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Quake 2 for the Nintendo 64

The tables have turned.

The good


Everything from Quake applies here, but it's even better because the game was designed with colored lighting in mind. Rather than slapping blue light over brown textures, they coordinate texture and lighting colors, and it works even better than the already beautiful Quake. The models are higher poly than Quake's, the art style is distinct, and it feels satisfying to blow enemies into approrpiately meaty giblets that are, surprisingly for a Nintendo console, deep red when they could have copped out and went yellow and that still would sort have worked.

And yes, it does still have the framerate issues. That's kind of amazing, though, since the models and level geometry are more detailed than its predecessor and it still runs just as well as Q1. At least, without the Expansion Pak, anyway. I don't own one, so for all I know, it's a perfect 60 FPS with the addon. I wasn't willing to spend $40 to try.


It's... better than Quake. Sounds like blasphemy, but it is. It has more enemies, different weapons, and a more developed keycard/objective system. Not knocking Quake, it's a classic and one of the best PC games, but I can appreciate different if it's done well. No more is it just "press this button to get this key", now, as an example, in one level you have to take an explosive charge to blow up a generator to open a force field to get a key to open a door to exit the level. It's subtle, but having a more complex structure to your goal than "find the gold key" is appreciated and makes you feel like you have more of a purpose, and so more of an effect on the world around you, than the more shallow structure of the first game.

The new weapons are also really good. The shotgun, rather than the weak little thing that was more or less a button pusher in the first game, can down a weak enemy easily without wasting your ammo for more important baddies, while the hyper blaster is better for ripping and tearing through large groups or more resillient bosses, which might occsasionally combine... but we'll get to that later on.

Quake 2's singleplayer makes use of multiplayer power ups to switch up gameplay, which its PC version apparently didn't do. I appreciate this, especially when you take into account the controls. Now you can deal with the tougher enemies much easier and sometimes in a much more satisfying, gory way rather than them making your life a living hell with how wonky the controls are.

Quake 2 on the N64 is an impostor

Unlike Quake 1, Quake 2's N64 "port" was really a port of its engine. The mechanics are the same but it's a whole new set of levels, think of it more like Doom's N64 port than Quake's. If you liked Quake 2 but wanted more of it, this is worth it because it's a unique experience, and really not at all just a port.

The price

Like Quake, Quake 2 cost $15 to buy and get shipped, a far cry from what would likely have been a $60 or $70 game new. And it's absolutely worth it... provided you already had a Nintendo 64 to play it on. It's not a reason to buy an N64, but it is a very good time nonetheless.

The bad


Much like its predecessor, your controls are your worst enemy. Not that other living beings don't try, since there are really tough dudes actually surprisingly early on, somewhere around the fifth of twenty levels. If that wasn't bad enough, let's gang a couple up on you inside of an enclosed room while you're trying to grab an access card (this game's equivalent to keys). Hope you have enough buckshot and explosive shells to quell this horde of enemies with more than 100 HP, otherwise you'll have to gun down dangerous game with an energy pistol, which is appropriately useless in all but the earliest of situations. You even get the shotgun before any actual combat could happen, that should be telling enough.

The ugly


Quake 2, as stated in the Quake 1 review, takes the frankly superior Preset B control scheme and makes it standard. You use the D-pad or C-buttons to move around and you use the more fine control stick for aiming and neither are encroached by any other functionality, which is a control scheme which I personally consider the only logical one for a first person shooter on any console with only one analogue stick on its controller. It's wonky, and you'll die from the low sensitivity of the stick which you're not given the option to change, but it's much better by default than its predecessor.


It sounds just like Quake 1. I've never played the PC version of Quake 2, so I can't say whether or not that's appropriate, but with the more diverse cast of enemies, the repetition of "YOU! STOP!" will eventually start irritating you to no end and even bleed into Quake 1 whenever it uses the effect. Still, it does sound good on many occasions, especially when ripping apart enemies.

The verdict

Better than Quake 1 for the same system and framerate!
You face way more humans. The sounds get repetitive.
Wonky controls. Otherwise, it's Quake but better.
It's a whole new game within the Quake 2 engine.
It's a great time and I'd recommend it to Quake fans with N64s. 80%

You want Quake on consoles? You got Quake on consoles. It even has deathmatch.