It seems that when arcades made the jump from 2D to 3D in the late 1990s, belt-scrolling beat-em-ups did not go with them, as arcades began to focus more on fighting, driving, rhythm, and shooting games. However, there was occasionally a beat-em-up release such as Zombie's Revenge and eventually Demolish Fist by Dimps. While Demolish Fist is a solid brawler, it doesn't offer too much in terms of standing out from other belt-scrollers.
The game's story is minimal at best: The President has been kidnapped, and you have to beat up everyone who is in your way! But most do not play brawlers for the story anyway. The game allows you to select between four characters with stats relating to speed, power, and technique. Leoneed [sic] is the jack-of-all-stats, Vanessa is the speedy striker, Enzo is the big bruiser, and Undead is the technique fighter. However, despite different stats, their moves are virtually the same. The game offers you three buttons to use which are self-explanatory: Guard, Attack, and Jump. Just hitting attack multiple times does a combo. Hitting jump and attack does a different kind of attack, usually some sort of kick. Hitting guard and attack allows the player to pick up items. Double tapping the joystick does a flash step, and doing it in combination with the attack button does a dashing attack. Hitting guard and jump does an attack that knocks enemies out of your way from all directions, usually a roundhouse kick. The player also has a super meter that builds up from hitting enemies and using items, and once it maxes out, hitting all three buttons at the same time causes the player character to go into a ten-second beatdown mode where they have to mash the attack button to attack as many enemies at once while the enemies cannot move.
The game takes you through several stages in fairly generic beat-em-up settings where you take on fairly generic enemies. Some of them stand out however, such as the giant puking baby with devil horns referred to as Mangos and two swole fire and lightning thugs named Thorn and Shade. At the end of each stage, the player fights an over-the-top boss, such as a hulking giant with a motor-powered arm or a dominatrix with an electric whip, who is introduced by the game before the battle. The beatdown mode can and often will make easy work of these bosses. Throughout the game, like in any of the popular arcade beat-em-ups this game shamelessly copies, there are various items and weapons for the player to use and pick up. These range from the standard knives and baseball bats to entire cars! However, after the first few times, the novelty of picking up an entire multi-person car wears off.
Mechanically, the game controls fine, and the audiovisual elements get the job done (though they seem better suited to 2001 than 2003 when this game was released). However, the game does not do much in the way of standing out from games like Turtles in Time or Sengoku 3 besides being released later than both of those games and using polygonal graphics. Everything in the game feels like it was taken from some other source - a mish-mash of common clichés.
Demolish Fist also has its own fair share of flaws. The game offers co-op, and players can activate their own beatdowns individually. However, one player activating the beatdown will apply to both players, while only using up the meter of the player that activated it. So when playing co-op, the bosses that could be made easier with beatdowns are made even easier with two happening in a row. Another flaw is that when the player uses a continue, the score isn't reset, giving no reason to one-credit clear a game, which is one of the most important merits of beating an arcade game. And overall the game feels relatively easy and not that much of a challenge, and it's not uncommon to quit out of boredom rather than due to running out of credits.
Fans of traditional arcade-style beat-em-ups might find Demolish Fist enjoyable, and it's worth at least a shot when coming across a remaining machine at an arcade somewhere. Those who want a game to expand on the beat-em-up formula and tread new ground like God Hand might want to look elsewhere.