While the first Mario games were classics, one thing always seemed to evade them; cooperative multiplayer gameplay. While Nintendo dipped their toes into the shallow waters of cooperative play in earlier Mario games like Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario 64, they never pulled the trigger. Instead we got a huge dosage of competitive multiplayer within the Mario universe, with games like Mario Party, Mario Kart, Mario Golf, etc.
That was all until New Super Mario Bros Wii was released in 2009. For the first time, Mario and Luigi, as well as two Toads, were playable all on the screen at the same time, unlike taking turns in the NES Mario games.
You know, when I picked this game up, I wasn't really expecting much. I honestly wasn't much of a fan of New Super Mario Bros., so I pretty much just rented it for something to play. But I was pleasantly surprised with how fun this was. At first, I wasn't much of a fan of bouncing off your teammates' heads, but I gradually accepted it as an added challenge to the game. That was another thing I liked about this game; for the first time in the Mario series, I felt really challenged. Its not hard, but there's definitely a fair share of difficult stages.
As for the rest of the series, its much of the same, so why not just bunch it all together?
I want to be subjective with this list, but the one of the two reasons I wanted to even make this was to put this game on it. This may very well be the best TV/movie licensed game I have ever played. Its somewhat of a Zelda knock-off, but its a lot more light-hearted. And for a game targeted to kids, there are some pretty damn hard puzzles in this game. Its really easy, and too short as well, but the score is amazing, and it makes actually makes you think, which a lot of SNES games don't do for me.
This game is great to just pick up and share a few laughs. With the light-hearted nature of the game, its easy to not take what you're doing too seriously and just have fun. At the end, while the game might be a small package, and it might not even be original, it is one of the best local multiplayer experiences on the SNES and loads of fun. If you haven't played this yet, pick it up for 10-15 bucks. While its only a couple of hours, you will find yourself playing through it more than once.
Let me be honest here; I never played this game on the SNES. Only played it with my brother at the arcade. I haven't played all that many beat 'em ups, but this one has definitely blown away any other game I have played in that genre. There is never, and I mean NEVER, a down moment in this game. You can't let your guard down for even a second, or you'll most likely take damage. It keeps you on your toes, and provides for a really fulfilling experience out of a game that isn't all that long.
So why did I include this on the list if I didn't even play it on the SNES? Well, from what I have always heard, the SNES port is about as good as you could hope for, which is pretty significant considering a lot of arcade ports to home consoles were huge disappointments. There is also a TMNT game on the Genesis very similar to this one, which I would pick up as well.
I promise, this is the last entry on the list that isn't at least somewhat subjective. Remember when I said that there were two reasons I wanted to make this list? Goof Troop was the first, and this is the other reason. Now, the Kirby series has had its fair share of great local multiplayer experiences; Kirby Super Star, Epic Yarn, and Return to Dreamland. But this one, which is really a spin-off, has turned out to be my personal favorite.
Its amazing to think how many countless hours I have gotten out of a game that is so simple. You can pretty much play it with one hand, not to mention play it well. Now I know there are a few different game types, and I've tried them all, but at the end of the day I always find myself just playing City Trials over and over and over. Again, its something that's so simple, yet so damn good. There's just something really satisfying about powering up your car, then dominating the competition in the event. Not to mention, throughout the whole City Trial, there is always the danger of your opponents attacking you and taking your power-ups.
Why does this happen to be my favorite local multiplayer experience out of the Kirby franchise? Well, to me, once you've played Kirby Super Star multiplayer, you've played all of the others, with the exception of Epic Yarn, which is just too easy for my taste.
If you grew up owning an N64, then you most likely spent a lot of time playing Rare's countless gems on the console. Whether it be Banjo Kazooie (my favorite game of all time) or its sequel, DK64, Perfect Dark, Jet Force Gemini, Diddy Kong Racing, or this one. Goldeneye 007 was Rare's first big splash on the N64, and it is still regarded today as one of the games that pushed the door open for arguably the most popular game genre today, the first person shooter. While the single player was praised, its the multiplayer that still has people talking about this game today. Sure, games like Doom had good multiplayer, but the home ports of most of the earliest FPS games weren't very good. Goldeneye was the first big FPS release specifically made for the home console.
Is the game outdated by today's standards? Of course it is, but that doesn't mean you can't pull it out today and still have loads of fun. What I liked most about the multiplayer here was that it was so deep. There are more multiplayer maps in this game than most any FPS nowadays, granted the multiplayer maps in this game are just portions of the single player levels. Not to mention there's countless custom games you can make, changing the weapons available, the number points to play to or amount of time alotted, as well as cheats.
The one thing I hate about the multiplayer in this though is the body armor. Once you know where the body armor is, you can just camp there the whole game and most likely win.
#5: Contra Series
While there are plently of great multiplayer experiences on the NES, this in my opinion is the essential one. Like Turtles in Time, the run 'n gun style of this game really leaves no down moments in the game, just constant action. For a run 'n gun game, this is really the perfect storm; constant action, high difficulty to go with the fast gameplay, and great controls. The sequels are much of the same.
When playing this single player, then playing it multiplayer, its like playing two completely different games. While in single player, the high difficulty makes the game get very frustrating at some points and make you want to throw your controller. In multiplayer, it calms that frustration a little bit since you have somebody to share your pain with, and you can even laugh it off with your partner. Caution though, because constant failure may make you want to choke your partner with the controller cords instead of throwing them.
Like the Mario series, multiplayer always seemed to evade Donkey Kong Country. While the first three DKC games did have multiplayer, you had to take turns with the kongs. What's the fun with that? While I do miss the Kremlings and the David Wise soundtrack (although the soundtrack is still good), the gameplay feels more or less the same, with the exception of Diddy Kong's jetpack easing the difficulty a bit. There's still the bonus games, there's still stuff to collect, there's still boss fights, and yes, there's still minecart levels.
Speaking of difficulty, like New Super Mario Bros. Wii, this is one of the few games on the Wii that has some challenge to it. Like I said before, Diddy Kong's jetpack makes it easier, but there's still a fair share of challenging stages (I'm looking at you, rising lava stage). Again, this is a game to me that is much more enjoyable in multiplayer, just because its nice to play a new game that offers that experience instead of looking through all of your older ones.
Needless to say, I'm excited about the new DKC game, especially with David Wise returning to the helm. Its one of the big reasons why I'm going to go out and get a Wii U this fall.
Alright, so I put Super Mario Kart here just to satisfy anyone who is a fan of that game, but my Mario Kart experiences really started on the N64, like most of my video game experiences. While I did have Super Mario Kart on the SNES, in fact I still do, I was never much of a fan of it. With that said, I am a huge fan of the rest of the series. One second in this series you will both be trying to catch up to the CPU, then the next second you're fighting each other.
The earliest games were pretty much "let the best racer win", with the exception of the occasional blue shell. The latest entries have many more stronger items to the series, weakening it in some peoples' eyes.
While the series has taken a turn and gone for a more item-based approach (aka LUCK) instead of skill, one thing has really improved in my opinion in the series; the battle mode. In Mario Kart Wii, I found myself playing that more than anything else. Not to mention they added team races, which brings a new element to Mario Kart's multiplayer that we didn't have yet, or if we did it didn't last long until we were stabbed in the back.
Out of any game developer or publisher, Nintendo has far and away the biggest supply of well known characters in their back pocket. So its only natural for them to all be bunched together in one game. While the first game in the Smash Bros. series had humble beginnings, Brawl includes everybody and their mothers, including some non-Nintendo characters, like Snake and Sonic. Now with the new Smash Bros., we will be graced with Mega Man. While Nintendo has had a history of underusing or misusing some of their IPs (Star Fox, DKC for a while, Mother, etc), they definitely now how to get cheap satisfaction out of their fans. Even if we are a huge fan of a series that hasn't had a true sequel, its fun to see our favorite characters in any game. If anything, seeing them in a game that isn't in their series makes you appreciate the character that much more.
With that said, its so satisfying to use your favorite characters to beat down on another, especially if its your friend. The best thing I like about the multiplayer here is that its such a crap-shoot. Its still skill based, but all you need to do is get good with one character and you can beat anybody. That, or use an overpowered character (*cough* Ganondorf *cough*).
Sorry that there's so much Mario on this list, but for me half of the great multiplayer experiences on Nintendo consoles seem to have Mario involved, just because of the sheer number of them he's involved in. Off the top of my head, he has 5-6 multiplayer series.
Anyways, you can't go wrong with Mario Party at the #1 slot. Its got the most variety out of any local multiplayer experience out there. Not just the game itself, but the wave of emotions. The game starts off as a friendly affair, but the closer you get to the end the game just turns dirty. "What? You stole my (insert star or coins here)? You son of a b****!" Oh, its not fun. In fact, I don't even know why I have it on the list. Maybe I should consider this among my worst local multiplayer experiences, because that has happened to me countless times.
In all seriousness, like Smash Bros, the appeal here is that its such a crap-shoot. Even if you're bad at video games like me, you can beat anybody at this game. Does it include luck? Sure it does, but that's the name of the game. Not to mention, a lot of the of the mini games are much of the same. Besides the button-mashing ones (which I absolutely hate), non of them really involve much video game prowess. You don't have to be good at video games to not get hit by something, you just have to happen to have a good game every once in a while.
While recent entries have been weak, they still provide a fun local multiplayer experience just by being Mario Party; unpredictable, enjoyable mini games, and dirty tricks.
Well, I've just taken a smooth trip down memory lane. Actually maybe not so smooth, depending on what game it is. Anyways, hopefully I've reminded you of playing with your siblings or friends. While the online multiplayer experience is great, for me nothing beats playing with someone right next to you. That's why generally when I play online, I still have a guest with me (besides PC). Unfortunately it feels like the local multiplayer experience is dying out a bit. Here's to Nintendo keeping it going with some of its upcoming titles.
List by JfAtS1O3N (08/28/2013)
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