhanger ending. The Wade-Giles translations of the character names in the game are absurdly butchered.

FINAL FIGHT aka FAINARU FAITO
Capcom; Released 1989

Also known as Street Fighter '89, the game was Capcom's first actual beat-'em-up which turned out to be a phenomenon, featuring huge, detailed and colorful sprites back in the day and an awesome gameplay experience. Capcom solidified the character choices theme among speed type Guy, strength type Haggar and balanced type Cody. The game's simplicity and fluidity with 2-player cooperative action made it so popular and spawn SNES exclusive sequels. A few characters from the game even made it into the Street Fighter continuity.

GOLDEN AXE
Sega; Released 1989

Referencing the Conan the Barbarian films plus magical elements, Golden Axe introduces three warriors bent on revenge for the murders of their loved ones by the tyrant Death Adder and save the kingdom from him and his eponymous axe. Gilius the dwarf is the best on offense, Tyris the amazon excels in magic, and Ax the barbarian is the average joe. Sega's take on the sword and sorcery genre proved extremely popular that spawned two arcade spin-offs and two Megadrive-exclusive sequels. The three warriors and Death Adder are amongst the popular characters under Sega's flagship to this day.

GOLDEN AXE: THE REVENGE OF DEATH ADDER
Sega; Released 1992

After the events of the first game, the Revenge of Death Adder improves on the presentation and gameplay in many ways. The action continues with four new heroes: barbarian Sternblade, centaur Dora, elven farmer Trix, and the giant Goah, with Gilius from the first game mounted behind him. As the title implies, Death Adder makes a menacing return. Multiplayer player cooperation allows wrestling piledrivers for massive damage on enemies and bosses alike. Furthermore, players can choose paths between forks in the road, where the path not taken is challenged later on. The magic system was also revamped with each hero using up a fixed number of pots to cast unique elemental magic, while Trix can grow apple shrubs which can be harvested to restore health.

GROWL aka RUNARK
Taito; Released 1991

Inspired by the Indiana Jones saga, four forest rangers must prevent the syndicate of poachers from smuggling animals and wildlife. To do so, they must use every single weapon imaginable: from whips, grenades and rocket launchers to blow up these thugs! Four players can fight side-by-side in an all-out melee to bash heads of villains and their formidable leaders into ludicrous gibs. The game is very notable for the amount of gore as the heroes can mutilate bodies of enemies into smithereens with various firearms and weapons. It is also infamous for the very surprising twist regarding the final boss, which is quite new at that time. Could you destroy this menace for good in order to free the captive animals?

THE KING OF DRAGONS
Capcom; Released 1991

The King of Dragons can be considered Capcom's early version of Dungeons & Dragons. Up to 3 players can choose up to 5 character classes, each with their own strengths and weaknesses to trek through SIXTEEN brilliantly colorful stages of medieval fantasy. Players must work together to battle orcs, blobs, lizardmen, undead, harpies and enter the final showdown with the red dragon tyrant Gildiss! The Fighter has the most HP, the Cleric has the highest defense, the Wizard has excellent magic, the Elf has the best range and the Dwarf delivers the strongest blows. Choose your class wisely!

KNIGHTS OF THE ROUND
Capcom; Released 1991

Capcom brought the Arthurian Legends to the arcades in the form of Knights of the Round. Up to 3 people can play as the agile Lancelot with his scimitar, balanced type Arthur with his Excalibur sword and powerful Percival with his axe. The game employed RPG elements through EXP gaining and leveling-up, where characters gain new weapons and armor for increased offensive and defensive capabilities. Just like in real-life fencing, the game has a critical blocking feature, which is a vital skill to survive deeper through the game.

KUNG-FU MASTER aka SPARTAN X
Irem; Released 1984

A cornerstone of the beat-em-up genre, Kung-Fu Master tells the story of Thomas and his lover Sylvia who is kidnapped by the mysterious syndicate of Mr. X. Thomas is challenged to face the five martial arts masters who guard each of the five floors of the temple, with Mr. X being the final showdown. Thomas has a wide variety of martial arts skills at his disposal, and he has to use these strategically to survive each deadly section of the tower. The game is loosely based on the Jackie Chan film Wheels on Meals (retitled Spartan X in some regions), but most of its plot elements referenced Bruce Lee's ill-fated movie Game of Death.

METAMORPHIC FORCE
Konami; Released 1991

Using the same engine as the X-Men arcade, four heroes must band together under the guidance of Athena, and they were endowed with the spirits of ancient guardians to stop an incoming evil: the resurrection of the Lord of the Underworld. These heroes: Ban, Claude, Ivan and Max, can morph into Beast Mode as a Minotaur, Werewolf, Werebear, and Werepanther respectively to gain increased attributes to attack more effectively. Enemies and bosses are also in the form of various anthromorphic beings. Like in X-Men, players can unleash a powerful move to clear the entire screen from enemies. It is also notable for having a significant difference between the US and Japanese versions.

MUTATION NATION
SNK; Released 1991

With the alien and mutant craze of the early 90s, SNK tells a story in the not so distant future where a scientist's biological experiments went awry and exploded. The genetic virus outbreak turned hapless commoners into rabid mutants. Players take the roles of homecoming citizens Ricky Jones and Johnny Hart to pacify the mutated and mechanical freaks the experiment had created. Instead of picking up weapons and items, the game produces four elemental spheres, which can be used to unleash force attacks via charging an energy gauge. Without any orbs, the players can still use a barrage of special techniques but at a toll of their own health.

NINJA BASEBALL BAT MAN aka YAKYU KAKUTO LEAGUE MAN
Irem; Released 1993

As its title name implies, up to four players portray ninja baseball players who have to recover of the Babe Ruth statue, along with relics in the Baseball Hall of Fame from the evil perpetrators. The entire game was a fountain of endless baseball references and puns from both American and Japanese sides. Much like the earlier Undercover Cops, the baseball heroes can attack, jump or use zapper moves to knock down an overwhelming crowd of enemies. Choose from Captain Jose, Twinbats Ryno, Beanball Roger and Stick Straw and bring back peace to baseball! It's one of the obscure yet very beloved title in the genre.

THE NINJA KIDS
Taito; Released 1990

Following the ninja craze of the time, Taito released their own ninja-related game, this time pitting them against an evil sect prophesied by Nostradamus to resurrect Satan in 1999. The whole game has marionettes as characters, be it the players, enemies and NPCs, justifying the mutilating blows that produce no blood at all. Four ninja kids: Hanzo, Akane, Sasuke and Genta must fight the satanists with their signature Oriental weapons to prevent the coming of Satan and the total annihilation of Japan, and the Earth itself!

PRETTY SOLDIER SAILOR MOON aka BISHOUJO SENSHI SAILOR MOON
Gazelle/Banpresto; Released 1995

Based from the popular manga and anime series of Naoko Takeuchi, Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon follows the quest of 5 teenage girls who can transform into sailor-suited warriors of justice. The game itself is a loose adaptation of the series' Dark Kingdom arc. Up to two players can select from the five Inner Senshi. Sailor Moon is the most balanced, Sailor Mercury and Venus are the speedsters, while Sailor Mars and Jupiter are the bruisers. Gameplay utilizes the classic beat-em-up system mixed with magic crystals to unleash the Soldiers' signature moves from the manga. Use your powers against familiar foes like the Four Kings and the evil Queen Beryl!

THE PUNISHER
Capcom; Released 1993

Based on Marvel Comics' anti-hero vigilante, The Punisher allows players to assume the role of the Punisher aka Frank Castle whose family was massacred by mafia. Being a marine, the lone survivor Frank used his military skills, intelligence and tough build to seek revenge on the New York mafia crimelord Kingpin! A second player can join the action as SHIELD agent Nick Fury. Aside from using almost any visible object as weapons, the characters can draw out their pistols once faced by gun-wielding enemies for a flashy shoot-out! The graphics are extremely loyal to the comics blended with Street Fighter-like movesets. To highlight the best part... chuck a hand grenade and it goes boom, for the Punisher's wrath takes no prisoners!

RENEGADE aka NEKKETSU KOHA KUNIO-KUN
Taito/Technos; Released 1986

A Taito-westernized version of Technos' earlier Kunio-Kun title, Renegade follows a vigilante who pummels members of various street gangs on his way to rescue his abducted girlfriend. The player has left and right attacks, and a jump. Combining joystick and button combinations can result in jumping kicks or running straight. Enemies will constantly come in an arena that takes a few screens, culminating in a final boss as the enemy count depletes to three. The game is a direct predecessor of the Double Dragon series and is considered to be one of the most influential titles in the beat-em-up genre.

ROBO ARMY
SNK; Released 1991

Another Neo-Geo game set in a futuristic Detroit, Maxima and Rocky are two cops abducted by the mad scientist Dr. Jeed who turned them into cyborgs. Fortunately, Jeed was unable to place a neural chip on the two which would give him total dominion over them. Maxima and Rocky managed to escape, and it is up to them to smash through Jeed's robotic army to stop this madman who even took his own daughter hostage. The game is notable for being able to transform into an armored buggy and running over enemies for a limited time. Rocky later appeared in the King of Fighters 2000 as Maxima's alternate striker.

SENGOKU aka SENGOKU DENSHOU
SNK; Released 1991

The game's plot follows a 400-year old prophecy that two heroes will rise to prevent the return of an evil warlord who had torn the land apart with unspeakable evil. Such heroes consist of a street ninja and a cowboy traveling from an apocalyptic city to face enemies based from elements of Japanese mythology. The game held five stages where players will be sent back to Feudal Japan where undead samurais, monks and ninjas were revived using souls of innocents. Saving these townsfolk awards players with power-ups, which equips them with weapons or the spirits of powerful ancient warriors: the Samurai, the Shinobi and the Okami.

SENGOKU 2 aka SENGOKU DENSHOU 2
SNK; Released 1993

Enhancing elements from the first game, Sengoku 2 warps the heroes back to the 1570s where they must defeat an evil monarch through a princess' plea, after which they will be able to get back to the present time. The game was a substantial improvement regarding visual presentation, and the long levels were cut into four, giving players a new enjoyable experience. The heroes are now equipped with weapons that can be upgraded with power orbs, as well as defend themselves from attacks and unleash mutilating deathblows. The ancient warrior transformations have been revamped with the Shinobi and the Kitsune, while the Samurai was replaced with the staff-wielding Tengu.

SENGOKU 3 aka SENGOKU DENSHOU 2001
Noise Factory; Released 2001

It was not until the demise of SNK and a near decade after the last Sengoku game when a new installment was created, hailed as the best of the entire series. A great departure from its prequels, Sengoku 3 was more akin to mid-90s beat-em-ups that employed fighting game motions. Two players may select from four ninja warriors and their starting stage, with two boss characters joining in as playable heroes after the 3rd stage. The game boasted incredible graphics and fluid controls, where weapon strikes and throwing items can result into long and extremely damaging combos. Players can use a plethora of hero-unique ninja skills and replica attacks to annihilate enemies, even with the inclusion of elemental desperation moves.

THE SIMPSONS
Konami; Released 1991

Based from Matt Groening's extremely popular series about an American household in the town of Springfield, Konami turned the titular family into local crimefighters in order to rescue the kidnapped Maggie from Smithers. Following the time-honored Konami custom of multiplayer mayhem, four players can use Bart, Lisa, Marge and Homer to pound Smithers' sharp-dressed lackeys that culminates in a final showdown against Mr. Burns. Together, they must use pair-up attacks to beat these wackos and Springfield wierdos and wackos into submission to retrieve their diamond-pacifier-toting infant. The game was a monumental success in the genre.

SPIDER-MAN
Sega; Released 1991

Sega joins in the comic book beat-em-up genre with Marvel Comics' Spider-Man. Your friendly neighborhood webcrawler is joined by Black Cat, Hawkeye and Sub-Mariner in an effort to save New York from familiar archenemies in the Marvel universe! The heroes can use melee attacks to take down enemies, as well as jumping specials and signature projectiles. Do you have what it takes to bring down nefarious supervillains like Venom and the Green Goblin? Various levels involve locales in New York, from the mean streets to above rooftops and scaffolding in a vantage point sidescrolling battle!

SUPERMAN
Taito; Released 1988

Featuring DC's Man of Steel, Taito sends the titular superhero into various American cities to stop alien invaders led by Emperor Zaas. Superman wields some of his distinct moves from the comics, using freedom of flight, powerful sonic punches and heat vision. A second player may join in as Superman's buddy for a co-op adventure. Each city is divided in unique sections, from the streetsides and up tall buildings to facing a war machine at the end of the level, culminating into the final showdown with Zaas in his spaceship. Fans of the Christopher Reeve films will feel at home with this game as John Williams' theme from the motion pictures plays throughout the stages while Superman beats down the marauding aliens!

THE SUPER SPY
SNK; Released 1990

Inspired by spy dramas and the James Bond movies in general, the game involves Roy Heart, a C.I.A. agent who travels within buildings fighting members of an elite terrorist group Zolge King and stop the man behind the group's bomb plot. The player must trek through the buildings fist-fighting with various terrorists in a first-person view RPG system with elements of real-life boxing. As the player enters rooms, hostages provide him with new knives, guns or medical treatment while the terrorists become more resilient. The game has a spiritual successor with ADK's Crossed Swords, using the same premise in a medieval fantasy focused on swordplay.

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES
Konami; Released 1989

Konami began its stream of extremely popular licensed arcade games with the debut of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, based from the comic book and cartoon of the same name. With their signature weapons, four players take on the roles of Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello and Raphael to rescue April O'Neal and Master Splinter from the clutches of the Foot Clan. The turtles must settle the score against evil henchmen like Bebop and Rocksteady, culminating in the climactic battles against Krang and the Shredder in the Technodrome. The game took utmost care in representing the comics and cartoon humor formula. The game's intro even uses the exact music from the animated series' theme song!

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: TURTLES IN TIME
Konami; Released 1991

Following the success of the first TMNT game, the half-shelled heroes return in the widely-improved sequel. Graphics are more lush, the Foot Clan ninjas have new weapons and more villains are introduced, including Tokka and Rahzar from the second TMNT film. The four ninja turtles have an improved array of moves, where throwing enemies like a metronome being the most memorable. This time, Shredder and Krang sends the turtles back in various time periods to prevent them from recovering the stolen Statue of Liberty. Players must guide the turtles through their action-filled adventure across time and space to defeat the villains once and for all in one of the best arcade sequels.

UNDERCOVER COPS
Irem; Released 1992

Irem's foray in the multiplayer beat-em-up genre started with Undercover Cops, where players portray three vigilantes called City Sweepers in order to clear an apocalyptic city from its lawless gangs. Claude, Bubba and Flame (Zan, Matt and Rosa in Japan respectively) can use their skills in martial arts and unique special attacks against human outlaws and freakish mutants. They can also rob enemies' weapons and use drums, concrete or girders against them. The Sweepers must stop the mad scientist Dr. Crayborn from perpetuating this mayhem for good! The World version is infamous for being watered down from the superb Japanese edition.

VENDETTA
Konami; Released 1991

The sequel to Konami's Crime Fighters, members of the heroic gang The Cobras consisting of Blood, Boomer, Hawk and Sledge must rescue Hawk's protegee Kate from the clutches of the Dead End Gang. Instead of the usual attack and jump layout, the game employs a punch and a kick button to perform various attacks. Up to four players can fight side by side to use various weapons and gang up on villains via armlocking. Can they save Kate in time from Faust, the leader of the Dead End gang before it's too late?

VIOLENT STORM
Konami; Released 1993

At a time when the world is recovering from a world war, gangs are slowly rising back up to feed on the scraps of dominion over the recovering cities. The plot kicks in as the heroes' good friend Sheena has been abducted by Red Freddy, one of Lord Geld's lackeys. Up to three players can use various fighting styles from the balanced Wade, heavy-hitter Boris and nimble Kyle. They must fight through seven levels of furious action for the final battle against Lord Geld.

WARRIORS OF FATE aka TENCHI WO KURAU II: SIKIHEKI NO TATAKAI
aka SANGUOKUSHI II

Capcom; Released 1992

This sequel of Dynasty Wars renamed its characters with Mongolian counterparts. After the Yellow Turban Rebellion, players can choose three out of the five Tiger Generals and fight their way through 9 areas in Shang-Lo in order to fight the evil tyrant Akkila Orkhan, reenacting the famed Battle on the Red Cliffs. The players are all on foot through the majority of the game, but can employ a war horse with a certain item. Each of the Tiger Generals has his own abilities and strategies. In homage to Capcom's 1991 hit Street Fighter II, the Tiger Generals and a few boss characters have moves based from popular Street Fighter characters!

X-MEN
Konami; Released 1992

A loose adaptation of the 1989 pilot Pryde of the X-Men, Konami's X-Men takes the beat-em-up genre by storm by having up to SIX players take on the roles of the eponymous mutant team! Choosing from Cyclops, Wolverine, Storm, Colossus, Nightcrawler and Dazzler, players must use their unique mutant powers to face hordes of mutant-hunting Sentinels and the Brotherhood of Mutants to rescue the kidnapped Professor X and new recruit Kitty Pryde. Known for memetic voice-overs and multiplayer chaos, the X-Men are finally pitted against Magneto, the master of magnet(ism) to defend humanity once and for all from his orbital citadel Asteroid M.

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