Peanut butter and jelly, spaghetti and meatballs, Hall and Oates... some things are just better when they're together. Video game characters are no different. Simply put, certain characters belong together. This list counts down the most remarkable duos in gaming history.
Bub & Bob
Bubble Bobble Series
Bubble Bobble is the fantastic story of two bubble-blowing dinosaurs making their way through the cave of monsters to save their girlfriends. It was one of the first two-player arcade games and it's still one of the finest cooperative games ever created. In fact, cooperation is so crucial to the game that it is almost impossible to reach the real ending in single-player mode. According to the game's story, Bubblon and Bobblun are children who are transformed into cute dinosaurs for some unknown reason. They eventually regain their original human forms, but keep getting turned into dinosaurs again in the sequels. Truth be told, the series has become too convoluted for me to keep track of the actual plot line. If there's one thing I am sure of, it's that blowing bubbles with dinosaurs is fun. What more could you want from a video game?
Toe Jam & Earl
Toe Jam & Earl Series
ToeJam is a jammin' three-legged alien who wears old-school sneakers and sports a giant gold medallion. His friend, Earl, wears radical wrap-around sunglasses and blue Bermuda shorts. Given this information, it should be no surprise to learn that ToeJam and Earl hail from a planet called "Funkotron." After they crash land on Earth, the eponymous aliens set out to reassemble their spaceship. One of the biggest draws in the ToeJam and Earl games was its multiplayer co-op mode which allowed the central characters to explore the planet independently of one another. However, there is incentive to work together. Not only will ToeJam and Earl talk to each other during the game if they are in close proximity. but the characters are able to equalize health between them by performing a high five. Far out dude!
Ratchet & Clank
Ratchet & Clank Series
Ratchet is a lowly mechanic whose dreams of intergalactic adventures are realized after a small robot named Clank crash lands on his planet. The pair soon find themselves on a mission to stop an evil executive from polluting the galaxy for financial gain. Clank's idealistic nature and Ratchet's mechanical know-how make them an effective team, even if they do butt heads from time to time. Ratchet has dozens of weapons at his disposal, which range from a simple slingshot to a laser that transforms enemies into sheep. Clank, for his part, acts as a makeshift backpack for most of their adventure and is outfitted with modifications that allow him to bust out all sorts of propellers and rocket boosters. Ratchet owes a lot to his robotic sidekick; for without Clank by his side, he would be no more compelling than Bubsy the Bobcat.
Billy Lee & Jimmy Lee
Double Dragon Series
Double Dragon was one of the most successful arcade games ever made. Without question, its most significant contribution to the "beat 'em up" genre was the inclusion of a two-player mode. The ability for two people to fight along side each other made the game more fun and effectively doubled profits for arcade owners. Not suprisingly, Double Dragon led to dozens of copy-cat games in the years that followed. The game itself follows the exploits of brothers Billy and Jimmy Lee on their quest to rescue Billy's girlfriend from a gang of street thugs. The duo would have ranked higher on this list if not for the fact that they came to blows at the end of the game and ended up fighting over the very girl they set out to rescue. Still, you can't overlook the fact that the Lee brothers shaped the entire gaming industry with their adventures.
Sonic & Tales
Sonic the Hedgehog Series
Sonic the Hedgehog is the quintessential "dude with a 'tude" and helped Sega's Genesis mount a successful defense against the Big N. Children were instantly drawn to Sonic's "mature" attitude and his incredible speed. Apparently, a young fox named Tales was also impressed by Sonic's remarkable abilities and he began to idolize the hedgehog. Sonic eventually recruited Tales as his sidekick when the fox was able to keep up with him in a race, and they have been the best of friends ever since. While additional characters are constantly being added to Sonic's universe, none of them seem to fit in like Tales does. Characters like Knuckles and Shadow are constantly attempting to be more extreme versions of the already-extreme Sonic, but Tales' mild-mannered personality makes him the perfect sidekick.
Diddy Kong & Dixie Kong
Donkey Kong Country Series
There aren't exactly an abundance of girl monkeys hanging around Donkey Kong Country, and the few that are there leave a lot to be desired. Candy Kong's looks like a street-walker and Wrinkly Kong's birthday suit needs ironing. I don't know how he did it but, somehow, Diddy Kong found himself a pretty cool girlfriend. When Diddy set out to rescue the kidnapped Donkey Kong, Dixie insisted on coming along for the adventure. Her ability to attack enemies with her hair or turn herself into a makeshift helicopter made Dixie an extremely worthy sidekick. Even if Dixie didn't have any special abilities, I have a feeling that Diddy probably wouldn't have minded her tagging along with him. After all, she has long blond hair, bright green eyes, and you know there's gotta be a reason why she wears those kneepads.
Bill Rizer & Lance Bean
The character designs for Bill Rizer and Lance Bean (also known as Mad Dog and Scorpion) seem to have been heavily influenced by Hollywood action films like Rambo and Commando. It's quite fitting when you think about it. Contra is the quintessential action video game from the 1980s, so it makes perfect sense to use Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger as archetypes. The Contra series is also filled with imagery inspired by the Alien and Terminator movies. Throughout the series, Bill and Lance take on swarms of invading aliens, battle gigantic robot bosses, and basically kick ass wherever they go. In one instance, they find themselves in the sky jumping from one moving missile to another en route to blowing up a floating sky fortress. I'd like to see Mario and Luigi try that!
Ken & Ryu
Street Fighter Series
The Street Fighter series is known for its diverse roster of fighters, with nearly 100 playable characters having been introduced thus far. Over time, the series has evolved in many ways. We've seen the inclusion of gameplay elements like special moves, super bars, air juggles, custom combos, guard meters, alpha counters, parrying, and super arts. But regardless of the many changes that have been made to the franchise over the years, one thing has remained constant: the inclusion of Ken and Ryu. Best friends but also rivals, Ken and Ryu grew up together, trained under the same master, use the same moves in battle, wear similar fighting attire, and are the only characters that have appeared in every single Street Fighter game to date. Simply put; Ken and Ryu ARE Street Fighter, and the series just wouldn't be the same without them.
Banjo & Kazooie
Perhaps more so than any other duo on this list, Banjo and Kazooie are completely reliant on one another. Banjo is a lovable (albeit confused) bear, while Kazooie is a sarcastic bird that resides in his backpack. Separately, they would be completely useless and annoying. However, their personalities compliment each other nicely, and Kazooie's cutting wit helps balance out Banjo's apparent mental retardation. Banjo's brute strength and Kazooie's mobility also compliment each other perfectly. Together, they are an incredibly versatile pair with dozens of unique abilities at their disposal. Whether they're gliding through the air, bombarding their foes with eggs, or simply leveling their enemies with shoulder charges, there's almost nothing that Banjo and Kazooie can't accomplish. They can even build cars for some reason.
Mario & Luigi
Let's face it: Luigi has been in his brother's shadow since making his first appearance in the original Mario Bros. The fact the duo was collectively known as the "Mario" Bros. speaks volumes. Admittedly, Luigi was little more than a palette swap at first, so it became easy to write him off as the "second-player character." Although Luigi later developed a personality all his own, he was still often given a nominal roles or overlooked altogether. Alas, Mario and Luigi would eventually share the spotlight in Superstar Saga and subsequent games in the Mario & Luigi series. Because these games required continual cooperation between the two brothers, it became impossible to disregard Luigi. It's unlikely that Luigi will ever truly step out of Mario's shadow, but it's nice that the legendary brothers are still able to work together on occasion.