The Best Looking Beat 'em Up Games From The 16-Bit Era

The beat 'em up genre flourished in the nineties, with Capcom and Konami leading the way on the SNES and on the SEGA Genesis, as well as with a huge amount of great arcade games that never got a home console port.

We've selected some of the most amazing titles from this wonderful era, the ones that had the most detailed graphics and most impressive animations.

Aliens vs. Predator (Capcom)

The Punisher (Capcom)

TMNT IV: Turtles in Time (Konami)

Final Fight 3 (Capcom)

Street of Rage 3 (SEGA)

Spider-Man and Venom: Maximum Carnage (Software Creations)

Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon (Gazelle)

Legend (Arcade Zone)

Knights of the Round (Capcom)

Comix Zone (SEGA)

The King of Dragons (Capcom)

Dungeons & Dragons: Shadow Over Mystara (Capcom)

Battletoads (Rare)

X-Men Arcade (Konami)

Denjin Makai 2 (Winky Soft)

Batman Returns (Banpresto)

Dozens of other beat 'em ups came out in addition to those ones. Show us your picks in the comments below!

sources: Arcade History, Capcom Wiki, Videogamesblogger, HardcoreGaming101, FamicomFreak, cubex55, Sydlexia, Vincanni's LP, arronmunroe's LP


    this post needs more tags.

      It also needs to be formatted correctly. Why do the images and headings not line up?

    The original Battletoads was on NES, an 8-bit system. It was later ported to the 16 bit systems but the graphics weren't updated very much, so that shouldn't be on a "best looking 16 bit games" list by a long shot.

    The 16 bit version was Battletoads in Battlemaniacs, which did actually look quite good. There was also a Battletoads and Double Dragon crossover on the 16 bit systems but that didn't look quite as good.

    That screenshot is from neither of those games actually looks like the Battletoads arcade game, which I don't think qualifies strictly as being 16 bit.

    Last edited 13/03/13 6:01 pm

      I thought Shadows Over Mystara was an acade game, too.

        Yeah there's a few arcade games in there.

          Yeah, it says "16 bit era", so I'm guessing they still count?

      You really have to read these articles as opinion pieces. No mention of art of fighting, which was crazy impressive back in the day!

        Ermm.... wasn't Art of Fighting a fighter?

        Doesn't normally fall under Beat 'em Up... unless there's another AoF i've missed xD

          I think you're probably right. My bad. For some reason I'm lumping fighters in with beat em ups.

    Batman the animated series looked pretty awesome too!

    I would have to say Double Dragon.

      I'm only familiar with the Original Double Dragon and it's sequel but I thought they where 8 bit. Than again it has been so very long.

      I think the 16 bit versions weren't so good. The good ones were 8 bit, if I remember correctly.

    What about street fighter 2 turbo???

      What about it? It's not a scrolling Beat em up. :D

        Are people not beat up in it? Does not scrolling occur? So what's the problem>? :D

    Legend had some great music but the game was dog shit. Turtles in Time and the D&D arcade game whos name escapes me were pure class.

      Ah...You put it up there....Dont mind me folks, me not good wiit dem fancy book learnins.

    Neo Geo had all the best looking beat em ups on a home system in the 16-Bit era.
    The Sengoku series blow the pants off of most everything else visually at the time with loads of classic SNK 'Four Dimensional Realism'. Others like Burning Fight, Robo Army, Mutation Nation and Ninja Combat were all packed with beautiful art, animation and layers upon layers of parallax scrolling.

    The Simpsons?
    That was a bloody good looking game in it's day.

    So many Arcade-Fighter facets! I can with most certain fondly recall Vendetta, Double Dragon and Art/King of Fighting (annual/series) championship...

    Last edited 13/03/13 9:48 pm

    *insert $2*

      Many an afternoon and allowance money spent on this/these games...

    Cadillacs and Dinosaurs (Capcom) was always fun. But the AvP is still my favourite scrolling beat'em up.

    There's a game I can't think of the name, but you where robots and every so often you and your partner could form together into one big robot. Anybody know it?

      Was it captain commando? If so, I too loved that game :)

        No that's not it, but that was an awesome game too.

          Lame, it's plaguing my mind !!!!!
          If it comes to you in a dream sometime in the next 3 months, please respond.... I need resolution dammit.

    how about the BERKNUCKLE series!?

      Isn't that just Streets of Rage in Japan?

    Dunno why everyone liked Comix Zone so much. Major dissapointment for this game & comic fan.

    Lurrrved AvP and DnD, back in the day. Also Sengoku 3 - played the hell outta those games!

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