As you'll most likely be aware, we're big fans of Hardcore Gaming 101's series of books, which so far have covered everything from Sega's arcade history to the best shmups of all time. The latest publication takes a similar approach but looks at the many excellent belt-scrolling beat 'em ups that have graced arcades, consoles and home computers over the years.
The book goes all the way back to Technos' Renegade, which laid down so many of the foundations of the genre, before devoting a large portion of pages to the Double Dragon series – another name that is synonymous with the belt-scrolling brawler genre. Capcom's big-hitters are also featured, including Final Fight, Alien vs. Predator and Captain Commando – while Konami's seminal TMNT and Simpsons arcades games also get some attention, alongside the amazing Vendetta and the sadly-forgotten Asterix.
Via a combination of knowledgeable prose and crisp screenshots, the book does an excellent job of providing a primer on the world of side-scrolling fighters, with the only real criticism we can think of being that many other famous titles are missing, although this is because they're covered in other HG101 books (Golden Axe is in the Sega Arcade Classics book, for example) and featuring them here would be duplication.
A second volume is in the works, which will focus on Irem's contributions to the genre, such as Undercover Cops and Hook. In the meantime, this comes highly recommended – you can pick up a copy using the Amazon link below.
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