The first-person shooter, or fps, has been around for over ten years now, arguably starting with Wolfenstein 3d by id. At that time you could move forward and sideways. "Aiming" was a matter of pointing in about the right direction and giving it a whirl. I think Descent introduced the idea of "mouselook" which let you use your mouse to change your orientation. By the time we get to Quake, Half-Life and finally Return to Castle Wolfenstein the controls for your basic fps are a complicated combination of the keyboard and mouse. You're using keys for moving forward, backward, sideways, shooting, reloading, chatting, picking weapons, crouching, running, sprinting, waiving, using the toilet, etc. The point of all this is that fps's are now bloody confusing.

This doesn't change the fact that shooting people, vehicles, animals, women and children is great fun. Luckily, some computer game manufacturers have come up with a solution: the first-person turret shooter. That's right, you get to man a stationary turret. Now there's no more mucking about with circle-strafing and such. Just point the gun at the oncoming enemy and fire away.

The pioneers in this exciting new field of entertainment are WizardWorks, the makers of such smash budget price hits as BeachHead 2000 and BeachHead 2002. WizardWorks followed that up with the groundbreaking idea of putting you on a boat in Pearl Harbor: Defend the Fleet. That one is worth the $10.00 since you get to pretend you're Cuba Gooding, Jr. Not to be outdone, Infogrames has released Operation Blockade.

Some elitist gamers may frown on the fpts style of gameplay. Sure, it's not "realistic" to get your health and ammo packs from shooting at things. So what if there is no way to dodge oncoming bullets, bombs and crazed knife-wielding maniacs? Just because other fps games completely mimic fpts games by having turrets in them that you can actually walk away from doesn't mean that turret-only play isn't exciting. In today's fast paced world people just don't have time to actually go looking for someone to kill. This is a game, after all. It's nice to have the baddies come directly at you.

So, if you like the idea of firing metal wads of death at incoming soldiers, planes and automobiles, but don't like the idea of mastering the complicated keyboard-mouse style of today's fps's you should give one of the above mentioned games a try. Just think, you'll be getting in at the beginning of a new genre of action games. Who knows what amazing breakthroughs will be made in the future of the fpts? Certainly not circle-strafing, that's for sure.

Based on reviews of the above mentioned games from Gamespot.

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