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Capcom Beat-em-ups

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Dungeons and Dragons: Tower of Doom
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Dungeons & Dragons: Tower of Doom (ダンジョンズ&ドラゴンズ タワーオブドゥーム) - Arcade, Saturn, XBLA, PSN, Wii U eShop, Windows (1993)

American Arcade Flyer

Dungeons & Dragons: Tower of Doom is another attempt to combine Capcom beat-em-up style gameplay with RPG elements, expanding on elements from the earlier medieval themed games. There's still no real plot - there are monsters attacking people, and it's up to four heroes to stop them. You have a choice of four generic fantasy characters: the Dwarf - the tank character, with short range; the Fighter - the balanced character; the Cleric - slightly less powerful version of the Fighter, but with a diverse selection of magic spells; and the Elf - the high-speed-low-power character, with a large selection of offensive magic.

Each character has their own inventory that you switch between with D. After selecting which item to attack with, tap C to do so. Certain characters are able to attack with certain items, and others are not. After several levels, you are given a choice of which level to play next. For example, after the first level, you can choose to follow monsters that you were fighting, or you can attempt to save a village that has been invaded. There are tons and tons of possible paths through the game, and you will have to play through it a few times to see everything.

While these RPG elements are great, and movesets are larger than most beat-em-ups, there are no throws or specials. You do have conventional dashing and stronger versions of your normal strikes, which are performed by tapping Forward and A at the EXACT same time. You also have a few strange techniques, like sliding and crouching. Like in several Technos beat-em-ups, it is possible to attack downed opponents. Perhaps the most advanced technique is where you tap A while your character is standing up from a crouch, which executes a very quick dashing attack. This is extremely valuable, and if mastered, as it comes out too quick for most enemies to block. Blocking is performed by holding back after holding A. You can counter a enemy's attack by tapping Forward and A at the exact same time immediately after blocking a enemy's attack. Also, certain characters have a attack that is executed by tapping C when your inventory is empty.

There was a port to Saturn with it's sequel as part of the compilation Dungeons & Dragons Collection. This version only allowed two players, but was otherwise perfect, mostly due to it requiring the 4MB RAM cart. It's pretty expensive, unfortunately.

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Dungeons & Dragons: Tower of Doom (Arcade)

Dungeons & Dragons: Tower of Doom (Arcade)

Dungeons & Dragons: Tower of Doom (Arcade)


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Dungeons & Dragons: Shadow over Mystara (ダンジョンズ&ドラゴンズ シャドーオーバーミスタラ) - Arcade, Saturn, XBLA, PSN, Wii U eShop, Windows (1996)

Japanese Arcade Flyer

Tower of Doom was a decent game, but its sequel, Shadow Over Mystara, improves on it in almost every possible way. Each of the characters from the original are back, with slight changes, and there are two more generic fantasy characters as well. First is the Mage who can not wear armor, can not equip shields, has the least hit points, and has the weakest attack power, but has a large selection of magic spells. Second is the Thief who is also pretty weak and can't equip armor or shields, but can pick enemies' pockets, wall jump, double jump, pick locks of treasure chests, detect traps, and carries a sling with infinite rocks. Alternate versions of each character can be chosen by selecting a character with the Start button, rather than A. These are mostly cosmetic differences, but characters who have magic will have a slightly different selection of magic spells if you choose their alternate version. Very, very cool.

A few changes have been made from its predecessor, mostly for the better. Those dashing attacks performed while standing up from a crouch are gone, but there are now quarter circle forward moves (like Ken and Ryu's fireball), specials (Down, Up, A), health depleting attacks, and knockdown attacks (after an attack, keep holding A). You can also cancel certain attacks into other attacks, potentially allowing for massively damaging combos. Not only do these differences make combat faster paced, they make controlling this game more intuitive as well. Your inventory has also been changed, with B changing inventory displays, C moving through items that are currently displayed, A selecting a item, and D canceling your inventory display.

There was a port to Saturn with its predecessor as part of the compilation Dungeons & Dragons Collection. This version only allowed two players, but was otherwise perfect.

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Dungeons & Dragons: Shadow Over Mystara (Arcade)

Dungeons & Dragons: Shadow Over Mystara (Arcade)

Dungeons & Dragons: Shadow Over Mystara (Arcade)


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X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse - SNES (1994)

American SNES Cover

This is the first of Capcom's two single-plane beat-em-ups for SNES, so they aren't quite exactly like Final Fight. Both star Marvel super hero characters. Both have have platforming elements. Neither are very good.

Characters

Wolverine

Wolverine has metallic claws that are used to claw the shit out of people with. He has the ability to heal from almost anything, but is as prone to an ass beating as everybody else is in the game.

Cyclops

Cyclops can fire a laser beam from his eyes. His eyes always emanate this beam and he wears that laser proof visor to keep them from destroying things when he does not need them to. Why the villains do not make shields or something out of the same laser proof visor thing, I have no clue.

Beast

Beast is some kind of anthropomorphic dude who has blue fur. He wears super briefs as a costume. His super power seems to be that he can walk on the ceiling. If I was a super villain this is the guy I would hope would try to foil my plot for world domination. "At last! The World is mine! As long as somebody does not show up and start walking on the ceiling!"

Psylocke

As can be expected, Psylocke is pretty popular with X-Men fanboys. She is telekinetic and telepathic or whatever. She is also not fully dressed, although at least she wears more than Beast.

Gambit

Gambit possess the ability to charge up items with kinetic energy and basically make them explode. He attacks with a stick and playing cards.

At the start, each of the five characters has their own level. After these are completed, other levels become available. When the stages focus on straight beat-em-up action, the game's pretty fun. Special moves are executed via Street Fighter-style inputs. However, while the platforming elements make for more involving levels, they aren't handled particularly well. The sixth level is one of the worst, where you're chased by lava. The single plane makes the fighting pretty dull and straightforward. There's no multiplayer, at all. It's an alright game, but it will probably is only going to appeal to intense fans of X-Men.

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X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse (SNES)

X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse (SNES)

X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse (SNES)

X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse (SNES)

X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse (SNES)


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Marvel Super Heroes: War of the Gems (マーヴルスーパーヒーローズ ウォーオブザジェム) - SNES (1996)

American SNES Cover

This is the second of Capcom's two one-plane beat-em-ups for SNES. Like X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse, it has some platforming elements. As opposed to X-Men, which could have been worse, this is a intolerable piece of garbage. This includes more Marvel heroes, as opposed to just X-Men characters.

Characters

Wolverine

Given that he's one of Marvel's most popular characters, you'd expected they'd toss in Wolverine again.

Captain America

The most patriotic super hero ever also has the best weapon ever - a boomerang shield thing.

Hulk

Jekyll and Hyde within the context of super hero fiction. He is a average guy who becomes this giant monster when he gets pissed off. This guy could have been the best character in the game, but they made him frustrating to play. Bad controls, boring moveset.

Spider-Man

Spider-Man can walk on walls and ceilings. He also has some kind of web dispensing device to kick ass with. I am not arguing with the power of spider webs. Those things are badass.

Iron Man

The best character in the game, which isn't saying much. He wears a robotic suit and can kick ass by doing all kinds of mechanically assisted things, like firing lasers or flying via jet boots.

Holy CRAP, this is a bad game, and most of this is due to the annoying level designs. Underwater sections, outside of maybe the Mega Man games, are never fun. Here, your movements is slowed down, and you're constantly running out of oxygen. These areas are simply a chore to play. It doesn't help that the action is horribly sluggish. After your character falls down it takes to long for them to get back up. Making the pace even worse this is as repetitive as a beat-em-up could possibly be. The only element that deserves praise is that there are sometimes multiple paths that only certain characters have access to, lending to the replayability.

The game does allow "super moves", although you can only use them three times in a level. There are also gems that are acquired after certain stages are beaten, which will upgrade certain abilities, like lengthening your health meter or increasing your movement speed. Playing Hulk without the gem that raises the playable character's speed is a painful experience. There is also a training room that plays like the most absolutely worst fighter ever made. So even though on the surface, it doesn't seem that much different from X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse, it's a much worse game. Still, Capcom's ownership of the Marvel license eventually led them to the one-on-one fighter Marvel Super Heroes, which eventually lead into the popular Versus series of games, starting with X-Men vs Street Fighter.

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Marvel Super Heroes: War of the Gems (SNES)

Marvel Super Heroes: War of the Gems (SNES)

Marvel Super Heroes: War of the Gems (SNES)

Marvel Super Heroes: War of the Gems (SNES)

Marvel Super Heroes: War of the Gems (SNES)


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Battle Circuit (バトルサーキッ) - Arcade (1997)

Japanese Arcade Flyer

Battle Circuit is Capcom's last 2D beat-em-up, and they certainly went out with a bang. Like Captain Commando, Battle Circuit is based on 1950's science fiction, and every character brings to mind that era's galaxy trekking heroes and villains, complete with plenty of outrageous costumes, mad scientist laboratories, spaceships, and strange barren worlds. Each playable character is named after a color, probably as a reference to sentai.

Characters

Cyber Blue

Real name: Brian Bruno. A cybernetic bounty hunter. He has pretty straight forward attacks, a few of which seem to be electricity based.

Yellow Iris

Real name: Diana Martines (and known as Yellow Beast in the Japanese version). A retired model and the high-speed-low-power character. She is accompanied by a squirrel fox named Fin.

Alien Green

A walking, man-eating plant. What the hell?

Pink Ostrich

Real name: Pinky. A jewelry wearing, eye patch sporting, intelligent ostrich capable of flight (???). Probably the strangest beat-em-up character ever. Can double jump. That kid riding her is named Pola. Her name reminds me of Acid Mothers Temple.

Captain Silver

Real name: Andrey Mishucin. A bounty hunter who can extend his body. He can generate ice to attack opponents with.

At first glance, Battle Circuit might not seem too impressive, since the character sprites are pretty small compared to previous games. But it makes up for this with colorful graphics and a great sense of humor. Battle Circuit never takes itself seriously, and it really seems like Capcom's designers had a blast designing this game. The main villain is a chap named Dr. Saturn, who has a massively gigantic cranium and a sinister smirk. There's a boss based on Elvis Presley, complete with a disco themed stage and pyrotechnics as attacks. However, Battle Circuit's most insane enemies are several bare-breasted bikers (!!!). To give this insanity some vestige of a plot, Capcom had these wacky villains looking for some computer disk that could allow its owner world domination.

When you get beyond this craziness, you'll find an amazing beat-em-up with huge movesets. Most moves are characters specific, but each character does have dashing, throws, the ability to grapple downed characters, health depleting attacks, and projectile attacks (hold Attack and then release), and most characters have Forward and Attack moves, and specials (Down, Up, Attack). The juggle combos from Alien vs. Predator are back, and they have been made slightly more extensive and easier to perform. Very strangely, there are no weapons, whatsoever.

Something very interesting about Battle Circuit is the ability to upgrade moves. When you attack. you will earn money, with certain attacks earning more cash than others. After each level, you have the option of purchasing upgrades for your character, with each upgrade being retained if you switch characters. These upgrades can take the form of different and/or more powerful versions of default moves, or they can be entirely different moves. You can also purchase a longer health meter or power-up stocks. Power-ups come into play like this: You start each life with three power-ups (more can be found). If you jump and hit Attack and Jump at the same time, it will perform your character's power-up. This affects all players on the screen.

Combining impeccable gameplay with interesting music, fantastic animations, great character designs, wicked humor, and an awesomely goofy aesthetic, Battle Circuit is quite simply among the best beat-em-ups ever made. However, given that this game is rather rare, has never been ported, and was never released in America, you are probably going to have to resort to emulation. It is well worth it, though. There was a European arcade release. It has a scene removed from it with a few angry yakuza that was in the original Japanese release. Why they did this I could not imagine. Oddly, those bare breasted bikers were left in, though.

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Battle Circuit (Arcade)

Battle Circuit (Arcade)

Battle Circuit (Arcade)

Battle Circuit (Arcade)

Battle Circuit (Arcade)

Battle Circuit (Arcade)


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Related Articles


<<< Prior Page

Next Page >>>

Page 1:
Dynasty Wars
Warriors of Fate
Captain Commando

Page 2:
The King of Dragons
Knights of the Round
Cadillacs and Dinosaurs

Page 3:
The Punisher
Alien vs. Predator
Armored Warriors
Cyberbots

Page 4:
Dungeons and Dragons: Tower of Doom
Dungeons and Dragons: Shadow Over Mystara
X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse
Marvel Super Heroes: War of the Gems
Battle Circuit

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