Come October, the dead horse that is Doom 3 will not just be beaten to a horsey pulp but eviscerated and turned into a torrential downpour of horse gibs when it’s re-released in the Doom 3 BFG Edition for the PC and consoles. It features a new single-player expansion pack and the original Doom games, but, more excitedly, it also boasts the ability to use a flashlight while holding a weapon thanks to space-age armor-mounted flashlights! Oh, what wonders the future holds for us!
In the re-release’s honor, it seemed fitting to peek back not all the FPSes we all remember fondly desensitizing us to violence in the ’90s, but instead the also-ran games in the genre. More specifically: Those less remembered titles’ equivalent to Doom’s legendary BFG 9000 (a.k.a. the “Big Fucking Gun 9000”). It was the ultimate weapon capable of demolishing almost anything onscreen — including wayward horses — but Doom wasn’t the only game to grant first-person enthusiasts the ability to be nearly unstoppable. In short: Here are the very best, biggest weapons from games you probably don’t remember.
11) Dark Staff, Rise of the Triad
Originally intended as a sequel to Wolfenstein 3-D — developer Apogee was one of Wolfy’s publishers in the early ’90s — 1995’s Rise of The Triad really has nothing in common with it other than some enemies wearing Nazi garb. You play as an operative from the HUNT task force to investigate an evil cult in San Nicolas Island that has taken over a monastery. Don’t be fooled into thinking this is some sort of work of historical fiction, though. Its BFG 9000 equivalent was the dark staff, an unimaginative wand that can fire seven deadly blasts that turns anything they touch into a pile of guts and eyeballs. Sadly, it’s more powerful than the Excalibat, an enchanted baseball bat that fires off glowing baseballs, and even the hand of God. Side note: ROTT also had a dog mode, a flying mode, and monks.
10) Mechanical Arm, Rebel Moon
Rebel Moon is the greatest mid-’90s FPS series that never quite took off and has remained largely forgotten to this day. Therefore, to easily get across what made it special, a bit of shorthand is necessary: Imagine a much, much faster Dark Forces. To really understand what made it amazing though, you really need to see the game in action — though, stupidly, it was only compatible with an obscure video card chipset, which prevented it from catching on (even though it garnered a sequel, a novelization, and a canceled-at-the-last-second PSX port). It’s worth tracking down, though its ultimate weapon — the mechanical arm — doesn’t really suggest that. It lets you take out enemies as quickly and economically as possible by not being a huge drain on your ammo.
9) Ankh, Killing Time
A 3DO-exclusive horror FPS that sold so pooly it was ported to the PC, PSX, Saturn, and then also remade for Mac and PC, Killing Time wasn’t exactly a failure at its 1995 launch, it just didn’t exactly catch on. You’re set loose in a large estate in 1932 to track down the fabled water clock, which, according to the legends, isn’t just some sort of diving watch. The enemies were truly bonkers, with evil cooks, crazy clowns, and ducks being the evil forces trying to stop you. The weapons are decidedly less imaginative, with the magical ankh being a funny-looking gun with wires on it that blasts flames for great crowd control. Ah, blasting clowns with a makeshift flamethrower — does anything else better represent the Dirty Thirties?
8) Poo Gun, Gore Galore: The Breakout
Predating Postal and Conker’s Bad Fur Day, Gore Galore was one of innumerable Wolfenstein clones made using the Pie 3D Game Creation System. Almost all of them are terrible. (Troubled Tower was also considered, but little other than its story involving a cappuccino-drinking protagonist who took self-defense classes in third grade could be found.) Gore Galore distinguished itself by being glue-sniffingly strange. You face ninjas, Maytag repairmen, and Hank Williams Jr. The best way to handle them all? With the poo gun, which is just a hose to spray diarrhea. Hey, it was a simpler time, and we had to get over Kurt Cobain’s suicide any way we could.
7) Tracking Plasma Cannon, Wrath Of Earth
Another FPS lost in the deluge of Doom clones, but undeservedly so, is Wrath of Earth, a game that on paper doesn’t sound all that special since you play as a space marine. You’re sent to investigate a mysterious, chaotic situation in the Aragon mining colony where robots and/or aliens have been killing humans. The game borrowed some platforming mechanics — but not to Turok’s extent — by having the temperature affect your ability to navigate the land. You’ll slide around in icy areas, but also, extreme temperatures and radiation will affect your health as well. It was a deceptively complex game with, unfortunately, a pretty simple BFG: the tracking plasma cannon. It’s a bulky, nefarious-looking thing that decimated the living space-bajeezus out of everything in sight.
6) Flatulence, Rodger Ramrod
(The images for this game are super-duper NSFW and are here, if you want to see see them. Also, they’re just terrible.)
Alas, no discussion of ’90s FPSes would be complete without acknowledging the existence of the X-rated first-person shooters. Somehow tons of these games escaped throughout the decade, and while Rodger Ramrod isn’t necessarily the best of them, it’s a great example of how stupid they were. You want to satisfy the royal queen, sexually, of course, and to do that you have to fight your way through levels like a cowboy stage, a space level, a “dyke” level… and a “fag” level (their words, not mine, no offense to anyone reading this). Anyway, your weapons are masturbating, urinating, and farting. Yup.
5) Large Area Zorching Device, Chex Quest
Even though 1996’s Chex Quest is a cult hit today, you’re a damn liar like someone who says they saw the Ramones at CBGB’s if you claimed to have played this in the ’90s. A 1:1 conversion of Ultimate Doom, the game was an advertising vehicle for Chex cereal. You play as the Chex Warrior who wants to eradicate the Flemoid invasion. Basically, you’re a piece of cereal that has to get rid of snot. The best way to do that is with the LAZ Device, which teleports the boogers back to their dumb booger universe. That’ll teach ’em for illegally immigrating into America.
4) Sigil, Strife: Quest For The Sigil
Strife was an interesting game, really, because it combined id’s Doom engine with RPG elements like skill progression and item vendors and NPC interaction, which wasn’t as commonplace at the time. The game’s titular weapon you’re questing for is assembled in increments and can be used as soon as you have the first piece. It’s a weird spiked ring you wield that shoots lightning — but its ammo is your health. Its final form unleashes a ball of lightning from which additional bolts emit.
3) Teat Gun, Redneck Rampage
Ah, yes, everyone’s favorite “hilarious” FPS that was an exercise in diminishing returns on taking the most tired Southern clich?s and mish-moshing them with lazy FPS tropes. Oh wait, never mind, it also has aliens so it’s totally creative! You play as Leonard, whose prize pig has been abducted by aliens. The aliens are all leather-fetish cyborg kinksters, so, it’s fitting that the ultimate weapon is something you pilfer from your enemy. The teat gun, worn by the alien vixens, is a double-barreled brassiere-mounted machine gun.
2) Alien Mech Blaster, Quiver
Advertised as perhaps one of the first non-violent first-person shooters, Quiver didn’t exactly stick to its advertised promise and wound up delivering violence. The plot is unremarkable, as they tend to be in this genre, involving the recovering of orbs from orb-stealing aliens (those jerks). The game’s weapons weren’t much more interesting, since all they did was shoot out differing numbers of fireballs. The best weapon? The Alien Mech Blaster, which shot seven fireballs at once. The most interestingly named weapon was the Fajita Maker, which shot three fireballs, but if you’ve ever eaten fajitas or know anything about Mexican cuisine you would’ve been able to guess that already.
Even if you played it, chances are you forgot you had just by virtue of it being an FPS on the N64. Or to put it more succinctly: It was for the N64, so it sucked. Turok is mainly remembered by anyone who did play it for its atrocious platforming, but its weapons were actually kinda amusing. Or, at least, they were at the more powerful end of the spectrum. More powerful than the particle accelerator and even the fusion gun (which fires nuclear explosions) is the chronoscepter. It’s a weird-looking thing that, when fully charged, expels a blue beam that that bathes the entire screen in white, leaving behind a trail of blood and corpses. Gee, maybe this is why the dinosaurs went extinct?