Last Survivor is an arcade game released in 1988 by Sega for the Sega X Board arcade hardware. It is the earliest known free-roaming, three-dimensional, third-person shooter, and one of the first shooters with a network multiplayer deathmatch mode. It pre-dates experiments by id Software (often credited for popularizng the first person shooter genre) by several years.
Developed for the Sega X Board system, the same hardware that ran After Burner and Thunder Blade, the graphics are rendered using similar sprite-scaling and 3D programming techniques as Sega's other Super Scaler games. These techniques were further developed to produce the earliest known texture-mapping ray casting engine for Last Survivor.
The game uses rotary joystick controllers. The joystick allows the player character to move forwards and backwards, and to strafe left and right. One button fires the weapon, while the other will allow the player character to rotate left and right when used with the joystick.
The game involves players traversing a maze shooting at opponents. Last Survivor is broken up into twenty levels, each being a fairly small maze. The screen is divided into halves, with two players beind able to play on the same screen. Last Survivor was also designed so up to four cabinets could be linked up, allowing eight players altogether. If less than eight players are available, the remaining characters are controlled by the computer. Whenever one of them is killed, their decapitated head is left on playing field until they rejoin the action.
In each arena, there is a shop where the player can buy and upgrade weapons. This is one of the earliest examples of the perk mechanic.