Ah beat-em-ups. Talk at the moment is surrounding Street Fighter 4, which has seemingly taken forever to arrive. So, with it’s impending arrival this summer, I’ve decided to take a look at past beat em up game characters, we’ve all got our favourites, but there are some created from the minds of designers that make us think “Where did that come from?”. Here’s my five favourites.
5. (Joint) Dhalsim/Blanka: Street Fighter 2
These two characters are joint for one simple reason, they changed fighting games from standard kick and punch between marshall artists and street thugs, to a game where each character is uniquely rememberable for years to come. When people first saw Dhalsim with his Yoga assisted stretchy limbs and the green and gold savage Blanka with his electric shock and the ability to propel himself accross the screen, people remembered them. Hell, the first time I played Street Fighter 2 I was Blanka, because he was the coolest looking.
Sure, now they’re getting on a bit and became a little more humanised, but when Stretchy Legs and Shocking Guy (as I used to call them) came onto the scene, the Beat-em-Up genre was changed forever.
4. Baby Bonnie Hood: Darkstalkers Series
Darkstalkers was a great shoot off of the Street Fighter games, which focussed on Horror characters beating seven shades of sceptres out of each other (things like Zombies, Vampires, Warewolf’s, etc.) however such is the demand of modern gamers to have new characters added every game, by the third series they were running a bit short.
Enter Baby Bonnie Hood, a gun toting, mine dropping, pyro-philic, psychotic Little Red Riding Hood who’s main love is for Harry, her 2 year old dog, and her Uzi. This character is probably the highest place on the list where she was actually fun to play, with a throw that caused her to mount the enemy and slit their throat, special moves that utilized her rocket launcher and mine dropping abilities, and supermoves that used the power of her hunter friends and her gradma. Oh yes, Baby Bonnie Hood Rocked.
3. Nork: Tobal No1
Probably the most depressing boss ever. Nork (the only video game character named after a single breast) was the sub boss of rare PS1 beat em up Tobal #1. And he was pretty good, as he dominated the screen. When you completed the game you unlocked characters, but instead of getting Nork you get Snork, who’s like Nork, but is tiny. Nork’s strength was his size – he could push you out of the arena really quickly, whereas Snork was just rubbish – with similar moves, but not as powerful and still as slow. But even so, alien with cape who was named after a tit, damn that’s an odd character!
Incidentally, it didn’t get better with Tobal 2. Where the boss was a Devil. Called Mark.
2. The Cyborg: Rise of the Robots
Probably the backstory behind this guy, rather than the actual character. The story behind Rise of the Robots is that robots kind of go a bit insane and threaten to take over the world or something, so an interepid guy disguises himself as a robot and goes to fight. Bit silly this one as a man (who is rubbish even at fighting), is basically fighting machines. You ever kicked your car or got your finger trapped in a vice? Yes. That’s a smart idea.
Part of the reason this game sucked was the realism. The cyborg was basically punch and kick, with no cool moves, weak, and couldn’t jump over the head of the opponent (game geeks before you write in – this is the SNES version where that was corrected, hence why he’s facing right). He didn’t stand a chance against the robots.
1. Daytona Hornet: Fighters Megamix
And so the wierdest fighter ever is the final unlockable character in Fighters Megamix. The game was a mashup of all Sega AM2’s fighting games, including some new cameo characters. Some fitted – Jill from Virtua Cop for example – but this seemed a bit desperate.
Yes, the car from Daytona USA. It sounded like a good idea – basically treat your enemies as roadkill – but instead of being on four the car is up on two wheels, fighting. You can’t work out the car’s moves – except for one lovely move where they basically wheelspin on the opponant’s face – so you usually just get battered, to avenge the death of Charlie Cyborg to machines in Rise of the Robots.
Anyway, those are my picks, what are yours?