Monday, July 30, 2012

Top Ten Properties That Need Sidescrolling Beat 'Em Ups

Beat ‘Em Up Month may be over but that doesn’t mean we can’t still have a little beat ‘em up related fun. It’s been awhile since my last Monday List so why not make one about beat ‘em ups? Or rather, properties that should be beat ‘em ups.

Some day...
It seemed common back in the days of the arcade that every franchise worth it’s salt had a beat ‘em up tie-in. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, X-Men, Batman, Sailor Moon, frickin’ Stone Protectors. Beat ‘Em Ups were the go-to quarter eating arcade game. Still, there’s quite a few franchises that never had a beat ‘em up tie-in or were simply released either before or after the beat ‘em up genre was prominent. So, I’m going to be looking at the ten franchises I think would make awesome beat ‘em ups.

To set a few guidelines here, the franchise can be anything from film, tv, comics, books, video games, anything. And when I say a beat ‘em up, I of course mean a 2D Sidescrolling beat ‘em up. Nothing against 3D beat ‘em ups but 2D is where it’s at. Some of these franchises may have had a 3D beat ‘em up before or at least something with beat ‘em up qualities but I don’t care, I’m including it anyway! Also, I’m leaving out Adamant Ditto because that would be the obvious number one. 

10. Street Sharks

Of all the mutant animal team shows to come out after Ninja Turtles got popular, Street Sharks was the most shameless and that’s why it blows my mind that a beat ‘em up, or any video game really, doesn’t exist. Stone Protectors got one. Biker Mice From Mars got a game. Frickin’ Cowboys of Moo Mesa even got a video game and I bet you didn’t even know that was a thing! Street Sharks may not be nearly as cool as the Turtles but at least there’s four possible characters to play as and the opportunity to be somewhat unique, what with playing giant mutant sharks and all. Plus, it can give me a chance to beat ‘em up one of my favorite ridiculously awful characters of all time, Moby Lick.

9. Donkey Kong

No Chunky Kong, though.
Maybe a strange choice but I think of all of Nintendo’s franchises, Donkey Kong has the most to offer in terms of being a sidescrolling beat ‘em up. Donkey Kong is already known to punch things while he’s on duty and off so going right and beating up Kremlings doesn’t seem far off from his daily routine. Throw in a handful of his friends like Diddy, Dixie and Funky, some cool items to pick up like Bongos, Peanut Pistols and Animal Buddies and a final showdown with King K. Rool and you could have a really awesome, old school style beat ‘em up.

8. He-Man and the Masters of the Universe

I was never much into He-Man as a kid, I always thought it was boring. The animation was subpar, the characters had thin personalities and it just screamed ‘80’s cheese but it does have all the makings of a mascot beat ‘em up. It aired from 1980 to 1985 so it missed the beat ‘em up’s rise to prominence by a few years but that doesn’t mean they couldn’t fix that problem now. You could play as He-Man, She-Ra, Man–At-Arms and Orko, I guess, and each would possess their own unique abilities. He-Man and She-Ra would obviously use their swords while Man-At-Arms would be more reliant on blunt force, basically the Haggar of the group, while Orko could rely on all sorts of magic attacks like in the Dungeons and Dragons beat ‘em up games. Maybe He-Man and She-Ra could even summon Battle Cat and Swift Wind for a little bit of Golden Axe style animal riding madness. Plus, a final confrontation with Skeletor in video game form is long since overdue. That guy was awesome, whether I liked the show or not.

7. The Expendables

I dunno how to do a Sly impression in text.
I know they’re currently in the process of making an Expendables 2 video game but that’s going to be an action shooter game not a sidescrolling beat ‘em up and man, what a missed opportunity that is. Honestly, I only want this so that I can play a video game as Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis and Chuck Norris all on the same screen. If they wanted, they could make it six players like X-Men and throw Jason Statham and Jet Li in there too. Man, just imagine punching dudes to death in the jungle and picking up their machine guns and just going all Rambo on them. That much testosterone in a game would make even The Punisher blush and that was the manliest game I’ve ever played! 

6. Thundercats

Much like He-Man, I was never much into Thundercats but that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t make for a great beat ‘em up. The show aired from 1985 to 1989 so it again just missed the boat on the beat ‘em up craze but with the recently released remake (which may or may not be getting cancelled), a four player, sidescrolling beat ‘em up seems like a perfect homage to those crazy alien cat people. Almost all of the Thundercats use weapons so I suppose to would be more of a hack and slash but who cares, they’re practically the same anyway. Especially in the sidescrolling format. I figure you would play as Lion-O, Panthro, Tygra and Cheetara, maybe with summons or something involving WilyKit, WilyKat and Snarf. You’d slash your way through Thundera, fight off the Mutants from Plun-Darr and try to take down Mumm-Ra at the end. It’d be awesome.

5. Fantastic Four

No, not the movie.
This one I just don’t even understand. Why doesn’t this exist? In the 90’s, there were all kinds of Marvel beat ‘em ups. X-Men, Spider-Man, The Avengers, The Punisher, and yet the group with the proper number of characters for a great beat ‘em up never got one? Incredible. Obviously, you’d play as the Fantastic Four, each of which having unique abilities and powers. Mr. Fantastic could reach enemies from afar, punch them half way across the screen and even throw them, the Thing would be the muscle, clobbering and pile driving enemies into oblivion, The Human Torch could set people on fire and maybe even fly and the Invisible Woman could, uh, become invisible? That might actually be a little broken but whatever, it’d be awesome. End it all with a showdown with Dr. Doom and you have the makings of a perfect beat ‘em up.

4. Avatar: The Last Airbender/The Legend of Korra

Children getting beat up is fun.
I couldn’t decide which I’d rather see so I’ll just go with both. Avatar and Korra are two of the best cartoons to ever air on TV, with diverse locations, dark storylines and incredibly memorable characters which is why a beat ‘em up would be awesome for both of them. Both franchises have at least four main characters that could playable and they’d have all of the different elements covered. Imagine beating people up like normal and then all of the sudden you’re blowing them off the screen with a gust of wind? Or smashing them into the ground with a piece of Earth? Or setting them on fire? Or slashing them up with Sokka’s sword or electrocuting them with Asami’s glove? Just thinking about it has me all excited at the possibilities. The stages could be based on different episodes of the show with boss battles like Zuko, Sparky Sparky Boom Man, Azula, Ozai, Amon, Tarrlock, the possibilities are practically endless. The bending abilities could really help to make it stand out as a unique beat ‘em up and I’d love to see what could be pulled off with either series.

3. The Avengers (Current Team)

It's already made over a billion dollars, why stop now?
Alright, this might be a little bit of a cheat considering an Avengers beat ‘em up does already exist but that game is not only bad, but it’s out of date. With the release of The Avengers movie earlier this summer, Marvel took one of the biggest superhero teams in the world and made them the biggest superhero team in the world. So a beat ‘em up starring six main heroes seems like a match made in Asgard. Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye would all be playable and each would have their unique abilities. In order to have more enemies and bosses, they’d have to take from more than just the movie or they’d have to combine all of the movies and have bosses like Iron Monger, Whiplash, Abomination, Red Skull and of course, Loki. It could work and make for an awesome PSN/X-Box Live Arcade game or maybe even a 3DS game. Too bad they’d rather make bad Avengers games instead.

2. Dead Rising

The biggest bad ass of all time.
This one might seem like an odd choice but hear me out on this. For starters, Dead Rising already has all of the makings of a beat ‘em up. Tons of enemies, lots of attacking moves and tons and tons of weapons to pick up and use. Now, turn the games on their side and throw Frank and Chuck into the mall in a sidescrolling environment and you’ll have an awesome beat ‘em up. But the idea that has me most excited is the idea of the combo weapons from Dead Rising 2. Imagine going down the mall, picking up the boxing gloves, punching out a zombie with a bowie knife and then combining the two upon picking up the knife into the knife gloves. It would be awesome and something no other beat ‘em up has ever done before. Throw in lots of zombies, some psychopaths and Frank’s wonderful one-liners and you’d have my new favorite beat ‘em up of all time.

1. Star Wars

We can finally find out who shot first!
Obvious number one is obvious. Why has there never been a Star Wars beat ‘em up before? (Edit: Apparently there has but it's not four players so I DON'T GIVE A F-) It seems like there’d be tons of them. The Star Wars universe has so many characters and locations, as well as the largest fanbase of anything ever, it seems like the no-brainer to make a quarter eating beat ‘em up game. You’d go through all the different planets, playing as Luke, Leia, Han and Chewie, slashing, blasting and smashing your way through all kinds of droids, aliens and probably Jabba the Hutt. Hell, you could even make it about the prequels and it’d still be awesome. You could play as Anakin, Obi-Wan, Yoda and Mace Windu slashing their way through hoards of Battle Droids. It would be pure fanboy bliss! They could throw in some variety if they wanted and add some sidescrolling space shooter stages or some speeder bike stages or stages where you play as everyone’s favorite droids, I don’t care, just make this happen. Let me pretend I’m putting quarters into a machine so I can go right and blast things as Han Solo. It’s all I want out of life.

Because of the nature of beat ‘em ups, I’m sure there’s tons of other franchises out there that could make for some great ones. Almost any comic you could think of (Hellboy, Blade, Watchmen), most movie franchises (Indiana Jones, Back to the Future) and maybe even a few crazy ideas nobody else would ever think of but by god, it would probably work (Mythbusters anyone?) Anyway, you probably have your own ideas so feel free to share in the comments below!

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