The Best FPS Game Cover Art Of All Time
The cover art on first-person shooters (FPSs) is often your first suggestion about a game’s tone. Judging by the way the characters and weapons are drawn, you often have a sense whether the game is a comical or serious take on the genre. Given the hundreds of first-person shooters that have been released over the years, picking the best game covers is quite a task.
This article weighs the excellence of game covers based on their uniqueness, ability to capture the imagination, and based on the cover alone which games seem like they’d be the most interesting to play. While some of these games turned out to be classics, not all of them did.
8/8 PowerSlave (Also Known As Exhumed)
Platform: Sega Saturn
The PowerSlave cover features a man splashing out of the water clenching a sword and with a gun strapped to his back. In the background is a man with a mask wielding what seems to be a power ball, while a cross between a centipede and a Tiki God is raising its head among a pit of fire.
Based on this image, you’d think that you are about to play a game where you swash buckle and shoot at bizarre looking deities. In reality, PowerSlave is set in an Egyptian city that has been seized by unknown forces. You play as a hardened soldier who is sent to investigate the trouble. The game is remembered for its memorable plot, but plays very similarly to other "Doom clones" from the time.
Platform: Microsoft Windows
The cover of Outlaws looks like it's right out of High Noon. It appears to have been shot to swiss cheese by a six shooter and in the foreground shows the back of a gunslinger who is ready to pull his pistol out. In the distance, among the barren landscape of a western town, stands a figure in a sombrero and shawl who also appears ready to pool out a gun.
Outlaws lived up to its cover. This little talked about game is set in the Wild West and follows a retired Marshal chasing a group of criminals who slayed his wife and took his daughter. Outlaws is remembered as one of the first games to utilize a sniper rifle with a scope. Also unlike many other games at the time, it featured four types of multiplayer matches.
Eradicator's cover depicts a juggernaut dressed in sharp-pointed shoulder blades and double-handing two gigantic guns bursting through an iron door. Several lasers point towards the screen, a robot sits in the corner, bullet holes smoke in the iron, and above everything the title "Eradicator" glows in big red letters. This game comes with the promise that you'll be able to play as an indestructible cyborg who can dual-equip ion cannons.
In Eradicator, you choose to play as an alien warrior, a mine engineer, or a mercenary. You then set out to solve various puzzles while switching between first and third person. Following behind Duke Nukem and Quake, this game was a competent shooter but one that quickly became forgotten because it did not stand out enough from the crowd.
Duke Nukem 3D is one of the best FPS covers ever. The top features a blood-red sky with a mushroom cloud in the background. Duke Nukem wears sunglasses and jeans, and is sporting a flat top haircut while standing atop a mountain of corpses of purple pig-like creatures, blasting his guns into them. The game’s cover suggests tons of weapons, strange bosses, and a cool protagonist.
Duke Nukem is one of the few FPSs where the game surpasses the cover. One of the most groundbreaking FPSs ever released, the game features pixilated nudity, swear words, city landscapes, and lots of guns.
5/8 Left 4 Dead
Platform: Windows, Xbox 360, macOS
Left 4 Dead evokes a spooky atmosphere with minimalist touches. The cover shows the title in red and white suggesting an ambulance. At the bottom, reaching up from an unknown body, is a hand that upon closer inspection we see is missing a chunk of flesh. The cover art became so iconic that the sequel copied it.
The original positions four survivors against throngs of zombies. It offered its promised touch of genuine creepiness among frantic gameplay that saw players choose between campaign, versus, survival, or single-player game modes.
4/8 The Outer Worlds
Platforms: Windows, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
The Outer Worlds cover looks like something out of a Ray Bradbury novel. In the background there are planets, a palace, rocket ships, and flying birds. Closer, there is a monster, a person waving their hand, trees, and outcroppings of rocks. In the immediate vicinity are white flowers and a cyborg standing over the wreckage of a crashed ship. You would think that this game would offer thousands of science fiction stories to experience.
The 2019 game somewhat delivers on its promises. You can create your player and a ship to navigate a science-fiction story. While the storyline to The Outer Worlds was compelling, the gameplay was unfortunately lacking in places.
3/8 Perfect Dark
The Perfect Dark cover lures you into playing the game. Beneath the futuristic titles, the cover reveals a woman with jet blue eyes who is holding a pistol to her face. Perfect Dark's cover art promises a science-fiction thriller where espionage is valued.
Perfect Desk definitely delivered and is one of the best Nintendo 64 games released. You play as Joanna Dark, a Carrington Institute agent who is trying to stop a conspiracy. The game offers multiplayer and single player options. Today, it is remembered for its phenomenal gameplay, sharp graphics, and huge maps.
2/8 Star Wars Jedi Knight: Mysteries Of The Sith
Mysteries of the Sith's cover shows a female Jedi (a rarity in the 90s) clutching a lightsaber as she prepares to do battle with a Rancor.
Released as an expansion to Dark Forces 2, Mysteries of the Sith is a great expansion pack that features a new single-player story and multiplayer maps. The story follows Kyle Katarn, a Jedi, and Mara Jade, who is being trained in the Jedi arts. Memorably, players can choose to pursue either the dark or light side of the force in the game and receive the accompanying force powers.
1/8 Rise Of The Triad
Platforms: MS-DOS, iOS, Windows, Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, X/S
Rise of the Triad looks like it was taken from a spy novel. Two spies dressed all in black take center stage. Each is gripping a machine gun. One of the spies is a woman who holds an enemy by the scruff of his shirt. In the background is a mysterious figure in a hood who has green glowing hands. Based on this art, you would think that this game is about breaking into headquarters where supernatural events occur.
In Rise of the Triad, you can choose to play one of five characters with each possessing different attributes. The players then investigate a deadly and mysterious cult. Despite its compelling storyline, Rise of the Triad did not live up to the promise of its amazing cover and instead got lost in the sea of Doom-like shooters.
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