We have been playing our asses of the last few months, and a lot of that playing time went into playing 2 player co-op games on the Sega MD/Genesis for the purpose of making this list (and for having great fun). We have played a bunch of Sega MD in the past but never really delved into the co-op library, so after a lot of research and playing, we are finally ready to present you with what we think are the top 10 co-op experiences for the system.
To meet the criteria the game has to have simultaneous multi-player where the 2 or more players are teammates. Games like Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat are not eligible, and same with games like the Sonic games where even though one player can play Tails, that player isn’t really contributing enough since the game always follows Sonic and Tails cannot die.
This list is also just our opinion, so don’t freak out too much if you disagree with it 🙂
10. Zombies Ate My Neighbors/Zombies!
Zombies Ate My Neighbors is a fun shooting game where you and your pal have to got through a buttload of stages to rescue all your neighbours and advance. You run around searching and have to be careful of enemies of multiple variety (zombies mainly). You get power ups, better weapons and health packs who are all essential for survival in the game. Their is a SNES version of this game who is nearly identical in gameplay but the sounds are probably better on the SNES version. This game barely missed the SNES top 10 co-op list but barely makes it this time on the Mega Drive/Genesis list because maybe the SNES is the slightly better system for co-op play….maybe….
Still, Zombies Ate My Neighbors is a fun, long, challenging game that is definitely worth your time.
9. NBA Jam
RAZZLE DAZZLE!!!! NBA Jam, a game that is always fun to pick up, basketball fan or not. Being a basketball fan surely makes it more important to me though. It has Simple, fun gameplay, versus or co-op, that you can always pick up and play even if you are short on time. The cartoony, over the top style of this game is what makes it so accessible to everyone. It is just a 2-on-2 basketball game but with insane 5 meter high dunks, high field goal percentage and almost no rules so it’s a game not just for sports fans. I have to admit I love seeing the old superstars from 1995, it makes the game more fun for me to be honest but i play this game plenty with non-basketball fans and they also have a lot of fun.The simple, carefree gameplay is what makes this game great and puts it at number 9. I have to mention the announcers who help to solidify its fun, cartoony identity with great phrases like “Razzle Dazzle!”, “Boomshackalacka!” and more. Overall fun game.
It is available on the SNES and Sega Mega Drive and more. All versions are worth checking out
8. Toejam and Earl: Panic in Funkotron
Toejam and Earl made their second appearance on the Mega Drive and totally reinvented the play style from the original who happens to also make this list below. In the first game they crashed on Earth and had to put there ship back together to get to their planet Funkotron and it seems that some annoying earthlings became stowaways on their ship because Funkotron is now infested with humans! Everyone not being so happy about that, it is up to Toejam and Earl to gather them and send them back to Earth in a more of a platforming environment where you jump, throw projectiles and explore Funkotron for pesky humans. A very fun and funky co-op experience that shows funny misanthropic view towards humans and Earth. (More about the series below)
7. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Hyperstone Heist
The Hyperstone Heist is the Sega MD/Genesis’ version of Turtles in Time, and while Turtles in Time is probably the better game, The Hyperstone Heist is still a fun beat’em up in its own rights. The only thing we found was done better in The Hyperstone Heist was the controls but that is still saying something. If you like the other Turtles beat’em ups or just need more co-op beat’ em ups for the Sega MD then The Hyperstone Heist is a solid choice.
6. Blades of Vengeance
A hidden gem somewhat, Blades of Vengeance offers great action platforming in co-op in an interesting fantasy setting similar to Cadash (minus the rpg elements). Here you pick your character, battle beasts, jump over lava and avoid traps in a game that truly tests your skill and patience. You collect silver to buy health potions and other items like equipment with visual upgrades, you meet with gruesome bosses and have a big incentive to explore because the game is packed with secrets which is awesome. It controls well in general, has ranged and melee attacks based on your character and all character have a block that you must master to be able to finish the game. Co-op in action platformers can be a little difficult to handle in a way that the game just doesn’t just get more difficult with two people but Blades of Vengeance solves that well. Overall a great game but WARNING! This game is really challenging! Weather that is good or bad depends on what kind of player you are.
5.Contra: Hard Corps
Yet another Contra game. It should be noted that be played the Japanese version of the game which features more hit points and unlimited continues. The American version is probably the most difficult Contra game ever made, which is saying a lot. The Japanese has more fair and fun gameplay, but if you end up really really loving the game you might want to take on the insane challenge of the American version. All that stuff aside, Contra: Hard Corps is awesome. Great bosses, an insanely cool new wolfman character, multiple endings and a split level path which makes for a great replay value. This game is not necessarily the lesser game when compared with Alien Wars on the SNES. A solid Contra game easy to recommend.
4. Golden Axe
Golden Axe for the Mega Drive/Genesis was a godsend when it finally was ported from the arcades to the comfort of your own home. An early pioneer in the beat’ em up genres, Golden Axe has indeed aged graphically but its gameplay is still plenty solid. It provided a fun challenge and a great experience with great music and cool Conan-esque setting. You may think Golden Axe is dated, you may think it does not deserve the 4th place spot but it is the honest truth that we loved playing the game to the level of giving it the 4th spot.
3. Gunstar Heroes
Apparently made by former developers from Konami that were tired of making Contra sequels, Gunstar Heroes is sarcastically a Contra clone with a cartoony spin. Yes, Gunstar Heroes is an action packed run and gun game with dynamic bosses and a mix and match weapon system where you can have 2 types of guns at one time and mix them together for different type of shooting bad guys. The setting is charming and the gameplay is fluid and solid. Great game with a unique atmosphere. Highly recommended!
2. Toejam and Earl
Toejam and Earl is a funky little game that involves 2 aliens searching for their crashed ship and its many parts on earth. It is famous for its funk soundtrack and easy going vibe.There is no fighting in this game, these 2 chill dudes just want to get home but earthlings prove to be annoying hazards that need to be avoided while you explore the stages with the goal being finding ship parts and advance levels. Toejam & Earl is a welcome change in a co-op environment dominated by beat’em ups and run and gun games. I guess you can call the game a dungeon crawler, where you can find fun items that help you distract and/or avoid the annoying earthlings. You might want to research the game yourself further to understand fully what the game is about, but strangely enough it was enough fun to take the 2nd spot.
1.Streets of Rage 2
Streets of Rage 2 takes the top spot because of its great gameplay, great original setting and original music. This series became the new standard for the beat’ em ups on the Mega Drive and the second title stands out of the three as the best one. For a Sega Mega game, Streets of Rage II looks outstanding. The Swayze/Kurt Russell-ish theme of the game is a nice classic touch coupled with a tight variety of gameplay mechanics which equals to the best co-op game on the system. A Great game, so if you like it check out the other titles in the series. They might have made the list too but i don’t want a series to hog up a spot on the list unless the gameplay is fundamentally different like with the Toejam and Earl games.
Probably some of your favorites are missing. We also played games like Batman and Robin: The Animated Series, Power Rangers: The Movie, World of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, Sunset Riders and many more but they just didn’t make the cut. Sad about Sunset Riders but we just like the SNES version a lot better.
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Thanks for reading 😀