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Ultimately, Quake II comes across as a yummy appetizer for the smorgasbord of killer games that are finally coming to the Mac. Unreal, which was ported over about a year ago despite being released after Quake II, has slightly better graphics and a more engaging single player mode. Its multiplayer mode, however, blew chunks for a long time and now that it's fixed, no one plays. Quake III: Arena, from what we've seen, is a definite leap ahead in graphics and multiplayer gameplay, but we're not going to see a released version of that for a while. Quake II, however, is out now, and has an enormous install base. Not that it justifies the delay, but we've been spared the stream of bug fixes that plagued the Windows release. Logicware did an excellent job porting this puppy, and it showcases the power of the latest graphics chips quite well. And I'm looking forward to someone tapping that wellspring of mods to port over.
Much like the release of Quake I for Mac, Quake II's debuts is on the eve of Quake III Arena coming out. The big difference between the releases of Quake I and Quake II is that shortly after Quake II comes out, Quake III will be released as well, making Q2 look like the two year old game that it is.
Quake II doesn't offer a storyline any more compelling than the original Quake's, but network gaming benefits from the same enhancements found in the single-player game–a slew of new weapons, the ability to duck, and a wider variety of maps. In either single-player or multiplayer mode, for careening-through-corridor-carnage satisfaction, Quake II is a must-have.
While Quake II is neither the pinnacle of the technological gaming heap, nor a significant improvement over the gameplay experiences offered by other competing games, one must look at the big picture surrounding QII. This game is a milestone, one that set the trend for a whole slew of games that followed it. It's hard not to hold such a golden piece of software in anything less than reverence.
The legendary and once champion of deathmatch gaming Quake 2 has been a long time coming to the Mac. Mac gamers will remember John Carmack's outspoken attitudes about 3D gaming on the Mac as he fingered its lack of OpenGL and adequate hardware acceleration. Therefore, Mac gamers plugged away at Quake 1, and although we have enjoyed it for years, we were left out in the cold, drooling over its sequel. Now that Quake 2 has finally appeared, should we be excited, or should we even care? Well, yes and no…
I would highly recommend this game to anyone interested in high speed, adrenaline filled on-line or LAN based Deathmatch play, but for anyone looking for solo thrills, look elsewhere.