Top Five 4-Player Beat ‘Em Up Arcade Games

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When it comes to arcades, you’ve got a treasure trove of game types. You have your Pinball games, Skee ball, the usuals like Pac-Man, Galaga, Qbert, and Donkey Kong; then there’s the Beat ’em ups. When it comes to Beat ’em ups you have your Double Dragons and Battletoads, and the type of games we’re gonna talk about here. 4-player beat ’em ups, they’re the best, and never fail to provide a ton of fun. They will eat your quarters. They arre pretty challenging, not impossible, but it will just cost you a bunch of quarters.

So, here’s my top five 4-player beat ’em ups!

5. Captain Commando
Released in 1991


Captain Commando is a beat ‘em up I truly, truly love, but it wasn’t this game that introduced me to Captain Commando, it was the fighting game series Marvel vs. Capcom. Captain Commando has you controlling the title character and his three partners, a baby in a robotic suit named Baby head, a ninja named Ginzu, and my personal favorite and one character that will appear on another list later, Mack the Knife. Yeah, the dood’s name is Mack the effing Knife, that’s pretty intense!

Before Ryu and Mega Man, Captain Commando was Capcom’s mascot. If that seems weird to you, just take the first three letters of his first, and last name and see what you get. CAPCOM!? HOLY BUTTS! He’s somewhat of a space cowboy, but has gone through many changes in his life. The game itself is kind of an homage to sci-fi. He started out as a space cowboy, but then became what we know him as today, somewhat of a superhero. The typical baddies make an appearance, the thing that always made this game stand out was the boss fights. The bosses all had a very unique style and look that wasn’t seen in your typical beat ‘em ups. The game was finally ported to the SNES in 1995, but lacked the 4-player mode substituting for just a 2-player mode. I still have a soft spot for Captain Commando, and I really do wish he appeared in Marvel vs. Capcom 3… Sigh. #bringbackcaptaincommando

4. Captain America and the Avengers
Released in 1991


So, it goes without saying that I’m not much of a comic guy, but that’s also not to say I don’t enjoy super heroes. As a child I liked them more, now as an adult I appreciate them, but when it comes to Captain America, I was never much of a fan. So to say the least, I didn’t think I’d be too interested in this game, I was wrong, though.

You can take control of Captain America, Iron Man, Hawkeye, and The Vision and your goal is to beat up all the bad guys and get to Red Skull. Pretty much your typical comic book game. This game got a few ports, that I’ve never seen or played, but they’re out there! To be honest though arcade beat ’em ups like this don’t usually port well. I really have only played this game a few times though, and it’s not bad, it’s just not at all the best. In fact, I think this next game is a little better.

3. The Simpsons Arcade Game
Released in 1991

Now here’s a four player beat ’em up that I can get behind. While the other two games mentioned are fun, neither of them came close to being my favorite as much as The Simpsons Arcade Game. This game is absolutely insane, and I’ve only beaten it once. Yeah, one time on a family vacation my sister and I were given tons of quarters, and then spent the entire time playing this game until we beat it. I don’t remember how many quarters we had left after, but I doubt it was many. The game itself, like many other arcade games, only has five stages, but they will wreck you every single time. I still play this game often at my local barcade, but I haven’t even come close to beating it again. One day though, it will happen.

2. X-Men
Released in 1992

Yeah, yeah, I know, this game has spawned a lot of memes. We all have heard “welcome to die” enough I think, and no need for Colossus roars at your computer monitor, I get it. Similar to the Captain America game you have a few choices for characters, of course you get Cyclops and Wolverine, you also can play as Storm, Dazzler, and Colossus, or you can choose my favorite X-Men character Nightcrawler.

So, the interesting thing about this game is that it actually had multiple arcade cabinets, you have your standard two player cab, four players, and the best one, but probably the most crowded one, a six-player cabinet. Yeah, six players, at one time, all huddled over an arcade cab, wishing they had more room. To be fair though, I rarely see the six player cab, but I wish I did see it more because six players would probably make this game go by a lot faster. This game is pretty dang tough, and I don’t think I’ve ever come close to beating it. Personally though it’s not all about beating it, it’s about having fun playing, and being real close to all your buddies. Just kidding, I’m determined to beat this one day.

1. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles / TMNT: Turtles in Time
Released in 1989/1991

Now we come to this, I personally couldn’t break these two games a part. While I do feel Turtles in Time is the better game, TMNT is something I hold dear. When I was a kid I owned the NES port of TMNT, and I never understood why it was called “the arcade game”. It was a lot different from the first TMNT game on the NES, it was actually a playable game for a young Johnny Ketchum, but I still didn’t understand that.

Then one day, at a Godfather’s Pizza (sup Herman Cain, ya real America) I finally had found the arcade cabinet. It was magnificent, I had never seen anything like it! Okay, maybe that’s not true but, you know, it was awesome! The only thing I saw in that restaurant that was more exciting than TMNT, was TMNT: Turtles in Time. What!? When this came to the SNES, I didn’t even know there was a TMNT III! How did I miss this? Well, to be fair, I was very young, so how would I have known? Whatever though, because Turtles in Time destroys all, and was the most amazing arcade game I had played.


My favorite stage was when they finally do go back in time, and you go through the portal to end up in a world, with dinosaurs. WHAAAT?! Yeah, I still love this game, and the best thing about it is that the SNES port of Turtles in Time is great, honestly, probably the best arcade port I’ve ever played. So much so, that I may play it soon for a Victory Fanfare entry.

So, there you have it, a short, but sweet, list. I know, I’m probably missing a few, but these are the games I’ve played. In fact, I’ve never even seen the G.I. Joe 4-player game, but apparently it’s a game!

If you’ve played any others that I missed here, definitely let me know in the comments!

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The Author

Johnny Ketchum

Johnny Ketchum

Writer and content creator from Denver Colorado, mostly knowledgable in the realm of retro video games he also creates music and music mixes.