Quake II Review

Nebojsa Radakovic
Quake II Info


  • N/A


  • 1 - 4


  • Activision
  • id / Activision


  • N/A

Release Date

  • 12/31/1969
  • Out Now


  • N64
  • PC
  • PS


I’d much rather save Natalya again.

Any self-respecting gamer has experienced Quake

on the PC. Even if you haven’t played the game itself, you’ve likely stumbled

upon a different game based on the Quake II engine. The online fragfest

of Quake II has taken the Internet by storm, with more clans, skins, and

newsgroups than you can count. It has certainly earned its place in gaming history.

The key word there, however,

is history. Quake II initially came out back in 1997, when the

Macarena was at the top of the charts and the president’s sex life still had

some shreds of privacy. In the video game arena, two years can be a very long


Unfortunately, time has not been kind to the one-time king of the fragfest.

With dated graphics, weak AI and a disappointing single-player experience, this

game just doesn’t cut the mustard. It pales in comparison to other first-person

shooters for the N64, which is sad considering that Goldeneye

came out before the PC version of Quake II.

The idea is as standard as it gets. An evil alien race called the Strogg is

attempting to eradicate every living being on Earth. You’re a Space Marine sent

in to infiltrate and destroy the Strogg homeworld. The fate of the Earth rests

in your capable trigger finger. In a nutshell: go kill things.

There are 2 main ways to play – Single Player and a host of Multi-Player game

styles. The single player experience leaves much to be desired. The entire game

has been altered from its PC counterpart, with entirely new levels and objectives

to meet. However, it is still primarily a corridor-based shooter, so you get

the same textures repeated over and over again. Levels are not particularly

interesting nor memorable and mission goals are very easy to satisfy. This is

a linear game – you always know where you need to go, and the only real task

is to get there in one piece.

Standing in your way are a few bad guys. Emphasis on ‘few.’ Quake II includes a whopping 12 enemy types, though several of these are just upgraded versions of each other. Plus, you’ll only see 2 bosses. This leads to a VERY repetitive experience.

Your weaponry is as potent as ever, including the shotgun, railgun, grenade launcher, hyperblaster, and the ever-offensive BFG10000. This is one area that Quake II has always excelled in, and the N64 version is no different. The weapon balance is excellent and you’ll end up using just about everything.

Graphically, Quake II

falls way short of the mark set by other first-person shooters on the

N64. Unlike the uncanny realism of Goldeneye or the RAM enhanced smoothness

of Turok

, Quake II offers very little to impress. Enemies are polygonal,

but horribly animated. Movements are incredibly jerky and awkward; at times

it seems that whole chunks of animation were left out. Blood flows out in big,

ugly pixels. While the game claims to detect expanded RAM, it’s barely noticeable.

This game looks more like original Doom than it should.

The sound is equally uninspiring. The enemies grunt to inform you of their

presence, but that’s about all you’ll hear from them. The music is also precisely

what you’d expect from an N64 game – weak and ambient.

Where the single player game fails, however, the multiplayer shines. There are several multiplayer options. Deathmatch is the famous kill or be killed affair, Fragteams is the team version of Deathmatch, Flagwars is a capture the flag style game, and Deathtag requires you to hold on to the flag for as long as you can before getting fragged. This adds much variety and is a step above the somewhat unsatisfying multiplayer in Turok 2.

Quake II has the same high-quality multiplayer level design you’d find in the online version. The weapons are plentiful and the layout of most levels is smart and fun. You can play against up to four of your friends, though the four-way split screen is a little too small. In general, however, multi-player is the game’s biggest saving grace.

In the end, we have a game that really didn’t need to be made. It can’t compete

with the few other first-person shooters on the N64, even though it’s the most

‘recent’ one. Die hard Quake fans should stay away, and the rest of you

should just go play Goldeneye some more. This one belongs on the PC.


Good multiplayer
Not-so-good single player
Weak graphics
Boring levels