Digital Salad: Delving Into Beat’em Ups

CakeBoxFox and I have been beating each other up this week. Don’t be too alarmed though; the stress of living together hasn’t quite got to us yet, because we’ve been digitally beating each other up. It was certainly a memory from both our childhoods of sitting playing splitscreen “beat’em ups” with a group of friends, and we wanted to relive a little of that magic. So here’s the Digital Salad report on reliving the “Beat’em Up” dream of youth!

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Tekken was the first franchise we thought back to.

I was a fan of the Tekken series way back on the Playstation 2, where I would play it merrily with whoever I could get to sit down with my second controller. So, we decided to have a look and see if there’d been any more recent ones.

Tekken Tag Tournament 2 fitted the bill perfectly, and it arrived days later.

I think its part of getting older, but Tekken definitely seemed to have lost some of its magic for us.

The characters were still mostly instantly recognisable, and still played in their own unique way – something I think Tekken does particularly well. It just seemed so damn slow though. Not having a block button is a bit of an oddity as well, but that’s a Tekken thing.

Even though Tekken Tag 2 had lost some of its magic it was still well worth the £5 it cost us. Its not a perfect game, and probably could never live up to the idealistic memories of childhood, but it was still great fun.

The reason?

The fun we had with local tournament battles!

There’s nothing more fun than sitting next to someone playing in an animal only team against your big macho male only team, just for the laughs. Being finished off by Panda giving me a bear hug was the icing on the cake. I don’t honestly think they meant it to be so much fun – in an amusing sort of way – when played with friends, but that is the real magic of these games.

Panda is badass in Tekken
Panda is badass in Tekken

We still play Tekken for the laughs and good times, but how slow we felt the combat was for us these days left us wanting to try another Beat’em Up.

Mortal Combat was out of the question as Fox is not a fan and neither of us liked Virtual Fighter back in the day. That left us with Soul Calibur, which Fox had been a fan of since childhood and which I’d only ever played briefly.

After a brief search, Soul Calibur V was bought for the Xbox 360 for under £5 – another good bargain!

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Soul Calibur is definitely fast paced, but a little more serious as well.

That works both ways, and it means that I can quite happily play both Soul Calibur V and Tekken in a sitting with friends – because they’re different enough to both warrant a play for separate reasons.

Soul Calibur has weapons which is a nice bonus. Yoshimitsu has always confused me in Tekken – he has a sword, but never uses it but to kill himself. With Soul Calibur, by the same developer, Yoshimitsu finally puts his sword to use.

The thing with Soul Calibur, more than Tekken, I’ve found is that you find one character that you’re fantastic with and stick to them whenever possible. In my case its the pirate Cervantes, who I will pick over anyone else given the chance. There’s far too many iffy characters that you’d never play on Soul Calibur, and I wonder if they’re just for other tastes than mine or just really bad ones.

Cervantes the pirate - Digital Salad favourite in Soul Calibur V
Cervantes the pirate – Digital Salad favourite in Soul Calibur V

I really like Soul Calibur though as well, and it fills the same sort of void that Tekken leaves – the co-op sitting on the sofa with a friend having a laugh void that I’ve missed since childhood.

I hope Beat’em Ups never go fully online. There’s overtures to it in all the latest reincarnations of all the big Beat’em Up franchises, but none have thankfully gone down that route too far. Online would take the heart and soul of these games, too much of the fun would be lost.

This revisiting of childhood games reminded me of my favourite Beat’em Up of all time, Capcom VS SNK Pro on the original PlayStation. That makes me feel damn old saying that, especially as the game is well over a decade old and I can still remember nearly every character’s intro and personality. Here’s a little clip of it:

I think remembering that game, which still looks fairly respectably playable after so many years, makes me wonder if I should check out more recent Capcom Beat’em Up offerings. Perhaps that will happen in the near future; but that is for another time and another blog.

For now, Digital Salad, will be plenty busy enough roundhouse kicking my way through Tekken and Soul Calibur V time and again with friends.

Hopefully I’ll be a bit like Picard:

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But even if I lose, I know we’ll still be a little something like these guys; and that’s great:

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Do you enjoy “Beat’em Ups”? Do you have a favourite one from years ago? Which series is your favourite?

 

Digital Salad – lifeasadigitalsalad.wordpress.com

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2 thoughts on “Digital Salad: Delving Into Beat’em Ups

  1. j3w3l May 7, 2014 / 11:36 am

    OH WOW.. i always loved soul calibur but haven’t played it in ages.. nor do I own one. The way the moves and actions are done just feels very natural. Now i need to play it.. aaah

    • Digital Salad May 7, 2014 / 9:59 pm

      Soul Calibur is definitely great fun, but you might well find that more recent copies have lost some of the magic of previous ones. Childhood idealism maybe, but the older games are the classic ones.

      I’m getting more and more used to the way the Soul Calibur combat plays, being a relative newcomer to it, but I really do find it very fluid and natural. It such good fun!

      Maybe pick up a copy of one of the newer ones some time, they’re great fun and reasonably cheap!

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