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The Top 5 Offline Multiplayer Games of All Time

September 06, 2007

By Daniel Barron - G4 Canada

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With the release of Halo 3 inching ever-closer, I thought it would make sense to write a 'Best Of' list of the top multiplayer games of all-time. To switch things up a bit, though, I wanted to list the best games that DIDN'T have any online capabilities. Just a split screen or link cable seperating the men from the boys (and girls from the women). So without further ado:

Super Mario KartMario Kart (SNES): This game defined the cart-racing genre (and if that's not a genre, it is now). Like only true 'classic' games can boast, Mario Kart was a game that transcended age and gender; chances are you and/or several people you know played the game, and they'll often have fond memories of it. This wasn't just another random game with Mario characters thrown in to sell more copies. Sure, having Mario, Luigi, Donkey Kong et. al. surely helped sales, but it was rock-solid, balanced gameplay that made the original Mario Kart so appealing to so many. Besides the basic multiplayer games against humans and bots, there was also the endlessly enjoyable Battle Mode to take up even more of gamers' free time. Mario Kart was lighthearted, honest fun that still holds up today.


Timesplitters 2TimeSplitters 2 (GameCube): The fact that this game was developed by Free Radical - a company containing several ex-Rare members who worked on N64's Goldeneye - should have been an instant giveaway that this game was something special. And it was special indeed, and vastly underrated as well, especially on the GameCube, where players were for the most part forced to play offline for the system's entire life cycle. TS2 ran as smooth as butter at 60 frames-per-second no matter what was going on onscreen or how many players were playing, and it featured unique cartoon-like graphics that perfectly complimented the game's twisted sense of humour. It looked lighthearted, but it was still a game for the hardcore first-person shooter enthusiast. A ton of maps, a slew of unlockable characters, superb game modes and a host of customizable options made TimeSplitters 2 a multiplayer game for the ages.


Perfect Dark (N64): Many people will say that Goldeneye is and was the superior of the original Rare first person shooters for N64 (the other, of course, being Goldeneye), but I disagree. As spectacular as Goldeneye was, Perfect Dark was even better for split screen four-player action. The sci-fi plotline of the game lent itself to a strong multiplayer mode, with awesome maps and even cooler weapons. The bots added a whole new dimension and difficulty to the game and in addition to this, it was hilarious pitting yourself against an army of VengeSims or worse yet, PerfectSims. And don't even get me started on how great the bot customization tool was. The game had all the best characteristics of Goldeneye but improved upon it for a near-perfect multiplayer gaming experience.



Halo: Combat Evolved (Xbox): Years before Halo 2 took a strangehold on Xbox Live, its predecessor helped popularize console LAN parties. To this day, many diehard fans of the series will insist that the original is superior to the sequel, thanks to things like more balanced weapons and stronger maps. Again, with Xbox Live it's in some ways like comparing apples to oranges since the original Halo never had the chance to benefit from downloadable content or, as mentioned earlier, true online play. Then again, there's something to be said about sitting side-by-side with several other teammates, mapping out strategies, then taking out the other team and being able to rub it in their face ... because they're sitting in the next room! The fact that strategy played such a big part in the multiplayer component was another reason why Halo: Combat Evoloved is on this list. It wasn't just another run-and-gun FPS - a game of capture-the-flag, for instance, involved a lot more planning than just 'take out the other team and we're good to go.'


Tetris (Game Boy): Yes, the game that helped spawn the sales of millions upon millions of Game Boys the world over was also the sole reason why so many people not only started playing video games, but so many people started playing multiplayer games. Despite it being available for what now seems like an ancient gaming system, it wasn't difficult or cumbersome to set up a multiplayer game of Tetris. Simply get two Game Boys, each with its own Tetris game cartridge, link them up with an easy-to-connect link cable and voila! Hours upon hours of Tetris fun. There have been countless versions of Tetris released since the Game Boy version, on pretty much every console ever made, but there's something to be said about the one that for all intents and purposes started it all.

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