It's finally here!
Yes, that's right folks! Quake, by id Software, quite possibly the most anticipated and long-awaited game of all time, has finally hit the stores. Quake has been in the works since just a few months after Doom conquered the PC game realm. Soon afterwards, every Doom fan on the planet was talking about how great Quake was going to be. Three years in the works, Quake is truly amazing!
Quake's story revolves around the "slipgate," a device the US army has developed to instantaneously transport people anywhere. Of course, an evil fellow (from another dimension) who calls himself Quake (no, really?) gets hold of a slipgate and is sending his troops to wreak havoc on Earth. The US army launches "Operation Counterstrike," of which you are a part, to seek out Quake and annihilate him. You must hop into a slipgate and head for Quake's home world in a desperate attempt to save your planet. Of course, this is not as easy as it sounds since it entails slogging through thousands of Quake's minions.
Quake takes the medieval aspects of Hexen and crosses them with the sci-fi feel of Doom. What results is a dark, almost gothic, game. Like Hexen, it has quite a few puzzles throughout each level so you do not spend your entire time just blowing baddies away. Quake, like all games in its genre, has different scenarios for you to play in, each increasing in difficulty. Going one-up on its predecessors, though, Quake adds a fourth scenario and a "final" battle which you may only access after collecting the four runes from the other scenarios. Once you have done this, you are sent to Quake's home world to challenge the nefarious Shub Niggerath (who appears to be a large plant on steroids). Like Doom, Quake challenges you with four different difficulty settings (easy, normal, hard, and nightmare). Once again, the only way to make it through the harder levels is to set the god mode. Fun? Yes! Challenging? No.
The weapons in Quake are very original, but, unfortunately, there are not enough of them. Your basic, simple weapon is a monstrous ax which is great fun to chop and hack people with. Then you have both a shotgun and a super-shotgun which fire a lot quicker than their Doom counterparts and, therefore, play a larger role in the game. My favorite weapons come next- the nail gun and super-nail gun. These bad boys are fully automatic and spit out nails at your opponent, sending blood spraying every which way. The super version has four barrels of death and destruction and is, by far, my favorite weapon. Watch the ammo counter spiral down on this one, though. Have fun refilling the ammo because the crates are decorated with a familiar "NIN" logos. The next pair of weapons are the grenade launcher and the rocket launcher. Nothing much to say here- the grenade launcher bounces a little explosive, and after a few seconds it detonates(Not as much fun as the pipe bomb in Duke). The rocket launcher fires a missile on a level path, exploding on impact. Like any shoot-em-up, Quake has its "mega-weapon" that completely obliterates all enemies but is extremely tough to find and even harder to keep ammo for. The "Thunderbolt" fires a long bolt of energy, incinerating those who dare step in its path. Fun for the whole family...
Quake's enemies are what makes it stand out from the pack. Each enemy is very, very detailed and hi-resolution, so when you get up close they look even better than from far away. They are rendered polygons, unlike the sprites of Doom and Marathon. Each is complete with lots of movements and motions that add realism to the game. When they are shot, they often fall to their knees before getting back up and fighting back. Some enemies have two forms of attack, some enemies are quicker than others, and some enemies may only be killed by explosives. Then there are the animal-like enemies which include flying lizard-like ghosts, rabid dogs, and monkey-like beings that jump and slash at you with long claws. I'm not exaggerating when I say the enemies are incredible. Each enemy has his weaknesses and his strengths. To be a good Quake player you must use the correct weapon on each enemy type and understand how they react to different situations. The AI of the enemies is extremely high too, and they will work together to try to destroy you. Therefore, Quake cannot be won simply by blazing through the levels with guns blaring. Strategy and quick-thinking are a must. Quake is much harder than Doom and takes longer to complete.
Another selling point of Quake are its incredible graphics, though you must have a fast computer and video card to support the higher resolutions. If your card is Vesa 2.0 compliant, you can change the resolution to anywhere from 300x200 to 1024x768 or higher. From about 800x600 and up, the game slows down to unplayable speeds, however. But put it in 1024x768 for a few minutes and marvel at the detail; it'll blow you away. Be sure to read the "readme" file for tips on improving video and game speed by allocating more memory, changing video refresh rates and the like. The default settings for Quake are in no way the most efficient and with a little tweaking you can get it running faster than you ever imagined.
You're probably saying to yourself, do I really need to play another 3-D shoot-em-up game? Haven't I had enough? Believe me, Quake has so much to offer over the other games in its genre, you will not be bored with this one quickly. Besides the incredible graphics and sound of Quake (complete with a soundtrack by Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails!), the amazing characters and animation enhance the gameplay enormously. The designers of Quake also spent a lot of time making the actual level layouts much more interesting than any other game on the market so you will not get bored by simply wandering up and down passages getting lost and killing bad guys. One of the new features is aliases (hit a button and it will perform a sequence of actions). Try making one to switch to rocket launcher, fire, and switch back to your nail gun. This is handy when you see someone in the distance and want to hit him hard quickly without fumbling with the controls). Features such as these literally shoot (pun intended) Quake way ahead of its rivals.
However, by far the most appealing aspect of Quake is its network abilities. Whether you simply are playing over modem or a local area network, Quake is easily configured to play on your type of connection and it runs extremely smoothly. There is nothing qutie like network Quake in the entire world; it can't be beat. Even more fun is playing over the Internet. All you need to do is find a Quake server (try http://www.pipo.com/quake for a list of servers) and you can jump right into a game. Unlike other games like Duke Nukem 3D, which really suffer when playing over the 'net, Quake runs surprising smoothly and quickly. Since all of you reading this already have Internet access, you will have no trouble setting up Quake to play over TCP/IP. Try it once, you'll be hooked.
Quake is not just another 3D shoot-em-up game. It's a whole new level of gaming. The amazing performance and features of Quake are the future of gaming. Whether you are new to this type of game or you are an old Doom hack, you will fall in love with Quake. Grab yourself a copy and come play me on the 'net.