A relatively new and welcome genre of the well-worn FPS game model. The stealth first person shooter genre emphasizes the use of stealth, sneakiness and less wanton violence to achieve your goals. These games also tend to be much more realistic, as in your gaming persona cannot step in the fire of a million bots, lay waste to all of them with a stream of rockets, and still walk away (see Quake).

The originator of this genre seems to be Tom Clancy's Red Storm Entertainment, whose game Rainbow Six, an anti-terrorism game based on his book of the same name, received critical acclaim from the gaming industry. It was a truly excellent game, where you plan out your plans and movements before executing them in a series of missions. Some are pure stealth, where you cannot kill anyone. One shot and you're dead. I experienced this first-hand when a poorly laid-out plan of mine got ripped to shreds and all my team members dropped like flies in a barrage of automatic fire. Scary.

Delta Force came in next. Despite the heavily pixelated view of the game (for it utilized Novalogic's flawed graphics engine), it made a great multiplayer experience. In expansive terrain, you hunt other players down. Run out in the open like Rambo and you're quickly picked off by long-range sniper fire. Delta Force 2 came out later, and again, made an excellent multiplayer game. Not many games lets you have 40 soldiers hunt each other down in miles of open terrain.

Other forays into this genre have mostly been very good. SWAT3, made by Sierra, puts you in a SWAT team in the LAPD against terrorism. This game has, bar none, the best ballistics effects in any game ever made. Also has some very impressive AI, compared to most other games, where the bots are brainless AI scripts. Unreal Tournament also has some very impressive bots, as a sidenote.

Thief and its sequel, obviously, puts you in the shoes of a sneaky rogue. The guards are tougher than you and you cannot match them in swordplay. At the hardest level, you cannot even kill anyone. You must remain unseen and unheard. Stealth is huge here. The shadows are your friend. Rogue Spear, the sequel to Rainbow Six, also excelled.

I hope to see more games in this genre in the future. These games require more brains than reflexes, almost like puzzle games. There is more suspense than adrenaline, and overall makes a great gaming experience.

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