Since Steam was ported to Linux, which really is very beneficial for the Linux in general and for the Linux gamers in particular, games like Half-Life 2 or Counter-Strike found their way natively on the Linux platform. There are also the well-known shooters actively developed like Alien Arena, Xonotic, UrbanTerror or AssaultCube.

This reference overviews 22 shooter games available on the Linux platform. Included are popular games like OpenArena, Steam games, but the list also contains some abandoned commercial games like Unreal Tournament 2004 or Quake IV. Nevertheless, they can still be played online and there are still many servers available with real, dedicated players.


When it comes to speed shooters on Linux, Warsow is a real gem. It is based on a modified Quake 2 engine and has a cartoonish theme, with very nice graphics. It's a very fast-paced game, with amazing trickjumps, high speed feeling, maps and models all following a specific cartoonish theme. Warsow has been greelit on Steam and work is in progress (although slow) on making it available as a free game for the Steam platform.


Xonotic was forked from Nexuiz and it is currently one of the most popular shooter games for the Linux platform. It is graphics intensive, with beautiful maps and carefully crafted maps, weapons and player models.

Half-Life 2 [Steam]

After Steam was released for Linux, a number of sound Valve games soon saw a port too. Half-Life 2 was released together with HL2: Lost Coast, HL2: Episode One and HL2: Episode 2.


The Quake franchise was one of the most influential, and Quake 3 is still played today, with many games derived from it. OpenArena is based on the ioQuake3 engine, and it is a total replacement for Quake 3. That means the gameplay is the same, however the maps, player and weapon models are replaced with free content. OpenArena brings a lot of new features though, including mutators like Instantgib or Rockets, as well as other server-side tweaks.

Counter-Strike [Steam]

Counter-Strike is around since 1998 and it is an iconic game when it comes to shooter games, still being played to this day.

Team Fortress 2 [Steam]

Team Fortress 2 is available to play for free on Steam, and was released on Steam for Linux of February 13, 2013. Although free to play, TF2 is supported by microtransactions which allow the player to buy in-game items. TF2 follows a cartoonish-style with classes.

Unreal Tournament 2004

Being 10 years old, UT2004 was a great game back in the day, with a very powerful engine, lots of gore, weapons, vehicles and game modes. Although Unreal Tournament 3 didn't make it to Linux, UT2004 being the last in the series with a Linux port, there are still a whole bunch of online servers filled with players at any time. The DVD contains a Linux installer from which you can install it, then apply the 3369 patch for Linux. Available is also the Linux demo, which allows online playing on several demo servers, including the popular Onslaught mode.


Based on the Cube engine, AssaultCube is really addictive and doesn't need a high-end machine to run smoothly. AssaultCube comes with a big number of game modes, ranging from the classic Deathmatch to Capture the Flag and variations like Team Keep the Flag or the popular TOSOK mode (Team One Shot One Kill), similar to Instagib from other games.

Quake 4

Quake 4 comes with both single-player campaigns as well as online multiplayer mode, as opposed to Quake 3 which was multiplayer-centric. Quake 4 comes as a sequel to Quake 2, with an emphasis on singleplayer mode.

Red Eclipse

Red Eclipse is based on the Cube 2 engine, takes place in futuristic-like environments, comes with both single-player mode versus bots or online multiplayer. It has mutators, traditional game modes like DM or CTF, wall-jumping and double-jumping by pressing Jump twice. Red Eclipse also has a calm music, which is a bit different from all the soundtracks which usually involve fast, metal-oriented music.


TREMULOUS is yet another shooter with a Sci-Fi theme, but with a different approach and gameplay, combining the game with elements of real-time strategy. There are two factions that you can join, each being able to build structures that provide healing, spawning and other functions.


UrbanTerror is a popular game resembling elements from games like CS or Quake. It uses the ioQuake3 engine and has a more modern day approach, however their motto is "fun over realism". There are some interesting elements of the game, like trickjumps, run/crouch acceleration, strafe jumping, healing. UrbanTerror comes with INS weapons and game modes like CTF, TDM or Bomb. By default it comes with a big number of nicely crafted maps, and hundreds more have been created by the community.

Alien Arena

Another futuristic shooter, Alien Arena has been around for years, being based on the CRX engine, which in turn is based partly based on the Quake 2 engine. Alien Arena features decent graphics and a fast gameplay.


This is the Quake 3 based engine, fixing bugs and bringing improvements. ioQuake3 is the foundation of many games which make use of this engine, including UrbanTerror or OpenArena. You will only need the pak0.pk3 assets file from the original Quake 3 CD and this engine to play Quake 3.

Smokin' Guns

Smokin' Guns is a western shooter with a relatively slower pace than the Quake family, based on the ioQuake3 engine.


Based on the Cube 2 engine, Sauerbraten has a number of single-player campaigns as well as numerous game modes. Online playing is also available.

Yamagi Quake 2

Yamagi Quake 2 is an engine for Quake 2.


This is an engine for the original Quake game.

Enemy Territory: Legacy

Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory is probably one of the greatest shooters ever. ET: Legacy is the project based on the ET source code which was released under the GPL. Fixing bugs and bringing improvements both for the client and the server, ET: Legacy remains compatible with the original ET, so you can play on the already existing servers compatible with 2.60b.

Doom 3

The third installment in the Doom series, Doom 3 has exceptional graphics and awesome single-player scenarios.

Enemy Territory: Quake Wars

ET:QW follows the same gameplay known from Wolfenstein: ET. It comes with two factions and 8 different classes, with each class having its specific weapons and abilities. Quake Wars takes place over large maps, where usually a team is trying to accomplish an objective like destroying some structure, while the other team has to defend it. It includes various weapons, vehicles, and very large maps, with spawn-points changing as the game progresses.

World of Padman

This is a cartoonish-style shooter, with the players being small characters playing in a gigantic world. Maps resemble big rooms or various sorts.


Unvanquished is a fast-pace first-person shooter, based on Tremulous and using the Daemon engine, which in turn is based on the Quake 3 engine. In Unvanquished you can be part of either human soldiers or the highly adaptable alien hordes. The game is in alpha, but it gets updated on a monthly basis, has decent graphics, single-player and multi-player modes, as well as few maps to play on. It's worth a try for shooter players.

By Craciun Dan on March 16, 2014 | Updated: October 07, 2014 r2
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