Brief Quake II History
Quake II, released on December 9, 1997, is a first-person shooter computer game developed by id Software and distributed by Activision. It is not a sequel to Quake; it merely uses the name of the former game due to id's difficulties in acquiring a trademark for alternative titles. The soundtrack for Quake II was mainly provided by Sonic Mayhem, with some additional tracks by Bill Brown. The game was made available on Steam on August 3, 2007.
The next game released by id with the title Quake, Quake III Arena, is also not considered to be related to Quake and Quake II as it is multiplayer focused, and has a dissimilar storyline. A direct sequel, titled Quake 4, was released in October 2005 for the PC (Microsoft Windows and GNU/Linux), and later for the Xbox 360 (as part of Quake 4) and the Macintosh.
The Quake II Plot
Quake II takes place in a science fiction environment. In the single-player game, the player assumes the role of a Marine named Bitterman taking part in "Operation Alien Overlord", a desperate attempt to protect Earth from alien invasion by launching a counter-attack on the home planet of the hostile cybernetic Strogg civilization. Most of the other soldiers are captured or killed almost as soon as they enter the planet's atmosphere, so it falls upon the player to penetrate the Strogg capital city alone and ultimately to assassinate the Strogg leader, the Makron.
Quake II Gameplay
The game is played in general first-person shooter paradigms, in which the player shoots enemies from the perspective of the main character. The gameplay is very similar to that featured in Quake, in terms of movement and controls, although the player has been slowed down, and now has the ability to crouch. The game retained four of the original Quake's weapons (shotgun, super-shotgun, grenade-launcher and rocket launcher), although they were all completely redesigned and made to function in slightly different ways. The remainder of Quake's eight weapons (axe, nail-gun, super-nailgun and Thunderbolt) are gone. Newly introduced weapons are the blaster, machinegun, chaingun, hyperblaster, railgun and BFG10K. Some power-ups from Quake are still present, including quad damage.
The single-player game features a number of improvements over that of Quake. First, evident from the opening CGI introduction sequence, the game's plot is much more integrated into the action. The player is given mission-based objectives that correspond to the storyline. For example, the player carries out a wide range of activities, including stealing a tank commander's head to open a door, or calling down an air-strike on a bunker. CGI cut scenes are used to illustrate the player's progress through the various main objectives, although they are all essentially the same short piece of video, that shows a computerised image of the player as he/ she moves through game's levels.
Another addition is the inclusion of a non-hostile character type: the player's character's captured comrades. However, it is impossible to interact with such characters, because they have all been driven insane by their Strogg captors.
The game features much larger levels than Quake, with many more wide-open areas. There is also a hub system that allows the player to travel back and forth between levels. Indeed, this is sometimes necessary to complete certain objectives. There are some similarities to Quake in that some of the textures and symbols that appear in the game are very similar to some of those found in the original. The levels are now populated by a new set of enemies, including more recurring types than previously. Enemies now demonstrate visible wounds after they have taken damage.
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The multiplayer game is similar to that in Quake. It can be played as a free-for-all deathmatch game, a cooperative version of the single-player game, or as a 1 vs 1 match that is used in official tournaments, like the Cyberathlete Professional League. It can also be played in Capture the Flag Mode (CTF). The deathmatch game benefited from the release of eight specifically-designed maps that id Software added after the game's initial release. They were introduced to the game via one of the early patches, that were released free of charge. Prior to the release of these maps, players were limited to playing multiplayer games on the single-player levels, which, while functional as multiplayer levels, were not designed with deathmatch gameplay specifically in mind.
As in Quake, it is possible to customize the way in which the player appears to other people in multiplayer games. However, whereas in Quake, the only option was to change the color of the player's uniform unless third party modifications were used, now the game comes with a selection of three different player models: a male marine, a female marine, and a male cyborg; choice of player model also affects the speech effects the player's character will make, such as exhaling in effort while jumping or groaning when injured. Each model can be customized from in the in-game menu via the selection of pre-drawn skins, which differ in many ways; for example, camouflage style, skin color and application of facepaint.