"Massive levels of violent, frag-tastic fun!"

Quake is an awesome game from id Software, makers of many other kick ass shooters like Doom or Wolfenstein. Quake II will be a legend.

Having owned Quake II for nearly two years and beaten it (for the most part -- didn't find all the secret levels) once (about damn time!), I've developed a pretty good idea of how good I think Quake II really is.

There isn't much of a story to tell, which has pretty much become a trademark for id games. Freakish alien mutants from the planet Strogg are using teleporters and what-not to transport to Earth, destroying our planet. You are one of the many marines among to group that's supposed to annihilate these aliens. As your ship enters the atmosphere, the individual spacepods drop down, when suddenly all your comrades are shot out of the air, leaving you alone to decide the fate of humanity (that was just what was from the manual put into my own words).

Graphics are sub-par in Quake II's software rendered engine, but are truly remarkable in OpenGL. The textures themselves are more detailed, the lighting effects more realistic and the enemies look scarier. The environments, at first glance, look all unique, but after playing the whole game, things start to look a little bland. The weapons modeling looks all cool and futuristic -- what you'd expect from id in a project like this.

The weapons themselves are good. You begin the game with the lowly sidearm blaster, and as you progress, you obtain many goodies ranging from the shotgun to the BFG10K! The shotgun is a good weapon, ideal for both close range and long range attacks, with a medium shot spread, while the bigger, BADDER super Shotgun packs more of a close range punch. The super Shotgun is double-barreled, and has a wider shot spread, making it's attacks less effective in long range, and also chews up twice the ammo. The machinegun is another weapon that will be used often, and has a decent firing rate and power, but due to it's lightweight, the machinegun tends to wobble and shoot upwards. When using the machinegun, aim a little lower than your target for good measure. The chaingun, though, is an instant killer. It chews up and spits out ammo at anything in sight at an alarming rate and should be kept for the tougher enemies and the final boss. The funnest weapons to use are the grenades and the grenade launcher. The grenade can be activated and thrown silently, with a 20-second delay before it blows. Meanwhile the grenade launcher flings one up in the air and it bounces around before blowing up. The rocket launcher is pretty straight forward: it launches rockets. Railgun launches uranium slugs and is my weapon of choice. Hyperblaster and BFG10K though are the weapons you'll want to save for the final boss. They're both powered by cells. The Hyperblaster is like a cell chaingun while the BFG10K creates a HUGE blast and will also blow up anything outside the blast radius as well (can't explain it, but you'll know it when you see it).

Levels are freakishly huge, and are rather referred to in the manual as ''Units'', which contain smaller levels within them and a set of objectives to complete. The levels are, in my opinion, too big and are very easy to get lost in. There's also no automap, like in Quake. The difference is, Quake's levels were relatively small and easy to navigate around, while in Quake II's levels, it's too easy to lose your bearings and end up somewhere you don't wanna be. Also, some of the levels are nightmarishly dark, and hard to navigate through.

Gameplay can't be faulted. Besides going in and killing everything in sight you have to complete the set of objectives provided by your computer (must be inbuilt into you or something... why would you carry along a computer when you've already got to lug around all those big guns?). The objectives change as you go along, but detiorate to ''open door'' or ''find switch'' or even just ''kill every ****ing thing in sight'' (I'm paraphrasing here but you get the point). There are a wide range of different enemies to frag but not enough to fill up a large a game as Quake II. The AI is also a killer, which is cool, but can be a real hassle later on.

I can't comment on multiplayer though becuase I know nobody else who has Quake II.

Overall, Quake II is a great game, but too hard to beat (I died several times then resorted to cheating :( Sigh...) and has practically no replay value unless you like to wander around massive levels and watching Strogg blow up after launching several slugs from your Railgun.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 09/27/03

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