VE Counts Down The Top 20 FPS Games

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Over at VE they have a count down to the Top 20 FPS games of the 3D revolution. F.E.A.R. comes in at number 11! 20) Return to Castle Wolfenstein
If you're an older gamer, odds are you fondly remember playing the original Wolf 3D back in the day. Well, Gray Matter Studios brought the characters and setting back to life back in 2001 with id's then state-of-the art Quake III engine. Its sci-fi spun,World War 2 theme really spiced up the single player side of the game, while the real-world art style and snowy Bavarian locations helped ground it into reality. Eventually, a free expansion pack called Enemy Territory (from Splash Damage) was released, giving the game an excellent multiplayer mode, which is still popular today. A sequel to Return to Castle Wolfenstein is in the works now, although details about it are few and far between.
19) The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay
Not everyone loved the movie starring Vin Diesel off of which the game was based, but I thought The Chronicles of Riddick was an entertaining sci-fi romp. Regardless of your opinion of Vin's acting skills, the game and movie have very little to do with each other. Originally an Xbox game, The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay made its way to the PC via an extremely well-done port job, fully taking advantage of the latest and greatest PC hardware. As far as the game itself goes, it mixed stealth, creative movement schemes and pure action (the hand-to-hand combat was particularly fun), successfully combining elements that usually don't blend well in FPS games. If you haven't played Riddick already, I highly recommend picking it up.
18) Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force
Back when Raven was still a PC developer, the Wisconsin-based company had a solid reputation for releasing quality action games. One of tho games that helped put it on the map was Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force, a Quake III-engined FPS that was among the first games to successfully use squad-based AI companions. Blasting the Borg was never so much fun. On the downside, Elite Force was a pretty short game. In fact, this was one of the titles that started the whole "six-hours or less" mantra that has permeated into FPS games today.
17) Shogo: Mobile Armor Division
What's not to love about giant robots and manga in a first person shooter? The weapons were over-the-top, and the special effects and graphics in general were pretty crazy for 1998. Multiplayer + giant robots + FPS gameplay = winning combination
16) Aliens vs Predator 2
Another fine game by Monolith's crack team of FPS monkeys was Aliens vs Predator 2. While the ambience wasn't quite as creepy as the original from Rebellion, it managed to kick the series up a notch or two by providing diverse gameplay experiences as Aliens, Marines and Predators, respectively.
15) Soldier of Fortune
Sure, before Soldier of Fortune hit the scene in Y2K, first-person shooters had gore. But Raven's GHOUL system took gibs to the next level by giving players the abilities to blow people to bits in creative, never-before-seen ways. As far as the game itself goes, it was fairly massive. Mission environments ranged from the chilly Arctic to the sweltering oil fields of the Middle East. The A.I. was challenging, and the weapons felt gratifying, to say the least.
14) Prey
While Human Head's Prey might not be the same game 3D Realms originally envisioned when version 1.0 was in development a decade ago, features such as portals and the Native American hero did eventually see the light of day. It would have been interesting to see fully destructible environments and an Apache version of Tommy, but the end result was a gravity-bending, visually appealing, Doom 3-powered, first-person shooter.
13) Doom 3
Doom 3 was a shock to many. Anytime a series changes gameplay mechanics from run-and-gun to creep-and-crawl, there's bound to be a few bewildered fans. The multiplayer left a lot to be desired (small maps, low player counts, laggy), which was one of the reasons why the game was a letdown to many. Id even managed to sneak a story into the game, which was a first for the company as well. Regardless of the drastic design changes, the graphics did not disappoint. The lighting and shadow effects were stellar, and the art design and direction were some of the best work id has done yet.
12) No One Lives Forever
One of the most underrated first-person shooters of all time is Monolith's No One Lives Forever. Highlights of the game include: cheeky '60s spy humor, colorful graphics and art style, clever A.I., creative writing and dialogue, plus inventive level design and mission structure.
11) F.E.A.R. (First Encounter Assault Recon)
Jaw-dropping visuals, uber artificial intelligence, creepy little girls, a clone army, and strong presentation are a few of the hallmarks of what made F.E.A.R. so great. The slow-motion action sequences (a la bullet-time in Max Payne) helped push First Encounter Assault Recon into our coveted top-20.
10) Quake III: Arena
Ah, good old Quake. Quake III: Arena kicked ass on many levels. The graphics were killer, the gameplay was tight and it even had bot mode. Rumor was that the multiplayer was pretty fun, too (back when people still played deathmatch). Times change, as do people's tastes in multiplayer games, so we look forward to Quake Wars, which is coming out later this year.
9) Dark Forces 2: Jedi Knight
Dark Forces 2 was one of the first games I played with a 3D card. If memory serves me correctly, it was a four-meg S3 card. It didn't pack as much punch as the Monster 3D (my next video card), but at the time, the graphics were pretty impressive.
8) Far Cry
Far Cry can be described in four words: Lush, tropic eye candy. Its checkpoint save system left a lot to be desired, but visually Far Cry was insane. Not a bad accomplishment for Crytek's first real game. Honestly, Far Cry still looks better than most FPS's out today.
7) Serious Sam: The First Encounter
From the "came out of nowhere" department is Serious Sam: The First Encounter from Croteam. Old-school, arcade-style action (waves and waves of stuff to kill), powerful proprietary engine technology and even a few Duke Nukem jokes made this a game for the ages. The cool Egyptian-themed maps and locations didn't hurt the cause either.
6) Call of Duty
What made Call of Duty stand out in the crowded World War 2 market was the quality in which the game was presented. Call of Duty 2 was loaded in the technology department (eye candy and A.I.), but the presentation and story cohesion really suffered. Call of Duty 3 was a console game, so enough said… Playing the three different nations (U.S., U.K. and Russia) was a lot of fun, and the multiplayer was great.
5) Unreal
Unreal: The game that sold a thousand engine licenses. Literally. Unreal was more of a montage of fantasy and science fiction-themed levels than anything else. Sure, there was a story hidden away in the tiny dialog boxes, but most of the fun was just exploring the breathtaking levels and checking out the beautiful environments than anything else. Unreal was the first game to have truly killer water effects. The multiplayer netcode was nearly unplayable when it was released, but as I'm sure you all know by now, Epic managed to work the kinks out and even became a leader in the field.
4) Unreal Tournament
What made UT cool was that it offered a lot of new, different multiplayer modes in a world where deathmatch and capture the flag still ruled. Assault and domination offered compelling team-based alternatives. That's not to say that UT didn't have DM and CTF, too, but the more options, the better. In general, the level design was great, the models looked fabulous and the weapons were a lot of fun, too. Plus, who doesn't love bots?
3) Quake II
As far as the game itself goes, the single player was entertaining, mindless fun, but the real action was the multiplayer. Memorable levels, gratifying weapons and a huge mod community made Quake II something special.
2) Half-Life 2
As the sequel to one of the most beloved games of all time, Valve had some serious shoes to fill. After numerous delays, embarrassing security leaks and other mishaps, Half-Life 2 was released to rave reviews. And why not? It is Valve, after all. Powered by its new Source Engine technology and distributed by its own online content-delivery system, Steam, Half-Life 2 raised the crowbar in more ways than one. The addition of sidekicks, physics-inspired puzzles and other cool bells and whistles helped put Half-Life 2 in our coveted second spot. Oh, yeah, it ships with Counter-Strike Source as well…
1) Half-Life
Gordon Freeman: The man. The myth. The legend. Okay, he had no personality to speak of (that's up to your imagination), but Valve struck gold with Half-Life. Who knew a modified Quake 1 engine game would kick so much ass? From the tram ride into Black Mesa, you knew Half-Life was something very different—and very special. High presentation standards, cool level locations and interesting characters (the G-Man, especially) make the original Half-Life our choice for best first-person shooter ever. Plenty of great mods didn't hurt the cause either.
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