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The Absolute Best PlayStation First Person Shooters of All Time

Sony PlayStation 1

The Absolute Best PlayStation First Person Shooters of All Time

The PlayStation has been the face of modern gaming. Since the first PlayStation hit shelves in December of 1994, Sony’s gaming console has been favorite for casual and professional gamers worldwide. Now on its fifth entry, the PlayStation 5, Sony’s console continues to be in such high demand that many have had trouble securing one, even two years after its 2020 release date. It would be disingenuous to ignore that at least part of this success is due to first-person shooters.

A range of games is available for Playstation, not just first person shooter games. However, this subgenre accounts for over 20% of all video games sold. That’s more than one in five games sold. The second and third-best-selling genres, role-playing and sports games, account for 11% each. With this in mind, it’s worth looking at some of the best first person shooters for the first PlayStation.

What Are First Person Shooters?

First person shooters, or FPS, is a sub-genre of video games that revolve around a gun or weapon-based action from a first-person perspective. In a first person shooter, players partake in the game’s action as if looking at it from the protagonist’s perspective. Players see through the main character’s eyes and control their actions and movements within a map or other 3D space. Because of this last point, FPS games didn’t appear until the ’90s with the advent of 3D graphics.

Typically, video game historians credit Wolfstein 3D (1992) as the first FPS in the subgenre. Developed by id Software and published in May of ’92 by Apogee Software, the game could initially only be handled by PCs. The same goes for Doom (1993), released for the PC the following year and proving just as influential as Wolfstein 3D (if not more). At the time, this burgeoning subgenre was referred to as a “corridor shooter”. Because of processor limitations, the early entries had to take place primarily in tunnels or corridors.

With the release of the PlayStation, the Xbox, and other future consoles, first person shooters would evolve beyond the “corridor shooter” classification. Thanks to better graphics, faster processors, and subsequently all-around better games, the PlayStation brought a whole new world of fun and exciting first person shooters. These are the titles we’ve listed and ranked below.

A Brief History of the PlayStation Console

A vital pillar of the fifth generation of video game consoles, the PlayStation was released in Japan in December of 1994 and in North America in September of the following year. Priced at $299 — close to $585 by 2022’s standards — the PlayStation had no problem selling over 100 million units throughout its lifespan. It was the very first video game console to do so, too. It helped that the PlayStation established a massive library of great games. Each new title increased demand for the console that much more.

Throughout its life, the PlayStation spawned several still-iconic franchises: Gran Turismo, Tomb Raider, Crash Bandicoot, Final Fantasy; the list goes on. By the end of its life, more than three thousand unique titles had been released for the revolutionary console. All in all, nearly a billion games were sold across the board. The games, available on compact discs, brought an industry-wide shift away from ROM cartridges and toward CD-ROMs. This was ingenious for two reasons: They could store more data and were 40% cheaper.

PlayStation also toppled Nintendo from the top spot in the video game console industry since the release of the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in 1985. Then, in 1994-1995, Sony effectively assumed the throne. By the 1990s, Sony had a wide lead on Nintendo and an even wider one on third-place console developer Sega. These first person shooters listed below are owed at least partial thanks for this success.

The Best PlayStation First Person Shooters

Between 1994 and 2006, the PlayStation One kicked off countless iconic gaming franchises and equally impressive standalone. During that time, some genuinely great first person shooters emerged. More than any other gaming genre, FPS games are the ones that have managed to dominate just about every console since. And to think: It happened because of the success of the PlayStation. These seven titles listed below are the best from the PS1.

7. Alien Trilogy (1997)

covert art for alien trilogy
In Alient Trilogy, you fight different types of aliens across 30 levels.
PublisherAcclaim Entertainment
Available PlatformsPlayStation, PC
DeveloperProbe Entertainment
Mode(s)Single-player
ReleasedFebruary 29th, 1996

Alien Trilogy stands out for more than just the fact that it was released on a leap day. Based on the first three films in the Alien franchise, Alien Trilogy is one of the best examples of what a PlayStation FPS could be. Successfully recreating the creepy sci-fi environment of the films while also delivering a high-quality FPS experience, Alien Trilogy still holds up more than 25 years later. It doesn’t even matter that there’s no multiplayer mode for the game. PlayStation owners were happy to dive into the story mode all by themselves (preferably with a light still on).

6. Duke Nukem: Total Meltdown (1997)

cover art of duke nukem
You can eliminate aliens with over a dozen advanced weapons in Duke Nukem.
PublisherGT Interactive
Available PlatformsPlayStation
DeveloperAardvark Software
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer
ReleasedSeptember 30th, 1997

While technically just a port of Duke Nukem 3D, released for PCs in 1996, Duke Nukem: Total Meltdown is still a unique game in and of itself. It includes all the episodes and levels from the PC game but adds in an additional episode with six new levels for the PS1. It also brings in some new enemies, music, and other features. All in all, a great PS1 game and an outstanding FPS at one.

5. Final Doom (1996)

Publisherid Software
Available PlatformsPC, PlayStation
DeveloperTeamTNT
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer
ReleasedOctober 1st, 1996

Doom (1993) helped to popularize the first person shooter genre. As such, it only makes sense that a Doom sequel would earn itself a spot on this list. Final Doom, initially released for the PC but eventually put on the PlayStation several months later, was less a main entry in the series and more a remaster of several elements from the first two Doom games. Nevertheless, PlayStation gamers ate it up. 25 years down the line, Doom spinoff remains one of the best first person shooters to come from the PlayStation console.

4. 007: The World Is Not Enough (2000)

cover art of The World Is Not Enough
In this single player game, you battle through 10 levels with different objectives.
PublisherEA Games
Available PlatformsPlayStation, Nintendo 64
DeveloperBlack Ops Entertainment
ModesSingle-player
ReleasedNovember 8th, 2000

Though Goldeneye is typically the most celebrated first person shooter in the 007 franchise, The World Is Not Enough is the best of the bunch as far as the PlayStation is concerned. Though it lacked the fun multiplayer mode that made Goldeneye a cultural staple, The World Is Not Enough nevertheless delivers what you’d expect from a James Bond game. Equipped with a somewhat slight 11-mission campaign and many clips from the 1999 film it’s based on, the game might not be on par with Goldeneye but is still worth including here on this list.

3. Forsaken (1998)

PublisherAcclaim Entertainment
Available PlatformsPlayStation, PC, Nintendo 64
DeveloperProbe Entertainment
ModesSingle-player, multiplayer
ReleasedApril 30th, 1998

Forsaken lacks the instant recognizability of the two previous titles, but make no mistake: It’s superb, especially for its time. Set on a futuristic version of Earth, the game tasks players with destroying enemy ships in pursuit of a lost treasure gone missing after a shockwave wiped out most of civilization. From its 22 missions to its several different difficulty options to its half-a-dozen thrilling multiplayer modes, Forsaken is a seriously well-made game. It earns its #3 spot on the list of the best PlayStation first person shooters of all time.

2. Quake II (1999)

PublisherActivision
Available PlatformsPlayStation, PC, Nintendo 64
Developerid Software
ModesSingle-player, multiplayer
ReleasedSeptember 30th, 1999

A follow-up to the computer game Quake that is technically not a direct sequel, Quake II drops the first entry’s Lovecraftian aesthetic and embraces a more sci-fi look and feel. Its story, bad guys, and overall theme are distinct from the first Quake. All of this aside, Quake II is just about everything a person could want from a PlayStation first person shooter. It was very advanced, not to mention entertaining as a single-player game and incredibly fun as a multiplayer one.

1. Medal of Honor (1999)

cover art for medal of honor
PublisherElectronic Arts
Available PlatformsPlayStation
DeveloperDreamWorks Interactive
ModesSingle-player, multiplayer
ReleasedOctober 31st, 1999

A classic example of a PlayStation exclusive, Medal of Honor is the epitome of the PlayStation first person shooter. Met with universal praise and spawning a series that still continues to this day, this first Medal of Honor is a success in every sense of the word. From its gameplay to its sound design to its detailed graphics, it is the textbook definition of how a first person shooter should look, feel, and play. Even in hindsight, there’s nothing else like it for the PlayStation One. For all its success and for all it does perfectly, Medal of Honor more than earns the top spot on this list.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What was the first FPS game?

The first FPS is largely considered to be Wolfstein 3D from 1992, though some trace the subgenre’s origins back to the very beginning of video games themselves.

What's the best first person shooter for the PlayStation?

Of the more than 3,000 PS1 games and the countless first person shooters to come out for the console, the distinction of best FPS belongs to Medal of Honor from 1999.

When did the PlayStation come out?

Sony released the PlayStation in Japan in December of 1994, then in America in September of the following year.

How many units did the PS1 sell?

The first PlayStation was the first console to top 100 million sales. What’s more, it sold nearly a billion video games in its time.

When was the PlayStation discontinued?

The first PlayStation was discontinued in 2006 ahead of the release of the PlayStation 3.

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