The late '80s gave birth to the Beat ‘Em Up genre, and it’s no wonder.

This was the arcade era, and games were designed to be excessively difficult—the more lives a player lost, the more quarters he had to dump into the machine. And no game ate quarters like a beat ‘em up game. Just when you triumphed over one wave of enemies, another wave, or a massive boss, was ready to finish you off.

Beat ‘em up games eventually evolved into 3-D hack ‘n’ slash games, such as God of War and Devil May Cry. That’s another list for another day— today, we’re counting down the very best of the beat ‘em up genre—those classic, 2-D brawlers where you walked to the right side of the screen, kicked some ass, and walked to the right some more.

Tape up your hands and grab a bat. It’s about to go down.