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The best old-school FPS games to play for boomer shooter fans

boomer shooters

Old-school FPS games are making a comeback and choice is abundant for fans who are looking for something in the vein of boomer shooters like Doom, Duke Nukem, and Quake-style.

The success of games like Doom (2016), Shadow Warrior Reboot, and Doom Eternal have been critical to the revival of old-school shooters. New old-school-style FPS games are lovingly called “retro shooters,” and they boast the simple yet quick gameplay mechanics that fans fondly remember from the 1990s. Players use a variety of weapons to mow down anything that moves. 

Fortunately for old and new fans, many new old-school FPS games are being released. Here are a few recently released FPS games that capture the old-school magic.

1. Warhammer 40,000: Boltgun

The most significant achievement of Warhammer 40,000: Boltgun is its accessibility. Players don’t need extensive knowledge of the tabletop game to enjoy what this game offers fully. There isn’t much narrative here as players just need their weapons to do the talking. Press the fire button and mow down hoards of enemies in this somewhat mindless old-school shooter.

The game still throws a curveball with its bosses, who are surprisingly tough to beat. A convenient quicksave system also lets players cheese some of the more brutal fights. There are plenty of references to the Warhammer 40,000 universe for fans, but any old boomer shooter fan will have the same amount of fun here.

2. Ion Fury

Ion Fury conjures the memories of old-school Duke Nukem 3D, from before the series went into limbo and faded away. The graphics are deliciously retro with the same low frame-rate animations. Place Ion Fury and Duke Nukem side by side and it would be hard to differentiate the two universes. 

How did Voidpoint, the developers behind Ion Fury, pull this off? By using an updated version of the same Duke Nukem 3D BUILD engine.

Ion Fury feels like a hidden gem from a bygone era of classic shooters. Players familiar with Duke Nukem 3D will feel at home with this modern title. The vast world is interconnected, but some loading screens exist. The gameplay is crisp and action-packed, and the guns feel satisfying.

3. Cultic

Cultic takes players back to the days of Monolith’s Blood from 1997. The graphics are muted and the colors are restricted, a call back to older graphic cards and their limited range. The gameplay is where Cultic shines, and it’s as explosive as the game that inspired it. Dynamite reduces enemies to ribbons and it’s satisfying to use every time.

Players can run and gun in this smooth game, where they blast through hoards of cultic enemies. The movement is fast and makes the player feel in control. 

There is no hand-holding here either as players need to rely on their wits and weapons to get through the game. Surprisingly, Cultic offers jumpscares aplenty with its creepy environment and clever use of darkness.

4. Prodeus

Prodeus is a love letter to old-school shooters, especially the Doom remake. The game plays fast, players are always on the move, and weapons are going pew-pew constantly. Marry Doom and Unreal Tournament, and Prodeus would be their child. 

The fast-paced combat is a throwback to the days of movement-based shooters. Prodeus not only gets that right, but also nails the gore. There is an impressive amount of violence in the game as most enemies will end up painting the walls on death. The futuristic space environment is a blank canvas but the only color players get to work with is red. 

The developers upgraded the audio to modern times, which doesn’t distract from the old-school gameplay. Prodeus gained popularity on Xbox Game Pass as more players could try this boomer shooter without significant investment.

5. Turbo Overkill

Turbo Overkill gives the protagonist a chainsaw for a leg. That’s the kind of game it is.

The game is a cross between Cyberpunk and Quake, a gloriously gory combination. It also looks much better than the recently released Quake 2 remaster, comparing favorably to Cyberpunk 2077. The gameplay is the usual fast and reactive mix, with plenty of blood and guts to spray the levels. Turbo Overkill throws in unique weapons that feel satisfying to use. Players don’t need to lift their fingers from the trigger in this game; ammo is plentiful, as are enemies.

Then there is the motorcycle, a unique addition to the age-old run-and-gun formula of old-school FPS titles that brings the chainsaw leg into play. Fans of fellow modern boomer shooter Serious Sam will appreciate the voice acting in Turbo Overkill, as it adds to the charm of the cyberpunk world.

6. Amid Evil

Raven Software’s Heretic will be 30 years old soon but remains one of the best old-school FPS games ever. Amid Evil aims to capture the same magic by throwing players in a frantically paced shooter. This is not a relaxing shooter. There is chaos, magic, and plenty of visual noise to endure here.

Players wanting to be an M-rated Dr. Strange will love what Amid Evil has to offer. There are seven distinct worlds to save here and thankfully, there are seven weapons to help players do so. Weapons include a trident that shoots electricity and a spinning axe that chops up enemies, to name a few. Speaking of seven, there are seven bosses to defeat, too. Amid Evil is a fast, colorful, and entertaining shooter worthy of at least one playthrough.

7. HROT

HORT is not a pretty game; it’s downright ugly sometimes, but this adds to its old-school charm even more. It’s not the latest Call of Duty in terms of graphics. This boomer shooter takes direct inspiration from the original Quake and, to an untrained eye, it might look like a forgotten game from 1996 too. The game has Metro or STALKER aesthetics, complete with a gas mask and sharp architecture.

If players can look past the muddy graphics, there is a solid shooter to be found. The game also surprises the players with some “colorful” and unique-looking enemies, especially the bosses. 

HROT tends to go off the rails and venture into weird territory. The shooting is done well, and HROT keeps the player busy guessing what comes next; all are qualities of an excellent old-school shooter.

8. Project Warlock

Buckshot Software hit a home run with Project Warlock, a fantasy sci-fi shooter. The game borrows excellent ideas from the best boomer shooter of old including Wolfenstein 3D, Heretic, and Hexen, but it comes with its own unique mix of gameplay and combat.

Deviating from the traditional old-school shooter formula, Project Warlock uses an RPG-like progression system. The UI elements are also inspired by old shooters, further cementing Project Warlock as a new old-school FPS.

The graphics are deliciously retro, yet blood and gore remain abundant. The 60 levels in the game are short, but there is plenty of action to be had. The bosses in Project Warlock further add to the challenge and force players to change tactics.

9. Dusk

Dusk conjures up memories of Half-Life and Doom in a big way. The game also takes inspiration from Blood and creates a unique amalgamation of shooter tropes that gel well together. Set in the town of the same name in Pennsylvania, the player is sent to investigate recently discovered ancient runes.

Players assume the role of DuskDude, yes it’s the equivalent of DoomGuy, and embark on a shooting journey directly lifted from the 90s. The game captures the aesthetics and design language of shooters from the 1990s. There is even a ‘90s graphic filter to change the comparatively modern graphics into blocky 3D ones from the era.

10. Ultrakill

Players take control of a robot in a world where humans have gone extinct. The robot then enters hell and starts fighting demons for their blood. As demons don’t like to donate blood, they rise against the robot. The premise is simple; kill demons, get blood, and be a robot.

Ultrakill also grades the player’s performance after each level. Like the Devil May Cry games, getting a good grade involves combos and various kills. Demon blood also heals the robot, so the more it fights, the better. Ultrakill has fast-paced action, an intriguing narrative, and plenty of replayability.

Amid Evil, Dusk, and Ultrakill are all created by New Blood Interactive, with the studio establishing itself as a dynamic boomer shooter developer.

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Written by Bilawal Bashir

Bilawal is a software engineer who loves video games, comic books, and anime. But he will never love pineapple on pizza.

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