BEAT THEM UP THROUGH AGES
THE GOLDEN AGE OF BEAT THEM UP - CONTINUATION
1992, a rich year... Major companies are surfing on the wave of success, the genre is at its peak of popularity, and everyone works very hard and do his best to impose his games in arcade rooms all around the world. Jaleco, strong with 64th Street's success - especially in Japan - tries the adventure on home systems. The editor develops the same year Rushing Beat and later Rushing Beat Ran for the Super Famicom, better known under the name Rival Turf for the U.S. and Euro versions. Far from overshadowing the stars that are Streets of Rage or even Final Fight on the SNES, these are honest Beat em Up with an enjoyable gameplay, playable two simultaneously, which sold well.
Sega is still quite active this year, but inefficient with two mediocre arcade titles ... but also an expected sequel on the Genesis. Golden Axe: Revenge of the Death Adder and Arabian Fight make their entrance at the very end of the year. This latter takes place in the world of Sinbad the Sailor, and uses a technique of scaling (zoom) to give depth to the game The result is quite messy, especially when playing more than two together (up to four). The new Golden Axe finally proposes an updated realization, but despite this, the game is still far from rivaling Capcom's the King of Dragons and Knights of the Round , released the past year.
On the other hand, the Genesis keeps all its promises with Streets of Rage 2. Sega did some great job on this one, and the game is even better than the first episode. Four selectable characters, excellent graphics, a soundtrack that always sounds so good. And of course, a great life (almost 1:30 of gaming pleasure) make this sequel one of the best fighting games on home consoles. We feel that the Team Shinobi is a little like Sega's elite troops, and that they are used wisely. The Beat them Up fans owners of the 16-bit are happy with this, and we can understand that!
Back to the great arcade world, where Irem finally emerges from its torpor (anything from Vigilante, 1988!) and especially its grand foray into other genres during these four years (R-Type II, Legend of Hero Tonma, Bomberman, Gunforce... and many others) to offer us two new games of high quality. Hook, taken from the story of Peter Pan is a solid Beat 'em Up playable four simultaneously. I's a high caliber title, but the highlight of the year is Undercover Cops. It remains in history as one of the best BTU of all times and will be ported on the Super NES later. Style, fun, concrete gameplay... Irem hits strong. Both games - like the latest softs from the firm - have a pretty unique graphic print, a line, a choice of colors, an overall design very personal... reminding inevitably Gunforce, Major Title, Metal Slug or In the Hunt, to name a few.
Konami cures its image with two pleasant titles: Asterix (Cocorico!) declines the Beat them Up in a cartoonish style, packing blows of gags and onomatopoeia... the game is very fun and graphically making it very close to the original art. Another license, this time "comics" side, X-Men. The editor clearly made a bet to play the card of "bande dessinée" and comics, remember: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Simpsons... If we can feel they clearly botched the X-Men game - probably resting on the success pre-provided with the fame of the license - it is quite another story for Asterix.
Capcom and SNK produce one single title each this very year, but the quality is there. Warriors of Fate by the first is a superb realization on the aging CPS in an epic middle-age style (sublime musics!) and for SNK, it's Mutation Nation. This one takes place in a post-apocalyptic world, infested with mutants created by a crazy scientist. Top realization, original enemies: despite a somewhat simplistic gameplay, the game is a great success.
If Capcom, Konami, SNK and Irem at this time are the major arcade Beat them Up creators, Sega clearly dominates debates on the home market. Surprisingly, the year 1993 will be the last great vintage of this kind of game. Who will release what, and how many great titles will appear next year...? Which editor will surpass all others during this year of grace?
The Beat them Up standards have advanced since 1984. In 1993, the requirements are more numerous: games should be playable at least two, and even up to three or four. They must offer interaction with backgrounds, feature large and surprising bosses, and a sustained action. The gore and blood are also welcome, regardless of the subgenus to which belongs to the game: heroic-fantasy (The King of Dragons, Golden Axe) post-apocalyptic (Mutation Nation, Undercover Cops), comics (TMNT IV , Captain Commando, X-Men) or old-school (Final Fight, Streets of Rage). So goes the little world of fighting games! Konami continues its adaptations of comics in videogames. The Super Famicom is gratified with Batman Returns, one of the best of its kind on this system. Despite a single-player only action, it offers a varied gameplay, huge sprites and a very "Gotham" atmosphere.
Out of popular licenses (finally!), the editor releases Metamorphic Force, where players embody conservationists able to turn into war animals (bull, wolf, etc.): the principle is not without remind about SNK's Sengoku. Third title released in the end of the year, which can be easily described as the best Konami's title in the genre: Violent Storm. The game is neither more nor less than the third Crime Fighters sequel, but the filiation stops there! Using the same hardware as Metamorphic Force (a 68k-based technically pretty close to the CPS-II), the game does a much better use of this power. Realization is gorgeous, having its very own style, quite unique: huge sprites, omnipresent humor, speedy gameplay, smooth action with a complete gameplay, surprising events... a real pleasure, not to mention the musics (with singers for some), high quality and catchy!