Nothing quite beats the feeling of sitting down with a friend and playing a video game together. It’s as simple as that. We have more multiplayer avenues in this day and age, but back in the day, it was a matter of handing a buddy a controller or having them as your P2 in the Arcade.
There were a number of ways you could play with your friends back in the day, everything from the standard fighting game, introducing them to coding on your fancy new computer, to just playing whatever beat ’em up you could find in the Arcade. All sorts of games exist out there that we all hold dear thanks to the experiences we’ve had with our friends.
But while you can play things like Street Fighter or Goldeneye against your best buddies, some of the best games have you working with your friend. Beyond maybe a bit of an argument over what character you want to use, you’ll be in the adventure together.
So we here at FunstockRetro have decided to make a nifty little list of five of the best games you can play with your friend! This is the Top Five Retro Co-Op Games!
Sunset Riders capitalises on the Western genre in all the right ways, it’s not too serious and filled with enough action to keep anyone entertained. We love it so much that we wrote the most extensive guide on the game, which you can read here.
Picking your rider and hailing down swarms of bullets with your friend by your side, running over a swarm of bulls going mental, and overall fun to be had. Everyone has their own memories of the game too, for those of us who played in the Arcade, having all four of our friends playing was pretty standard thanks to the cabinet. SNES players got as close to the Arcade version as was possible, whereas the Megadrive version only had two characters and the graphics/gameplay was a bit different.
Overall though, Sunset Riders remains a fun and hectic multiplayer experience that really made us smile back in the day!
The world ruled under chaos by Death Adder has us all captivated, flaunting numerous fantasy elements that wowed us back in the day. Characters were standard, but each had their own speciality that made them fun to play as. But the best character is obviously Gilius Thunderhead, right? Right.
The best part about the series is that it didn’t seem to stop much back during the Megadrive era, it always felt like there was a new game around the corner from the Golden Axe series. So just as you were done play through the game with your friend or sibling for the 12th time, bam. Golden Axe II, and then Golden Axe III. You could cast spells and hack down the minions of Death Adder for a number of years!
No matter what happens, Golden Axe will always hold a special place in our hearts. The main games anyway, that modern reboot? Not so much…
Treasure makes great games. Ikaruga, Alien Soldier, and Mischief Makers are just a few notable examples of this. Gunstar Heroes is heralded as their best work, and for good reason. It’s an intense and high-octane experience you couldn’t get anywhere else other than the Sega Megadrive.
To play Gunstar Heroes alongside someone is an amazing experience. Gawking at the explosion and enemies on the screen and reacting to some of the insane bosses in the game, including the most iconic one in the long corridor area that flips in all sorts of directions. You know the one. It has an intense level of charm that is clear from those same bosses, like Orange, who battles you on an attack helicopter and uses pro wrestling moves to take you down, because why not?
So if you are ever bored and want a great co-op experience, look no further than Gunstar Heroes.
Streets of Rage
Axel, Blaze, and Adam. These are the three characters we get to know in the course of our time with Streets and Rage, and they all had specific strengths and weaknesses. They graced our Megadrives and were one of the reasons we proclaimed the system superior above the likes of Nintendo at the time.
It’s the quintessential beat ’em up, the one that everyone and their mum have played. That is the beauty of the game though. Everyone has played Streets of Rage. We’ve played it with friends, parents, and grandparents. It was a simple enough concept to understand but oozed a level of character not found in many games of that time. SEGA also had the same skill of spoiling us with more games, as the follow-ups were about just as good.
Nothing beats the original though, Streets of Rage didn’t induce rage, but rather some great cooperation.
Contra is the co-op game. Ask any Retro Gamer what game best represents co-op, most will say Contra. Konami has a pure gem on their hands when it comes to the Contra series, and while the series is silent today, we still remember the memories of the first game.
The run and gun experience that Contra brought about made us feel like masters of combat. We could be either Arnie or Rambo, and the game was our platform to express those inner action movie desires. Battling aliens alongside our pal of choice was great, especially because of how difficult the game was. It kicked our butts and didn’t let up, but we kept going. Our fingers pressed our gamepads in a frenzy until we could hold our heads high with our P2 that we had beaten Contra!
Contra is co-op gaming. It’ll always be one of the best games to play with someone by your side.
That was our list! There are so many fantastic Retro Co-Op Games out there that it was hard to list just five! We had a lot of fun doing this listen and feel inspired to get up to some classic couch gaming! What about you? What is your favourite Retro title to play with your friends and family? If you comment your personal pick, we might add it to the list as an honourable mention! So don’t be afraid to let us know what you think!