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2009/12/09

Apocalypse Then: Quake II

Quake2box

The other day we all celebrated the 10th anniversary of Quake III Arena. Today is the 12th anniversary of its prequel, Quake II. On this day in gaming, on December 9, 1997, Quake II was released.

The first time I played this game was when I got the demo off of a CD from a friend in 1998, and I later got the full version in 1999, nearly two years after its initial release. It was the one Quake game I’ve likely played the most over the years. I would go to the computer academy at school and instead of working, we would fire up a LAN game of Quake II. This was a trend that continued in high school. It’s funny how schools always seemed to have Quake II on hand, and rarely Quake III Arena.

I still have the CD and I’ve got it on my PC right now, playing it with Quake2Max, a source port, although I’m thinking of switching to another one, and downloading the HRP some time.

Quake II is an FPS title developed by id Software, originally published by Activision, and released on many different platforms over the years. The game used the id Tech 2 engine, which used to be known popularly as the Quake II engine. This engine has been used for many other titles and mods over the years.

Quake II, although a sequel in name to Quake, did not continue the story of the original. Quake II was meant to be the first game in a new series, but due to id not being able to secure a new name for the title, they went back to using their working title: Quake II.  .

quake2aThe story of Quake II sees you take the role of a space marine who starts off in Texas, USA, on earth (in the manual), and makes his way onto a massive starship codenamed “Mother Goose” (in the opening cutscene) which is accompanied by “The Adrianator”, some sort of scout ship. The mission is to fire drop pods from the main ship and land troops on the surface of Stroggos, home of the Strogg, an alien enemy who has committed atrocities against the human race in the past. This is the invasion of their planet, Operation Alien Overlord.

Once the player, known as Bitterman (who later appears in Quake III Arena), is launched in his pod, he is clipped by another marine, and his control over the pod is lost. He misses the LZ, and ends up crashing. Most if not all of the other pods, although supposedly invisible to detection by Strogg defences, were shot down by EMP blasts, and therefore, most of the other marines you encounter in the game are either dead, captured and tortured, or processed to make more Strogg soldiers at the factories.

enemy_groupshotThe gameplay was similar to most FPSs, although slower than Quake, and introduced some new weapons, like the Railgun, Hyperblaster, and a bigger, badder version of the BFG, the BFG 10k. The enemies you’ll use the weapons against are remorseless, relentless killing machines; cyborgs made of human parts and metal and machine.bfg

Quake II’s soundtrack was mainly composed by Sonic Mayhem, but with tracks also contributed by Bill Brown. This soundtrack was praised by some and hated by others. One thing is for sure, they don’t make video game soundtracks like this anymore.

Quake II has received a number of expansions, both official and unofficial, over the years, was succeeded by Quake III Arena in which Bitterman, the main protagonist from Q2, was a playable character (he was horribly mutated from undergoing Strogg experiments), the story of Quake II was continued in Quake 4, and a prequel took place in Enemy Territory: Quake Wars, which told the story of how the Strogg initially invaded Earth.

There have been rumours of a some more Quake games coming in the future, and this is certain to take place seeing as it is one of id’s greatest franchises next to Doom. One thing seems certain: that it may well continue the story started by Quake II, and perhaps not Quake.

You can pick up Quake II here if you want to play a classic.


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