Saturday, May 3, 2014


The first fully-3D FPS, a game supposedly originally titled Timequake.

We can all be grateful they decided to shorten that silly name...

Hell awaits your soul, will you dare face more id Software reviews through the following links?

From id Software/Lobotomy Software/Midway Games/GT Interactive 
Played on Sega Saturn
Also available on PC, Amiga & Nintendo 64

Type FPS
Year 1996

Following release the release of Doom II, id Software started working on the next technological upgrade to their 3-D engine. The follow-up to Doom and Doom II was going to be another First Person Shooter.

But first they had to develop the next engine which took the better part of an entire year. It would be able to feature huge innovations and  improvements in the technology. Becoming a true 3-D engine, ditching the 2D sprites from the past for real time 3D-polygonal models for both enemies and objects. Supporting the rendering of great animations, bigger maps and better more realistic lighting. As well as some early attempts at physics in-game affecting the gameplay (for example: grenades bouncing off walls in a 3-D space).

It was dubbed the Quake Engine after the game itself (aka "id Tech 2"). This engine would go on to be used in id-related titles such as Raven Software's Hexen II and partially serve as the basis for Valve's Half-Life. It also helped spawn Valve's popular multiplayer-based classic game Team Fortress

Which resulted in QUAKE!

Quake was initially unveiled through a multiplayer test demo. This first release was nicknamed Qtest. Qtest didn't impress much at the time, it was hellavua buggy but served mostly to test environments. It was released as a shareware to see the reactions of the audience. A lot of elements and typo was carried over from Doom actually and didn't truly represent the final product.

QUAKE is a first person shooter. It features 3 modes - Singleplayer, Cooperative and Deathmatch.

You play in the role of this unnamed sole human surviving Ranger. This "QuakeGuy" is only known as Ranger through the game (which is how he was officially nicknamed is the later Quake 3 Arena  game).

A mysterious invader from another dimension, codenamed "Quake", as opened doorways to our world. This demon ruler crossed over our reality. This final boss is able to spawn an entire army of creatures. His real name's Shub-Niggurath and he's heavily hinted to be one of the "Old Ones" from H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos. He's also shaped like the actual QUAKE logo more or less.

He's using these strange gates through time and space to invade Earth!

As this nameless soldier your role as part of "Operation Counterstrike" was to prevent monsters from spreading through our world... but it's already too late!

Quake has overrun the base and killed everyone!

You are the last survivor! You need to locate and go to Quake's homeworld. And destroy that realm for good! Take the fight to the enemy, facing hordes of grotesque creatures and destroy them from all the plans of existence!

The single player mostly consists in cleaning up levels, finding the Exit while killing everyone in sight! The game is 32-level long, spread through 4 distinct episodes. There's actually 28 main levels plus several hidden stages.

You will face plenty of fun different-looking enemies including the Ogre, the Vore or Shamblers!

It's a pretty simple "run and gun"-type of game, only transposed in 3D. There's some interaction with the levels, kept to a bare-minimum (no more keys! only buttons pressing this time). There are a lot of secrets lying around for welcomed additional weapons and ammo. And believe me, you will need plenty of those!

The game is perhaps a bit more straightforward than its predecessor Doom.

The game features great surreal environments. Beautiful gothic architecture and plenty of id's "traditional" demonic imagery.

All the episodes are available right from the start.

Quake uses a "world-space" for a level select (where you can pick your game difficulty and which episode you wanna play first). Your selections are made from this level-like interactive menu. Be careful though, the hard setting is really hardcore in this game, you can just as easily die in a pit of lava just trying to reach the hard-portal! And the nightmare-portal is actually hidden somewhere else entirely to avoid selecting it by accident!

QUAKE starts out in simple futuristic military complexes. Those bases later make way for a more medieval/fantasy/horror setting of castles, caves, etc.

It actually starts off pretty close to DOOM. You're the only last survivor, everybody corrupted over by evil forces. Later on in the game the magical portals will take you to stranger worlds.

Compared to Doom's more vibrant and colorful palette, QUAKE looks dark, moody and creepy.

You also start the game facing human-like foes armed with shotguns then will later pick on bigger meaner monsters, zombies and demons.

QUAKE has a certain low-tech feel in its design. The same goes for the weapons you use. Besides the traditional "id shotguns" there also are a rocket launcher, a grenade launcher, an electric gun, a nail gun and even a supernail gun (hence the QUAKE logo!).

Speaking of nails, the music was composed by Nine Inch Nails front-man, Trent Reznor. For this game he exclusively composed a great score. Giving QUAKE it's unique atmosphere.

QUAKE is all about the shooting.

There are some power-ups such as the classic "Quad damage".

Some early attempts at jump scares in a game, hidden enemies will often pop up right behind moving walls or jump out at you from the shadows.

QUAKE has a great sense of architecture and art direction. I just love how this sci-fi-ysh at first leads into medieval castles later on.

The game has plenty of strange out-of-this-world-ysh weapons. Some enemies use similar weapons as the player, leading into some crazy grenade fiestas!

The game - even if dated - looks great thanks to its unique design. Great looking creepy shadows, impressive large bosses (but kinda simple all in all).

It was one of the first game you could play multiplayer over internet as well as LAN (at least on PC). It uses those same single levels in co-op and deathmatch modes. There's a couple fun settings from simple 1-on-1 duels to teammatch and free for all. You could select any of those same singeplayer levels used as arenas as well as one of the 6 additional maps designed specifically for deathmatch. 

QUAKE saw the release of a couple of expansions, mostly reusing the same assets of the main game, all the same weapons, power-ups and monsters.

The engine was used for a lot of other games, QUAKE being used for a lot of mods once id released the source code developing a faithful modding community.

Overall, QUAKE was a huge success at the time, despite having to follow the first bad impression and negative welcome the shareware version received.

The actual game turned out to be a colossal improvement over the demo.

But since the game looks a bit monochrome and simpler in terms of maps, it didn't fare that well compared to a much more impressive but "still using 2D sprites" Duke Nukem 3D by 3D Realms released at the same time (which was also much more interactive and immersive).

But it's true use of 3D polygonal graphics and less cartoony world helped QUAKE stand on its own in the long run.

Most people's favorite moments in the game come from the later more original levels and frantic action which would become synonymous with the Quake series

Even though QUAKE was ported nearly as much as both DOOM games, the original QUAKE had its fair share of well received ports.

First of my copy reviewed here just proves wrong to the many people that think that the Sega Saturn couldn't handle nor run 3-D games. (did you know the original Metal Gear Solid started production on the Saturn? while that was canceled early on for a PSX exclusive release, it didn't stop Resident Evil 1 nor Tomb Raider 1 to also start life on Sega's 32-bit system)

It was ported by Lobotomy Software using their own SlaveDriver engine developed for PowerSlave/Exhumed based on 3D Realms' Build engine. They also ported Duke Nukem 3D on the Saturn using the same technology.

A PSX port was planned along the way but quickly canceled early on, also from Lobotomy. These two 32-bit ports used simpler low-res textures. The Saturn one retained the lovely use of lighting. It's certainly not the best rendition of QUAKE 1 out there, but it deserves some praise in my eyes. While the graphics look a bit muddier and the gameplay slightly slowed down, there was a lot of effort put into it. There also was a N64 port by Midway, titled "Quake 64". They mostly improved upon the tones of the game but also made QUAKE a lot brighter adding a sort of colorful sense (think of added green lights coming off the ground in some instances). Both ports had to go through some compromises. The Saturn Quake retained most of the maps from the original PC game but missing a couple, Lobotomy tried to make up for it with 4 new exclusive maps, only missing the multiplayer mode. The 64 Quake was missing some more different maps and scrapped the whole "START Map" select, you choose your difficulty and episode from the start via the game menu. They also scrapped the co-op but were able to keep the deathmatch from the PC.

The QUAKE series is a very uneven franchise. Each game would see a change in the entire "story" or more precisely setting of the game. The original 1996 game would see a first sequel in 1997. QUAKE II was started as a whole separated title ("Quake II" was only used as a prototype title), but trouble securing any of the other names id wanted to use forced them to simply use "QUAKE" again. After the HP Lovecraftian monsters from an alternate dimension invading our world, QUAKE II saw a more simple assault from an alien planet, introducing the Strogg alien race. QUAKE 3 in 1999 revolved around a sort of "id Software All-Star" crossover multiplayer Arena game. Finally QUAKE 4 would return to the scifi setting and pick up where the second game left.

As of 2011, there were talks from id Software, mentioning the idea to return to QUAKE 1's setting. In either a remake or a proper follow-up to the proper Cthulhu-ish QUAKE 1 universe, rebooting this so-called franchise into that original direction.

I give it:
2.5 / 3 Invaders!

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