Ultimate Games Collection 2

Good old fashioned corpse making

Feature by Craig Wilson | 15 Jul 2006
PART II: First Person Shooters.

by Craig Wilson

Bursting onto the scene in the early nineties with classics such as 'Doom' and 'Wolfenstein', the FPS genre has always been at the pinnacle of games development, with the examples below often signalling revolutions in design, graphics and game play. They also allowed you to shoot Aliens/Zombies/Stormtroopers/Communists/Nazis/Friends without fear of legal reprisal, which has always been a blessing after a particularly long day at work.

1.) 'Goldeneye'

This was the game which pushed the FPS genre out of the dark ages of repetitive levels, bosses and key collecting. Now missions were defined by objectives and linked by a strong narrative involving interaction with other characters. Without this there never would have been no 'No One Lives Forever', 'Perfect Dark' or 'Medal of Honour' (then again we may have been spared all the other Bond games since). It had solid weaponry, perfect level design, and a clever adaptation of the film script. Few other games also brought out your inner sadist quite as much, with 'Goldeneye's death animations remaining as some of the most over the top and lengthy in gaming history, especially if you aimed for certain… extremities. It also came packaged with one of the finest console multiplayer options to date What other game I ask, has allowed you to play as Robbie Coltrane!?

2.) 'Half-Life'

Still possibly the best FPS of all time, the original 'Half-Life' didn't just evolve the genre as its sequel would, but revolutionised one of the PC's biggest genres. A perfect merging of platforming, puzzle-solving and good ol'-fashioned corpse making. 'Half-Life' brought together many different styles of play and amalgamated them perfectly into a classic. Even the most basic weapons were a thrill to use, with the machine gun being possibly the most satisfying of any game to date. A.I. also took a massive leap forward as enemy marines would now work together, suppressing and flanking you. Black Mesa provided a perfect setting which changed in design and aesthetic, all without the use of a level structure. Although the game could have done without the platform hell that was Xen. 'Half-Life 2' may have looked and played like a dream, but it was the original that changed gaming history forever.

3.) 'Call of Duty 2'

Recent years have seen the WWII action genre become fat and bloated with games (mainly thanks to EA's now quite drab Medal of Honour series), yet this sheer volume earns it at least one entry here. 'Call of Duty 2' stands heads and shoulders above the rest, having created some of the most terrifying digital battlefields to date - shells, bullets and screaming national socialists combining to create an intense experience, even if you are dying every ten minutes. For the first time A.I. comrades truly feel helpful and you are made to feel part of a far bigger war. The recharging health bar also removed the element of 'health packs' enhancing the game's realism. Excellent voice acting and beautifully realised visions of hell complement the experience. Indeed, if there is one game that truly conveys the horrors of war then this is it.

4.) 'Halo'

This was the game that made the X-box. Truly original, it introduced many innovations such the shield, a limited inventory and vehicles. It introduced us to the Master-Chief and a thousand arguments as to what lay under his suit. An engaging story, sublime graphics, advanced A.I. and enemies that screamed when you ran at them immersed you in a world of intelligent combat. It also had a well balanced, attractive arsenal (especially the assault rifle - sacrilegiously dropped for the sequel). The flood may have not been as much fun to butcher as the covenant were, but even their levels had a special atmosphere that remained long after the end of the game.

Runners Up: 'Doom', 'No One Lives Forever', 'Metroid Prime', 'Perfect Dark', 'Half-Life 2', 'Dark Forces II: Jedi Knight'.
http://(Rare, www.rareware.com), (Valve, www.valvesoftware.com), (Infinity Ward, www.callofduty2.com), (Bungie, www.microsoftgames.com/bungie/halo)