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Weapon 117
05-10-2008, 08:03 PM
Some first person action games are more than just your everyday run and gun shooter. Some even create their own genre and become staples of the gaming industry. Some even make it so far to be in this week's GameShark Top Ten -- the best Non-Shooter Shooters!

Ah the shooter. It was so simple at first. Here’s a gun, there’s a key, go get it and try not to get killed by the waves of demons or soldiers or Schnauzers in your way. Oh, you got the key? Well all right, go through that door and go find another key. Don’t mind the demon Schnauzer soldiers. Hey, you made it. Good for you! Here’s a room full of every weapon and every bit of ammo you might possibly need to fight the unspeakable horror on the other side of this door. Have fun!
Things have changed a bit since those days, and along the way gamers have been treated to plenty of shooters that may have looked like shooters from the outside, and may have even played a little like a shooter, but they were sufficiently different and varied to earn the title of the Non-Shooter Shooter.
We celebrate those games today, and the Schnauzers they rode in on. A couple of quick notes: We aren't talking about RPGs that are set in first person, so that excludes classics like Oblivion, Vampire: The Masquerade and even real throwbacks like Ultima Underworld. We're talking about action games that proved to be about more than just shooting things.

10. Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay - VU Games; 2004

The very fact that Chronicles was a movie tie in game that didn’t make you want to gouge your eyes out is something of a modern day miracle, but Riddick had so much more going for it than simply exceeding lowered expectations. Filled with over the top action sequences, satisfying weapons, brutal hand to hand combat and the ability to run around the prison planet acquiring smokes for fellow inmates in between your various attempts at escape made Riddick one hell of a ride, and that was before you took the ‘Mech for a rampage. The game combined hand to hand combat, stealth and gunplay in ways that never felt forced or contrived. Add to this the extra optional mission structure to help build relationships with other inmates and you had a lot more on your hands than a simple prison break. Equal parts cinematic experience and violent rampager, Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay was as fun as it was surprising.

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9. Clive Barker’s Undying - Electronic Arts; 2001

Anyone who has ever read a Clive Barker book knows that the man can build extremely well detailed and creative worlds. He can also scare the crap out of you when he isn’t completely repulsing you. While Undying didn’t have so much of the former, it had the latter, in spades. As Patrick Galloway, it was up to you to investigate the goings on at the Covenant estate, a mansion set on the coast of 1920’s Ireland. Patrick takes up arms and magic in an attempt to rid the mansion of the demonic forces inhabiting it, as well as an attempt to rid the player of clean underwear.

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Undying used a system of weapons in one hand and upgradeable magic in the other that was so well implemented it felt like going into battle without using magic was akin to going in naked. Add to this a feeling of genuine dread that dripped from every surface and you had a game that left you scared to see what would jump out from the next corner, but anxious to see if you could take it on.

The game also raised the expectations of future Barker-inspired games like the terribly awful Jericho. We have yet to forgive Clive for this.

8. Aliens vs Predator 2 - FOX ; 2001

We’ve all seen some varied level design in our day, but until AvP 2 can you honestly say that you spent time in a level that ended with you not finding a key, but bursting out of the chest of your human host? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

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With the ability to play as Marines, Aliens and Predators, AvP 2 created three distinct moods and player experiences in one game. As a Marine, you knew you were screwed from minute one as your tracker pulsed in the dark, alerting you to the various hordes of Aliens looking to turn your chest cavity into a nursery. As the Alien it was nothing but blinding speed and vicious up close attacks. As the Predator, you brought your entire arsenal to bear on humans and Aliens alike, showing that good firepower beats good jumping any day of the week.

Any game that has you replenishing health by biting your victim with your second alien head is OK in my book. If they could only make the movies as good as this game, they’d be on to something.

7. Descent - Interplay ; 1995

Descent was the first “shooter” that allowed for movement and aiming in all three dimensions. The game was released in 1995—after DOOM, and a year before the original Quake. If shooters were airplanes, Descent is the Vomit Comet as no other game has spawned as much of a need for air sickness bags since.

Descent placed you in the role of a nameless mercenary sent to various mining planets to destroy killer robots that had run amok and turned on their human masters. To halt the threat of infection you had to make your way to each planet’s reactor, blow it up and then get the heck out of there before being turned into slag. The twisting corridors turning into wide open spaces and varied enemies kept you constantly looking all around you to find the next enemy, and the next exit. Add an incredibly fun multiplayer mode and a robust map creating community (Descent 2 shipped with an extra cd of fan made maps) and you had one heck of a good time. Just don’t forget the Dramamine.

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6. Jedi Knight 2: Jedi Outcast - LucasArts ; 2002
Why the design team at Raven Software decided to make you slog through the opening level of Jedi Knight 2 without a lightsaber is anyone’s guess, but once you do, and that beautiful, elegant weapon gets in your hands, the game changed from being a run of the mill shooter set in the Star Wars universe to an incredibly fun lightsaber fueled symphony of destruction.

The mix of lightsaber combat and Force powers was a heady one indeed, allowing for the player, as Jedi Knight Kyle Katarn to lift up multiple opponents only to then take them out with a well aimed Force throw. Tweaking the various settings of the game, via the cheat console, not only allowed you to change your lightsaber color to groovy Mace Windu style purple, but also allowed you to turn on the ultra powerful mode, making your lightsaber all the more lethal.

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Nothing like running into a crowd of stormtroopers only to see limbs a’ flying into huge bowl of dismemberment coleslaw. Jedi Knight 2 hit the right balance of satisfying lightsaber combat and Force powers that made you understand just what the big deal was with all those guys in the robes anyway.


Source: http://www.gameshark.com/features/476/The-GameShark-Top-Ten-Non-Shooter-Shooters.htm

Weapon 117
05-10-2008, 08:03 PM
5. Deus Ex - Eidos ; 2000
Trying to pin down just what Deus Ex was always proves a bit tricky. You could squeeze this into the RPG genre. Sure, you had guns, but you also had upgradeable, nanotechnology fueled super powers. You could shoot your way into places or you could hack your way in or sneak your way in or talk your way in. Even if you wanted to leave a trail of bodies in your wake, did you want to go in guns a blazing, sit back and pick people off or simply bludgeon them to death at super speed?

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The strength of the gameplay alone elevates Deus Ex without getting into the fact that the narrative was so dense as to need a constant connection to Wikipedia. When the game stumbled, it did so because it was trying to carry so much, and allow for as many styles of play as there are players. It’s hard to find fault in that, and equally hard to find a game in recent memory that tried so hard to be everything to everyone.

4. Metroid Prime- Nintendo ; 2002

Despite the fact that Samus Aran is a one woman army with an arm cannon that can shoot laser beams, rockets, freeze beams, sundaes and angry, angry kittens, Metroid Prime wasn’t about shooting. Not in the least. The Metroid series has always been about exploration. Moving through the levels was an incredibly atmospheric experience, and when you saw that upgrade sitting up on that ledge, knowing that you didn’t have the ability to get up there yet, it instilled a desire in you to retrieve all of your missing techs more than any threat to galactic peace ever could.

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The sense of triumph when you finally snagged that upgrade was better than defeating any boss. Metroid Primetried to remain true to its 2-d exploration roots, yet bring a new generation of fans into the fold, and it was a resounding success in doing both. Never before could you have been armed so well, yet wanted to shoot so little.

3. System Shock 2/BioShock - Looking Glass/2K Games ; 1999; 2007

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Ok, so I kind of cheated here by combining System Shock 2 and BioShock but when faced with the Sophie’s Choice of cutting one of these games from the list, well, I’d rather try to steal a Ho-Ho from a Big Daddy.
The two games share so many similarities with each other from the tense, often times horrifying atmosphere, to the engaging, satisfying mix of gunplay and powers to the “I can’t believe that just happened” twist moments in the story (particularly in SS2 – ed).

What System Shock 2 did, BioShock perfected. Both games helped redefine the idea of shooters being brainless frag-fests. Both games told a story that sucked the player in to the point where you didn’t know where your hand ended and the mouse began. Both provided thrilling combat moments as well as quiet moments of despair. Both deserve to be on this list, so both of them are. Those that disagree can talk to Rosie over here.

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2. Portal - Valve; 2007

Turrets? Check. Boss battle? Check. Gun? Check. Simple shooter? No checking way. This list is filled with great games, but Portal is special. The simple notion of a gun that shoots doors was enough to transform a shooter into a puzzle game, and at the same time show gamers that for all of the neat twists we’ve seen in the shooter genre, there are still plenty of surprises in store.

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Portal combined intriguing level design, incomparable writing and dialog and a sparse atmosphere to create a game so good that you won’t want to play another shooter ever again, knowing full well that it won't likely measure up.

1. Thief: The Dark Project - Eidos; 1998

How do you call a game a shooter if it can be completed without ever shooting anyone? Thief took the shooter genre and used it tell the tale of Garrett, a man on a mission to loot every house, castle and estate in Thief’s stylish, medieval city. And it was marvelous.

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Thief was all about being a good…thief, namely getting in, getting loot and getting out without ever being caught. With an arsenal of trick arrows that would make Green Arrow proud, you doused torches, made diversions and ducked from shadow to shadow, confiscating baubles along the way. It was such a revolutionary idea that it forced designers to look at new ways to approach the entire genre.

Eventually Garrett finds himself drawn into a plan to resurrect a pagan god and had to do a more than just steal for himself, but even then the mission structure was such that if the player wanted to live by Garrett’s creed of being a thief, not a murderer, they could do so. Moody, tense, with amazing missions and fantastic level designs, not to mention some of the best voice work ever done in a video game, Thief proved that sometimes the best kind of shooter is one where you never shoot at all.

Source: http://www.gameshark.com/features/476/p_0/The-GameShark-Top-Ten-Non-Shooter-Shooters.htm

Bishop24
05-10-2008, 08:05 PM
Man Metroid Prime, what a game. One of my favorites of all-time.

anji2128
05-10-2008, 08:16 PM
10. Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay - VU Games; 2004

The very fact that Chronicles was a movie tie in game that didn’t make you want to gouge your eyes out is something of a modern day miracle, but Riddick had so much more going for it than simply exceeding lowered expectations. Filled with over the top action sequences, satisfying weapons, brutal hand to hand combat and the ability to run around the prison planet acquiring smokes for fellow inmates in between your various attempts at escape made Riddick one hell of a ride, and that was before you took the ‘Mech for a rampage. The game combined hand to hand combat, stealth and gunplay in ways that never felt forced or contrived. Add to this the extra optional mission structure to help build relationships with other inmates and you had a lot more on your hands than a simple prison break. Equal parts cinematic experience and violent rampager, Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay was as fun as it was surprising.
Aren't we seeing a re-do/sequel to this being launched on the 360? It was one of my favorite games on the original xbox.

kiwi18
05-10-2008, 08:44 PM
Portal 0------>0

LegitLostLegend
05-10-2008, 11:53 PM
Chronicles of Riddick and Metroid Prime were both great games. I personally thought Bioshock was overrated

DeathMinion111
05-11-2008, 04:07 AM
I would agree with that list.