Recently, I finally got around to making proper XML's for 3 player and 4 player games, so that, when I have that many players, we don't have to sift through all the games or even the hundreds of favorites to find a good game. Have a look at the lists and let me know if you think I should add or remove any games.
I run Hyperspin booting into a favorites list that is a combination of most of the "All Killer No Filler" lists that are pinned in the thread at the top of the Main BYOAC forum, as well as other choice games that weren't part of the lists. So almost all of these 3 and 4 player games are drawn from the "killer" lists. Thanks, BadMouth from the BYOAC forums, for making those lists!
Remember that many Arcade games have to be set up properly to be in 3 or 4 player mode. This can be done either by using the appropriate Rom or by entering the service mode (Mame default is F2 or sometimes via dip switch, accesible via the TAB menu) and changing the number of players. You might also have to set up the coin slots, or make it so that all players can insert coins, if there are only 2 coin slots for all players.
These are all games that can be played with a digital joystick and normal arcade buttons.
3 Player Games - 25 Games
Alien Storm – The US version allows for 3 players, gets a little samey, but has good graphics.
Aliens VS. Predator – Pure Capcom gold with an exceptionally deep fighting system for a brawler
Armored Warriors – Another Capcom gem with gorgeous Mech graphics.
B.Rap Boys – Absurd game from the mid-90’s, so goofy that it’s fun.
Battletoads – Rare made this 3 player “Battletoads” without all that pesky console censorship, think constant cartoonish fatalities.
Brute Force – So bad it’s good brawler from Leland in 1991.
Cadillacs and Dinosaurs – Absolute classic from Capcom, must play
Combattribes – I remember this one in the arcade, pseudo-super deformed “Double Dragon” art style and over the top beat ‘em up action.
Dark Adventure – Gauntlet clone, but with bizarre monsters and story. This one is also known as “Devil World,” but I couldn’t get that version to work for 3 players.
Double Dragon 3 – So bad it’s good? Maybe.
Gain Ground – Most ports were 2 player, but this is a surprisingly addictive slow-paced game for 3 players.
King of Dragons – Another great Capcom brawler.
Knights of the Round – Capcom just killing it with another awesome 3 player brawler.
Mercs – Multiplayer “Commando” with a life bar and some sweet graphics.
MJ’s Moonwalker – Kinda fun for a few minutes if you can still stomach the subject matter.
Night Slashers – Fun “Final Fight” knockoff with “Splatterhouse” style gore. Being able to play with 3 players makes up for the graphics not being up to Final Fight standards.
Nitro Ball – Spiritual successor to “Smash TV,” nowhere near as good, but is fun, nonetheless.
Pig Out – Haven’t really played this one, but the graphics are okay.
Pit Fighter – Precursor to “Mortal Kombat,” Pit Fighter has really funky gameplay and controls, but could be a hilarious drinking game.
Rampage – It’s great, but gameplay gets stale quickly.
Rampage World Tour – Expanded “Rampage” gameplay with less attractive graphics, gets stale nearly as quickly.
Real Ghostbusters – This one’s a real stinker, unfortunately. The game should have been 4 players and better.
Turbo Force – 3 player space shooters or shmups are rare, so it’s cool to see one.
Warriors of Fate – Capcom does Fuedal combat. It’s up to Capcom’s par, meaning really good.
Xenophobe – Presentation is top-notch, love this era of Atari cartoonish arcade graphics. Use of split-screen is excellent. Gameplay and controls are not fantastic, however.
4 Player Games - 65 Games
’88 Games – Sequel to the original “Track and Field,” This isn’t a four player simultaneous play game, but I’m including it in the list of four player games because I’ve had tons of fun with Track and Field style games with four players.
2 on 2 Open Ice Challenge – Ice Hockey version of “NBA Jam,” I haven’t had a chance to play this one with multiple players.
Arabian Fight – Huge sprites and impressive graphical effects help to make up for uninspired gameplay.
Arabian Magic – Another okay game that barely passes muster.
Battle Circuit – Pure Capcom absurdity, play this one to see how crazy things get.
Blazing Tornado – Pretty generic wrestling game from the mid-90’s that is a throwback to mid-80’s wrestling.
Bomberman World – Battle mode is bare bones compared to anything on 16-bit console hardware or later, but the real gem here is 4 player co-operative “normal” mode. This is the only version of Bomberman that I’ve ever seen that has 4 player co-op and it seems to be pretty fun in my limited experience.
Bucky O’Hare – This is a decent Konami game, “TMNT” with guns.
Captain America and the Avengers – Gameplay is nothing special, but the graphics and style of the game, such as the “TWAK! VABOOM!” Adam West Batman style graphics are charming.
Captain Commando – Not as weird as “Battle Circuit,” but you can play as a Baby controlling a mech or a Mummified version of the knife dudes from “Final Fight” and enemies crouch and smoke while they wait for you to attack.
Crime Fighters - Mediocre brawler from Konami
Dungeons and Dragons Shadow over Mystara – Both Capcom D&D games are groundbreaking classics. They are probably the reason why many control panels have 4 action buttons for players 3 and 4.
Dungeons and Dragons Tower of Doom – See above.
Escape Kids – Track and Field style weirdness, I haven’t played enough to form an opinion, but it looks okay.
Euro Champ ’92 – Euro-specific version of “Football Champ,” seems like the dat files are saying that this one is different, though, so I’ve included both.
Exvania – Bomberman in a dungeon. This might be better in battle mode than “Bomberman World” arcade.
Football Champ – Soccer game with decent graphics and gameplay.
G.I. Joe – Graphics and style are cool, you can blow up almost everything in this game and fight over who gets to be Snake Eyes.
Gauntlet – I remember the feeling of seeing this beast of a cabinet when it first hit the arcade. It had glorious graphics, amazing sound, an almost unreal number of enemies and, most impressive of all, hilarious, good quality, voice samples. Not having to spend actual money to play kind of saps the intensity out of the gameplay, though.
Gauntlet II – The sequel expanded and improved on the formula in many ways, but the central pay-for-health gameplay issues persist.
Golden Axe Revenge of Death Adder – I haven't played much, but graphics and gameplay somehow aren’t as excellent as the original Golden Axe.
Growl – Unlicensed Indiana Jones, this one has a bit of its own style, though, and isn’t bad.
High Impact – Decent football game with Midway humor and early digitized graphics.
Hit the Ice – Haven’t played this, but the graphics look decent.
Hook – This is a decent brawler. I like games where you can thrash the enemies on the ground after you’ve knocked them down.
Hyper Sports – More “Track and Field,” so it can’t be bad.
Karate Blazers – Really fun ridiculous brawler.
Knights of Valour Plus (Bootleg) - The original Knights of Valour (kov.zip) is in English and set for 4 players, but it runs the 2 player version only, at least in my MAME .201 ...As for the bootleg, it's the same as the original with, as far as I could tell, additional new selectable characters. Knights of Valour is worth your time. It has graphics and gameplay similar to Capcom's D&D series, plus attacking enemies on the ground, a ton of special moves when you press certain buttons together and move the joystick in a certain way (not sure if it has Street fighter style moves or not, still discovering stuff), as well as a leveling system and multiple paths to take based upon how you interact with the environment. It's amazing! If someone would translate this game to English, then it would be perfect.
Knights of Valour Super Heroes - This seems to be nearly identical to the former game with different characters, again Chinese only, at least with all the roms that I tried.
Knights of Valour 2 - The sequel is more of the same eye-popping awesomeness, also with the regional flaw (i.e. not a flaw if you understand Chinese) of only being available in Chinese.
Knuckleheads – This was an attempt to do “Street Fighter” with 4 players. It’s okay.
Mach Breakers Numan Athletics 2 – Souped-up “Track and field,” you can actually play 4 players simultaneously, which is cool.
Main Event, The – They “borrowed” the likenesses of Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant for the cab art, but otherwise this is a generic wrestler.
Metamorphic Force – Okay brawler with a werewolf-style aesthetic and gameplay gimmick.
Muscle Bomber Duo: Ultimate Team Battle – Capcom wrestler from the best Capcom era.
Mystic Warriors – Ninja version of “Sunset Riders,” doesn’t seem to be as full of personality, though.
NBA Hangtime – Update of NBA Jam.
NBA Jam – All-time classic, this has the best announcer.
NBA Jam Tournament Edition – Cash grab, but still good.
NBA Max Hangtime – Still fun after all these iterations.
Ninja Baseball Bat Man – The king of zany 4 player brawlers with a cute cartoony aesthetic.
Ninja Kids, The – Self-aware silliness that still makes me smile.
Numan Athletics – This 90’s era “Track and Field” with bizarre Japanese superheroes is good button mashing fun for 4 players simultaneously.
Oriental Legend – Graphics look decent, haven’t played yet.
Oriental Legend Special – I don’t know what, if anything is different from the original.
Punk Shot – 1990 basketball-based brawler from Konami predates “NBA Jam” and isn’t nearly as good, but is decently fun.
Quartet – Surreal mid-80’s platform run and gun with jetpacks from Sega.
Saturday Night Slam Masters – Wrestler, more Capcom excellence.
Silent Dragon – Derivative button mashing brawler from Taito, but has laugh out loud voice samples and some hilarious special moves.
Simpsons, The – One of the all-time classics, this one is funny and great, even if you haven’t seen the show, at least according to my kids and their friends.
Snow Bros. 2 – It looks like a decent time, but I haven’t tried it.
Spider-Man – Just a reskinned generic brawler, but it’s still Spider-Man, so it has to be on the list.
Stone Ball – Weird prehistoric sports game that has fun graphics, but just okay gameplay.
Sunset Riders – This game is hilarious, gorgeous, and a blast with 4 players, right up there with other Konami 4 player classics like Simpsons and Ninja Turtles.
Super High Impact – This series seems like a precursor to “NFL Blitz” and it is fun, even if the animation lacks the polish of later digitized-graphics titles.
Tank Force – Kind of like 4 player "Wizard of Wor" with fast tanks and okay graphics from Namco in 1991.
Tecmo Bowl – Graphics are good, but I haven’t played this one much. It runs in dual-screen, so it looks best on a widescreen display or on two screens.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – One of the best 4 player titles ever, with excellent music, graphics, and gameplay.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 Turtles in Time – This one added more combat tricks and graphical effects, but I still prefer the original. Both games are absolute classics, though.
Thunder Zone – Also called Desert Assault in the US, this looks like “Merc” with 4 players and worse graphics.
Tournament Cyberball – I remember playing this massive dual-screen cabinet a few times. It’s still fun emulated on a single widescreen, even if you can see your opponents’ screen when you’re not supposed to.
Track and Field – Not simultaneous 4 player play, but an amazing party game for 4 players. There is nothing like crazily bashing the buttons for making good use of your arcade controls.
Trog – Graphics are interesting, but gameplay looks pretty ho-hum.
US Championship V’ball – Looks like a decent beach volleyball game.
Vendetta – Sequel to “Crime Fighters,” it’s an okay brawler.
Violent Storm – Massive sprites and over the top action makes this one a decent brawler.
Wild West C.O.W. Boys of Moo Mesa – Not as good as “Sunset Riders” but still pretty enjoyable.
WWF Wrestlefest – We had a lot of fun with this one back in the day. It had all the coolest wrestlers at the time, as well as their signature moves, but it’s a button masher at its core.
X-Men – I have both the 4 player and the 6 player versions in my list. The 6 player one is cool because of the dual-screen presentation, with the wider screen allowing for more room to battle and overall fun, but any version of X-Men is great.
The 3 player one has all the 3 and 4 player games and the 4 player one only has the 4 player games because, if you have 4 players, they can't all play the 3 player games.