The Quake series was id’s follow up to the Doom series. At this point in time, first person shooters were still progressing rapidly in terms of the technology and game play features. For instance, in the Doom games you were primarily limited to 2 dimensional movement and shooting at only what was directly in front of you. Quake added the novel feature of being able to look up and down. Quake II was the second game in a series that continues to this day.
Quake II, like its predecessor and the Doom games before it were all developed first as PC games. Quake II was the first of id’s games to support hardware 3D acceleration out of the box (though it was added in later patches for the original Quake as well). The ad above is for the PlayStation version of Quake II. the PlayStation version (and also the Nintendo 64 version) was released two years after the original PC game. Because of the limitations of the PlayStation, Quake II ran at a lower resolution and featured fewer levels. There were assorted other various changes as well, including some different enemies and music. Despite the PlayStation’s relative limitations, the graphics were still well done. However, there is one huge negative with the PlayStation version. There was no network multiplayer. To me this was the feature that made the Doom and Quake games truly great. The PlayStation version did feature split-screen multiplayer but it’s just not the same.
There were several official add-ons to Quake II, including The Reckoning, Ground Zero, and Extremeties. However, there were no add-ons released for the PlayStation as such. Also, the source code has been released so there are a number of games, both free and commercial, that were based on that code. Hexen II was my personal favorite.
If you are a PlayStation collector, then Quake II is still a game worth having. Some may even prefer the split-screen approach for multiplayer. However, for the best Quake II experience, it needs to be played on a PC. Fortunately, there are easy and cheap ways to do this today, including buying the game for $4.99 from Steam. Or you can always go old school and install the original game on a Pentium II.
The ad above, a rather unique supermarket parody ad, is from the October 1999 issue of The Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine. Screen shots above are from the PlayStation version of the game.