Continued from Part One…
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time (1991, Konami)
I had never played this game (or at least I don’t remember playing it) until 2006 over Thanksgiving while visiting relatives on the woman’s side. We were in a VERY tiny town further north in Michigan and we went to their rundown theater (the only in town) down on Main Street and watched Happy Feet, but in the lobby (which also doubled as an ice cream parlor!) was this beauty staring at me. We had time to kill, so I knew I had to play it. It was as if meeting my fiancee was all part of a greater plan which would climax with me coming face to face with this arcade machine.
I played it and had a blast, just like I did with the original TMNT arcade game. I never played the SNES port though. TiT (hehe) is just as good as and maybe even better than the original.
The Simpsons (1991, Konami)
I was never a big Simpsons fan (although I had that Butterfingers 3D comic book!), but this game is so awesome. You play as Bart, Marge, Lisa or Homer in an attempt to rescue Maggie from Mr. Burns & Smithers. They kidnapped her because she had a diamond that Smithers stole for Mr. Burns. Oh, who cares about the story!
I usually played as Bart. His weapon of choice was his skateboard. Marge had a vacuum cleaner, Lisa had a jump rope and Homer had but his fists and feet of fury.
Final Fight (1989, Capcom)
The greatest beat’em up of all time, I think. Many games came after it and tried to use the same post-apocalyptic city-dominated-by-gang premise but no one has pulled it off like Final Fight did. The three characters you choose (Cody, Guy and Haggar) are legendary and all have gone on to appear in other Capcom games.
The entire look and feel of the game is great. It was heavily influenced by sleazy 80s metal and you almost expect Ratt, Guns N’ Roses (the game has two villains called Axl & Slash, by the way) or Motley Crue to jump out from behind a pile of trash cans and starting jamming.
Captain America and the Avengers (1991, Data East)
This game used to annoy me to no end as my friends and I could only get so far before getting our butts kicked and running out of quarters. Of course, quarters aren’t a problem to someone these days who knows their way around arcade games.
It’s a really fun game that’s full of Marvel characters. Besides the obvious in Captain America, you can also play as Hawkeye, Vision or Iron Man. Why not Thor instead of Vision or Hawkeye? Villains include: Klaw, Mandarain, Juggernaut, Crossbones, Ultron, Whirlwind, Grime Reaper and the game’s final boss — Red Skull.
My only complaint is that the characters are pretty tiny compared to most beat’em up games, but they did fit a lot of action onto the screen.
Double Dragon (1987, Technos/Taito)
One of the earliest beat’em ups and certainly the most famous. You don’t see any other games on this list with their own cheesy 90s movie… DO YOU???
This was usually the first game I would flock to back when Showbiz Pizza was the center of my universe and I loved the art on the machine itself. I also always thought naming the brothers “Hammer” and “Spike” was a lot cooler than calling them “Jimmy” and “Billy”, as console ports and later sequels did.
I’ve played the heck out of the NES game (though I’ve never beaten up), but unlike the NES port of the first TMNT arcade game, it can’t hold a candle to this arcade classic.
Night Slashers (1994, Data East)
A late entry into my favorites list because I had never heard of it or played it until last year. It’s a horror-themed beat’em up, that’s just cool enough to make the list really. You take on all kinds of zombies, mutants, mummies and stand-ins for Dracula and Frankenstein’s Monster.
There’s a great vibe and mood to the whole game and one of the highpoints is that instead of usual “GO!” that most beat’em ups flash on the screen, you get “GO!” then the arrow flips and says “TO HELL!”. Awesome.
Bad Dudes (1988, Data East)
The real title is Bad Dudes Vs. Dragon Ninja, but promotional hype and the arcade cabinet itself seem to downplay the “Vs. Dragon Ninja” part. In Japan, it is simply titled Dragon Ninja. My friends and I always called it “Bad Dudes“.
Again, I had a lot of experience with the NES port, but the arcade version was a standard for me as well. It’s not really much of a fun game without two players though, I don’t think. I’ve played it recently and get swarmed by ninjas of the dragon variety way too much. I need back up! Are you bad enough to help me?