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back to article Slideshow: A History of First-person Shooters in 20 Games

The long-anticipated release of Halo 4 and the latest Call of Duty, November is shaping up to be a great month for first-person shooters. Halo 4 We've decided to look back at the great FPS games of the past, so here are what we think to be the 20 most notable titles from the last 30 years. During that time, there have been …

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is that wolfenstein 3D?

I don't recall that guy from Wolfenstein 3D

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Re: is that wolfenstein 3D?

It also looks to smooth. It must be a remake.

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Re: is that wolfenstein 3D?

Possibly from one of the later non-shareware episodes. Likewise, the screenshot from Doom shows the final boss from the final episode, which wasn't shareware.

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WTF?

Red Faction? Really?

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Probably for its deformable terrain.

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re:Probably for its deformable terrain

I was thinking that. That game had fuck all else going for it....

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Re: re:Probably for its deformable terrain

>deformable terrain

Something I was given the impression Halo 2 would deliver, but didn't. I would like to see deformable terrain in a FPS, but I can only imagine it would be hard to calculate and co-ordinate for a multiplayer session. If anyone knows for sure the reason, please let us know!

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God, how long have I been playing first person shooters?

A long time it seems. Worrying how many of those titles I have owned as well.

Currently logged 350 + hours on Battlefield 3 and still loving it.

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Trollface

What about the most bestest one....

http://slendergame.com/

This game is clearly designed by a professional, in 2 seconds.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: What about the most bestest one....

Check our 20 Horror Games slideshow for that one buddy ;-)

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Anonymous Coward

Wolf 3D, on the Amiga?

That'd been nice at the time. Maybe it was eventually ported like Doom and Quake but certainly don't recall it being a launch system?

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Joke

Well, the graphics have certainly got better but...

...the gameplay hasn't changed much.

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Re: Well, the graphics have certainly got better but...

Nonsense! These days you can look up and down and everything.

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Well, there you go

All these years I have been ignoring the Halo series because I thought it was one of those Mortal Kombat / Streetfighter style beat-'em-up games, then it turns out to be a FPS.

I don't know whether it is an advertising failure on the manufacturers part or a comprehension failure on mine.

Probably the latter.

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Re: Well, there you go

User error for sure. I dont play fps at all and I knew what halo was

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Re: Well, there you go

That's a pretty amazing thing to admit on a gaming article.

Kind of like saying "What, beer's alcoholic? I thought it was a type of apple juice, that's why I've been drinking Campari and orange all these years" in the pub.

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I so enjoyed playing "Hexen" and "Heretic", way back when......and more recently "Assasins Creed" and the "Final Fantasy" series.....

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Unreal?

That looks more like a Quake, not Unreal.

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Re: Unreal?

Yeah, it doesn't look anything like Unreal. I guess it's pre-alpha.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Re: Unreal?

You guys were right, the previous screenshot of Unreal was a Beta version... I've changed that one and the contentious Wolfenstein 3D, which I think must have been the image of a slightly remastered mobile version. Thanks for the heads-up.

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What no Serious Sam?

Oh well...

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Alien

Wot? No Deus-Ex?

Ok Ok, I spose it wasn't a "shooter" in the traditional sense. Still reckon it was a ground breaker in the genre though. Maybe it's a conspiracy.... :)

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Wot? No Deus-Ex?

It was very very close to being put in. Was a toss up between Deus Ex and Bioshock. I literally had the list down to 21 titles and it was only left out due to wanting a broader release date range. Both are hardly traditional shooters, though. Which genre would you say DE is most suited in? RPG?

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Re: Wot? No Deus-Ex?

That's a hard question...

RPG doesn't quite catch it for me. I really enjoyed Neverwinter Nights for that kind of thing.

I quite like the new (to me) term "sneak-em-up". Implies a few things about a game. I'm currently playing Dishonored (reviewed here: http://www.reghardware.com/2012/10/16/review_game_dishonored/), a great example of it.

Anyway, I accept your rationale for leaving DE out of this list! :-) Some wonderful nostalgia moments here.

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Re: Wot? No Deus-Ex?

But as an FPS, Deus Ex is bloody awful. As a sneaky, hacky, talky game, it's genre defining.

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Ru

Re: Wot? No Deus-Ex?

I'd drop Deus Ex into the same category as System Shock.

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Re: Wot? No Deus-Ex?

Hmm, first thing i did on entering the comments here was find deus ex, i knew other people would be missing it.

Having read the rationale for ommiting it in the list i am slightly less annoyed. Aslong as we are agreeing it's genre defining for something then i'm happy.

I think we are missing some of the games that defined multiplayer FPS but i think that would be a different list.

Just on the point of dues ex, did anyone else notice that if you never level up pistol skill you can just outright sprint at single enemies and kill them in 1, unmissable, shot to the head because at point blank their head fills the huge crosshair? It's entirely possibly to do the first level (and more) only with the pistol and this tactic without taking a hit, hilarious stuff. Ahh, good times.

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Code name Eagle

What about BF1942 prerunner of Codename Eagle. Multiplayer was awesome and lead to BF 1942 do anything.

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I would add Terra Nova to that list.

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Unhappy

no Midimaze?

First multi-player FPS on affordable hardware (Atari ST)?

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But what about..

3D monster maze, originaly written for the zx81 in 1981!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: But what about..

No shooting, just running. But that Dragon 32 game from 1982 is obviously inspired by it.

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MJI
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I've played 4 of those

Wolf3D was fun back when it was current.

Crysis is the most recent I have played of that list and it is OK, a bit so so I think. I have has far more fun with other FPS games, in fact I would put Crysis qhite low for fun.

Currently I am playing the original Half Life on the PC. And a converted to PS3 with trophies PS2 game. As well as my normal multiplayer game.

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Re: I've played 4 of those

There's a certain way to play Crysis that makes it a lot more fun; be gung ho as all hell, you'll soon get much better at quickly managing your suit, speed sprinting, switching to strength, shattering a guy's head with your gun butt, swiching to armour, shooting down his two squad mates, taking cover, going into stealth and picking off the last 2 guards before they know what's going on. It's fantastic fun when you learn to pull it off.

Sadly the fiddliness of the controls in Crysis makes it hard to learn to do this and and that just realdsto wandering around hiding in stealth mode, shooting 1 guy then going back to stealth for a while.

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"Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Treasure of Tarmin" for Intellivision....

My favourite game when I was a kid and one that I still dust off the 32 year old console for every now and then. That game still sends shivers up my spine when I play in a dark room....

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Mushroom

Fallout

The Fallout series is very good and while it's also an adventure style game it is an FPS. Surely the GTA 3 and later series warrants a mention as many aspects of it are FPS. How many hours have been whiled away sitting on a rooftop with the rocket launcher just mangling the Police choppers and tanks. :-)

The one I enjoyed the most was probably Wolfenstein 3D and Spear of Destiny. Compared to what else was around (Commander Keen anyone) it was groundbreaking. Another good one was Shadow Warrior. Basically it was Duke Nukem 3D with a Chinese main character and different taglines like "Ah so, he fall in half"

My top 3 for fun would be;

1- Wolfenstein 3D

2- Fallout 3

3- Duke Nukem 3D

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Re: Fallout

Really? Fallout can't be considered FPS. The first two games were isometric view anyway. Fallout 3 and beyond have an FPS angle included, but surely the game is far more RPG than anything else. Don't really know what you'd classify GTA as really, it doesn't fit here though that's for sure. Third person shooters, maybe?

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MJI
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Re: Fallout

I am playing Fallout 3 at the moment,

It may be First person (switchable to 3rd) but FPS no, it isn't.

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Re: Fallout

Fallout 3 and NV are crap shooters but strong RPGs, Fallout 1 & 2 aren't shooters at all.

GTA is a THIRD person shooter. While GTA has certainly inspired something (Open world games set in big cities, games where you're a criminal) I don't think it can claim to be a landmark FPS ;p

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Alien

What.... no South Park on the N64

It was awesome multiplier, i mean you could throw yellow snow at each other and launch a cow to land on peoples heads. im sure their was some alien probing to... classic...

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Re: What.... no South Park on the N64

I still have that cartridge, somewhere. Had to hide it from my kids years ago...

Used to be a laundromat here that had a SouthPark pinball game. Great fun to hear the profanity coming out at full volume while waiting for my clothes to dry.

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unreal tournament, BFV, BF2 to name a few

unreal tournament was the nuts, my first online MP game.

tacops, a special forces vs terrorists mod for UT that i played to DEATH. (silenced MP5 rules!)

BFV (EXCELLENT later battlefield mod to the franchise.)

BF2 (itself gleaned from the EXCELLENT desert combat mod for BF1942.)

now i play BF3 all the time and am looking fwd to the return of the commander in BF4! (est delivery autumn 2013)

:D

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oops forgot "spear of destiny".

the direct descendant of wolfenstein. i actually played SOD first before wolfenstein ..

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Happy

Syphon Filter

Man, I loved that game. Best use of headshots and sniper rifle I'd seen, and a pretty decent plot too.

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WTF?

What??? No Operation Flashpoint:Cold War Crisis or ArmA?

I would've thought a unique European title like that would have made your list for sure. That series still has some of the largest gaming environments ever created and one of the best mission editors I've ever seen.

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A big gap between '82 & '92

I offer you Mercenary by Novagen Software, circa 1985, which I remember on the C64 & Spectrum, and was on other systems too. 3d wireframe graphics, not too much shooting but there were underground bunkers that I spent hours trying to map, and flight above the planet to a space station, sometimes in a giant cheese, to deliver "Vital 12939 Supplies" (use a mirror on that)! I really enjoyed this game, despite never figuring out how to save my progress.

Another that springs to mind was Driller, which used a 3d engine called Freescape, from 1987. I never played this because I found using the Spectrum to be such a hateful and rage-inducing experience that I gave up gaming at home till my parents bought us an Acon A3000 (I wanted an Amiga).

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Re: Driller

I'd forgotten about that one. Only ever played a demo (PC, not speccy), but my recollection was it was at least as much a puzzler as a shooter.

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ARMA?

It's technically an FPS, but pretty hardcore.

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A major omission

Where the heck is Team Fortress 2? Whine as much as you like about hats but the original vanilla Team Fortress 2 is for many people the first step into FPSes!

Unreal Tournament is another one, although I can appreciate it'd fall under "Unreal". You also missed Left 4 Dead as well. That's a more important inclusion because it actively forced players to work together.

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