The "Beat ’em up" genre has a long and varied history in the video game timeline. Once an overpopulated and overcrowded genre, Beat ’em ups are now a skeleton of what they once were, and the few games that are released on today’s home consoles typically don’t live up to their ancestor’s glory (I’m looking at you, Final Fight: Streetwise). Regardless of the current status, this genre holds some of the most memorable games and characters ever created.
The following list is a top ten of the best Beat ’em ups to date. This list was tougher than Abobo to create. Initially, I had over 20 candidates for the list before I even sat down to think about more! Eventually the list dwindled, however, and after some epic cuts, saves, and garbage cans filled with health-replenishing gourmet food, here are the top ten Beat ’em up games:
#10 – Golden Axe II (Sega Genesis)
Golden Axe II was one of those games you loved to play, yet hated in almost every way. It was overly difficult, it took forever to beat, and the basic moves you had were weak compared to what the varied assortment of enemy grunts couldn’t do. Regardless, none of that stopped the game from being addictive. The different magic attacks you could use, the wildlife you could ride, and an alarming amount of elf kicking are just a few of the things that made this game special. Oh, and because it was a sequel, everyone got a sweet-looking headband.
#09 – Castle Crashers (Xbox Live)
Castle Crashers is the newest banger to the brawl, but don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s any less entertaining. Up to four players can play simultaneously, bashing bad guys, using spells, weapons, and collectible animal companions that each have their own unique ability. Players could also engage in an eating contest, and even fight each other to the death. Unfortunately, a faulty online experience and save-erasing bugs (kiss your level 30’s and hidden characters goodbye if you put your hard drive on another system) keep this game from going any further down the list. While they did eventually release a patch for this (several months later), it’s essentially like them closing the stable gate long after the horse has bolted. In this case, the horse represents consumer interest.