270: A Knife to a Gun Fight

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lol the article made me think of this video...


I'm sorry...

D-Ship:

Not G. Ivingname:

Brett Staebell:
Snip

A witch blade knifing class?

Care to share?

Oh man - you're going to be disappointed if you think I'm talking about THIS witchblade. (note: originally did a Google image search, but discovered it might be a little too NSFW for The Escapist. Search at your own peril~)

The Witchblade is basically just the monicker for a certain set of perks you can choose in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare 2. THEY ARE...

Lightweight: Lets you run faster (+quicker aim after sprinting for Pro)
Marathon: Infinite Running (+get over obstacles like ladders faster for Pro)
Commando: Melee hits at a greater distance (+no fall damage at pro)

and then, finally, any hand gun + tactical knife, which lets you stab dudes faster.

As usual, Penny Arcade puts it more eloquently than I can (see the link I put to Jerry Holkins in the article), but the gist is that you become super fast and look like you're teleporting the last ten feet or so to get that knife kill. It's called "witchblade" because it more or less looks like you're using wichcraft or some other hocus pocus to stab people nightcrawler style. It's a pretty bogus way to die...but killing the guys who are doing it is every bit as satisfying as dying by their hands is horrible.

I too, thought you were talking about the mystical, scantily clad female witching mod. Please excuse us uninformed few. Move along, nothing to see here.

One of the better articles I've read I'm glad to see that it pointed out the flaws of melees at the end too though I'm disappointed that melees being almost as much connect based as reflex based didn't get a mention. Still a good article none the less especially the beginning talking about when melees were a humiliation tactic.

I have always used melee in practically every game I have played , including FPS.Why?
It doesnt use ammo
It doesnt reload
It doesnt fail
It hits hard
It is fun
It is cool
It is honorable (somehow)
It makes you close to the enemy

I like how it works in Halo/MW2, where Melee is just sort of at a fingerpress at all times. You don't need to change weapons, just tap a button and if there's a guy in your face, you can stab and kill them.

Although this article reminded me of my time playing the original Soldier of Fortune. The melee in that game was actually weaker then fighting with a gun in almost all regards, but so many players did it anyway because the unconventional strategy got them kills. I would just run around with a shotgun, and I kid you not, an "ankle-biter" (ducking and stabbing was the chief strategy for melee in that game) would run at me, start hacking at my legs, and I would have time to register this, aim my gun down, and blow their brains down into their chest cavity from above. Them running at me basically put them just at the right spot to just aim straight down and fire, getting an instant kill.

Hey, Duke Nukem 3D did separate melee (kick) button back in 1996, I'm sure that also was included in the console ports for Saturn, PSX and N64.
Why to people keep attributing all these "innovations" to Halo?

D-Ship:

Not G. Ivingname:

Brett Staebell:
Snip

A witch blade knifing class?

Care to share?

Oh man - you're going to be disappointed if you think I'm talking about THIS witchblade. (note: originally did a Google image search, but discovered it might be a little too NSFW for The Escapist. Search at your own peril~)

The Witchblade is basically just the monicker for a certain set of perks you can choose in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare 2. THEY ARE...

Lightweight: Lets you run faster (+quicker aim after sprinting for Pro)
Marathon: Infinite Running (+get over obstacles like ladders faster for Pro)
Commando: Melee hits at a greater distance (+no fall damage at pro)

and then, finally, any hand gun + tactical knife, which lets you stab dudes faster.

As usual, Penny Arcade puts it more eloquently than I can (see the link I put to Jerry Holkins in the article), but the gist is that you become super fast and look like you're teleporting the last ten feet or so to get that knife kill. It's called "witchblade" because it more or less looks like you're using wichcraft or some other hocus pocus to stab people nightcrawler style. It's a pretty bogus way to die...but killing the guys who are doing it is every bit as satisfying as dying by their hands is horrible.

Umm... I knew about that knifing class in MW2, what I was wondering what kind of knifing class one could have in Call of duty 4, which is what the article mentioned.

Obviously the complaint is that they can melee from a distance (which is stupid). They just need to remove that perk. No one mentioned the best thing about TF2, that every class has a taunt kill that they can do for the ultimate in humiliation, from the pyros haduken to the heavies gun finger, or the snipers arrow stab. Pulling any of these off in a fight is truly satisfying.

i think BF:BC 2 does it well if they see and start shooting at you your dead but if your really close or they don't see you then you can get the knife. plus you get there dog tag

Abanic:
Unfortunately, FPS melee attacks have become the most powerful weapons of the game. Designers are too focused on giving players a 'last chance' weapon and they have made these weapons too powerful, a reusable one-shot kill. I agree that the knife is designed to reset the distances between two opponents to what it should rightfully be, but just because it's designed to do that doesn't mean that is what people are using it as. A hammer is designed to drive nails, but that doesn't mean that it can't be used to bludgeon a pelican to death. NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE INGENUITY OF VIDEO GAME PLAYERS THAT ARE LOOKING FOR A COMPETITIVE EDGE.

There are players who tweak out their characters to take advantage of what the designers are offering in order to give them an advantage; there's nothing wrong with that. However, I've often wondered how a knife wound to the ankle is able to instantly kill my adversary, or how a knife can mysteriously bypass all the canteen, gear, uniform, extra ammo, secondary weapon, and body armor that protects my character from BULLETS. Aside from magic knife blades, I've often wondered why programmers/designers offer ways to enhance the close combat fights, but no ways to protect yourself from them. Hey Modern Warfare, how about next time you offer a perk (titanium/fiberglass underarmor bodysuit) that makes knife attacks mostly ineffective? It wouldn't do anything to stop a bullet, but it would force the "witch-blades", "ninjas", and "slashers" to actually shoot their guns in a First Person Shooter.

How about EMP rounds that dissipate energy swords?

How about requiring multiple knife wounds to kill an opponent (you could then add perks to decrease the number of strikes to kill or decrease the time between strikes)?

How about giving different strengths to the frying pan, crowbar, machette, katana, cricket bat, and all the rest so I know which one to use against the Tank, or Jockey, or an effective Charger?

How about giving the Modern Warfare collapsed victim 5 seconds before they die (by bleed-out) to shoot their assailant, you could call it 'knife-victim last-stand' (a additional perk could also allow the slasher to instant kill)?

How about all designers stop making bullets LESS effective than their real life counterparts, and stop making knives MORE effective than their real life counterparts?

There are things that designers can do to return balance to the popular FPSs and return melee weapons to their designed functions as 'last chance' weapons.

Another major innovation that has infiltrated its way into games is the level design has changed over the last few years. I still fondly remember a vast, horseshoe-shaped, canyon multiplayer map in the original Halo, or the sprawling areas of Battlefield 2 (for 360). It seems to me that designers are designing levels that encourage the in-your-face confrontations that make melee fights unavoidable. I understand that these levels are programmed in an effort to maximize realism and excitement while avoiding hardware limitations, but the choice of forcing all of these fights into battlefields that can be measured in acres (as opposed to miles) is that you are encouraging certain types of play by making those tactics more effective.

Players are gonna play and haters are gonna hate. We can all wish that everyone would have a sense of fair-play and fun, but many are only concerned with their win/loss ratio. Until the designers realize that players will not always use a feature for its intended purpose, we will have to suffer the wrath of the melee-focused FPS players. I just hope that the designers realize that FPS games, like real life, are in the midst of an arms-race, and will start to add some anti-melee features to our favorite games.

One hit knife kills are nowhere near the least realistic thing in modern games man. The only way to make players in a game use things the way they were intended/are used in real life is to make the game realistic - which is never going to happen because then people would cry due to things being too hard, so I'd get used to the insta-knife kills if I were you, as people like them, they're profitable, and hence, are going to stay.

So this is off-topic, but i think this is the first article i've ever seen that says "Jerry Holkins" rather then "Tycho Brahe". anyway, brilliant article, really nothing to say that anyone hasn't already. Personally my favorite Melee in Multiplayer is TF2, as i mainly play Scout and Spy, which are optimal for Melee.

L-J-F:

Abanic:
Unfortunately, FPS melee attacks have become the most powerful weapons of the game. Designers are too focused on giving players a 'last chance' weapon and they have made these weapons too powerful, a reusable one-shot kill. I agree that the knife is designed to reset the distances between two opponents to what it should rightfully be, but just because it's designed to do that doesn't mean that is what people are using it as. A hammer is designed to drive nails, but that doesn't mean that it can't be used to bludgeon a pelican to death. NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE INGENUITY OF VIDEO GAME PLAYERS THAT ARE LOOKING FOR A COMPETITIVE EDGE.

There are players who tweak out their characters to take advantage of what the designers are offering in order to give them an advantage; there's nothing wrong with that. However, I've often wondered how a knife wound to the ankle is able to instantly kill my adversary, or how a knife can mysteriously bypass all the canteen, gear, uniform, extra ammo, secondary weapon, and body armor that protects my character from BULLETS. Aside from magic knife blades, I've often wondered why programmers/designers offer ways to enhance the close combat fights, but no ways to protect yourself from them. Hey Modern Warfare, how about next time you offer a perk (titanium/fiberglass underarmor bodysuit) that makes knife attacks mostly ineffective? It wouldn't do anything to stop a bullet, but it would force the "witch-blades", "ninjas", and "slashers" to actually shoot their guns in a First Person Shooter.

How about EMP rounds that dissipate energy swords?

How about requiring multiple knife wounds to kill an opponent (you could then add perks to decrease the number of strikes to kill or decrease the time between strikes)?

How about giving different strengths to the frying pan, crowbar, machette, katana, cricket bat, and all the rest so I know which one to use against the Tank, or Jockey, or an effective Charger?

How about giving the Modern Warfare collapsed victim 5 seconds before they die (by bleed-out) to shoot their assailant, you could call it 'knife-victim last-stand' (a additional perk could also allow the slasher to instant kill)?

How about all designers stop making bullets LESS effective than their real life counterparts, and stop making knives MORE effective than their real life counterparts?

There are things that designers can do to return balance to the popular FPSs and return melee weapons to their designed functions as 'last chance' weapons.

Another major innovation that has infiltrated its way into games is the level design has changed over the last few years. I still fondly remember a vast, horseshoe-shaped, canyon multiplayer map in the original Halo, or the sprawling areas of Battlefield 2 (for 360). It seems to me that designers are designing levels that encourage the in-your-face confrontations that make melee fights unavoidable. I understand that these levels are programmed in an effort to maximize realism and excitement while avoiding hardware limitations, but the choice of forcing all of these fights into battlefields that can be measured in acres (as opposed to miles) is that you are encouraging certain types of play by making those tactics more effective.

Players are gonna play and haters are gonna hate. We can all wish that everyone would have a sense of fair-play and fun, but many are only concerned with their win/loss ratio. Until the designers realize that players will not always use a feature for its intended purpose, we will have to suffer the wrath of the melee-focused FPS players. I just hope that the designers realize that FPS games, like real life, are in the midst of an arms-race, and will start to add some anti-melee features to our favorite games.

One hit knife kills are nowhere near the least realistic thing in modern games man. The only way to make players in a game use things the way they were intended/are used in real life is to make the game realistic - which is never going to happen because then people would cry due to things being too hard, so I'd get used to the insta-knife kills if I were you, as people like them, they're profitable, and hence, are going to stay.

I'm sorry if I gave the impression that that I believed instant kills with a knife were the least realistic thing in modern games (because I certainly never said anything of the sort). And I'm sorry if I gave the impression that I wanted them removed from modern games (because I certainly never said that either). I would personally love to see a perk in Modern Warfare 3 that allows instant kills with a knife, but I think it's too overpowering to have that as an ability that EVERYONE has without having to work for it.

As for your assertion that games would never be realistic ("...is to make the game realistic - which is never going to happen...") because they would be too hard, COD4: Modern Warfare strove for realism, and nobody complained that it was too hard. Is it too much to ask for a game that strives for realism to actually be realistic with weapon damage?

I am a bit concerned about the point you made, because I'm not sure if you just didn't read my post or if my ability to convey my thoughts through writing has disappeared. My post was a thesis of my disagreements, agreements, and commentary on the article by Brett Staebell. It was meant to add my certain point of view to the discussion about melee weapons.

The crux of my opinion was: designers have spent too much time boosting the melee capabilities in FPSs and not enough time building countermeasures against them. I then gave a list of suggestions that (any one of which) would help bring balance to modern FPS games. I then added a paragraph that described how the playing fields (levels) have changed over the last few years.

I would like to reiterate that:
I was not trying to say that instant-kill knifing was the most unrealistic thing in modern games. I was not calling for the removal of one-hit knife kills. I was not even asking for more gritty realism in games. I was seeking balance in FPSs by citing my OPINION that they have become UNbalanced.
To conclude, I would like to, once again, apologize for having misled you with my confusing post.

Guns are for shows, knives are for pros - am I right?

lolol online FPSs

Erick.S:

Lol, great use of 'Khorne Berserker' there. I'm going to borrow that phrase, if you don't mind.
Knifing an unaware opponent in the back was always satisfying, but give me a break about these ridiculous tiger pounces through hails of bullets.

Feel free to use that term, it's a pretty accurate depiction of most knifing players in MW2.

I'm not saying that you personally are running foward with the rightious fury of Odin but this doesn't mean that it doesn't happen and that it isn't any less annoying when it does happen.

OR heavy fisting. Inapropriat sounding and funny to do.

I think my favorite melee was found in Perfect Dark's abilities to disarm and mess up the vision of your opponent through your fists. I thought it was a great reason to get in close without having an insta-kill (although the lethal injection setting on the tranquilizer gun can certainly qualify as insta-kill melee).

fisk0:
Hey, Duke Nukem 3D did separate melee (kick) button back in 1996, I'm sure that also was included in the console ports for Saturn, PSX and N64.
Why to people keep attributing all these "innovations" to Halo?

I was about to say. That kind of historical oversight made the author lose credibility quite a bunch. I mean for all I know Halo may have been quite popular as the only next FPS that you could actually play somewhat with a controller rather than PC mouse/Keyboard setup besides Goldeneye. That's probably its only real achievement, for whatever it's worth.

And I would like to add that Doom's melee is an excellent weapon in many situations IF you have the berserk powerup. But that's the thing, it's very much up to the map layout as to how melee is used. Plus your movement speed in Doom makes melee very tricky to use in general since you can dodge very well. Movement speed is basically one of the things that sets older FPS apart in terms of gameplay dynamic to anything post Quake 1, and hence how melee ends up being used. Stuff the article doesn't take into account, so really.

Melee is handled different in every game, and sometimes I much rather welcome it not being there at all (Quake 2, ROTT*) Even if Doom is the design template for all FPS more or less, it doesn't mean melee is necessary as gameplay will adapt around to not having it.

*Rott DID have some sort of melee, but not in your regular sense as the melee weapon also had an alternate fire mode that was ridiculously over the top, as everything in ROTT was. Plus it wasn't something you started with and it actually replaced your rocket/projectile weapon. And then there's the dog mode's melee attack, but that's something else entirely.

Well, I was going to mention the berserk pack in Doom, however I seen it's been covered. However the point remains, with a berserk pack in Doom your punches do as much damage as a rocket. It's extremely satisfying to dodge shot from a double barrel shotgun, run up to someone's face and punch them into a pile of gibs. It's a feeling that never gets old. There's also nothing like strafing between two Barons of Hell and punching them to death with a berserk fist. Dodging fireballs coming from two directions, running in for a hit and jumping back to avoid the Baron's claws, like a beautiful ballet where someone ends up collapsing into a bloody mass. Melee weapons are fun, it's always nice to get up close and personal, and it does indeed add insult to injury in a first person shooter when you can get close enough to a person with a firearm to jam a knife in them.

Iron Mal:

Erick.S:

Lol, great use of 'Khorne Berserker' there. I'm going to borrow that phrase, if you don't mind.
Knifing an unaware opponent in the back was always satisfying, but give me a break about these ridiculous tiger pounces through hails of bullets.

Feel free to use that term, it's a pretty accurate depiction of most knifing players in MW2.

I'm not saying that you personally are running foward with the rightious fury of Odin but this doesn't mean that it doesn't happen and that it isn't any less annoying when it does happen.

Personally, I hate that 'game mechanic' (for lack of a better term) with all my heart, and it's one of the main reasons I stopped playing MW2 altogether.
If I can borrow some more terms from Warhammer 40k, marathon-lightweight-commando stabbers are like warp spiders with powerblades.
And that's without throwing 'tactical knife' into the mix - the lightsaber that cuts into clothing and flesh like butter, and never gets stuck. There should be an infomercial for it.
"Hey, Jim, I want to play an FPS game, but I can't aim, I can't think, and I'm too lazy to develop any semblance of skill."
"No problem, 1337Hax0r8215, now you can still win matches, by exploiting our mega-n00b pack for dummies! Also-known-as-modern-warfare-2."

To summarize, I think knifing someone in a game should feel like an achievement, but in MW2, it felt like a cheap substitute for actual ability.

I'll admit to what the article is stating; i always tend to go in for the melee kill. I play a lot of Day of Defeat, and i nearly always find myself reaching for the melee weapon at least once every round. Sometimes you hear a sniper on the top floor, you creep up the stairs, whip your spade out, and take him down with one slash from behind with it. The cries of pain of beating down an unaware opponent with the weapon most designed for long range with the weapon most designed for close range is immensely gratifying. Or, at times, ihave been faced off with someone - we both fire, but my gun runs out of ammo. What do i do? I don't reload. I draw my knife and rush in for the kill. I take a few hits, but he runs out of ammo too. I hear his gun go 'click click click-' before i cut his throat out with my knife. I am victorious and it feels so damn good and better still than simply reloading and popping out of cover again to shoot back. I can't really explain it - it's like the fight or flight thing we experience in the real world. You get a real sense of adrenaline rush if you run headfirst into danger to take the fight right up to the enemy and gouge out his eyeballs.

The melee weapon in the FPS was a reaction two things - on realistic and the other totally unreal.

1) When you get up close and personal in an FPS, there's no "grapple" function. It's just not designed into the game - but what's the first thing anyone would do in a face to face situation with guns? Of course it would be to grab the other guy's gun. Without this function, you have to do something about 0-range combat otherwise it turns into the ridiculous GoldenEye circle-crouching, which makes a farce out of the FPS' claim on reality.

2) Let's face it folks - nobody takes more than one shot and keeps on running. So nobody in their right mind would ever deal with a gun-wielding opponent with anything but the utmost caution. But that's boring and it's frustrating to be killed constantly - so the FPS lets your rhino-powered hero take lots of hits. This then means that 0-range combat will occur more frequently than in real life. So you need a way to deal with it.

FPS melee combat isn't an end in itself, but is a way to deal with the limitations of the genre. Otherwise everyone will just select OddJob in GoldenEye and circle-crouch you to death because the fucker's only half as tall as a regular character and you can never hit the little bastard with your rifle when he's under the barrel.

p3t3r:
i think BF:BC 2 does it well if they see and start shooting at you your dead but if your really close or they don't see you then you can get the knife. plus you get there dog tag

I used to complain how buggy and slow the knife was there sometimes. But now I appreciate it, since knifing someone really does require sneaking up behind them.

fisk0:
Hey, Duke Nukem 3D did separate melee (kick) button back in 1996, I'm sure that also was included in the console ports for Saturn, PSX and N64.
Why to people keep attributing all these "innovations" to Halo?

Fun fact: that tidbit was actually included in the very first draft of this article, which was a much more comprehensive, detailed investigation of how melee grew bit by bit. In the end, though, there was not enough room to give every game its due, and cuts were made.

I'll first admit that I never played Duke Nukem 3D - but I DID find out that it was probably the first game to map melee to its own button, which was a big deal...until you saw WHERE it was mapped.

http://firstpersonshooters.net/Games/Duke%20Nukem/files/duke3d.pdf

Since I didn't play it, I can't vouch for this chart's accuracy. But tying the "quick kick" to the tilde key is not going to make it the jerk-reaction melee option that punching enjoys post-Halo. So, yes, technically Duke Nukem 3D was the first game to do it - but it was still kind of a joke, and only useful (as I read) when utilized with other weapons like the shrink ray.

Ytmh:

fisk0:
Hey, Duke Nukem 3D did separate melee (kick) button back in 1996, I'm sure that also was included in the console ports for Saturn, PSX and N64.
Why to people keep attributing all these "innovations" to Halo?

I was about to say. That kind of historical oversight made the author lose credibility quite a bunch. I mean for all I know Halo may have been quite popular as the only next FPS that you could actually play somewhat with a controller rather than PC mouse/Keyboard setup besides Goldeneye. That's probably its only real achievement, for whatever it's worth.

See my reply to Fisk. In retrospect I should've at least name-dropped Duke Nukem 3D... but I think the reasons I give above aren't all bad for leaving it unmentioned.

And I would like to add that Doom's melee is an excellent weapon in many situations IF you have the berserk powerup. But that's the thing, it's very much up to the map layout as to how melee is used. Plus your movement speed in Doom makes melee very tricky to use in general since you can dodge very well. Movement speed is basically one of the things that sets older FPS apart in terms of gameplay dynamic to anything post Quake 1, and hence how melee ends up being used. Stuff the article doesn't take into account, so really.

True. There's also some wackiness is how Doom times the impact of your punches relative to the animation that further complicates the prospect of pummeling some poor schmuck into the ground. If anything, I think the power-up is how designers justify a weapon you would otherwise never use. The fists needed to be there for reasons already visited, so the powerup is like of saying "skilled/careful players deserve to suckerpunch a demon, too." Granted, I wasn't there when the Berserk Powerup was cooked up... but it's not bad as far as theories go.

Melee is handled different in every game, and sometimes I much rather welcome it not being there at all (Quake 2, ROTT*) Even if Doom is the design template for all FPS more or less, it doesn't mean melee is necessary as gameplay will adapt around to not having it.

It's tough nailing down what's "essential" for a shooter now. The one-shot-killing sniper rifle? Check. Fierce close-range shotty? Check. Decent medium-range assault rifle? Check. Melee....?

I mentioned that Starsiege: Tribes didn't use melee (like the games you brought up), though I didn't mention that it received some criticism for its lack of melee. That sounds crazy considering the game gave you freakin` JETPACKS (for crissake), but apparently the developers agreed (or just conceded) and added the Shocklance in the sequel.

Wish I could've been a fly on the wall at Id when they decided to nix melee in Quake 2... and then again when they brought it back for 3. I'm not trying to say that getting rid of melee is a huge mistake or anything - just that designers have to know what the impact of their decision is going to be.

Thanks for chiming in, too. I've played a good bit of FPS games, but not all of them, and these comments always help me round out my experiences :)

The Amazing Tea Alligator:
Guns are for shows, knives are for pros - am I right?

Too true.

Other quotes that almost made the cut:

"Do you want to know why I use a knife? You see, guns are too quick. You can't savor all of the little...emotions. In their last moments, people show you who they really are. So in a way...I knew your friends better than you ever did. Would you like to know which of them were cowards?"

"The rifle is the first weapon you learn how to use, because it lets you keep your distance from the client. The closer you get to being a pro, the closer you can get to the client. The knife, for example, is the last thing you learn. "

Also, sorry I'm suddenly spamming the forum board - I was traveling when this article hit the streets, so to speak, so I'm trying to catch up.

GothmogII:
This may be going off point, but, the melee weapons are a big reason I love Team Fortress 2, as they're not only handy back-ups to your main arsenal, but beyond the standard melee weapons you start off with, all of the unlockable melee weapons have abilities on them that ensure they aren't simply a last resort when your ammo is gone. And some, like the Demoman's 'Eyelander' and 'Scotsman's Skullcutter' the former a broadsword that grants you increased speed via decapitation of your enemies, and the latter a massively powerful albeit slow and heavy battleaxe are designed to be used as primary weapons.

Yet many as you say, still hold on to that sense of superiority of gutting an opponent with ostensibly a weaker or more difficult to use weapon that requires you to be up close and personal. And with TF2, with many of the classes actually being slower than others, a melee kill is even more satisfying, like get a killing blow on a Scout with a Heavy using his fists, glorious!

Oh gosh I was so ready to mention this.
KGB makes me cry with excitement each time.

Brett Staebell:
A Knife to a Gun Fight

It seems incongruous that so many multiplayer shooter matches can devolve into fisticuffs, but Brett Staebell proves that strong melee weapons actually make shooting more important.

Read Full Article

No mentioning off Killzone 3's new close combat system or whatever it is exactly? ^.^

bah humbug
I don't agree with this at all
instant-kill melee attacks are the most absurd thing to ever come to FPS games
everyone's already covered the reasons so I wont restate the obvious.

Counter Strike may have its flaws, but at least when 2 players go at it with knives, it's actually a knife fight.

D-Ship:

fisk0:
Hey, Duke Nukem 3D did separate melee (kick) button back in 1996, I'm sure that also was included in the console ports for Saturn, PSX and N64.
Why to people keep attributing all these "innovations" to Halo?

Fun fact: that tidbit was actually included in the very first draft of this article, which was a much more comprehensive, detailed investigation of how melee grew bit by bit. In the end, though, there was not enough room to give every game its due, and cuts were made.

I'll first admit that I never played Duke Nukem 3D - but I DID find out that it was probably the first game to map melee to its own button, which was a big deal...until you saw WHERE it was mapped.

http://firstpersonshooters.net/Games/Duke%20Nukem/files/duke3d.pdf

Since I didn't play it, I can't vouch for this chart's accuracy. But tying the "quick kick" to the tilde key is not going to make it the jerk-reaction melee option that punching enjoys post-Halo. So, yes, technically Duke Nukem 3D was the first game to do it - but it was still kind of a joke, and only useful (as I read) when utilized with other weapons like the shrink ray.

Well, the controls could be remapped, and Duke 3D came out before the FPS controls had been standardized and usually was played with keyboard only, not keyboard+mouse like modern FPSes.
You usually had one hand one the numpad/arrow key part of the keyboard to move Duke, and the other hand up by the right end of the keyboard since you used A for jumping, Z for ducking and the number keys to select weapons, and tilde isn't far off then, though I usually remapped it to alt or shift.

But you are right it rarely was a one-hit kill, except on the easiest enemies, usually it was just a badass thing to do to finish of an enemy, it probably was meant to be used with the ice weapon, since could kick enemies to shrapnel if you had frozen them, but I preferred to combine it with the shotgun back in the 90's since that just felt cool.
In general it wasn't far off from how the dual wielding in BioShock 2 works in my opinion.

Theres nothing better than swinging a plank of wood into a hobos face with a big "fuck you".. on Condemned of course!

If you play on hardcore then the game is more balanced. Knives are still 1 hit kill but so are most of the weapons.

I don't use a lot of melee but I don't find it unfair or overpowered, in WW2 or BBC2.

Melee weapons might be a reassuring back-up, but that's how they should stay. Freeman;s crowbar worked. On the other side, I was playing Halo round a friend's the other day, and after losing a lot of lives I was finally told that hitting them with your gun hurts more than bullets.

If you hadn't noticed, there was some logic missing from that last sentence.

I have no problem with melee weapons when done correctly. That being said, a melee weapon should never be a giant, one-hit kill 'FUCK YOU' button in multiplayer. If you're going to have melee combat, at least make it possible to dodge or block an attack. If you don't want that, then toning a melee weapon down so that it requires multiple hits is probably the best course of action.

GothmogII:
This may be going off point, but, the melee weapons are a big reason I love Team Fortress 2, as they're not only handy back-ups to your main arsenal, but beyond the standard melee weapons you start off with, all of the unlockable melee weapons have abilities on them that ensure they aren't simply a last resort when your ammo is gone. And some, like the Demoman's 'Eyelander' and 'Scotsman's Skullcutter' the former a broadsword that grants you increased speed via decapitation of your enemies, and the latter a massively powerful albeit slow and heavy battleaxe are designed to be used as primary weapons.

Yet many as you say, still hold on to that sense of superiority of gutting an opponent with ostensibly a weaker or more difficult to use weapon that requires you to be up close and personal. And with TF2, with many of the classes actually being slower than others, a melee kill is even more satisfying, like get a killing blow on a Scout with a Heavy using his fists, glorious!

*High fives gentleman with utmost respect*

Team Fortress 2 does an excellent job with the melee weapons. Their advantages make them very useful and effective, or at least if you use them correctly. And their disadvantages make them fair to use, you just got to know what to do against a main melee person.

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