The 22 Best Multiplayer Sega Genesis/Mega Drive GamesThis post may contain affiliate links. If you buy something we may get a small commission at no extra cost to you. (Learn more).
The Sega Genesis – known as the Sega Mega Drive outside the US – was one of the leading contenders in the 16-bit console war.
In the end, the SNES came out on top. But the Sega Genesis is still an incredible console known for legendary titles like Ecco the Dolphin and Sonic the Hedgehog.
It also had some of the cutest controllers I’ve ever seen.
If you’ve got more than one of those lying around, it’d be a crime not to share the joy of retro gaming with a friend, family member, or whoever’s willing to play games with you.
And here’s some of the best picks for 2P Sega Genesis games worth trying.
22. Vapor Trail: Hyper Offense Formation (1991)
Vapor Trail is a shoot-em-up set in 1999, when a terrorist organization known as dagger has occupied New York and taken control of several nuclear missile silos.
Now, it’s up to you – and your most trusted Player 2 – to fly in and cripple their military might so they may be stopped.
You’ve got three different types of jets to choose from, and several weapon upgrades to look forward to.
It’s not the best game out there. But certainly able to keep you entertained for a while.
21. Air Buster (1990)
If you’re a shoot-em-up lover like me, but your friends aren’t quite on the same skill level, you might want to get them started with something like Air Buster.
This gorgeous side-scrolling shoot-em-up sends you and a friend into orbit aboard Blaster Fighters with one purpose – destroy a flying space fortress that’s endangering peace on Earth, and save humanity from enslavement.
Many users and publications criticized the game back in the day for being too easy.
But you can’t argue with these appealing graphics and solid sound design.
20. Columns 3: Revenge of Columns (1993)
Sometimes, a friendly traditional puzzler face-off can be just as exciting as any fighter or racing game.
Columns 3: Revenge of Columns mixes the best parts of falling blocks and match-three gameplay for a unique experience standing somewhere in the middle between Tetris and Candy Crush.
While single-player is definitely enjoyable, the multi-player element is downright addictive.
19. Fatal Fury 2 (1994)
There were plenty of competent fighters on the Sega Genesis.
But only a few are worth including in this ranking.
One of them is SNK’s Fatal Fury 2, famous in the series for introducing iconic characters like Mai Shiranui, who became a sex symbol and one of SNK’s most well-known mascot characters.
Another interesting addition to the formula that kept things interesting to the very last second of each match is the Desperation Move, which causes massive damage and can turn the tide of battle when your character drops below 25% health.
The sound effects leave a lot to be desired compared to the arcade cabinet.
But still, it features all the fighters, all the stages, and even a few extra customization options not available in other releases.
18. Bio-Hazard Battle (1992)
From a narrative perspective, Bio-Hazard Battle is one of the most unusual shoot-em-ups around.
It takes place many years after a new deadly form of retrovirus was released. This virus turned most living beings on the planet into horrible monsters, and forced the remaining population to flee into space and wait in cryostasis until the world was inhabitable again.
Now the time has come for you and a comrade to awaken and pilot organic ships down to the surface to carve out a new place for humanity in this wild world of vicious creatures.
The game’s detailed backgrounds, creative enemies, and bass-heavy music tracks made me fall in love with it instantly.
It’s also pretty damn challenging – and you can only access the last few levels if you play at a high difficulty.
17. Street Racer (1995)
Racing games are fun.
But you know what’s even more fun?
Racing games where you can beat up your opponents.
Street Racer brings together the best parts of Mario Kart and Street Fighter for a truly unique experience on the European Sega MegaDrive.
It featured hilariously campy characters like Surf Sister and Frank Instein, who’d risk life and limb for victory across various championships.
Other than racing, the game includes Soccer Mode – an old-timey Rocket League – and Rumble Mode, which tasks you with pushing other drivers off a combat arena.
16. Road Rash 2 (1992)
But the best vehicular combat game on the Sega Genesis is Road Rash 2.
This game is equal parts racing and vehicular combat, so you get it all right here.
You’ll use all kinds of blunt weapons, ranging from baseball bats to metal chains, to try and knock your opponents off their bikes – all while trying to stay in one piece until reaching the finish line.
If you win, you’ll get prize money to invest in a better faster bike.
You can also outfit your machine with Nitrous Oxide for a little boost – and maybe add some nails to that bat of yours.
Just make sure your P2 isn’t the vengeful type.
15. Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (1997)
Co-op gameplay was introduced to the Sonic the Hedgehog series in its second installment.
But the multiplayer element wasn’t fully fleshed out until the third game in the franchise.
This platformer has one player control the blue hedgehog while the other controls his side-kick, Tails.
You’ll use both characters’ unique abilities in tandem to reach new heights and progress through six Zones split into two acts each.
Once you’re done with the story mode, you can even jump into the Competition Mode and race each other through five special stages not included in the primary campaign.
Along with Sonic and Tails, a player may also race as Knuckles the Echidna too. Sonic 3 definitely added a lot to the series (especially for multiplayer).
14. Virtua Racing (1994)
Originally released as a twin racing cabinet, Virtua Racing was one of the most visually striking racers of its generation.
By itself, the Sega Genesis would’ve had trouble rendering Virtua Racing’s polygonal graphics.
The game’s cartridge incorporated an external Sega Virtua Processor that supercharged its visual processing to solve this issue.
Even though it lacks the vibrant colors of the arcade cabinet, Virtua Racing on the Sega Genesis is a pretty competent port that would’ve blown anyone’s mind back in the day.
13. Street Fighter 2: Champion Edition (1993)
Street Fighter 2: Champion Edition came out a little bit late compared to the SNES port of the classic arcade fighter.
But it didn’t disappoint when it did come out.
This fantastic title is known for its beautiful sprites, fluid animations, and flashy special attacks.
The cast is also surprisingly inclusive for such an old-school game, featuring fighters from all around the world including India, China, Russia, Spain, Mexico, and even Jamaica.
The Champion Edition also makes the four Shadaloo bosses – Balrog, Vega, Sagat, and M. Bison – into fully playable characters.
12. ToeJam & Earl (1991)
It may not look like much from a visual perspective.
But ToeJam & Earl is one of the most well-loved games of its generation.
That’s due mainly to the game’s creative direction and charming setting.
This title follows two famous rappers from outer space after their ship crash-lands on Earth. Now these alien musicians must collect the scattered parts of their ship if they want to get back to jammin’ among the stars.
ToeJam & Earl takes inspiration from 80s and early 90s pop culture, with plenty of references and parodies modern audiences might miss.
What you won’t miss is the incredible hip-hop soundtrack.
And this series even got some new attention in recent times, if you’re looking for an updated title.
11. Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 (1995)
The best way to experience Midway’s world-famous fighter franchise on the Genesis has to be in Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3.
While the original MK3 on the Genesis made incomprehensible mistakes like leaving out Scorpion of all people, this upgraded version fixes the issue.
It also features new characters like Cyrax, Kabal, Stryker, and Sektor, who would become mainstays in the series.
This game also had a wide variety of finishing moves on top of the classic Fatalities, including Animalities, Babalities, and the unexpected Friendships.
10. Golden Axe (1989)
Golden Axe was one of the most iconic beat-em-ups of its time, despite its cheesy macho-men characters and relatively basic storyline.
You and a friend can choose between a buff barbarian man, a fit-as-hell Amazoness, and an ax-wielding dwarf to face the dark lord’s minions on your quest to stop their evil plans.
It’s up to you whether you want to stain your steel with their blood, burn them to a crisp with powerful magical spells, or have your raptor dragon mount rip the flesh from their bones.
Sure, it’s a bit corny.
But the fun factor is through the roof. The soundtrack is also pretty darn good.
9. Zombies Ate My Neighbors! (1993)
Watching old-school horror movies with friends is always a great way to spend a moonless night – as is playing through this amazing top-down run-and-gun.
Zombies Ate My Neighbors! is a playable love letter to classic horror films like Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954) and Dawn of the Dead (1978).
In this game you’ll have to combat the usual suspects – aliens, possessed dolls, giant spiders, werewolves – and, obviously, zombies.
There are a whopping 48 suburban stages to traverse with your zombie-fighting companion, and many neighbors awaiting your rescue in exchange for some sweet, sweet points.
8. Mega Bomberman (1995)
Bomberman is guaranteed fun, no matter when you read this.
Mega Bomberman, also known as Bomberman ’94, introduced the modern White Bomberman design that most people are familiar with – plus other recurring characters like female and child bombers to use in multiplayer.
Some people felt that the game tampered with the classic formula too much, with the addition of new animal-based power-ups.
But I’d say it only made the game more exciting and chaotic.
Time to invest in a multitap.
7. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Hyperstone Heist (1992)
While the SNES had TMNT: Turtles in Time, the Sega Genesis gave us The Hyperstone Heist.
This excellent beat-em-up follows the coolest chelonians in NYC in pursuit of Shredder over five challenging levels.
This time, he’s gotten his hands on the Hyperstone – a treasure from Dimension X capable of shrinking anything, even entire cities.
The graphics are fantastic – even a bit better than Turtles in Time – and the gameplay is just as addictive.
6. World of Illusion (1992)
If you’re looking for a family-friendly title that’ll fill your heart with memories of better times, consider World of Illusion, starring Mickey Mouse & Donald Duck.
This underrated action platformer features bright and detailed graphics that mimic classic Disney films like Snow White, Pinocchio, Fantasia, The Sleeping Beauty, and The Sword in the Stone.
It’s like playing through those old VHS films your mom used to play so you’d sit tight and give her a breather from parenting.
This co-op title is easily one of the best Disney games ever made.
So if you’re big on the Gensis and on Disney stuff, give this game a try.
5. Gunstar Heroes (1993)
One of the most memorable titles on the Sega Genesis is Gunstar Heroes.
Everyone who ever owned the console seems to have played it, and I’m yet to meet someone who didn’t like it.
The best adjective to describe Gunstar Heroes’ gameplay is “chaos”.
There’s excitement hiding after every loading screen, and it only gets better by playing through it with a friend.
You’ve got access to four different weapons, which can be combined to create varied shot types. You can also choose between a fixed and dynamic firing stance, giving players a lot of freedom.
The game’s bosses are a definite highlight here. The Sega Genesis’ powerful processor allowed developers over at Treasure to create some of the coolest boss fights in gaming, doubly so for multiplayer.
4. Battletoads & Double Dragon (1993)
Battletoads is a name that strikes fear into the hearts of the less skilled games among us.
The game is hard as nails – and this crossover with Tecmo’s Double Dragon doesn’t tone it down one bit.
I can’t say I love the graphics. But gameplay-wise this is the bomb – especially if you tackle this challenge with a friend.
It’s kind of like climbing a mountain with a friend: a surreal experience that will strengthen your bond like nothing else.
Along with the bangin’ music and smooth controls, this game is remembered for its humorous battle animations.
The stages are fun to explore, and there are many secrets to find too (if you manage to catch a breath between waves of enemies).
3. The Chaos Engine (1993)
England’s Victorian period was a time of significant technological advancement.
But we also got to see the dark side of industrialization with air pollution and poor working conditions.
The Chaos Engine explores what would have happened if, instead of steam power, the English had gotten their hands on futuristic tech misplaced by a time traveler. So the story already starts pretty great.
And the graphics are some of the most charming and detailed I’ve seen on a top-down shooter, plus the gameplay isn’t far behind.
Teamwork will be essential in defeating the Chaos Engine’s vicious steampunk creations.
2. Contra: Hard Corps (1994)
Contra is widely known as one of the best co-op experiences a retro gamer could ask for.
Friendships tempered by Contra are tough as steel, and Hard Corps on the Sega Genesis is no exception.
It’s set five years after Contra 3: The Alien Wars, and follows a special forces group sent to stop a terrorist organization from using stolen alien machinery for manufacturing weapons.
The game features sleek graphics, branching levels, and different endings depending on which route you take.
It also has some of the most bizarre characters in the series, including a wolf-man with cybernetic arms, and a cute little weaponized robot.
1. Streets of Rage 2 (1992)
I challenge anyone to find a better beat-em-up on the Sega Genesis than Streets of Rage 2.
Taking place a year after the events of the original, the game sees Axel Stone and Blaze Fielding return to free their city from the hands of evil once again.
They’re joined by Max Thunder and Eddie Hunter, two new fighters who’re just as bad-ass.
This game has everything a beat-em-up needs to be memorable.
I mean, the environments are incredibly detailed, every type of enemy is uniquely designed, and the music is out-of-this-world.
There’s nothing quite like Streets of Rage 2’s hardcore techno to make beating up bad guys (with a trusted friend) even more epic.