Quake Review

Are you very, very good with a Saturn controller?

Have you ever played single-player Quake before?

The object of single-player Quake, which is the only way you can play it on the Saturn, is, ostensibly, to enter the game through either the "normal" or the "easy" shimmering transporter - which takes you to the first level of the game, whose atmosphere (especially if you are somehow still unfamiliar with it at this late date in the evolution of the genre) may impress you - and kill as many monsters as you wish, until you can exit through the shimmering transporter clearly marked "exit" and proceed to the next level of monsters, and do this over and over until you have played every level there is in the game. Every seven levels will be punctuated with a "boss" level, and you will receive a textual reward for its completion, which will always congratulate you in some small way for a job done violently well but will goad you on to further action in the next set of levels. Naturally, the next set of levels won't always exist (id software puts four "episodes" - sets of seven levels - on the CD), so once you've seen them all, you've got some choices to make.

How long did it take you to get through those levels? If you've never played Quake before, never grabbed the mouse attached to your older brother's PC and tried your hand at making your way through the many varied and deadly mazes, originally designed centuries ago (in Internet time) by id, who you've gotta like, despite it all, then it probably took you days and weeks to get through to the end. I'm something of a stranger to the Saturn control pad and maybe my fingers are just too big for it, but I find it much harder to control the Quake character with it than with the N64 controller or a PC mouse, and I know, as I write this piece, it will be at least another day or two before I've made it all the way through to the final level. It's going to be a while for you too (and I wouldn't be surprised if at some point it's just not going to be a big enough kick for you, and you're going to stop playing).

Do you want to do it again? You'll be a lot faster at it. If you went through the "easy" transporter the first time, maybe you should try out your new prowess at the "normal" level. You probably don't know the layouts of the levels too well, because you were on the "easy" level, and you didn't die too often. When I played it on the PC, I played it on the highest damn difficulty setting there was, and I kicked ass, but it took me a long time to get there, and I got to know the levels pretty damn good. In my mind's eye I can see almost every part of Gloom Keep, the Crypt of the Damned, and other maps you'll traverse on your march through the Quake world. You'll need to know them as well as I do because there's only so much ammo and health-ups lying around; to conserve these resources, your attacks on the Quake monsters will need to be swift, accurate, and deadly. Unless you know where they are before you see them, they'll get the jump on you and start moving, which makes them much harder to kill, especially with the Saturn control pad. To kill the ogres, for instance, your best bet is to sneak up and blitzkrieg them with grenades; it only takes two direct hits to waste one. If you know where one is standing beforehand, you'll be able to send them to hell with great dispatch.

That's what you think about when you play Quake - how to kill the monsters and make it to the end of the level. There's no plot, no individuality to the monsters, no overarching theme except you against the bad guys. Do you like a good 3D shooter with good technology and atmosphere but no plot? Are you willing to die and die and die again to open all the secrets of a single level map just because you like the satisfaction of knowing that you've found everything to be found there? Are you very, very good with a Saturn controller? If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, you might just want to play Quake for the Saturn. Otherwise you're better off with some game whose name might be a little less famous but whose appeal is a little more broad.

The Good

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The Bad

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