The 10 Best Konami Arcade Games (2024)

Highlights

  • Konami's classic arcade games, like Silent Scope and Gradius, set the bar high for shooters with innovative gameplay and graphics.
  • Games like Frogger and Dance Dance Revolution showed Konami's ability to create simple yet addictive experiences loved by all ages.
  • Konami's unlikely mashups, like The Simpsons and X-Men arcade games, proved to be hits with players for their fun gameplay and iconic characters.

While there are many video game companies fans would love to see make a return to form, Konami is one of the most in-demand. The company rarely makes video games anymore, despite owning such powerhouse IPs as Metal Gear and Castlevania, but in its heyday, Konami produced some of the best games around.

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Like many older game companies, some of Konami’s best entries were found in the arcade. Konami produced fan-favorite beat ‘em ups, shooters, and licensed games that broke the stigma on licensed titles. Looking at these classic arcade games, its little wonder fans want the Konami of old back.

10 Silent Scope

A Light Gun Shooter Elevated By Its Unique Arcade Cabinet

The 10 Best Konami Arcade Games (2)
  • Platform(s): Arcade, Dreamcast, PlayStation 2
  • Released: 1999
  • Developer(s): Konami
  • Genre(s): Rail shooter

As far as Light Gun arcade shooters go, Silent Scope is often edged out by its more famous peers. It had a fairly standard plot for the time: rescuing the president and his family from a group of armed terrorists. What made the game stand out, however, was the plastic sniper rifle mounted on the cabinet.

In addition to being a different weapon from the usual pistols found attached to arcade cabinets, the sniper rifle contained a second screen in its scope that offered a zoomed in view of the main screen. This gave players unparalleled accuracy in lining up headshots. It was the perfect game for helping players live out their sharpshooter fantasies.

A Brawler That Felt Like A Saturday Morning Cartoon Show

The 10 Best Konami Arcade Games (3)
  • Platform(s): Arcade
  • Released: August 1993
  • Developer(s): Konami
  • Genre(s): Beat 'em up

Metamorphic Force featured a group of four warriors summoned by a holy Goddess to defeat the evil lord Death Shadow. These warriors had the ability to change into more powerful bestial forms once they collected a certain power-up. With its wild premise and incredible western-influenced art style, it would have fit in with a lot of the Saturday morning cartoons many kids were obsessed with at the time.

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The game’s premise sounds similar to Sega’s classic Altered Beast game. In fact, even the ancient Greek imagery in the first level can draw comparisons. But with its better graphics, faster gameplay, and unmistakable personality, many fans consider Metamorphic Force to be the superior game.

8 Frogger

A Simple Premise That Became An Arcade Legend

The 10 Best Konami Arcade Games (5)
  • Platform(s): Arcade
  • Released: August 1981
  • Developer(s): Konami
  • Genre(s): Action

The few people who haven’t already heard of Frogger might tilt their heads at the absurdly simple premise. Players control a strangely aquaphobic frog from a top-down perspective, and must guide it across a busy highway and a perilous river to reach its home. The controls are equally simple, requiring only a single joystick.

However, this simple gameplay worked to the game’s advantage, as Frogger became a hit with all ages. The challenge of avoiding cars and hopping on floating logs and turtles was shockingly addictive. With its fun, simple gameplay and adorable presentation, Frogger is a beloved classic to this day.

7 Gradius

One Of The Most Iconic Side-Scrolling Shooters Ever Made

The 10 Best Konami Arcade Games (6)
  • Platform(s): Arcade, NES
  • Released: February 2, 1985
  • Developer(s): Konami
  • Genre(s): Shoot 'em up

Aside from fighting games and brawlers, spaceship-based shooters are a classic staple of arcades. It feels like most companies have at least one, but Konami’s Gradius is one of the most iconic. Playing as the legendary ship Vic Viper, players would navigate across a horizontally scrolling screen full of enemy vessels and laser-spitting moai statues.

Gradius was especially beloved for its weapon bar system that allowed players to exchange their power-up tokens for new weapons and enhancements on the fly. This added an extra layer of strategy on top of the already hectic space combat. This level of challenge has made Gradius one of the most imitated games of all time.

6 Dance Dance Revolution

This Legendary Title Redefined The Arcade Experience

The 10 Best Konami Arcade Games (7)
Dance Dance Revolution
Platform(s)
PS1

Released
September 26, 1998

Developer
Bemani

Genre(s)
Rhythm , Music

Dance Dance Revolution is a title so universally loved that even non-gamers have heard about it. The machine’s innovative design consisted of a floor with four arrow buttons on it. Players had to move their feet to hit the correct arrows as they appeared on-screen, all in time to the music.

The game was a smash success, owing to its use of popular licensed tracks and unprecedented level of physical interaction. Players actually felt like they were dancing in ways no arcade game had done before. Dance Dance Revolution was so good that it created a flood of imitators in the rhythm game genre.

5 The Simpsons

An Unlikely Combination That Beat The Odds

The 10 Best Konami Arcade Games (8)
  • Platform(s): Arcade, NES
  • Released: March 4, 1991
  • Developer(s): Konami
  • Genre(s): Beat 'em up

Today, a lot of gamers wince when they hear about licensed games. Especially when it comes to unlikely mashups, such as turning the animated family sitcom The Simpsons into an arcade brawler. Yet Konami accomplished the impossible and made The Simpsons one of the best arcade games of all time.

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Players control either Homer, Marge, Bart, or Lisa as they brawl through the iconic streets of Springfield to rescue the infant Maggie. The fun gameplay, introduction of team-up moves, and faithful recreation of the show’s art style and humor helped to win over even the strongest of doubters.

4 X-Men

X-Men And Beat ‘Em Ups Were A Match Made In Heaven

The 10 Best Konami Arcade Games (10)
X-Men The Arcade Game
Platform(s)
Arcade , Android , iOS

Released
1992-03-00
Developer(s)
Konami

Genre(s)
Beat 'Em Up

There were two things in the 90s that almost every kid seemed to love: beat ‘em up arcade games, and the X-Men. Konami had the brilliant idea to put the two together in the money printing machine known as the X-Men arcade game. Though it was inspired by the Pryde Of The X-Men pilot instead of the more iconic 90s cartoon series, the game was still a hit among arcade-goers.

Players had their choice of six iconic X-Men characters, with some machines even allowing up to six players to play at once. The game was instantly beloved for its fun gameplay, use of beloved characters, and hilariously cheesy dialogue.

3 Sunset Riders

A Game That Perfectly Captured The Wild West Fantasy

The 10 Best Konami Arcade Games (11)
Sunset Riders
Platform(s)
Arcade , Genesis , SNES , PS4 , Switch

Released
September 4, 1991
Developer(s)
Konami

Genre(s)
Run and Gun

Video games are perfect for letting gamers act out their wildest fantasies, but it’s surprising how few there are about the old west. Konami was one of the most notable companies to help players live out their cowboy fantasies in the legendary Sunset Riders. Players play one of four bounty hunters in their quest to take down legendary outlaws.

The side-scrolling shoot ‘em up’s gorgeous art style looked like a cross between an old western movie and a Saturday morning cartoon. That, coupled with the fun and fast gameplay, made Sunset Riders an instant classic. Though it has some poorly-aged stereotypes of Native American characters, Sunset Riders is an IP many gamers hope Konami revives.

2 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles In Time

This Beat ‘Em Up Is Arcade Royalty

The 10 Best Konami Arcade Games (12)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles In Time
Platform(s)
Arcade , SNES , PS4 , Xbox One

Released
1991-00-00
Developer(s)
Konami

Genre(s)
Beat 'Em Up

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles always seemed to be immune to the curse of licensed games being bad, especially in their arcade beat ‘em ups. While all of these games are beloved, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles In Time is widely regarded to be one of the best beat ‘em ups to ever grace the arcade.

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Aside from the time-hopping plot leading to some creative settings, fans loved the game for its fun and tight gameplay. Of particular note was the newfound ability to throw enemies at the screen. Even with newer Turtles games coming out, this legendary classic is widely hailed as the best.

1 Contra

An Infamously Hard Run And Gun Classic

The 10 Best Konami Arcade Games (14)
Contra
Platform(s)
Arcade , Commodore 64 , Nintendo Entertainment System , Switch , PC , PS4 , Xbox 360

Released
February 20, 1987
Developer(s)
Konami
Genre(s)
Action

While Metal Gear and Castlevania are easily Konami’s two most famous IP, an argument could be made for Contra taking the third spot. This arcade classic is famous for its fast and furious run-and-gun gameplay, with the player being able to shoot in 8 directions and pick up different weapon types, but its probably most famous for its notoriously high difficulty.

Players die after taking a single hit in Contra, which causes even the most experienced gamers to sweat bullets. The home console version is famous for popularizing the extra-life-granting Konami code, which players insist is less cheating and more turning the game down to normal difficulty. Despite its steep challenge, Contra is the biggest of Konami’s arcade legends.

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The 10 Best Konami Arcade Games (2024)
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