Capcom's next beat-em-up was based on Marvel's "take no prisoners" comic book hero, The Punisher.
After gang members (or something) killed his family, he decided the best course of action to take to deal with this was to wear tights and kill criminals.
Since there are only two characters, naturally only two players can play at the same time. After choosing you character you head out to kick the living shit out of the city's thugs. Along the way you find that a man named "The Kingpin" is in charge of the city's organized crime. This leads you to a final showdown against him at his headquarters, "Kingpin Hotel". Not exactly a great thing to call his hideout. Which character(s) you are playing at the time will determine what exactly is said during these interludes. A nice touch.
Assisting you on your journey to take down The Kingpin's racket are nice sized movesets for both characters. At your disposal are dashing attacks, "specials", multiple jumping attacks, and multiple air throws. As would be expected from a Capcom beat-em-up, you have a "powerful move that costs a small amount of health", but here they can also be performed while holding a enemy, resulting in a powerful throw. While these kinds of moves are virtually worthless due to the health drain, you also have a limited amount of grenades that work more or less the same way. You start with a few grenades, which are thrown by jumping and hitting both buttons while airborne, and, like in Metal Slug, they are replenished each time you lose a life.
What really makes the combat stand out is the weapons. Firearms have ammo and melee weapons can be attacked with a certain number of times rather than breaking randomly. There are sections, which are far too rare, where the characters will take out their pistol and start blasting away at enemies. Why they resort to fisticuffs for the rest of the game if they have guns, I have no clue. Additionally, the Game Over screen is pretty, where medics try desperately to resuscitate your dying character, as their heart rate falls to zero when the counter runs out. Pretty spooky.
For some reasons, The Punisher was only ported to the Genesis, rather than the SNES, and it was done by Sculptured Software rather than Capcom. It has plays accurately enough, though with noticeably worse control responsiveness and game physics. It also suffers from some major cosmetic downgrades. I hate to call older tech "worse", but this really does look like garbage. All things considered, it's not terrible.
Again, Capcom showed that they could consistently take a licensed theme and make a decent game with it. Based off the comic book series, which is in turn based on two of the best action movies of all time, you can pick from four characters - two Predators, two humans - to destroy the invading alien menace.
Lieutenant Linn Kurosawa
A cyborg (she certainly doesn't look like it) and the least powerful character in the game. She lacks conventional throws, but can air throw. After a jumping attack, she can bounce off enemies to attack other enemies. Has a rapid fire pistol and attacks with a katana during certain moves.
Major Dutch Schaefer
A cyborg, Schaefer is easily among the best of Capcom's tank characters, despite being almost painfully slow. Given what this is based on, his design brings Arnold Schwarzenegger's character from
A Predator who fights with a weapon called a Naginata. Like the other Predator, he is a "balanced guy" character that every Capcom beat-em-up has.
Alien vs. Predator is a very well presented game, with high energy music and very detailed graphics. Sometime in the future, Earth is being invaded by those things from those Alien movies. Two marines and two Predators set out to save Earth from this invasion, which reveals a larger plot, involving a corporation called Wayland Yutani.
The Aliens come in such large groups that you will spend most of the game mowing down hordes of enemies at a time. It's pretty amazing when first seeing a beat-em-up this relentless in its pacing. The destruction never takes a break here and the speed at which the characters attack is among the highest for any beat-em-up ever, making it even crazier. There are several kinds of Aliens, and plenty of human enemies as well, to provide plenty of variation. The only enemies that I dislike are the aliens that hatch from pods. They latch onto the characters' faces and drain their health. Pain in the ass, that is. To take a break from the ass kicking, there is a single very brief level where the characters shoot aliens, as they pour onto the screen, while riding a fast moving vehicle.
To deal with these Aliens, you have pretty large movesets at your disposal. Alien vs. Predator lacks "true" dashing, but there are ways to do dashing attacks. Specials are performed by quickly tapping Down, Up, Attack. Each character has their own projectile weapon at all times. Each of which has infinite ammo, but can overheat from being shot repeatedly, which prevents them from being shot while they cool down. Every character except Linn Kurosawa can move they are reloading (she reloads very quickly). Plenty of other weapons can be found along the way, and there is a ammo clip power up that temporarily prevents your character's weapon from overheating. As always with a Capcom beat-em-up, controls are absolutely flawless, so executing these moves is cake.
While differences between both Predators are more subtle, otherwise each character has a different feel to them, which is probably this game's greatest trait. They are not a varied as those from Final Fight 3, but the movesets are more specific to each character than in most beat-em-ups. Each Predator has a combo system different from both humans' where you can perform a dashing attack, and then follow it up with any of several attacks. You can enter a attack again each time you make contact with a enemy. Linn Kurosawa has a (very rare for a beat-em-up) charge attack, which is performed by holding attack and then releasing, and is great for crowd control. Juggle combos are possible, but they are completely different from, and not nearly as extensive as, Sengoku 3 or Gaia Crusaders.
Lieutenant Linn Kurosawa would later cameo in Ken's level in
Even though the mechs were only a minor part of Captain Commando, Capcom decided to base a whole game around them, and the result is Armored Warrior, which brings back three player simultaneous play.
AEX-10M BLODIA / Rash
Blodia is your balanced character. It's pilot, Rash (1st Lieutenant Jeff Perkins in Japan), is a reckless soldier, formerly belonging to a ground squadron in some kind of military.
SVA-6L REPTOS / Justice
Reptos is your other balanced character. Seems less powerful, but faster than Blodia. It's pilot, Justice (Captain Ray Turner in Japan), is a Raian bureaucrat, dispatched on Earth after the finalization of a peace treaty between Raia and Earth.
AEX-10H GULDIN / Gray
Guldin is your tank character. Literally. A giant mech with tank treads. It's pilot, Gray (Major Glenn Reed in Japan), is a excessively strict military officer, and the last surviving member of his elite military squad. Like Arnold in Commando or something.
In the year 2281, Earth and Raia have agreed to a cease fire after being at war since earlier in the 23rd century. A former Raian army captain named Azrael, who has converted himself into a cyborg, has marshaled together an army of cyborgs and initiated a war against Raia. Raia alerts Earth to their predicament, and earth responds by sending four people in mechs to defend Raia. And so "the most intense battle in human history" begins.
Every mech in AW pretty much plays identically. There are dashing attacks, multiple jumping attacks, and moves that are performed by tapping forward and attack at the same time. Certain mech arms will perform other attacks as well with other directions. You also have a weapon button that will fire your guns, which have limited ammo. Also there are two moves that deplete a portion of your health meter. These are performed by tapping attack and jump, or jump and the weapon button. There are also two levels that provide variation from it's beat-em-up gameplay, which each play kind of like a shmup.
Armored Warriors would be just be Final Fight with giant robots, except you can replace your mech's arms, legs, and weapon with parts of mechs that you destroy. Replacements are relatively frequent, and each works slightly differently, but control mostly identically to prevent things from getting complicated. This keeps gameplay ever-changing, and there are no limitations what-so-ever on which parts are compatible with which other parts or which mechs, allowing for a amazing amount of possible combinations. With three players, it is possible to join each mech, via a attachment that is flown in by allies, to form a larger, more powerful mech. This is a very interesting way to approach co-operative play in a beat-em-up, and it would have been nice if Capcom had explored this more while they were still making 2D beat-em-ups.
While Armored Warriors is definitely a good beat-em-up, if there is anything to complain about it is that each mech moves as if they are dashing at all times, which kind of gives their movement a floaty feel. This is not really a problem, but it might seem strange at first, and perhaps not intuitive if you have only played Final Fight and Double Dragon. Lastly, there is a cheat that allows you to choose your starting arm and weapon, regardless of which mech you choose. Armored Warriors unfortunately never received a port.
Capcom took the mechs from Armored Warriors and made a one-on-one fighting game with them for the sequel, Cyberbots. When you first begin the game, you choose your character, then your mech. Which character you choose merely affects the plot.
A pilot who is searching for information about his father's death. The most famous character due to his appearance in Marvel vs. Capcom.
Arieta has escaped from some kind of lab that is performing terminal experiments on people, where she was set to be experimented on next. She appears to be in a jar (?).
Bao and Mao
Two children who have been orphaned by Earth Corps' actions. They find a abandoned mech and go on a rampage.
A former friend of Jin's father, and a retired Earth Corps soldier. His story begins with Mary coming to arrest him on charges that she has not been informed of.
A military officer who is sent by a organization called Earth Corps to search for a escaped inmate on Earth.
A mercenary who is searching for information about Earth Corps' secret satellite technology, which he intends to fight against them with.
Princess Devilotte de Satan III
A crazy little kid who pilots a mech called "SUPER-8". Makes cameos in Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo and Marvel vs. Capcom.
There are a dozen mechs that are available from the beginning, and four others available by entering cheats. Each of the original mechs are comprised of mech parts from Armored Warriors, and a few original parts as well. Several attacks are identical to those from Armored Warriors, and a few are executed the same way, like holding down after a jump and tapping an attack button, or dashing and tapping an attack button. Mechs that have the same arms will have most of the same attacks. Mechs that have the same legs will have similar speed and air dashing capabilities. Mech that have the same weapon will have the same projectiles. While this results in less variation between characters than many other fighters, its gameplay is solid enough to prevent this from being a problem.
Cyberbots is standard Capcom fighter fare, but it plays and controls slightly differently. There are two buttons for your mech's arms, which are your standard attacks; the weapon button fires projectiles; and the dash button... well, dashes. You have infinite ammo, but you have to wait for your weapon meter, which is above your health meter with a "W", to replenish itself before firing your weapon again. The dash button is pretty pointless while standing, as you can also dash and back dash by tapping a direction twice, but while in the air, it allows you to air dash in any direction, or even to hover. Different mechs have different air dashing capabilities and potentially can air dash as many as four times.
Cyberbots is a good game, but, at least compared to Capcom's other fighters from that era, Street Fighter and Darkstalkers, it lacks in depth and complexity. Still, a solid game that merits a play for anybody with a interest in fighters, or even just a interest in giant robots.
Cyberbots originated in the arcades and was ported to Saturn and PlayStation. These versions make each non-playable mech playable, and have a exclusive mech called "G-13EX ZERO AKUMA", which is based on Akuma from Street Fighter. The Saturn version has slightly more fluid animations and utilizes the 1MB RAM cart to speed up load times a bit, but is not necessary to play.