More on Quake
Quake is another game I may have been a bit unfair to. I’ve been playing it a bunch and it is fun and interesting. But it’s far, far from perfect.
First, let me say Odin bless Ranneko for telling me the console command for full mouse aiming. That makes the game much more playable. Before, when I couldn’t control the Y-axis with the mouse, I pretty much got stuck at the first point when I had to swim.
Having to use keyboard buttons to look up and down is a huge hassle when you’ve become accustomed to mouse aiming, and it isn’t as big of a deal in Duke Nukem 3D when they don’t force you to look up or down too much, but Quake seemed specifically designed to screw over anybody who didn’t have the console command.
But I digress…
I think the most interesting thing about Quake to me is its emphasis on rockets. Many shooters end up having some sort of “main” weapon, a weapon you end up using most of the time because you get tons of ammo for it, and because it’s one of the most powerful or versatile weapons, etc. In Doom 2 it’s the super shotgun, in Half-Life 2 it’s the SMG, and in Quake it seems to be the rocket launcher.
Sure, the super nailgun and the laser thingy do more damage, but those guns drain ammo at a very rapid pace, and the ammo for those weapons isn’t quite as ubiquitous as the rockets you practically trip over at every other step.
I don’t think I’ve ever played any other games where the rocket launcher is used this commonly, except maybe Serious Sam to a much lesser degree, and Team Fortress 2 as the Soldier. Usually the rocket launcher is the “BFG” of the game, the instakill weapon that you save for helicopters or big boss fights (see Resident Evil 4) but the rocket launcher in Quake is much less overpowered and rockets are common enough that you can use them almost all the time.
The reason this is so interesting is because the rocket launcher is much more tactical and requires much more skill to use effectively than most other guns in shooters. It fires slow projectiles, so you have to predict where the enemy is going to be rather than just point at the enemy and hold the fire button. It deals splash damage to everyone in close proximity, so you can use one precise rocket to kill multiple enemies at once, but must be mindful at all times not to stand too close to a target you’re firing rockets at.
On the whole, it just makes combat more tricky and fun.
I’m quite fond of the style of gameplay Quake delivers; extremely fast-paced shooting that emphasizes evasive maneuvers. Rather than crouching behind cover and waiting for the right moment to pop out and shoot the bad guy’s face, you’re dashing around the arena faster than Road Runner and dodging everyone’s attacks.
It’s unfortunate, then, that extended periods of Quake end up making me feel sick. I wasn’t kidding when I said that in my other post, by the way. Part of it is the fast movement speed, but I’m pretty sure most of it is due to the sickening visuals. All brown, all the time. Everywhere.
You could argue that it’s not fair to complain about the visuals of a game that came out in 1996, but it’s worth noting that Crash Bandicoot was also released in 1996, and that game looks leagues better than Quake. Not because of any superior graphics technology, but simply because the world is colorful and vibrant.
(Although it might have better graphics technology than Quake. I wouldn’t know. I’m not exactly an expert on that subject.)
Quake is also much shorter than I expected. I haven’t reached the end credits quite yet, but I’ve beaten about three and a half of the four “episodes” in only a few hours, and I think it’s safe to assume that once I beat the last episode I’ll only have the final boss left.
So it’s a pretty insubstantial game, but interesting nonetheless. And rockets are always fun, right?
And I suppose the big question is, are there any developers out there who are still trying to give us that fast-paced runaroundy shooting fun that we used to have? What games do we have to look forward to in that subgenre?
Four words: Serious Sam 3, bitches.