Team Up For Best Retro Multiplayer Games

Throwback To Legendary Co-Op Classics

Nostalgia is a powerful force and every here and there we remember all those nights we spent playing retro multiplayer games with your best buds or siblings. No matter if it was side-scrolling shooter run-and-gun or beat-’em-up they all provided us with endless hours of fun. It was really hard to pick any certain number as retro games belong a to whole era of gaming history. However there are ones that have special place in our memories. Standing out for certain reasons, here are the ones we used to play the most.

1. Super Mario Bros

Super Mario Bros gameplay footage

Mario Bros. is one of Nintendo’s best selling franchises. The most annoying thing was finally reaching the castle to be told that The Princess is elsewhere. Released in 1983, The brothers Mario and Luigi saw their first release in arcades across the world as a base defence-like platformer, which would later be released on the Nintendo Famicom and NES. Due to the popularity of the arcade game, the world has many additions and spin offs of the franchise of the Mario Brothers. To play the original title you can download NES file for free.

Fun Fact: Mario and Luigi don’t have last names. Miyamoto even claimed that their full names were Mario Mario and Luigi Mario

2. Contra (NES) & Contra III: The Alien Wars

Contra NES multiplayer gameplay footage

Contra is a widely known Franchise (*duh) by Konami released in 1987 in local arcades. It later got a release for NES the following year. The initial game in the franchise and other additions saw release on desktop operating systems, and even modern mobile OS. Contra is a Run-and-Gun, known for its pseudo-3D view, and doing somersaults to jump. The sequel, Super Contra, was released with the NES port, and was the last arcade version of the game built by in-house Konami. It saw a total of 11 installments into the series (so far). For those not familiar with Contra series, you might want to check out our definitive guide to Contra.

3. Smash TV

Smash TV retro Multiplayer game

Smash TV is a top-down that takes place in a futuristic, brutal reality TV show, where you clear out rooms of enemies without dying, and collecting rewards along the way. Released in 1990, it’s not as old as other mentions on this list. Created by Eugene Jarvis, it shares similarities with his other game, Robotron: 2084. The game shares the same theme as The Running Man, a movie released in 1987. The game has been references, or copied, in other games. RAGE’s Mutant Bash TV is a FPS replica of Smash TV. Good for some pickup and play fun. If you’re up for that, feel free to make use of our collaboration with ROM Central and get it for free.

4. Streets of Rage 

Streets of Rage multiplayer gameplay footage

Multiplayer from the start, Streets of Rage is also a well-received franchise. Released in 1991 for Sega Megadrive and Genesis, seeing 3 releases and the fourth addition coming soon. Streets of Rage is a side scrolling Beat-em-up featuring the main protagonist, Axel Stone as the frontman for the franchise. The game takes place in New York City, where you beat the everloving crap out of gangsters. The first installment featured 3 playable characters. Axel Stone, Blaze Fielding, and Adam Hunter, all police officers, are all investigating Mr. X, a syndicate leader, and the final boss in the first two games. The trilogy ended in 1994. Fortunately that doesn’t mean you can’t play the game anymore, as there is game file available for download.

5. Gauntlet

Gauntlet arcade retro multiplayer game

Gauntlet, released in 1985, is a fantasy hack-n-slash created by Atari Games, which started out as a 4-player cabinet, and was son released as a 2 player cabinet for arcade owners who didn’t have the space. In Gauntlet, you play as either a wizard, Warrior, Valkyrie, or an Elf, fighting your way through dungeons. There are 999 levels in the base game until it loops back to older levels. There was an expansion entitled Gauntlet: The Deeper Dungeons, which includes 512 more levels for more adventuring. Embark on a retro adventure and download Gauntlet now.

6. Space Invaders

Space Invaders multiplayer game footage

Space Invaders has aged like a fine wine, being one of the most recognizable games. Released in 1978 By Taito, Space Invaders has made several Cameos, and been replicated in several other games. It was  the first fixed shooter and shoot-‘em-up. The game was so popular, it boosted the game industry as it grossed over $13 billion dollars in today’s money. Needles to say the enemy aliens have become an iconic symbol after this game. It’s been re-released and ported many times, and has found several modern releases. If you’re still up for the original one don’t hesitate to give it a go as it’s so much fun.

7. Golden Axe 

The Golden Axe retro multiplayer game footage

The Golden Axe franchise is a popular 2D side-scrolling game released in 1989 for the SEGA Genesis and Arcades. Golden Axe follows the basic “bad guy does bad thing, good guys kick ass” formula. I never said it is a bad game. The game takes place in the land of Yuria, and the evil Death Adder Captures the king and daughter, and makes forces the people of the land to accept him as his king. Three warriors set out to take revenge on Death Adder, and save the kingdom; Gilius Thunderhead, Ax Battler, and Tyris Flare, the princess of another kingdom. They go off, defeat the bad guy, save the king and his daughter, and receive the golden axe a token of their bravery. Want to get the golden axe token yourself? Feel free to make use of our partnership with ROM Central and get the game for free.

8. DOOM (1993)

DOOM 1993 multiplayer gameplay footage

For the inner rip-and-tear and MIDI metal that thrives within you, DOOM is just right for you. This game is by the brilliant minds at Id software, especially John Karmack, and John Ramero. DOOM is the father of modern FPS, and is loved by many. It was part of several controversies, and banked in 1.1 million dollars at the time. Id gave away 1.5 million shareware copies by 1999. Its legacy lives on today, in iconic artwork, mods for the original DOOM engine, and in DOOM 2016, and soon to be released DOOM Eternal. The DOOM Guy (DOOM Slayer, The Mother*uckin’ DOOOMGUY, Mr. Doom) is the main protagonist, slaying hell and high water because a demon killed his rabbit. You go through 39 levels in 4 episodes, slaying everything in your way, picking up keycards, and trying not to die. What puts doom on this list is the LAN parties. If you could get the boys in one place with their computers, DOOM was the answer to the “what are we going to play?” question. Online play today makes multiplayer easier, with the ability to frag people around the globe.

9. Warlords

Warlords game footage

Warlords is essentially what it sounds like. War between lords. Warlords is a 4 player arcade cabinet released in 1980, and later ported to the Atari 2600 the next year. You and the other players fight to destroy each others castles, and protect your own at the same time. The last man standing was the winner. In the game, you could use the Power Stone button, to further damage other player’s walls, but doing so would slowly deteriorate your own walls. The most interesting thing is what staff at Game Informer said about it. ”They called it the ‘original trash-talking four-player combat game’ and felt that it held up years later.” Give it a go and find out why it got such a review.

Retro Rewind In 3, 2, 1

Did this article brought up some memories? Quality time with your friends and siblings when gaming was simple yet so much fun! Endless hours of 8 & 16-bit multiplayer adventures. Tell us which one is your favorite retro co-op game. Did you find it on the list? Drop a comment and let us know.