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SummaryA blitz of near non-stop action, Quake II is an old school classic.
The GoodQuake II a wonderful specimen of what it is. It's an old school first person shooter: light on the thinking, heavy on the reflexes.
The action is hot and heavy from the very beginning, as you land in an alien base with nothing but your side-arm and start making the Strogg pay the price for attacking Earth. All the while a thrashy metal soundtrack pounds at you almost in a rhythm with the furious pace of the action.
The enemies in Quake II are great from the beginning. The Light Guards that you first encounter are well balanced, being both weak enough to take down with your side-arm and yet tough enough that you take satisfaction in defeating them. They even sometimes pull off a sort of from-death's-heart-I-stab-at-thee maneuver, firing a last futile volley before finally dying. This kind of little touch is the kind of detailed design you can expect throughout the game. This game may indeed be essentially running around shooting things, but id made sure to serve that gameplay with exceptional quality.
Sound effects are average for the most part. What is great in the sound department is the above mentioned crushing metal soundtrack. It's the kind of spittin-nails soundtrack that cranks a game like this up a notch from furious to insane.
Weapons are great, though you'll probably rely on the machine gun and the super shotgun most of the game, like I did. There isn't much in the way of new weapons, really, but even the same old stuff is done well. In addition, the weapons are well paced in the game so that you are neither dominating or being dominated purely on the basis of the weapons you do or do not have.
AI is pretty good for the era, though I'm not to much of a judge of that. Mainly, kudos should go to id for excellent enemy placement. There were definitely some nasty surprises in my play through the game.
The BadWell, the story.....um....what story was that? The story is rather sparse and while you have objectives in the game, they are not very well linked to a real storyline, relevant as they may be to the overarching story. But, then, is this game really meant to be like that? If you want a great story in an FPS, go play Half-Life (in fact, play Half-Life anyway if you haven't already. It's only one of the best games ever created).
Some of the hunt-n-fetch stuff gets annoying, but they were nice enough not to get too maze-like in the level design so you generally don't get stuck for long.