Breaking the law in the world of Tokyo Beat Down is not a good idea. A simple dine-and-dash in this side-scrolling beat-'em-up can result in a thrashing usually reserved for the worst kind of criminal. The cops of Tokyo Beat Down are so hardcore they make Dirty Harry look like a pushover. Unfortunately, the gameplay of this bland brawler can't handle the extreme justice of their fists.
Fines don't work for the beast cops. Parking violators get a kick to the face.
Tokyo Beat Down stars the "beast cops" of the titular city's Yaesu police station. These cops shoot first and ask questions never. You'll spend the bulk of your time playing as the flamboyant criminal kicker Lewis Cannon as he investigates a series of crimes in Tokyo. Cannon is a fierce fighter (you could say he's a loose cannon--get it?), but he isn't exactly the shiniest badge on the force, and the same goes for most of his colleagues. After a few not-so-subtle clues point to a connection in recent crimes, the cops band together to take down an old rival and his mysterious employers. The story itself isn't groundbreaking, but the completely over-the-top characters and ridiculous dialogue raise it above the average brawler story. Some of the cutscenes drag on too long and others seem to exist only to deliver a pun-filled joke, but for the most part, the story is strangely entertaining, like an episode of Law & Order with cartoon characters.
Billed as a classic coin-op-style brawler, Tokyo Beat Down is reminiscent of the simplistic side-scrollers that flooded arcades in the late '80s. There just isn't much to the TBD formula. Levels consist of moving left to right, beating up fools, and then watching cutscenes. Some levels switch it up and require you to move left to right, talk to random (and repetitive) character models, and watch cutscenes, but that's about as fun as it sounds. Good brawlers make up for the repetitive nature of the genre with a variety of enemies and combat maneuvers, but Tokyo Beat Down does not. There are a number of different character models in the game, but most of them behave identically--spamming the same move until either they die or you do. As for your move set, it can be expanded by finding scrolls throughout the game, but not by much. Guns and item pickups are scattered throughout the levels, but using a firearm is often more of a hassle than it's worth.