Scrolling Down The Belt: Beat ‘Em Up History

Scrolling Down The Belt is a chronological look at Japanese games in the beat-em-up/brawler (sometimes called belt-scrolling action in Japan) genre spanning across all platforms, up to and including the arcade. The beat-em-up doesn’t enjoy the popularity that it did during its golden age in the late 80s and into the 90s, but it still continues to live on. As one of my favorite genres of game, I wanted to take a look at how it evolved and changed over the years by examining one game at a time and in chronological order, even if I eventually come to regret this decision once I hit the beat-em glut of the 90s!

Below are all the games I’ve covered so far, with plenty more to come as time allows.

Title Platform Release Date
Spartan X (Kung-Fu Master) Arcade 12/1984
Spartan X (Kung-Fu) Famicom/NES 06/21/1985
Nekketsu Kouha Kunio kun (Renegade) Arcade 05/1986
Hokuto no Ken (Fist of the North Star) Mark III/Master System 07/20/1986
Hokuto no Ken (Fist of the North Star) Famicom/NES 08/10/1986
Hokuto no Ken 2 (Fist of the North Star) Famicom/NES 04/17/1987
Nekketsu Kouha Kunio kun (Renegade) Famicom/NES 04/17/1987
Double Dragon Arcade 06/1987
The Kung-Fu (China Warrior) PC Engine/TurboGrafx-16 11/21/1987
The Ninja Warriors Arcade 02/1988
Dragon Ninja (Bad Dudes Vs. Dragon Ninja) Arcade 04/1988
Double Dragon Famicom/NES 04/08/1988
Juuouki (Altered Beast) Arcade 06/1988
Ninja Ryuukenden (Ninja Gaiden) Arcade 10/1988