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NES

Downtown Special: Kunio-kun no Jidaigeki Dayo Zenin Shuugou!

Players
22
Length

1:30

Difficulty

Medium

Release

’91

Downtown Special: Kunio-kun no Jidaigeki Dayo Zenin Shuugou! is the Japan-exclusive sequel to River City Ransom. It improves upon its predecessor across the board with better graphics, more music, new attacks, more advanced stages, and a much larger world map. Additionally, when you play in single player you have an AI-controlled teammate to simulate co-op gameplay.

GB

Downtown Special: Kunio-Kun no Jidaigeki Dayo Zenin Shuugou!

Players
22
Length

2:00

Difficulty

Hard

Release

’93

Downtown Special: Kunio-Kun no Jidaigeki Dayo Zenin Shuugou! is a faithful port of the Japanese-exculsive NES brawler of the same name. It’s the sequel to River City Ransom and features similar exploration and RPG elements in addition to traditional brawler gameplay. Like the original, this version features two player gameplay as well as an AI-controlled partner in single player.

GBA

Dragon Ball GT: Transformation

Players
1
Length

2:00

Difficulty

Medium

Release

’05

Dragon Ball GT: Transformation is a GBA-exclusive brawler based off the ultra-popular anime. You play as kid Goku, Trunks, and Pan as they fight their way through nine stages. The combat is fairly standard although you can switch between characters at will and it has energy-based projectile attacks.

SNES

Dragon View

Players
1
Length

8:00

Difficulty

Easy

Release

’94 ’94

Dragon View is a single-player SNES-exclusive hybrid brawler/RPG from Kemco. You talk to NPCs in towns, buy items, and explore a 3D Mode 7 world. When you encounter the enemy, you fight them in traditional beat ’em up combat. Its combat engine is a simple attack/jump/magic setup, although you gain a few new weapons and abilities over time. You also gain experience and level up your stats by defeating enemies.

PS3

Dragon's Crown

Players
4444
Length

8:00

Difficulty

Easy

Release

’13 ’13

Dragon’s Crown is a modern four-player weapons-based medieval fantasy brawler for the PS3 and PS Vita. It has a unique surreal oil painting visual style that the developer Vanillaware is known for. It plays like an updated version of Capcom’s D&D brawlers but with a far stronger emphasis on RPG elements, namely equipment management. It features six distinct fighters with large, diverse movesets that can be upgraded with experience. It also has a cursor that lets you click on the background to find treasure.

ARC

Dungeon Magic

Players
4444
Length

1:00

Difficulty

Hard

Release

’94

Dungeon Magic is an overhead hack n’ slash brawler from Taito. Its dungeon-crawling gameplay features branching paths, hidden treasure, and traps. It also features an experience system and weapon upgrades. Its hectic combat focuses on huge bosses and charge attacks.

ARC

Dungeons and Dragons: Shadow Over Mystara

Players
4444
Length

0:50

Difficulty

Hard

Release

’96

Dungeons and Dragons: Shadow Over Mystara is a licensed weapons-based brawler from Capcom. It adapts the D&D format by putting a heavy emphasis on RPG elements such as classes, experience, spells, items, and weapon upgrades. It also features four-player gameplay, branching paths, and a whopping 12 playable fighters.

ARC

Dungeons and Dragons: Tower of Doom

Players
4444
Length

0:50

Difficulty

Hard

Release

’94

Dungeons and Dragons: Tower of Doom is Capcom’s second D&D licensed brawler. It features the same RPG-heavy gameplay as its predecessor and adds new enemies, stages, and characters.

ARC

Dynamite Dux

Players
22
Length

0:30

Difficulty

Medium

Release

’89

Dynamite Dux is a cutesy early brawler from Sega. It’s the only beat ’em up that completely lacks human characters, and also the only one with a stage progress bar. Its unusual combat engine is defined by charge attacks, one-hit enemies, and heavy emphasis on projectiles.

SMS

Dynamite Dux

Players
1
Length

0:40

Difficulty

Easy

Release

’89

Dynamite Dux is a port of Sega’s cutesy arcade brawler. Although this version is single player only, it captures the goofy, unique style of the original. Its unusual combat engine emphasizes fighting numerous weak enemies with charge-up attacks and ammo-based projectiles.

GBA

Dynasty Warriors Advance

Players
1
Length

10:00

Difficulty

Easy

Release

’05 ’05

Dynasty Warriors Advance is a hybrid strategy game/RPG/brawler from Koei. After choosing one of three factions with three unique fighters each, you fight the enemy by moving on a map screen which transitions to beat ’em up gameplay when you make contact. Its combat focuses on alternating the two attack buttons as well as upgrading your stats on the fly.

ARC

Dynasty Wars

Players
22
Length

0:40

Difficulty

Medium

Release

’89

Dynasty Warriors is an atypical weapons-based brawler from Capcom that’s based on the Romance of the Three Kingdoms mythos. You play as a mounted warrior that must defeat huge waves of enemies to proceed. Its combat is fairly unique because it focuses on both charge attacks and directional attack buttons like in Double Dragon II as well as having light RPG elements. Although the character sprites are tiny, the enemy waves are gigantic.

PCE

Dynasty Wars

Players
1
Length

0:45

Difficulty

Medium

Release

’94

Dynasty Wars is a port of Capcom’s horse-based arcade brawler based on the Romance of the Three Kingdoms mythology. Its unique combat features mounted characters, left-right attack buttons, charge attacks, screen-clearing magic, and tons of simultaneous enemies. It also has several voiced cutscenes.

SNES

Edo no Kiba

Players
1
Length

0:40

Difficulty

Medium

Release

Edo no Kiba is a single player futuristic auto-scrolling brawler that never made it out of Japan. Its gameplay is in the same vein as D.J. Boy, but it puts a strong emphasis on its unique charged blade-throw attack. Its also notable for its anime-inspired futuristic Tokyo setting.

ARC

Final Fight

Players
22
Length

0:45

Difficulty

Hardcore

Release

’89

Final Fight is without a shadow of a doubt the most influential brawler ever made. It introduced concepts like unique playable characters, contact-based grabs, and health-draining "death-blow" attacks that would all become genre standards. Even its art style, featuring gigantic sprites and outlandish enemy design, defined the following decade of beat ’em up games.

SNES

Final Fight

Players
1
Length

0:50

Difficulty

Hard

Release

’91 ’90

The SNES version of Final Fight is the much-hated port of Capcom’s genre-defining Arcade classic. Due to the fact that it was an early game for the console and cartridge space was limited, Capcom had to make three serious cuts: Guy was completely removed, as was the Industrial Area stage, and it’s a single-player only game. Furthermore, there are only three simultaneous enemies at once. Despite that, it’s still Final Fight, and it has a ton of personality, memorable enemies, and satisfying gameplay.

SNES

Final Fight 2

Players
22
Length

0:50

Difficulty

Medium

Release

’93 ’93

Final Fight 2 is the SNES-exclusive follow-up to Capcom’s legendary brawler. It features new playable characters, stages, enemies, and most importantly, two player gameplay. It’s a globetrotting adventure that plays exactly like the original.

SNES

Final Fight 3

Players
22
Length

0:45

Difficulty

Medium

Release

’96 ’95

Final Fight 3 is the SNES-exclusive final chapter in Capcom’s beloved brawler trilogy. In addition to four playable characters (including the return of Guy), it adds dashing, energy-based ultimate attacks, Street Fighter-style advanced techniques, and branching stages. It’s also the only brawler with dash-combos.

SNES

Final Fight Guy

Players
22
Length

0:50

Difficulty

Hardcore

Release

’94 ’92

Final Fight Guy is a re-release of the SNES port of Final Fight that replaces Cody with Guy. It’s still a single player only game, but it changes the enemy waves around a bit and adds a few new items. In the US, it was only available at Blockbuster.

GBA

Final Fight One

Players
22
Length

1:00

Difficulty

Hardcore

Release

’01 ’01

Final Fight One is a port of Capcom’s timeless arcade classic to the GBA. Although it features the same graphics as the SNES port, it restores Guy and the missing industrial stage as well as adding system-link co-op gameplay. It also features tons of onscreen enemies, remixed enemy waves, alternate costumes for Cody and Guy, and boss cutscenes.

ARC

Gaia Crusaders

Players
22
Length

0:50

Difficulty

Medium

Release

’99

Gaia Crusaders is a late-generation supernatural post-apocalyptic brawler from Noise Factory. Its innovative magic system assigns elements to characters that power up matching spells, and its freeform combat allows for dynamic combos. It also lets you play as defeated bosses.

ARC

Gaiapolis

Players
22
Length

0:50

Difficulty

Casual

Release

’93

Gaiapolis is an overhead fantasy hack ’n’ slash from Konami. It’s the only brawler with a vertical screen. Its combat includes blocking, dashing, magic attacks, and controllable pets.

NES

Ganbare Goemon 2

Players
22
Length

1:00

Difficulty

Medium

Release

’89

Ganbare Goemon 2 is the sequel to Konami’s take on the classic Japanese folk hero. Like the original, it’s a brawler/RPG hybrid that requires combat as well as exploration to succeed. However, this game introduces Goemon’s partner Ebisumaru, which allows for two-player simultaneous gameplay. It has that classic Konami style with catchy music, goofy characters, and plenty of humor.

SNES

Ganbare Goemon 2: Kiteretsu Shougun Magginesu

Players
22
Length

1:45

Difficulty

Medium

Release

’93

Ganbare Goemon 2: Kiteretsu Shougun Magginesu is the Japanese-exclusive follow-up to Konami’s Legend of the Mystical Ninja. It stars a cartoony version of the Japanese folk hero Goemon, who’s similar to Robin Hood. Like the original, this game features River City Ransom-esque brawler stages but also adds variety in the form of action platforming and bizarre vehicle sections.

SNES

Ganbare Goemon 4: Karakuri Dochu

Players
22
Length

2:00

Difficulty

Medium

Release

’95

Ganbare Goemon 4: Karakuri Dochu is the final installment in Konami’s long-running Goemon series (known as Legend of the Mystical Ninja in the west.) Much like Goemon 1 and 2, this game features a mix of River City Ransom-esque town segments and action platformer stages. However, this game lets you choose stages unique to one of four characters and play them in any order.

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