Content of the article: "Quake 1 has become one of my favorite singleplayer games"
Sorry for the length of this post.
So I've been a doom fan for about five years. I never had an amazing computer, so I got into older games because I could run them, and doom was probably my of all these old games. I loved the level design, the weapons, the enemies, and how they all played together. Basically, everything about it. So naturally I figured I'd eventually have to try out some of the other games ID came out with in the 90s. I saw that bethesda was offering it for free, so I decided to pick it up. At first glance, it appeared to me that it was basically just doom in full 3d. I was a little disappointed. Then I started moving through the first level a bit, got some weapons, fought some enemies, and became more disappointed. Everything up to this point seemed like a rehash of doom. The introduction of slow moving hitscan grunts before anything else, the weapons, the exploding barrels, all of it. I appreciated the atmosphere, but it still wasn't anything unusual enough to jump out at me. Then I hit the second level. I was looking at a hulking humanoid beast of some kind at the base of a flight of stairs. It was wielding what appeared to be a chainsaw. So I started playing as I was previously, assuming that the beast was a melee enemy. The game gave me about one second to start shooting before the chainsaw monster lobbed a grenade at me at high speed. I saw it coming, and I moved to the side. This was the moment when I realized how fluid and responsive the movement in this game is. It had to be, otherwise I couldn't have dodged that grenade. Then another grenade came. And then another. I was moving all over the place, dodging while taking out the hitscan enemies, before finishing off the chainsaw-grenade enemy. This was the first twist the game threw my way: The enemies in this game push. They force you to be constantly moving. Doom did this too for sure, with its wide array of projectile-firing enemies, but nothing in doom ever truly put the kind of pressure on me that I feel when I encounter these grenade spewing chainsaw enemies. The grenades are fast, and they have some simple physics behavior which makes them unpredictable, so you always want to get as far away from them as possible when an enemy throws one. Again, this dynamic plays very smoothly into the game's phenomenal movement. This is far from the only time Quake introduces new mechanics in this way. It's constantly giving you just enough time to settle into a rhythm and master one thing before throwing something new at you that mixes it all up. This is how doom works in many cases too, but to me it's more impactfully employed in Quake because of the game's incredibly precise focus. Quake is a game about moving, shooting, and observing, with very specific ideas about how each of these things should work, and it commits to these ideas almost 100% of the time, ensuring that every new dynamic that is introduced feeds into said ideas. To me, the gameplay loop at the core of quake is this: Enemies want to kill you, they are absolutely incessant in their attempts to do so, you will have to try very hard to avoid and dodge them in order to avoid being killed by them, you must be able to do this while simultaneously managing various weapons and types of enemies, and in order for all this to work every element of the game must be streamlined and focused. For me, that focus and intensity makes Quake one of my favorite video games ever made.
TLDR I like Quake a lot because it is super focused on a handful of core mechanics and ideas and every time the game introduces a new element it manages to be exciting while still contributing and building directly upon the core mechanics.
- Apparently Quake 2 has a story, and other fun things about old games
- Dusk is a fantastic singleplayer/multiplayer old-school shooter with polish
- Just finished Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine, the surpirsingly good Doom 2016’s forgotten uncle.
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