Too Little Too Late
Undeterred by being released two years too late, Midway finally releases the famous PC shooter Quake on Nintendo 64. It's the same gory and action packed shooter of 1996, with tons of guns of find, enemies to kill and levels to explore. If you take into consideration that we've now seen Goldeneye, Turok: Dinosaur Hunter and more recently Unreal on PC then Quake looks a little stale.
With that been said, Quake on Nintendo 64 is an impressive conversion and this is evident in the game's visuals which are very much on par with the PC version, if not better. While this version lacks some of the geometry like on the first level's opening arches it makes up for it with improved lighting effects and better shading techniques.
This improves the game's gothic themes and looks brilliant on N64. The game features little slowdown too, so it moves at a steady frame-rate much unlike on other Nintendo 64 shooters such as Goldeneye. None of that compares to the actual game itself though. The thing about Quake is that it can be played using many different types of tactics.
If you wish to head straight on in and mow down each enemy as you go then it is more than possible, if you wish to draw enemies into your fire and take them out using grenade traps and close-quarters weapons then Quake will let you do this. Quake is also a game where you can simply avoid the enemies altogether and find the objectives you need to complete in order to continue, and without wasting too much ammo or health either.
Unlike in most of other shooters, it is far easier to organise how you take down enemies thanks to how different they all play. Each enemy has their own distinct weakness which can be taken advantage of. For example, you can bring down an army of monsters by making them fight each other by them getting caught in the cross-fire of grenade explosions and of the sort.
You can also lure baddies into environment traps like lava and spikes by playing the game and using the level designs to your advantage. And in Quake, there are many traps to lure your unsuspecting foes into, although if you're not careful you can be harmed by the traps yourself. These kinds of things aren't common in shooters and help make Quake stand-out from the generic line of soldiers found in other shooters.
But despite the better visuals and gameplay of Quake, there are still more than a few downsides to the game that make it a lot less appealing than it seems. The biggest flaw is that Quake simply hasn't aged well and it's hard to appreciate the gameplay of it like on other shooters currently out. Speaking of hard, the game is much more of a challenge on Nintendo 64 because there are no quick save features or checkpoint systems in between levels. This can make the game frustrating to play as one small slip-up could cause you to start from the very beginning.
Also with the game being out for so long it would've been nice to of seen the levels from the Mission Packs alongside the game itself on Nintendo 64. However, rather, the game has actually lost levels in translation to Nintendo 64 and some have even been made shorter in the process of change.
Quake on Nintendo 64 features poor music in comparison to the PC version with an atmospheric but barely clear soundtrack in the background. The monsters and guns themselves have the traditional grunts and bangs you expect to hear from them and are nothing out of the ordinary. Lastly, Quake has terrible controls which haven't been updated very well since originally in use two years before.
You have to hold a button to enable yourself to look up and down with the control stick, but unfortunately this makes you a very liable target during a fire fight and often leads to slip-ups because of this. There are also some odd assignments, but thankfully they can be switched at will.
However, Quake on Nintendo 64 is a solid shooter that perhaps could've been so much more if released a year or two earlier like on Sega Saturn. Despite this, Nintendo 64 owners will now have another reason to play their system and more importantly play Id's famous shooter without the fuss of a computer.