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mk.jr.fan

What makes a good beat'em up game?

35 posts in this topic

Entire freaking novel...

Jesus christ.

I think you should submit that to Drew, as the definitive article on the classic beat-em-up...

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I think you should submit that to Drew, as the definitive article on the classic beat-em-up...

I think it needs a few more passes, and it would be useless without all the youtube videos and screenshots. I have a hard time describing just how bad something like Warriors Street Brawl is without the supporting video evidence. There is a thin line between getting it right and messing it up a lot of the time.

I'm betting mk.jr.fan never comes back to see this, and I end up being the crazy old guy writing 88,000 word essays to himself.
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Sorry I was busy studying for mid terms and i haven't had a chance to read but thank you for this huge post!

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In addition to all the above points don't forget to add good sound in your game.

Perfect event based sounds does a very important role in engaging the game.

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In addition to all the above points don't forget to add good sound in your game.
Perfect event based sounds does a very important role in engaging the game.

Correct. I made a point about this in my Konami rant.

Their beat em ups had HORRIBLE sound effects.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=usfFuQFBxsY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K9nJ-9kZhJQ

Here are much better sound effects in Batman Returns on SNES. This one of Konami's only good beat-em-up games.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wh8iJLTH2qg
Streets of Rage 2 has excellent SFX
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZRW1R-rwkjE

The sfx of hitting people needs to be good and accurate because you are going to hear it 45,000 times in a short time period. smile.png Who the hell wants to listen to those Konami sfx over and over?

That video also features a point I forgot to make in my giant rant while I was busy finding good videos. There is a few more things for me to add, but I only seem to remember them when I'm not able to type them. smile.png

SITUATIONAL ATTACKS Situational attacks go a long way to avoiding repetitiveness. These are most visible in the batman and yakuza videos. When the attack button is pressed, look around to see what's actually going on around the player, and if the proper conditions are met, do an situational attack instead of the standard attack.
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There is only one distinction that needs to be made to classify these I think, and that is whether or not the game was targetting the arcade, or a home console.
Arcade games were made to be extremely simple, and to make as much money as possible. So purely arcade style beat em ups have a little bit of a different design. Unlike a console, there are no set number of continues that you can use, and you can keep buying in until you go broke.

So enemies and levels are designed with a cost in mind. Best example I can think of is the factory level in Final Fight. There is fire shooting up through the floor randomly that takes a huge chunk of your health, and tons of enemies who are making it impossible to safely navigate through it. It's a very expensive level.
...
Console based games are different. They focus on you trying to become really good at them, and then winning them within a limited number of lives. A lot of them also have extra content such as secret areas or alternate level paths and different endings.

Ahem... the exact opposite would be the truth. Arcade games are, by necessity, designed with extremely tight balancing to be hard but generally fair and beatable. If the games were easy, people would play them once and leave having paid just one credit. If they were unfair, people would be disappointed and take their money to the next arcade cabinet. On consoles, there is no selection pressure like that. The developer already has the user's money, so they can make the game however easy, unfair and badly balanced without immediately feeling it in their wallet.

In short: if you dump your money on continues, not only are you wasting your money, but also completely missing the point of the game. Even if the credits are virtual, as in an emulated game or a port, continuing means depriving yourself of the game as it's intended to be played - with one credit from start to finish.

Here's that "fire shooting randomly" level from Final Fight you complain about, only there's nothing random. There are clear patterns and the player dodges all of the fire.
http://youtu.be/hbmciC7wvUs

I haven't really played 2D beat'em ups, but more than once I've heard Capcom's Aliens vs Predator quoted as being the best one.
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Thank you for all the replies! After reading some I think I now understand how to make a game that's difficult, but fair. But also able to a have a variety of attacks to counter the enemy.

 

I do have one more question. For use of a keyboard what would be the best button combination for a beat'm up game?

My setup would be:

wasd: for movement

left Shift: to run

jkl: for action buttons

 

Is this a good setup or do you have any ideas of your own that you can add?

 

I am also trying to develop a beat em up. I think a beat em up is played best with a gamepad. So I use a ps3 style gamepad layout:

 

D-pad to move

square  => punch

x            =>kick

o           => jump

triangle => grab

R1        => block 

R2        => attack modifier (l1 + punch will result in a different attack from punch only)

L1        => use 

L2        => inventory (think of use and inventory like in castle crashers)

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Same with fighting games. The home releases got much better for most games.

Despite the decline of the business, arcade competely dominates the fighting game genre to the degree where almost any worthwhile fighter is an arcade game. Virtua Fighter, Tekken, Street Fighter, King of Fighters, Guilty Gear, Blazblue and Arcana Heart series are all arcade games; the latest installment of every one of these series was designed for and first released at the arcade.

The best shoot'em ups are pretty much all arcade as well.
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Arcades are still going in some regions. Fighting and rhythm games are big in Japan.

Sony gave us all 10$ on PSN last week, so I bought FIGHTING FORCE which I never had a chance to play it before. It really shows that it started it's life as Streets Of Rage 4. All the characters got renamed and a slight appearance switch, but they are all there. Even the traditional level style is the same.

It's a bit sluggish, but it's still addictive. It's very basic in some areas, but more advanced in others. I like how you can use almost anything you find as a weapon, including pulling hand railings off the walls.

This series could have had a lot of potential to go somewhere. It's too bad FF2 was horrible, and FF3 (which went back to being a pure beat-em-up) was canned.

I started playing Yakuza 4 again just to do a little bit of analysis for this thread, and now I'm like 50 hours into a new game. I really like how the gang members blend in with the other NPCs walking past on the street, and they don't reveal themselves until the look-out guy approach you, then you get swarmed.

Then after you beat them, you shake them down for money and items, which is a nice alternative to them dumping loads of money on the ground River City Ransom style. You can also make friends with people who run shops, and they'll come to your aid if you get jumped near their place.

(I've written enough about these games now to have written a blog or something...) smile.png
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