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Best brawler games on GamesNostalgia

Brawler games, also known as beat 'em ups, are a subgenre of action games that emphasize combat against waves of enemies. Unlike traditional fighting games that focus on one-on-one battles, most brawler games often feature side-scrolling gameplay, allowing players to move horizontally through levels while taking on hordes of enemies. These games typically involve a combination of hand-to-hand combat, weapons, and special moves. The objective is simple: defeat every enemy and progress through the game's story or stages.

Probably the best early example of this genre is Double Dragon, released in 1987 as a coin-op but then ported to all possible platforms. The sequel, Double Dragon II: The Revenge, is still considered one of the best brawler games ever. Karateka for the Apple II and The Last Ninja for the Commodore 64 don't have hordes of enemies, but they are still great examples of early progressive beat-em-up created for home computers.

The gothic horror-themed platformer-brawler Castlevania was released in 1986 for the NES. It was one of the first examples of the metroidvania sub-genre, where the player must explore several levels non-linearly.

SEGA's masterpiece Golden Axe was released in 1989, and it's still one of the best examples of fantasy brawlers with hack & slash co-op mechanics.

We have many examples of great brawlers released for the SEGA Mega Drive/Genesis: from Streets of Rage to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Hyperstone Heist, without forgetting the fantastic Comix Zone.

On the Amiga side, we should not forget the famous Shadow of the Beast, a game that impressed all players thanks to the high-quality graphics and music.

If you liked these games, don't forget to check the related sub-genre fighting.

The Last Ninja commodore-64

The Last Ninja is an action adventure game developed and published by System 3 Software and released in 1987 for the Commodore 64. It was ported to several other systems in subsequent years.

Year: 1987 Genre: Brawler

brawler commodore 64 isometric japan martial arts progressive beat-em-up

Streets of Rage 2 genesis

Streets of Rage 2, released in Japan as Bare Knuckle II: The Requiem of the Deadly Battle, is a beat-em-up created by SEGA for the Mega Drive/Genesis and released in 1993. The tit...

Year: 1993 Genre: Brawler

2 players anime brawler genesis original game side-scrolling

Street Fighter II dosgenesisamiga

Street Fighter II is the arcade sequel to the original Street Fighter and was developed and published by Capcom in 1991. Originally made for arcades, it was later released for other platforms, including that Amiga and PC.

Year: 1992 Genre: Brawler

2 players anime arcade brawler competitive fighting

Kung-Fu: The Way of the Exploding Fist commodore-64

Kung-Fu: The Way of the Exploding Fist is one of the most popular fighting games of the 80s. It's a martial arts fighting game created by Beam Software and published by Melbourne House in 1985.

Year: 1985 Genre: Brawler

2 players brawler c64 original game commodore 64 fighting martial arts versus

Golden Axe genesisamiga

Golden Axe is a side-scrolling hack and slash fantasy game created by Sega and released for arcade machines in 1989. The game was ported the same year to the SEGA Mega Drive/Genesi...

Year: 1990 Genre: Brawler

2 players arcade brawler co-op coin-op conversion fantasy hack and slash progressive beat-em-up sword and sorcery

International Karate + amigacommodore-64

International Karate + (also known as IK+, or Chop N' Drop in the US) is a side-view karate fighting game created by System 3 initially for 8-bit platforms (Commodore 64, ZX Spectr...

Year: 1988 Genre: Brawler

2 players brawler c64 original game commodore 64 competitive fighting martial arts

Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master genesis

Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master is a hack-and-slash platformer game that was developed by Megasoft and published by Sega. It was released in 1993 for the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive console.

Year: 1993 Genre: Brawler

brawler genesis original game hack and slash japan martial arts ninja progressive beat-em-up side-scrolling

Fightin' Spirit amiga

Fightin' Spirit is a beat'em up created by the Italian studio Light Shock Software and released in 1996 for the Amiga ECS and AGA models and the CD32. This one-vs-one fighting game...

Year: 1996 Genre: Brawler

2 players amiga cd32 amiga original game brawler competitive fighting martial arts multiplayer versus

Last Ninja 3 amigacommodore-64

The Last Ninja 3 is the third chapter of the popular series created by Mark Cale with its System 3 for the Commodore 64 and ported to many other platforms. Ninja Three was released for the Commodore 64, Atari ST and Amiga in 1991.

Year: 1991 Genre: Brawler

brawler commodore 64 isometric japan martial arts mythology ninja progressive beat-em-up

Panza Kick Boxing amiga

Panza Kick Boxing is a Thai kickboxing sim that uses the license of André Panza, a French Kickboxer, nine times world champion in several disciplines. The game was developed by Fu...

Year: 1990 Genre: Brawler

2 players amiga original game boxing brawler competitive fighting licensed martial arts

Double Dragon 3: The Rosetta Stone amiga

Double Dragon 3: The Rosetta Stone, the third and final chapter of the popular series Double Dragon, is a side-scrolling beat 'em up created by Technos Japan originally as an arcade.

Year: 1991 Genre: Brawler

2 players arcade brawler co-op coin-op conversion progressive beat-em-up

Second Samurai amiga

Second Samurai is a beat-'em-up for two players developed by Vivid Image and published by Psygnosis in 1993 for the Amiga, with an AGA version released in 1994. It's the sequel to The First Samurai, released two years before.

Year: 1993 Genre: Brawler

2 players aga amiga original game brawler co-op fantasy hack and slash martial arts progressive beat-em-up side-scrolling

Shadow Fighter amiga

Shadow Fighter is a fighting game created by N.A.P.S. and published by Gremlin Graphics exclusively for the Amiga, initially for ECS machines, then AGA. Clearly inspired by popular...

Year: 1994 Genre: Brawler

2 players aga amiga original game brawler competitive fighting japan versus

Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 genesis

Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 is a fighting game developed and published by Midway Games in 1995. It is an improved and slightly different version of Mortal Kombat 3. The original thi...

Year: 1996 Genre: Brawler

2 players arcade brawler coin-op conversion fighting martial arts motion capture versus violence