Mac Daniel's Advice

First Person Shooters: Hardware & Software

Korin Hasegawa-John - 2001.11.26

The following are just my opinions, which are in general drawn from my experiences and not that of someone else. I know that a lot of you won't agree with me, especially as to the game picks.

Hardware Awards

Input Device: Kensington Mouse-In-A-Box Optical Pro, $29.99. This mouse has a good feel, accurate tracking, a scroll wheel, and 4 buttons. It's inexpensive, and, as an added bonus, incorporates an optical sensor. No mouse ball to clean!

Video Card (High-End): ATI Radeon DDR PCI edition, $179. The biggest, baddest PCI video card around. It has 32 MB of DDR RAM for more pixel pushing pleasure, DVI, VGA and S-video ports. Supports RAVE and OpenGL, but has lackluster 2D acceleration - but if you are only into games, who needs 2D speed?

Video Card (Low-End): 3Dfx VooDoo 4 4500 PCI, discontinued. Under $100. A good card at a good price. Supports OpenGL, Glide, and non-windowed RAVE. Native for Mac, so no ROM-flashing needed. Has 32 MB of RAM and a VGA port. Good 2D acceleration. Caveat emptor: No OS X support, and it's unlikely.

RAM in any form. Enough said. Turn off virtual memory and play those games like they were meant to be played!

Monitor: Any LCD monitor. IMHO, most games look nicer on an LCD monitor. Maybe it's because they are easier to look at than a conventional CRT.

Game Picks

Classic: Marathon II Durandal, Bungie Software, free. This game started the Macintosh FPS genre. With great graphics for a 1996 era game and low hardware requirements (100 MHz or faster PowerPC, 32 MB RAM), this game is a winner for older machines. Added bonuses are a very good plot (unlike a lot of recent games) and network support for 8 players.

Big Fun: Unreal Tournament Game Of The Year, MacSoft, $19.99. UT has almost unlimited expansion. This version includes the Tactical Ops modification, which adds new challenges to the game. It wins over Quake III due to superior level design and more innovative team play.

Best Graphics: Quake III, id Software, $39.99. Quake III has the helter-skelter play represented in most of the Quake line. The levels are wide open with plenty of maneuvering room. However, graphics are what make it shine. Even on a Rage 128, detail is excellent. The characters also seem better rendered than UT, with less unnecessary detail.

It's a short list, but hopefully it gives you some ideas as to what I would suggest. However, try stuff yourself and ask people who either have hardware you are interested in or the games you are interested in whether they are happy and if they think the purchase was a good one. If possible, try before you buy.

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