Join me as I take an in-depth look at an alphabetical list of games, publishers, and developers, that have helped to make the first person shooter genre one of the most robust around on both the console and the PC over the years.
This list pays tribute to the FPS highs and lows while trying to be as diverse as possible. Check it out, and let us know some you think in the comments section at the end. Let’s sing, shall we?
A is for: Aliens v Predator
Released in 2010, Aliens v Predator allowed players to play 3 separate campaigns as both the factions in the title plus as a Marine. The title went on to garner mixed reviews from critics both prior to and post launch, however it pleased fans and is still a much played title on Xbox LIVE and PC.
B is for: Battlefield Series
Spanning over 10 years and including 16 titles the Battlefield series has become a household name for many gamers. The original title “Battlefield 1942” allowed players to enter the roles of four unique classes: Scout, Assault, Medic and Engineer. As well as 4 unique classes the game has allowed players to commandeer over 100 vehicles throughout its lifespan. With the release of Battlefield: Bad Company 2 only recently the series is still going strong and hard.
C is for: Call of Duty Series
Perhaps the biggest name in shooters, the Call of Duty franchise started off in 2003 and in only seven years has managed to move 55 million units worldwide taking over three billion dollars for Activision and Infinity Ward in the process. Modern Warfare 2, the latest spawn in the long running series went on to become the world’s biggest entertainment launch and to bring in over one billion dollars.
D is for: Doom
Originally launched in 1993, Doom has gone onto become perhaps the pivotal figure in popularizing console FPS and making it a force to be reckoned with. Telling the story of a Marine stranded on the planet Mars, who is assigned to protecting a corporation responsible for secret teleportation experiments. All goes awry of course and you’re left the only one alive and tasked with fighting through hordes of demons. Plagued with demonic imagery and gory death, Doom was a head turner for its time.
E is for: Enemy Territory: Quake Wars
Sequel to Quake 4, Enemy Territory was set in the same universe as it’s brethren Quake 2 and Quake 4. Featuring heavily multiplayer orientated gameplay as well as a plethora of new vehicles Quake Wars went on to receive an average of 84% on reviews and still features a heavy modding community.
F is for: Fire Warrior: Warhammer 40k
Fire Warrior was a little known FPS title to grace the Playstation 2 and PC. Putting you in the boots of a Tau soldier during a campaign that was spanned over 24 hours. The game featured innovative Multiplayer for it’s time being one of only a few to offer 8 Player MP through the PS2 Broadband Adapter. Fire Warrior received mixed reviews from the press.
G is for: Goldeneye
Where would any First Person Shooters, especially console ones be without perhaps the father of all FPS? Goldeneye was a Nintendo 64 exclusive released in 1997 to reviews that even now are impressive. During the 2001 Top 100 Games of All Time by Game Informer, it came in ranked in at 16th whilst a similar poll by Game FAQs ranked it at 7th. Either way, Goldeneye is the proverbial father of FPS on consoles and could even see a remake sometime in the future.
H is for: Halo Series
Launching in 2001 on the Xbox console, Halo is and will always be the most recognizable name alongside the Xbox and Xbox 360. Featuring in-depth campaigns, beautiful sound tracks and a multiplayer mode used by MLG, it will be a sad day when Bungie parts way with the series after Halo: Reach launches at the end of 2010. Inspiring Machinima shows, thousands of fan made montages and reviews all over the internet, it is safe to say everyone has heard of Halo at some point.
I is for: Infinity Ward
Definitely deserving on a place in this comprehensive FPS alphabet tribute, Infinity Ward has gone on to produce shooters at a level yards ahead of other developers. Whether it is the crazy hype that follows them or their devoted fan base, IW is forever etched into the tomes of FPS history. Whether the development of their titles is ever the same again is hard to say after the dramas that have occurred in the last three months.
J is for: Jurassic Park: Trespasser
Released in 1998 and billed as the literal successor to the Jurassic Park 2, this game essentially flopped. Receiving a review of “1” by Computers and Video Games and billed as a “dog” by the same people, Trespasser contained horrible game mechanics and required a heavily modified and up to date PC to run it even back in 1998. 12 years later the game still features a heavy modding community and the game is still played.
K is for: Killzone 2
The beaming light at the end of the tunnel that is Playstation 3 shooters. Featuring an extensive and in-depth campaign alongside a multiplayer mode supporting up to 32 players, Killzone 2 is quite the shooter. Receiving an average score of 91% as well as going on to sell over a million units this title is a commercial success as well. It’s interesting to note too, that all in game voice as added after the game was done by having artists around the world record their voice then send it to the studio.
L is for: Left 4 Dead
Everyone knows Left 4 Dead, right!? One of the most co-operative games to grace a market full of “Pop ’em and Drop ’em” single player experiences, Left 4 Dead features intense combat, hordes of undead and an awesome story to boot. Developed by Valve, a long running developer of quality First Person Shooters, this game has seen a sequel produced as well as long running support for the original. The game also featured an awesome AI system called “The Director” that placed Zombies and Special Infected randomly so no two play throughs of a level were the same.
M is for: Medal of Honor
Due for release worldwide on the 12th of October, Medal of Honor is looking to reboot and revitalise the long running and obviously stale franchise that has all been set in World War 2. Moving the setting to modern day Afghanistan, players will take the reins of a “Tier 1 Operator”, a soldier in an elite group tasked with dangerous, and sometimes stealthy missions. At times players will also take control of a US Army Ranger to partake in bigger battles.
N is for: No One Lives Forever 2: A Spy In H.A.R.M.’s Way
Right, after reading possibly the longest game title in history here’s a bit of info on the game. NOLF2 was a FPS released in 2002, following the astounding success of the original No One Lives Forever title. This did equally well incorporating new gameplay features, graphics improvements by the bucket full and eventually went on to claim Game of the Year courtesy of GameSpy.
O is for: Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising
A spiritual successor to the original title (I call it a spiritual as it wasn’t produced by the original developers and didn’t have the same feeling, or performance), this game was a letdown to all involved, even Codemasters. Players had access to a huge island, 227km2 to be exact, that Codemasters bragged about time and time again. Turns out the player only gets around 5km to play around in. Originally meant to have monthly DLC, the game was dropped from support by Codemasters only 4 months after launch.
P is for: Portal
Portal, such a beautiful and unique game. Although you do shooting, it’s only of the namestake; portals. A puzzle game set in the First Person perspective Portal sees you take the role of Chell, a female test subject locked inside the bland white halls of Aperture Science. Featuring puzzles that will break your brain and a simple gameplay premise, Portal has gone on to be loved by critics and fans alike all over the world. It’s even been good enough to get a fully fleshed out sequel at the end of the year.
Q is for: Quake 3
Quake 3 Arena was released in 1999 and focused exclusively on Multiplayer fraggin’ action. Featured in some of the most exclusive Cyber athletics competitions around the globe, as well as played on thousands of dedicated servers through PC, Quake 3 is one of the pillars in competitive shooters and eSports. A port to the Xbox LIVE Arcade has also been planned.
R is for: Rainbow Six
A father of the tactical First Person Shooter genre, Rainbow Six features heavily based realistic combat along side a well written and thought out story by world renowned author Tom Clancy. Relying on players to accurately plan missions as opposed to blaze in all guns firing, this 1998 title is fun and enjoyable to play even today.
S is for: Shattered Horizon
For anyone that has benchmarked their PC Graphics and CPU before Futuremark should be a name you know. Well their first foray into the video game world and out of the Benchmarking tools world was quite an impressive one. Set in 2049, players take the role of an un-named Human on the Moon shortly before it explodes due to a huge mining accident. Combat is set in a Zero-Gravity environment challenging players whilst providing something new and unique. Critiques have given great scores with most even encouraging Futuremark to create a franchise.
T is for: Timesplitters 2
A cult classic if there ever was one, Timesplitters 2 is a FPS like no other. Placing players in the role of a space marine in 2401 whilst Humans are at war with a race named “TimeSplitters”. Instead of invading the Humans, the sentinel beings instead use things called “Time Crystals” to travel through, and alter time placing Earth into ruin. Featuring an awesome split screen mode and hours of fun, gamers around the world can only hope we see a sequel!
U is for: Unreal Tournament 2004
Like it’s brethren in the form of Quake III, UT2k4 is a heavily multiplayer orientated experience. Featuring vehicles for the first time, as well as a new game type titled “Onslaught” UT2k4 went on to win numerous “Multiplayer Game of the Year Awards” and to set the future benchmark for Multiplayer First Person Shooters.
V is for: Valve
V is for Valve, a long running American game production and publication company founded in 1996. Makers of revolutionary titles such as Half Life, Half Life 2 and new products like Left 4 Dead, they have firmly cemented themselves in gaming life. As well as their gaming exploration, they also invented the most popular and widely used Digital Content Distribution platform: “Steam”, saving PC users all of the world thousands of dollars.
W is for: Wolfenstein 3D
Another innovator of the First Person Shooter Genre, Wolenstein 3D gained most of its success through its Shareware agreement, basically allowing everyone to give out and to have as many copies as they wanted, but only one level. Of course you had to buy the full release to get the others! Being one of the first PC FPS games to implement Psuedo-3D, Wolfenstein 3D has become a retro favorite, but was also covered in controversy. Featuring levels constructed entirely of Swastikas and heavily Nazi party based imagery, many weren’t happy. One of the final bosses was even Hitler himself.
X is for: X
Not even I knew this game existed. That’s how hard it was to find. Released in 1992 on only the Gameboy, X puts you in the role of a tank commander tasked with completing numerous random missions. They include convoy protection through to defending whole bases. The game was listed by Famitsu as being one of four, in the most influential Game Boy games ever created.
Y is for: You Are Empty
A game I actually regret playing, You Are Empty puts you in the shoes of a high ranking Communist in Stalin-era Russia. The game features pathetic graphics for its time, a dismal gameplay experience and the stupidest ending I’ve ever encountered. No matter what you do you encounter the same clip montage ending in the destruction the Twin Towers in 2001. It scored a 1.5 courtesy of Game Informer reviewer Brent Todd. A little generous, I would’ve only given it a 0. DO NOT PLAY THIS, EVER!
Z is for: Zombie Panic! Source
One of, if not the most enjoyable community mod I played for Half Life was easily “Zombie Panic”. Zombie Panic! Source is a Half Life 2 redux of the original title that features content heavily emulating the classic Zombie movies and games of the world. Featuring four game modes, two of which are very similar to ones included in Left 4 Dead 2, Zombie Panic! Source is free to download off of Steam and well worth it.
Well that’s it for our comprehensive alphabet of FPS goodness. Some titles like Half-Life are missing, but I believe this is an awesome collection, and I hope you agree! If not, I’ll be more than happy to respond to your comments and suggestions below. Thanks!