Beatdown Brings the Pain

Beat-’em-up games have sort of a base appeal. While playing them, you essentially keep hitting things until there are no more things to hit. Along the way, you might integrate strategy to achieve this task faster or find ways to hit harder, but the formulas found in these games — especially when it comes to enemy attacks — keep them mindlessly simple, unrivaled fun that probably encourages violent behavior in the real world.

Ah, well.

Several games surround their brawls with heroic stories of saving the day and rescuing enslaved denizens of fictional cities. Not Beatdown. The premise in this punch-packing bout is all about revenge. If you’re ready to take out some aggression, Beatdown might just be the game for you. Find out why after the jump.

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Tired of Being Fired

The hero of Beatdown — whose name is unrevealed — has been a hard worker at his company for 10 years. No wonder he gets so upset when he receives an email telling him he’s been fired. In full rage mode, our guy goes to confront a higher-up, who reveals that the head of the company is responsible for his being let go.

You just got fired and you’re not going to take it well.

You just got fired and you’re not going to take it well.

This serves to further anger our hero. His ensuing quest for revenge results in a rampage that finds him encountering office mates who can fire laser beams from their eyes, ninjas and even a cop boss who spins like a top.

Landing Your Punches

Quirkiness aside, Beatdown allows you to choose how the main character moves around the screen. You can select one option that allows your thumb to do the moving no matter where it may be on the screen.

If you want more guidance, you can select D-pad, which looks like the cross found on old-school gaming consoles’ controllers, or the analog option, which provides fluid movements like those created by a joystick. Both of these controllers will appear in the bottom-left corner of the screen.

Take your anger out on anyone who gets in your way.

Take your anger out on anyone who gets in your way.

Speaking of old-school, your hero’s moves are limited to two buttons, labeled “B” and “A.” Found in the bottom-right corner of the screen, B is your attack button, which mostly means punching. A makes the character jump. Tap B while in the air and the hero will kick in-the-way enemies on his downward descent.

Attack Mode

Now that you know how to move in Beatdown, it’s time to attack! Though players can move up, down, back and forth, you’ll still want to move forward to keep the bad guys coming for you and to progress to the next level.

And those levels are colorful and picturesque locations throughout the unrevealed city. You’ll begin at your office, but the further you move through the game, you’ll be taken through downtown, a warehouse, a park and the headquarters of the hero’s former employer.

Weapons are another way to whack your enemies.

Weapons are another way to whack your enemies.

You may see some cool props above and below your position on the screen, but for the most part you are locked in the middle third of the path. This means no hopping on tables, knocking down trash cans or climbing on any nearby buildings.

Using the A and B buttons, game play is simple: just hit enemies that start attacking you.

Each of the corporate thugs has a different look, set of abilities and number of hits it takes to knock them out of commission. There are guys in suits, guys with coffee mugs, cops, firefighters, ninjas, guys who fire lasers from their eyes … the list of wacky bad guys could go on for some time. Just know that for the most part, anyone you encounter in this game is not going to take it easy on you.

Defeat enough bad guys and the hero will turn dark red, giving him stronger punches and a longer swing.

Defeat enough bad guys and the hero will turn dark red, giving him stronger punches and a longer swing.

Thankfully you can get some help from props that happen to be on your walking path. Punch oil cans to reveal police batons, axes or golf clubs, among other tools, which you can use to swing against enemies and do more damage. These tools are only good for a limited number of hits. If your weapon is near its end (there’s a meter in the top-left corner) and another shows up on the screen as brought by a villain, you can actually go and pick up the new weapon and have a fresh set of hits.

There’s another meter with a fire icon next to it. This appears to fill up as you defeat more enemies. Reach a certain point in filling the gauge and the disgruntled employee will turn red and pack more power and range into his punches. This effect is limited, so go after the tougher bad guys on screen.

Bosses — or middle managers — will try to stop you from getting to corporate headquarters.

Bosses — or middle managers — will try to stop you from getting to corporate headquarters.

At the end of each region, you’ll face off against a boss. They may shoot fire, drop bombs or just be really good at punching. Whatever you do, pay attention to patterns in their attacks. Once you discover their weaknesses or blind spots, you can finish them off and keep on moving toward the next level and the big fish who needs to be fried.

If you want to just keep fighting, there’s also an endless option where the corporate thugs just keep attacking. Use this option to keep the action going or to practice for the story option of the game.

Hit and Fun?

Beatdown pays tribute to beat-’em-up games such as Double Dragon, River City Ransom, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arcade game and just about any other title in the genre. What makes Beatdown such a joy is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously and even exaggerates the macho rage found in many of these games. It’s pretty much fighting for the sake of fighting, without shading its intentions with ideas of heroism, self-improvement or world-saving.

Add the common frustration many feel with the workplace and Beatdown caters to those passive-aggressive revenge-getters and vengeance-seekers looking for an outlet for their wrath.


Summary

A disgruntled worker exacts beat-'em-up rage.

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