After Doom revolutionized first-person shooters, Quake raised the bar and set standards featuring improved visuals in a 3D environment, excellent controls, numerous monsters and a vast online experience. Much darker in theme, the four dimensions contain cathedrals, tombs of the undead, base installations and nightmarish realms, and each dimension is broken into various levels with an end-boss. When a dimension's rune is collected, the player returns to a central hub from which other levels are chosen.
With the 3D environments, a number of dark and detailed textures are used to create an evil-looking atmosphere. The level architecture is quite astonishing, featuring pillars, lava rivers, cracks in walls, ceiling-support beams and other gothic details. Nine Inch Nails' ambient soundtrack adds to the experience with subtle but disturbing noises.
Controls are precise, with an emphasis on strafing around monsters, and movement is in full 360 degrees allowing one to view all aspects of the level. Monsters are innovative and smart, including zombies that tear off their own limbs and throw them as weapons, undead marines, hellhounds, piranha-like fish, evasive and fast-moving Fiends, sword-bearing knights, and the menacing Shambler. Likewise, the armaments are excellent, ranging from an axe and grenade and rocket launchers to the double-barreled shotgun and Nailgun.
Power-ups, such as three different armors, an invulnerable Pentagram of Protection, the devastating Quad Damage and Ring of Shadows, are strewn about the levels creating a level playing field when fighting certain monsters. These items are also useful when involved in a deathmatch. Quake is one of the first games to make use of Internet gaming; 16 combatants can face off on a server or via LAN. Aside from a few lag issues, the engine is stable and runs well on a full server.
An enemy with the codename ''Quake'', which is believed to come from another dimension, is using teleporter gates to invade Earth. The player takes the role of a nameless soldier who arrives at his base only to find out Quake has overrun it and killed everyone. Somewhere in the base there must be a teleporter to Quake's realm. The mission is clear: take the fight to the enemy, overcoming countless hordes of monsters, and exact revenge.id Software's followup to Doom and Doom II, Quake is a first-person shooter. Its main technological innovation is the use of a true 3D engine - the levels themselves as well as the enemies are polygonal. This not only allows for more natural level designs and character animations, but also for more realistic lighting and the inclusion of simulated physics that have an effect on gameplay: grenades can bounce off walls and around corners, for example.
In single-player mode, gameplay consists mainly of proceeding through the levels (spread over four distinct episodes) in search of an exit, killing everything that moves. Interaction with the game world is reduced to a minimum: since there is no use key, buttons are pressed by running into or shooting at them. As in id's earlier games, many secrets are waiting to be discovered, including a few hidden levels.
Unlike Doom's rather straightforward design that couples futuristic environments with demonic imagery, the theme of Quake's levels, enemies and weapons is not so easily pinpointed. While each episode begins in a futuristic military base (with a technological 'slipgate' as the level exit), later levels take place in environments inspired by medieval fantasy and gothic horror (castles, dungeons and caverns) and the player passes through magical portals to advance. In a departure from Doom's colorful environments, all Quake levels are dominated by earth colors.
The enemies conform to the mishmash of designs: there are human opponents armed with shotguns and energy weapons in the early levels, while the later levels include medieval knights, ghosts, zombies, ogres (armed with grenade launchers and chainsaws) and some more unearthly beasts. The player's weapons, while relatively modern, all have a low-tech feel. Besides a (bloodstained) axe, there are shotguns, nailguns, rocket and grenade launchers and the Thunderbolt, which discharges electrical energy.
Quake was one of the first games playable natively over the Internet in addition to LANs. The single-player levels can be played cooperatively, but the game is most famous for its deathmatch mode. One-on-one duels, team play and free-for-all competition are possible. The emphasis is on fast reaction and skillful maneuvering through the levels. All of the single-player maps can be used as arenas, but the game also comes with six maps especially designed for deathmatch.
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