Erik Kubik, Associate Writer
The 1990s was the heyday of FPS games. The industry was changing as the PC became more and more powerful, 3D graphics cards, 56k dial up, and Pentium II and III's became the norm. Keeping this in mind, the question is what was the best PC FPS of the 1990s? Although maybe the question should be, what was the most influential fps and why? Here's a long list of memorable FPS games, including Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, Duke Nukem 3d, Dark Forces, the Quake series I-III, Half-Life, Heretic, Hexen I and II, Unreal Tournament, and Jedi Knight.
Let's start at the top. Wolfenstein was the first real fps, released in 1992; it was influential because the game paved the groundwork for the FPS model. Granted, by today's standard the game play is limited and the graphics are terrible. But the success of Wolfenstein lead Id to release Doom. Doom was immensely popular and was ported to most major consoles in the 1990s. Doom patented what we gamers take for granted, including multiplayer matches; they also coined the familiar term Deathmatch. Doom took the groundwork laid by Wolfenstein and polished it to a shine.
Using the Doom gaming model, other developers began to flex their muscles. Games like Dark Forces and Descent roared forth in the mid 90s. Dark Forces, besides being Star Wars themed, implemented the ability to crouch and to look up and down; whereas Descent created a truly 3D world, giving gamers six degrees of killing freedom. Duke Nukem came forth in 1996 and was one of the last polygon-based fps. Duke taught gamers like myself that we shouldn't take things too seriously. Throwing out cash for strippers and blasting pig cops and other players with pipe bombs was just part of the fun. Quake followed Duke Nukem in 1996 creating a world revolving around online gaming with multiple game types still seen today, such as Capture the Flag. Quake also introduced clans and upped the demand for more powerful video hardware.
Three things happened at the end of the decade that would change the fps world. Starsiege Tribes was released in 1998 and was a game I passed on originally but picked up later in 2000. Tribes took the multiplayer battles of fps games like Quake and expanded on the concept. A game featuring 32 players at a time on a 56k dial up with specialized classes sucked my nights away.
Quake III came out in 1999 and Unreal Tournament came out in 1998; they skipped over the single player experience and focused on multiplayer. Quake III was one of the first games to utilize an anti-cheating system. Unreal Tournament was all about the mods and thousands of fan-developed mods were released. Both games introduced players to bots: the notion gamers could play against the PC or against other human players.
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