NES: Four Player Fun?

    Not much is said about the four-player simultaneous capabilities of the NES.  Is this due to a shortage of the two different adaptors (the Four Score, and the Satellite)?  Or is it just because all of the four-player NES games suck big time? Hopefully this article will show you that when friends are over you don't have to stick to two-player games.  Here's the complete list of compatible 4-player games:

Bomberman II (only 3-player)

Championship Bowling

Fast Break

Gauntlet II

Golf Power

Harlem Globetrotters

Indy Heat

Kings of the Beach


Monster Truck Rally

Nightmare on Elm Street

Nintendo World Cup Soccer

Play Action Football

R.C. Pro-Am 2



Super Off Road

Superspike V'ball

Swords and Serpents

Talking Super Jeopardy

Top Player Tennis

The Good: Bomberman II is the classic multiplayer title brought to the NES.  Only three can play at once, and its a single stage for the multiplayer battles, but if you don't have a newer version of the game, this is an absolute must.  I've killed many a night with my friends blowing them up over and over.  R.C. Pro-Am 2 would be my second choice for 4-player fun, its another easy to pick up game that I can get friends interested in quickly.  Indy Heat and Super Off-Road play about the same as each other but if you liked the 3-player arcade cabinets as much as I did back in the day I'm sure you'll be all over these.  Talking Super Jeopardy is perhaps the lousiest NES Jeopardy game (and most inaccurate, since when does Jeopardy have four contestants) yet it becomes decent when you get a good four-player game going (still hate those super-depressed looking characters though).  M.U.L.E. is an interesting strategy game but its hard to find 3 other people that will know what they are doing or will take the time to learn. 

The Bad: Nearly all of the four player sports games are lousy or just don't hold up to today's alternatives.  Its really difficult to talk friends into playing something like Top Players Tennis when Virtua Tennis for Dreamcast is around.  I enjoy Nintendo World Cup and Superspike V'Ball, but they just don't seem as fun in 4-player for some reason.  Gauntlet II is better in 4-player, but the game itself just isn't nearly as good as part 1. 

The Ugly: I can't imagine ANYONE enjoying the piece of shit that is Swords&Serpents.  But perhaps even worse than that is the incomprehensibly bad Monster Truck Rally.  This game came out of the shreds of the Intellivision Corporation (INTV) and you wouldn't be far off if you mistook it for an Intellivison game in the first place.  Poor handling, poor graphics, poor multiplayer experience.  Not worth the effort of even convincing friends to play it.

The Hardware: To play these games you obviously need 4 NES controllers to start.  Then you have to make the decision between the wireless NES Satellite or the NES Four Score.  The Satellite gives you a little more freedom in placement and is good if you and your friends are going to sit on a far away couch to duke it out in 4-player.  The real problem comes from the batteries it requires.  Right away I'd recommend the Four Score because of that. It also takes up a little less space.  Both the Satellite and Four Score have the added feature of "turbo" that can be used with the A&B buttons on the controllers when turned on.  Its a nice feature you can use for games like shooters, and you don't have to resort to some crappy 3rd party controller this way.