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Feature: Great Nintendo 64 Multiplayer Games You May Not Have Played

Posted by Martin Watts

All you need is a bunch of friends

When it comes to local multiplayer, the Nintendo 64 is undoubtedly one of the best systems around. With four controller ports built into the console, as well as a solid line-up of classic multiplayer games, it isn't surprising that the system is still being enjoyed by many people around the world – it is, after all, an affordable way to get your mates around the TV.

Although the N64 has a pretty small library of games – just under 400 in fact – many feature a multiplayer mode of sorts, the quality of which varies quite drastically. If you grew up with the N64 and had friends (or failing that, siblings), there’s a good chance that you spent most of your time enjoying Nintendo’s first- and second-party efforts such as Mario Kart 64, Super Smash Bros. and GoldenEye 007. And who can blame you for limiting your scope to these exclusives? N64 titles could fetch a high price back in the day, so you couldn’t really afford to take a risk when buying your games.

But were there other games on the system that were worth your time? Most definitely. In fact, many third-party companies such as Acclaim Entertainment stepped up to the plate to provide decent multiplayer experiences that were well worth your time and money.

Below, we’ve compiled a list of some great N64 multiplayer games that you might not have tried before. They’re underrated gems in our eyes, and if you've got a bit of spare cash and are looking for a different – and cost-effective – multiplayer experience to enjoy with your friends, then you should definitely check out these great titles.


Snowboard Kids

Snowboard Kids never received the praise that its more popular counterparts Mario Kart 64 and Diddy Kong Racing did, but it's still a great game. Released in 1998 and developed by Racdym, the game adopts the same kart-racing style, albeit with snowboards. The multiplayer mode allows for up to four people to race against each other at the same time, and the power-ups are surprisingly balanced. If there's one thing that hurts the overall experience, it's that there are only nine tracks (of which three must be unlocked). With that said, the tracks that do feature are all cleverly designed, and the ability to perform tricks mid-race makes this title stand out as a unique and fun offering.

Gauntlet Legends

Originally released as an arcade game, Gauntlet Legends is perfect if you're looking for a challenging yet simple cooperative game. In this hack 'n' slash adventure you must fight your way through hordes of enemies to save the realm; although it's by no mean the prettiest game, the amount of enemies on-screen at any one time is impressive and you really do need to work as a team if you want to make it to the end. If you do happen to pick up this title, be mindful that the four-player mode requires the Nintendo 64 Expansion Pak – unfortunately, it's not written anywhere on the game's box or in the manual!

Tetris 64

Tetris 64 may be a Japanese exclusive, but thankfully it's worth importing because all of the menus are in English (with the odd weird translation here and there). What makes it even more enticing is its four-player mode. If you're a fan of the original then you've nothing to worry about, as Tetris 64 remains true to the classic gameplay formula. The only key difference in multiplayer is the ability to screw over your opponents by adding messed-up lines to their board; you earn this power-up by clearing lines (and you get a double power-up if you get a Tetris). This adds an entirely new dynamic to the game and one that turns this usually quiet puzzle affair into something of a shouting match.

Turok: Rage Wars

Turok: Rage Wars was Acclaim Entertainment's response to the popular multiplayer shooter, GoldenEye 007. While it certainly isn't as refined as Rare's Bond classic, the game does have its moments. In particular, you can play through the story mode cooperatively with another friend, which was quite an uncommon feature for first-person shooters at the time. For larger groups there's a variety of four-player versus modes, including Capture the Flag and Deathmatch. Interestingly, the game features a loadout system (although it's rather basic by today's standards), so there's none of that nonsense of frantically running around trying to slap other players whilst desperately looking for a gun.

BattleTanx: Global Assault

BattleTanx: Global Assault is a severely underrated game. As one of the few decent titles to come out of now-defunct developer, 3DO, the game places a heavy emphasis on obliterating the enemy and your surroundings. One of the coolest features of its multiplayer mode is that you are able to play many of the maps from the campaign mode, most of which are based on well-known, real-life locations. If there's one must-play multiplayer type, it's Tank Wars; in this mode each player has a team of AI tanks, thus ramping up the on-screen action considerably. Moreover, the campaign can be played simultaneously with up to two people.


Which fun, yet under-appreciated N64 multiplayer game would you add to our list? Let us know in the comments section below.

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User Comments (103)

Tasuki

#1

Tasuki said:

I remember putting hours into Gauntlet Legends on the N64. In fact that one was one of my most played multiplayer game on the N64 right behind GoldenEye and Mario Kart 64 when I had friends over.

Blast

#2

Blast said:

Ahhh... Good ol' Nintendo 64.... cries tears of joy because of how awesome the Nintendo 64 was Man, that was a great console. *The Wii U and 3DS walks in and says: "Don't forget us, man!" They leap in my arms and I hug them all close to my chest with love. I LOVE YOU NINTENDO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D P.S: The GameCube was pretty great, too!

DRLAdmin

#3

DRL said:

BattleTanx, Snowboard Kids, and Rage Wars are personal favorites. I've had so much fun with those games over the years. :)

unrandomsam

#4

unrandomsam said:

I think I would rather play the Dreamcast version of Gauntlet Legends.

(Still supports 4 controllers - 60hz).

Morphbug

#7

Morphbug said:

Never played or heard of any of these lol

Well. I knew there was a tetris 64...

Yorumi

#9

Yorumi said:

I wish so much snowboard kids would be put on VC, and for that matter a new one made(not the DS version that changed it all). Classic snowboard kids updated to modern systems.

That was and it's sequel were the most vicious kart racers I've ever played. If you want to learn to hate your friends just play some snowboard kids, wait for one of them to hit you with a parachute just before the biggest jump in the level and you have to slowly float to the bottom. Or watch the outright war at the ski lift each lap. That would completely shift the running order each lap.

If anyone can get those games you should, even the single player is loads of fun.

RetroBillyT

#10

RetroBillyT said:

ALL AROUND!! I spent a great Easter holiday holed up in Duns, Berwick upon Tweed, playing Snowboard Kids. My brother, sisters, cousins and girlfriend were all in on the 4 player action! The graphics were a bit ropey, and the fat guy was a bit rubbish, but it was really good fun. Arguably better than Mariokart!

Doobie

#11

Doobie said:

Thanks for bringing back so many great memories! I played all of those back in the day for hours with my friends from the neighborhood. N64 was and still is one of the best consoles ever created. Fact.

Neferupitou

#14

Neferupitou said:

Yeah i used to have "bunch of friends" in a very long past ha ha...
have to agree! Snowboard kids is simply amazing! unfortunately i never beat that game...=(

bizcuthammer

#15

bizcuthammer said:

I've played all those except the Battletanx one. Snowboard Kids in particular is one of my favorite multiplayer games on N64.

rjejr

#16

rjejr said:

Gauntlet Legends was good - think I had it on the DC as I've never owned a 64 - but then Dark Legacy was too short.

Played the Diablo 3 demo on PS3 the other night and wasn't impressed though it did remind me of Gauntlet. Never played Diablo so I'm not influenced by nostalgia and don't know what all the fuss is about. Played a lot of Titan Quest though.

SphericalCrusher

#17

SphericalCrusher said:

Short list, but good titles. I do have Rage Wars, but spent most of my time playing other Turok games (Although it was good). I'm glad to still own my original N64 along with all of my games (around 100). This system still brings back many memories and is key as to why Nintendo is still my go-to company for gaming today.

ejamer

#18

ejamer said:

Why didn't you talk about The New Tetris, instead of a Japanese import?
4-player multiplayer was included, and it's a fantastic version of the game with an amazing soundtrack.

Also, BattleTanx has a fantastic sequel. Both are fun, but you are probably better off getting the sequel if the option is available.

Yosher

#20

Yosher said:

I played Turok and Snowboard Kids out of these. Never really liked Turok personally, but I LOVED Snowboard Kids back in the day!

Pachterkid

#21

Pachterkid said:

Snowboard Kids was fun back in the day. I rented it a few times back before Blockbuster went belly-up.

Platypus101

#22

Platypus101 said:

Whoa! Lest we forget the awesomeness that was WWF Wrestlemania 2000 or WWF No Mercy? How about Knife Edge (Helicopter on-rails shooter)? My friends and I also loved Super Bowling (by UFO)... But the two to beat were Mario Golf and Mario Tennis on the N64!

mystman12

#23

mystman12 said:

The original Battle Tanx is fun, too. Another fun multiplayer game is Army Men: Sarges Heroes. (Also by 3DO) Melting the other player with a flame thrower is always fun!

Edit: Whoops, turns out the Battle Tanx I've played is actually Global Assault, not the original.

Platypus101

#24

Platypus101 said:

@Morphtorok gauntlet Legends with friends was fun! Since then there have been other dungeon crawl games (including a sequel to Gauntlet Legends) that are just as fun to play with friends, but this was our first. ;)

Doma

#28

Doma said:

Knew i'd see Turok :RW on here, that multiplayer was soo good. Some of those weapons were insane.

Add Fighters Destiny to the list. One of the very few fighters on the platform, and it was actually pretty great.

MKCustodial

#30

MKCustodial said:

I believe the hidden gem of the N64 era was Conker's Bad Fur Day. What a funny and entertaining game that was. Too bad it'll never come home.

AJWolfTill

#32

AJWolfTill said:

My favourite multiplayer game on N64 has to be Conker's Bad Fur Day, that had a ridiculously varied array of multiplayer modes. :)
Did anyone else play a game called Vigilante 8? I remember finding that hilarious back in the day.
I also picked up something called Mace: The Dark Age which was a pretty decent fighting game.

Shambo

#34

Shambo said:

I played SBK on DS a lot! If I recall correctly, it had download play multilayer.

Jock_Nerd

#35

Jock_Nerd said:

Good list. Was hoping Battle Tanx made the list. Also, Wayne Gretsky 3D hockey is superb.

Macarony64

#36

Macarony64 said:

Windback! And Duke nukem 64 where great gamesfor multiplayer and others I don't remember.

SethNintendo

#37

SethNintendo said:

The only thing challenging about Gauntlet Legends is the time taken to grind your way through the game.

Enjoyed playing Rage Wars back in the day.

Macarony64

#38

Macarony64 said:

Xtreme g 64, San Francisco rush and rush 2,bomberman 64, vigilante 8, thq wrestling games, mage the dark age and a fighting game that was like realistic martial arts and 1 hit rounds.

Benjamin

#39

Benjamin said:

BattleTanx: Global Assault was a fantastically fun game. The story was fairly grimdark cheesy, but it was fun in it's own way, and it's one of those rare sequels where you don't have to have played the first game to understand it. I'd highly recommend the game, it's a ton of fun (and you can use nukes...and yes they do absolutely decimate EVERYTHING).

Williaint

#42

Williaint said:

@RetroBillyT
Jam! Freestyle!
I actually have SnowBoard Kids! It was one of my favourite N64 games! It got more difficult to play, as the controllers grew worse. I was hoping to play the sequel, but it never came to the video store :(
I also played a little of battletanx... And Tetris 64 (I liked Terisphere better).

sketchturner

#43

sketchturner said:

Winback:Covert Operations is one of the greatest multiplayer experiences I've ever had. If you get a couple people together who really know what they're doing, it's a blast. In particular the game mode where you hunt 7 colored cubes down can get REALLY intense. I have played matches that lasted an hour.

TwilightPhantom

#44

TwilightPhantom said:

I had Snowboard Kids when I was a kid. It definitely was very fun. There was also its sequel: Snowboard Kids 2. They didn't continue with that franchise, and it seems unlikely a new one will get released again (which is a shame.. because that series was awesome). It somehow feels like all the good games were in the past. The 90's was a golden period for gaming.

cmk8

#46

cmk8 said:

Snowboard Kids was ace, shame the DS version wasn't so good.
My mates and I also spent a lot of time on Bust a Move 64, ISS 64 and FZero X.

Conkers64

#47

Conkers64 said:

Not to be too obvious (see my avatar), but seriously have you played Conkers multiplayer mode? My friends and I used to play it for hours back in the day. Now, my sister and I almost quarterly bust out the N64 just to play capture the flag ("colors"). Great times!

OptimisticLink

#48

OptimisticLink said:

Donkey Kong 64's multiplayer mode was fun, although it's easy to "camp" (cheaply attacking while hiding) in it.

MegaWattsAdmin

#49

MegaWatts said:

@MIPS are you sure? The next Tetris does look similar to Tetris 64, but it still look different enough nevertheless. Moreover, it was also released only on PS1 and PC. Tetris 64 is unique in the sense that it uses the N64 Bio Sensor, a Controller Pak-esque accessory that reads the user's heart rate and uses the information to alter the game.

If you have info that shows the game was localised like-for-like for the N64 then I'd very much like to see it, as I'm not aware of its existence.

GuSolarFlare

#51

GuSolarFlare said:

Snow board kids 2 is one of my favorite N64 games! anyone who likes racing games should try!(I mean anyone who likes any kind of racing games not being limited to cars or planes)

JamesTheHitman

#53

JamesTheHitman said:

BattleTanx: Global Assault is one of my favorite games. I had so much fun playing capture the queen lord and tank wars.

Kilroy

#58

Kilroy said:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetris_64

I didn't know about Tetris 64, but spent hours upon hours playing The New Tetris. And from what IGN says (http://www.ign.com/articles/1999/02/24/tetris-64-import-2, I take their reviews with a grain of salt, but I didn't see much info on the game), its Giga Tetris mode sounds interesting, but that's all that seems worth it.

The New Tetris also has a garbage-dumping option, so I'm not quite sure why you chose to pick an import title, then not even describe any of its exclusive features (in the actual article that is, since not everyone reads the comments section).

theoldman

#59

theoldman said:

snowboard kids is fantastic! played the heck out of it both when it came out and now. My friends all seem to have a problem with the controls in it. I dunno, they must just be terrible at video games...

Lalivero

#60

Lalivero said:

Wish a bunch of you lived around my area, would be fun to have retro nights since a lot of friends aren't around as much anymore due to various reasons.

edhe

#62

edhe said:

Off the top of my head, I'd nominate Mischief Makers, and Mystical Ninja starring Goemon. I've beaten Goemon and it has quite a lot of variety and some cool music (my favourites are the magical final castle theme "Goe Goe Spark" and the theme that plays around Akiyoshidai "Udon Kotaru"). It's also pretty funny as well.

I played Mischief Makers years ago at my cousins' house and have recently bought it for myself. I think the game may be faulty, because it resets periodically, making progress quite difficult. But again, it's got really good music, a sense of humour and good gameplay.

Williaint

#65

Williaint said:

@edhe
Those are also some of my favourite games! I never finished The mystical Ninja, because you needed the save-pak. I tried to just leave the TV on, while I slept, but If I turned on the TV after the N64, it would mess up, and become staticky snow. So, I had to restart every time.
Mischief Makers is great, too. It was the first game one of my school chums played with.

Chameleon twist is also an interesting game.

LetsGoRetro

#66

LetsGoRetro said:

I love the N64 and was a pretty spoiled kid so I was loaded with games. It's funny, because everytime I read about an n64 game on here, i've at one point owned and played it. A few weeks ago when this site did the Turok review, I was thinking to myself "Wow, are there any n64 games I HAVEN'T played??" And now I know why. I never realized there were so few games made for it! Under 400, wow. And how many of those actually came to each region? I guess, worst case scenario, if the Wii U doesn't become another Wii, it could become another n64. Less quantity, with either more or (in my opinion, equal) quality...

dartmonkey

#68

dartmonkey said:

Snowboard Kids was great, the equal of Mario Kart 64. The frame rate and the time it took to speed up from a stop were mildly irritating but it led to some nail biting finishes and the controls were great. Ah! And it's from a time before companies commandeered Z to make their plurals sound hip and poppin' and fresh.

Doma

#69

Doma said:

@Macarony64 a fighting game that was like realistic martial arts and 1 hit rounds.
Must've been Fighters Destiny.
@chewytapeworm Hell yes.
@LetsGoRetro I guess, worst case scenario, if the Wii U doesn't become another Wii, it could become another n64. Less quantity, with either more or (in my opinion, equal) quality...
The WiiU will be lucky to surpass GC's sales. Games wise? there’s no way its predictable and stale line-up will even get close to matching the 64's in quality. Just no.

kendorage

#74

kendorage said:

tetris 64, battle tanx and snowboard kids were really fun. never was able to get a hold of gauntlet legends and rage wars though. I will add top gear overdrive and bio-freaks as personal picks for fun/overlooked multiplayer games.

mikeyman64

#77

mikeyman64 said:

The only two of these I didn't play the crap out of are Tetris and Turok. The other three are still on my shelf, and still used. Especially Gauntlet.

Magrane

#78

Magrane said:

Guys, I have good Diddy Kong Racing, Mario Kart 64 & Super Smash Bros. memories and especially great Goldeneye 007 friend moments......but one that's definitely underrated or hardy mentioned is Acclaim's WWF WarZone!

What a blast that game was with friends. It was one of the first multiplayer games where you designed your own player to fight against others. So it was cool to see "me" fight against Stone Cold or one of my friends in a 3D polygon environment. Good times!

Star Fox 64 (multiplayer shooter, very awesome) & Killer Instinct also had it's moments........but not as many for me as the ones above.

LetsGoRetro

#83

LetsGoRetro said:

@Doma

Absolutely way too early to make that statement. We're within the first year of a 5-6 year console cycle, minimum. The first year tends to be predictable.. The realy big, groundbreaking games come in the mid to late years when developers have become familiar with the hardware (N64 aside)

Monolith Soft's X is, quite frankly(judging by what we've seen, which does a good job hammering home the sense of scope this game has), much more ambitious and just as fresh as anything put out in the GCN days.

by this Holiday season, Nintendo will have already taken care of the 2d dk, wii series stuff, kiddish safe mario, etc. That'll be just over a year after launch. There is no indication that the remaining 5 years will be anything less than extraordinary.

crumpledpapyrusStaff

#85

crumpledpapyrus said:

I have good memories of Snowboard Kids. I used to always throw away first place by trying to pull off stunts! :D

Ichiban

#87

Ichiban said:

Worms Armageddon was pretty darn good on the n64, some good multiplayer memories there. Also the WCW and WWF games from thq, me and my friends must have spent hundreds of hours playing the 4 player modes!

erv

#89

erv said:

Icicle pyramid on diddy kong racing. That was racing shootemup fun.

MayhemStaff

#90

Mayhem said:

Snowboard Kids, best multiplayer on the system after Goldeneye...

SMW

#91

SMW said:

Snowboard Kids is STILL a great party game. I actually prefer it over Mario Kart 64!

TheItalianBaptist

#92

TheItalianBaptist said:

Dr. Mario 64 came late in the system's life but it still made for some great multiplayer matches (even though most of mine were against 3 CPUs :P ). There was also the original tag battle mode in the pokemon stadiums and of course dem mini games :) and I still think mickey's speedway USA is underrated.

CrazyMetroid

#93

CrazyMetroid said:

I never got to play Battletanx: Global Assault, BUT I did get to play the original Battletanx on the N64, one of my fav games so far.

Araknie

#94

Araknie said:

Nope on all this and i'm cool like that.

I played the original Battletanx on N64. That game was infinite, especially i loved the concept behind the bonus stage: there are waves of enemies, they will get harder and harder, you will return to the main game when you die.

AMAZING!

SethNintendo

#95

SethNintendo said:

@MeowGravy
Nice mention on Worms Armageddon. Spent hundreds of hours on the N64 version. I still regard it as one of the best versions of Worms. At least they didn't try and nickle and dime the consumer with DLC like the PSN version. Screw paid DLC...

Blue_Yoshi

#97

Blue_Yoshi said:

Rage Wars provided some mild multiplayer entertainment away from Worms Armageddon in middle school. In my opinion I feel it was rather ahead of its time and the definitive console version of Unreal.

TradeMark

#100

TradeMark said:

Seeing all this Snowboard Kids love is freakin amazing! I played that so much as kid. Definitely a game that needs to come to the VC, along with Mischief Maker and Glover.

JimLad

#102

JimLad said:

Actually I own all of those, minus Tetris. They are fantastic multiplayers.
Other great 4 players on the system include: Extreme G, Road Rash 64, Bomberman 64, Micro Machines 64, Cruis'n World, Rush 2049, Forsaken, Destruction Derby 64, Vigilante 8 2nd Offense.

PieEater163

#103

PieEater163 said:

I own most of these actually, Turok Rage Wars is one of my personal favourite hidden gems. The New Tetris has 4 player I think so Tetris 64 isn't a must have. I still need a copy of Battletanx though.

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