The Quake wiki last edited by Cribba on 07/23/15 02:07PM View full history


Official screenshots often conveyed an atmosphere of chaos.

Quake is an action-oriented first-person shooter developed by id Software and released on June 22, 1996. It is often cited as one of the most influential games in the genre, credited among other things with revolutionizing PC gaming with hardware accelerated true 3D graphics and bringing competitive multiplayer gaming to the masses. Its popularity spawned two official expansion packs ( Scourge of Armagon and Dissolution of Eternity) in addition to laying the foundation for an extremely successful franchise. It would also go on to receive extensive support from its fan base in the form of numerous single-player and multiplayer mods, whose creators in many cases would become successful game developers in their own right.

Quake would also lead to several trends which would have an impact beyond the FPS genre. Arguably the origin of machinima, the Quake engine would be used to create films such as Blahbalicious and The Seal of Nehahra, movies which often had little or nothing to do with the game itself. Furthermore, Quake multiplayer became one of the first competitive games to be treated as an eSport, with skilled players such as Dennis "Thresh" Fong and Johnathan "Fatal1ty" Wendel becoming gaming celebrities in Quake's limelight. The engine would later be licensed for use in various other products, such as Hexen II, X-Men: The Ravages of Apocalypse, and Half-Life, in addition to providing the foundation for the Quake II engine.


Though Quake is not a particularly story-driven game, the manual provides a basic setup for the events that transpire, which is noticeably similar to the backstory for the first Doom. While developing teleportation devices known as slipgates, a covert organization, presumably under the jurisdiction of the US military, makes contact with a hostile extra-dimensional being, codenamed Quake. Quake begins using Earth's own technology against it, teleporting his death squads deep inside the human installations which house the slipgates, leading to untold carnage and destruction. Fearing that the situation will soon become untenable, a commander involved in the project contacts the protagonist of Quake, an unnamed though highly skilled operative. Finding himself drafted into Operation Counterstrike, the protagonist is tasked with finding and stopping Quake by any means necessary. Not long thereafter, the installation is attacked, and the unknown soldier is left as the sole surviving member of Operation Counterstrike. He immediately resolves to seek out Quake on his own...

Very little narrative is provided in-game, save for a few congratulatory sentences when a player finishes an episode. After gathering the four runes necessary to unlock the game's final confrontation, Quake is revealed to be Shub-Niggurath, a Lovecraftian elder god that exists as a massive faceless entity of flesh and writhing tentaces. The being is seemingly impervious to all damage, though the nameless soldier is able to defeat her by unorthodox means.


Difficulty settings are chosen in-game.

Just like Doom before it, Quake is a fast-paced FPS with a linear progression of levels broken up into episodes. The objective of each level is simply to reach the exit, killing anything dangerous along the way. There are often numerous obstructions to slow the player's progress, which must be bypassed by use of gold and silver keys (or keycards) as well as various switches and pressure plates; traps and other environmental hazards are quite common as well. Despite these additional considerations, however, Quake is almost entirely focused upon "run and gun" first-person action, and its primary addition to the Doom formula is the vertical aiming allowed by its three-dimensional nature. After each level, the player is presented with level statistics showing their total completion time as well as the number of enemies killed and secrets discovered compared to the maximum.

Quake's four episodes can be tackled in any order, though there is an intended sequence. At the beginning of each episode, the player starts with only the Shotgun and the Axe, and weapons collected in each episode are not carried over to the next. Once the player has completed all four episodes and gathered the four magical runes situated within them, the pathway to Shub-Niggurath and the final confrontation is opened.

Single-Player Maps & Authors

* indicates a secret level.

  • Start: Introduction by John Romero

Episode 1: Dimension of the Doomed

The mystical past comes alive...

  • E1M1: The Slipgate Complex by John Romero
  • E1M2: Castle of the Damned by Tim Willits
  • E1M3: The Necropolis by Tim Willits
  • E1M4: The Grisly Grotto by Tim Willits
  • E1M5: Gloom Keep by Tim Willits
  • E1M6: The Door to Chthon by American McGee
  • E1M7: The House of Chthon by American McGee
  • E1M8: Ziggurat Vertigo* by American McGee

Episode 2: The Realm of Black Magic

Ancient castles and strange beasts ahead...

  • E2M1: The Installation by John Romero
  • E2M2: The Ogre Citadel by John Romero
  • E2M3: The Crypt of Decay by John Romero
  • E2M4: The Ebon Fortress by John Romero
  • E2M5: The Wizard's Manse by John Romero
  • E2M6: The Dismal Oubliette by John Romero
  • E2M7: The Underearth* by Tim Willits

Episode 3: The Netherworld

Primal fear in a strange dimension...

  • E3M1: Termination Central by John Romero
  • E3M2: The Vaults of Zin by American McGee
  • E3M3: The Tomb of Terror by American McGee
  • E3M4: Satan's Dark Delight by American McGee
  • E3M5: The Wind Tunnels by Tim Willits
  • E3M6: Chambers of Torment by American McGee & Tim Willits
  • E3M7: The Haunted Halls* by American McGee

Episode 4: The Elder World

Your worst nightmares come true...

  • E4M1: The Sewage System by Tim Willits
  • E4M2: The Tower of Despair by Sandy Petersen
  • E4M3: The Elder God Shrine by Sandy Petersen
  • E4M4: The Palace of Hate by Sandy Petersen
  • E4M5: Hell's Atrium by Sandy Petersen
  • E4M6: The Pain Maze by Sandy Petersen
  • E4M7: Azure Agony by Sandy Petersen
  • E4M8: The Nameless City* by Sandy Petersen
  • End: Shub-Niggurath's Pit by John Romero


Quake was one of the first games to include a client-server model for multiplayer, rather than a peer-to-peer model. Deathmatch, team deathmatch, and full cooperative modes were included at release. Quake actually included two multiplayer clients, and was one of the first games to include TCP/IP-based multiplayer that worked over the Internet. Unfortunately, the client that shipped with the game wasn't optimized for the high-latency and low-bandwidth of the dial-up connections common to the time. About six months after Quake was released, id software released an update, dubbed QuakeWorld, which utilized the UDP protocol and moved many tasks that had previously run on the server side to the client, which allowed dialup players to enjoy multiplayer gaming. QuakeWorld allowed online games consisting of 32 or more players to take place between players on dialup with relatively low latency. Tactics such as bunny hopping and rocket jumping originated in Quake multiplayer. Tournaments all over the world still include Quake in their playlists, but most first-person shooters have since moved away from the unyielding speed and lethality of the original Quake.

Deathmatch Maps & Authors

  • DM1: Place of Two Deaths by Tim Willits
  • DM2: Claustrophobopolis by American McGee
  • DM3: The Abandoned Base by John Romero
  • DM4: The Bad Place by American McGee
  • DM5: The Cistern by Tim Willits
  • DM6: The Dark Zone by Tim Willits


Like Id Software's previous title, Doom, Quake had a very active modding scene, which was supported by Id with the release of SDK's, level editors and exhaustive information about the game's file system and the built-in scripting language Quakescript. These ranged from sound, model or texture replacements, additional levels, to total conversions, changing the core gameplay. One of the earliest mods was Quake Rally, which turned Quake into a racing game with rather detailed vehicle physics for the era, and AirQuake, turning it into a third person multiplayer dogfighting game, with a large selection of flyable real world jets. One of Quake's most popular mods was Team Fortress, which was released in 1997 and turned it into a class, team and objective based multiplayer game, that spawned similar mods for other games and resulted in Valve acquiring the developers, having them create Team Fortress Classic for Half-life and later Team Fortress 2. The map 2forts has been one of the popular ever since the original mods release, and remains one of the most popular maps in Team Fortress 2.


Speed Demos Archive, the largest provider of Quake speedrunning

The website Speed Demos Archive is the headquarters of Quake speedruns and speedrunners alike. The website has an extremely large library of quake speedruns of all kinds, and it was formally exclusive to Quake speedruns before later expanding to other games. However, Quake speedrunning is still a big part of Speed Demoes Archive and has its own massive section on the website. The section contains Quake speedrunning news as well as information on rules, contests, runners, contests, projects, and more.

The website also features a section called "demos" which contains all the quake speedruns. The main runs are split up into three main categories: any%, 100%, and cooperative. The runs themselves are split up into several sub-sections including id Levels, Hipnotic Levels, Rogue Levels, Custom Episodes, and Custom Levels. The first 3 sections are for official levels created by the developer and the last two are for user created levels. Within each section is a list of all the levels featured in that section. The Cooperative section has different sub-sections: Easy Runs, Easy 100%, Nightmare Runs, Nightmare 100%, and Mad Coops (3 player runs).

What is shown next to each level depends on the category. For example, in the "Run" (any%) category next to the levels name is the current easy any% record followed by the record holders name and next to that is the nightmare any% record followed by that record holders name. If the 100% section was chosen the any% best times would be replaced by the 100% best times. The Cooperative section works differently, if the "Easy Run" sub-section was chosen it shows record time for an easy 2 player coop run followed by the name of the runner. If Easy 100% was chosen it would be the same except the any% record time would be changed for the 100% coop record time and so on and so forth.

Clicking on the link for a level provides further information that includes record time progression for easy any% run, easy 100% time, nightmare any% run, and nightmare 100% run in that order. Single player runs are shown first followed by multiplayer runs. The multiplayer runs can range from anywhere from 2 to 7 players, some levels have multiple multiplayer runs while others have none.

There is a special forth category titled "Marathon Demos". This section features single segment runs of whole episodes or the entire game/expansion pack. These runs are also have seperate categories for easy any%, easy 100%, Nightmare any%, and Nightmare 100%. In addition to this, the section also has cooperative runs and record time progression.


The weapons of Quake are a pretty straightforward affair, consisting almost entirely of point-and-shoot armaments with no alternate firing modes. In fact, the Grenade Launcher is the only ranged weapon in Quake that does not travel in a straight path toward its target. Despite this simplicity, or perhaps because of it, the Quake arsenal has become quite iconic, and the Rocket Launcher in particular is an object of affection for many Quake fans.



One of Quake's two starting weapons, the Axe is the only melee weapon on offering, and is generally not advisable to use unless there are no alternatives. Since almost all enemies possess ranged weaponry, getting close enough without taking damage is tricky. Even if one can close the distance safely, very few enemies are without a melee attack of their own, so there is no immediate advantage in most situations to bringing out the Axe.


The Shotgun, Quake's second starting weapon, presents a much more attractive alternative to the Axe, though it is only marginally more powerful. Firing six pellets at a time at a fairly steady rate, weaker enemies like the Grunt go down very quickly to the Shotgun, though it won't be long before heavier weapons are required. It has a much tighter spread than the Super Shotgun, making it the preferred weapon of the two when enemies are at medium to long range.
Super Shotgun

Super Shotgun (aka Double Barreled Shotgun)

Firing fourteen pellets to the Shotgun's six, the Super Shotgun not only deals a greater amount of damage per shot, but is also more efficient in terms of damage per shell. The trade-off comes in its range, as outside of close combat it is very unlikely that all pellets will hit. Still, closing the distance in order to maximize damage is often worthwhile. Many creature will perish under only a few volleys from the Super Shotgun, and shells are generally plentiful, making the SSG consistently useful.


Capable of firing a steady stream of nails from its double barrels, the Nailgun is an accurate medium-damage weapon held back somewhat by the relative paucity of nail ammunition in the game. It is also less useful against extremely powerful enemies, as there are generally better options that don't require constant line-of-sight. The Nailgun can expend a full load in just twenty seconds.
Super Nailgun

Super Nailgun (aka Perforator)

While it fires at the same rate as the Nailgun, each round from the Super Nailgun is twice as powerful. It also consumes ammo twice as fast, meaning sustained fire will drain a full clip of two-hundred nails in just ten seconds! Nevertheless, when dangerous enemies are afoot, the expedient damage provided by the Super Nailgun is quite handy, as long as each round hits.
Grenade Launcher

Grenade Launcher

Fires a grenade in an arc that will either explode on contact with an enemy or detonate automatically after a few seconds. The simplicity of Quake's AI makes it a fairly simple matter to lay traps for enemies, and aside from having to account for the trajectory, it is just as useful as the Rocket Launcher. Though not as easy as rocket jumping, it is possible to perform grenade-assisted jumps in order to jump higher or increase one's speed.
Rocket Launcher

Rocket Launcher

The go-to weapon for both single-player and multiplayer, the Quake Rocket Launcher deals massive damage with its easy-to-aim explosive projectile and generous splash damage. In addition to its utility as a weapon, the Rocket Launcher became a popular means of assisted mobility in multiplayer and during speed runs, as "rocket jumping" allows players to launch themselves in almost any direction at incredible speeds.
Lightning Gun

Lightning Gun (aka Thunderbolt)

Causing more damage per second than any other weapon, the Lightning Gun is a weapon that, like the Nailguns, suffers only from its limited ammo availability. It can take down any single-player foe in no more than two seconds, and even fully armored multiplayer opponents cannot survive it for long. It does requires a larger degree of precision than the Rocket Launcher, however, and overall it is the less sought-after of the two. Discharging the Lightning Gun underwater will expend all the player's cells, killing anything in sight, including the player.


Quake items can be divided into two types: Health and Armor Pickups, which provide beneficial effects that are generally permanent, and Power-ups, which grant abilities in 30-second durations that are often extremely powerful. It is also worth mentioning that Quake marks the first appearance of Quad Damage, a power-up which would become synonymous with the Quake franchise.

Health & Armor Pickups

Health Packs

Health Packs

The most readily available method of vitality recovery in Quake, Health Packs come in two varieties, which heal either 15 or 25 hit points. The two types can be easily differentiated from one another on sight due to the fact that the more powerful of them is much more brightly colored. Neither will heal the player past 100 hit points.


Megahealth is the ultimate Quake health pickup, bestowing a full 100 hit points upon use which is capable of healing a player beyond the normal 100-point cap. While this is a powerful boon, it is also ultimately a temporary one, as any hit points in excess of 100 will gradually deteriorate over time. For this reason, it can be a good idea in single-player to use it when one's health is fairly low in order to avoid losing extra points.
Green Armor

Green Armor

The most basic form of protection in the game, Green Armor provides 100 points of damage mitigation. Armor types in Quake not only come with different armor point totals, but also have varying degrees of damage absorption, which determines how quickly the armor is consumed. Green Armor absorbs 30% of all damage done to the player, meaning it has the slowest rate of consumption among Quake armor types.
Yellow Armor

Yellow Armor

Yellow Armor provides 50 additional armor points over standard Green Armor (bringing the total to 150), but more importantly doubles the damage absorption rate to 60%. It is the most balanced of the three armor types, offering greater damage protection than Green Armor with slower consumption than Red Armor.
Red Armor

Red Armor

The pinnacle of Quake damage protection, Red Armor provides 200 armor points and an 80% absorption rate, which is enough to survive several direct hits from the Rocket Launcher. This superior mitigation comes with a cost, however, as Red Armor points are consumed at a much higher rate than other armor types.




Certainly the least exciting of Quake's power-ups, the Biosuit functions as a temporary means of underwater breathing and protection against hazardous liquids (though this does not include lava). It can be prudent to scan the environment for possible underwater passages before grabbing one, as Biosuits are usually included in levels for good reason.
Pentagram of Protection

Pentagram of Protection

Setting the player's armor value to 666 for the duration of its effect, the Pentagram offers the finest in demonic protection. Anyone under its power is completely immune to damage for thirty seconds, though curiously enough the Pentagram does not prevent the loss of armor points. While in effect, the player's screen is tinted a golden hue.
Quad Damage

Quad Damage

True to its name, Quad Damage amplifies the strength of all attacks four times over, making even the lowly shotgun a weapon to be feared. Splash damage is particularly important to be aware of while using Quad Damage, as it is relatively easy to die suicidally by standing too close to the blast radius of a rocket or grenade.
Ring of Shadows

Ring of Shadows

A rather overt reference to Tolkien's One Ring, the Ring of Shadows bestows its wearer with near-complete invisibility. The only visible portion of a player under its influence is the eyes, though in practice it is only possible to make monsters aware of your presence by firing on them. The Ring is useful for setting ambushes in multiplayer, or bypassing enemies altogether in single-player.


The enemies of Quake are a diverse bunch, ranging from rather mundane undead soldiers, to hideous yeti monsters and bouncing blue blobs. The only unifying trait is that they are all thirsty for blood, and the fairly simplistic Quake AI will compel them to pursue the player's death with little or no regard to their own safety. As in Doom, most Quake monsters can be coaxed into infights with one another, and maximizing the chances of this is one of the best ways to soften the game's difficulty.



Seemingly an undead guard dog, the Rottweiler is quick on its feet, but none too strong. With only its bite for offense, it presents very little threat on its own, but if the player is distracted by other enemies, it can cause serious harm. When multiple enemy types are encountered, it is generally advisable to take out any Rottweilers first. Rottweilers are base-exclusive enemies, meaning they are never seen beyond the first level in each episode.


Low on both hit points and damage, the once human Grunt is the most basic bipedal threat in the realm of Quake. Two Shotgun blasts or a single round from the Super Shotgun is enough to take down a Grunt. To compensate for their general lack of punch, Grunts usually appear in groups where they can cause damage more quickly. The Grunt shotgun is also a hitscan weapon, meaning that it can only be dodged by breaking line-of-sight. Similar to the Rottweiler, the Grunt is considered a "base" enemy, and is not frequently found outside of the first level of each episode. Grunts drop a backpack with five shells when killed.


The toughest of Quake's "base" enemies, the Enforcer is a burlier version of the Grunt in possession of a heavy blaster. While technically superior to the Grunt, its blaster fire is easier to avoid than the Grunt's shotgun since it is not a hitscan weapon, and is always fired in predictable two-shot bursts. They possess more than twice the hit points of a Grunt however, meaning the Enforcer will have more opportunity to cause damage before it is killed. Enforcers drop cells for the Lightning Gun upon death, which is odd considering they usually appear long before the player has access to the gun.


Attacking quickly with a blood-soaked sword, the Knight does not possess a terribly large amount of hit points, but is often placed just out of sight in order to ambush a player upon entering a room. Like most melee foes, encountering them in the presence of ranged enemies can complicate matters. A good general strategy in this scenario is to fire at the ranged attacker while trying as much as possible to get the Knight caught in the crossfire. Knights will almost always lose in infight situations due to their meager hit points.
Death Knight

Death Knight

A much meatier version of the Knight that improves on the original with several times the number of hit points and a ranged attack as well. While it is generally a very tough foe, their ranged fireball attack is also one of the most consistent sources of monster infighting in the game, as it fires several projectiles in a wide spread that can provoke several monsters at a time. Exploiting this property can make many fights much easier.


Quake's solitary aquatic enemy, the Rotfish contains no truly notable propensities. It simply swims toward the player in order to nibble away at their health. Most weapons, even the Axe, can handily deal with the Rotfish, though the Lightning Gun should be avoided for obvious reasons. Strangely enough, the Rotfish cannot be gibbed; this is also true of the Spawn, though in the case of that monster it can be explained by the fact that their death leaves no corpse.


One of the more unique enemies in Quake, the Zombie can only be permanently killed if it is "gibbed," meaning enough damage must be done to literally tear it apart. This is easiest to accomplish with the Grenade or Rocket Launcher, though other weapons can achieve the same effect if Quad Damage is involved. If a Zombie is killed without being gibbed, it will fall to the ground where it is invulnerable for a few seconds, picking itself up to resume its attack shortly thereafter with with renewed hit points.


The Scrag is Quake's solitary aerial monster, and can be quite annoying, particularly on higher difficulties where it fires projectiles at a near-constant rate. If other enemies are present, a Scrag can be a major source of frustration. Nailguns are usually the weapon of choice when dealing with a Scrag, as it is often not possible to get close enough for a shotgun to be efficient, and explosive weapons are usually overkill with its low hit points.


Possessing a fair number of hit points and a dangerous grenade launcher and chainsaw combo, the Ogre is a staple enemy throughout most of the game. While its grenades can be troublesome, particularly when engaging other enemies, they have one fatal flaw: they cannot adjust for height. An Ogre will fire at the same trajectory regardless of the player's elevation, which renders it totally incapable of retaliating when attacked from above. Perhaps in a show of loyalty to its master, the Ogre has the Quake logo emblazoned across its chest.


One of the rarest enemies in Quake, the Spawn is a peculiar amorphous blue blob that bounces around the environment, attacking by colliding with the player. It is most dangerous when killed, however, as a Spawn explodes violently upon death. For this reason, it is more important with a Spawn than with other creatures to time one's killing blow in order to be outside its blast radius. WIth enough skill, it is possible to use the Spawn's splash damage to injure other creatures.


A truly frightening creature that can leap great distances in order to eviscerate its opponents, the Fiend is the strongest melee-only monster in the game. It can be a great threat when combined with ranged creatures or other Fiends, and its is particularly good at staying in the player's face until it is killed. For this reason, it is generally preferable to kill Fiends first unless a greater threat is present, which is unlikely in most scenarios.


The Vore is a horrific spideresque creature capable of hurling purple firepods that are quite adept at tracking their targets. Because of the difficulty associated with dodging these firepods, a Vore is usually priority one in any encounter that does not include Shamblers. Their biggest weakness is their speed. With a very deliberate movement speed, simply running away is an effective way of mitigating their threat, as Vores cannot match the player's movement speed.


With powerful claws and a deadly lightning attack, the Shambler is the most frightening opponent in Quake. In addition to having the highest hit points of any normal creature, the Shambler takes only half damage from explosives, meaning the Super Nailgun or the Lightning Gun are the best ways to deal with it. Its lightning attack is essentially a hitscan weapon, which means the only way to avoid it once it starts is to break line-of-sight with the beast. Monster infighting isn't very helpful in dealing with the Shambler either, as it can make short work of most enemies before they can do much harm.


The bosses of Quake represent the game's most overtly Lovecraftian influences, as the names of both appear to be allusions to the Cthulhu mythos. While their behavior is no more complicated than that of Quake's normal monsters, neither can be defeated by normal means, requiring a special task be performed in order to kill them.



Situated at the end of Quake's first episode, Dimension of the Doomed, Chthon appears to be some manner of eldritch lava creature. Upon rising from the center of his chamber, Chthon begins to hurl explosive chunks of magma in a constant barrage, even when the player is out of sight. To stop him, players must utilize a contraption on the upper level of his chamber in order to electrocute him three times, at which point he will fall back into the lava.


The true name of the entity known as Quake, Shub-Niggurath is the horrific faceless monstrosity behind the slipgate incidents plaguing Earth. Like Chthon, she is immune to normal weapon damage. Though she does not actually attack, she is surrounded by several Shamblers and Vores that will defend her to the death. In order to kill the elder beast, the player must make a timed teleport jump inside the creature, which telefrags her. Perhaps not without coincidence, when viewed from the front Shub-Niggurath's tentacles seem to mimic the Quake logo.


Quake CD Cover

Quake's original score was written and performed by Trent Reznor (credited as "Trent Reznor and Nine Inch Nails"); Reznor was also credited with creating the sound effects for the game. Trent was apparently a big fan of the original Doom games, which led to his collaboration with id Software on the soundtrack for Quake. As an in-game nod to him, the Nine Inch Nails logo appears on all of the game's nailgun ammunition boxes.

The following tracklist shows the song titles as provided by official id Software sources.

* The first "track" on the disc actually contains the game's data files.

Track No.TitleRunning Time
01[data track] *---
02Quake Theme05.12
04Start / Whispers08.22
05Grisly Grotto06.07
06Slipgate Complex07.26
08Castle of the Damned05.38
10Ziggurat Vertigo03.34
11Gloom Keep05.11

Minimum System Requirements


  • Operating System: MS-DOS 5.0 or higher (or Windows 95)
  • CPU: 75 MHz Processor or better (math coprocessor required)
  • Memory: 8 MB RAM (16 MB for Windows 95)
  • Display: VGA compatible display or better
  • Hard Drive Space: 80 MB disk space (40 MB for shareware)
  • CD-ROM Drive: Double-speed (300k/sec. sustained transfer rate)


  • CPU: 68020 + FPU (68060 recommended)
  • Memory: 8 MB RAM
  • Graphics Chipset: AGA, CGFX or Picasso 96 GFX board
  • Hard Drive Space: 60MB


  • Nightmare Difficulty
  1. In the episode selection level, head up the stairs to the right to episode 4.
  2. While submerged in the water, move back towards the direction of the stairs until your back hits the wall and allow yourself to fall through.
  3. You should have landed on a wooden platform and you should see a doorway to your left.
  4. The path leads to the nightmare difficulty portal.

Playing Quake on modern systems

nQuake provides an elegant solution for playing Quake on modern systems.

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