Vigilante 8 is a vehicular combat game for the Nintendo 64, often compared to Twisted Metal. It's a spin-off to the game Interstate '76. Vigilante 8 offers eight standard characters and five additional unlockable characters, each with his or her own vehicle. The vehicles are based on American cars from the late sixties and seventies. It was followed by a sequel, Vigilante 8: Second Offense.
The game features a war between mercenaries employed by the oil company OILEX fighting against the "vigilantes", civilians who was taken up arms in protest.
Each vehicle has a machine gun which fires forward in a straight line and carries unlimited ammunition, but can overheat. In addition to the standard machine gun, numerous additional weapons are available, found as power-ups in each level. When the player drives over a weapon power-up, that particular weapon is immediately equipped to the player's car. Each car can carry three different weapons in addition to the machine gun, though only one of the three weapons can be fired at a time (the machine gun can always be fired). The weapons have limited ammunition and detach from the car after running out. If the player collects more of the same type of power-up, more ammo will be added to that weapon. If the player already has three weapons and drives over a weapon power-up, one of the current weapons will be replaced by the new one. Each vehicle also has a special weapon available which can be obtained through power-ups. The special weapons are more powerful and often have side-effects besides causing damage.
Other non-weapon power-ups are available, including a temporary shield, a damage multiplier, and health.
The Quest mode of Vigilante 8 features a short story for each of the characters in the game, told through four missions. The stories are usually vague and the missions sometimes only loosely tied together. Each mission has the primary objective of destroying all opponents as well as an "Objective", either defending or destroying certain structures in the level (depending on whether the character is a Vigilante or a Coyote). The Objective is not mandatory to complete the mission but must be finished to count towards unlocking additional characters.
In Arcade mode, the player chooses a level, a character to play as, and which opponents to battle. The player must then defeat all the opponents. Also available two-player as "Cooperative"
In survival, the player chooses a character and a level and then fights against unending waves of enemies. The objective is simply to see how long the player can last. Only available single-player.
Only available two-player, the players choose a level and each choose a character, and then fight each other.
- The player can select a music track in the pause menu
- If the Nintendo 64 has an Expansion Pak, the player can change to High Resolution mode from the pause menu. In this mode, the graphics are much sharper, but the added power of the expansion pack is not sufficient and there is a small but noticeable drop in framerate.
- The cartridge does not include save slots but offers a password save system like many N64 games with out save slots.