From the first moment I saw Quake II in all its glory, I knew that this game was going to forever hold a place among my personal top 5. There’s something about the whole story of the Strogg and the fantastic game play that really appeals to me, even to this day.
Something that makes me very happy is the fact that Quake II, like its predecessor, offers the possibility to produce custom content. Although Quake gets a lot more attention than Quake II nowadays, I’m happy to inform you that a number of works for Quake II have been released recently. One of these works is Derelict Facility. It is a small single player campaign consisting of 3 interconnected levels and it all looks fantastic but the important question is, does it play fantastic as well?
During the final part of the Quake II Twitch stream after we finished the original campaign and went through one of my own Quake II maps, we checked out Derelict Facility. I can honestly say that I had a great time exploring the maps. You enter the facility by almost falling to your death, leaving you with a very small amount health to begin your mission. This means that you will have to navigate carefully through a portion of the base while dodging incoming fire from both projectile shooting enemies as well as hitscanners. I managed to reach a highly coveted health pack without getting killed but I can imagine starting out like this is not everyone’s cup of tea. During this sequence however, I could see some potential in a small stealth section since Quake II does have a silencer pickup. It’s a bit unfortunate that a proper stealth section is missing in this map, given the fact that the player has to be extremely careful and has to make sure that he always gets the drop on is enemies.
Once you manage to bring your health back up to an acceptable level, you can massacre your way through the levels, as the author has populated the maps with plenty of targets to take out. After you complete an objective and have to make your way to another section of the map, the author spawns in new enemies to subtly guide you to your next objective. This is a good and important mechanic since the levels are quite large and can be confusing sometimes. I can’t say I got absolutely lost but it wasn’t always clear for me which trigger caused which action. Maybe it’s just me though, as navigation isn’t one of my strongest points.
In terms of difficulty, it felt right for me playing on the medium setting. Skill settings are very subjective and you never know what a level designer considers easy or hard because he or she knows exactly where and when enemies will appear. Ammo and health is balanced and the weapon progression is thought out very well.
Beautiful is the word I can use to describe the visual presentation of the maps. There’s lots of detail and the author makes great and creative use of the stock Quake II textures. Lighting is placed carefully and helps setting the mood. There are plenty of nooks to explore and there’s enough verticality implemented in the levels to make sure you never get bored while revisiting certain parts of map.
It’s content like this that makes me keep coming back to Quake II and I can only hope that we see many more maps of comparable quality for this great game in the future!