Quake 1

I’m replaying Quake. Quake is great.

Not just the gameplay (which is fast and fluid, with a healthy roster of distinct enemies), not just the graphics (aged but still effective) but the atmosphere. Quake has some of the best atmosphere I’ve ever heard. Heard is the word – the lighting and the theme of the graphics are part of this, but it’s the sound and music design of Quake that really make it shine.

Everybody likes to talk about Quake’s multiplayer, but I’m not that interested in Quake as a multiplayer franchise. It’s fun, but for me the real high point of Quake is in the single player. There’s simply no other game quite like it. We have a lot of brown shooters, but there’s only one Quake.

You’re a sci-fi military soldier, from some kind of brutalist retro-futuristic Earth, making his way through countless arcane dimensions and fighting against evil eldritch monsters. The worlds you visit are bleak, dark and very hostile . You are constantly made to feel like an intruder in a strange and darkly oppressive place, waiting for the next eyeless abomination to jump out from the shadows or teleport into the room with a distinct PING sound

Playing through Quake’s E4M2, with the lighting set just right and the sound turned up, was one of the best and most memorable shooting experiences I had last year.

The thought of a modern Quake reboot going back to the series’ dark fantasy Lovecraftian roots is tantalizing, though I wonder if it would be possible in today’s market. You never know though – Doom 2016 happened

Until then – get a sourceport, get the files, and play some Quake.

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