Machine Games, the development team behind Quake, surprised the fans with a free update to the original game. The update is a whole new Quake episode. Quake is seen by most as one of the first-person shooters that began making gaming history two decades ago.
On June 22nd, 1996, id Software released a game called Quake for MS-DOS. Designed by John Romero and American McGee, with music composed by Trent Reznor and the Nine Inch Nails, Quake is one of the rare examples of gaming that would be considered good and would still sell considerably well even if it were to be released this year for the first time.
The setting presented a dark fantasy world, with beautifully designed levels which evoked a gothic, medieval style filled to the brim with Lovecraftian atmosphere and elements.
The anniversary new Quake episode stays entirely true to the design, but the pace of the action seems slightly adjusted in an attempt to be brought up to today’s standards.
The goal of the original Quake was straightforward – kill the invading enemy or die trying. The plot was focused against a very powerful entity discovering humanity and deciding to test out the resilience of humans by sending scores of invading demonic aliens at them.
Ranger, the protagonist, happened to meet the invasion head on and decided he would stop the invading forces or go down taking as many of them as possible.
1996 was a time of simple and straight-forward plot ideas for shooters. Protagonists did not receive much character development. Dialogue most revolved around boss-level enemies taunting the character.
There were no plot twists or surprise endings. The story of the game was learned by playing it, by observing the setting, by listening to the music, by taking a good hard look at enemies as they tried their hardest to stop the player from reaching the end.
Technology and storage space did not allow for elaborate cinematics or scores of audio dialogue, and so shooters revolved mostly around their namesake – shooting everything. Enemies have to tell their story from their design. Players would figure what enemies did by learning the hard way – repeated trial and error.
While many could argue that in today’s world with today’s expectation that can be seen as too little to go on, games like Dark Souls can most often prove them wrong. Quake is an honest title. It does not pretend to be something else.
At this year’s E3, Bethesda announced a new Quake title. Quake Champions has a trailer with great music, atmosphere, and pace. While some choose to see the anniversary episode of the original title not just as a simple gift but as a promotional tool. Quake players will not mind and gladly accept the offering. Marketing genius or not, Bethesda has made a lot of gamers happy with its new Quake episode for the oldest Quake out there.
Image Courtesy of AMB.