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Top 10 Retro Co-Op Games

VO: Dan
Grab a friend and play together for a change! With online, something's been lost form cooperative game experiences over the last few years. So we'll always remember the classic 2 player romps best. Just to be clear, we're only talking about games in which players could share the screen at the same time, eliminating turn based games, sports games, as well as tournament fighting games- on the basis that players don’t cooperate, but murder each other. Join as we count down the top 10 greatest retro co-op-games.

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Top 10 Retro Co-Op Games

There’s nothing like a good old fashion romp with you friends. Welcome to and today we’ll be counting down the top 10 greatest retro co-op-games.

Just so there’s no confusion, we’re only focusing on 2D games leading up to the pre-fifth generation console era of the PlayStation and N64. We’re also making it a requirement that players could share the screen at the same time, eliminating turn based games, sports games, as well as tournament fighting games- on the basis that players don’t cooperate, but murder each other.

#10- Metal Slug (1997)

Kicking off our list is the insane run and gun arcade classic in which buddies can bring the horror of war straight to the enemy’s doorstep. Here, players find and use countless fantastic weapons, upgrades and tanks to take out the forces of an evil General whose rebels have launched a coup against the world’s governments. Six levels full of POW’s to rescue, a buddy to fight beside and a ton of heavy artillery: what’s not to like?

#9- Wild Guns (1995)

We love the Wild West, especially when it’s all steam-punk, packed with sci-fi and has you relentlessly shoot at the screen. The plot here is that player 1 assumes the role of Annie, who wants revenge against a gang for the death of her family, and player 2 plays her bounty hunter companion Clint. We dig the rapid third-person action, it makes our trigger fingers itch.

#8- Streets of Rage 2 (1991)

With the city falling into the hands of a criminal syndicate, three police officers quit the corrupt force to put their lives on the line. This means that you and a friend take on the roles of two of the three idealistically unarmed cops who possess exceptional martial art and boxing skills. This means curb stomping wave after wave of denigrate filth in an effort to clean up the streets. It’s called Streets of Rage for a reason, and it’s an essential play for male bonding.

#7- Final Fight (1989)

If you haven’t played this before, you don’t know what you’re missing! Transporting you to Metro City, 2-players choose between three selectable characters, each with their own skillsets. One of these happens to be the newly elected mayor and former Pro-Wrestler Mike Haggar. The goal: defeat the Mad Gear Gang and rescue Haggar’s daughter Jessica. This means six stages of brutal face pounding. Awesome!

#6- Pocky and Rocky (1993)

This arcade-style top-down co-op gem by Natsume takes place within an anime inspired version of ancient Japan. There players choose between a girl and her raccoon friend and set out to battle brainwashed goblins and stop the mysterious force that’s controlling them. A cleverly disguised shooter, this romp is best played as a pair and is wildly fast paced, addictive and bursting with personality.

#5- Double Dragon 2: The Revenge (1988)

Long before Halo, these brothers are the ones who best represented red and blue! A side-scrolling beat ‘em up, this sequel to the excellent, but ultimately solo NES outing took things to the extreme. Remember the brother’s love interest Marian that you saved in the original? Probably not, but anyway, here she’s brutally shot to death in the intro, and all that’s left is sweet sweet vengeance. There’s nothing like street justice, and this one takes brings it to awesome new locations like a heliport, lumber superstore, wheat field and finally, the gang hideout.

#4- The Simpsons Arcade Game (1991)

We loved the Simpsons back when arcades were all the rage, and we still do, especially this multiplayer game! Playing as the Simpson gang out to save Maggie from Mr. Burns and Smithers, this beat ‘em up had up to four players take on the not so friendly inhabitants of Spingfield. While it’s not overly complex, its timeless fun with a decent amount of fan service to the show! Besides, where else can a suburban mom beat people up with a vacuum cleaner? Wait, is that sexist?

#3- Smash TV (1990)

An arcade classic before ported to various home consoles, this do or die extravaganza pitted pals against wave upon wave of enemies. Forced to fight for survival within a violent game show in the desolate future of…1999, the bromantic gameplay involved moving from room to room, killing enemy hordes from all directions, collecting better weapons, power-ups and prizes, until finally killing the host. If this were a real show I’d watch it….

#2- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles In Time (1992)

Cowabunga! This Konami arcade classic was amazing to play with others, whether it was 4-players in the arcade or with a single buddy on the SNES. Simple and fun, players made use of a basic attack, power attack and jump to take down Shredder, Krang and the foot clan across time in order to rescue the Statue of Liberty. Not only was it simple enough for anyone to pick up, it adapted everything we loved from the original cartoon! Plus the music kicked shell.

#1- Contra III: The Alien Wars (1992)

Aliens are dicks. Amirite? This run and gun game for the SNES takes the 2-player side-scrolling mayhem to a new extreme as the aliens launch a full-scale assault in the year 2636. As the original heroes’ descendants Jimbo and Sully, this game brought arcade quality graphics, complex level design, more environmental interaction, vehicle segments and the ability to fire in 8 directions without having to move or jump. Simply put, this is glorious two player pixilated mayhem.

Agree with our list? Which retro coop game makes do you best enjoy with a friend? For more entertaining top 10s, be sure to subscribe at

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