Actually it's not, that statement was in fact a CUNNING LIE. Quake II is in fact an entirely unrelated sci-fi game about an entirely different lone marine fighting an improbable struggle against another hostile alien race on their own soil. The developers couldn't think of a decent title for it that wasn't already taken, so they stuck their established brand name on it instead. A good thing they did too, as it meant that they had to adapt the Quake 1 logo and come up with this ingenious logo design.
I'll admit up-front that I've played this one before many years ago, but I'm giving it another go as part of my ongoing mission to get every first person shooter ever made onto this site of mine (and every game in every other genre while I'm at it.) No mods or source ports were used in the making of this post.
(Click the gameplay pictures for a slightly higher resolution.)
Ignore the ship, it's irrelevant.
In fact it even gets a full Star Wars Star Destroyer-style flyby to give the player time to admire every lovingly modelled turret adorning its hull, and there are a fair few of them.
I remember all this from the last time I played the game, but one thing that's caught me by surprise is that Bitterman talks. There's something id protagonists don't typically do. In fact he's a little pissed off that one of the other pods clipped him on the way down, screwing up his descent.
Either way this is dragging on way longer than it needs to; we've been circling this bloody place for over a minute now. C'mon Bitterman, crash already!
Alright cool, I have successfully inserted my pod through the roof of a Strogg facility and now I'm ready to begin phase two of the operation, which is...
Actually I'm not going to check my mission orders. The game announces "Computer updated" in its distorted computery voice while desperately trying to get my attention with a flashing 'Press F1 for the objectives screen' icon and it's really annoying, so I'm going to avoid checking my instructions entirely out of spite.
The handgun is making a glorious return to id shooters after skipping Quake 1, but this time it's replacing the traditional melee attack as my low power, infinite ammo back up weapon, shooting slow-moving low-damage sparks. These guys suck at dodging though, and they're stuck with the slow moving variety of laser blasts themselves.
Check out the guy on the right by the way; he's down but he just had to fire off a few more rounds in his death throes. It doesn't happen with every kill, but it's something I'm going to have to be mindful of as getting killed by it would be way too embarrassing.
Fortunately a Strogg soon came by and shot me in the back, giving me a good excuse to turn around and test out this new shotgun I earned by exploring a side passage. There's no reload button in this, so this is one of those classic shotguns without the irritating 10 second reload animation that first person shooters are all stuck with these days.
A single shot won't kill him, not with anything I'm carrying right now, but running right up while he's fiddling with his weapon and unloading a shotgun shell into his gut at close range should get me halfway there. It'll at least make him flinch for a second, which is I always appreciate (it makes enemies seem a lot less bullet-spongy if nothing else).
Okay so enemies take a second to react before opening fire, I have a chance to dodge their shots, and I can interrupt their attacks by injuring them... seems like all the ingredients are there for a delicious metaphorical Quake flavoured first person shooter pie.
(It's from a magazine ad).
Incidentally, I'm a big fan of Doom's E1M1 level music (especially the 3DO version), I think it's one of the catchiest themes in all first person shooter history, but I think Quake II's level 1 tune by Sonic Mayhem may actually have it beat. The intro might have gone for the grand movie soundtrack style, but this is just plain rock music and it definitely gets the job done. (Youtube links by the way.)
That's an exit down there in the water, but as appealing as an alien sewer is I think I'll investigate up here first before I jump in and go exploring.
So I suppose I'm going back out to the water to check out the sewers. Joy.
LATER, IN THE NEXT AREA.
Okay, now that I finally have the blue key I should be able to... uh... crap, why did I come here again? Oh that's right, I'm looking for a lever to lower that bridge in the previous level. And now I suppose I'm looking for a blue keycard door as well now. It's annoying because the doors aren't clearly marked with a colour like they were in the Doom games. I'd check the map, but it doesn't have one.
Hey, I wonder if that brown unmarked wall panel over there with the red lights on it is the blue key door I'm looking for.
You know, I bet HQ are really kicking themselves right now. They planned out this massive coordinated operation and ended up sending down a hundred well-equipped space marines to their deaths, when it turns out that Bitterman is capable of completing the entire mission single-handedly with a broken pod and a pistol.
These things are bobbing up and down in the water, but sadly it's all scripted. I can push a certain kind of box around and activate lift platforms, but aside from that the world is frozen. That crate over there at the back will never tip over. Still, at least that allowed them to apply pre-calculated shadow maps, and you only have to compare the gun I'm holding to the walls in the background to see what kind of difference that makes.
Also look at how many unmarked doors are in this room. The game follows Doom's tradition of making sure that half the time I have no clue where I'm going or where I just came from. There's no map, switches are often placed across the room from the things they activate, and I end up walking in circles trying to figure out where I haven't been yet.
Look at this guy firing off grenades from the window like it's some kind of boss fight. I just jumped onto the roof of the train and rained gunfire down upon him and that soon put an end to it.
Then I flicked a switch to drive the train into a wall, which revealed another switch hidden under the rails. So I jumped down to flick that as well and was instantly electrocuted. Ooops.
Okay this time I'm going to pull the plug first. In fact I'm supposed to be collecting four of these power batteries for later, so this'll serve two purposes.
Oh that reminds me: the game has a Duke Nukem 3D style inventory full of the power ups I've been collecting along the way. In theory this allows me to trigger a Quad Damage at the exact moment I need it, instead of having to make use of it the second I pick it up. In practice though I just end up hoarding the things, activating one from my stash if I find another one in the level when I haven't got the space to pick it up
A few minutes later I shot that explosive crate out of boredom in the end and it blew a hole straight through the wall... which is nice, but it'd would've been awesome if they'd given me more of a clue. I mean this isn't the first exploding box I've come across so far and they usually only destroy walls that have an obvious crack on them, Duke Nukem 3D style. Games need to stick to their established rules.
Quake 1 took place in a cloudy purple void.
Man, Eraser definitely wasn't the best Arnold Schwarzenegger movie but it's surely earned its place in history for giving the world blue railgun smoke trails. Maybe some day we'll get to see them rendered with glorious real-time particle smoke physics when id finally remembers that they still own the Quake franchise and starts work on a fifth game.
At least I can see that there's three other levels in this section, all linked to this Security Complex hub. First I have to locate the red keycard in this area, then go back to the Detention Center to deactivate the yellow laser barriers.
SOME TIME LATER.
Well this ought to be a laugh, seeing as I only have 7 health left right now and I just overwrote my quick save. No seriously, I'm curious to see if I can survive long enough like this to reach the next stash of health kits; it makes things more interesting. I've always got a save back at the start of the area to fall back on if it turns out I've gotten myself into an unwinnable situation.
I've actually released a few human marines along the way through the prison, but they were all too far gone to join me, their minds shattered through unimaginable torture. I've even found a few wandering around free, completely ignored by the enemies, and I've had to reload a few times after accidentally gibbing the unfortunate bastards before I'd realised who they were. Not that there's any penalty for it, I just have a thing against shooting my own dudes.
Incidentally this takes the classic approach in its arsenal, in that I'm able to carry all the weapons in the game simultaneously, and these are fairly huge guns. Plus it even has grenades, though without a dedicated instant grenade throwing button I never end up using the things. The first game to introduce a separate grenade key did humanity a great service and should be commended. It's probably Halo I'd expect, though I'm curious now so I think I'll look it up...
Wow, it was actually the original Shadow Warrior apparently, as you can throw grenades from the inventory. It also beat Quake II to ripping off the Eraser railgun.
SOON, BACK IN THE SECURITY COMPLEX.
Somewhere in these four connected levels a new path has opened up, so I need to think back and try to remember if I've passed any locked doors.
Still, it's a cool looking room, all lit from below by the red lava.
A GREAT DEAL OF SHOOTING LATER.
Right then, where did I leave that Security Complex level?
Feel free to use this screenshot if you ever want to prove to someone that Quake II isn't entirely brown. Though you're still gonna lose that argument.
I think I liked what I've played of Quake II so far, but I didn't quite like it as much as I would have liked to have liked it. It's a solid game for sure and a much bigger step up from Quake than Doom 2 was from Doom, but I'm not sure I found it as much fun to play.
In Quake I'd be running around a room, dodging through my enemies' projectiles before switching through my weapons to find the right tool for the job and then hitting them right back. A graceful dance of death in an abstract puzzle box nightmare world. This on the other hand has more enemies I have to take cover from, enemies that soak up bullets, enemies that creep up, hit me with their tongue and turn my whole bloody screen red... I just got less joy out of dealing with the creatures.
Also I know this applies to Doom and Quake as well in part, but as much as I appreciate being able to carry a massive array of weapons, it loses a bit of the appeal when half my arsenal is taken up by two varieties of shotgun, two kinds of grenade launchers, and three rapid fire machine guns. It just seems like a shame for a game released after Duke Nukem 3D and Turok: Dinosaur Hunter to show so little imagination in its weaponry.
Wait, this came out AFTER Turok? Whoa it was released after GoldenEye as well! Damn.
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