Friday, August 28, 2009

Spotlight PS1: First Person Shooters

One of the most frustrating things I hear coming from modern gamers is this idiotic belief that all the games on the PS1 were either overrated or crap. Seeing as I own nearly 200 games for Sony's original grey box, I know better.

The problem is most people never went below the mainstream titles that the system had to offer, so when they talk about how "crappy" the PS1 is, they haven't even scratched the surface of the system's library of games which is massive, and varied.

This has led me to make the decision to spotlight the various genres that the system has to offer, and show games that some of you have probably never even heard of, or played. Some of them I have yet to play as well.

One of the genres most often quoted as being crap on the PS1 is the First Person Shooter genre. I know from experience that the lineup of PS1 first person shooters is extremely solid. Are there better shooters on other consoles? That's all a matter of opinion, but what can't be denied is the fact that there is a lot more to the PS1's FPS lineup that most people realize.


Here is a list of the more notable FPS on the PS1:



007: The World is not Enough



This is actually one that I haven't played as of yet. I do own the N64 version of TWINE, and it's great fun, but the PS1 version is completely different, and lacks the multiplayer of the N64 version (which wasn't that spectacular to begin with).

From the reviews I've read and the vids I've watched it still appears to be a solid FPS outing. This is definitely going to be one of the next PS1 games I pick up.

Here's a vid of the game in action (courtesy of Youtube member laxity83):





Alien Resurrection


This is one to play with the lights on. The tense atmosphere will keep you on your toes in this game. This hit near the end of the PS1's lifetime, and is a solid, but very challenging FPS. The enemies are numerous, check points far apart, and the ammo is in short supply. It's a tough, but satisfying experience.

Plus it supports Dual analog control, and even the PS1 mouse for aiming.

Here's a vid of my own creation of the game in action (as played on a PS2 with texture smoothing on):




Alien Trilogy


This being the older of the two Aliens games on the PS1 is less atmospheric than Resurrection, but it was great for it's time. If you're still a fan of Doom style games, then this should be right up your alley. Essentially this is Doom in the Aliens universe. I still love Doom, and I still really enjoy this game.


Here's a vid of the game in action (courtesy of Youtube member shittygamer):





Codename: Tenka


Codename Tenka has the distingueshed honor of being the first fully 3D FPS on the PS1. It's gameplay is simple get the key and open the door, but it's engaging nonetheless. The soundtrack is rocking with the trademark Psygnosis electronic beats.


Here's a vid of my own creation of the game in action (as played on a PS2 with texture smoothing on):




Delta Force Urban Warfare


This one was released in 2002, and is an objective based modern FPS. It's a little choppy, but it's still one of the best looking PS1 games ever released, and what's better, it's actually a fun game to play. There were some people who even made claims around the time the game was released that the graphics were PS2 quality.

It's level setup is similar to Goldeneye, but with a more tactical feel. The missions also have a good variety to them, and this also supports dual analog control for more precise aiming.

Here's a vid of my own posting of the game in action (As played on a PS2 with texture smoothing on):




Disruptor


Essentially just another Doom clone, but from what I've read a solid one at that. It puts it's own unique spin on the formula. It adds psychic powers called psionics which gives the player various new abilities and attacks at their disposal.It's worth a look for fans of Doom's gameplay who are looking for some oldschool FPS action.

This one comes from the good folks at Insomniac, and you though Resistance was their firs foray into the FPS genre.

Here's a vid of the game in action (courtesy of Youtube member SogekingSama . the footage is a little glitchy, so I assume they're playing it on an emulator, but it's the best footage I could find):


Doom


I've never had the pleasure to play the the PS1 port, but from what I've read up on it, it's the premier console port of Doom. It's not quite as good looking as the original PC version, but it adds colored lights and ambient music for a more atmospheric feel.

The PC version may be king, but if you're looking for a version of Doom where you can sit down on your gaming chair in front of your TV, you won't find a better port than this (except for maybe the new Xbox 360 port of the game, but even then you may dig the atmosphere in the PS1 version).

Even now, with the exception of the 32X port, all ports of the original Doom to the multitude of consoles will still run you a decent price(even the sub par 3DO port and the choppy Saturn Port), so you may as well go with the PS1 version over the rest.

Here's a vid of the game in action (courtesy of Youtube member KarntheHellknight):




Duke Nukem: Total Meltdown


This is the PS1 port of Duke Nukem 3D. Having now played this version, I can say that it moves at lightning speed compared to the N64 and Saturn versions. Each port to the three consoles has it's strong points, and the PS1 version looks the worst out of all, but makes up for it due to it's sheer speed. All pale in comparison to the PC version, but Total Meltdown is still a fine port of Duke Nukem to the PS1.

One thing the PS1 version has in it's favor is a rocking remixed soundtrack.

Here's a vid of the game in action (courtesy of Youtube member elbryan42):






Final Doom


I've also never played this PS1 port, but apparently it doesn't have all the levels of the PC original. In fact, they actually threw in 13 levels from the The Master Levels of Doom 2, but it still retains the classic Doom gameplay, and the ambient music, and colored lighting that made the first PS1 port so atmospheric.


Here's a vid of the game in action (courtesy of Youtube member elbryan42):




Hexen


OK, Hexen isn't so much a FPS, it's got more adventure elements in it, I have the N64 version, but have never played the PS1 version. The PS1 port retains the music and the FMV sequences of the PC original, and from the vids I've seen looks like it runs a little faster than the N64 version, but has grainier visuals which is to be expected, and also appears to have some slowdown when a multitude of enemies are on screen.

Here's a vid of the game in action (courtesy of Youtube member elbryan42):




Medal of Honor


This is the obvious one that everyone knows about. When people are attacking the PS1's FPS, they're pretty much talking only about this game and it's sequel. MoH started the historically accurate WWII FPS craze. Unlike Wolfenstien 3D which used a WWII theme, MoH actually had missions based on historical events.

MoH was an objective based WWII shooter. It's feel is more light than later WWII games. It's more Indiana Jones (minus the supernatural elements) than Saving Private Ryan where it goes more into the myth, and legends surrounding WWII, and OSS operations in WWII than the battles fought. Overall I'd say it's a great game, but it's still not my favorite PS1 FPS.

Here's a vid of the game in action (courtesy of Youtube member, you guessed it, elbryan42):




Medal of Honor Underground


In all honesty, I haven't played Underground. It's not that I never wanted to, it's that I just never got around to it.

MoH Underground It a prequel to the events of the original MoH where you play as the French resistance contact form the original MoH named Manon.

From the reviews I've read, some people have complained about how the later missions turn towards the occult practices of the Nazis, but I couldn't say for sure. I do know that the Nazis were into strange occult practices, so such missions would be historically accurate, but it depends on how they executed such levels I guess. I'll tell you when I finally play the game.

Here's a vid of the game in action (courtesy of Youtube member chilloutgames):




PO'ed


This one is another Doom clone, except with a unique cast of enemies, and a unique weapons set. In fact, instead of the cliche badass space marine, you play as a cook on a space ship that's been invaded by aliens.

I've actually got the 3DO version of this on order, because it was a fraction of the cost of the PS1 version.


Here's a vid of the game in action (courtesy of Youtube member TheSeriousCacodemon):




Powerslave (aka Exhumed)


Now this is one that I completely overlooked, but now really want to play. I've heard various reports that the Saturn version is better than the PS1 version, but it's also more expensive. One day I'll have to get both versions to see for sure what the differences are.

Apparently the game has something to do with aliens invading Egypt, and stealing the mummified body of King Ramses, and you're on a mission to get it back.

Yeah, story isn't that important, but the game receives extremely high acclaim form those who have played it. It's definitely an overlooked title.


Here's a vid of the game in action (courtesy of Youtube member elbryan42):




Quake II


As far as I'm concerned, this is the crowning achievement for PS1 first person shooters. They never even brought the original Quake to the PS1, because they said the system couldn't handle it, but sure as heel, the brought Quake II.

Not only is it an extremely impressive port, but it's a remarkable technical achievement for Hammerhead to get a game that required a top of the line PC and a Voodoo 3D accelerator card in it's original form to run on the old PS1. What's even better is that it plays great.

I was always one of those PS1 Quake II doubters. I had the N64 version of Quake II, and figured that the PS1 version was probably crap, but boy was I wrong. Not only is Quake II now my favorite PS1 FPS, but it's superior to the expansion pack using N64 version. It runs smoother, looks better, and doesn't use sprites for guns like the N64 version does. The only advantage the N64 version has is that it's an all new adventure whereas the PS1 mostly mirrors the PC version in it's levels.

The PS1 port even allows for 4-player split screen deathmatches which is also remarkable for a system that isn't known for it's multiplayer capabilities.

My only real complaint about the game is that none of the control schemes feel quite natural. I use the one where you move with the D-pad, aim with the right analog stick, and fire with L1 which takes some getting used to at first, but works just fine.

The PS1 port of Quake II is extremely underrated not only because most people probably assume that the PS1 port has to be crappy, but because it launched around the same time as the original Medal of Honor, and was overshadowed by that game.


Here's a vid of my own posting of the game in action (As played on a PS2 with texture smoothing on):



Here's a comparison vid I made comparing the PS1 version of Quake II to the N64 version (The PS1 version isn't using texture smoothing, but the N64 version is using the expansion pack):




Star Wars: Dark Forces


The humble beginning to what eventually blossomed into the Jedi Knight franchise for Lucasarts, Dark Forces has you playing as Kyle Katarn a former Imperial stormtrooper who defected to the Rebellion. You blast your way through a multitude of Doom inspired levels and hordes of Imperial baddies.

The game came under fire for it's blurry, and choppy visuals, but if you can look beyond that (it actually looks like a first gen N64 games with the amount of the blur), you'll find a fun and rewarding adventure set in the Star Wars universe. This is actually my newest acquisition in PS1 FPS games, and I'm really enjoying it.

There was also a PC version, but I'm not sure what you need in order to get it to run properly on today's modern computers (probably have to deal with Dos Box). The easiest version to just plug and play is the PS1 version.

The game didn't get good reviews even at it's time, but after playing it, I find it to be a much better game than the much heralded Shadows of the Empire which was blander in feel.


Here's a vid of the game in action (courtesy of Youtube member elbryan42 who's also a big advocate of the game):




In Conclusion:



My point of making this post is that, even if all of of these games still do nothing for you, and you're still convinced that the PS1 had nothing but crap for FPS games, the very least you PS1 detractors out there could do is insult the variety of FPS available on the PS1 instead of just mentioning Medal of Honor. The PS1's library is very deep, and varied, so if you're going to insult the console, at least do it right.
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