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First Person Shooters - RoyBoy's Retro Rewind

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 Hello Aussie Gamers, and welcome to the second edition of “RoyBoy’s Retro Rewind”. This month through to next month is what I’m calling “FPS Season”, where the triple AAA shooters, Battlefield 1, Titanfall 2 and COD are released. As a result this article is all about the First Person Shooter genre. Please feel free to like, share and comment on the Aussie Gamers Express Facebook page and also at www.aussiegamersexpress.com

First Person Shooters or FPS have been a staple diet of the gaming community since the early 90’s and the release of Wolfenstein 3D and DOOM. Both of which are the titles many would associate as defining the genre of FPS games. The list of titles available is endless, and they all have the same common denominator in terms of gameplay and style which can be defined as a video game centred on gun and projectile weapon based combat through the eyes of the protagonist as a first person perspective.

MAZE WAR

However, long before the COD’s and Battlefields of today’s market back in the early 70’s at  NASA’s AMES Research Centre in California a computer program was written in which a maze could be navigated from a first person perspective. This program would be developed and released in 1974 under the title Maze War, in which players could navigate their way through a maze, shooting and killing other players they came across. It was also one of the first multiplayer games available whereby players could use a client based server, with workstations connecting to a server. Another similar title during this time was Spasim, but the FPS genre really wouldn’t take off until the release of Id Software’s Wolfenstein 3D in 1992.

Wolfenstein 3D
On a side note Wolfenstein 3D was banned from sale in Germany due to the fact it contained Nazi symbolism.

After the success of Wolfenstein, Id Software released probably one of the most famous FPS games of the genre “Doom” in 1993, and this subsequently lead to many software developers and game publishers releasing similar type games during the 90’s right through to today. Hence the reason why many would agree upon that the FPS genre was created of the back of these two games and the term Doom Clone being used for any game that would appear similar in style and gameplay to the original. Many Doom Clones were poor but few emerged as quality games. Marathon, Heretic, Star Wars: Dark Forces and of course Duke Nukem 3D were a few titles that were successful during the 90’s but due to the technology available most of the FPS games were mainly only playable on a PC.

DOOM
Star Wars: Dark Forces

With the introduction of the modern consoles from Sony and Microsoft, FPS games have been a staple diet for gamers, allowing them to fight wars in the distant future as well as in the past. From Halo, Bioshock, Far Cry, Medal of Honor, Battlefield, Call of Duty, the common theme among these titles is that they are all part of a series of games. There is never just one FPS game released without a sequel or a prequel, and even Wolfenstein and Doom have evolved through the years to the current generation of consoles. Early FPS games were mainly PvE, but with the advancement of the internet, FPS games have shifted to a more multiplayer focus and now PvP. Back in my day a game was released with a solid story and campaign (single player), but there has been a massive shift in the genre where most games released today have cut a solid campaign to the minimum and focused heavily on multiplayer. 

There are many ways one could go on and on and on, when discussing First Person Shooters, but rather I'll list 5 FPS games I have played and enjoyed over the years.

1 - Medal of Honor

Released in 1999 on the PlayStation One, Medal of Honor was the first in the series of over 15 titles. The game was directed by Steven Spielberg and saw the player take control of Lieutenant Jimmy Patterson, a former C-47 Skytrain pilot in the Air Transport Command. The game takes place in the later stages of World War 2, and the main objectives were to destroy enemy positions, strongholds and kill enemy German forces in the process.



2 - Redneck Rampage

"I'm gonna getcha!" Redneck Rampage as the name suggests, is where two hillbilly brothers, Leonard and Bubba fight through Hickston, Arkansas against an alien invasion in order to rescue their pig Bessie. It is full of hillbilly innuendo and funny phrases, and alcohol used as a power up would make your character take less damage from enemy fire. Originally released in 1997, it also had an additional "Cuss Pack" and a 14 level expansion "Suckin Grits on Route 66." Redneck Rampage Rides again was the only major sequel in the series.



3 - Far Cry 4

As the name suggests this game was the fourth title in the Far Cry series, but the first in which I had played (I have gone on to play Blood Dragon). Set in the fictional country of Kyrat the story follows Ajay Ghale caught in a civil war between the Royal Army and the Golden Path. Players take on the Royal Army to liberate the country, as well as fight wild animals using a wide array of weapons whilst completing missions to progress through the main campaign.



4 - Blood

Another old PC Doom Clone I played during my late teens, Blood was released in 1997, and thanks to Snoogans who introduced this title to me. "I live again" was the first quote at the beginning of the game which has players take control of an undead gunslinger called Caleb who seeks revenge against the dark god Tchernobog. Containing a lot of occult and horror themes it is very much a reskinned Doom game with a large collection of weapons available.



5 - Half Life

Whilst many would say Half Life 2 is the better game, you can't have a sequel without an original. Half Life was one of the first FPS games to use scripted sequences rather than cut scenes to advance the story campaign, keeping the player entirely in the first person. Only short pauses for loading would halt a continuous progression through the world. Players took control of Doctor Gordon Freeman, fighting your way out a secret research facility after an experiment goes wrong.

Half Life

The graphics and plot may change from game to game, but the basic concept of the First Person Shooter has remained fairly consistent since its inception. Call of Duty and Battlefield are the main titles in the market at the moment but there are always games released following similar concepts and style. In terms of the future the FPS genre is in a strong position and whilst the original idea may have been to immerse gamers into the game, with the introduction of Virtual Reality this year, we may soon just find ourselves immersed even further into the world of the First Person Shooter. 

On a final note, here is video featuring 100 FPS games in 10 minutes.



Until next time Happy Gaming.

RoyBoy

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