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What are the “classic” single-player FPS games?

Posted: Tue Jun 23, 2020 9:50 am
by prfsnl_gmr
Just a thought experiment...

What are the “classic” single-player FPS games? By that, I mean what single-player FPS games that are at least ten years old really defined the genre? The following come to mind for me, but I am very interested in other opinions since I don’t have a ton of experience with this genre.

.....

Classic Single-Player FPS Campaigns
Battlezone
MIDI Maze/Faceball 2000
Wolfenstein 3D
Marathon
Doom/Doom II
Duke Nukem 3D
Heretic/Hexen
Quake/Quake II
Turok: Dinosaur Hunter
GoldenEye/Perfect Dark
Medal of Honor
Rainbow Six
Half-Life/Half-Life 2
Halo/Halo 2
CoD: Modern Warfare
Borderlands
Far Cry 2
Bioshock

Honorable Mentions
Deus Ex
Blake Stone
System Shock/System Shock 2
Unreal Tournament
Red Faction
Metroid Prime
Crysis

EDIT: List updated 6/29/20

Re: Random Gaming Thoughts

Posted: Tue Jun 23, 2020 10:54 am
by MrPopo
You left off Quake somehow. I'd also add in System Shock; while it flew a bit under the radar it and its sequel heavily influenced a lot of games to come.

Re: Random Gaming Thoughts

Posted: Tue Jun 23, 2020 11:43 am
by prfsnl_gmr
Good call on System Shock. I thought about Quake, but I thought it was just more Doom until Quake III, which was more of a multiplayer experience. I’m not experienced with the series, though; so, if I’m missing something here let me know.

Also, what about Duke Nukem 3D? Should I have included that?

Re: Random Gaming Thoughts

Posted: Tue Jun 23, 2020 12:40 pm
by MrPopo
prfsnl_gmr wrote:Good call on System Shock. I thought about Quake, but I thought it was just more Doom until Quake III, which was more of a multiplayer experience. I’m not experienced with the series, though; so, if I’m missing something here let me know.

Also, what about Duke Nukem 3D? Should I have included that?

The reason to add Quake is the fact it brought things into 3D and allowed for internet play; while Doom was popular at LANs Quake was the next evolution that really kicked things off. You can definitely make an argument for Duke Nukem 3D; it did the important work of giving the protagonist character rather than just being mute. This would naturally be seen a lot more over time.

Re: Random Gaming Thoughts

Posted: Tue Jun 23, 2020 12:59 pm
by Ziggy587
I would add Duke Nukem 3D, but I don't know about Metroid Prime. Sure, you shoot from a first person perspective. But it's not what I would call a first person shooter. To me, a FPS is where the shooting is center stage and the game is built around it. Metroid Prime is a 3D Metroidvania, and I don't really think of the shooting in the same way I do as the others on your list.

Re: Random Gaming Thoughts

Posted: Tue Jun 23, 2020 2:28 pm
by Ack
Yeah, Metroid Prime didn't really do anything to change the genre. I would add Quake for the reasons Popo mentioned. Duke Nukem 3D... it's important, perhaps even defining, but did it push the genre into new areas? I'd say not really, unless you want to focus on wisecracking protagonists. The Build engine is important, but again, not something that completely changed the game.

If we were looking to include titles like Duke Nukem 3D, I'd argue for Unreal Tournament too. Yes, Quake built out PC multiplayer from Doom, and Half-Life added to it. And Unreal is fantastic in its own right as a later "old guard" focusing on map creators. But Unreal Tournament really built on the multiplayer side.

Do we want to talk about how Battlefield 2 helped herald in the era of "Middle Eastern modern warfare" FPS years before Call of Duty: Modern Warfare did?

Re: Random Gaming Thoughts

Posted: Tue Jun 23, 2020 2:36 pm
by MrPopo
Yeah, I can agree with your Unreal Tournament choice; it really marked the genre shift from single player focused to multiplayer focused. Like, prior to UT and Q3 multiplayer was an important feature for you to use AFTER you beat single player.

As for Duke 3D, the other thing it did was create real world environments; its locations tend to exist in a way that might make sense besides just being a good video game level.

Re: Random Gaming Thoughts

Posted: Tue Jun 23, 2020 2:40 pm
by Ack
Something I noticed recently with Duke Nukem 3D was that it appears to have also lifted musical elements from the movie Bad Boys. It's an action film as an FPS through and through. The "realistic" nature of the settings further enhance that for me.

Re: Random Gaming Thoughts

Posted: Tue Jun 23, 2020 2:46 pm
by isiolia
Duke3D is at least a solid representation of the sorts of things FPS games were doing to innovate or have fun without major technology leaps forward.

Quake and Unreal were more the latter, and are probably most notable for that (but still notable).

I would suggest Marathon for earlier titles - it was ahead of its time, hindered mostly by being a Mac exclusive.

Later ones, maybe Far Cry 2? I think that was one of the earlier examples for the sort of free-form hub sort of gameplay that Far Cry and other series have since followed.

Crysis was at least very much in the minds of people for a long time, even if just for graphics and performance. The original Far Cry as well.

I'd agree with Metroid Prime not really belonging, at least in a way... Deus Ex maybe for similar reasons. I guess to me, if you're inclusive, then stuff like System Shock 2, STALKER, Thief, and so on belong too.

Borderlands is old enough to qualify, and I think that at least heralded the looter-shooter genre right?

Medal of Honor would be notable I think, along with the earlier CoD games. Not that they are necessarily must-play games today, but more that it feels like those are the origins of the more cinematic (I guess?) sort of short-n-sweet campaigns that those IPs (and others) tend to offer.


just offhand anyway

Re: Random Gaming Thoughts

Posted: Tue Jun 23, 2020 3:25 pm
by prfsnl_gmr
Thanks for the responses, guys! This is just something I was thinking about, and I appreciate the perspectives of people with way more experience with the genre.

Battlezone
MIDI Maze/Faceball 2000
Wolfenstein 3D
Marathon
Doom/Doom II
Duke Nukem 3D
Quake
GoldenEye/Perfect Dark
Medal of Honor
Unreal Tournament (Did this have much of a single-player campaign?)
Half-Life/Half-Life 2
Halo/Halo 2
Battlefield 2
Portal
CoD: Modern Warfare
Borderlands
Far Cry 2
Bioshock

What about the first-person Star Wars games? Did any of them really push the genre forward?