This is a BIG year, but I think getting movies for all the games and briefly going over them, while it creates more work for me, is a better way of going about this. Sure, it means the article is HUGE, but unless I’m told it’s also BORING, I’m going to keep doing this so you can get a more accurate side by side comparison. That said, let’s hop into it!
Advanced Dungeons & Dragons – Slayer
Well you know, seeing as this is on the 3DO, I was expecting some better graphics, but oh well. It doesn’t look TOO bad, but it does look like a fairly generic dungeon crawler. At least there’s a minimap. I swear to GOD most of those games would’ve been 10 times better with them. Except this one. It comes off as meh all the same.
Alien vs Predator
Ah yes, the massively overhyped AvP for the Jaguar. They made such a big deal about the campaign “YOU CAN BE AN ALIEN, A PREDATOR…OR YOU CAN BE LUNCH!” And yet, it looks like the marine holds up fairly well when all’s said and done. I mean, the more recent AvP title really did have significant strengths and weaknesses for the different characters and classes, but this one…well, it just comes off feeling fairly generic, like an Alien-themed Doom, which is to say, Doom but not Doom…hmmm…
In the future, there is only techno and bland, generic FPSs. Like this one. Pass.
Blake Stone – Planet Strike
Not much has changed, really. I can’t recall if this was just an expansion or an actual sequel with updated graphics. I’m thinking just an expansion, because like I said, I don’t think much has really changed. So yeah, same game basically.
Just say no to Christmas Carnage. You can put money on just about any holiday-themed FPS being shit. Sure, sometimes it works when referencing Halloween, but Christmas? Come on, that’d be like making a game called Ramadan Rampage. Let’s move on.
Corridor 7 – Alien Invasion
Generic level design, generic enemies, generic weapons, generic music, generic genericism. Pass.
This game isn’t actually so bad. I had borrowed this off one of my uncles back in the day. The controls are fairly intuitive and wouldn’t you know, they combine using the mouse and keyboard at the same time! The interface, overall feel of the game, and level design actually aren’t too bad. Great? No, but still fun.
Again, I’m not sure this 100% qualifies. It’s basically a dungeon crawler with locked 90 degree angles where you use guns instead of medieval stuffs. Strangely, there was also an option for split-screen multiplayer. Not so sure that would come off as much fun, but could be interesting all the same.
Awful. The graphics are terrible as is the level design and even though the “HAY” spouted from enemies is fairly hilarious as well as the sounds in general (shit damn the phasers sound like a fat guy groaning because his nachos are just out of reach), all in all, this wouldn’t be a title I’d ever really play. But that’s okay, because this year we also had…
Doom 2 – Hell on Earth
Shit yeah, son! Motherfucking Doom the second! But why for is this not in first? Well, there are a few reasons. One, as hard as it is to believe, there are plenty of titles this year that give the Doom franchise a run for its money. Sure, Doom 2 will also have a special place in my blackest of black hearts, but there were some titles that were…better. Now, before you claw open your monitor and eat the insides, let me explain.
Doom 2 was, and is, the shit. But let’s be real here. You can only do the same thing over and over so many times before it gets old. Did Doom 2 really improve that much over the original formula? Were there enough new weapons, enemies, level design techniques, and various innovations to really qualify it as a sequel? No. Remember what I said before about Blake Stone? The same applies here.
Even though this is a fan-FUCKING-tastic game, it didn’t really innovate much over the original. Two, it would be hard to justify (though not that hard) 2 years in a row where a Doom title won. And three, trust me…you’ll agree with my #1. Yes, it’s THAT good.
Elder Scrolls – Arena
As dated as this is, it has to be commended not only for being an Elder Scrolls game, but also by actually being a good, qualifying FPS. To be fair, I probably should start separating actual FPSs from medieval dungeon crawlers, but in doing that I would also be casting out titles like Hexen, Witchaven, and many more, so I won’t. This one’s actually fun to go back and play, so if you haven’t already, check it out.
Fortress of Dr. Radiaki
Why the fuck can’t you pick up the guns? Why do you keep having to kill Castro over and over again? Why a bat? I mean, of all weapons, why start with a bat? Sure, it’s awesome, but…I mean, what? What is this I don’t even. Truth be told, it still sounds pretty fun from the description of the youtube vid…
“The Fortress of Dr. Radiaki is a PC action/adventure game that mixes carnage with a cutting edge sense of humor. You will confront scores of different adversaries including sword wielding samurai, stealthy ninja warriors, robots with toasters for heads, mutated alligators and many more. You must use all your wits to find your way through the cavernous fortress and defeat the Mackiavellian designs of the horribly deformed Dr. Radiaki.”
So yeah, that. I may end up having to check this out, for the “humor” at the very least.
I don’t know that I would 100% qualify this one. It’s more like “Jump On Shit And Shoot It I Guess If You Really Want To 3D.” I am liking the oldschool VR/Starfox-like graphics as well as the music, but there really isn’t much to say beyond that.
Heretic is fucking awesome. It’s a medieval themed FPS with lots of great weapons, enemies, levels, and so on. I mean seriously, if you hear that music and don’t get a rise out of it, either something’s fucking wrong with you or you’re deaf. For all the deafies: IT FUCKING ROCKS. ALSO, IS THIS EASIER TO READ I’M NOT SURE I DON’T HAVE ANY DEAF FRIENDS FOR SOME REASON…MOVING ON.
Terrible. Then again, considering Germany’s apparently super strict game censoring policies, it makes sense why certain things are the way they are, like guns not really firing bullets, no real blood, and enemies just kinda disappear when they die. It also makes sense that this game sucks. No offense to Germany, but come on…I’m fucking German and this is embarrassing. Sorry about the lack of a box shot, title screen, or whatever.
Iron Angel of the Apocalypse
Yeah, the game title itself may sound pretty fucking metal and when you see the intro, you may be wondering “Gun Sage! Gun Sage! Be it time for…THA METAAAAAAAAAAAAAL?!?!” Aaaaaaaaand…no. It comes off as a crappy looking generic version of Mechwarrior. I mean, it’s the 3DO, whaddaya want? Moving on…
Legend of the Seven Paladins
More like “Legend of the Seven Thousand Advertisements.” Sure, it doesn’t help that everything’s in Taiwanese, but Jesus. And sure, I know a lot of the games that were being advertised on the TVs (and they’re not half bad), but seriously, the action doesn’t even pick up on the vid until about halfway through…then it just turns into what Hexen would’ve been if it was all about hadokens.
If it was more about martial arts, this might’ve been cool, but we already have Shadow Warrior (or will soon, anyway), sooooo…yeah, pass.
So I tried to find some actual gameplay footage of this, especially to confirm if it really is a FPS or not (adventure/FPS hybrid around this time almost always means something like Snatcher, which is a good game, but doesn’t quite qualify) and all I could find was a silly ass review that only had stills and the opening as well as this demo, which doesn’t do much for me. Doesn’t really seem all that impressive all things considered, and this might be because it was designed for Windows 3.x.
Where would I be if I didn’t at least mention this one? Well, right here anyway, probably, but the point is Marathon was a truly inspiring, excellent title…at least, I guess so. Never really owned or played with Macs back in the day, but one of my brother’s friends did and he used to go on and on about it, so I’m going with it. It’s not bad, but it is a bit dated now. Personally, I prefer Durandal for XBLA, but it also feels a bit dated.
…Well, it’s no Ken’s Labyrinth, but it’s certainly no Wolfenstein 3D either, which is really saying something considering how great some of the FPSs are this year. Moving on…
Operation Body Count
I love how the way your gun bobs when you move perfectly emulates someone who’s holding themself while running because they have to piss like a race horse. That and I love the “YOU LOSE” guy. Beyond that, I have no love for this miserable pile of drivel. Generic garbage, if you ask me.
…What. Did I miss something? Is this game supposed to confuse the colorblind? I mean, I get I’m starting from part 2, so maybe I really did miss something…but what is up with the level design and textures? Jesus, I don’t think I could play this only because I’d look away to save my retinas and would probably start seeing spots and shit. Gah!
Rise of the Triad
FUCK YEAH. Listen to that music. Check out the manic, frenzied gameplay. What a perfect, straightforward, no nonsense FPS for the time. This is definitely one I want to go back and play at some point. It was fun, insane, and had great weapon variety. But it’s not winning this year. I know, I know…but trust me…#1 is just that for a goddamn good reason. Still, definitely check this one out if you’ve never heard of it.
Super 3D Noah’s Ark
Well, what can I say that AVGN hasn’t already? Alright, how about this…I didn’t own THIS bible game, but I did own a couple of them for the NES. What I can say is they at least tried to teach you something. This? Nah, fuck it. It absolutely teaches you fuck all, it’s a stupid ass design concept…but at least it’s better than Ken’s Labyrinth. Gotta give it that.
You see the company name? Yeah, “Pie In The Sky Software?” Yeah, they suck. They made Lethal Tender, Red Babe, and a bunch of other shitty FPS titles. So really, fuck ’em.
Well, it’s pretty cool the Genesis got another shot at FPSs, especially after the godawful Corporation, but it’s still pretty generic. I guess if you really wanted to, go check it out, but this year had so many better FPSs…which brings us to the winner…
Winner: System Shock
Clunky, hard to use interface? Check. Weird, ass backwards controls? Check. Okay, I joke, but…cyberpunk-themed, awesome voice acting, kickass story, lots of nice surprises, and really goddamn hard to get working correctly on DOS Box? Motherfucking CHECK. This game takes the year for two reasons. One, what it is. Not only is it a kickass game, but it helped push forward the uber-awesome System Shock 2, Deus Ex, and later the Bioshock series.
So what’s reason number two? MOTHERFUCKING DOSBOX. I’ve been dicking around with DOSBox trying to get this fucker to work correctly and 100% for ages and it almost always crashes or just doesn’t run. I’ve had to live through this game in multiple let’s plays and I tell ya, even though it’s not enough of an experience, it IS enough to call this year. This game absolutely cannot be passed up.
I can honestly say sitting here and looking back at the month that this was a good year for FPSs. Not the best year, no, not by far…but still a good year all the same. There are a lot of good FPSs and even a few great ones, but the ones I’m probably going to check out after this are the funny ones. Not the GOD AWFUL TERRIBLE ONES, but yes, definitely the funny ones. And it only gets better from here, folks.