Brawler (beat ’em up) games feature hand-to-hand (HTH) combat between a protagonist and a slew of opponents. While most of these games feature revenge and crime-fighting-based plots, some employ fantasy, science fiction, and historical themes. Here is an overview of ten of the best brawlers:
Developed by Treasure and published by Sega, this 2D side-scrolling brawler game features RPG elements. Guardian Heroes allows you to alter your game’s storyline through your actions. For instance, you can choose between several branching paths that lead to multiple endings, levels, and bosses. The game also comes with a versus mode that allows up to six players to compete to death or in a timed battle. During each scene, you will earn experience points. You can also improve and customize characters with six attributes: Luck, Agility, Mentality, Vitality, Strength, and Intelligence. There are three planes of battle in the game; you can switch between them if you want to dodge attacks or change to the plane that the enemy is on.
Dragon’s Crown is a beat ’em up ARPG that was developed by the Japanese studio Vanillaware. In the game, players control an adventurer as he explores dungeons located in the kingdom of Hydeland. Players will interact with different establishments inhabited by NPCs (non-player characters). While exploring these dungeons, you will continuously move from left to right, fighting enemies and boss monsters before you go to the next stage. During single-player, you can find piles of bones in dungeons and pay so that they can resurrect. You’ll then recruit them as your AI-controlled fighting companions.
Final Fight 3
Final Fight 3 is a 1995 beat ’em up that was developed and published by Capcom. It’s the sequel to Final Fight 2, and it comes with new moves, branching paths, and multiple endings. You can also choose to team up with a CPU-controlled partner while fighting enemies. Final Fight 3 features protagonist Guy and Haggar and has introduced new characters: Dean and Lucia. You can access command-based special techniques like those featured in Street Fighter, such as a powerful Super Move.
The Simpsons Arcade
The Simpsons, a side-scrolling arcade brawler, was published and developed by the Japanese company Konami. It allows up to 4 players to take on the role of Simpson family members as they fight enemies who have kidnapped Maggie. The characters in the game have distinctive attack styles. Lisa can attack with a jump rope, Bart wields a skateboard, Marge swings a vacuum cleaner, and Homer punches and kicks. When two characters stand next to each other, they can mount a combined attack.
Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World
Based on Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim series of graphic novels and coinciding with the release of the movie of the same name, this side-scrolling beat ’em up was developed by Ubisoft Chengdu and Ubisoft Montreal. The publisher of Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World is Ubisoft. Up to four players can join the action as Stephen Stills, Kim Pine, Ramona Flowers, or Scott Pilgrim. Nega Scott is an unlockable character, while Wallace Wells and Knives Chau are downloadable characters. Players have to battle through all the seven levels in the game and defeat Ramona’s evil exes.
Set in Metro City in 2026, Captain Commando is a futuristic side-scrolling brawler game published and developed by Capcom. Assisted by his faithful Commando Companions, the superhero known as Captain Commando must rise to protect the Earth along with the entire Galaxy from super-powered criminals. Before you start your mission, you have to choose from the four available characters: Baby-Head, Ginzu, Captain, or Mack.
River City Ransom
River City Ransom is an open-world ARPG beat ’em up developed by Technos Japan. It’s the third instalment in the Kunio-Kun series. The game story follows high school students Ryan and Alex as they cross River City with the aim of that reaching River City High to rescue Cyndi from a villain named Slick. They fight gangs of students along the way and several gang leaders who act as sub-bosses and bosses.
Golden Axe III
Set in a medieval fantasy world, Golden Axe III is a side-scrolling brawler published and developed by Sega. Players must recover the Golden Axe from the Prince of Darkness Damud Hellstrike. All the warriors in the game have a curse, except one who has just had their curse relieved. As such, they have to set things straight by defeating Hellstrike, returning with the Golden Axe, and lifting the curse from the other warriors.
This beat ’em up arcade video game was published and developed by SNK Corporation. In the game, players fight their way through a total of six levels of different mechanical and mutated enemies. Players have to fight one or more sub-bosses at each level before the boss appears. Picking up one of the elemental spheres allows you to unleash screen-filling super attacks.
Violent Storm is a side-scrolling beat-’em-up that was developed and published by Konami. The game is set in the Nineties after World War III. Violent Storm allows up to three players; you can choose between Kyle, Boris, and Wade as your game character. Each character has a different fighting style, move, and speed. Players have to guide them through seven different stages while they are protecting the fearful and helpless.