History of First-Person Shooter Games: First Era

Zero Era (1980-1992)

The Colony (1988) - David Alan Smith

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+Interactivity

+3D world

+Find the colony

+Puzzles

+Smoke a cigarette, the player dies

+Slugger enemy follows player's trail

-Square areas

 

1st Era (1992-1997)

Wolfenstein 3D (1992) - iD Software

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+Secret areas

+Sneak up on enemies

+Different enemies

-Square maze areas

 

Gunbuster (1992) - Taito

+WASD birth

+Move aiming reticule with lightgun

+Co-op

+Deathmatch

-lightgun arcade shooter

 

Pathways to Darkness (1993) - Bungie

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+Inventory management

+Puzzles

+Game ending changes based upon player actions

+Time limit, if the final boss wakes before you complete the game, game over

+regenerating health by resting, screen goes black indicating you're sleeping

+NPCs

-Wolfenstein 3D clone

 

Hired Guns (1993) - DMA Design

+Four screens for four characters

+Four player co-op

+Inventory

-click-based

 

ShadowCaster (1993) - Raven Software

+Ability to morph into different forms with different abilities

+Inventory

-Wolfenstein 3D clone

 

SEAL Team (1993) - EA

+First Tactical shooter

+Controlling AI teammates

+Call in support units ex. helicopter

-third-person perspective, first-person for aiming

 

Space Hulk I/II: Vengeance of the Blood Angels (1993/95) - EA

+Tactical shooter

+Controlling AI teammates

-Wolfenstein 3D clone

 

Terminator: Rampage (1993) - Bethesda Game Studios

+Mini-map

-Wolfenstein 3D clone

 

Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold (1993) & Planet Strike (1994) - JAM Productions

+Non-enemy NPCs

+Maze hunt

-Wolfenstein 3D clone

-bullet sponges

 

Doom I (1993) II (1994) - iD Software

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+Fast-paced

+Melee

+Bullet-Hell

+Circular level design

-2D shooter in a 3D perspective

-pick-ups instant equipped

 

Magic Carpet 1 (1994) 2 (1995) - Bullfrog Productions

+Open world

+Six degrees of freedom

+Flying

+Variety of enemies

+Griffins won't harm the player until the player attacks

+Enemy AI wizards have some of the same abilities the player has

+Rebound spell throws attacks back at the enemy

+Terrain-altering spells

-dumb AI

-bullet sponge

-point and shoot mechanics

 

Marathon I (1994) II: Durandal (1995) III: Infinity (1996) - Bungie

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+Free look

+Move mouse independent of movement

+Dual wielding

+Circular level design

+Verticality

+Different enemy types take damage depending upon weapon used

+mini-map

+motion tracker

+optional story via terminal messages

+multiple fire modes for weapons

+Inventory

+Outdoor levels

+AI teammates

+Different factions battle each other independent of the player

+Multiplayer

+Co-op

+Kill the Guy with the Ball multiplayer mode where one player holds onto the skull

-dumb AI

-save points

-Doom clone

-game doesn't pause when reading terminals, exposing the player to damage

 

System Shock (1994) - Looking Glass

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+Exploration

+Upgrade player's abilities

+Interactivity

+Puzzles

+Free aim

+Inventory

+Automap

+Different fire modes

+Weapons deal different damage to different enemies

-dumb AI

-bullet sponge

-respawning enemies

-controls

-switching between controlling character and menus

 

Descent I (1994) II (1996) - Parallax Software

+Six degrees of movement

+Full 3D

-dumb AI

-bullet sponge

-score

 

Zero Tolerance (1994) - Technopop

+Five members of the team represent one life each, game over when all five die

-Wolfenstein 3D clone

 

CyClones (1994) - Raven Software

+Mouse aiming independent of movement

+Inventory

+Stealth sections

-Doom clone

 

Heretic (1994) - Raven Software

+Inventory system

+Forge ultimate weapon by picking up parts throughout the game

-Doom clone

 

Rise of the Triad (1994) - Apogee Software

+Enemies play dead

+Dual-wielding pistols

+Weapon system is weapon slots - picking up a certain type dropped the equipped

+Enemies throw grenades

+Enemies duck and roll

-Wolfenstein 3D clone

 

Corridor 7 (1994) - Capstone Software

+Mini-map

-Wolfenstein 3D clone

 

Operation Body Count (1994) - Capstone Software

+Switch characters

+Tactical shooter

-Wolfenstein 3D clone

 

PO'ed (1995) -  Any Channel

+jetpack

+verticality

-Wolfenstein 3D clone

 

Witchaven (1995) - Capstone Software

+Melee combat

-Doom clone

 

Hexen (1995) - Raven Software

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+Hub level to access the levels

+Class based - warrior, mage and cleric

+Forge ultimate weapon by picking up parts throughout the game

-Doom clone

 

Tekwar (1995) - Capstone Software

+Track down targets

+Holster weapon around civilians and cops

+Video movie feedback based upon level of violence

-Doom clone

 

Star Wars: Dark Forces (1995) - LucasArts

+Large areas

+Platforming puzzles

-Doom clone

-backtrack to the beginning to end mission

 

Terminator Future Shock (1995) & Skynet (1996) - Bethesda Game Studios

+Mouse-look

+3D textures and environments

+Grenade-button

+Vehicle combat

-dumb AI

-bullet sponges

-empty spaces

 

Quake I (1996) - iD Software

+Fast-paced

+Selecting difficulty by player's skill - jump test

+Bullet-Hell

+Spacing - using lava pits

+Circular level design

-pick-ups instant equipped

 

Terra Nova: Strike Force Centauri (1996) - Looking Glass

+Mouse-look

+Open world

+3D textures and environments

+AI teammates

+Order AI teammates

+Pre-mission loadout

+Jetpack

+Multi types of mechs and weapons

+Vehicle combat

-dumb AI

-bullet sponges

-empty spaces

 

Duke Nukem 3D (1996) - 3D Realms|Apogee Software

+Interactivity

+Shrink gun

-Doom clone

-bullet sponges

 

Disruptor (1996) - Insomniac Games

+Special powers, drain, healing, shock and shield

-Doom clone

-bullet sponges

-dumb AI

 

Alien Trilogy (1996) - Probe Entertainment

+Dedicated grenade button

+Hit-confirm via blood visual

+Bloody enemy indicates health of enemy

+Enemies flinch on hit

-clunky movement

-annoying machine gun sound

-bullet sponge

 

Team Fortress (1996) - Valve

+Class-based - sniper, demoman, heavy, scout, soldier, medic, spy, engineer, pryo

+Dedicated Grenade button

-multiplayer

-unbalanced

 

Strife (1996) - Rogue Entertainment

+Can use guards uniform to infiltrate areas

+Guards won't shoot you unless you open fire first

+Multiple endings

+Permadeath for NPCs

+Open world

-Doom clone

 

Deus (1996) - Silmarils

+Survival simulation

+Open world

-Quake clone

-fog

 

Zero Population Count (1996) - Zombie Studios

+Cartoon style graphics

-Doom clone

 

Blood (1997) - Monolith

+Crouch

+Pop references

-Doom clone

 

Shadow Warrior (1997) - 3D Realms

+Unique health system - balance alcohol and gut bars

+Crouch

-Doom clone

-hit detection is poor

 

Redneck Rampage (1997) - Xatrix

+Different enemies and different attacks

+Crouch

+Platform jumping

-Doom clone

 

Outlaws (1997) - LucasArts

+Western

+Sniper scope and zoom

-Doom clone

 

Realms of the Haunting (1997) - Gremlin Interactive

+Point-and-click hybrid

+Multi-choice answers

+Puzzles

-Doom clone

-backtracking

-can advance without the necessary items to complete subsequent

 

Last Rites (1997) - Ocean Software

+AI teammates

-Doom clone

-zombies