Some of the good folks at Gaming Respawn discuss their favourite multiplayer games and memories.
When I was at school, my biggest interest at the time was wrestling. Me and my buddy used to watch it all of the time, specifically WCW. Yep we rebelled against the infamous Attitude era of the WWE and defected to Ted Turner’s competition.
Imagine our delight when I read in the latest edition of Gamemaster magazine that a brand new game based on our favorite wrestlers was coming. I’m talking about WCW/NWO Revenge for the Nintendo 64. It was the greatest time of our young lives sitting in my room screaming the house down as I flew off the top rope to deliver a deadly front flip leg drop as the legendary Juventud Guerrera. It was a blast!
I loved it more because it featured my favorite wrestler at the time, Goldberg. He was a force to be reckoned with in real life and in WCW/NWO Revenge. He couldn’t go on the top rope because it was rare of him to do so on TV but nailing the spear was truly amazing.
It was more fun to work together performing double team moves and setting an opponent on your shoulders as your partner could launch a devastating drop kick to them causing them to fly off your shoulders. It was super satisfying and easily the best multiplayer experience I’ve had, ever. Of course developers THQ honed their wrestling game developing skills with the release of successors WWF Wrestlemania 2000 and WWF No Mercy which built upon the mechanics and graphics making arguably the best wrestling games ever made.
Four of us decided to complete the ‘Vidmaster Challenge: Annual’. This is an achievement where you have to finish the last level of Halo 3 on the hardest difficulty with the skull Iron and you all had to finish in Ghosts. The Iron skull means if one of you dies, you’re set back to the last checkpoint. It’s just checkpoints seem to have a mind of their own.
We started at about 8pm on a Friday and after about ten minutes we realised the magnitude of this task. It seemed as if we were just constantly dying. I resorted to not admitting when I died, hoping no one would know it was me – the key was to act shocked when we were sent back. Two of my friends were very good players and were quite capable of killing and not dying. Whereas, I preferred the dying part but I weren’t even the worst of us. We spent hours just grinding our way through, going through the different stages of grief. The odd thing was, no matter how annoying it got, I loved every minute of it.
Eventually we got to the final stage of the level, where we had to drive through an exploding level on Ghosts. I thoroughly enjoy driving in games, it’s just I’m probably the worst driver there is. I have this unique ability to hit everything, even things that aren’t meant to be obstacles. If there is a rock 500 meters away from the track, somehow I seem to lock onto it and drive straight into it.
We got to the final jump but it appeared if you don’t all go at the same time it counts it as one dying. The next attempt we waited for everyone to get there and just as we went the floor fell beneath me and me alone. We picked ourselves up and got there again. By now it was 12:30. We were ready, only, I couldn’t move and no one else was either. The game had frozen. Soon the ding of a notification appeared informing me I lost connection to the internet. I logged back on hoping no one noticed, as if for some strange reason they would be there none the wiser still trying it, confused on why it didn’t work. Let’s just say I wasn’t popular for the whole week. Even now they still bring it up, as if I planned it from the start.
We did it the week after in a fraction of the time. The weird thing is, I loved it so much I was disappointed we had finished doing it.
Runescape the F2P MMO was the ONLY game I played during my teenage years, I played everyday without fail for hours upon hours, Runescape wasn’t just a game to me, it was a way of life and I loved every minute of it. During summer holidays when kids and my friends were outside having fun, I would much prefer to sit in my room on my PC closing the curtains to stop the sun glaring on my screen.
Each day was different and the game offered all the freedom you could imagine, it was up to the player how they planned their day out and which activities they did. The most amazing part of Runescape was the community and how the game worked. I have countless memories playing Runescape and will have to do a feature on it at some point in the future.
I’m going with Goof Troop for the Super Nintendo.
This might be seen by some as a strange choice being that this game is essentially just a Zelda knock off using a Disney franchise that never really set the world on fire. Goof Troop was serviceable Saturday morning entertainment that never truly wowed or could match up to other Disney shows of the period.
The game itself has a pretty silly premise, but at least one that lends itself well to entertainment. While out fishing, Goofy and Max’s pals are abducted by pirates, leaving the Goof Family as their only source of salvation. Thus follows 5 levels of pirate fighting mayhem across a chaotic tropical island.
The gameplay is nothing especially unique. You defeat the pirates by throwing objects like barrels at them or by pushing them into the ocean with a grappling hook. There are some notable highlights on hand though. For example, one of the levels involves you traipsing through a haunted castle, which is both atmospheric and genuinely fiendish in regards to some of its puzzles. Suits of armour stand upright but suddenly spark to life at a moment’s notice to chase you around the room. A young me found that genuinely unnerving when I first experienced it.
The reason the game makes the list though is quite simply for the sheer fun I had playing it with my mate Jim back in our younger days. The game encourages team work and also patience, especially when dealing with some of the puzzles. One of the main puzzle types involves kicking concrete blocks into place to open doors. For an example of how frustrating, and in-turn hilarious, this can be I suggest you check out the Game Grumps video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f0IqCzvN_FE) where they play the game and watch as they go on to make a mess of it at nearly every turn.
The positive memories I have of the multi-player really make this game stand out in my memory when it perhaps wouldn’t normally do so. Myself and Jim wailed away hours of our long summer holidays trying, and failing, to complete this game. It was just never as fun when I played it on my own. There are other games, such as Street Fighter, FIFA and WWF Smackdown, where I had fun playing them with friends, but this one is probably the most fun I’ve had playing a video game with a friend.
Complaints about the game would be that the enemies can sometimes be overly cheap and the fact that it blatantly rips off Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past. Still, if you’re going to pay homage to another game, it might as well be a good one. The fact they eventually made a co-op Zelda game many years later suggests that the makers of Goof Troop were certainly onto something.
Top fun this one, especially when played with a friend, hence why it makes the list for me.
My experience with multiplayer games is relatively limited. As a kid I would occasionally play a game I had called Fighting Force with my uncle or a random (and rare) buddy of mine and have some fun with the local co-op, but I normally played the game by myself. I also vaguely recall playing a sidescrolling shooter game on the Nintendo, possibly Gradius, with my older brother one night and actually beating it (my older brother did most of the work though). Since then and up to today I’ve normally stuck with singleplayer games, though I would occasionally dabble with some online multiplayer gaming.
I can actually count on one hand all the games I spent a decent amount of time playing online: Battlefield 2: Modern Combat, Metal Gear Online, God of War Online, PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, and Evolve. All games were fun in their own ways, and I actually plan on going back to Evolve later on now that it has a respectable collection of characters and game modes; the game can be frustrating and even stressful for me (when playing as a Monster), but it’s still fun and strangely interesting. Still, I’d have to say my most enjoyable online gaming sessions were the ones I had with Metal Gear Online and God of War Online.
Back when I got Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots for the PS3, I had no intention of playing the online portion of the game. However, I eventually got curious enough to try it out and for several months I was hooked. It was basically a third-person Call of Duty, which was fine by me since I normally don’t care much for first-person perspective games. While I certainly wasn’t the best player in the matches I took part in, there were still plenty of moments where I kicked a decent amount of ass, and being able to switch your selection of weapons when respawning instead of sticking to an assigned class was nifty as well.
Aside from the fun deathmatch and team deathmatch modes I would take part in, not to mention the special matches set up by hosts who would create custom sniper battles, among others, I also enjoyed some of the sillier elements in the game such as players decking out their soldier characters with Roman helmets or making their voices give off really high-pitched squeals when they got killed. I still remember one particular match where one of my teammates continually ran around with a cardboard box draped over him. For some reason this guy, who I very cleverly named “Box Man”, decided to follow me wherever I went for a good portion of the match, then he ran off and I would occasionally catch glimpses of a box moving around in the distance. A funny memory, indeed.
The gameplay wasn’t perfect though. The amount of time required to use different weapons and gain experience with them so that they actually performed well in shootouts was quite high, and knives were definitely useless unless you were willing to spend countless hours swinging them at enemies until you were able to grab enemies and slit their throats, which I was never willing to do. Having to create a separate Konami account just to play online wasn’t awesome either. Still, I had some fun times with this game, but after playing it for several months straight, I eventually moved on to something else and never went back. The servers were eventually shutdown by Konami not long before the reveal of Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, so that was the end of Metal Gear Online for me. While it has returned in a newer incarnation with Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, I have no interest in getting involved with it again.
God of War Online was its own brand of online fun for me. Similarly to my experience with Metal Gear Online, the online component for God of War was released alongside the most recent (and final?) title in the series, God of War: Ascension, and I originally had no intention of playing this game online either. After beating the slightly disappointing but still decent singleplayer story campaign of Ascension, I gave the online component a try anyway and I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it.
Much like any other shooter-based type of multiplayer game with deathmatch and capture the flag modes, God of War Online had the same type of modes available, but its focus on hack and slash melee combat and magic-based attacks put a fun new spin on the gameplay. The four classes of Ares Warrior, Zeus Battlemage, Hades Assassin, and Poseidon Support also gave you some decent variety with the wide range of abilities each class had. The nice collection of different armors, weapons, and magic abilities that you could equip on your character was also respectable. Even though I was never one of the strongest players in the competitive modes, I could usually hold my own.
As time went on, I found myself sticking almost exclusively with the horde-type mode called Trial of the Gods, where I and another player would team up to kill a bunch of the same type of mythological monsters that Kratos slaughters in the main game. That mode was both challenging and fun, especially when I was teamed up with a competent ally. I even liked how my ally and I could have our warriors do a macho clasping of hands as a sort of “high-five” gesture. This was the game that showed me I definitely prefer co-op gameplay when playing online. Not that I don’t have the skill for competitive play, it has more to do with me not willing to dedicate the time to become as good as those gamers who play online for hours on end and only stop to take the occasional bathroom break or get some Bagel Bites (mmmm, haven’t had those in years). I may even go back to God of War Online soon just to get some more fun co-op gameplay under my belt.