More Co-op Video Games You May Have Missed (For PS2/Xbox/Wii)
If you haven't read the first part of this open-ended series of articles, you can do so here: Part 1. If you have already read that one then here are ten more Co-op Video Games you may have missed. Also please remember to check which home consoles each game is available for to see which ones are for you, and check your current console's homepage for backwards compatibility info.
Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory
I’m not generally a fan of stealth games, with the exception of Metal Gear Solid. But I did get a chance to play the Co-op mode in Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory. It’s a mode that is separate from the main game where you play as two faceless agents that must complete a series of stealthy missions together. This mode turned out to be a lot of fun because of how well the Co-op elements were blended. To repel down the side of a building you need your buddy at the top, holding the rope. One person can launch the other across the room for a quick attack to any unsuspecting person. And few things compare to the awesomeness that occurs when you sneak up on two people; your buddy captures the hostage while you dispatch of the guard. It flows so smoothly that you can’t help but appreciate it, whether you like the genre or not. There is somewhat of a learning curve for those unfamiliar with the series, but its one that is more fun to learn with a friend.
Available for: Xbox, PS2, GameCube, PC, DS
There are a lot of first person shooters on the market that really take themselves seriously. They try to have a good story, they try to have deep gameplay and they try to be realistic. Sometimes they succeed and sometimes they fail miserably. Serious Sam made no attempts to be realistic, deep or thought provoking, and because of it, it became one of the more memorable first person shooters. Take a buff guy in a t-shirt, give him enormous weapons and throw all kinds of hell beasts at him as much as you can. The result is a non-stop rain of bullets that will have you jumping every time you hear the bull charging you. The later levels can get repetitious (how many Egyptian levels can we go through before we say enough is enough?) but the overall package is a fun one. Adding a friend only helps the equation.
Available for: Xbox, PC, PS2, GameCube
Champions of Norrath
Champions of Norrath has always been confusing to me. It was made by the same people who created Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance and I absolutely loved that game. However I wasn’t able to get into Champions as easily. Maybe it’s because I never played Everquest (the world on which Champions is based) or maybe it’s just because I got lost a lot on the early levels. Whatever the reason was, I could see the potential in the game, and the desire to reach further levels. The graphics are on par with Baldur’s Gate as well as the controls, and perhaps that’s why I have trouble with it. It just felt too similar to the Baldur’s Gate games. You might be wondering why I’m including this game if I’m not crazy about it, and the reason is because the game did receive good reviews and I still would like to go back to it at some point. So if you liked games like Dark Alliance, or if you’re an Everquest fan, then you should probably check this one out.
Available for: PS2
Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles
In an attempt to appeal to the Wii market, the developers of Resident Evil decided to create an exclusive game that adopted the on-rails shooting style of games like House of the Dead, and put it into the Resident Evil universe. The result was Umbrella Chronicles. The advantage of Umbrella Chronicles over the older light-gun-style games is that it was specifically designed for a home console. So it has thoughtful graphics and it uses the Wii controls for specific situations like pulling out your knife and shaking off hungry zombies. This game is a particular gem for Resident Evil fans as it allows you to re-live key events in the series with a friend. Now that they released another, similar game (Darkside Chronicles) you might want to grab a friend and start fighting off the zombie hordes as soon as possible.
Available for: Wii
House of the Dead 3
The House of the Dead games are pretty shallow. You play as some agents, or some children of former agents and you blast away wave after wave of zombies. They made some notable attempts at a story, making Dorian the primary villain and trying to explain his zombie creation on trying to cure a disease and/or save lives. The game is also short, you’ll be able to blaze through it (once you figure out the bosses) in about twenty minutes. But despite these things, the game is still fun, especially when you’re using a light gun/Wii remote. The game really brings the feeling of an arcade shooter to the home consoles and whether you have the Xbox version or the Wii version, you’ll be happy to see that both come with House of the Dead 2 as a bonus. I’m still trying to figure out why they didn’t just include the first one and make it an awesome triple back, but I’m sure they have their reasons. If you’re a fan of on-rails shooting games, then these are both nostalgic and enjoyable.
Available for: Xbox, Wii
Star Wars Rogue Squadron 3: Rebel Strike
The Co-op in this game has to be one of the strangest I’ve ever heard of. Factor 5, the company that made this game, decided that for their newest game they were going to include a Co-op mode. However, rather than making their new game Co-op, they decided to make their previous game, Rogue Leader, Co-op and just include it on the disk with the new game. I’m still not sure why they did this, but since Rogue Leader was a great game, I’m not complaining. A flying game in the Star Wars universe that puts you in the star ships from the original trilogy and fills in gaps from the movie’s storyline makes for a winning formula. Keep in mind before purchasing, however, that Rogue Leader is an extremely difficult game. It will take two experienced players to complete, otherwise you’re just going to get frustrated. But once you get a good feel for the game, it is a lot of fun to play. Plus you get the entire Rebel Strike game on the disc. That part isn’t Co-op, but hey, it’s still something.
Available for: GameCube
TimeSplitters 2 & Future Perfect
I had trouble deciding which of the TimeSplitter games to recommend. Both the second and third game have a unique art style, a wonderful sense of humor, tight controls and a robust Co-op mode. If I was going by the game’s single player story mode, Future Perfect (the third game) would win hands down. The cinemas and quirky humor were much more refined. However when you play the game in Co-op mode, a number of cinemas are removed. I’m not sure why they did this, but in doing so, they put the Co-op story on par with TimeSplitters 2, which didn’t give much story at all. But story or no story, these games are a lot of fun to play. With first person shooter controls on par with Goldeneye and a wealth of era-specific weaponry, this game delivers for both atmosphere and gameplay. And after you finish the Co-op main game, you can find a nearly limitless supply of multiplayer modes and challenges. Add on top of that a map builder and a crazy amount of unlockables and you’ve got a game you’ll be coming back to again and again.
Available for: PS2, Xbox, GameCube
The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures
I was reluctant to put this game on the list because, even though I think it’s fun, the amount of hardware just to play the game is kind of ridiculous. If you want to play with two or more friends, each of you will need a Game Boy Advance and a special link cable to the GameCube. If you already have these things lying around then the game is a good buy; it uses the simpler top down Zelda graphics from the older games and splices it with some advanced special effects more fitting to the GameCube. The purpose for the Game Boy to be connected is for those instances where you enter a house or underground dungeon, you switch from looking at the TV to the Game Boy screen. It works pretty well and provides for a greater amount of freedom in a Co-op game, but if you don’t already have all the components to play it, you might not want to shell out all the money to get this game.
However, if you do decide to take the plunge and buy four Game Boy Advances and four link cables, then you might as well pick up Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles as well as Four Swords Adventures. Crystal Chronicles was the only other game to use the GBA control method. That game uses it more for personal statistics and messages, but the GBAs are still required. It’s not as good of a game as Four Swords Adventures largely because one of your characters must be carrying around a ‘magic bucket’ that protects the others from a poisonous gas that is all around you (or something like that). Basically it means that the person carrying the bucket doesn’t get to fight, and if anyone strays out of the range of the bucket, they take damage. It is a terrible game mechanic which is a shame because this game could have been great without it. Now it’s just a mediocre title.
Available for: GameCube
Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
If you’re a fan of Lord of the Rings, then you should probably just go get this game. It was the first of the games to feature a full blown Co-op mode and it did a pretty good job. You play as various members of the fellowship, now separated by the events of the third book. There are spoilers in this game, so if you haven’t finished reading the books or watching the movies, then you should hold off. But once you have, you can enjoy the hack and slash action. The game isn’t particularly deep but it blends the action well with clips from the movie and has a unique move set for each of the different characters. Plus it’s a lot of fun, once you’ve upgraded your characters to high levels, to go back and hack your way through hordes of orcs.
Available for: PS2, Xbox, GameCube, PC
Mario Kart Double Dash
Every Mario Kart game has some sort of two player mode, though usually this is either a death-match style battle or both of you are racing independently for the goal. However Nintendo decided to try something a little different for their GameCube version of the franchise. Mario Kart Double Dash put two characters in a single kart with the option to have both player 1 and player 2 working cooperatively for the goal. The way this worked is that the player in the driver’s seat drives the kart while the person on the back controls the items you get, such as turtle shells and bananas. It might not sound that complex at first, because using items is essentially a one button affair, but when you combine it with other small things, such as working together to get a drift boost, balancing two items between the two of you, and punching drivers that go past, you have a much deeper experience for two people to master together. The Wii version of Mario Kart dumped the two person kart theme, but I’m going to recommend that one too, just because it’s a lot of fun.
Available for: GameCube, Wii