Many gamers look back fondly at old-school FPS classics with a twinkle in their eye. Epic masterpieces such as DOOM and Quake left an indelible mark on the gaming world, so much so that that fast-paced, gore-laden style – Boomer Shooters as we call them today – has made a big comeback on the indie scene.
Forget stealthy precision mechanics and clinging to cover; these games are all about all-out gun-toting, circle-strafing 90s-inspired action. It’s not just about the look of retro shooters; storylines are second place to fast-paced combat, and large arsenals of crazy weaponry are just waiting to be used on hordes of enemies.
Below are some of the best Boomer Shooters from recent years that manage to be both nostalgic and forward-thinking at the same time.
How things have changed! Check out what a truly modern FPS looks like by reading ‘The Best Competitive FPS Games To Play In 2022’.
1. Devil Daggers
Devil Daggers throws you into the deepest bowels of hell in an arena-style FPS that is not only chronically intense but insanely difficult.
This nightmare netherworld harks back to a simpler style of game that doesn’t tease you with gimmicks and upgrades. It rewards you only with the progression you make within this perpetual and endless bombardment of skulls and demons.
Devil Daggers truly is a bare-bones retro experience with all tropes of modern gaming out the window. There’s no armor, no weapons to cycle through, no leveling up, no stages to beat and no items to collect. You just keep franticly throwing daggers at the enemies in your bid to survive before you’re inevitably overwhelmed by the chilling cacophony of tormented souls.
Graphically you get exactly what you want from an old-school FPS with deliciously, satanic low-poly enemies and murky textures.
2. Post Void
Post Void is a hedonistically fast-paced hidden gem that forces your Boomer brain into hyperdrive.
The game is all about speed and your objective is to make it through corridors filled with suited enemies with bulbous, gooey, black heads. Blink and you’ll miss it as you rocket past in a psychedelic drug-fuelled haze. In your hand you hold an idol, a measurement of your life force, that ebbs and flows depending on your killing speed. If it runs out, you die.
The labyrinthine passageways and adversaries borrow heavily from Doom but with a garish and feverish twist. Levels are procedurally generated so memorizing routes will do you no good. The game is about a steady hand and quick reflexes as precision and headshots are the key to a swift and satisfying completion.
3. Blood: Fresh Supply
Blood was Monolith Productions’ (makers of F.E.A.R) first foray into FPS back in 1997. The legendary Build Engine shooter has been brought to us by the Great Restorers, Nightdive Studios, who have made it a blast to play on modern systems.
With enticingly Lovecraftian undertones you play Caleb, an undead gunslinger hell-bent on taking revenge against an otherworldly god. Blood distinguishes itself through enticing weapons like pitchforks, aerosol cans and Voodo Dolls.
Alternative fire modes also fundamentally turn each weapon into two. The remaster thankfully stays faithful to the graphics but utilizes Nightdive’s engine allowing for quality upscaling up to 4k, the ability to properly use all axis when looking around and firing in ‘3D view,’ and full split-screen functionality for up to 8(!) people.
Ultrakill is one of production company New Blood’s latest additions to their successful list of retro-inspired shooters. Veering away from the often gloomy aesthetic associated with these games, Ultrakill gives us more of a Serious Sam vibe caught in the midst of an intriguing concept and environment.
Humanity has been eradicated and all that remains are sentient robotic lifeforms that run on human blood. But with blood now being a finite commodity, the war is on to salvage it for the sake of your own survival.
This madcap concept is the crux of Ultrakill. To heal you have to saturate yourself in blood which means you’re often holstering your weapons in order to rack up combos up close and personal with your fists. But the old favorites are also ready and waiting as powerful revolvers, shotguns and railcannons turn your rivals into scrap metal.
5. Ion Fury
Platforms: PC, Switch, PS4/PS5, Xbox One/Xbox Series
Shelly ‘Bombshell’ Harrison emanates the wisecracking renegade persona of Duke Nukem as well his destructive alien-eviscerating tendencies. It is therefore no surprise that Ion Fury is built from an advanced version of the Build Engine, while the main villain is voiced by the Dukester himself, Jon St. John (great name).
Ion Fury makes no apologies for its difficulty. As with most retro FPS, you can’t simply hide and wait for health to recharge. There is no covering and regenerating here. Precision is rewarded with accurate shooting, and taking aim at weak spots will bring down your enemy quicker which is good as ammo is scarce.
A body shot on a Centipede, for instance, will cause each segment to turn on you individually, so shoot that damn thing in the head! This is a welcome addition to the usual repetitive death scenes of the genre but aside from that Ion Fury comes straight from the 90s shelf alongside your VHS.
Tired of all this First Person Action? Take a step back and investigate ‘The Best Point & Click Adventure Games – Old And New’
Now the intense FPS has died down, take advantage of the eerie quiet and check out ‘The Best Survival Horror Games You Won’t Want To Play Alone’