Star Wars: Dark Forces
was released on PS1 with graphics issues, but its cross between
made it stand out.
Delta Force: Urban Warfare
took a realistic approach to the FPS on PS1, with voice acting and animated cutscenes shaping the story.
on PS1 had reduced levels and difficulty compared to the PC version, but was still well-reviewed and compatible with the PlayStation Mouse.
Since Wolfenstein’s debut in 1992, the First-Person Shooter genre has steadily grown into a tent pole of the video game industry. Following Wolfenstein came Doom, from Doom came Quake, and by the mid to late 1990s, first-person shooters were in demand on both consoles and home computers. At the same time, Sony’s debut console burst onto the scene and made waves in the industry. The PlayStation would sell over 100 million units, bringing the likes of Tomb Raider, Crash Bandicoot, Tekken, and Resident Evil to the gaming public.
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Like any other gaming scene of the time, it also brought first-person shooter experiences which were no less in demand on the PlayStation than anywhere else. Below is a collection of FPS games for the PS1 that are rarely remembered, except by those who played them.
7 Star Wars: Dark Forces
A Doom Clone set in the Star Wars Universe
Star Wars: Dark Forces
- MS-DOS , macOS , PS1
- March 8, 1995
One of the most important Star Wars games ever made would be released on MS-DOS in 1995. While making waves on the PC, just a year later Star Wars: Dark Forces would also be released on the PlayStation. Despite some considerable slowdown and graphics issues in the game, the cross between Doom clones and the Star Wars license proved inspired, and the game sold around 1 million copies. Sadly, the PlayStation port would be forgotten by many for good reason, as it struggled with framerate, presentation, and control issues.
This initial Dark Forces game would inspire later the franchise Jedi Knight, spanning a series of inspired and celebrated games across PC and home consoles.
6 Delta Force: Urban Warfare
A Realistic Tactical FPS Released at the end of the PS1’s Lifespan
Delta Force: Urban Warfare
Released two years after the console’s successor, the PlayStation 2, Delta Force: Urban Warfare would arrive on the PlayStation in 2002. Unlike many in the genre released on the PlayStation, Delta Force: Urban Warfare would take a predominantly realistic take on first-person action. Across 12 missions, the player is placed in the role of a Delta Force operative in simulations of hostage rescues, strategic assaults, and bank robberies. Missions are directed and shaped through voice acting and fully animated cutscenes throughout the story.
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Typically, Delta Force games have open-ended and vast single-player campaigns, whereas Urban Warfare keeps them linear and story-based. This popular franchise entry would be re-released on the PlayStation Network in 2010 for both the PlayStation 3 and PSP.
5 Final Doom
A Chopped-Up Version of the PC Sequel to Doom 2
- May 31, 1996
- id Software, TeamTNT, Casali brothers
An uncanny sequel to Doom 2, Final Doom was released on the PC and Macintosh in 1996. The PlayStation release the same year would look considerably different. Its soundtrack would be changed from the traditional Doom rock/metal arrangement with ambient music being used instead. Notably, Final Doom on the PlayStation would have half the levels of the PC versions and the difficulty would be substantially reduced. On the PlayStation, Final Doom would not run at quite the same smooth framerate or with the same control precision as the initial Doom but was well-reviewed.
Despite the fanfare surrounding the franchise, Final Doom remains something of a forgotten entry on the PlayStation and otherwise. Final Doom was one of the few titles compatible with the PlayStation Mouse.
4 Codename: Tenka
A Solid Shooter With Impressive Graphics for the Time
- May 31, 1997
A futuristic shooter developed by the team that made Wipeout, Codename: Tenka would be released on the PC and PlayStation in 1997. The player assumes the role of Jospeh D. Tenka, who uncovers the nefarious genetic experiments of Trojan Incorporated and sets out to bring them down. Backed by a synth soundtrack, the first-person gameplay has players blasting through bipedal mutants, flying robots, and turrets in a well-designed but repetitive experience. Codename: Tenka would be well reviewed with the graphics and imaginative enemy designs in particular earning plaudits.
Remembered by most as a solid shooter, Codename: Tenka did not ultimately offer enough to make it stand out from the genre’s ever-growing library.
3 Armorines: Project S.W.A.R.M.
A Game Developed on the Turok 2 Engine that Couldn’t Quite Measure Up
Armorines: Project S.W.A.R.M.
- December 2, 1999
- Acclaim Studios London, NEON Software 1999
Launching on the PlayStation in 2000, Armorines: Project S.W.A.R.M. arrived on the back of high expectations. Developed by Acclaim Entertainment and running on the same game engine as the celebrated Turok 2: Seeds of Evil, the hype around Armorines was intense. The player controls marines charged with protecting Earth from an invasion of extra-terrestrial arthropod invaders. A rarity for games of the genre at the time, Armorines would feature a 2 player co-op campaign option as well as two different characters to play through the campaign with.
Unfortunately, Aromorines: Project S.W.A.R.M did not live up to the lofty heights of Turok 2. While its sci-fi horror story would be well received, the game itself would not be, and the PlayStation release received the lowest critical scores by far.
One of the Best PC-to-Console Ports of its Era
- March 17, 1995
- Parallax Software
One of the very first commercially successful PC FPS experiences, Descent would make its way to PlayStation a year after its initial release. Across 30 levels, the player controls a spaceship fighting off virus-infected mining robots. The clever setting of a spaceship cockpit gives the game use of fully-3D graphics, groundbreaking for its time. While without a doubt, Descent is a game more celebrated and known for its PC release, the PlayStation conversion would win considerable praise.
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Reviewers would point to Descent as one of the most impressive showcases of the PlayStation’s capabilities and a remarkable conversion of a PC title. While a somewhat repetitive title in today’s eyes, Descent remains one of the most important FPSs in the genre’s development.
A Doom Clone Developed by Insomniac Games
- November 20, 1996
Long before being handed a certain famous skateboarder’s license, Insomniac Games made their very own FPS for the PlayStation. Released in 1996, Disruptor is a sci-fi first-person shooter very much in the Doom clone subgenre. Initially developed on the 3DO, Disruptor would be well received on its PlayStation release with its array of weapons, graphics, and unique abilities. The game made a unique adaptation to the Doom formula with limited ammo, making accuracy a matter of vital importance. Some would also note that Disruptor was one of the best-looking 3D games on the original PlayStation.
Despite its upsides, including great write-ups from reviewers, Disruptor would not end up being a commercial success and would remain unseen by many.
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