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Review Quake Review

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"I ain't afraid of no Quake."
-Duke Nukem

Quake is something I managed to get attached to. The sort of game where once you start playing, by the time you stop, you look at the clock and each time it is many, many hours later. For some people though, that is Doom. I've played my fair share of Doom, granted. But there was something that got me interested in Quake instead. Whatever reason it was, once I got the CD, I tried it out on DOSBox. There was only one problem with that, and that was running it on DOSBox. That is something I will get to later, though.

Quake is a FPS from id Software back when they were their own company and so was Bethesda. Time has marched on, and now the Bethesda that made The Terminator on the Genesis, Home Alone on the NES, as well as other games that are infamously bad. Then they made TES and that magically cleaned up their track record. Quake was impressive at the time. Massively, MASSIVELY impressive, and is a possible reason why Cyrix processors kinda... went away. It came only on CD-ROM without midi music that could be outputted through AdLib chipsets (or similar) or the Roland Sound Canvases. The CD-ROM came with CDDA music that was ambient, chilling music by Trent Reznor/NiN. Yes, that is why in some releases the NiN logo is on the nail ammo for those that didn't know.


So then, what is the game like?

A quick prerequisite to this section, that being source ports.

I won't lie when I say that playing Quake on DOSBox feels slow and kind of choppy. 35FPS isn't ideal anymore, mainly because we have games like Crysis that became a meme and pushed hardware. I figure Quake was something like that back then, and being able to run it on the best hardware was something of a really expensive endeavor. 16MB recommended under dos, 24MB recommended under Win95, Pentium or better (Math Coprocessor was required) CD-ROM and 80MB of HDD. Not to mention that this is the DOS version where it was only software rendering.

WinQuake, which was HW-rendered, plays on modern systems. That is, if you're ok with when it initially opens, your res going to the smallest possible res on your chipset and then going to your preferred resolution. GLQuake was also an id port of the game to OpenGL. (It was called something like that.)

When using a source port of your choice, it plays a lot smoother. I usually use Mark V, but you can use others, such as Darkplaces, QuakeSpasm and UQE. The overall gameplay is quite enjoyable, even if the maze-y maps are quite disorienting sometimes and can cause the player to go in circles. Either way, the game is quite playable and fun at that (sometimes). There are times where what you're supposed to do doesn't make sense, so you have to go around the map to figure out where a key is.

Well, gameplay wise...

There are four episodes, excluding the "final boss" level. I say it in quotes because there is really only two bosses in the whole game, with the first one being piss easy. The very hard difficulty is something you have to intentionally look for as well, so if you go looking for it, be aware that you did it to yourself. There is no intentionally assanine Nightmare difficulty anymore for one reason or another.

I usually like playing ton the easiest difficulty as the game isn't that hard then and I can get some enjoyment out of it that isn't me reloading from saves repeatedly and nearly breaking things because I keep getting killed for some reason. Playing it on easy difficulties means that I can play without the game being a complete pain in the ass. Call me what you want for it, but this way I can say that I enjoyed the game and isn't just me being angry because I'm no good at it.


What an eye-popping experience.

There's enemies that you'd expect to see in a hellish id game. Spawn are the worst and make this really disgusting wet sound. Fortunately, they are only in E4 so you don't have to deal with them too often. There's also Shamblers and Vores, which are not fun to deal with in the slightest. As far as your weapons go, you get the regular single-barrel shotgun, a double-barrel shotgun, a nailgun, a super nailgun (nailgun but faster), a grenade launcher, a rocket lawnchair, (they use the same ammo, just one fires in an arc and the other doesn't) and the thunderbolt. There is no BFG clone, as the closest you have is firing the thunderbolt into the water which is essentially pointless as there's not usually enemies in the water.


Just a knight dropping in.

Control wise, I prefer the keyboard instead of the mouse and keyboard. That's different when it comes to Q2, but Q2 plays completely differently to Q1. Mouse is good for when you are doing more than horizontal movement, but in Quake, you're not really doing that with the mouse. Unless that's just me not setting up controls right. It could always be that.

Then, there's the music.
I'm not really a huge fan of it. I get that it's supposed to be atmospheric, and I do honestly enjoy listening to NiN, but the music is almost too atmospheric, like noise more than music. In a game like Quake, I'd prefer to turn on actual NiN and slay some demons, like the music in Doom. I usually turn on something that is more metal. Something fast that fits the bill for slaying demons. It may fit the bill for the atmosphere, but it doesn't do the trick for me most of the time.


Giant Tazer.

As a side note though, I would like to mention that this is the kind of game where smoothing really is an issue. On some ports of the game, there is a lot of smoothing that takes away the sharpness of the look of the game, and makes things look, well, not as good as it should. It's a problem in games, as looking at something that is exceptionally sharp and what the game was basically supposed to look like just... looks more natural.

Would I recommend Quake? Of course, it's a classic. Just use a source port of your own choice for the best performance.

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Thanks, but a Quake review that doesn't even touch the multiplayer aspect is, frankly, pretty worthless. That is where the meat of the game turned out to be, after all.

The "it came only on CD-ROM" bit isn't quite correct, btw. id had (still has?) a downloadable "instant delivery" package of it on their ftp, to be paid via phone and unlocked with a code. Pretty novel back then, though why anyone would do it is beyond me since they'd be missing out on the NIN CD-audio soundscapes.

(Also, something about the inline images needs sorting out.)
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Thanks, but a Quake review that doesn't even touch the multiplayer aspect is, frankly, pretty worthless. That is where the meat of the game turned out to be, after all.
I didn't really touch that, as I've never had anyone to play this game with. I might do a "re-review" at a later date and talk about that, but I've only done it a total of one time, and that was many years ago. I never really had anyone that I've been able to play it with.

The "it came only on CD-ROM" bit isn't quite correct, btw. id had (still has?) a downloadable "instant delivery" package of it on their ftp, to be paid via phone and unlocked with a code. Pretty novel back then, though why anyone would do it is beyond me since they'd be missing out on the NIN CD-audio soundscapes.
Weird, but now that I think about it, they did mention stuff about that on the exit screen in DOS. I tend to forget about that though, as, well, I play a source port just about any time i play the game. And yeah, they would be missing out on the music, as it usually adds to the atmosphere for most people.

(Also, something about the inline images needs sorting out.)
Oops, seems they were deleted from the server when I meant to change the images. My mistake.
I found a copy of Quake Mission Pack No. 1 at a thrift store recently. I haven't played it because I don't have Quake, though I'm sure I could easily find it. I'm pretty sure the original DOS version of Quake would run on my Win 98 Sony Vaio, though I'm not sure about the other versions. I guess the only question is whether those versions will work in Win 98.
Nice find. I'm not sure wether you'd run into any issues, but if you refuse to reboot into pure DOS then WinQuake would be the way to go. It's one of the official "ports", besides GLQuake and QuakeWorld, so you would not be "cheating".
I always played DOOM, Duke, Seriosu Sam, C&C and Quake in singleplayer...until the day a friend showed up with a parallel-port cable...things became very serious then. x'D

I miss those times.

Did you know there was a Quake Arcade machine ? :)

Btw if anyone wants to play quake on Dreamcast, i wrote nuQuake to play it in full 640x480 hardware accelerated glory!
Thanks, but a Quake review that doesn't even touch the multiplayer aspect is, frankly, pretty worthless. That is where the meat of the game turned out to be, after all.
I respectfully disagree, it's always good to see what another person's take is on a classic game. To be honest I didn't even get into multiplayer until Q3, as my dial up wasn't good enough, and was severely limited by only having one phone line back in the mid 90's.

I don't have my original disc anymore as I used to have it in my Car CD changer, because I loved the atmospheric sounds, until some idiot side swiped me at about 50mph, and just destroyed my car, my changer and my 1.0 disk... Wish I'd just made a copy.
Agreed, seeing as I did end up trying Quake 3 once, and that game is solely built around playing multiplayer. If I reviewd Q3 and said that it was bland because all you did was run around and shoot CPU players that don't even fire back, (I probably think that because I only got a chance to play the PS2 version, I don't have a CD copy of PC quake 3 and since it wants you to input a key, I can't play it as I don't have the PC version) then yeah, it would seem more reasonable that I did legitimately miss the point of the game. I've been known to do that from time to time.