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Quake II

Rated M for Mature


Nintendo 64 (N64)




Raster Productions


June 1999

ROM Size:

96 megabits


One to Four Simultaneous


3D Action/Shooter


Controller Pak (3 pages


Expansion Pak, Rumble Pak



> Final Rating: 3.8 out of 5.0


The first-person shooter genre is certainly one of the Nintendo 64's strengths. Turok: Dinosaur Hunter paved the way for the genre, and GoldenEye 007 became the benchmark from which all other similar games are compared. Numerous other original 3D action/shooters and ports from the PC have appeared, too. For instance, Midway brought the PC's Quake to the system in 1998. Now a little over a year later, Activision has brought the critically acclaimed PC sequel to the Nintendo 64.


Quake II for the 64-bit system eschews the stereotypical port mold. A new development house, Raster Productions, designed the game from the ground up. People who worked on Quake for Midway comprise this new team. Raster designed Quake II by taking advantage of what the system does best and had to add and redesign levels in the process. Furthermore, a much-needed four-player deathmatch was included.

Gameplay & Control

The basic premise behind Quake II is the same as the PC version. If you're familiar with the original Quake, then you'll notice that Quake II seems more like Doom with its characters, levels, and overall design. This also means it's better than Quake. Essentially, you're a Space Marine who's been dropped behind enemy lines to carry out a reconnaissance mission on the Strogg's home planet.


Quake II also maintains the id Software tradition of keeping the gameplay fast, fun, and furious. The "kill it before it kills you" formula remains intact. This time, however, some mission objectives have been added to the mix. Fortunately, for fans of fragging, the mission objectives don't require too much thought or strategy. The game is still all about running, shooting, and killing.


For example, mission objectives might include finding items (explosives, a data CD, etc.) and then using those objects in the correct place. Alternatively, you just might have to find an exit. As you achieve each objective in a level, new ones will sometimes be presented to you. But the average level only has two or three objectives. Furthermore, you almost will come across those objectives automatically, as the levels don't have too many branching paths and aren't too non-linear.


If you're tired of following a stringent list of objectives, or if you're sick of collecting a million different things, then Quake II might be for you. It's all about action here.


The arsenal in Quake II is decent, but it's hard to live up to the Turok series. You get a standard rechargeable energy side-arm blaster, instead of fists, as your basic weapon with unlimited ammo. Additionally, you'll find a shotgun, super shotgun, machine gun, chain gun, grenade launcher, rocket launcher, hyperblaster, railgun, and BFG 10K. The military supplies will seem familiar, too: ammo, armor, health, environmental suit, invulnerability, invisibility, adrenaline, and more are available.


Enemies range from humans to humanoids to mutants to metallic beasts. They look better and animate a little better than the crew in Quake, but animation is far below the likes of Turok and GoldenEye 007. The game's violence factor isn't as gory or realistic, either.


In addition to the Single-player mode, Quake II includes a Multiplayer mode. Wisely, unlike the original Quake on the platform, Quake II features four-player action. You can choose from Deathmatch, FragTeams, FlagWars, or DeathTag. Deathmatch is your standard kill-or-be-killed mode that Quake's predecessor, Doom, invented. (However, Doom 64 did not contain a deathmatch.) FragTeams is Deathmatch with the ability to play 2-on-2, 2-on-1, or 3-1 competitions. FlagWars is a violent version of "capture the flag" in which you must capture your opponent's flag and bring it back to your base. Finally, DeathTag is mode in which everyone vies for the flag and sees who can hold onto it for the longest.


Quake II's Multiplayer game options let you select your marine, enter your name, set frag and time limits, configure controller configurations, and choose the arena. All information can be saved to the Controller Pak.


The default control scheme, which can be switched between five other preset configurations or can be modified button-by-button, is your standard Turok-like control. The Control Stick looks and turns, while the C group moves you forward, backward, left, and right. The Z button fires your weapon, the R button jumps, and the A and B buttons switch between weapons.


You also can toggle a few options like turning the crosshair on or off, displaying the status bar or not, adjusting the Control Stick's X/Y sensitivity, having Auto Center on or off, and keeping Always Run on or off.

Graphics & Sound

Quake II has its graphical advantages and disadvantages. On the positive side, everything is smooth and colorful, especially if you have the Expansion Pak. High-color textures and lighting effects work in conjunction with levels that are perspective corrected and have no pixelation. The game maintains a steady 30 FPS most of the time, but you will notice an occasional drop. Furthermore, the multi-player mode, with levels specifically designed for the N64, is relatively smooth and definitely fast. You'll notice a big difference when going between GoldenEye 007 and Quake II.


But there is a trade-off for the smooth, fast graphics, and this is evident in the character design and animation and in the level design. As mentioned before, the characters animate poorly compared to the likes of GoldenEye 007 and Turok. They aren't as detailed, either. Additionally, the levels are more enclosed with less wide-open space. Elaborate, exotic alien structures or highly detailed textures won't be found here.


Like its older siblings on the platform, Doom 64 and Quake, Quake II goes for ambient sound in the audio department. Once again, the desired effect is a good idea, but it just doesn't come off as well as it should. Music plays a slightly bigger role compared to Quake here, but the weak MIDI tunes don't do anything for the game. Sound effects are a little on the weak side. They provide a little more "oomph" than the original before it, but they still don't sound clear or realistic enough.


Quake II is a much better game than Quake on the PC, N64, and otherwise. The level design is much improved, because it's less boring and more varied. And for the N64 version, the four-player multi-player mode, which is one of the best on the system because it's fast and smooth, is a huge addition. If you want less adventure and stealth, and if you want more action, then Quake II is for you.
















Not available.


Review by: Scott McCall

First Reviewed: May 17, 2000

Appendix Added: N/A




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