Quake (PC) Review

By Athanasios 22.06.2016

Review for Quake on PC

John Carmack and John Romero managed to create an industry revolution… twice. After Doom, which was one of the most important steps in the history of videogames, id Software raised the bar so high that it had to top its own self. The result of that effort? Quake; a behemoth of a shooter that forged the basis for 3D gaming… and yet, never really managed to surpass its legendary predecessor in terms of lasting appeal. Find out why, in the 20th birthday cake that Cubed3 baked for it.

Doing the same thing all over again might be viewed as a lack of ideas, or simply fear of trying something different… but why change what didn’t need fixing in the first place? Why not just expand on it? Quake did exactly that. So much, in fact, that its name could very well be Doom 3 - or, typical of the early ‘90s, Doom 3D!!! – and, basically, that’s what it is, since it takes almost everything from it and places them in a fully three-dimensional world instead of a 3D-ish one.

The result is a fast-paced, pure and brutal first-person shooter, with a dark look, a killer soundtrack, and a plot that, once again, revolves around a certain company (not UAC), which managed to open up “Slipgates” (look: teleportation gates), accidentally let all sorts of evil things come through them (replace demons with inter-dimensional monsters), and, as expected from id Software, there’s a hero in a space marine attire: the one and only Doomg… err, Ranger!

Screenshot for Quake on PC

Quake's selling point, of course, was the lack of the structural limitations of the past, with levels that could be way more complex than before, with multiple floors, sloped surfaces, and moving parts - not to mention a protagonist that could actually jump around (*gasp*) in order to traverse these treacherous environments. Did the team behind it all taken advantage of all this? Well, while the levels are far more open-ended from the linear borefests of today, there's definitely room from improvement, since they aren't as maze-y (in a good way) as they should be.

Having said that, the action makes up for it, with this title probably being the fastest in all of id Software's history up until 2016 (including the new Doom), and that's saying a lot. It's so fast that, to this day, this is one of the favourite videogames amongst speedrunners - it's no secret, after all, that this was the title that gave birth to the term rocket jumping, with players taking advantage of explosions to propel themselves to higher ground.

Screenshot for Quake on PC

This was never the flawless gem that people made it to be, though. For starters, the overall speed comes in stark contrast to the actual gunfights. The shift in full 3D brought forth certain limitations (evident to this day), with a few more challenging enemies replacing the large groups of the past for reasons of memory/CPU constraints. Unfortunately, instead of being harder in terms of AI, most foes just became bullet sponges, and while they are enjoyable to fight with, the pace gets dragged down due to this, which tends to lower the fun factor after an hour or so of continuous play.

Furthermore, and although not bad, weapons aren't as diverse as the FPS of the past. Firstly, most are just variations of a basic gun, with the new ones usually making the original obsolete - why use the simple nailgun when the super nailgun is far more effective and faster? Why bother with the simple shotgun when a slightly slower double-barrelled one is at hand? Even the final boomstick is somewhat disappointing. Doom had BFG9000, the big… fabulous gun that would obliterate the whole screen, while Quake has the thunderbolt; basically, a very powerful laser.

Screenshot for Quake on PC

The audio-visuals are another aspect that has been glorified despite some flaws. On one hand, the atmosphere is simply fantastic. Besides some perfect and loud SFX, and a great OST courtesy of Trent Reznor (which influenced the franchise's music), Quake fused together sci-fi, medieval dungeons, and H.P. Lovecraft, offering a much darker and moody world… but also one that is full of shades of dark brown, green, and… more brown, making everything look the same after a while. Fortunately, that's more like a complaint for someone spoiled by the diversity of old-school FPS, because, when compared to the sterile "modern" shooters, it's still ten times better.

The saving grace(s) of this title, is, once more, the fact that this is highly moddable (with a community that's not as active as the one in Doom, but still pretty impressive), and a slight, yet decent evolution of the multiplayer aspect, which, although not yet close to the greatness of Quake III Arena, was quite fun, and, like the single-player mode, very fast-paced.

Screenshot for Quake on PC

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

With its adrenaline-pumping, very speedrunner-friendly action, complex, dark-fantasy stages, and, finally, great multiplayer, Quake truthfully deserves the medal around its neck; the bronze medal, that is, because, while so good that it can be enjoyed even today (and maybe, especially today), its cracks are now more visible, mainly due to the benefit of the perspective of time. In other words, while very entertaining, id Software's classic was king in an age when there was no real threat to its throne.


id Software


id Software


First Person Shooter



C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


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