My passion is about gaming and that is what I write about mostly.
It seems that for the most part, the first-person shooter genre has hit a rut, no matter what fps I pick up these days, it seems like it is "modern this", or "battlefield that" and I can always find comfort in the fact that I will be shooting Russians or Chinese with an AK47 or a G36.
The genre was not always like this; once upon a time I could gorge dinosaur brains with a cerebral bore or wield the power of a dark staff while obliterating zombies, demons, and zombie demon Nazis.
It is in honor of these long lost moments from the world of first-person shooting that I present to you the top 10 weapons in FPS history.
10. Farsight from Perfect Dark (Nintendo 64)
Modern military FPSs have thermal vision and night vision, but the agents in Perfect Dark for the Nintendo 64 had a sniper rifle that not only allowed them to see through walls but shoot through them as well.
Perfect Dark was the successor to the wildly popular shoot Goldeneye only instead of a super spy, the game featured secret agents hunting down groups of aliens.
Even though gameplay-wise Perfect Dark was a perfect clone of Goldeneye with a nice sci-fi skin, the weapons are what really stood out. Of all of the unique weapons featured the Farsight was the stand out for me.
This gun was a camper's dream in split-screen, never ceasing to induce rage on your victim's face. Because of the amount of broken N64 controllers that littered my living room due to this gun, it deserves the number 10 spot on the list.
9. Flak Cannon in Unreal Tournament (Various Systems)
Lots of shooters have grenade launchers and there are more shotguns in gaming then you can shake a boomstick at but very few games have managed to combine these two iconic weapons in the way that Epic Games did with their Unreal Tournament series.
The flak cannon has been the shotgun equivalent in the Unreal Tournament since the series first saw life in 1999. While the primary fire sent red hot shrapnel bouncing around the arena with its ability to ricochet rounds off walls was a blast it was only half the fun of gibbing people online with the flak cannon.
Secondary fire introduced opponents to a whole new world of hurt with a shrapnel grenade that exploded on impact with anything or anyone releasing its own set of bouncing shards of death. The flak cannon was not the easiest weapon to wield because much like other games of the time your weapons could inflict as much pain on you as it could your target.
There have been slight changes to the flak cannon over the years but the weapon has been present in every Unreal Tournament game to date ( as much as I would love a UT 4 I doubt it will see the light of day). Because of it's bouncing ammo, ability to kill yourself, and longevity, the Flak Cannon earns the number nine spot on my list.
8. Nailgun From Quake 1 (PC)
I will never forget getting my copy of PC gamer and seeing that blue cover with the giant lighting hammer that looked a lot like Mjölnir. Game from the makers of Doom, check, real 3d graphics check, multiplayer mode check, mouse look check.
We all knew Quake was going to be big when it released in 1996, but I don't think anyone knew just how big it really would be. The series did suffer after the first two and I feel that much like Unreal Tournament the Quake series is gone, but it was a ton of bunny hopping fun in its heyday.
The nail gun has stuck with me over the years because it was the definition of point and shoot. No splash damage, no bullet drop, and no recoil—these nine-inch nails went right where you wanted them to. While it was really hard to get rounds on target in the chaos that was Quake multiplayer if you had the skill the nailgun, it was an incredibly effective weapon. There will always be something satisfying about a spray of pinpoint accurate nails piercing your target and for that reason alone it deserves the number eight spot on my list, the second barrel helps too.
7. Bow From Far Cry 3 (Various Systems)
Open-world gameplay, XP and skill system, crafting, weapon customization, Far Cry 3 has it all. There are a lot of weapons in Far Cry 3 and even more ways to customize them but for the silent deadly type, the bow cannot be beaten.
The bow is unlocked rather earlier on and becomes your staple go-to for all things stealth. The ability to one-shot kill just about every unarmored target in the game makes to bow a great asset to have. As if one hit killing enemies was not enough, why not craft yourself a few fire arrows and set things ablaze, or just blow it all to hell with a few explosive tipped arrows.
The impressive drop of your arrows over distance can make the bow a little more tricky to use than say a sniper rifle but the thrill of a long-ranged bow kill cannot be beaten. Its lethality along with the ability to retrieve your arrows make the bow my number seven pick, oh, and the one in Blood Dragon is neon.
6. Wraith Verge From Hexen (PC)
Hexen, the sequel to Heretic is like Doom meets Dungeons and Dragons. Hexen featured 3 player classes to pick from: a fighter, a cleric, and a mage, all of which had their own unique end game weapon.
These weapons had to be assembled by finding the pieces for them throughout the game. Wraith Verge was the coolest of the three not to mention one of the coolest weapons in FPS history.
A badass staff that shoots a ball of energy wielded by an equally badass cleric would be cool enough on its own but Raven Soft had to up the ante. As the projectile flies forth from Wraith Verge it splits into four wraiths that proceed to tear apart any enemies that get in their way. giant ghosts flying around chewing up bad guys and spitting them out seems rather overpowered doesn't it, well there is one slight caveat to using the Wraith Verge.
An enemy in a protective stance or has a protection ability up will cause the wraiths to turn on their master. Having to spend time to find the parts to a weapon that can quickly turn on you leaving behind nothing but a puddle of goo earns the Wraith Verge the number six spot.
5. BFG From DOOM Series (Various Systems)
Doom changed gaming forever when it came out in 1993. While it was not the first FPS it was the first to garner that attention of the masses and elevate the genre to new heights with its deathmatch modes and ability to allow users to create new content.
The most recognized weapon of the series is by far the BFG. The BFG fired a very large ball of hot plasma that moved slowly forward from the player and exploded on contact with anything that got in its way. Along with the projectile you got extra damage in the form of tracers that shot forward from the player in the same direction as the plasma ball. These tracers could not be seen but never the less caused extra damage on top of the massive damage from the plasma.
Because of the delay in time from pulling the trigger and the speed that the plasma moved the BFG was rather hard to use in multiplayer but neither the less has become a gaming icon and been referenced in every form of media from movies to books. The legend of notoriety of the BFG is more than the practicality of the gun, earning the BFG the number five spot on this list.
4. Biorifle From Unreal Tournament (Various Systems)
The Biorifle is the second weapon on this list to come from Epic Games' Unreal Tournament series. Unlike the flak cannon covered above, the Biorifle is all about being sneaky and laying traps.
The primary fire for the Biorifle allowed you to shoot little blobs of toxic wasted that exploded on impact with anything organic. If your blobs came in contact with the ceiling walls or floor they would stick to it for a couple of seconds before exploding. This sticking mechanism allowed a good player to little the halls with blobs that would explode as opponents walked into them.
What's better than sticky blobs of exploding toxic waste? Giant exploding blobs of toxic waste of course. Secondary fire allowed you to charge up a large mass of jello-like waste that killed someone outright if it hit them or exploded into eight small globs if it came in contact with a solid surface. I mentioned above that the Biorifle exploded when it came into contact with anything organic, well that last time I checked the person firing the weapon was just as organic as the person being fired at, so an unskilled player was as much a target as the person they where shooting at.
Toxic waste bombs and self-inflicted pain are two reasons why the Biorifle deserves the number four spot.
3. Stakegun from PainKiller (PC)
Painkiller was the first game released by People Can Fly (Bulletstorm and Gears of War: Judgment) in 2004. The plot of painkiller has you hunting down four of the devil's generals in order to get into Heaven to be reunited with your wife after you both die in a horrible car accident.
It was a little out there story-wise, but Painkiller was very much an homage to the likes of Doom and Quake where the player was killing hordes upon hordes of enemy creatures spawned straight from hell.
The biggest feature of the game was its use of the Havok 2.0 physics engine and the weapon that used this best was the Stakegun. You got the Stakegun rather early in the game and while it may not have been the most effective weapon it sure was the most fun.
The Stakegun is exactly what the name says, a gun that shoots a stake at high speeds. What made it so much fun was the ability to stake enemies to the walls, floor, ceiling, and anywhere else you could manage. Painkiller saw a bunch of expansions and a port to the Xbox and recently received a remake, the game remains a cult classic to this day.
The ability to stake and enemy to an enemy that is staked to an enemy that is staked to the wall grabs the number three spot on my list.
2. Gravity Gun from Half-Life 2 (PC, Xbox)
Most gamers know Half-Life 2 from Valve Corporation. When it was released in 200 it was met with critical acclaim as well as record sales and it now considered one of the best games in the last twenty years.
Valve spent $40 million developing Half-life 2 but that money went to creating the Source engine as well as the Havok physics engine that would later be used in games like Painkiller.
In order to show off the Havok engine, most smaller objects in Half-Life 2 could be picked up and tossed around by the player. This was mostly for entertainment until you acquired the gravity gun about a quarter of the way through the game, from that point forward everything changes.
The gravity gun allows the player to pick up heavier objects as well as send them shooting from the gun or stack them. This was used in a number of physics-based puzzles throughout the game as well as letting the player fling all kinds of objects at enemies in the game.
I know everyone in the gaming community is waiting for Half-Life 3 but until that day we can always reinstall Half-Life 2 and send filing cabinets and saw blades around the screen.
Reinventing the way we look at physics in gaming and the number of hours I spent literally just flinging stuff around earns the Gravity Gun the number 2 spot on my list.
1. Excalibat From Rise of the Triad (PC)
Rise of the Triad was an FPS released by Apogee Software in 1994 following the shareware model of so many games of that time. For the most part, Rise of the Triad was lost in the sea of shooters that where being released in the early to mid 90's however it remains one of the oddest FPSs of the genre and is receiving a reboot for 2013.
Rise of the Triad had a few things that allowed it to stick out from the crowd and that included infinite bullets for bullet weapons, the ability to pick one of five different characters to play as, and the Excalibat.
The Excalibat is a green glowing baseball bat that sends enemies airborne when you smack them with it. A baseball bat infused with dark magic that knocks people around alone would be enough for me to consider it for the number one spot but Apogee was not satisfied with just beating on people.
If you hold down the attack button until you hear the sound of thunder, then a 180-degree wall of exploding baseballs will erupt from the player. So let's see: We have a glowing evil bat that you can beat people with or send exploding baseballs around the screen. Pretty cool, huh?
Well, it can also deflect projectiles with a properly timed swing. Explosions, heavy-handed melee attacks, lightsaber style projectile deflection, and a really cool glowing eye on the model in the remake give the Excalibat the honor of the number one FPS weapon of all time.
Rabidwombat (author) on June 09, 2013:
John, thanks for the comment. Rise of the Triad is one of my favorite games and feel it was rather under rated when it come out in 1994. If you are interested the original release is available at gog.com and is optimized for new machines, I think it is $4.99 from them. I personally am really looking forward to the remake all the screenshots so far seem to indicate that they are keeping the flavor from the first.
John Roberts from South Yorkshire, England on June 07, 2013:
I've not much to add to your choices as they're all very good, and it's given me an insight to a new game I ought to play - Rise of the Triad! Voted up, interesting, awesome and funny!