Quake II

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Gamers have waited more than a year and a half for the Mac version of Quake II, Activision's sequel to the classic first-person shooter. Was it worth the wait? If you have hardware robust enough to run the game, the answer is yes.

As with most games of this type, the goal in Quake II is to dash about and blast everything that moves. However, unlike in the original game, Quake II asks that you tackle jobs more intricate than simply clearing hallways of hellions. Because the game is mission-based, you must perform such tasks as knocking out a communications system and sabotaging a reactor. This scheme also means that in Quake II, you must move between large areas of an alien complex to get the job done.

Quake II differs from the original in other ways. The game sports a host of new foes; some, such as the Parasite and Icarus, seem to pop out of nowhere and are both deadly and annoying. In addition, your enemies' AI is slightly improved–later in the game, the baddies crouch to avoid the deadly deliveries you've launched their way (you can now crouch as well). In networked play, you can choose a wider variety of skins and you can actually tell what kinds of weapons your networked opponents are holding. These new elements help improve a game that was a blast to begin with.

Quake II is a far prettier game than Quake when played under hardware acceleration. The same can't be said for software rendering. It is downright ugly when played with software rendering at resolutions of less than 640 by 480 pixels, and performance suffers as well. On a Power Computing PowerTower 180e, the game became playable only with a Voodoo 2 card. Under software rendering at a resolution of 640 by 480, the game churned out a choppy 8.2 frames per second (fps). Software rendering on a 233MHz iMac wasn't much better–a scant 11.8 fps. Playing Quake II with the iMac's on-board Rage Pro accelerator boosted the frame rate to a more tolerable 13.8 fps. If you want the best from this game, however, you'll require a G3 processor and either ATI's Rage 128 or 3dfx's Voodoo chip.

"More of the same presented more attractively" pretty well describes Quake II. If you liked the original and have the hardware to pull the best from its sequel, you'll enjoy Quake II.


4.0 mice
PROS: Beautiful under hardware acceleration; typically frantic shooter action. CONS: Requires robust hardware. COMPANY: Activision (310/255-2000, http://www.activision.com ). LIST PRICE: $45.

November 1999 page: 80

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