Lock and load with these 5 first-person shooters we feel need a new lease on life
It’s funny how in this day and age the first-person shooter genre is still able to hold its appeal. After all, it’s been over two decades since Wolfenstein 3D drastically reshaped the gaming landscape by giving players a whole new perspective on the bloody, Nazi-blasting action. Everyone knows the story from there. Developer id Software essentially caught lightning in a bottle, setting a trend that had hundreds of other developers staring down their iron sights and into the future of the industry. It was the first domino that fell, paving the way for countless hits like Doom, Quake, Unreal, and countless other classics like the latest entries in the Battlefield and Call of Duty franchises that we enjoy today. Still, after a quarter century of slinging lead from the first-person, you’d think the shooter genre would be old hat, yet the FPS genre has gone on to dominate the holiday season year after year with a flood of annual shooters that move millions of copies annually. And the digital blood lust of players doesn’t seem to show any sign stopping.
While the shooter genre has swelled over the years with big name franchises, indie developers in recent years have been rekindling their love for some of the forgotten gems of yesteryear with a handful of standout reboots. Flying Wild Hog’s recent release of Shadow Warrior 2 is a great example of what a resurrected classic FPS can accomplish when left in capable hands. And Interceptor Entertainment’s modern rehash of Apogee’s Rise of the Triad, while not groundbreaking, did a solid job of reinvigorating the insanely gory and over-the-top 1994 DOS title for a modern audience.
Still, there’s a full clip of shooters that we’d love to see loaded into the chamber and fired straight through the heart of the current crop of consoles and computers. That said, take a note from Wolfenstein protagonist William “B.J.” Blazkowicz and “get psyched” as we set our sights on five shooters we’d love to see get a modern reboot.
5. Redneck Rampage
Look, I know Redneck Rampage is never going to be confused with high art, but believe me when I say that Xatrix Entertainment’s psychobilly bloodbath is a hell of a lot of fun. Released in 1997 at the tail end of the Build Engine FPS craze, the game puts players in control of hillbilly brothers Leonard and Bubba, as they paint the aptly named town of Hickston, Arkansas red on a quest to rescue their pig Bessie and stop an alien invasion.
Set to the psychobilly sounds of such artists as Mojo Nixon and Reverend Horton Heat, players fight their way through hordes of mind-controlled rednecks in such scenic pieces of Americana as trailer parks, bowling alleys, and even a meat packing plant. Developer Xatrix didn’t hold back from lampooning on redneck culture, with pork rinds and Googoo clusters providing our hillbilly heroes with health-restoring sustenance. The weapons were also more fun than you can shake a tin of Skoal at, with such lovely armaments as shotguns, a bowling ball, dynamite, and even a lethal pair of laser-firing teats round out your alien-obliterating arsenal.
I know the likelihood of seeing Redneck Rampage blasts its way onto modern consoles is about as likely as Leonard and Bubba slapping a pro-Clinton bumper sticker on their pickup truck, but that won’t stop me from hoping this dynamic duo of Appalachian sensations makes a comeback down the road.
4. Perfect Dark
Not to be a jerk, but I don’t think I’m exactly alone in wishing I could bleach out part of my brain that retains any memories of Perfect Dark Zero. Rare’s 2005 Xbox 360 launch title did a piss poor job of bringing Carrington Institute super-spy Joanna Dark back from the annals of the N64 era by delivering fans for the series an utterly tepid shooter that could cut you down faster than a well-placed round from a Farsight XR-20 rifle. Suffice to say, I think it’s about time this cunning agent got a do-over.
After all, Perfect Dark’s pseudo-cyberpunk setting has always been appealing, and the high-tech arsenal of weapons that includes X-Ray sniper rifles that punch through walls, briefcase guns that morph into turrets, and all sorts of other flashy firearms that round out the series’ stockpile of tools of destruction are a joy to raise hell with. Seeing Joanna slip into her catsuit to take down evil aliens and shady corporations with those fan favorite toys and a few fresh additions would be nothing short of fantastic. Combine that with some refined multiplayer that does the original game’s couch-friendly firefights justice and Rare could have a real recipe for success.
Then again, it IS rare we’re talking about here. And the Twycross, Leicestershire-based studio is a far cry from the company that cranked out Goldeneye and Perfect Dark in the Nintendo 64’s glory days. Still, seeing Joanna return to form would be an experience that no shooter fan would want to miss.