Bite-sized Review
Cannon Dancer

Developer: Mitchell Corporation

Release Date:  February, 1996 

Platform: Switch, PS4/5, Xbox One/S/X, Arcade

Genre: Beat 'em up

By Chris Picone, 12 April 2023

Also known as Osman, Cannon Dancer was first released as an arcade game in 1996.  But it's just been released on modern consoles!  Features original gameplay but includes all the usual mod-cons:  save states, rewind, upgraded graphics, customisable graphics, that sort of thing.  


The sound and graphics are gloriously retro, exactly as you remember from any 90s arcade game, although they have received a slight upgrade in terms of filters and shaders so things look right on a modern screen.  And they’ve stood the test of time – they looked great then, they look great now.  The actual visuals often don’t make much sense – one minute you’re in some weird abstract high tech world, the next you’re being chased by a truck, then a god lifts you into the sky and suddenly you’re being attacked by giant snakes.  What can I say?  It was the 90s.  It’s all about the rule of cool.  



Cannon Dancer plays generally like any other scrolling beat ‘em up from the era, although it does spend more time in the vertical space than most.  Controls are your classic four-button arrangement; jump, attack (kick), slide, and special.  You can also use combine with directions to an extent, providing you with a low kick, jump attacks, and also the ability to grab ledges.  The coolest thing about Cannon Dancer, and where it differs to most beat ‘em ups, is that it plays like a boss rush, so you’re just going from one epic battle to the next with a bit of platform jumping in between.  



If you love retro beat ‘em ups, this is one of the better ones.  And while some retro games don’t port to modern machines very well, looking dated and feeling clunky out of the box, Cannon Dancer is silky smooth.  As I reviewed the Switch version, my kids played and loved it too.