So, on this site, we've covered shite brawlers, military brawlers, oddball brawlers...

It is now time for the strangest of all brawlers- the top-down brawler.

If we classify a top-down brawler as a Commando-style game with fisticuffs as the primary means of attack, then there's not many of 'em about. The only examples springing to mind right now are the likes of Ikari III: The Rescue, Gaiapolis and the ultra-obscure Downtown by Seta. Before redefining the scrolling brawler with Final Fight, though, Capcom had a stab at this particular type of brawler in 1987 with Avengers. Directed by Takashi Nishiyama before he went on to co-create Street Fighter and work on some of SNK's earlier fighting games, it takes the Crime Fighters approach to plot- there's not just one damsel in distress to rescue, but six ladies from Paradise City kidnapped by the sinister Geshita and his gang. Ryo (P1) and Ko (P2) set off to take back their streets, rescue the girls and kick this criminal organisation into touch.

Naturally, they plan to do this with the great communicators: their fists and feet.

Unsurprisingly for a game released in that hazy 1987-to-1989 period of brawlers, Avengers is pretty simple to grasp, with a moveset closer to Kung Fu Master than Double Dragon. Just from a weird top-down perspective. You've got two buttons- punch and kick- and while punches seem to do more damage to bosses, kicks let you move and attack rather than force you to stand in place (unless you pick up a Strength Up item which lets you punch and move). You've also got a s-l-o-w 360-degree roundhouse kick to clear the area with, activated by pressing both buttons at once. That's your lot! No grabs, no special moves, nothing like that, the only other thing you get to play with are the bonus items and weapons- they can be found by knocking down trashcans, rocks and, uh, live flames:

Bonus Items

Strength Up
Temporarily lets you move and punch & increases punch's strength.

Speed Up
Temporarily increases movement/attack speed.

Refills your health meter by 4 points.

Worth either 500, 1000 or 2000 points.


10 grenades,
throw for a large explosion.

10 shurikens,
throw to attack enemies from a distance.

On a timer, replaces both punch and kick attacks, has wider attack range.

Uh, just so you know... This is going to be pretty short. About on par with Laser Ghost.

Two things you need to know before we start.

#1: We're playing the US version, Set 1 (International in Capcom Arcade Cabinet).
Set 2 is slightly different, as we'll see later.
#2: Avengers is a weird game.

Ryu and Ko are ready to get busy, 'cause the streets of Paradise City are screaming- let's play Avengers!

Let's begin the big fight!