II has been around
for awhile on the PC. When it was announced that it was going to be available
for the Nintendo 64, most people probably
had two reactions. The first was probably, "How will it look?" and
the second was probably, "Why?"
The first Quake came to the consoles with a less-than-overwhelming result.
The N64 version was a somewhat scaled down version of the original computer
game, which, in this day and age, isn't exactly the hardest game to beat visually.
Quake II manages to make the transition to the Nintendo 64 looking remarkably
close to the original computer version. It's not going to make anyone switch
from their 3D accelerated version that's running on a Pentium II or Pentium
III machine to the N64, but it does allow console gamers to get in on the Quake
II action and not feel they're being cheated.
Unless you've been secluded in the jungle somewhere, you're probably familiar
with the Quake scenario. The game is a first person shooter that puts you against
a variety of demented looking alien and robot enemies. Using a variety of weapons,
including shotguns, grenade launchers, and machine guns, you've got to bully
your way through 19 levels of carnage-laden action, solving a smattering of
not-too-difficult puzzles as you go.
Whereas the original Quake was a gothic-looking game, Quake
II is more futuristic,
with transporters, satellite communication equipment and other science-fiction
hardware. The setting may be a little different, but the objective is pretty
much the same: kill whatever enemies the game throws at you (and find some
secret, hidden stuff along the way.)
The game does contain some major differences from the computer version. The
most obvious is that the level designs have been changed, many of them completely.
The N64 version's levels are a lot less complex than their computer counterparts.
Controlling the game was initially a challenge. Being used to playing first
person shooters with a combination of a mouse and a keyboard, using the N64's
Z-trigger, analog stick and the C-buttons was a bit off-putting. However, the
game allows a fairly liberal amount of re-configuration from its setup screens
which can then be saved to your controller pak. Once I had a controller setup
I could live with, the game played fairly well. Using the analog stick to aim
took the most time to get used to and, even after after quite a few hours of
play, I still wasn't very accurate.
As far as the graphics go, they're OK. They look a lot better with the Expansion
Pak, obviously, but even without it they're about on a par with a PC without
a graphics accelerator. The animation is on the choppy side, with only a few
frames allotted for some weapons effects and enemy movements. The lighting
effects are impressive, with lens flare and light sourcing that make the game
seem a bit more realistic without being overly obvious. Some of the other effects,
like explosions and the flies which buzz around some corpses, are on the blocky
The sound is reasonably atmospheric, as a Quake game should be. The weapons
sound much like they do in the computer version, with appropriate gusto and
oomph. There is a distinct lack of background music, which makes the game even
core though, Quake and Quake
II have mainly been about multiplayer
action and the N64 version includes the deathmatch and capture-the-flag (called
Flag Wars) games, if in somewhat modified forms. Although the multiplayer
games are included, it's still not quite the same as playing against an
you can't see. When playing a deathmatch on the split-screen setup, not only
is your actual opponent sitting right next to you, but you can easily see
is hiding. It makes sneaking up on someone or hiding in a level next to impossible.
the game is pretty solid on all levels and, if you've never seen or played Quake
II before, it ought to be a lot of fun. However, I have played
Quake II before and on a 3D accelerated machine to boot and this just
isn't the same thing. It's not that there is anything wrong with the Nintendo
64 version of the game, it's just that it's a distant second when compared to the computer version.