Quake with fear: it’s this week’s Retro Game of the Week!
Everyone wishes the 1990’s could happen again. Everyone. Period. The Clinton white-house was awesome, especially for interns, and PC gamers were dealing devastation with rocket launchers in Unreal Tournament and Quake. The two fragging franchises dominated PC’s and dorm rooms all through the 1990’s, and spawned entire new genre’s and lexicons into gaming mythos. If you didn’t have a PC gaming rig, which were as prohibitively expensive back then as they are today, you were left only dreaming of the wonder of these first-person shooter franchises.
The Nintendo 64, with it’s helpful expansion pack, proved however a first person shooter in the mid to late 90’s could be made on a console and come close to PC playability. Raster Productions and Rogue Entertainment managed a decent port of Quake 2 in June of 1999 for the N64, while PC gamers had been enjoying the third installment for some time. 007 Goldeneye proved the N64 contained the technical guts for a FPS engine years earlier, and the N64 controller was capable (for the most part) of allowing several control schemes to suit player preferences.
Quake 2 didn’t quite have the graphical shine on the N64 as it’s PC counter-part, but the visuals were impressive enough for a console at the time and certainly playable. The multiplayer fully utilized the 4 controller ports of the N64, but with 4 players in split-screen the game does begin to lag. The single-player portion of the game provides hours of unique level design and alien blasting fun. The N64 memory pack allows players to save progress and control schemes. Six different control schemes can be selected by the player, and each has the own strength and weaknesses. The default controls were my least favorite, instead of opted for the scheme that felt the most like Goldeneye. Though the controls take time to get acquainted with, they soon become second nature once the action gets hectic.
The N64, especially when compared to Playstation, didn’t make quite the splash Nintendo hoped it would. However, the system did prove a good home for interesting PC ports and more obscure offerings. Quake 2 may play best on the PC, but the N64 version is nothing to scoff at. The game sold moderately well and isn’t difficult to source out of box today. If your a Quake fan looking to see how your franchise fared on consoles, or if your just looking for a new FPS to play on your N64, Quake 2 is a great way to frag away an evening.