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Top 15 Best Super Nintendo (SNES) Beat 'Em Ups

Top 15 Best Super Nintendo (SNES) Beat 'Em Ups

The beat 'em up genre as a whole, has been swept under a rug in favor of other genres that fit the modern style of games. It's a genre that's often thought about as outdated, shallow and repetitive.

But in the 80’s and 90’s, beat em ups were all the rage.

With that said, I’ll be telling you why each of these games is worth playing today and what makes them stand out from the rest of the crowd.

Today you’ll find out which releases made the list on the top 15 beat 'em ups released on the Super Nintendo.

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15 - Brawl Brothers

Brawl Brothers

At number 15 we have Brawl Brothers and I feel like this is a good starting point. Brawl brothers  is the second game in the Rushing Beat franchise. The gameplay is similar to final fight where each character has it’s own fighting style and move set.

It feels like a hidden gem since it went rather unknown to many. Brawl brothers is definitely a better game the prior release Rival Turf. The animations and gameplay are much smoother. My main gripe are the maze stages, They’re definitely too long and a bit clumsy. Other than that, Brawl Brothers is a better than average beat em up.

14 - The Death and Return of Superman

The Death and Return of Superman

You get to play as, well you guessed it, Superman in this one. Apart from your standard move to the left and right while beating people up and from time to time and occasionally use the special attack that clears every enemy on the screen.

You also get to fly in the air and go hand to hand while flying. There’s also some decent horizontal shoot 'em up (shmup) stages in between to keep things fresh. Superman also dies that allows you to play as four new characters in his place. A decent Superman game on the Super Nintendo? No wonder it made this list!

13 - Sonic Blastman 2

Sonic Blastman 2

Incoming Sonic Blastman 2, which Is a pretty obscure title and is relatively unknown for such a good game. Sonic Blastman 2 allows you to play through as one of three characters Sonic Blastman, Sonia or Captain Choyear. Each of these three characters has a different set of abilities and speed to them.

You have a standard attack, a more powerful attack, as well as special moves that either screen clear most enemies on screen or focus on one or more enemies. If you’ve played the first title in the series, this one features faster gameplay, You can even dash! Seriously though, don’t play the first one. Sonic Blastman 2 is a good beat em up that deserves more love.

12 - The Pirates of Dark Water

The Pirates of Dark Water SNES

Number 12 is The Pirates of Dark Water. Remember that iconic cartoon series from the 90s? I definitely don’t! That’s because it’s only lasted two seasons before calling it quits. But hey, we ended up getting a great beat 'em up as a result.

It adds a bit of pizazz with two different types of attacks and special attack. The best part of the gameplay is that you can throw enemies into giant pits Double Dragon style.

11 - Captain Commando

Captain Commando SNES

In at number 11 is Captain Commando. Here comes the string of Capcom releases. Capcom actually created these superheroes on their own. You get to play as one of four characters with different move sets and attacks.

Although it follows the same formula as Final Fight, I like that this offers something a bit out of the ordinary compared to your Final Fight or Streets of Rage.

10 - Super Double Dragon

Super Double Dragon SNES

Ah the beloved franchise Double Dragon. They found success with the first trilogy on the NES and then had to bring  This game clearly plays at a slower pace than other super Nintendo beat 'em ups on this list.

The really cool mechanic in this one is the ability to block enemy attacks and counter them. This really helps complement the slower gameplay that Super Double Dragon has. You should definitely give it a shot because it’s not like any other game that’s on this list.

9 - Final Fight 2

Final Fight 2

This was actually a totally new final fight game released exclusively for the Super Nintendo. It’s basically a reskinned final fight on the Super Nintendo with a two player mode! You fight your way through Europe and Asia in this one. Final Fight 2 just plays so good. It’s gameplay is extremely smooth.

Capcom really shines on this release and they knew how to get the most of the super Nintendo hardware with the large sprites and great backgrounds. The best part about it is you still get to pick up pipes and smash people over the head just to watch them get up and come back for more.

8 - The King of Dragons

The King of Dragons SNES

King of Dragons lets you play through one of five fantasy stereotyped characters. It adds some RPG elements that let you power up as you progress through the stages and gather gold along the way.

The king of dragons is everything you’d expect from a classic Capcom beat 'em up. It’s also got a killer soundtrack that really makes you want to keep playing.

7 - Battletoads Double Dragon

Battletoads Double Dragon SNES

In at number 7, we have Battletoads Double Dragon and it combines the characters from both iconic franchises in one game! The same gruesome difficulty is there for what you would expect in a Battletoads game.

While the graphics might not be as good as other beat 'em ups listed, Battletoads Double Dragon makes up for it with great gameplay design courtesy of Rare, otherwise known as the developers who brought you countless classics like Donkey Kong Country and James Bond 007 Golden Eye. The charm of seeing their eyeballs pop out of their heads when a boss is approaching is priceless.

6 - Batman Returns

Batman Returns SNES

The Dark Knight Returns with this heavy hitting Konami release. Batman Returns gives you a feeling like you’re heading through Gotham beating up baddies to save the day. It’s got cut scenes after every boss that tie in to the movie very closely.

I loved the sub weapons that you can choose from to help you get out of certain situations. Batman Returns executes the dark knight theme to perfection.

5 - Spider-Man and Venom: Maximum Carnage

Spider-Man and Venom: Maximum Carnage SNES

Maximum Carnage is a single player Spider Man and Venom beat 'em up that lets you choose between either super hero at certain points. It's too bad that it suffers from a lack of coop like the sequel which is a inferior game in Venom/Spider-Man: Separation Anxiety. Venom is a bit stronger but slower than Spidey.

There’s also hidden stuff everywhere. What’s best about Maximum Carnage is that it really makes you feel like the comic book is being brought to life with it’s cut scenes and art style.

4 - Knights of the Round

Knights of the Round SNES

Capcom was on a role with the arcade ports. This one also features a level up system. You can level up your armor and weapon so If you’re into that level of depth like I am in beat 'em ups, you’ll be all over this one. The bosses are massive and take up like half the screen.

Riding on horses while beating up knights is so satisfying, who would have thought. The three characters have different attributes in regards to speed and strength that give you a different experience depending on your play style. With two lives and nine continues, you’ll definitely get a chance to play through each of the three characters.

3 - Ninja Warriors

Ninja Warriors SNES

Ninja Warriors is a beat em up that doesn’t let you move up or down. By restricting the movement from left to right only, the gameplay is so refined and way more strategic than your typical brawler. I like how there is a momentum meter that builds up and lets you do a screen clear attack when it’s full.

If you take a hit, the meter will be reset and you’ll have to rebuild it. With three playable characters that have a different play style depending on your preference. Ninja Warriors is one of those rare instances where the SNES version is arguably better than the arcade.

2 - Final Fight 3

Final Fight 3 SNES

Final Fight 3 is final fight perfection. It adds elements from street fighter with the super abilities that lets you, well you guessed it, do super moves. Final Fight 3 also adds multiple branches for an added touch.

You can now run and do a lunge attack in a pinch. The music and graphics are better than both of the first two games and this leaves Final Fight 3 as the best game in the series. The only real reason why it’s not number one on this list is that it sometimes suffers from slowdown when there are a lot of sprites on the screen at one time.

1 - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time SNES

The moment you’ve all been waiting for, it’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Turtles in Time. A faithful port of the arcade classic. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in the 90’s started a revolution for kids alike.

There’s just so much that goes right with Turtles in Time. Everything from the intro, to the music, the settings, boss battles, colorful graphics and amazing gameplay. Turtles in Time is not only the best beat 'em up on the Super Nintendo, but the best beat 'em up on a 16-bit console.



Passionate gamer and nostalgia enthusiast. Journeying through the pixelated realms of retro video games, unearthing forgotten gems and sharing the joy. Join me on a nostalgic adventure! 🎮✨