Arcade games have been entertaining kids and adults for decades now! The golden age of video arcade games in the 1970s and ’80s gave birth to new and innovative game genres as well as ways to play. Some of the video games from the era are still considered to be among the best to this day! And the coolest thing about arcade games is that there’s an awesome social element to them.
If you’re old enough, you may remember playing some classic racing or fighting games like Double Dragon with your buddies in crowded arcades! Most games include 2-player or 4-player mode, and if you’re a fan of arcade games, but have never had the chance to play some older games, you simply have to try them.
Even though the popularity of arcades and games like Donkey Kong has dwindled after the 1980s, some of the most iconic fighting games like Street Fighter II, racing games, and others were released way later in the 1990s. So what are some of the best 4-player arcade games? This article will reveal our top picks for some retro multiplayer classics!
The Simpsons arcade game hit the shelves in 1991, and it was among the coolest arcade titles at the time. It’s also the second-ever Simpsons game, following Bart vs. the Space Mutants.
However, it was a much better game since it had a multiplayer mode of up to 4 players, meaning that you could pick any character from America’s favorite family except for Maggie. The reason for this is that the Simpsons’ youngest child gets kidnapped by Smithers. Thus, you have to embark on an epic beat ‘em up adventure to save her!
During gameplay, you have to fight through various levels including Moe’s Tavern, Krustyland, and the final stage, i.e., the Power Plant. Players will encounter all sorts of goons and foes in these stages, including Mr. Burns himself as the final boss.
And in the multiplayer, players have all sorts of options depending on the character they pick. For example, Bart attacks enemies with his skateboard, and Marge uses a vacuum cleaner to induce some serious damage. But if you play with more people, you will be able to combine the powers of each character. For instance, Homer can lift Bart and use him as a weapon (!). Additionally, it contains tons of other features like minigames, hidden objects, etc. The game only contains five levels, but it’s quite difficult to beat since you can run out of lives pretty quickly.
Captain America and The Avengers
This game was released during the emergence of Marvel-themed superhero titles in the 1990s.
It features an all-star cast of fan favorites like the Vision, Hawkeye, Iron Man and Captain America on a quest to defeat Red Skull. The side-scrolling shooter provided its fans with tons of high-octane action, especially in the multiplayer mode. Plus, each Avenger could use their special powers. Iron Man, for example, shoots lasers while Captain America throws his signature shield. Plus, with special items and power-ups, you can unlock other members of the Avengers like Quicksilver. The game is incredibly entertaining due to the fact that the action is fast, and the graphics are surprisingly good. And you get to face some of Marvel’s biggest supervillains like the Juggernaut and Ultron.
Captain America and The Avengers is a classic shooter, but there are some stages in which you can enter aircraft and fly! However, if you happen to run into this game, make sure it’s the 4-player version as there’s also another variant which only allows 2 players.
Pac-Man Battle Royale
Battle Royale is among the most recent titles on this list, having been released in 2011. It’s the 17th edition of the classic arcade game, and it was created during the 30th anniversary of Pac-Man. The game allows up to 4 people, and each will get their own Pac-Man character of a different color.
You can select to play from three to nine 2-minute rounds, and the gameplay is very similar to the classic version. All players have to move through the mazes and eat the dots while avoiding the ghosts. All the players can activate the power pellets, and then, their Pac-Man can grow. When this happens, it gains enough power to destroy the ghosts by eating them. However, the powered Pac-Man can eat the other players too, which adds some suspense to the game.
And the remaining player at the end of each round is the winner. When you complete all the stages, the victory goes to the player that has obtained the most round wins.
It’s time for a great game by Capcom! Released in 1991, Captain Commando was a highly futuristic beat ‘em up. The plot takes place in 2026, and while the visuals look nothing like our current era, the game is infinitely entertaining.
The main character is, of course, the superhero-like Captain Commando, and the others are Baby Head, Mack the Knife, and Ginzu the Ninja.
The game includes a great roster of fun and quirky characters. If you play with 4 people, you can pick all of them. The goal is to save the planet as well as the Galaxy by fighting off evil super-powered foes. The gameplay and controls are actually quite similar to Final Fight. At the end of each stage, you and your allies will need to go up against a boss.
Perhaps the greatest thing in these games are the characters and their powers. For example, Captain Commando has special Energy Gloves which can annihilate his opponents with lightning blasts. Baby Head controls a robot to fight, and he can shoot rockets from it. And the most entertaining aspect is that you can capture an enemy’s robot and ride it!
Almost every retro game fan knows about Gauntlet! It’s a true ’80s classic! Gauntlet is actually one of the earliest multiplayer arcade games and arcade cabinets in history. The genre is dungeon crawl, and you play it from a top-down perspective.
The goal is simple: find the exit. You can choose between some epic fantasy characters like Merlin, Thor, Questor the Elf, or Thrya the Valkyrie. In multiplayer, all 4 players can choose these characters. You have to fight off many enemies and get to the end of the level. Each character can use special powers or strengths. Merlin, for example, is the best for magic and spells, while Thor is the strongest fighter.
In each stage, you’ll see a wide assortment of monsters that you can kill. Some of them include demons, ghosts, and evil sorcerers. You can also destroy some generators and portals that summon the monsters. The game doesn’t contain bosses, but it does have an incredibly difficult enemy: Death himself!
You can only kill the Reaper with a magic potion or by waiting for him to drain your health and vanish. And the difficulty increases as you progress.
Moreover, Gauntlet has some fantastic multiplayer options. For instance, you have to share food to heal other players. Plus, you have to cooperate and think of the best ways to lure monsters and destroy them. The trickiest thing about the game is that your health depletes and not only when monsters hit you. It drains automatically and sets a sort of time limit to the game. One of the coolest things about Gauntlet is its glitchy narration, which gave way to some entertaining quotes.
Remember those fantastic early X-Men cartoons? Well, the #2 spot on our top 4-player arcade games list goes to 1992’s X-Men arcade game by Konami!
It’s a 4-player game, but Konami also released a 6-player version which is harder to find. Nevertheless, it gives you the choice of playing with 6 different X-Men characters, including Nightcrawler, Colossus, Dazzler, Cyclops, and everyone’s favorite — Wolverine! The plot is simple: Magneto is on yet another quest to destroy the world, and you have to stop him. It’s a side-scrolling beat ‘em up, and you can team up with four of your buddies to defeat Magneto.
What’s more, each character has a range of attacks, including a special power. If you use the mutant power, it will drain your health, but the attacks are highly effective. For the most part, you fight off crooks and Sentinels, but some of the final bosses are the franchise’s most famous villains like Wendigo, Blob, and Mystique. If you make it to the final stage, the final battle with Magneto takes place on an asteroid.
Turtles in Time
If you’re an arcade and retro game fan, you probably knew this was coming! It’s impossible to imagine a 4-player game without mentioning our favorite band of four teenage anthropomorphic heroes!
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time was released in 1991, and it’s undoubtedly one of the best and most iconic games in the arcade world. It always mentioned in top lists, and it’s one of the best beat ‘em up games in history.
The plot starts off with Krang and Shredder stealing the Statue of Liberty. When the Turtles go after them, Shredder pushes them into a time warp. Then, the Turtles get stuck in time and travel to the future and past while fighting off Shedder’s Foot Soldier armies. They have to get back to present time and defeat Krang and Shredder.
Turtles in Time allows you to play with the classic TMNT characters: Raphael, Michelangelo, Leonardo, and Donatello. Each has their own special powers and weaknesses. For example, Leonardo uses his dual Katanas and Donatello hits enemies with a Bo staff. The levels in this game are simply epic, as you start in NYC and move through various eras in history. And the bosses are some of the most iconic TMNT villains like Baxter Stockman, Tokka and Rahzar, Super Krang, and more.
4-Player Arcade Game Summary
Well, that’s all folks! Some of these fun 4-player arcade games are undoubtedly the best games ever released. Hopefully, you’ll get the chance to try them with your buddies at a real arcade. However, since the original machines are quite rare, you can find some recreations online or emulations on newer consoles.
While Turtles in Time and X-Men are definitely our favorites, the others on the list provide tons of action and addictive multiplayer options. So check out some of these best arcade games and spend some time playing them! Have fun and Cowabunga!