The benchmark for first-person shooters in the mid-nineties
Back in 1998, I spent countless hours death-matching fellow students playing Quake 2 on the university computer network. Its only in 2008 that I bought my own copy of Quake 2, and by now the game's age shows - but thanks to those nostalgic memories I'm extremely forgiving!
The single player campaign starts of with a quick introductory video to set the scene, and then literally drops you into the action. The programmers took the time to include something that resembles a storyline, but in those days the focus was really just on the game-play and killing stuff.
One of the first things that struck me about Quake 2, is how it improved upon it's predecessor in every conceivable way. Quake 2 features better graphics (outstanding), better physics, better weapons, better AI, better.... well better everything.
I loved the attention to little details in the game, for instance if you kill a monster, it will fall down but sometimes still manages to shoot off a few rounds before it dies. Also a lot of effort went into the weapons and each weapon has it's own strengths and weaknesses, like the rail gun (think the movie Eraser with Arnie) that will kill most enemies with 1 or 2 shots, but it's slow reloading times makes it a liability in a room full of angry monsters.
Quake 2 certainly does have it's flaws. The levels and monsters have little variation, and gets monotonous after a while. Combine this with the lack of a strong storyline to drive the game on, and things can get a bit tedious at times. And although the AI improved, the monsters are still not clever enough to make live difficult for even an average player like me.
I believe Quake 2 aged relatively well, and unlike its predecessor is still worth playing if you feel a bit nostalgic or if you want to see how FPS's looked in the mid-nineties. But certainly FPS's improved significantly since 1998.
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