About games and gaming thereof!

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 all goes back to that Daredevil mindset I talked about before. It gives such a rush of adrenaline that I don’t experience very often in games these days.

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.

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4 responses

  1. “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?”

    I want to say BulletStorm sort of, and I should explain a bit more. On one extreme we have the cover based shooters in the style of gears of war, call of duty, etc, where if you take one step out of cover your dead in seconds, so you spend most of the game behind cover. On the other extreme we have older games like Doom, Quake etc where movement is much more important.

    If you’ve seen Yahtzee’s zero punctuation for BulletStorm he pretty much says its a combination of the two different styles of FPS. Of course he didn’t like it, and I would disagree with that. Although sometimes I would get low on health and hide behind cover, unlike most cover based shooters, I didn’t have to stay behind cover constantly. There is quite a bit of movement until you get low on health.

    It may not be quite what you are looking for, but BulletStorm is definitely the best FPS I’ve played in a long time. For more details check out the review I did on my blog pretty recently. There are many other things that make BulletStorm awesome.

    July 17, 2011 at 8:15 PM

    • JPH

      I bought and beat Bulletstorm. I thought it was interesting to a degree, but mediocre.

      It’s kind of hard to explain why. I might have to devote a post to that later.

      July 17, 2011 at 8:45 PM

  2. Have you played the subsequent Quakes yet? Quake III was a staple at our LANparties for a long time, exactly because of its focus on run-shoot-die-respawn. I haven’t played the first Quake, though, so I’m wondering how they hold up to each other.

    July 18, 2011 at 3:28 AM

    • JPH

      I’ve played some of Quake 2 and 3. Quake 2 is pretty decent. As for Quake 3… I’m very ambivalent. The fast-paced running and gunning of old works well in single player when you can keep better track of the AI patterns, but when you’re in a multiplayer match, where everybody can run around just as quickly as you, it just feels a bit too hectic to me.

      But I have beaten the first few tiers in the single player “campaign,” so I guess the fact that it’s kept me playing for that long at all says something.

      I’m thinking that if I could find friends to play it with, I might end up liking it a lot more.

      July 18, 2011 at 4:12 AM

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