We love clever games, games that do something new, games that tell a story, games that make us play in different ways. But you know what else we like? Guns. Lots of guns. Because after a hard day's work, nothing beats the stress release of tooling up, stomping onto the virtual battlefield and keeping the trigger held down until your enemies are just a puddle of nasty, enemy-flavoured jam. Here are the 10 best ways to get your gun off.
10. Halo (2001)
Bungie developed games for the Mac until this title caught Microsoft's Sauron-like eye. It liked the game so much, it bought the company and made the sci-fi shooter an Xbox exclusive, adding mainstream-friendly features like a regenerating shield and auto-aiming to make it work on consoles.
9. Call Of Duty 2 (2005)
Took the tired old war game conceit and jazzed it up with multiple characters and plotlines. Developer Infinity Ward used all the power of PC and Xbox 360 to bring a new level of authenticity to its look and feel. Online play was key, and that’s why CoDs are still a must-buy.
8. Bioshock (2007)
A shooter, yes, but one that won gamers' with its breathtaking environments and spooky characters. You sort of crept around, admiring the Art Deco decay, then met and attempted to kill some gloriously designed old monsters.
7. R-Type (1997)
One of the most ported, converted and pirated games of all time, and for good reason. It was, and still is, a highlight of the 2D space shooter genre, combining clever levels with weird weapons, a great graphic style and memorable tunes.
6. Counter-Strike (1999)
Built on the engine that was already familiar to Half-Life's vast legions of players, Counter-Strike introduced a concept that still dominates gaming today - teamwork. If you don't know where your teammates are and work with them to provide cover, you have a life expectancy on a par with a depressed lemming on a clifftop holding a bag of explosives and a lit firework. And when you do die, which you inevtiably do (as a favourite of pro gamers, Counter-Strike is a crossfire hurricane of well-aimed bullets), you have to wait out the round.
More after the break...
5. Gears of War (2006)
As if the Halo series wasn't dumb enough, Microsoft and developer Epic then created this. It's basically a Vin Diesel simulator, in which comically shallow characters swear and bluster through teenage sci-fi cliches. Your gun has a chainsaw stuck to the front. Needless to say, it is absolutely gigantic fun.
4. Quake (1996)
It was tons of fun to play alone, but when hooked up to other computers via a network, Quake became an Olympian sport. Fast, mean and ferociously competitive, networked Quake foreshadowed our online gaming present.
3. Goldeneye (1997)
A dream to control on the N64’s analogue stick, Goldeneye’s four-way split-screen multiplayer has rarely been bettered. It was packed with clever maps seemingly designed for mate-humiliating fun, and the single- player mode wasn’t bad either.
2. Deus Ex (2000)
Not just a great shooter, but also a great stealth game, a great RPG, and a great piece of writing. Your character and his weapons adapted and evolved, and it was also a leader in forcing you to make moral choices and choosing your style of play: tool up like a tank and smash through, or crawl through some vents, turn off the security cameras and leaving your enemies wondering what happened.
1. Half-Life 2 (2004)
An astonishing game on every level, from the combat to the puzzles, the writing to the sound to the original and convincing design of its gameworld. But perhaps best of all was the fact that you could pick up a circular saw blade with the Gravity Gun, shoot it at a zombie's neck and watch its head pop off like an overripe, brain-filled coconut. As FPSs go, this could remain the greatest for another 10 years.