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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.


Quake Windows Level intermission screen with stats
Quake Windows Some ammo in the first secret room
Quake Windows The door's open - but where, oh where is the enemy?
Quake Windows The beginning of episode 1

Promo Images

Quake Screenshot
Quake Screenshot
Quake Screenshot Official screenshot from id Software
Quake Screenshot


Alternate Titles

  • "雷神之锤" -- Simplified Chinese spelling
  • "Quake: The Doomed Dimension" -- Shareware version title
  • "Quake Mobile" -- Wireless title
  • "Quake 64" -- Nintendo 64 title

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

Sleepless hours, messy room, tired eyes and 100 bottles of Coca-Cola. This describes the Quake player in 1996. And I can see why. Donatello (463) 3.2 Stars3.2 Stars3.2 Stars3.2 Stars3.2 Stars

Critic Reviews

FZ Dec 17, 2006 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars 100
Netjak Mar 12, 2002 10 out of 10 100
Computer Gaming World (CGW) Oct, 1996 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars 100
GameSpot Jun 22, 1996 9.3 out of 10 93
PC Multimedia & Entertainment Jul 22, 1996 91 out of 100 91 Aug 24, 2011 18 out of 20 90
Adrenaline Vault, The (AVault) Jun 02, 1997 4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars 90
Génération 4 Sep, 1996 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars 83
Gameplay (Benelux) Oct, 1996 82 out of 100 82
Coming Soon Magazine Oct 15, 1996 68 out of 100 68


Topic # Posts Last Post
Paul Steed credit 6 leilei (338)
Aug 13, 2012
What music? 12 x0n1c64 (14)
Jun 12, 2008


1001 Video Games

The PC version of Quake appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Scrapped versions

The Game Boy Advance version of Quake was in development by AGB Games. There were also plans for port to Sony PlayStation by Lobotomy Software, which was able to work, under some circumstances, in 60 FPS. First one was cancelled for unknown reasons, while second cancellation was caused by fact, that developer failed to find a publisher.

3D cards support

The original game had software rendering mode only. You could download glquake to use your 3d accelerated card. A special version was made for the intergraph rendition cards called vquake.

Anaconda level

Bizarre product tie-ins: for the release of the movie Anaconda, Sony pictures released through their website an add-on level for Quake titled Temple of the Mist were you made your way trough an ancient temple searching for the altar that holds the key to escape. Obviously, before escaping you have to go mano a mano with the Anaconda itself...weird uh?


The original Quake was supposed to have a medieval environment, but a few months before its release, most of the medieval-role playing aspects of the game were removed (i.e. one of the weapons was going to be a sword and there was a dragon to fight with) and the result was a game with guns but such enemies like the fiend or the death knight (these were included in the original project). Many original design elements were scrapped -- the kernel idea behind Quake was this massive Thor-like warhammer that you could slam down on the ground to make shockwaves ripple through the game world. This "ultimate weapon" idea followed John Romero to his game Daikatana.

The original concept was inspired by a character named Quake in id's long D&D campaign (which actually ended with demons destroying the universe due to John Romero's greed), DM'd by John Carmack. Because of the switch to sci-fi, Romero was angry enough to leave id after Quake, even though Carmack fired him first. He later used another inspiration from the D&D campaign to make Daikatana.


Kornelia, a famous female Quake player, won the "TEN GibFest Contest" at the computer game developers conference at Santa Clara. As a result, she was afforded the opportunity to play John Romero in a 1v1 deathmatch. She beat him 22 to 1 and also took home a P200 MMX system.


Quake is yet another of id Software's games that contains the infamous Dopefish. The level you can find the Dopefish on is E2M3, The Well of Wishes, in a secret location that you'd probably need a walkthrough to get to. Incidentally, "The Well of Wishes" is the same title as a Commander Keen 4: Secret of the Oracle level where the Dopefish first appears.


The engine that iD Software started to make Quake with was called Six Degrees of Freedom

German index

On August 31, 1996, Quake was put on the infamous German index by the BPjS. For more information about what this means and to see a list of games sharing the same fate, take a look here: BPjS/BPjM indexed games.


Taking John Romero's work on the Apple ][ bootloader for Infocom's Zork Zero as a point of departure, in 2004 Jason Bergman released IFQuake -- the difficulty-selection stage and first level of the shareware version of Quake implemented as a text adventure game, downloadable at


Almost incidentally, Quake introduced the now-standard concept of a FPS 'console', and popularised 'mouselook' as *the* absolute standard control interface. Although the specifications required a Pentium, Quake ran acceptably well on a 486 DX4/100 and, at a push, the faster 486es. Along with Magic Carpet it was however the game that most established the Pentium as a must-have processor. It was also the first game which offered the opportunity for both Amiga and PC gamers to play online together.


Machinima, an animated film using the 3D environment of a game, started with the Quake engine. Doom already had a recording feature, but it wasn't until Quake when people added narrative and called it "movies" that the genre was born. The first known machinima is Diary of a Camper, by a group of players called The Rangers, released on October 26, 1996.


Quake was preceded by Qtest1, a tech demo which was released in February 1996. It consisted of three small, monster-free levels which illustrated the game's engine. Of particular note was Test3, which became the basis for the second level of Quake's first episode (of the other levels, Test2 seemed to be a very, very early incarnation of 'Ziggurat Vertigo', the infamous low-gravity secret level). The engine was almost fully complete, although wall-mounted torches were still sprite-based.

Although the test had no game - rather like the original Doom 'alpha releases' - multiplayer support was, fortunately, included. The infamous 'rocket jump' was discovered quite quickly, as Qtest included both rocket and grenade launchers.

"Chris ([email protected])" eventually discovered that monsters were included in the game's source code, and a patch released in June 1996 allowed players to experience early versions of Quake's beasties.


All of the sounds and music for Quake were produced by Trent Reznor, the man behind the industrial/alternative group Nine Inch Nails. The ammo boxes for the nailgun ("nails") have the band's logo (NIN) on the side.

References to the game

One of the songs on Karl Sander's album Saurian Meditation, "Elder God Shrine", was named after the Quake level E4M3 which has the same name.

Saturn version

The Saturn version of Quakeis the only version with coloured lighting, something Lobotomy Software added to the saturn version

Source code release

In 1999, id Software made the complete source code for Quake freely available to the public. You can download it here.


Quake inspired the art of speedruns: trying to beat a game as fast as possible. The initial release was Quake Done Quick, completed in 19:49 and released on 1997. As of 2012, players still work on breaking the latest records.

Zeeboo version

On June 15, 2010, both Quake and Quake II were removed from Zeebo's wireless network, the Brazilian Zeebonet. Both games were offered for 10 Z-credits and each Brazilian Zeebo came with 35 Z-credits, so the games were sold virtually for free. They were replaced for Zeebo Extreme Rolimã and Zeebo Extreme Jetboard as free downloads.


  • Computer Gaming World
    • November 1996 (15th anniversary issue) - #36 in the “150 Best Games of All Time” list
    • November 1996 (15th anniversary issue) – The Best Way To Die In Computer Gaming (being telefragged)
    • November 1996 (15th anniversary issue) –Worst Back Story of All Time
    • November 1996 (15th anniversary issue) – #5 Least Rewarding Ending of All Time
    • May 1997 (Issue #154) – Action Game of the Year
    • May 1997 (Issue #154) – Action Game of the Year (Readers' Choice)
    • May 1997 (Issue #154) – Special Award for Technological Achievement (for its engine)
    • April 1999 (Issue #177) - Introduced into the Hall of Fame
    • March 2001 (Issue #200) - #8 Best Game of All Time
  • GameSpy
    • 2001 – #5 Top Game of All Time
  • GameStar (Germany)
    • Issue 12/1999 - #7 in the "100 Most Important PC Games of the Nineties" ranking
  • PC Gamer
    • April 2000 - #14 in the "All-Time Top 50 Games" poll
    • April 2005 - #26 in the "50 Best Games of All Time" list
  • Power Play
  • Świat Gier Komputerowych
    • February 1997 (Issue #50) – readers' award Hitek'96 for the best foreign game of 1996
Information also contributed by Adam Baratz, Ashley Pomerov, chirinea, Darksaviour69, D Michael, Erkan O; keth, Maw, n-n, PCGamer77, Pseudo_Intellectual; Sciere, Scott Monster, Xoleras, Zack Green and Zovni

Related Web Sites

  • FitzQuake (The most faithful custom engine available.)
  • Func_Msgboard (An ever-active forum dedicated to custom mapping, primarily focusing on the original game but also covering the following games in the series from time to time.)
  • Matt Chat 54 (Video interview with John Romero about the development of Quake)
  • Planet Quake (An exhaustive quake site visit it for news, mods, levels, tips and all you want related to Quake)
  • Quaddicted (The most comprehensive site for custom singleplayer maps.)
  • Quake (Official page on id Software's website)
  • Quake cheat codes (Detailed information on Quake 1 cheat codes for N64, PC and Sega Saturn)
  • Quake Source Code (You can actually download the source code for Quake here)
  • Tenebrae (Tenebrae is a modification of the quake source that adds stencil shadows and per pixel lights to quake. Stencil shadows allow for realistic shadow effects on every object in the game world. Per pixel lighting allows you to have fine surface details correctly lit. These are essentially the same algorithms as used by the new Doom game.)
  • Wikipedia (The Quake article at Wikipedia)
The cranky hermit (2947) added Quake (Windows) on Mar 10, 2005
Other platforms contributed by chirinea (46888), Kartanym (12718), Kabushi (257496), robotriot (9068), Ace of Sevens (4471) and quizzley7 (21718)