B E A T S C R O L L I N G - Beat 'em Ups, Belt Scrollers and the Like

Over on the thread for Episode 287 I mentioned that I like Streets of Rage 4 over 2 and 3. There are folks with other opinions on this and I‘ve been meaning to start a tread about this style of game. Here it is, so let’s GO!


All the Streets of Rage games are excellent. I love 2 & 3, but 4 takes the top spot for me. I struggled with SoR4 on my first few plays. It felt too difficult and seemingly didn't give the player many options to deal with the heavy-hitting goons. It was this [video](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1uxiL4fPWAA) by John Linneman that helped me give the game another shot. I am glad I did! There is so much depth and flexibility to the combat system that builds and improves upon the previous games in the series. If you want a more traditional style versions of the 1/2/3 characters can be unlocked, so if you're into SoR3 you can play as Axel with the running and rolling speediness from that game. The visuals are top notch and the music, while not at SoR2 classic status, fits the action nicely. What are your thoughts on the series?

There are a lot of this style of game coming out lately and plenty of other classics and junk to discuss/recommend.

Also, why isn't Capcom's AvP more widely available? It's either MAME or that ugly Capcom arcade stick thing.

Take a look at this thread where @antillese lays out their thoughts on SoR4 more eloquently than I am able to.

@“tomjonjon”#p116434 It‘s not a contest! Your thread is more about the belt-scroll format, while my thread was more about how modern updates fit into the market using Streets of Rage 4 as a case analysis. And this is a good example of how forum guideline 2.c applies as you’re bringing up information with a different angle.

It's funny how much _Streets of Rage 4_ has evolved since I made that first post. One of my original comments was how the game had no character progression, and now after the update and DLC, it does - there are new moves you can unlock and customize for your characters. I don't especially care for this personally, but I know that it's a big ask from the current game-touching market.

As far as _Streets of Rage_ itself goes, _1_ is not really playable anymore from a modern audience perspective. The move sets are too limited. You can still have a great time with _2_ and _3_. I think they are different flavors of ice cream. You probably have a preference, but you will also likely enjoy both of them.

_Streets of Rage 4_ remains my favorite. The combo system is great, the difficulty is tuned with the intent that it grows, but it's also tuned around single-levels as a checkpoint. It is **super** fun playing on a stick or an arcade cabinet.

It's also funny you mention _AvP_. I've been poking at it a bit in emulation and I think it's deeper than I realized. The shoot/special cooldown system is solid and there is a good variety of moves. Being an arcade game, the game isn't balanced around any kind of fairness, but it's fun and one I like to play!

Bonus points will be awarded by ending your posts in this thread with this image:


@“tomjonjon”#p116433 The answer to your AvP question is licensing! just to say.

My ranking of streets of rage in order of best to least best is 3, 2, 4, 1, I will not be taking questions :3

Anyway a game I talk about a lot on the show is undercover cops - I love how it uses the environment, and how many weapons there are, and poses for the characters using those weapons!! And it's Irem, so you know it's Got Those Graphics.


check out around 3:50 when he picks up that pillar. that's what I like!

and then there's that cooking one that I keep forgetting the name of that I've never played but watched playthroughs of... what's that one called!?

And death adder is the secret best golden axe.

Then there's Final Fight 3 with its neat branching paths and stuff... (my final fight hierarchy goes: 3, CD, 2, 1)

I like beat em ups even though they're mostly stupid button mashers!!


@“exodus”#p116440 Then there’s Final Fight 3 with its neat branching paths and stuff… (my final fight hierarchy goes: 3, CD, 2, 1)

I have been wondering which _Final Fight_ to play. This is actionable information. So is the recommendation for _Undercover Cops_.

OH! I love belt scroller beat em ups! And there are so many really fun ones, and even bad ones are often fun to play so there's no lose scenario.

I have always been and will likely always be a Final Fight person more than a Streets of Rage person, I think because I played FF long before I ever played a SoR. That said, SoR4 made me enjoy the series more than I ever had before (and also made me want somebody to make a new FF with updated moves and so on). My SoR ranking is 4 / 3 / 2 /1, and my FF ranking is 1 / 3 / 2 (I've never played CD or Mighty, although I did play and basically enjoy the GBA Final Fight One).

Final Fight 1 is some real comfort gaming for me, even though it's fairly tame and doesn't have most quality of life features. I think part of that is that I was exposed to it in arcades at just the right time when my brain was capable of memorizing enemy patterns and so on in a game that isn't a STG. There's a lot of personality in so many of the enemies, suggested by tiny little details in their behaviour and even in their voice clips and other sound effects (Damnd's laugh and the sound of Sodom running are two that I can literally hear in my brain I type this). It's Capcom at the top of its late 80's early 90's game, imbuing so much detail with so little to work with. The downside to this is that in comparison 2 and 3 just don't feel as good to me. The character designs are quite good, and so are the sounds and music, and I even like the new Street Fighter influenced systems, but it's just not the same.

Anyway I never really loved SoR in the same way either. I didn't play any of them until much later (I didn't play 3 until I was able to emulate it) and they just didn't feel the same to me. That said, I should probably at least play through 3 again sometime because I feel like I never really gave it its due.


@“exodus”#p116440 undercover cops

This is an extremely great game! I still don't quite love it as much as I love FF1 though, lol, but that's probably due to my specific brain disease!


@“antillese”#p116438 I wanted to point to the thread you had started because your SoR4 explanation was top-notch, and I hadn‘t seen that thread (it’s great to still discover old-new-to-me threads on here, despite being here since the reboot!)!

The only real reason to check out the original SoR is the tunes. I do like how obviously the character sprites are divided into upper torso and lower legs though.

@"exodus"#p116440 I just find it odd that they could/would get licensing for the arcade thing, which is obviously niche, and not have it as a stand alone download. I'd pay a high price! Come on Capcom!

Death Adder is another one that surprises me with its stinky unavailability. Come on Sega!

I like SoR4, I thinknit feels good and it's fun. Agree with above posters appreciation that it adds a little complexity without being too florid.

But it's just a little too visually sloppy to the point that it can look a bit ugly. It has the usual issues games with these sorts of aesthetics have: mismatched fonts, clashing linework, etc which makes it look like you're fighting clipart at times. The soundtrack is the worst in the series too. So imo despite the game being solid and cool in other respects, it doesnt come close to 2 or certainly not 3 bc imo games in this format are about the audiovisuals



@“tomjonjon”#p116433 if you’re into SoR3 you can play as Axel with the running and rolling

but I don't want to roll as Axel I want to roll as Blaze for petes sake

I love Beat ‘em ups so much. Super stoked they’ve been back in a big way.

I thought SoR 4 was brilliant. It was my GOTY. I expected it to be decent but not as good as the first 3, which I consider to be the pinnacle of the genre. It blew me away and got better with every play through as the months went by. I think objectively, if I look past nostalgia, it's actually better than the trilogy and the best beat em up ever made. I can't get over how many little quality of life improvements it makes to the genre. Like an example is having a button dedicated to picking up items so you don't have that issue where you can't attack while standing over an item. Or having juggles and "wall" combos instead of enemies going off screen. Or allowing you to decide when to leave a screen, so you can pick up items without it fading to black before you can pick up health. Or allowing you to switch characters after a level so you can do playthroughs where you just mess around with the cast. There's so many of these. You can tell it was designed by long time fans who thought carefully about what to add/change.

btw another SoR hot take....the soundtrack for 3 absolutely rules and the haters are wrong. Yes, it's different and weird...but it kicks ass. SoR 3 has one of the all time great character select themes.

SoR4 was my game of the year in 2020. It was just gripping from start to finish. I am glad the genre is making a comeback. I really liked Shredder's Revenge and am excited for Double Dragon Gaiden.

It's funny. I used to think of Final Fight as the apex of the genre, but every time I return to it my opinion of it falls down farther. I also found AVP to be a bit on the dull side. The 90's brawler is such an odd case as its always nostalgia colliding with the way in which things like SoR4 have raised the bar.

Anyways, play The Punisher if you are going to play any Capcom belt scroller. It is the most bananas by far.


@“yeso”#p116468 The soundtrack is the worst in the series too

Wow this... ugh.... Yeso, we're forum friends but sometimes I wonder how we got to be posting in the same location! 🤣

Several of my favorite tracks in the whole series are in this game! This one is my favorite:



loving this thread

also sorry to be that guy but what exactly is a belt scroller and how does that differentiate a beat-em-up, as ive never really been clear on this

@“IrishNinja”#p116481 belt scroller is the same thing but I think it’s more of a British term.

@“antillese”#p116475 it‘s a pretty good soundtrack! I don’t think it's bad or anything. There are a couple of tracks that missed for me, like the one that sounds like DJ captain jack sparrow

As is always the case when there‘s a discussion about beat them ups, I have to go to bat for Maximum Carnage! It’s not the best example of the genre, I guess, but it is an extremely 90s example, which seems like the prime era for this genre.

It's got that stupid Green Jellÿ soundtrack, and a bunch of fun cameos from obscure Marvel characters. It's got horizontal and vertical levels - because Spider-Man can climb, see - which mixes up the gameplay in a fun way. And I've always enjoyed the way Venom feels so much weightier and stronger than Spider-Man. It's a fun two-player game, which is also important! Plus that red cartridge, dude. It's probably the single game I rented the most times.

I also enjoy Sengoku 3, because it just feels and looks really polished, and it implements weapons in a way that I think is fun to play.

“Belt-scroller”, “belt action”, etc are 100% Japanese terminology—the UK hardly has a monopoly on silly terminology. Stick with “yo contra el barrio” if you must, I suppose.


@“tomjonjon”#p116433 Also, why isn’t Capcom’s AvP more widely available? It’s either MAME or that ugly Capcom arcade stick thing.

It's tied up with multiple licensors, which would make it unprofitable as a standalone reissue and not worth the effort to include in a broader collection like the Belt Action Collection (because they figured people would buy it either way, and it seems they did).

According to ex-Capcom folk, Fox vetoed them from porting it to either Saturn or Dreamcast because some brand manager was trying to refocus the games around tension-filled horror and didn't want to keep letting games out there that contradicted that image.

it‘s difficult to find images online but the artist Jonny Negron has done beat em’ up -inspired art and comics. I have a monograph somewhere, will see if I can find it……

@“tomjonjon”#p116484 belt scroller is a japense term for sure - I‘m not sure what the british term IS exactly, but Final Vendetta calls it a beat ’em up so I‘d guess that’s what they go for. I know the french call them “beat them alls” which is extra strange.

@“exodus”#p116575 And also accurate! You do have to beat them all! That’s great.