20 Best Multiplayer SEGA Genesis Games

SEGA Genesis Multiplayer Games

When it comes to multiplayer gaming, there is a lot of nostalgia for a time when two people could play games on the same screen (much less in the same room). And luckily for those who yearn for the good ole days of gaming, couch co-op and versus titles played a big role for the SEGA Genesis (referred to as the Mega Drive in most countries outside of the United States).

The best multiplayer games on the SEGA Genesis bring back that feeling of nostalgia. In fact, most of the Genesis' best and most iconic games featured fantastic multiplayer modes. And it doesn't matter if you're looking for cooperative or competitive multiplayer games, the SEGA Genesis truly has it all.

Please note that any game that allows for more than two players requires a Team Player adapter (see the link for eBay pricing).

The 20 Best Multiplayer SEGA Genesis Games:

1. Streets Of Rage 2

Streets Of Rage 2
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  • Genre: Beat 'em Up
  • Players: 1-2 / Co-Op & Versus
  • eBay: See Pricing

Description: “Original rumblers Axel and Blaze slam the asphalt with bigger, better, totally devastating attacks! Skull-crushing ex-wrestler Max Thunder joins up with earth-shattering body slams and spinning fist attacks. New thrasher Skate slices punks with high-speed in-line skate attacks and spinning jump kicks. Go maniac with jaw-shattering, bone-busting punches, head-cracking jump kicks, and secret weapons. Gangs of dirt bikers dive into you from every side. Smash 'em with a pipe as they speed by. 16 gigantic megs of compound fractures! All-new moves, and more of 'em! Bust knuckles with a friend in an all-new 2-player head-to-head mode!”

What The Critics Say: “If you like beat-em-ups then you will love this. For a game [that] was released in 1992, this game feels as if it has not aged at all. It is really the definitive two-player scrolling beat-em-up and deserves to be in every gamer’s collection.” – Nintendo Life

2. NBA Jam Tournament Edition

NBA Jam Tournament Edition
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  • Genre: Sports
  • Players: 1-4 / Co-Op & Versus
  • eBay: See Pricing

Description: “NBA Jam Tournament Edition brings you more senses-shattering slam dunking excitement than ever! More than twice as many NBA TE superstars, more than double the secret characters, Hot Spots, Super Jam Power-Ups, and – OH MY – nine all-new rim-rattling slam dunks plus all the original jams!”

What The Critics Say: “The bottom line is while NBA Jam was great, NBA Jam Tournament Edition is better than great. Simply put, this game is an awesome hoops title that keeps what was good about the first game and adds more players, features, modes, and other stuff to make one of the best arcade-style sports games ever. Plus, its four-player capabilities mean more sports fans can get in on the action.” – SEGA-16

3. Sonic & Knuckles

Sonic & Knuckles
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  • Genre: Platformer
  • Players: 1-2 / Versus
  • eBay: See Pricing

Description: “Sonic and Knuckles join forces to defeat rotten Dr. Robotnik's Death Egg invasion! Play Sonic & Knuckles by itself or Lock-on with other Sonic games. This game's revolutionary Lock-on technology adds all-new features to your other Sonic games for ultimate replays! Play as Sonic and let loose on Robotnik with amazing new powers. Play as Knuckles and tackle Robotnik and Metal Sonic with bare-fisted attacks, high-speed glides, and wall-climbing power!?

What The Critics Say: “Sonic & Knuckles is pretty slick Sonic stuff itself, gameplay-wise — it's just as fun to play today as it was over a decade and a half ago, as you're given the option to take either Sonic or Knuckles through a fresh set of spinning, looping, high-speed levels.” – IGN

4. NHL '94

NHL 94
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  • Genre: Sports
  • Players: 1-4 / Co-Op & Versus
  • eBay: See Pricing

Description: “Over 25 new features in Hockey '94! 4-Way Play Support: Use the EA Sports 4-Way Play and NHL '94 becomes a 1, 2, 3 or 4 player game! Goalie Control: You control the double pad stacks and kick saves of all the greats. Penalty Shots and Shootout Mode: Take the hottest shooters and go head to head with the greatest goalies in the league.

One-Timers: New blistering slap shots make offense faster and more challenging. New Expansion Teams: Play with the Mighty Ducks or with the Florida Panthers. Music and Animations: Over 70 new pieces of organ music from arenas around the league. Plus new crowd and player animations!”

What The Critics Say: “Overall, this is an action-packed hockey game with tight controls that is a lot of fun to play with friends. The NHL license is also used to full effect here but the game is unfortunately missing fighting! While the music and sound effects are subpar, it surprisingly does not really hamper the awesomeness of this game.” – RetroGame Man

5. Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3

Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3
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  • Genre: Fighter
  • Players: 1-4 / Versus
  • eBay: See Pricing

Description: “The fight of your life… Enter the world of ULTIMATE Mortal Kombat 3 and discover what awaits you… 23 immediately playable fighters and 2 bosses. Meet up with some old adversaries. Think you know them? Guess again. They've got new combos, fatalities, brutalities, and babalities and they're looking for you! There's also a few dudes playing their own version of hide and seek – find 'em if you can! Battle against the computer, opt for 2-on-2 fighting, or try out the very cool 8-fighter Tournament mode! Dazzling graphics, incredible sound and motion-capture technology produce the most realistic battles you'll ever fight!”

What The Critics Say: “It brings a lot to the table from Mortal Kombat II, and it upgrades the game in some spots, especially combos and character selection. I actually would say that this game does offer enough of an upgrade to actually warrant a purchase, even if you already have Mortal Kombat 3.” – SEGA-16

6. Gunstar Heroes

Gunstar Heroes
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  • Genre: Run & Gun
  • Players: 1-2 / Co-Op
  • eBay: See Pricing

Description: “With the military detained and the planet in serious peril, two brothers vow to find and destroy the evil power that now threatens Gunstar 9. If they succeed they shall go down in history as Gunstar Heroes! If they fail… Gunstar 9 shall perish. Explosive 2-player action. Race through impossible mine shafts at mind-numbing speed! Do battle with incredible mechanical menaces! Hang from ledges, shoot in 360 degrees and body slam the mindless minions!”

What The Critics Say: “Gunstar Heroes is quite simply one of the most graphically intense platform shooters available on any 16-bit machine and still looks breathtakingly brilliant even today. The screen is packed with sprites and explosions, the speed of some sections is amazing and as for the end of level boss battles – well, let's just say that until you've encountered the ‘Seven Force', you really haven't lived.” – Nintendo Life

7. Contra: Hard Corps

Contra: Hard Corps
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  • Genre: Run & Gun
  • Players: 1-2 / Co-Op
  • eBay: See Pricing

Description: “Kickin' cyborg butt… That's what it's all about, dude. Jack into this game of genetic engineering gone bad. Real bad. It's five years after the mother of all wars ended – and things still aren't right. Your job is to fix it. The ever-popular Contra series makes its SEGA Genesis debut with a pulse-pounding new storyline.”

What The Critics Say: “Konami pushed the Genesis hard with every release but this is truly their pinnacle.  The game effortlessly pushes a ton of sprites and explosions simultaneously with no slowdown.  The art is dark and gritty and fantastic.  Special effects abound at every turn and run the gamut; scaling, rotation, there are even polygonal bosses thrown in just to show off!   All of this is backed by an amazing soundtrack as well.” – Classic-Games.net

8. Micro Machines 2: Turbo Tournament

Micro Machines 2: Turbo Tournament
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  • Genre: Racing
  • Players: 1-4 / Versus
  • eBay: See Pricing

Description: “Bigger, Better, Faster, Meaner, More! They're back! Codemasters brings you Micro Machines 2: Turbo Tournament, packing more micro power than ever before. Hovering, tracking, biking, the game has exploded in every aspect. Interactive courses, rain, wild jumps and much much more.”

What The Critics Say: “Still, in today's world of bloated productions and derivative design, titles that can stand on the strength of their gameplay alone are something of a rare commodity. Micro Machines 2 is that kind of game, and for that reason alone, it deserves a look from action racing fans.” – GameSpot

EDITOR'S NOTE: This game is a Mega Drive exclusive, meaning it was never released in North America for the SEGA Genesis.

9. ToeJam & Earl

ToeJam & Earl
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  • Genre: Action / Dungeon Crawler
  • Players: 1-2 / Co-Op
  • eBay: See Pricing

Description: “Check it out… We're ToeJam and Earl. And we ran into a small problem. More specifically, a large planet (I shoulda never let Earl drive… ). Help us hunt down the pieces to our rocket ship and we'll let you jam out some tunes on our megawatt rapmaster. Deal? WHOAH!! We're bumpin' into some of the weirdest creatures in the universe: Earthlings.

Boogie down with bewitching hula girls. Block a nerd herd. Or hurl tomatoes at a crazed dentist with a drill. Split up and scope things out. Or hang together to share your stuff. Pick up presents you can use – like wings, rocket skates, and inner tubes. Or ones you'll wish you hadn't opened – like bees, tomato rain, and school books. So grab a friend – or join the jamminest party you'll ever play!”

What The Critics Say: “The original ToeJam & Earl still holds up pretty well today, and while it's not the most famous game in the world, it's definitely a classic.” – GameSpot

10. Super Street Fighter II

Super Street Fighter II
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  • Genre: Fighter
  • Players: 1-2 / Versus
  • eBay: See Pricing

Description: “It's Super Street Fighter II! Featuring four all-new fighters and 16 challengers in total! New moves with improved animation. Time Challenge, Score Challenge, and Tournament battle modes. Loaded with 40 megs of fighting power!”

What The Critics Say: “Super Street Fighter II will always be, to me, the one game I could never beat. It will also be known to me as the humble pie. It’s nostalgic charm keeps making me plug back in to keep trying every now and then though.” – Nerd Bacon

11. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Hyperstone Heist

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Hypersonte Heist
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  • Genre: Beat 'em Up
  • Players: 1-2 / Co-Op
  • eBay: See Pricing

Description: “Shredder steals the powerful Hyperstone to shrink New York City and it's up to you to teach that treacherous troublemaker not to mess with the fearless foursome! Pick your favorite Cowabunga commando to slash through five lawless levels of lambasting. Four levels each have three intense stages and the other is packed with brand new challenges that will make you hurl your pizza lunch. Pulverize shrink-happy Shredder before he pockets our whole planet!”

What The Critics Say: “It’s easy to write the game off as a clone of Turtles in Time, but it’s a solid outing in its own right and brings together some of the best elements from Konami’s two TMNT arcade games into one outing.” – Kulture Shocked

12. World Of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse And Donald Duck

World Of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse And Donald Duck
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  • Genre: Platformer
  • Players: 1-2 / Co-Op
  • eBay: See Pricing

Description: “Here's classic Disney fun with your favorites, Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck! Transported into a world of wonder, Mickey and Donald must perform amazing feats of magic to defeat a crafty Sorcerer and find their way back home!”

What The Critics Say: “World of Illusion was a great example of a well-done sequel, in that it took the basic idea of the original (a Mickey Mouse sidescroller) and built upon it while bringing it into a fresh new world. The two playable characters and co-op play were great additions, and the graphics received a beautiful facelift from what Castle of Illusion brought to the table two years prior.” – SEGA Bits

13. Zombies Ate My Neighbors!

Zombies Ate My Neighbors
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  • Genre: Run & Gun
  • Players: 1-2 / Co-Op
  • eBay: See Pricing

Description: “What are two wholesome teenage stars doing in a 16-bit game like this? Trying to save the nice neighbors, cheerleaders, and babies from a fate worse than polyester! Who could put this slice of suburbia in such goose-pimply behavior? Zombies, relentless Chainsaw Maniacs, Mummies, Evil Dolls that just won't die, Lizard Men, Blobs, Vampires, Giant Ants, Martians and more!”

What The Critics Say: “While [Zombies Ate My Neighbors] is not scary, it is a perfect Halloween all-night game with a friend. Most importantly, this is one of the few games I would give a perfect score. The fun factor and replay value are amazing. This game is definitely in the must-have category.” – SEGA Nerds

14. X-Men 2: Clones Wars

X-Men 2: Clone Wars
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  • Genre: Beat 'em Up
  • Players: 1-2 / Co-Op
  • eBay: See Pricing

Description: “The X-Men engage in a battle so world-threatening, even Magneto switches sides! Mutantkind races to the edge of oblivion at the hands of an evil techno-bio cloning organism… the Phalanx! Be Wolverine, Cyclops, Gambit, Nightcrawler, Beast, Psylocke and for the first time ever… play as Magneto! X-Men are at their fiercest with Cyclops' optic blast, Wolverine's slashing adamantium claws and Gambit's hyper-charged cards! Use each mutant's super-powered attack to defend the world!”

What The Critics Say: “Doesn't hurt that it does justice to its license, making you actually feel like one of the X-Men without weird restrictions that bog down gameplay, topping it off with excellent graphics and a skillfully-crafted soundtrack.” – HonestGamers

15. Gauntlet IV

Gauntlet IV
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  • Genre: Dungeon Crawler / Action-RPG
  • Players: 1-4 / Co-Op
  • eBay: See Pricing

Back Of The Box Quote: “The Greatest Adventure of all time is now the first game available for Sega Genesis' 4-player adaptor. Gauntlet IV lets you join forces with up to three other players in the Quest mode of this classic adventure!”

What The Critics Say: “The action is flawless… a brilliant game, and one that warrants immediate attention.” – MegaTech

16. Battletoads

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  • Genre: Beat 'em Up / Platformer
  • Players: 1-2 / Co-Op
  • eBay: See Pricing

Description: “Okay toads! Let’s get even! When the evil Dark Queen kidnaps both your best buddy and the best looking girl this side of the Mazallion Star Cluster – what are you gonna do about it? Are you gonna cry? Hide? Call the Starcops? No way! Because you’re a Battletoad and Battletoads don’t cry, hide, or call for help. Battletoads get real mad – and then they get even!

So, strap on your blaster, power-up the Toadster, and get on down to the Dark Queen’s planet – but, watch out ‘toad – this lady’s bad, and she’s got a whole mess of really nasty surprises lined up for you – like the Psyko Pigs, the Mutant Ratpack, Robo-Manus, and the Saturn Toadtrap, to name but a few. You’re gonna need all your fighting skills to defeat her – the Battletoad Butt, the Big Bad Boot, and the Nuclear Knuckles. Hey, and don’t forget to take along the Jet Turbo, the Space Board and the Speed Bike. Because you’re gonna need ’em all, ‘toad, if you’re gonna rescue your friends and get the frog outta there with your green skin intact!”

What The Critics Say: “… Battletoads is bloody tough… Co-op mode is hella fun but just as infuriating! Having said that, Battletoads is a work of art.  Just don’t throw it out of the window, as tempting as it is… ” – Arcade Attack

17. Madden NFL '96

Madden 96
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  • Genre: Sports
  • Players: 1-4 / Co-Op & Versus
  • eBay: See Pricing

Description: “The ultimate Madden. The real deal: general manager, trade and sign players, salary cap, scouting combine… “

What The Critics Say: “EA went all out with The ’96 edition of Madden. Tommy Tallarico was brought in to take care of the game’s music and sound, and a lot of attention was paid to the fine details in the game’s graphics. ‘96 still uses the previous year’s engine, but a lot of improvements were made, such as faster gameplay, sharper colors, several new, and improved animations, numbered uniforms, realistically textured fields, team logos in the end zones, and a slick, classy, modern interface.” – SEGA-16

18. Golden Axe

Golden Axe
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  • Genre: Beat 'em Up
  • Players: 1-2 / Co-Op
  • eBay: See Pricing

Description: “In Turtle Village, the children are fleeing for their lives! The invaders are brutal, ugly, and 12 feet tall, with huge arms and bellowing laughs. They love pounding you into the dirt! It's a spellbinding age of magic, fire-spewing dragons, and skeletons in armor! Fight on the back of a giant turtle! Battle on the wings of an enchanted eagle! Vanquish and ride flame-breathing monsters to victory!”

What The Critics Say: “Double Dragon meets Conan is the best way to sum up Golden Axe. Easily one of the better side-scrolling fighters to be found on the [Genesis], Golden Axe is still a gorgeous game to behold, even today.” – Nintendo Life

19. Columns III: Revenge Of The Columns

Columns III: Revenge Of The Columns
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  • Genre: Puzzle
  • Players: 1-5 / Versus
  • eBay: See Pricing

Description: “Columns has always been fun. But now that you can add Team Player to Columns III it's a party! With multiple playing modes, you can go one-on-one with a friend, mix it up in a simultaneous free-for-all, take on two players yourself, or for a real frenzy, go all out in four-player simultaneous or five-player simultaneous modes. Of course, if you wish, you can still play against the machine.”

What The Critics Say: “If you haven’t given it a chance, it would be a good idea to go get it now. It’s totally worth your time.” – GameFAQs

20. Cadash

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  • Genre: Platformer / RPG
  • Players: 1-2 / Co-Op
  • eBay: See Pricing

Description: “Arise brave warrior, your services are once again needed! Baarogue the Destroyer has kidnapped the King's only daughter, Princess Sarasa, and is now bent on universal dominance! Become a powerful Fighter, a resourceful Mage, a magic-laden Priestess, or an agile Ninja in your quest to return peace to the once tranquil land of Deerzar! Be wary on the path to your goal!

Baarogue has littered it with many foes, from the re-animinated Hands of Stone to the Giant Pedra-Pods of Dokra-Ri. Enlist the services of a trustworthy friend to aid you, for this quest allows two brave souls to venture forth together via the TurboTap. You must succeed, for Baarogue's dark power grows by the second, and soon no soul will be able to halt his advance!”

What The Critics Say: “Taito's Cadash tried to be two things when it hit the arcades so many years ago. It was a side-scrolling role-playing game and an action game. The hybrid wasn’t flawless, but it was enjoyable. The multiple characters gave it even more depth than the genre-mixing did.” – Honest Gamers

Honorable Mentions

Those are our picks for the best multiplayer titles on the SEGA Genesis, but those are far from the only quality two (or four-player) games.

Here are a handful of quality recommendations – if interested, click the links to see pricing at eBay:

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