Mug Smashers – Review


1990 – Electronic Devices Italy

One of my favorite genre of games to this day would have to be the side scroll Beat Em Up game, or as people in other places refer to them as “Belt Scrollers”. Whether it is Double Dragon, Final Fight, Bad Dudes, or even my favorite game of all time Streets of Rage 2, I have a special place in my retro gaming heart for them. A couple of years ago, I had gotten into emulation through my Retro Engine Sigma. This allowed me to add roms for all types of systems. Included was the opportunity to add arcade roms. I wasted no time trying to add every beat up from my childhood, and also added games that I didn’t get to play as a kid as well as games that I had never even heard of! I would simply go on YouTube, look up arcade beat em ups, and down the rabbit hole I went! Among those games, I found a beat em up, that to this day, I might be the only person who has played it. This is not an arcade cabinet that you will find easily or possibly at all! As this game was made by the Italian game publisher Electronic Devices. Join me in my review of the arcade game Mug Smashers. Hopefully by the time I am done, you will either want to watch some gameplay on YouTube or add it to your rom collection if you emulate!

The Story:

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before! Officer Sheila (no last name given) is investigating a drug and arms dealer named Mad Dog. Once Mad Dog catches wind of this, he has the officer kidnapped. After finding this out via the newspaper, seriously look at the attract mode for this game, her brother Axel along with his best friend Miles are on a quest to battle through the mean streets of San Francisco in order to save Sheila.

The Gameplay:

As with most arcade beat em ups, you can either go at it alone or you can play with a friend! You have to fight through 6 different stages in order to reach the final boss in Chinatown. In order to see how close you are to the end of the game, there is a map of San Francisco at the start of each stage showing you your location. Along the way you battle different thugs such as guys in tight shirts and slacks, a guy who holds explosives, your typical knife toting maniacs, sailors with fishing hooks, angry factory workers, fat guys with mallets, midgets stacked on top of one another, and a boss at the end of each stage! The stages also have things you will find in most beat em ups! You have a stage where you are in a factory, a stage that has you are fighting different thugs in an elevator, and of course a boss rush on the final stage! You also have different bonus stages where you can get extra points. While it won’t be for destroying a car like in Final Fight, you get to punch one of those machines you see at carnivals which tests your strength. There is also a bonus stage where you destroy arcade cabinets! Isn’t that great?!?!? The game also has most of the standard fare you will find in games like these such as weapons on the ground you can pick up, barrels to pick up and toss at enemies, objects you break open that contain food for energy, and objects to collect for points such as gold bars and trophies (seriously). Overall, the gameplay is pretty solid.



The Controls:

You’ve got one button to punch, one button to jump, and one button to kick. If you hit the jump and kick buttons at the same time, it gives you a special move called “The Hurricane” where you spin all over the screen in tornado form, not unlike the Tasmanian Devil from those old Looney Toons cartoons. The hit detection is what it needs to be in a game like this. It is button mashing fun for everyone involved!


The Graphics:

Compared to most Beat Em Ups at the time, the graphics aren’t as good. The characters are crudely drawn, and the sprites on the screen are actually pretty large. Does it really take away from the game? Not really, but just don’t expect what you would see from something released from Capcom or Konami during that same time period. It was pretty clear that Electronic Devices didn’t have the same budget as the other guys.

The Sound:

The sounds from attacks and hits are actually very good! There are no complaints there. Another thing about this game is that all of the music is borrowed from another, more popular game. If you are into this genre, and you have played bunches of games like these, then you will also notice that the music was pulled from a beat em up game published by Technos called The Combatribes, a game released both in Arcades and for the Super Nintendo. I am not sure how this never came up in a court case or anything, but somehow the folks at Electronic Devices got away with taking the music and using it for their own game

The Difficulty:

Not difficult at all! Just like with most beat em ups, you just mash buttons and kill bad guys until you reach the boss at the end. You can probably finish the game within 30 minutes.


The Verdict:

This is a game where I would say you have to play it at least once if you are into this genre. You will have fun, and you will probably laugh along with way at how silly the game comes off. So for all my emulating friends out there, find this one! When you do, please be sure to tell me what you think!

3 out of 5 TROGS!

GameTrog Review By



Ultragoldenant is a nerdy father of 3 from outside of Pittsburgh, PA. He also collects wrestling memorabilia, enjoys cosplay, and has a deep love for the decade known as the 90s! 


Pin It on Pinterest

Share This