Two-player side-scrolling action: oldschool edition!
September 29, 2015 3:05 PM   Subscribe

Looking for recommendations for retro (think mid-80s to mid-90s) console side-scrollers that have two-player support.

So I'm about to get a hold of a bunch of vintage videogame hardware and would like to show my sister who, like myself, is into retro games (though only side-scrollers while I'm mostly into traditional RPGs), that there's more than just Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario Bros. 3 (great games, no doubt . . . but variety is nice, no?) and would like to compile a list of games to get a hold of that we can play together.

My criteria: the games must have two-player support; the games can only be for the NES, SEGA Master System, SEGA Genesis or SNES; the games must be side-scrollers; the games mustn't be 'too manly' (my sister is quite turned off by macho-ism / masculinity); the games must be addictive as hell and fun as fuck.

Got any recommendations?
posted by GlassHeart to Media & Arts (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You, sir, want Contra 3. Yes, it's a bro-fest which violates one of your rules, but is way over the top silly and a total blast. Alternately, Legend of the Mystical Ninja which has a bunch of silly co-op features. Maybe Joe and Mac, Cavemen Ninja, although it's quite hard.
posted by GilloD at 3:13 PM on September 29, 2015

A few I can think of:

- Contra (NES): Pretty difficult shooter, but there's the whole 30 lives code thing. Maybe too macho, but classic.

- RIVER CITY RANSOM (NES): Almost definitely the best co-op game for NES. It's a beat-em-up where the goal is to rescue your kidnapped girlfriend, so there's a bit of the macho stuff, but it's pretty light and silly otherwise. Beat up bullies for their lunch money, then go to the mall and spend it on junk food to power up.

- Bubble Bobble (NES): Not strictly a side-scroller, but very cute.

- Sonic 2 (Genesis): Not strictly co-op, but player 2 gets to control Tails.
posted by neckro23 at 3:22 PM on September 29, 2015 [2 favorites]

For SMS:

Quartet (sci-fi platform shooter, lots of fun, female playable character)
Rambo II (I know, you clearly said not too macho, but this is pretty cartoony)
Global Defense (probably an acquired taste, but very different from typical co-op in that one player controls the spaceship and the other targets and fires the lasers)
posted by prize bull octorok at 3:36 PM on September 29, 2015

I remember the arcade versions of Sunset Riders and Turtles in Time pretty fondly. Both of those were ported to SNES. Zombies Ate My Neighbors is the absolute best and has the same run-and-gun format as many sidescrollers, but it's from more of a top-down view than a side-on view. Seconding Mystical Ninja.
posted by knuckle tattoos at 3:37 PM on September 29, 2015

Pocky & Rocky (SNES) has vertical scrolling sections but a fun, weird aesthetic for a shooter.

Gunstar Heroes on the Genesis is a frantic shooter with great visuals, tight gameplay, and neat bosses.
posted by majuju at 3:41 PM on September 29, 2015

Seconding River City Ransom, Turtles In Time, and Gunstar Heroes.

All worth every moment. Must play. Do not miss any of them.
posted by RolandOfEld at 4:00 PM on September 29, 2015

Battletoads, masochistic but mostly from a difficultly perspective. Altered Beast is over the top 80s masculinity, probably not what you are looking for but worth a mention.
posted by EsotericAlgorithm at 5:46 PM on September 29, 2015

Besides nth-ing Gunstar Heroes, you may also want to check out World of Illusion. A beautiful sequel to Castle of Illusion (recently remade) with co-op play.
posted by workingdankoch at 5:58 PM on September 29, 2015

Seconding the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time game. Many good hours were had with my dad when I was wee.
posted by the_wintry_mizzenmast at 1:01 PM on September 30, 2015

TNMT II for sure for NES. It's way fun and simple but challenging. I definitely consider it addictive, plus the music is also great!

Double Dragon is another NES one- or two-person fighter game. It's a little more basic and really typical of an old-school fighter game but just another option to add to your list.
posted by atinna at 6:18 PM on September 30, 2015

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