Nintendo Switch – 2017
Developed by SebaGamesDev, Fight’N Rage draws heavily from beat’em ups in the 16-bit era. This can be seen in its combat style, graphical designs and soundtrack. The game is a run of the mill beat’em up but three players can play together, taking control of either Gal, Ricardo or F. Norris. As you’d expect from this type of game, each character has they’re own stats and moves to master. Combat is fluid, with one button controlling you attacks, another for specials and a third for jumping. Combining these allows you to pull off in-depth combos, which will help your high-score and combo counter respectively. If you don’t have two other friends to play with you, you can unlock AI teammates. They’re not the most intelligent but they’ll get the job done. Fight’N Rage is built around replayability. There several different endings to unlock, depending on the actions you take, what routes you explore and how many characters you have with you. Different routes will allow you to fight through different areas but they all lead to the same final showdown. Outside of the different endings, there’s also new game modes to unlock, new costumes and new characters for the Battle mode. These can be unlocked by spending coins earned through the Arcade mode. Combat can be hectic at times, especially with three playable characters on screen. There are some cool features in the game. Continuing to hit an enemy after their health bar has depleted will see them explode into bones, lose all your lives and you can recover as long as another player stays alive, and there’s the usual gluttony of weapons to pick up. Visually, the game is a nice throwback to the 16-bit era but you can play around with the settings, including adding in scanlines, changing the pixel smoothness and even selecting a CRT filter. Sound wise, the game features the usual blood pumping tracks you’d expect to find in this genre, but none of them really stood out to me. There is a plot (something about humans vs mutants) but it really does take a back seat to the smooth combat.
Nintendo Switch – 2019
Taking inspiration from the beat’em ups of the 80s and 90s, The TakeOver sees players take control of one of three characters (with a fourth unlocked later) as you attempt to rescue a kidnapped child. The plot isn’t exactly riveting but games like this are much more about their gameplay than narrative. What story that is present is told through comic book cutscenes, complete with voice acting. The gameplay is incredibly smooth, with the characters easy to control. Like many games of the genre, it can be easy to get surrounded but the gameplay controls are so tight, you’re able to seamlessly switch between attacking those in front of you and those behind you. The combat system is wonderful, with a button for kicks and another for punches. Alternating between these can help you rack up impressive combos. The only issue I had with combat was that you can sometimes become locked into a combo, leaving yourself open to attack so timing your button inputs is a must. Like many of its predecessors in the genre, there are weapons to pick up but it also includes guns. These can be drawn by pressing one of the triggers then using the punch button to fire. They come with limited ammo but can get you out of a sticky situation. The game also features special moves. One you can use any time but it will drain your health, the other has to be built up but when used, unleashes a barrage of missiles across the screen. There’s also a “RAGE” meter that fills up as you attack. Once full, you can unleash it, become invincible for a short time while doing more damage to your enemies. There are two “special” stages. One has you driving down a highway, shooting enemies, while the other draws inspiration from After Burner. They both control well and help to break up the gameplay. The graphics look great, presenting 3D models that are well detailed in a 2D plane, similar to the likes of Streets of Rage or Final Fight. The stages look fantastic, with stage hazards all around, from lightning bolts to arrows. These hazards can even be used to take out enemies. There is a good variety of enemies, each with their own weapons and attacks. The music is fantastic, with tracks from Little V Mills, Richie Branson, James Ronald and Yuzo Koshiro. Yes, that Yuzo Koshiro. It’s a fantastic game that harkens back to the 16-bit beat’em ups but is strong enough to stand on its own two feet and well worth any beat’em up fans attention.