Quake II Review – Definitive 50 N64 Game #37

The list so far: The Definitive 50 N64 Games

The N64 was the premiere FPS console of its time. In addition to original titles like Turok and GoldenEye, the system received numerous ports and reimaginings of PC classics, including Hexen, Duke Nukem, Quake, and a unique version of Doom. My favourite among all of them, however, is Quake II.

Rather than simply porting id Software’s 1997 masterpiece, developer Raster Productions basically made their own Quake II. The N64 version is really like a wholly new, albeit reminiscent game, featuring different single and multiplayer levels.

The story this time – as if playing Quake demands any narrative motivation – is that you’re a jacked-up space marine on a mission to defend Earth from the evil alien invaders known as Strogg. You’re sent on a long series of missions to various Strogg ships and other installations to stop the menace before they wipe out humanity.

Unlike the linear shooters of today, Quake II simply drops you in alien environments and lets you figure things out from there. You’re given a series of objectives, and the rest is up to you. Levels twist and turn, and ever more Strogg seem to pour out from every turn. In the end though, all missions demand the same thing – find items and take them to the right places. It’s colour coded keys and doors in disguise.

That’s alright though – it’s the feverish running and gunning that matters, and Quake II has all the fast-paced gun play you can handle. Players get to blast away at hideous alien/machine hybrids with everything from shotguns to the famous BFG.

Quake II’s default control setup would probably throw off dedicated GoldenEye players, and is closer to that found in the Turok games. You aim with the control stick and move with the C buttons or directional pad. Thankfully, the controls can be adjusted, and roughly recreating the setup found in Rare’s classic FPS is no trouble. Control sensitivity can also be adjusted. The game is lightning fast even on the slow end, so don’t be afraid or ashamed to adjust to taste and skill level.

Quake II boasts a colourful but creepy pallet. It’s easy to make out every gruesome detail of the hordes of Strogg you must fight through. As with many late N64 games, Quake II takes advantage of the RAM Expansion Pak for an improved framerate, but it is optional. The expected eerie sound effects complete the experience.

Quake II contains a fairly bare-bones, but never-the-less rollicking competitive multiplayer component that allows up to 4 bros to blast away at one another. There’s Deathmatch, Frag-Teams, which is really team deathmatch, Flag Wars aka Capture The Flag, and Death Tag, which demands players fight for a single flag, and the winner is whoever manages to keep it the longest.

What’s your favourite obscure N64 FPS? Let me know in the comments section below. Don’t forget to rate and subscribe.

Check back next week for entry #36 on the Definitive 50 N64 games.