Serious Sam: The First EncounterDeveloper: Croteam
We mentioned before that in the year 2000 Warren Spector showed gamers an entirely new way of playing games with the monstrously excellent Deus Ex
, but only a year later Croteam managed to show us that were plenty of reasons to like the old way of playing too.
A real throwback to the old arcade styles of gaming, Serious Sam
was all about being as big and ridiculous as possible – think nine-foot miniguns, hundreds of enemies on screen and quite possibly the largest final boss in any game, ever. That’s the sort of thing that Serious Sam
The story is preposterous, the action ludicrous and the arenas nearly impossible, but if that’s not enough you interested in playing Serious Sam
then you’ve clearly never seen it played at a LAN. There’s simply nothing more tense than watching four players trying to tackle 150 suicide bombers at once, we promise.
System Shock 2
Developer: Looking Glass Studios
System Shock 2
Nearly a full decade before BioShock
flew off shelves to critical acclaim, Ken Levine was already crafting his opus on the PC platform - one which further cemented the reputation of the now-defunct Looking Glass Studios as one of the most visionary developers in the biz.
Like a scary Deus Ex
, System Shock 2
is a genre hybrid that gives players multiple approaches to every obstacle through psionic powers, cyborg enhancements and alien firepower. There are plenty of obstacles to overcome too, as the player wakes up on a spaceship infested with both a genocidal AI and an alien infestation. Escaping from the ship sure won't be easy, especially since you'll have to repair your weapons as you go and hack your way through the security systems if you want to get anywhere.
Thus begins one of the most chilling games ever created, with players scurrying back and forth through the ship to research enemies and tackle objectives however they please. Again, it’s one of the best games ever conceived and you’ll only find it on the PC, so take that console fans!
Freespace 2Developer: Volition Inc.
The singleplayer space combat and exploration simulation genre may be in hibernation nowadays as developers look to more sure and fast ways to turn a profit, but one possible reason for that may be that the genre has already reached its pinnacle. It’s honestly hard to see how someone might better Freespace 2
Startlingly detailed and vast, Freespace 2
isn’t all that different from most other games in the genre. Aliens, humans, galactic wars, etc; it’s all pretty predictable and unoriginal – it’s just never been done so well or on such a vast scale before. Starships loom oppressive and colossal before agile fighters, but are themselves dwarfed by the infinite horizon and beautiful backdrops that surround the action.
The technology and laser beams are pure sci-fi, but Freespace 2
still retains credibility thanks to the gargantuan battles and intricate tactics required to progress through the linear campaign. That in itself is an impressive enough feat to warrant Freespace 2
a mention on this list.