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The Beat'Em Up is a cousin to the Fighting Game genre that is popular today. Most games that fall under this genre have very little in the way of story, and lots in the way of bash-the-other-guy's-heads-in-with-your-fists action. Co-Op Multiplayer in these games is a highly popular feature.

These games eschew one-on-one duels for the protagonist (and a friend or two) rampaging across the map, handing out unmerciful beatdowns to every group of gangsters, mutants, robots and ninjas they meet, acquiring weapons from their environment and finding cooked chickens inexplicably hidden inside arcade cabinets.

Another variation of these is the Hack and Slash, a beat-em-up that primarily includes weapons. Expect some cross-pollination.

In Japan, beat-'em-ups of the Double Dragon/Final Fight variety are known as "belt-scroll" games due to their semi-isometric perspective and the fact that the characters are always facing left or right despite being able to move up and down as well. Games like Kung-Fu Master (which is completely side-scrolling) or Beat-Down (which is in 3D) are not considered belt-scroll games.


Games in this genre include:

For a time, it was common for licensed games to be made in this format. Some of the more famous ones include:

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