The Super Nintendo is considered by many gamers to be the epitome of gaming consoles. Over its brief lifespan, the fourth generation console released 721 games with just under 5%(32) of them being beat ’em up games. Beat em’ ups, also called brawlers, are a gaming genre that allows the player to fight their way through groups of enemies while moving towards the end of the level. Their simple action-focused gameplay made them perfect for playing with a friend, making them some of the most memorable retro games ever made. With so many of them available, you could have easily missed one in your years of gaming. Use our list of every Super Nintendo beat em ‘up game ever made to make sure you have played them all.
Unlike most of the other sites, I do not consider beat em’ up platformer games to be true beat em’ ups. In my eyes, one of the key components of a brawler is the ability to move up and down and not just side to side. Games without the added depth always felt flat(no pun intended) and failed to deliver the same enjoyment as traditional beat em’ up games. Because of this, my list may be a little smaller than others, choosing to leave out popular games like X-Men Mutant Apocalypse and Ninja Warriors.
Super Nintendo Beat ‘Em Up Games Ranked
#32 – Bebe’s Kids
Starting off the list is the 1994 game based on the film of the same name, Bebe’s Kids. Often regarded as one of the worst games ever game, Bebe’s Kids is truly frustrating to play. While the game might have all the core elements of a classic brawler, it completely fails at implementing them. With unbalanced combat, ugly sprites, and no story, I’m surprised Bebe’s Kids even made it to market. I highly suggest passing on this game if you plan on having any fun.
#31 – Alien vs. Predator
Alien vs Predator is a beat ’em up video game released in 1993 for the Super Nintendo that should not be confused with the arcade game of the same name. The SNES version of the game features different artwork, characters, and general storyline from its arcade counterpart. And sadly, the arcade cabinet version is much better. In this version, the player can only control a single ‘Predator’ as it advances through levels killing slews of ‘Aliens’. To make this easier, the player may temporarily use special abilities like invisibility and supercharged energy weapons.
#30 – Cliffhanger
Next up we have another game based on a blockbuster movie, Cliffhanger. Cliffhanger isn’t by any means a bad game, it just feels like it lacks the heart of the other games on the list. It is ranked so low on the list do to it’s awkward looking sprites and slow feeling combat. While the game does have some interesting mountain climbing aspects to break up the monotony but unfortunately, they are not enough to earn it a better spot on the list. Cliffhanger is easily one of the least enjoyable Super Nintendo beat ’em up games I have ever played.
#29 – Sonic Blast Man
Sonic Blast Man is an interesting game in which you take on the role of a superhero saving the Earth from evil forces. Over the course of 5 levels, you will be forced to fight everything from vicious street gangs and deadly terrorists to assault mechs and evil aliens. Like the last game on the list, Sonic Blast Man suffers from awkward-looking combat sprites which limited its position on the list. Despite these flaws, Sonic Blast Man earned eventually sequel with additional gameplay features.
#28 – Stone Protectors
Stone Protectors is a side-scrolling brawler that was released in 1994. In it, the player gets to control one of the five hairy trolls as they try to take down an evil troll name Zok. Throughout the games 10 levels, you will collect various power and fight different types of troll enemies. Each Stone Protector has a unique weapon but aside from visually, it makes no difference to the gameplay. Stone Protectors was a playable game, but only really enjoyable to fans of the show.
#27 – CutThroat Island
CutThroat Island is another game based on the feature film of the same title. The player plays as one of two renegade treasure hunters. Depending on which character you choose, you will use different weapons. The female character, Morgan Adams, uses a rapier and the male character, William Shaw, uses a traditional sword. The game has 10 levels in which you will fight off various enemies including redcoats, pirates, and harbormasters. Despite being so far down on the list, CutThroat Island is definitely worth a play.
#26 – Sonic Blast Man 2
Much like the first game, Sonic Blast Man 2 puts the player in the role of a superhero saving the world. Released in 1994, Sonic Blast Man 2 attempted to expand on its predecessor by adding new characters and elements its original gameplay. In the game, the player has the option to take control of 3 different superheroes with diverse move sets. Sonic Blast Man 2 is far better than the first game but doesn’t have enough unique qualities to make it stand out.
#25 – Battletoads in Battlemaniacs
Battletoads in Battlemaniacs is a 1993 platforming brawler game that is without question, the best of the Battletoads series. The game takes place in that takes place inside a virtual world known as the Gamescape that has been invested by computer-generated villains. Battletoads in Battlemaniacs revisits many locations from the first Battletoads game with better graphics and enhanced gameplay. The only major criticism of the game is of it being overly difficult, but some players considered that a good thing.
#24 – Brawl Brothers
Brawl Brothers was released in 1992 and is the second game in the Rushing Beat franchise. The game has five playable characters, three of which are randomly selected to be bosses of the first three stages. Like Final Fight, each character has their own fighting technique and move-set. It is the only Super Nintendo game to contain both the English and Japanese versions of the game on the same cartridge.
#23 – The Combatribes
The Combatribes is a beat em’ up game released for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in 1992. The game follows three cyborg vigilantes as they fight through the dangerous street gangs of futuristic New York City. While Combatribes is still a good game, I ranked it so low because of all the arcade gameplay elements removed from the SNES version. For whatever reason, the home version chose to remove weapons and attacking fallen enemies from the game.
#22 – The Death and Return of Superman
The Death and Return of Superman is another standard beat ’em up game based on a beloved comic. It follows a popular storyline revolving around the death of Superman and the arrival of four new ones. The player does not get to choose their character but does play as all five ‘Supermen’ throughout the course of the game. Although they are different in appearance, all of the game characters have the same basic abilities. What differentiates this game from other brawlers is the player’s ability to Fly whenever they choose.
#21 – Legend
Legend is a hack n’ slash beat em’ up game that was released in 1994 for the Super Nintendo. The game uses side-scrolling beat ’em up gameplay with weapons similar to Golden Axe and The King of Dragons. The game follows two fictional warriors, Kaor and Igor, as they try to stop the corrupt son of the king. Legend has 7 levels highly inspired by other popular medieval-fantasy themed games.
#20 – Final Fight
Final Fight is a side-scrolling beat-’em-up that was originally released on arcade cabinets in 1989 and eventually ported to the SNES. In the game, you must fight through the gangs of the fictional Metro City to save his daughter. Interestingly, the game began development as a sequel to the original Street Fighter but switched genres after the fame and success of Double Dragon. It is often considered to be the game that jump-started the fame of the beat em’ up genre.
#19 – Final Fight: Guy
Final Fight: Guy is a rereleased version of the last game on the list. It replaced the character Cody with his fan-favorite rival, Guy. The game also added an additional level that was removed from the original SNES version of the game. It featured the same story and level design as the original game.
#18 – The Peace Keepers
The Peace Keepers is a beat ’em up video game released for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in 1993. It is the final game of the Rushing Beat Trilogy. To expand on the last two entries in the series, the games adds a few new features to its gameplay. These included new branching gameplay paths and multiple endings and the always needed special attacks. The game also expanded its roaster to include 6 playable characters.
#17 – The Tick
The Tick is a side-scrolling beat ’em up video game based on the comic book and cartoon of the same name. It was originally released by Fox Interactive in 1994. While having the look of the show, The Tick, unfortunately, failed to capture the ironic humor of the show leaving it a failure amongst fans. A weird feature of the game is that some levels consisted of platformer type movement until the arrival of enemies.
#16 – Undercover Cops
Undercover Cops is an arcade-style beat ’em up video game developed in 1992. The game has the player control a member of a police-like group known as “city sweepers” as they fight crime in a future New York City. The most notable aspects of the game are is highly detailed backgrounds and grimy setting. Undercover Cops features a slew of various enemy types rangings from humans to mole-like monsters and mutants with jetpacks.
#15 – Wild C.A.T.S
Wild C.A.T.S is a brawler game based on an unpopular TV series released in 1995 for SNES. The game follows a band of superheroes, known as the Wild C.A.T.S as the fight the evil and immortal Helspont. It features all basic beat em’ up gameplay making it a guaranteed hit with fans of the show. One of the downsides of the game is that you can only play as Spartan, Warblade, and Maul.
#14 – Venom/Spider-Man: Separation Anxiety
Venom/Spider-Man: Separation Anxiety is a side-scrolling beat ’em up video game released in 1995 as a sequel to Spider-Man and Venom: Maximum Carnage. The game’s attempts to follow the events of Venom’s first limited series, Venom: Lethal Protector. Another fun aspect of the game is the cameo assistance from other Marvel heroes including Captain America, Ghost Rider, Hawkeye, and Daredevil. Unlike the first game, Separation Anxiety received negative reviews citing its repetitive and stale gameplay.
#13 – Rival Turf!
Rival Turf! was released in 1992 for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System as the first installment in the Rushing Beat trilogy. Like other Super Nintendo beat ’em up games, Rival Turf! allows the player to perform basic and special attacks. This game’s unique feature is its “Angry Mode” in which the player becomes invincible and deal more damage for a short period of time. Largely considered to be a cheap knock off of ‘Final Fight”, Rival Turf! did not do well with the critics. Despite this, the game still has beautiful sprites and classic gameplay making it worth playing.
#12 – The Pirates of Dark Water
The Pirates of Dark Water is a game based on a short-lived cartoon of the same name. It follows the basic premise of the show, putting the player at odds with the violent Bloth gang. You can choose to play as three different characters named Ren, Tula, and Ioz. What makes this game different from others in the genre is the player’s ability to block. Even though the tv show prematurely canceled, the game will live on for years to come.
#11 – Final Fight 3
Final Fight 3 is a side-scrolling beat ’em up released for the Super Nintendo in 1995. The game sees the return of Guy and Haggar but also introduces two new characters, Dean and Lucia. Each character has their own fighting techniques and super moves. Unlike older games in the series, players now had the ability to dash and perform dashed based attacks. One of the most interesting additions to the game was the multiple paths and endings. Sadly, Final Fight 3 was the last 2D beat em’ up game in the franchise.
#10 – Captain Commando
Captain Commando is a 1991 side-scrolling beat ’em up video game originally produced for arcade cabinets game but later ported to home gaming consoles. The game has nine stages and follows the formula made popular with Capcom’s other brawler ‘Final Fight”. Captain Commando’s superhero theme and futuristic setting made for a very memorable game. Interestingly enough, Captain Commando was created years before the game was ever released as part of Capcom’s late ’80s marketing campaign.
#9 – Super Double Dragon
Super Double Dragon is the fourth game released in the Double Dragon series and easily the best of the bunch. Unlike the other games, Super Double Dragon was released exclusively for the Super Nintendo and didn’t have an arcade release. Super Double Dragon is also one of the few games in the series where the protagonists had differences in their appearance (different hairstyles)and fighting abilities.
#8 – Captain America and The Avengers
Captain America and The Avengers is by far one of my personal favorite Super Nintendo beat em’ up games ever made. Originally released as an arcade game in 1991 it was eventually ported to various gaming systems due to its popularity. The game featured 4 playable superheroes known as the Avengers as they attempted to defeat the villainous Red Skull. Aside from featuring the 4 heroes, the game also featured an assortment of Marvel’s most well-known supervillains of the time. Being released at a time when comics were extremely popular, it’s no surprise this game is considered a classic by so many gamers.
#7 – The King of Dragons
The King of Dragons is a 1991 side-scrolling beat-’em-up video game by Capcom that was eventually ported to the SNES in 1994. In the game, the player had the option to choose from five playable characters each with their own unique traits. They would then progress through 16 levels filled with evil monsters consisting of Orcs, Minotaurs, Wyverns, Cyclops, and more. King of Dragons also features a level advancement system that allowed the players to upgraded their attributes as they completed levels.
#6 – Batman Returns
Batman Returns is a 1993 beat ’em up video game based on the superhero film of the same name. Like all the other gamers on the list, it featured scrolling beat ’em up gameplay. It has 7 levels based on various scenes from the movie. Despite the Sega version doing poorly, the SNES version of the game garnished nearly perfect reviews. One of the best things about the game is the Tim Burton inspired pixel designs. Batman Returns is one of the best Super Nintendo beat ’em up games, if not Super Nintendo games in general, based on a movie.
#5 – Knights of the Round
Knights of the Round is a side-scrolling beat ’em up originally released by Capcom in 1991. The game is loosely based on the famous legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. One of the best parts of the game is its role-playing video game-like advancement system. As you progressed through the 7 levels, your character would automatically upgrade themselves with new weapons and armor. The player could choose from 3 playable characters (Arthur, Lancelot, Perceval) each with their own weapon and special attacks.
#4 – Battletoads and Double Dragon
Battletoads and Double Dragon is an awesome beat em’ up game that was released in 1993. Combining two already popular franchises, this game was guaranteed to be a hit. Allowing the player to take control of either Billy and Jimmy Lee from Double Dragon or Rash, Zitz, and Pimple of the Battletoads. While the game might not have graphics on par with their solo counterparts, its mash-up gameplay can not be beaten. It was like a good old fashioned comic book team-up years before the Avengers movie.
#3 – Spider-Man and Venom: Maximum Carnage
Maximum Carnage is a fun-to-play Spider-man game that was released in 1994 for both Super Nintendo and Genesis. The Marvel-based game maintained core brawler gameplay but used a comic book styled artwork instead of traditional sprites. Interestingly, Maximum Carnage is one of the first video games whose plot was taken directly from a comic book story arc. Because of this most of the game’s cutscenes are semi-animated versions of the comic book panels. Maximum Carnage was also contained in a bright red cartridge(opposed to the normal grey) which made it both cool to look at and easy to find.
#2 – Final Fight 2
If it wasn’t for the next game on the list, Final Fight 2 would have easily fit as the number one game. As you probably expected with it being number two. It was released in 1993 as a sequel to the popular arcade game ‘Final Fight”. With beautiful graphics, smooth gameplay, and creative bosses, Final Fight 2 is a game you can replay many times. The action-filled game doesn’t deviate much from the original’s gameplay but added two-player support so you could now play with a friend. Something needed in all the best Super Nintendo beat em’ up games.
#1 – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time is easily the best beat em’ up game for the Super Nintendo, if not the best beat em’ up game period. Featuring cartoon faithful pixel graphics and action-packed gameplay, Turtles in Time is a real blast to play. As you progress through the levels you will be tasked with fighting waves of distinctly colored Foot Soldiers, each with their own unique abilities, until you face off with a boss. Turtles in Time put an original spin on classic gameplay making it feel new every time you play it. Most gamers have beaten this game by now, but that doesn’t mean you can’t give it another go.
Did you enjoy any of the games we listed? Did we miss any games on our list of Super Nintendo beat ’em up games? If you answered YES to either of these questions we would love to hear about it in the comments.