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Made by the creators of Doom and Doom 2, Quake features free and fluid motion, ambient sound, and incredible lighting effects. Play solo or against others using Internet, modem, local area network, or serial connection.
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Four "dimensions," or game sections, each divided into five to eight levels, comprise the world of Quake. These sections, "Dimension of the Doomed," "Realm of Black Magic," "Netherworld," and "The Elder World," are dungeon-like settings infested with a wide variety of monsters, traps, secret areas, and hazards. Players must locate keys, typically two per level, in order to progress to the finish. No "action" button(e.g., the space bar in most Doom-style games) is required to open doors or push buttons; such feature are automatically activated when the character is in proximity. Looking and shooting in all directions, including up and down, and swimming are some of the improvements upon the Doom-style system.
A unique interface at the start of a new game allows a player to select different hallways for "Easy," "Medium," "Hard," or "Nightmare" difficulty levels (although the entrance to the latter is actually hidden, so people don't wander into it accidentally). Once difficulty level is selected, the player can enter any of the dimensions. While it is recommended that the dimensions be played through in order, this sort of interface essentially allows players to switch difficulty level in between levels, if desired.
Characters start off with an axe--decidely less dramatic than the Doom chainsaw--and a shotgun with 25 shells, and rapidly acquire an arsenal of progressively deadlier weapons, including a double-barrelled shotgun, a "nailgun," a "perforator," a grenade launcher, a rocket launcher, and a "thunderbolt," as well as ammunition, armor, and various power-ups, such as health, protective suits, rings of invisibility, pentagrams of protection, and a rune that temporarily quadruples your damage, turning you into even more of a killing machine. When a new dimension is entered, your character once again starts off with a shotgun and 25 shells (and the stupid axe).
Monsters include rottweilers, grunts and enforcers (basic soldier types), knights and deathknights (heavily armored, sword-wielding fiends), rotfish (to make the water hazards even more hazardous), zombies that won't stay dead, scrags (sort of like flying worms), ogres (armed with chainsaws and grenades), spawns (big ugly bouncing blobs), fiends (demonic werewolves), vores (spidery monsters), and shamblers (huge beasts that sling lightning). According to the manual, grunts are "goons with probes inserted into their pleasure centers, wired up so that when they kill someone, they get paroxysms of ecstasy." Gratefully, no evidence for this is provided in the game.
Unfortunately, for all that it has going for it, many aspects of Quake also suffer from a marked unoriginality. "You get the phone call at 4 a.m. and by 5:30 you're in the secret installation," the introduction to the game begins. Oh no, not 4 a.m.! Horrors! It then goes on to explain how you are a top notch government agent that must keep some evil being from opening the gates of hell and overrunning the world. Sound familiar? It should, seeing as it is the plot for fully half the Doom-style computer games on the market, including Doom. For a game that clearly required many months of work to produce, it is a bit sad that only about 20 minutes went into developing the background.
And while the weapons are pretty neat, they are not overly original. Essentially, you get two types of shotgun, two types of machine gun, two types of grenade launcher, and an energy weapon. Oh, and that damned axe, which does not even go "swish" or "chunk." In short, a selection that does not measure up to the weapons arrays of Doom or Strife. And some of the monsters, such as the grunts and enforcers, seem repackaged from earlier games.
Overall, however, Quake is a very worthwhile, challenging game that is certain to be a hit with most people who like this style of game. Its hackneyed elements do not really detract from play; a bit more originality, however, might have made this game even more enjoyable.
--Michael Varhola for Skirmisher Online Gaming Magazine
The story is kind-of dry, but I think it's safe to say this won't matter to many folks. Aliens are invading Earth through dimensional slipgates, or something to that extent.
There are four main dimensions, each with about seven levels to them (I don't keep track). It's good that the guys at ID released the source code to the public; that allowed rune-quake, capture the flag, and a myriad of other fun add-ons to be implemented. Trent Reznor should've won an award for the sound & music, which are extremely well done.
A highly recommended program for those who slam the graphics is called "GLQuake" (also known as Quake Pro Plus). It adds Quake3-style graphics to Quake. Another thanks to the folks at ID for allowing (and even assisting in) the production of this add-on. How many other companies would take time out to add to a product, several years after it's been released?
Playing single player gets boring fast. You're better off downloading Gamespy3D and playing online against other players. Everyone knows everyone else who plays, it's a family atmosphere. This game is what makes guys like American McGee my idols, and the people at ID software legends, as well as filthy rich.