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What makes a good beat'em up game?

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#21 RealityFails   Members   


Posted 01 February 2013 - 03:27 PM

personally not going stail right away. ie punch, kick the same 3 guys over on diffrent backgrounds. like tekken 3's tekken force mode

#22 MrDaaark   Members   


Posted 01 February 2013 - 04:06 PM

I've been preparing a big post for this, hopefully mk.jr.fan is still around to see it? smile.png

#23 mk.jr.fan   Members   


Posted 01 February 2013 - 06:02 PM

Yes I'm still here.

#24 MrDaaark   Members   


Posted 03 February 2013 - 06:12 AM

It's coming. :) It's turned into a small novel.

#25 MrDaaark   Members   


Posted 03 February 2013 - 10:05 AM


I can say a ton on this. I love side scrolling beat em ups, and have been playing them non stop since 1990. The better ones still play very well and feel like they haven't aged a day since they came out. I am also working on one of these very slowly, and done a lot of thinking and research.

People always talk about these games being simple, repetitive, and mindless. But that's kind of the point. They are arcade style games, like pinball machines, and are meant to be simple fun. Once you start adding more complexity and other genre staples, they cease to be side scrolling beat em ups.

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.

Also, special moves take a chunk out of your health! Special moves are used to break out of enemy holds before you throw you. So using them is a monetary decision. Using your special move to break out of a throw cost less than taking the full damage of being thrown.

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.

I'll just throw up some random thoughts below. Basically about some things you could research or draw inspirtation from. Mostly the better games and what they do right and wrong.


Watch the Warriors! ( http://www.blu-ray.com/movies/The-Warriors-Blu-ray/61100/ )

The entire genre owes it's existance to this movie. When watching it now, you'll think it's like someone played a bunch of beat em ups and made a movie out of it. smile.png

It's about gang who gets framed for a murder at a big meeting where all the big gangs in NYC decide to unite and run the town because they outnumber the cops. The gang has to walk home from one end of NYC back to Coney Island, and they have to deal with the gang who runs every neighbourhood they pass through, just like the storylines in most of the games!

Warriors Trailer:

Warriors vs the Baseball Furies:

Warriors vs The Punks

Random gang montage

I believe it's on Netflix, and the blu is usually only ~10$. Other than the Beat Em Up connection, it's a classic movie with a cult following. I watch it every few months.

--- Games to play & study ---

River City Ransom / River City Ransom EX

The game Renegade was a complete shameless ripoff of Warriors, and not very good. It's follow up was much better though. River City Ransom is basically the Warriors with Highschool kids, and possibly the best beat em up that will ever be made.

There is some kind of student gang uprising, and the gangs start taking over various neighbourhoods. The player's girlfriend is being held on the roof of a highschool across town. So you have to walk from one end of town to the other to put a stop to everything.

The game is completely open world. You can run right to the other end of town in a few minutes if you want. The screen doesn't lock when enemies are attacking. You always have free roam, and every gang has about 20 unique members with their own sayings and quirks. Every gang also has slightly different fighting styles, and they move from area to area as you beat them down.

The gameplay is very dynamic. There are crude physics with all the weapons. They can be picked up, thrown, struck while they are in the air, ridden on, etc... You can even pick up downed opponents and use them to hit other opponents.

Your character starts out weak, but can improve their stats and abililties like an RPG. You get money for defeating your oppnonents and you can spend it at shops on food and new techniques. Your character has "groundhog day" like persistance (like Dead Rising). You can keep starting over with an improved character. The only problem is the NES version achieved this with long passwords. However, you save your character only, not your progress, and the game can be beat very quickly with a fresh character, so it's not too big of a deal.

River City Ransom EX is an update for the Game Boy Advance and adds new moves, the ability to recruit bosses into your gang so you can have 3 AI companions with you, more enemies on screen, and the ability to save your character to the cartridge.

Here is a video series that takes you through, and examines the game mechanics of EX:


The original is on thr Wii Virtual Console.

As you'll see below, lots of other games have taken RCR's mechanics.


Final Fight

Capcom's best beat-em-up.

A gang leader kidnap's the mayor's daughter. So the mayor, his daughter's boyfriend, and his friend team up, and walk from one end of the city to other (slums, subways, underground fightclub, red light district, downtown, high rise).

The 3 characters play very differently. Their weight, speed and impacts transcend the screen, and you can pretty much feel them thought the controller (just like in street fighter games).

Haggar is a retired pro wrestler. He moves very slow and hits very hard. He is able use wrestling style grapple moves like suplexes and a jumping piledriver. When Haggar isn't saving Metro City from the Mad Gear gang, he is piledriving sharks in internet memes. smile.png

Guy is a martial arts / lower damage speed freak. I believe he can also jump off the sides of the screen chun-li style.

Cody is the bf, and the all-rounder.

The only real downside to this game is that is was designed around the arcade mentality. You outlast the environmental hazards and waves of enmies with quarters.

Final Fight 2 & 3 were released as SNES exclusives and more of a console game design mentality. The whole series is very good. 2 & 3 are on the Wii virtual console, and part one has a great re-release on PS3 and 360 called Final Fight Double Impact. You should grab the demo.

Final Fight Double Impact


Streets of Rage

Streets of Rage is Sega's "me too" version of Final Fight. When Capcom brought the home version out Final Fight out as an SNES exclusive, Sega created Streets of Rage as their answer to the series. Their main character Axl looks and fights just like Final Fight's Cody. A lot of the enemies are also shamless rip offs of Final Fight enemies.

SOR 1 is not that special. It's a reactionary clone that plays well enough but would be completely forgotten if not for it's better sequel. There are some awkward design choices, like calling the characters 'ex-cops', and having their special be a police car that drives in and fires a gun at all enemies on the screen.

SOR 2 is great! The graphics are better. The controls and response are much better. The characters have more moves, and proper special moves instead of the police car. Those special moves come into play a lot when countering enemy grabs. They even added a pro wrestler character so they SOR would have a Mike Haggar equivalent. Good levels, good controls, excelent music.

A lot of people consider SOR2 to be the greatest game in the history of the genre. But it's really only the best beat em up in the Sega Genesis library. Their only frame of reference is the other mediocre and horrible games on their console.

SOR 3 is a bit of a step backwards. The level designs are attempt to be too clever for their own good, and the series took a turn towards science fiction with cyborgs, clones, and sillyness such as a playable boxing kangaroo.

However, they changed the character movement and pacing for the better. They move much quicker and have more moves. They added a double tap dash which alows for some more move setups.

dash + attack
dash + jump + attack

You can grab these all over the place, and they are worth having. PSN, XBLA, Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection, and Wii Virtual Console. I think Steam too. SOR2 at least is a must.

http://soronline.net/main.htm is a great fan site. They disect and analyze all 3 games. They also still host the SOR Remake game that is worth playing through. It has all the levels from all 3 games, and all the gameplay mechanics and AI from all 3 that you can mix and match at will. They also have an optional AI partner.

Sidenote: The Golden Axe games seem to be built on the same code base. They are fun games, but they don't offer anything unique worth analyzing. They are basically SOR with a sword and socery re-skin to appeal to a different market. Each game is functionally equivalent to the same numbered game in the SOR series.


Scott Pilgrim vs The World

This is an amazing modern 2D beat em up! It takes most of River City Ransom's gameplay mechanics, because the comic and movie are based on a guy who lives in an RCR (and other early 90s games) type world. There are also shout outs to tons of other games in here.

All the characters have their special moves and can level up. The levels are great. The controls can be stiff in some situations (can be hard to change direction while attacking), but other than that they are perfect, and the feeling of hitting people is great. The music is awesome.

The levels are connected together via a world map like in Super Mario Bros 3. You can go where you want, and replay anything as much as you want.


There is a demo on XBLA and PSN. This is a must play, and there is DLC coming out in a few days to allow for online 4 player multiplayer.

I haven't put this down since it came out. It has become one of my favourite games of all time.



Konami was the king of the quick and dirty licensed beat em up. People have fond memories of these games, looking back on them with rose tinted glasses, but they don't live up to the hype. These games all use a similar codebase and just have unique assets for whatever license.

All games use a simple attack, jump, special (attack + jump) set up.

The characters are always weightless, and there is no feeling of impact when hitting something. Even when walking, they seem to just slide around the floor while moving their legs. The sound effects for swinging and connecting are always very poor and sound nothing like combat.

These games did have good graphics and level designs a lot of the time, but they were all style and no substance. They relied completely on their licenses and that you could have 4 players.

X-Men, and the Simpsons have demos on PSN and XBLA. But really, they aren't worth bothering with. TMNT The Arcade Game (TMNT 2 on NES) was probably the most enjoyable, and ha(s/d) a demo on XBLA.

Sidenote: There is a 3D UbiSoft remake of Konami's TMNT: Turtles In Time. It looks nice, but has the same unsatisfying gameplay mechanics.



A very high quality, modern game by Ubisoft. It has a bit in common with RCR and Scott Pilgrim. It fell under the radar, and there isn't anything unique about it worth examining, but compare the quality of the animation and the good gameplay to the 3D Turtles in Time video I posted above.



Yakuza is like a 3D version of River City Ransom. You have an open world, can visit shops and restaurants, can advance your character, and have roaming gangs that fight you all over the city. You can use items, and there are situational and environmental attacks.

These games have a meter that fills up as you damage people that you can then use to pull off an extremly brutal special attack. It can be an environmental attack, or very high damage strike with a weapon. eg: Stabbing someone in the stomach with a knife instead of just swining it. Sending a bike crashing down on someone's head. Grabbing someone by the back of the head and slamming it into a wall.

You are able to single out an enemy and taunt them. This will draw them out from the group and have them be the one to attack you.

The only problem is the nonstop, overly long, self absorbed cutscenes. At any moment you may have to watch a 30-45 minute cutscene. Which means they take a concept that can be conveyed in 30 seconds, and stretch it out to an hour, along with the famous japanese game "..." dialog taking up 90% of your time.


Double Dragon Series

IMO, only 2 games in this series are worth a damn.

The original early games were all flawed in ther own ways. Each port was different then the rest, and Double Dragon 3 was a complete disaster. Only the NES port of Double Dragon 2 is good, but it strays very far from the standard beat em up formula. The best thing about these old games is the opening scene of the first game's first level, which has been copied 7000 times.

Super Double Dragon was awesome. It sticks to the standard beat em up formula and doesn't try to implement different types of gameplay from other genres. People hate on it for being too easy, but it has great graphics, good controls, good combos, great weapons, good music, and really fun levels. It's highly enjoyable and replayable. Who cares if it's easy? The fighting in it feels extremely good, and it hasn't aged a day since it came out.

Double Dragon Neon has 3D character models, but plays exactly like a 2D beat em up. Everything about this game is good. The characters have persistance, can level up and learn new abilities, and the levels are on a world map like Scott Pilgrim. This game is al about of love, and an 100% quality product. I hope we get a ton more like it.

The game has a dodge button. Every time you dodge an attack, you increase your normal attack damage for short time.

You use special abilities by collecting audio cassettes that represent skill points. You make an abilities mix tape by picking 2 tapes to mix together.

There is a nice high five system which lets you do various things with your partner depending on what direction you press.

Only problem is we never got the promised multiplayer patch!

Demo is on XBLA and PSN. Along with Scott Pilgrim, this is a must play!

There is also a recent mobile remake of Double Dragon 1, but I'm reluctant to spend even 3$ on it.


Warriors: Street Brawl

Whoever is reponsible for this should be drug out into the street in broad daylight and executed gang style for all to see. It's bad enough that the game is bad, but it's a WARRIORS game. This should have been ___THE___ modern beat em up game.

The controls are poor and unresonsive.
The levels are nice, but they are either pitch black, or washed out in oversaturated single color lighting.
The enemies don't react very well to being hit.
The enemies have no concept of being in a group, or in a beat em up game. They surround you from all sides and strike at you with reckless abandon.
You can attack in any direction instead of just left or right. After playing hundreds of these games over 2 decades, this idea has never worked. Looks good on paper, but ruins the feel of the games.

Demo is on XBLA. Only download it to punish yourself, and get a good example of everything not to do in one of these games.


Summing it up / Things I've Learned / Dos & Don'ts

- Don't design with an arcade machine mentality! Have persistence, multiple characters, mutliple paths, multiple endings, etc.. etc...

- Have multiple characters, but make them all different. Have a large / strong / slow one, a small / fast / weaker one, and a medium all rounder. Having something like a large / quick / weak guy is just bad design, and breaks down communicating visually with the player. This goes for enemies and player characters.

- Support recruitng NPCs into the player's gang. Along with persistance, this allows for things like recruiting the level 1 boss, then playing an alternate level 1 with that boss later. Including possibly having a pallete swapped version of the boss as his replacement with new dialog calling him a traitor. You can also have different paths, dialog, and situations depending on who you do and don't recruit. This adds depth and replayability. Even things like having a door in an alleyway that only one guy is allowed entry to, and only if certain people aren't in the group.

- It's fun to have AI controlled allies along for the ride. Even if all they do is keep some of the enemies busy and contribute a sum total of 0 to depleting the enemie's health. Freely switching between them is also fun.

- Enemies need to be treated as a group, and not individuals! As individuals they will all just look out for their best interests, and surround and attack the player all at once. As a group they can surround the player from a distance and cheer on while one or two enemies engage. It should be entertaining to watch and to play. Like a movie fight.

- RCR has set gangs with twenty unique members each. Each member has AI traits that make him different from other members in the group. A member who fights honorably will not strike a player in the back, or a throw a weapon. A dirty fighter will will do whatever it takes, and prefer cheap shots. A coward prefers to strike in the back, will not fight one on one, and will flee if low on health, or no one else is left. etc...

- Use a simple rock / paper / scissors ruleset for the combat. A strike will stop a grab attempt. A block will stop a strike attempt. A grab will override a block. A special attack will break a combo, escape from a grab, and cannot be blocked. That's why it's special ;). No need to get more complicated. A shoot-em-up is not a fight sim, and a beat-em-up is not a UFC sim.

- Prefer shadow blobs to perfect shadows. Shadow blobs allow you to see exactly where you are positioned, and can be resized dynamically while you are in the air to communicate your height. While you can easily just draw a shifted, dynamically recoloured copy of your sprite at 25%-50% alpha, it clutters the screen, causes positioning confusion (especially while in the air), and visually conflicts with how the lighting looks in the level tileset. Perfect shadows fail in every way here.
eg: The game in these screenshots uses perfect shadows, and it's fugly and confusing.

- Use layers! If you just have a single layered backdrop behind the characters, it looks like exactly that. A cheap, lifeliss cardboard cut out world. The up close game should have 3 layers. The action is on the middle in front of a main background layer. Then there is a foreground layer on top the playfeild.

The foreground layer needs to complement the playfield and not obscure it! Keep tall objects thin, and long ones transparent enough.

Behind this you have your distant objects layers. The sky, and then possible distant buildings, clouds, or whatever makes sense.

The playfeild and close background need to scroll together in tune with the player. The foreground should scroll differently to give the illusion of depth. Also the distant background layers should all scroll differently.

If you do that properly, you will have the illusion of a living environment. You can also have objects like cars, trains, birds etc scrolling through the backround layers.

- How do you simulate weight and impact and make the player actually feel it? Focus on holding the key poses. Observe this screenshot of Axl from SOR: If Axl doesn't connect, his arm snaps right back into his idle pose. When Axl connects the impact frame is held, there is an impact sprite overlaid (whch also closes any visible gap between the fist and the enemy), and then the enemy plays the animation of getting hit in the chin. The last/key frame on the enemy is held for the duration of the knockback period. The impact sound should also last exactly that long.
If you can implement that, you're already ahead of every b-grade beat em up every released.

- Don't go crazy wih your health pick-ups. The best games have exactly 3. Small, medium, and large. It's important to comminicate their value through their size and shape. Typically, the large item (a turkey or roast beef) will refill your health to full and timing it's use becomes important. It is often left on the ground and not consumed until the last possible second, making it double as an extra life. Or if the health bar is full, it instead awards a huge amount of score points. You can have more variety by changing their look to suit the theme of the level, but keep the same sizes and shapes (eg, small round, medium pyramid, large spherical). If the user has to guess, or it's not 100% obvious which is which, you've failed them.

- Same goes for weapons. The small weapon (knife / knucks) that gives a little extra damage and no extra range, the medium (bat) which gives extra damage and a little extra range, and the long range (steel pipe / sword / bo) that is good for long range crowd control. Especially if you can line a bunch up and take them out in one swing.

Edited by Daaark, 03 February 2013 - 10:07 AM.

#26 swiftcoder   Senior Moderators   


Posted 03 February 2013 - 10:30 AM

Entire freaking novel...

Jesus christ.

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

Tristam MacDonald - Software Engineer @ Amazon - [swiftcoding] [GitHub]

#27 MrDaaark   Members   


Posted 03 February 2013 - 06:42 PM

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.

#28 mk.jr.fan   Members   


Posted 03 February 2013 - 07:28 PM

Sorry I was busy studying for mid terms and i haven't had a chance to read but thank you for this huge post!

#29 SweetyS   Members   


Posted 03 February 2013 - 11:06 PM

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.

#30 MrDaaark   Members   


Posted 04 February 2013 - 01:26 PM

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.

Here are much better sound effects in Batman Returns on SNES. This one of Konami's only good beat-em-up games.

Streets of Rage 2 has excellent SFX

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.

#31 tashaklikedi   Members   


Posted 19 February 2013 - 07:57 AM

Great post ^^ River City Ransom FTW! 

All Kunio Kun games were awesome. This from the Kunio Kun series which includes River Cİty Ransom.


#32 Yrjö P.   Members   


Posted 19 February 2013 - 09:49 PM

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.

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.

#33 tashaklikedi   Members   


Posted 20 February 2013 - 05:03 AM

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)

#34 MrDaaark   Members   


Posted 21 February 2013 - 04:51 PM


It's possible to beat any of them on 1 quarter. But to get that good at them, you have to spend a lot of quarters practicing. Arcade machines are something someone buys for their business. They are there to make money for the operator and have to justify the floor space they take up.

At one point, where fighting game machines were at their heyday here, and charging dollar a pop, they were making about a dollar a minute on a busy day when people were lined up to play them against each other.

Games designed for an arcade machine have different design goals than something that is made for a home release. They are designed to keep money flowing into the machine as much as possible. No different than carnival games, or those games you see in malls and stores where you put in some money and try to grab a prize with a robotic arm (and they are rigged to not give anything out until a certain $ threshold has been reached.)

I remember when the guy running one of the old arcades here would walk into the convenience store across the street, and buy a 2$ comic book to offer as a prize, and people would burn through 10$-20$ each trying to get it.

We are in a very different era. When the Saturn, PSX, and N64 came out, arcade machines no longer had any real technological advantage, and the bar was raised content wise. Arcade style games became simple and outdated almost overnight.

There was a store across the street from my highschool that had an X-Men machine, a Killer Instinct Machine, and a Virtua Fighter machine. We'd all blow our money in there at lunch time if we were lucky enough to play! We were lined up so deep there was no room to move in the store. The owner must have made a killing with those. A year later they were gone. They were no longer making enough to justify the space they were taken up.

Dedicated Arcades held on for a little bit longer and tried new things, like debit cards you had to pre-load, and dark rooms with Quake 2 lan parties you could play for 15 minutes at a time. That didn't go over well.

Why would you pay to play Quake 2 on local lan for a few minutes at a time in a room full of noisy arcade machines when you can play at home and have a much better experience?

Why would dump quarters into a beat em up when you could take 10$ to blockbuster and take 2 much better ones home to play all weekend?

Same with fighting games. The home releases got much better for most games. And the allure of going to the arcade to match up against good players was gone, because no one else was going. Your opponent would be a random kid who just begged his mom for a single quarter and never saw the game before.

This is probably all completely alien to anyone born in the early nineties.

#35 Yrjö P.   Members   


Posted 25 February 2013 - 10:16 AM

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.

#36 MrDaaark   Members   


Posted 25 February 2013 - 06:11 PM

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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