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Quake II (Nintendo 64) artwork

Quake II (Nintendo 64) review


"Itís a precarious thing to write a review for a 17-year-old game. How does one judge its graphics, its soundóhell, its gameplay, even? But the latter is something that typically shines through in a game of this age, and allows for an adequate review. Iím happy to report Quake II delivers here--even on the limited N64 console, the gameplay is solid as hell, although not without its faults. "


Itís a precarious thing to write a review for a 17-year-old game. How does one judge its graphics, its sound--hell, its gameplay, even? But the latter is something that typically shines through in a game of this age, and allows for an adequate review. Iím happy to report Quake II delivers here--even on the limited N64 console, the gameplay is solid as hell, although not without its faults.

For all intents and purposes, Quake II doesnít boast a story. Youíre an armored warrior with a varied arsenal of guns, and youíre tasked with blasting away enemies of all kinds as you make your way through sci-fi environments. Very, very simple. Wikipedia claims thereís a story nestled within the gunplay somewhere, but I promise you the average player will have nary a clue as to what the hell it is. I certainly didnít.

Quake II is a level-by-level romp, and each one takes maybe 10 minutes to complete. There is a fairly steady stream of baddies to blast, and each of them presents their own set of unique challenges--many have a melee as well as a gun attack, and some have bigger and more effective guns than others. Thanks to the wide array of weaponry available to the player, dispatching the enemies is a hoot. Very few things are more satisfying than splattering alien blood all over the ground with the Super Shotgun (in all its 64-level-graphics goodness), then turning around and decimating an oncoming hoard with a supercharged BFG3K (Big Freakiní Gun 3,000) shot. The game really shines in its diverse ways of approaching any gunfight. I wonít detail all of the guns available, but suffice to say there are many, and most are a blast to wield.

The aforementioned graphics actually hold up quite well; the environments are clean and the animations are solid. Going strictly off memory, Iíd hazard to say Quake II has some of the best graphics of any game available on the system. There are murky skies in the background of outdoor levels which lend a nice atmosphere to the action at hand, and the enemies are well rendered. Flies buzz hungrily around dead bodies, and the ammo, powerups, and all other collectible items are sharp and clear.

I also particularly love the sound effects throughout, which are simple, yet effective. Perhaps itís my age talking here, but the overall sound, look and feel of Quake II is like an old-school shooter. And thatís a good thing. When you combine such a nice blend of polished graphics and gameplay, itís hard to find fault with the game. There are enough secrets to unearth and baddies to destroy which lend this game an earthy little cruise. Itís not doing anything we donít already see on a daily basis in todayís gaming, but it perhaps hit on the core mechanics in such a proficient fashion so as to set itself apart in a soon-to-be crowded arena.

My lone fault with Quake II lies in its issues with controls. Using one joystick and then the C-buttons to control your gait and view, this version of FPS control is hard to initially digest when buttressed by so much more effective control at my fingertips. With that said, the clunky controls donít hinder the core experience too darn much; the competence is clear throughout. Iíd recommend Quake II to any N64 owner, as its quick-tick gunplay and slick sheen are not to be unseen.

4/5

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Community review by Linkamoto (October 12, 2016)

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