Whatever Happened to Baba Looey? - A Look at the Lack of Co-Op in Western-Themed Games - Page 2

In 1994, Konami released Lethal Enforcers II: Gun Fighters in arcades, and then ported the light-gun shooter to the Sega Genesis, Sega CD, and Super Nintendo. Included with the game was a blue revolver, called the Justifier, that resembled a Colt Python. A second player could use another Justifier (also available in pink) or the Genesis gamepad to join in. Hours of Blades of Steel, TMNT III: The Manhattan Project, and Double Dragon II behind us, Lethal Enforcers II was a welcome addition to the co-op library that my brother and I were accumulating. To this day, scratchy jeers of "You can't hit the broad side of a barn!" take me back to the days of great co-op westerns.

"I have two guns...one for each of ya."

Fans of Contra and other side-scrolling shoot-em-ups may remember Sunset Riders, a co-op arcade game that was ported -- as were many classic games -- to the Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo Entertainment System in 1993, one year prior to Gun Fighters. The popularity of Sunset Riders spawned the arcade clone Wild West C.O.W.-Boys of Moo Mesa, based on the cartoon series of the same name. It goes without saying that all of these titles offered two-player co-op.

Since those glory days, however, western-themed video games have developed into single-player affairs. LucasArts' Outlaws built on the success of the first-person shooter Star Wars: Dark Forces and added online multiplayer. Gamers were quick to form posses and clans -- a tradition that remains popular today -- creating a team spirit of sorts...but alas, true co-op had begun its ride into the Arizona sunset, further marked by Rockstar's Red Dead Revolver (with four-player splitscreen competitive multiplayer) and Ubisoft's GUN. Outlaws and the latter-mentioned third-person shooters all held a fairly high level of quality and satisfaction among each one's respective fan base, but unfortunately all three were also eventually left to wander the desert, thanks in part to a severe lack of replayability.


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