What was the first ever first person shooter to feature a secondary fire mode? I can think of a couple of 1997 examples (Outlaws, Blood) but I wouldn't be surprised if it had been done a year or two earlier. I think Duke Nukem 3D had a secondary fire for throwing additional pipe bombs, but I'm not sure that really qualifies.

  • I don't know if this falls under what you're asking, but Ultima Underworld (1992) had both melee and ranged weapons, some weapons allowed for different types of attacks depending on where the cursor was held.
    – pinckerman
    Sep 17, 2021 at 13:39
  • Thanks - that's an interesting bit of info to add, though I'm really thinking more about first person shooters as opposed to first person games in general.
    – Sam
    Sep 17, 2021 at 13:41
  • 3
    what do you define as secondary fire? a different button doing the secondary fire action? or a button to switch modes?
    – Rapitor
    Sep 17, 2021 at 13:51
  • I hadn't considered the latter actually. I'm thinking standard secondary / alternative fire e.g. Unreal Tournament, Half-Life etc. What did you have in mind though?
    – Sam
    Sep 17, 2021 at 13:55

2 Answers 2


I'm pretty sure it was actually the first "Marathon" game by Bungie, released in December 1994. Some examples include:

  • Assault Rifle (has underbarrel grenade launcher)
  • Energy Pistol (has charged shot like CE Plasma pistol) etc.
  • 2
    Nice one! It's always hard to find the very first game in these cases.
    – pinckerman
    Jul 11, 2022 at 22:55


While Marathon (as per @bruhmoment12's answer) is considered the first one to introduce secondary fire, I found that Pathways into Darkness, released in August 1993, had two different keys for triggers in its control page:

enter image description here

The second trigger is used to activate an Isfet Crystal, and some of them are used as a secondary weapon:

They are used as a "secondary weapon" and must be equipped before they can be used like any other weapon. The Power bar shows the crystal’s current power. It must be fully charged before it can be used. After each use, the crystals will recharge themselves. To use an Isfet Crystal, press the Tab key (Mac versions) or the Right Mouse Button (Windows).

Source here.

My answer is Star Wars: Dark Forces in 1995.

The game is often referred as a Doom clone, but it also added gameplay features that were uncommon to the first-person shooter genre at the time of release.

This comes from its original manual:

enter image description here

For combat, the player may use fists, explosive land mines and thermal detonators, as well as blasters and other ranged weapons. All weapons, with the exception of the fist, have a secondary mode which makes it have a different effect than in primary mode.

  • 1
    Thanks! I actually revisited this game just a couple of weeks back (but bounced off it pretty quick). Not sure if I remembered when I played it that there was a secondary fire.
    – Sam
    Sep 20, 2021 at 7:38
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    Both very good catches! Given that the crystals do seem more like distinct weapons (maybe a bit like a Bioshock plasmid) I'm inclined to go with Marathon here since it's a secondary fire mode on the same weapon.
    – Sam
    Jul 13, 2022 at 6:55
  • @Sam seems right, Marathon is considered the first to use secondary fire according to Wikipedia, too.
    – pinckerman
    Jul 13, 2022 at 14:04

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