5 Fun Multiplayer Experiences on the N64

Mario Kart 64 Photo Credit: Nintendo
Mario Kart 64 Photo Credit: Nintendo /
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Diddy Kong Racing – Icicle Pyramid

The vehicular racer is up there with the Nintendo 64’s best games remembered for its multiplayer, but when we talk about Diddy Kong Racing, it’s often to the exclusion of the game’s discreet Battle Mode — which for the longest time I didn’t even know existed! In particular, the free-for-all survival match of Icicle Pyramid towers above the other three options for its hilarious thrills.

The three-floor arena is essentially Diddy Kong Racing‘s version of Block Fort, with everyone getting four lives instead of three, and your arsenal being limited to missiles, traps, and energy shields with a Level 2 cap — so none of that 10-pack missile stuff. Running along the perimeter of the bottom floor are narrow passages that make for an easy shooting gallery, so you must always watch your back (don’t provoke Pipsy!). But it’s here that energy shields are housed exclusively, so there’s some strategy in knowing when to head in this direction.

It’s a riot with friends, and the music only makes it that much more hilarious and hard to take seriously, as it sounds like the background music for an unhinged farm where all the animals have been let loose. Oddly appropriate. Again, 10-pack missiles aren’t normally permitted, but if you enter the “FREEFORALL” cheat code to max out the balloons, you can remove this restriction for battles of insane proportions — and shortened wicks. The hovercraft variant, Darkwater Beach, is also fun (hearing the announcer call it out in a sudden English accent is funny in itself), but Icicle Pyramid is the more frantic and less missile-abusive of the two, and it still delivers tickling madness today.