This is a casual, blind play-through of Quake II on Linux using the Yamagi port. Overall I enjoyed this game about as much as the first one, although I wouldn't rate it quite as highly. For some reason the developers moved away from the lovecraft-horror style of the original game and went for a more grounded approach, complete with a grounded story for how and why things are. Basically it's an alien city (of some sort) that you are dealing with in this game, and the enemies kind of reflect that, I suppose? There are still monsters in this game, but they feel more like a combination of 'engineered' monsters and 'pets' as opposed to actual monsters in the first game. That was one thing I really like about Quake, the game was actually scary in its own way. The ominious music combined with the enemies of Q1 gave me some interesting dreams on the night of editing. Quake II is not scary at all, in fact, I'd say it was kind of hilarious. Some of the enemy types are big and lumbering and they look kind of amusing. And their battle cries are equally entertaining - from the dudes with 'swords for arms' that yell "Trespasser!" to the chicks that say something like "Traitor" though I didn't quite catch that clearly. The Trespasser dudes are probably the most hilarious enemy I've encountered in Quake II, I just found them so... um, cute? LOL.
This brings me to the biggest problem with Quake II. The level design. It kind of reminds of Unreal in parts, and that's good because Unreal is a fantastic game - but at the same time it's quite repetitive, and very bland and mediocre looking. Browns, beige and grey are the colors of the day. Earth tones people! Browns and beige, browns and beige! I was only able to find one secret level, and that had a different look - so that was nice! And it's not just the fact that the color palette is very repetitive, there is an awful amount of backtracking in Quake II that in my opinion, does damage to the enjoyment of this game. Now, I'm not exactly the sharpest tool in the shed, but I do know how to play FPS games and I'm not 'that' bad at figuring out my way around levels. But something about the constant backtracking in Quake II, combined with the lack of clear markings and direction proved to be quite glaring breaks in the action. At times I was lost for minutes at a time, not even sure what I was supposed to be looking for.
But, despite these flaws, I still liked Quake II. The combat is fairly enjoyable, the music is good and the sound design is pretty impressive for 1997. The environment felt hostile, quite well fleshed out and the enemy placement was challenging enough. I've decided that I will be going back to the original Quake soon with the official expansion packs, and I'll probably do the Q2 expansions after that. Again, those will be completely blind playthroughs, so don't expect any Rambo outings.
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