Gang Wars (1989)

by Nish
5 minutes read


Gang Wars: A No-Nonsense Beat ‘Em Up With a Cult Following

Released in 1989 by TAITO, Gang Wars is a side-scrolling beat ’em up arcade game that stands out from its contemporaries with its unique character customization, intense action, and memorable cutscenes. While it may not have achieved the same level of mainstream success as other arcade classics like Double Dragon or Final Fight, Gang Wars has garnered a cult following among retro gaming enthusiasts who appreciate its distinct gameplay and gritty urban setting.


Gang Wars can be played by one or two players, who control two different characters with unique fighting styles. The game’s control configuration is relatively simple, with two attack buttons (punch and kick), as well as a jump button. However, players can execute a variety of techniques by pressing these buttons individually or in combination. For example, pressing the punch and kick buttons simultaneously will perform a powerful special attack.

Unlike many other beat ’em ups of the era, Gang Wars incorporates firearms into its gameplay. Players can pick up assault rifles and flamethrowers to mow down enemies from a distance. This adds an extra layer of strategy to the game, as players must decide when to switch between melee and ranged combat.

Another unique feature of Gang Wars is its character customization system. Before starting the game, players can allocate points to three different fighting statistics: Power, Speed, and Guard. This allows players to tailor their characters to their own playstyles. For example, players who prefer a more aggressive approach can invest heavily in Power, while those who prefer to play more defensively can focus on Guard.

Setting and Story

Gang Wars is set in a crime-ridden urban environment, where rival gangs are vying for control of the streets. Players take on the role of two vigilantes, Ace and Billy, who are determined to clean up the city and bring the gangs to justice.

The game’s story is told through a series of cutscenes, which are surprisingly well-produced for an arcade game of the era. These cutscenes help to flesh out the characters and give the game a sense of purpose beyond simply beating up bad guys.


Gang Wars was a critical and commercial success upon its release, and it remains popular among retro gaming enthusiasts today. The game has been ported to a variety of home consoles, and it is also available on digital distribution platforms such as Steam and GOG.

Gang Wars is notable for its innovative gameplay mechanics, which include character customization, firearms, and cutscenes. The game’s gritty urban setting and memorable characters also help it to stand out from other beat ’em ups of the era. If you’re a fan of classic arcade games, then Gang Wars is definitely worth checking out.

Tips for Playing Gang Wars

  • Learn the special moves. Each character has a variety of special moves that can be performed by pressing certain button combinations. These moves can be very effective against enemies, so it’s important to learn how to execute them quickly and efficiently.
  • Use the environment to your advantage. The levels in Gang Wars are filled with objects that can be used to your advantage. For example, you can pick up rocks and throw them at enemies, or you can use benches and other obstacles to block their attacks.
  • Don’t be afraid to use firearms. The firearms in Gang Wars can be very effective against enemies, especially if you’re outnumbered. However, be careful not to waste your ammo, as it’s有限的.
  • Customize your characters. Before starting the game, be sure to customize your characters to your own playstyle. If you prefer a more aggressive approach, invest heavily in Power. If you prefer to play more defensively, focus on Guard.
  • Team up with a friend. Gang Wars can be played by one or two players. If you’re playing with a friend, be sure to coordinate your attacks and strategies. This will make the game much easier and more enjoyable.


Gang Wars is a classic beat ’em up that offers a unique and intense gaming experience. With its character customization, firearms, and cutscenes, Gang Wars stands out from other games of its era. If you’re a fan of classic arcade games, then Gang Wars is definitely worth checking out.

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