When it comes to game genres, First Person Shooters (FPS) are one of the most loved. From the dystopian corridors of BioShock's subterranean 'paradise' to the Strogg-infested space stations found throughout the Quake franchise, have found countless ways to establish themselves as rich, enjoyable experiences, capturing the hearts and trigger fingers of gamers worldwide.

We updated this feature in August 2012. Check out our new piece: The 39 best ever first-person shooter games. See also: The 18 best role-playing games for iPhone and iPad

Even if it's just blasting away wave after wave of demons in Blood, or perhaps saving mankind from itself as you traverse Half-Life 2's City 17, the FPS genre has proven itself time and time again.

We've picked out the best of the best the shooters that made your jaw drop the moment you booted them up. So grab a med-kit, holster your rocket launcher, and join us as we take a look at the 28 must-have FPS Games!

Now read our controversial: 18 Worst Video games ever

28: Return to Castle Wolfenstein

Why It's Great: Wolfenstein 3D was one of the founding fathers of the first person shooter genre and made it's re-introduction into modern gaming with the extraordinary Return to Castle Wolfenstein. There's not a whole lot more fun to kill than zombie-Nazis, and the game did it well with its wide variety of sieg heiling abominations. On top of the game's interesting foes, it also had one of the longest campaigns you'll come across in the FPS genre.

27: Blood

Why It's Great: Monolith's classic shooter caused quite the commotion as a group of angry parents campaigned against the 'bathtub of blood' marketing campaign. Thank goodness they never played this slaughterfest, because then they'd really have something to whine about. Blood lived up to its name by delivering buckets upon buckets of the titular crimson liquid as our hell-bound protagonist, Caleb, massacred wave after wave of demons in his quest for revenge.

While Blood won't win any originality points for its Evil Dead-inspired story, the action was incredibly satisfying. The single-player mode is a modern upgrade on the Doom formula - monster closets, card keys, and simplistic scenarios - but the bountiful horror film references and sly humor kept us playing. The real draw was the multiplayer mode, in which players fired flare pistols, Tommy guns, and Tesla rifles at each other in some of the best deathmatch action since, well, Doom.

26: Tribes 2

Why It's Great: The first two Tribes games practically invented modern online shooters such as Halo 3 and Team Fortress 2. Tribes 2 is a prime example of community gaming done right, with a simply astonishing multiplayer dynamic met with stunning and creative level designs to explore on foot, via jetpack, or while piloting an array of driveable vehicles. From Capture the Flag rounds, a stellar Siege mode, and good old fashioned 50+ player deathmatch, Tribes 2 was a landmark for online gaming, and still remains one of the most inventive (and addictive) shooters out there. A truly innovative game that is still highly regarded among hardcore shooter fans.

NEXT PAGE: Turok 2: Seeds of Evil and The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay

  1. The best first person shooter experiences you'll ever have
  2. Turok 2: Seeds of Evil and The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay
  3. TimeSplitters: Future Perfect and Counter-Strike: Source
  4. Battlefield 1942 and Far Cry
  5. Perfect Dark and Crysis
  6. F.E.A.R. and System Shock II
  7. Duke Nukem 3D and Quake II
  8. Our top three must have games

First Person Shooters (FPS) are one of the most loved game genres. So we've picked out the 28 must-have FPS games that your collection needs.

25: Turok 2: Seeds of Evil

Why It's Great: You know you have a winning formula when one of your game's weapons consists of a gun that fires parasitic insects which then proceed to bore into your enemies' skulls before showering your camera with a crimson mist. Turok 2: Seeds of Evil simply took everything that made the original Turok: Dinosaur Hunter such an amazing experience and turned it up to eleven. With behemoth monsters to battle, lush environments to explore, and with easily one of the most inventive selection of weapons and enemies to date, it's no wonder that gamers worldwide have only the fondest memories of Seeds of Evil. But whatever you do, don't play the god-awful sequels (though the new, re-invented Turok on PS3 and Xbox 360 is worth a look).

24: The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay

Why It's Great: It's rare to find a movie-based game that's better than the film itself - much less a Vin Diesel one (XxX for the GBA, anybody?) Amazingly, Chronicles of Riddick took the gaming world by storm with a genuinely original gaming experience, impressive HD visuals, and smart stealth-based action.

Taking place before the Riddick films, Escape from Butcher Bay told the tale of how Riddick came to be the badass you meet in Pitch Black, all the while painting a gritty environment with the ‘inescapable' prison world of Butcher Bay. Throw in note-perfect voice work by Diesel himself, Ron Perlman and even acclaimed rapper Xzibit, and you have a cinematic experience that's not only unexpected, but simply excellent.

23: No One Lives Forever 2: A Spy in H.A.R.M.'s Way

Why It's Great: No One Lives Forever had all of the elements for a winning FPS formula: a tongue-in-cheek script, fantastic visuals, tight controls, imaginative weapons, and of course, a shag-tastic 60s leading lady. Throw in outlandish situations such as shooting while skydiving or gunning it out in the eye of a tornado and you have the makings of an unforgettable experience. A savage spoof on the James Bond genre of spy films, NOLF2 is a deserved cult classic and is not to be missed.

22: Alien vs. Predator 2

Why It's Great: We've already covered the fact that movie-based games aren't usually quality works, but that was the beauty of Alien vs. Predator: the movie hadn't been made yet! Borrowing creatures and imagery from both prestigious film series, Alien vs. Predator 2 paved the way for the films with its steamy, murky environments, authentic audio design, and a choice of three seperate characters: a hapless marine, a vicious Alien, and the tactical Predator, each with their own unique strengths and weaknesses. This potential was truly explored in the game's online multiplayer, pitting all three classes against one another in one of twelve richly detailed maps. Now, if we can just get a decent Alien vs. Predator movie out there.

NEXT PAGE: TimeSplitters: Future Perfect and Counter-Strike: Source

  1. The best first person shooter experiences you'll ever have
  2. Turok 2: Seeds of Evil and The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay
  3. TimeSplitters: Future Perfect and Counter-Strike: Source
  4. Battlefield 1942 and Far Cry
  5. Perfect Dark and Crysis
  6. F.E.A.R. and System Shock II
  7. Duke Nukem 3D and Quake II
  8. Our top three must have games

First Person Shooters (FPS) are one of the most loved game genres. So we've picked out the 28 must-have FPS games that your collection needs.

21: TimeSplitters: Future Perfect

Why It's Great: It's not often that you get to bend the space-time continuum on a regular basis, teaming up with versions of yourself from both the past and the future to solve puzzles. For Cortez, the protagonist of the TimeSplitters series, this is day-to-day life.

TimeSplitters had a quirky, surreal style that fit right at home with the time-traveling dynamic, allowing players access to a wide array of weapons from both the future, present, and past. One minute you may be dueling it out with six-shooters, the next firing plasma guns at your enemies - talk about weapon variety! With a rich single-player campaign and addictive multiplayer modes, TimeSplitters 3 is a shooter well worth revisiting.

20: Counter-Strike: Source

Why It's Great: Before there was Halo, there was Counter-Strike: the game that everyone played, even if they didn't play games. What started out as a Half-Life mod turned into the most popular online shooter ever created. Its simple, round-based, terrorists vs counter-terrorists gameplay was fueled by a genre-first weapon purchase system, and the elegance and perfection of Dust sealed the deal. CS: Source came along when Half-Life 2 was released, porting the game into a next-generation engine and stopping the rampant cheating. Despite what some critics said, Valve made the right choice with the port; CS is an experience that will stay pure forever.

19: Thief: The Dark Project

Why It's Great: Thief pioneered the use of stealth in the first-person perspective. Though not truly a 'shooter', Thief's innovative use of first-person conventions opened it up to an audience thirsty for a new experience. As Garret, a creature of the night, it was your mission to slip between shadows, sneak around guards, and steal to your heart's content. When trouble popped up, as it often did, you rarely responded with force. Garret packed a hefty bag of tricks, from water arrows to douse torches to a nifty blackjack that could down an enemy guard with one whack. By melding first-person shooter gameplay with a deep stealth component, Thief was truly ahead of its time.

18: Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas

Why It's Great: From the first moment you signal your team to rappel into a casino, blasting the windows open as you toss a smoke grenade into a blackjack parlor, you know you've hit something special. Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas took the dynamic of acting as a team and made it a central asset to the FPS experience. With an emphasis on teamwork, Vegas was also a blast to play co-op or competitively against (and with) other players, constantly forcing gamers to think on their feet as they moved through expertly detailed Las Vegas layouts. What happens in Vegas is a blast.

NEXT PAGE: Battlefield 1942 and Far Cry

  1. The best first person shooter experiences you'll ever have
  2. Turok 2: Seeds of Evil and The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay
  3. TimeSplitters: Future Perfect and Counter-Strike: Source
  4. Battlefield 1942 and Far Cry
  5. Perfect Dark and Crysis
  6. F.E.A.R. and System Shock II
  7. Duke Nukem 3D and Quake II
  8. Our top three must have games

First Person Shooters (FPS) are one of the most loved game genres. So we've picked out the 28 must-have FPS games that your collection needs.

17: Battlefield 1942

Why It's Great: The Battlefield series truly lives up to its name; instead of casting you as the lone American soldier up against a castle of Nazi goons, you took on the role of one selected unit in the midst of a massive battle. Battlefield's online play was extraordinary for its time, truly giving the players the experience that they were part of a history in motion, reenacting famous battles from the Battle of the Bulge to Omaha Beach. With historically accurate maps ripped straight from history textbooks, a wide array of era-specific vehicles at your fingertips, and team-based gameplay that made you a true team player, Battlefield 1942 proved itself as one of the most authentic - and enjoyable - World War II shooters to date.

16: Far Cry

Why It's Great: Far Cry marked the debut of what the CryEngine, which later powered Crysis. Even today, Far Cry's technical abilities are impressive. You can explore a huge open-world island, destroy environments brick by brick, and hang-glide from one mountaintop to another. Best of all, it was fun! From the deep single-player campaign to the intense multiplayer, Far Cry was an incredibly rewarding experience that proved that when the man with a gun is wearing a Hawaiian shirt, he's just as threatening as the other guy. if you haven't play Far Cry yet, you're missing out on a classic.

15: Unreal Tournament

Why It's Great: Unreal Tournament was a bold move from the team at Epic Games, who later went on to create the fabulously popular Gears of War. Though Unreal Tournament is now regarded as a modern classic, at the time it represented a huge gamble for Epic: at the time, the studio was more famous for its single-player campaign than its multiplayer modes. But upon its release, Unreal Tournament became an instant classic due to its lighting-quick action, massive arsenal, and open support for fan-made mods and mutators. The controls, graphics, sound, and online modes were all hugely influential - this is another series that played a key role in the creation of Halo.

14: Metroid Prime

Why It's Great: Metroid Prime for the GameCube isn't your traditional first-person shooter. Like its 2D predecessors, Metroid Prime focused more on exploration and adventure than white-knuckle combat. Nintendo and developer Retro Studios took the Metroid franchise and turned it on its head with an incredibly deep shooter that still maintained everything from the original titles that made Metroid a household name.

NEXT PAGE: Perfect Dark and Crysis

  1. The best first person shooter experiences you'll ever have
  2. Turok 2: Seeds of Evil and The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay
  3. TimeSplitters: Future Perfect and Counter-Strike: Source
  4. Battlefield 1942 and Far Cry
  5. Perfect Dark and Crysis
  6. F.E.A.R. and System Shock II
  7. Duke Nukem 3D and Quake II
  8. Our top three must have games

First Person Shooters (FPS) are one of the most loved game genres. So we've picked out the 28 must-have FPS games that your collection needs.

13: Perfect Dark

Why It's Great: Rare took the FPS world by storm with the announcement of Perfect Dark for the Nintendo 64, which served as an important refinement over the classic Goldeneye 007. Players could choose to take part in an epic single player mode, engaging in stealthy espionage and Rambo-esque gunfight sequences as they fought their way towards the truth behind dataDyne's dark past, or jump head-on into a multiplayer experience that many would compare to that of GoldenEye. With incredibly inventive weapons (laptop gun, anyone?) mixed with beautiful graphics and a fantastic soundtrack, Perfect Dark was - and still is - a true must-own shooter. Unfortunately, the Xbox 360 prequel Perfect Dark Zero radically altered the winning formula and lost many of its fans in the process.

12: Crysis

Why It's Great: Crysis is literally one surprise after another. You're dropped on North Korean territory in a government issued nano-suit, and charged with taking down the radical KCP faction. So far, so good. But halfway through your pursuit, a race of advanced extraterrestrials enters the fray. Throw in some surprisingly open-world gameplay, astonishingly detailed visuals, and the option to switch between your nano-suits abilities on the fly, and you have one of the most complete PC shooters ever created. While the steep, steep system requirements definitely took their toll on the game's sales, Crysis is one of the few games that was actually worth the investment in new PC hardware.

11: Deus Ex

Why It's Great: Deus Ex took the FPS world by surprise with its cyberpunk plot. But the real treat was the complex, strategic gameplay that could only be described as the ‘thinking man's shooter. Starring as nano-augmented special agent JC Denton, players would quickly find that their actions in the field would directly impact the storyline and events in a crumbling vision of a future North America. Speaking of the storyline, the plot makes frequent hairpin turns as friends turn into enemies (and vice-versa), and the events are reflected by your playing style. Even combat could radically shift the game experience, as you carefully selected and upgraded your combat skills and nano-tech Augmentation abilities.

NEXT PAGE: F.E.A.R. and System Shock II

  1. The best first person shooter experiences you'll ever have
  2. Turok 2: Seeds of Evil and The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay
  3. TimeSplitters: Future Perfect and Counter-Strike: Source
  4. Battlefield 1942 and Far Cry
  5. Perfect Dark and Crysis
  6. F.E.A.R. and System Shock II
  7. Duke Nukem 3D and Quake II
  8. Our top three must have games

First Person Shooters (FPS) are one of the most loved game genres. So we've picked out the 28 must-have FPS games that your collection needs.

10: F.E.A.R.

Why It's Great: If horror films have taught us anything, it's that children are frightening. From The Omen's Damien all the way to the infamous girl from The Ring, the idea of innocence corrupted has garnered plenty of screams from audiences worldwide. Enter Alma, a sociopathic psychic that makes the Children of the Corn look like the Cabbage Patch Kids. With astonishing graphics and blistering shootouts, F.E.A.R. fired on all cylinders, featuring some of the smartest AI seen in an FPS as well as an incredibly cool bullet-time ability that is guaranteed to make you feel like a one-man-army. Set all of this in one of the creepiest atmospheres this side of The Shining, and you have yourself one hell of a game. Literally.

9: System Shock II

Why It's Great: The sequel to the stellar System Shock (and precusor to BioShock) was groundbreaking in more ways than we can count. This is a survival-horror game for the hardcore horror junkie. From the game's skin-crawling storyline (a race of alien parasites slaughter the crew of a cutting-edge space vessel), to the manipulative and utterly indifferent ‘ally', to its unbelievably bone-chilling audio design, System Shock II is one of the most immersive games ever designed. The sole survivor of the faster-than-light Von Braun military starship, you battled deformed humans, psionic lab chimpanzees, and unspeakable cyborg half-breeds with wrench (and pistol) in hand. In the end, though, the ultimate brilliance of System Shock II revolves around its devious plot twists. Not everything is quite as it first seems.

8: Halo 3

Why It's Great: Stop me if you've heard this one before: you're sitting around your house/apartment/dorm-room, buzzed up on Red Bull/booze/Dr. Pepper, the clock behind you reading 3:00/4:00/5:00AM as your buddy sitting right next to you suddenly screams a satisfying 'HEAD SHOT!' directly into your ear. The Halo series has been one phenomenon after the other, with some of the most highly-regarded (and utterly addictive) multiplayer gameplay offered to date. With ground-breaking visuals, fantastic map design, and an amazing assortment of vehicles to pilot, it's no surprise that even with wave after wave of shiny new FPS titles releasing for every system known to man, Halo is still the gamers' choice. Halo 3 proved to be more of a refinement than a re-invention, but over a year after its launch it's still the most-played game on Xbox Live.

NEXT PAGE: Duke Nukem 3D and Quake II

  1. The best first person shooter experiences you'll ever have
  2. Turok 2: Seeds of Evil and The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay
  3. TimeSplitters: Future Perfect and Counter-Strike: Source
  4. Battlefield 1942 and Far Cry
  5. Perfect Dark and Crysis
  6. F.E.A.R. and System Shock II
  7. Duke Nukem 3D and Quake II
  8. Our top three must have games

First Person Shooters (FPS) are one of the most loved game genres. So we've picked out the 28 must-have FPS games that your collection needs.

7: Duke Nukem 3D

Why It's Great: Take equal parts Ash from the Evil Dead films and Rowdy Roddy Piper from the cult classic They Live, sprinkle a myriad of pop culture references layered with clever puzzles and fast-paced gameplay, and you've got Duke Nukem 3D in all its glory. This game, for its time, was revelatory because it imbued its environments with never-before-seen levels of interactivity. We're talking functional mirrors ('Damn I'm looking good'), functional toilets ('Oooh...much better'), and more movie references than any game before or since. The graphics haven't aged particularly well, but the gameplay and interactivity are still unmatched.

6: Quake II

Why It's Great: The first Quake was a muddled affair, a hodgepodge of disparate design elements and simplistic, Doom-styled combat. Quake II turned that formula on its head by crafting a believable, integrated world. You no longer blasted random monsters in non-descript brown castles; in Quake II, the storyline pitted the human race against an overwhelming assault by a race of cannibalistic cyborgs. Though the single-player game was fun, Quake II's true legacy was its visionary approach to online gaming: gamers cross-country rushed home from school or work to boot up Quake II on their high-end 56k modem. With a wide array of mods, maps, clans and user-generated content, Quake II was the multiplayer template that helped later forge online-focused games such as Halo and Gears of War.

5: Doom II

Why It's Great: When a game tells you to leap head first into the depths of Hell, guns blazing, you don't ask questions; you point your BFG-9000 at the closest Cacodemon and let 'er rip. Revolutionary for its time, and still an absolute blast to play to this day, Doom II set new standards for what to expect from a shooter, not to mention helping pave the way for the FPS genre in general. A wide assortment of colorful weapons (including the notorious double-barreled shotgun) and an even wider selection of demonic enemies made this trip to the afterlife worth taking, and gave gamers the perfect excuse to scream 'See you in Hell! before blasting a Spectre's head off'.

4: GoldenEye 007

Why It's Great: Who doesn't remember crowding around a television in the dark, eyes red and drooping from exhaustion, hands aching and cramped around a Nintendo 64 controller as you mutter to your friends, 'One more round!' GoldenEye was a simply exquisite title on all fronts and is still regarded as a crowning achievement in multiplayer gaming. From races through deserted military barracks in search of the prestigious Golden Gun to simply arguing over who got to play as Oddjob, GoldenEye had a winning formula on all fronts that has yet to be matched by any other FPS. Without Goldeneye, Halo simply wouldn't exist.

NEXT PAGE: Our top three must have games

  1. The best first person shooter experiences you'll ever have
  2. Turok 2: Seeds of Evil and The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay
  3. TimeSplitters: Future Perfect and Counter-Strike: Source
  4. Battlefield 1942 and Far Cry
  5. Perfect Dark and Crysis
  6. F.E.A.R. and System Shock II
  7. Duke Nukem 3D and Quake II
  8. Our top three must have games

First Person Shooters (FPS) are one of the most loved game genres. So we've picked out the 28 must-have FPS games that your collection needs

3: BioShock

Why It's Great: A collective gasp spread throughout the gaming community the first time casual gamers and jaded critics alike first laid eyes on the underwater dystopia of Rapture. Featuring one of the most engaging premises in a video game to date, BioShock was more of an experience than it was a game. With smart, scary gameplay and a refreshingly mature storyline, BioShock also marked a significant turning point in the video game industry, tearing asunder any stereotypes that this was a children's medium or a passing mainstream fad. BioShock gave its players an amazing amount of freedom regarding how they were experience the world of Rapture, from blasting enemies with powerful genetic abilities to hacking turrets and security bots, it was evident from the start that there was no one way to play BioShock. Truly a modern classic.

2: Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

Why It's Great: Modern Warfare grabbed the hearts and minds of gamers worldwide in late 2007, becoming a bonafide phenomenon almost overnight. Updating the already prestigious Call of Duty series with a new modern setting, Call of Duty 4 pumped vitality into both its single-player campaign and its pulse-pounding multiplayer modes. A combination of new RPG-styled Perk abilities, weapon upgrades, and ultra-tight controls make Call of Duty 4 a modern-day legend.

1: Half-Life 2

Why It's Great: Rise and shine, Mister Freeman& Wake up and smell the ashes. It's tough to find a game more spell-binding than Half-Life 2. From the moment you find yourself riding that train into the dystopian future of City 17 to the instance good ol' Barney tosses you your trademark crowbar, gamers everywhere knew that they were in for one hell of a ride. With unmatched in-game cinematics and a memorable cast of allies and villains, Half-Life 2 was an experience more than it was a game.

  1. The best first person shooter experiences you'll ever have
  2. Turok 2: Seeds of Evil and The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay
  3. TimeSplitters: Future Perfect and Counter-Strike: Source
  4. Battlefield 1942 and Far Cry
  5. Perfect Dark and Crysis
  6. F.E.A.R. and System Shock II
  7. Duke Nukem 3D and Quake II
  8. Our top three must have games