Quake 2: First Person Shooters at Their Best

One of the finest gaming experiences you will ever come across, Quake 2 is still a marvellous example of the first person shooter genre nearly 20 years on.


A year after the original, id Software unleashed Quake 2 on to the gaming world in 1997. The original Quake was groundbreaking in terms of technology and visuals – it was a major improvement over the Wolfenstein and Doom games prior to it – but Quake 2 stepped it up significantly.

Quake 2 isn’t technically a sequel. Initially it was to be called something different, but a name couldn’t be agreed on so Quake 2 stuck. It explains why it doesn’t follow the original. Quake 2 features a different world and background story. It ditched the H.P. Lovecraft inspired monsters and dark worlds for a more mechanical Strogg based world.

Graphics & Controls

The graphics were seriously improved, levels were larger and more open and all based in the same environment, lighting was more dynamic and sky rendering was added.

Enemies had much better AI and could be killed in different ways and the buzzing flies around dead enemies just tops it off a treat.

One of the best improvements were the controls. Using a mouse you could now have full looking capabilities which made aiming at targets a lot easier and playing the game felt a lot more natural. It meant you could take sneaky shots at enemies in obscure places or from safer angles – you also had the ability to crouch.

Level design was a lot more complex. Some of the levels require reaching a certain point and then back tracking towards the beginning.

My Experience

A friend bought Quake 2 on release and I sat in awe at it, watching these brilliantly crafted levels, beautiful enemy design and shuddering at the noises coming from round the next corner.

I was instantly hooked and had to have it. My PC at the time handled it well and the Orchid Righteous 3Dfx add-on card made rendering absolutely gorgeous.

In the nearly 20 years since its release I have completed this game more times than I can remember. I have played it on Windows and then on the Mac when I moved platforms. I also still own it on the original Playstation – although I am not keen on the controls – and it was bundled with the XBox 360 console version of Quake 4 as a bonus disc, which I also completed.

New Mac Front End

Its an old game and the transition from PowerPC to Intel has left a lot of older Mac games out in the cold for modern fans. However Alex Wefers created the Fruitz Of Dojo front end for modern Macs.

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Grab the baseq2 folder from either Windows or Classic Mac version and use the new front end and you can once again enjoy this on your new Mac.

I Still Love It

Quite often when you go back to a game you love it shows it age and it loses that magic it once had. I loaded up Quake 2 today and fell back in to it. It still looks amazing today and being played on my 2012 i5 11” MacBook Air running El Capitan, never has Quake 2 looked so gorgeous and smooth. It performs absolutely flawlessly.


Quake 2 uses the id Tech 2 engine. Aside from Quake 2 it was also used to create the two add on Mission Packs The Reckoning and Ground Zero as well as stand alone games such as SiN, Soldier Of Fortune, Heretic 2 and the superb KingPin.

Quake 3 took a different route and focused on tournament fighting in arenas – leaving the story mode behind, however Quake 4 carried on the Strogg based story mode from Quake 2, but it lacked that special something from Quake 2.


Everyone has a soft spot for a certain game. For me Quake 2 never gets old.

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4 thoughts on “Quake 2: First Person Shooters at Their Best

  1. I have read your site for some time now, although I am not a Macintosh user, having been introduced to computers via the PC route, although I do have a soft spot for the old Apple II machines; I learned how to program them in high school. Ah, those were the days! I empathize with your philosophy of making do with older hardware, and not throwing it away when the sparkly new hardware arrives. I’m just an old geek with fondness for hardware that works, even if it is just your run-of-the-mill PC hardware. :D

    I don’t usually comment on sites’ bulletin boards, but this article brought back some vivid memories of the Quake era, when Quake I was released. I was inspired to purchase the then-new 3Dfx Voodoo Graphics card (as I recall, it set me back about $250), but the game was such that I didn’t mind spending that kind of money, although I didn’t have a whole lot of money to spare for pure entertainment.

    The rendering was absolutely stunning, a vast improvement over the software renderer. I’m a big fan of the gothic theme of the original Quake, and didn’t identify as strongly with Quake 2 because it didn’t continue the theme, but I most certainly do identify with having a soft spot for old games. Gamers today chase after the new and stunning, and don’t realize what value the old games have, what led game developers to write the games they do today.

    I have set up the original Quake with the Darkplaces engine and the Quake HD mod, which brings the graphics into the 21st century, although the physics and age of the original game are still apparent. That does not matter, though. Being immersed in the Quake world has a magic all its own, one that modern gamers (read: millennials) will never understand unless they realize that games do not develop in a vacuum; their roots come from groundbreaking games such as these.

    Anyway, great article! Keep up the good work, both you and your colleagues!

  2. I should have mentioned that I did take a look at your review for Quake. I think Tenebrae is a good engine, but Darkplaces has better visual effects. So I’m going to stick with Darkplaces for now.

  3. I have just played several levels of Quake 2, and I must say that I’ve forgotten just how much fun it was to play. Nostalgia has set in big time. The graphics look positively cartoonish when compared to modern FPSs, but the gameplay is what makes a game great, and Quake 2 has it in spades. I’ll keep both 1 & 2 handy, depending on what kind of mood I’m in. If I crave goth settings, then 1 it is. If I want fast-paced military-style action, then I’ll go with 2. Awesome times, no matter which game I’m playing!

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