X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter
This Page Updated:
Sat Jan 24, 1998
Title: Quake 2
Developers: Id Software
Genre: 3D Shooter
Release Date: Finished
Page 1: The King
By: Evan Jones
Id Software is the company that pioneered the 3D game genre with the success of Wolfenstein 3D, Doom and their latest game, Quake. Id's progress has not stopped there. John Carmack, the lead programmer, is already working on the next generation game engine, code named Trinity, and has been working with the rest of the id team to tweak the Quake engine to make it even better. Many 3D shooters will be coming out over the next year that are based upon that engine, and Quake 2 is id software's.
Quake 2 is the sequel to Quake, and id software has promised that it is a bigger improvement over Quake than Doom 2 was over Doom. It is what id software wanted Quake to be. There is no connection at all to Quake, except the game's 3D engine is next to identical. The graphics, sound, music and user interface are all completely new. Apparently the only reason they chose to call the game Quake 2 is because the other names they came up with were already copyrighted.
Perhaps the most astonishing change is that Quake 2 has an actual story line to follow through the single player missions, rather than just a few paragraphs at the beginning of the manual. The basic story is that an alien race, the Stroggs, have been waging war on Earth over the last few years. Now, when the Earth is on the verge of destruction, a last effort to fight off the invaders is underway: An assault force is being sent to the alien's home world. During the landing the vast majority of the marines are destroyed, and your mission is to fight through a heavily fortified military installation, lower the city's defenses and shut down their war machine.
The levels are not laid out in id's classic episode format, they are instead interconnected into missions, similar to Hexen 2. You are able to move between any of the levels in a mission, and going back to previous levels is necessary to complete the mission. The levels are now more complex as well, switches and triggers can now effect different levels rather than just the current one, and the levels are better done.
The monsters have more animations and are more detailed then Quake's. Each monster has an animation for standing still, attacking, walking, running, in pain, defending, ducking and dying. When a monster that is in its death throes continues to fire at you, it will take you by surprise. Monsters also show the damage they have been dealt. The smooth animations can be made smoother by a processes called interpolation. If your computer can draw more frames a second then there are animation frames, your computer guesses where the model should be in between frames and draws it on screen. Monster AI has also been improved. Apparently monsters have their vision modified by the light level of the area instead of seeing perfectly, they can evade fire and duck rockets quite well and they move around the entire level chasing you down.
All but one track of the CD music is done by Sonic Mayhem. Some sample sound clips are available on their site. Rob Zombie of White Zombie has done the Quake 2 theme song. The music is professional quality rock and roll stuff, but I still prefer to put my own CD in. You can choose between two quality levels of sound effects, 22 kHz or 11 kHz.
The network code is based upon the QuakeWorld code, and client-side prediction to make Internet play smoother has been included. There is no modem support since creating a Windows 95 dial-up networking connection between the two players performs better and is more stable. Unfortunately the built in Capture the Flag support does not exist but will be included in a future freely available patch. Zoid, the creator of the Capture the Flag patch for Quake, has been hired by id as their capture the flag and Linux programmer.
In my preliminary testing Quake 2 deathmatches are just as vicious as Quake deathmatches. While there are many similarities, the biggest difference is caused by ducking. A well-timed crouch can save your hide. Unfortunately I have been having big trouble in getting a decent Internet game going so I can not say more on the subject. Hopefully Internet play will be more stable after the point release.
Id software has released the source code for the user modifiable DLL files and for their own level editor. This means that avid Quake 2 editors are already hard at work. The map format is the same with a few changes in the palette, enemies, objects and textures, which means that all current Quake level editors can be quickly changed into Quake 2 level editors. The DLL files have been a bit of a controversial issue. Since a DLL file is an executable, they can contain all sorts of malicious behavior such as viruses. OpenQuake is an organization that has been set up to verify that there is no malicious code in any patches.
Quake 2 is actually fairly interesting to play single player. Its mission based structure is far better than Quake's "kill a monster, find a key". The multiplayer games are the most entertaining part, and the deathmatches are as fast and furious as ever. With Capture the Flag support to be released later, and id software's reputation to continue to update their games long after their release, this is a game that will continue to improve. Not to mention all of the user created levels and patches add hours of entertainment. If you like 3D shooters, Quake 2 is well worth your money.